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Maggie's nursing and Stan's stories

Photo by Ethelyn Pearson Magdaline Priebe

Today it was Magdaline (Maggie) Priebe's turn to tell us a story. She was born in 1921 to Christ and Elizabeth Jung at Trail City, S.D. She could only attend a few years of high school when her mother died. She earned a GED later.

Maggie met Carl Priebe at a friend's house. After they were married they bought a farm near Sebeka and moved there. They have four children.

In 1973, Maggie began an 11-year stretch of working for Green Pine Acres nursing home in Menagha. She learned to be a nurse aid on the job. During those years she made many fine friends.

From that job Maggie went to being a home care aid in their homes. She helped make it possible for folks to stay in their own homes longer.

After she retired in 1988, Maggie filled her time reading and doing embroidery work. She made all kinds of things, like pillow cases, doilies, many dish towels, and even several pretty embroidered quilt tops. Someone will have to finish putting them together.

Maggie always wanted to be a nurse and feels that she got her wish. She had no desire to travel. By the time you read this she will be back in her apartment at Fair Oaks Apartments.

After attending church with my friends at Fair Oaks Lodge, this Sunday afternoon was still young so I stopped by Stan Windels' room for a visit. He always has interesting things to say about many things.

Seeing all of the snow outside his window prompted Stan to recall the winter of '49, a terrible year. Tractors got stuck going down the middle of a road. He was still home with the folks.

Stan recalled: "Pa had about 40 milk cows, a lot for a farmer those days with no electricity. We had to turn them out into a lot where they crowded up to the watering tank. What with milk being something like 90 percent water they had to drink or no milk, did you know that? I didn't think so. Most people don't.

"Pa had an old 2 1/2 cylinder McDeering engine that pumped the water and turned the separator. That separator was a pain. It had to be more than just washed, it had to be de-microbed every day. There was no hot water outside in winter so it all had to be lugged into the kitchen, washed, then back out.

"Did you ever get one of those many discs turned around? One time would cure you of ever doing it again because instead of going on through the separator the milk went straight up and hit the ceiling.

"We stuck the cream cans in a snowbank to cool in the winter and into the cow watering tank in the summer. Skim milk went to hogs and chickens.

"Pa got the first milking machine in the area in 1942, as soon as electricity came to the farms.

"Say, did you know Leo Tigges? No, well he had an early Dodge four-cylinder rig he fixed up to saw wood with. He was a jack-of-all-trades. He could keep it running.

"Another neighbor, Dan Jungles, was standing next to a tractor driven pulley when it exploded. Blowed a big hole in his stomach, it did. Old Doc McKinnon sewed him back together on the kitchen table. He must have done a good job 'cause Jungles sold insurance for years after that. The tractor was a 1917 metal steel-wheeled Fordson.

"Jungles' pa had a tree farm near Deer Creek. Somehow he cut both legs bad with a chain saw.

"That reminds me -- among Pa's cows there was one old cow he got when he and ma were married, in 1926. We called her 'the wedding cow.' She lived a long time.

"One time I almost went to the Happy Hunting Ground when a bull took off after me, bellowing, pawing the dirt. That's when I found out how fast I could run. I jumped onto a hayrack just in time or I might not have been here today."

I thanked Stan for the interesting conversation. He said: "There is more. I didn't tell you about the time my Pa's dance band rivaled Welk's Hottsy-Tottsy Boys."

Next time, Stan, that sounds wonderfully interesting. We'll hear that story soon.