Did you know that among us are people who remember spotting teams of horses hitched in town? This episode of Spotting Wisconsin shares portions of an oral history I recorded. I have enhanced this little memory piece with audio from my sound collection. Travel back in time with John Kauffman who now lives in Cedarburg but grew up in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin in the 1920’s and 30’s.
Check out this fun and useful website, MissPronouncer.com to hear the correct pronunciation of Wisconsin towns, cities, rivers, Native American tribes and people’s names. Watch the video for a good laugh.
Kris and Tim Fitzpatrick are being inspected by the bees (see them at Kris’ knees) at the beehives behind their house in rural Vernon County, WI. Photograph by Nancy Camden.
In early October, I knocked on the door of a hobby beekeeper in rural southwestern Wisconsin’s Vernon County. Their neighbor had pointed it out as a story for Spotting Wisconsin. Tim Fitzpatrick and his wife, Kris, led me down the hill behind the house to the honey bee hives where in the summer an estimated 600,000 bees work to maintain the colonies. What happens when the days shorten and the plants stop producing nectar? Why do the Fitzpatrick’s keep bees?
Michael Feldman of the public radio show “Whad’Ya Know” talking with Jim Falkner. Photo by Nancy Camden
Jim Falkner of Milwaukee sat next to me at a live airing of the humorous Wisconsin Public Radio show, Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? We ‘yacked’ a little before the show. It made me wonder, what does Jim know? So, a couple days later, I phoned to find out that he had been admitted to the hospital the next morning after the show. Change—it happens! I am making an intention to handle it better with Jim as a role model. (Jim and I are deeply saddened that Michael Feldman’s show of thirty-one years has been cancelled. This episode was recorded in Jim’s hospital room in spring of 2015. ) See this photo message to Feldman from Jim on the day I recorded him. ‘Like,’ comment and share at Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.
Eastern Shores Library System Bookmobile. Photo by Nancy Camden.
Come ride a day in a noisy library that runs on diesel and rolls around on wheels. Even when stopped, it’s noisy, because everything inside, the lights, heat and computers are powered with a generator. It’s the Eastern Shores Library System bookmobile that is driven by two hardy librarians who serve the people in the small towns and rural areas of Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties. To see the interior and people of the bookmobile click the following links: Inside the bookmobile.Librarian Sue Potter at her desk.Lily & Carol Fredricks & librarian Lisa Haartman. Driving down a country road.(The obviously appreciated and loved bookmobile librarian, Sue Potter will retire in July of 2016 after 29 years on the road. This story was recorded in April 2015.) Comment and share at Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.
Slow down! We’re in Colby, Wisconsin. I knocked on a door to ask directions to a historical marker. Eighty-six-year-old Virginia ‘Ginny’ Brown invited me in. With her antique calendar clock ticking, she talks about the early years, the present and the uncertain future—reflections on change, the passage of time, the story of life.
CYNDI MERKA AND ZIGLAR. PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY CAMDEN
In the month of March, near Eagle, Wisconsin, a big black horse with a rider made wide strides to cross the road down from my van. This was the first time I had stopped a stranger to ask for a Spotting Wisconsin interview. Cyndi Merka eagerly met me at the nearby stable to talk about her beloved horse, Ziglar. A year earlier around the corner from the stable at Old World Wisconsin, I had recorded Nancy Osterhaus with her two Clydesdales, Lou and Hank. Do horses have personalities? What do they like and need? Get up close with three huge horses and their devoted humans.
Ron Holtslander and Alan Kultgen. Photo by Nancy Camden
In the spring of the year, rural Port Washington, Wisconsin, I waved up a long driveway to two silhouettes beside an old farmhouse. A wave back drew me up to hear about fixing trucks, farming and friendship and to contemplate waving to people.
In this episode, Bill Powell of the Bay View neighborhood in Milwaukee chats with me about waving to people. The interview that follows began with a wave to Alan Kultgen and Ron Holtslander, who are in their mid-twenties and best friends for ten years. Be one of the guys under the hood of Ron’s big truck for this conversation. Together, they purchased a 1976 Lincoln Continental to restore and take out cruising. (Click on the words in blue to see additional photographs.) Thanks to Conner Going for the Spotting Wisconsin theme music.
As I drove by a house in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, “a town with just the right speed,” I spotted a woman raking leaves in red, rubber boots. Recorded in the yard of Chris and Joy Krogstad, this interview takes us back to Joy’s childhood, through Chris’s challenge to get his degree, to the parenting of a son with a cognitive disability. With four children from seven to twenty-one, this family lives Joy’s favorite quote, “If you believe, you receive,” not only at Christmas but always.
Irene and Clarence Stine Photograph by Nancy Camden
I headed to a small town simply because the name, Ladysmith, Wisconsin, intrigued me. I ended up recording a glimpse of the guarded memories of a WWII vet who had been wounded in the jungle of New Guinea, one year to the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. When I sat down at ninety-four-year-old Clarence Stine’s kitchen table, I had no idea what this quiet man was about to share. Clarence’s wife, Irene, had always wanted the story to be recorded. (Listen between the sentences to what is not shared, to what it must have been like for the 21 year old.) I was led to the Stines by a chance meeting at a military veteran’s mural that had just been installed a few days before I happened to drive down that street in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. (Click the words in blue to see photographs of the mural by artist Kelly Meredith. Clarence Stine’s great, great niece Neveaha Wicke stands under the image of Clarence in his uniform.)