French Canadian Interview Project

Interview with Eunice Allain Dykstra, Bob Dykstra, Ambrose, Cleva, and Bill Dyon --April 21, 2002—at Eunice and Bob's Home in St. Anne, Illinois

The videotape and audiotape that correlate with this transcript are available in the Kankakee Community College Learning Resource Center. The videotape #V-RH 32 is on reserve.  The audiotape "HIST INT #8 Parts 1 and 2" can be checked out of the LRC for one week.

Ryan Barrie—interviewer: My first question is "Do you know why your family decided to move to Bourbonnais or the area?"

Eunice: They just migrated here from Canada. I don't know why, do you?

Bill: Not really.

Eunice: They just decided to come.

Bill: I think it was opportunity here for farmland and things like that and they were primarily farmers, the way I understood, and that's why they came this way and it was homesteading and I think it was a way to get good land for not too bad of a price.

Interviewer: OK. Do you have any traditions that you still do today that you had from years past?

Eunice: I don't know of any. Have you any traditions that you keep?

Ambrose: To be honest. That has always been our motto. Be truthful. That's a good tradition.

Eunice: As far as any other—

Interviewer: Can you speak any French?

Eunice: A few words, maybe Ambrose could speak some French.

Ambrose: No.

Eunice: You don't either. My mother wasn't French so we never talked it at home. My grandparents talked it. My dad did. We never learned it.

Interviewer: Do you have any artifacts that you have had from years on past? Anything handed down from generation to generation?

Eunice: No, all I have are the family genealogy books. I don't have any other.

Bill: I don't think we have either. You have a vase that was your mother's, that's the only thing that you have, isn't that right?

Ambrose: I didn't know it.

Eunice: And I have a watch that was my grandmother's. I don't call that an artifact.

Bill: His mother—you have that vase.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Eunice: I had one brother, and my sister is still living.

Interviewer: Do they live around here?

Eunice: My sister is in a nursing home in Gilman.

Interviewer: It's not too far.

Eunice: No.

Bob: You mean Chebanse…Clifton. I thought you said Gilman.

Eunice: Oh, I said Gilman didn't I? I always say that. Ambrose has some siblings and he's an Allain. His mother was an Allain.

Ambrose: My mother was Ambrose Allain's daughter.

Interviewer: OK.

Ambrose: And I'm named after him. He was my grandpa.

Bill: So then, Ambrose Allain senior was your great-grandfather. And he has two older sisters. Right?

Ambrose: I have two older sisters. And I have a younger brother. He lives in Indianapolis. He was adopted when my mother died when I was seven.

Bob: That was during the flu epidemic.

Cleva: Yes.

Bill: 1918.

Ambrose: And uh…my one brother, he died how many years ago, about four or five
ain't it?

Bob: Yeah, something like that.

Cleva: At least

Bill: He was 82 when he died, and he was born 1912 so it was '94.

Ambrose: '94?

Bill: 1994.

Ambrose: He's dead, so there was two sisters older than I am.

Bill: That are both dead.

Ambrose: And I have two brothers that are younger than I am, one of them is dead. I'm the oldest boy.

Bill: He has one sister that's 97 one that's 94 and his younger brother is 86

Eunice: And Ambrose is—

Bill: He's 92.

Ambrose: 92 and going strong yet (laughter).

Eunice: You ought to hear him play the guitar and sing

Bill: That's a tradition that was a music…they liked music the family did

Interviewer: Umm…Do you have any family stories that you guys have been told through the years or…

Ambrose: I can't think of any

Eunice: Well the one about Uncle Henry.

Bill: Dad knows most about Uncle Henry.

Ambrose: Uncle Henry… he was single and uh he lived all over. He lived in Montana one time and…I guess he got particularly wiped out by a tornado or something there uh, I don't remember just how it was, but he moved back up here to uh… I guess he was in Kansas for a while and then he moved up here. It's uh pretty hard to keep track of him because he would just build a shack out of some poles and cover it up with hay and that's where he lived.

Eunice: He lived in Pembroke the township.

Eunice: Towards the end. Yes.

Ambrose: The only other thing I couldn't figure out

Bill: He was an inventor, but go ahead

Ambrose: He had a little box about that big and about this high I guess, and about that wide and he kept everything, all his total possessions in that box. And I don't know ever what happened to that box because when he got murdered, nobody ever knew anything about it. He laid out there in the sun in July, in the hot weather. And we went out there and his hat was laying on the ground there, and uh, all the hair was still in the hat, and uh, there was a brown spot just the shape of his body where he laid there where that Knifey , Knifey Sawaki was the one that murdered him, we had uh …

Bill: How long, how long did he lay there? It was about three days wasn't it?

Ambrose: At least three days.

Bill: From the time he was murdered to the time he was found.

Ambrose: Because the grass was all brown, right the shape of his body where he lay.

Bill: I brought a newspaper article about it if you want to see.

Ambrose: True Detective had a nice story in there. And a girl borrowed it, she wanted to read it and never did bring it back, and we never did get it. She lost it.

Cleva: I tried my best to contact her but she was gone and so was the book.

Ambrose: Had all the pictures in there and everything. He was quite a guy trying to invent stuff. He made some uh, what he thought was gasoline, out of corn and some contraption. Put it in your car and your car wouldn't start. It didn't work out so good. Then he made an elevator that use to lift the whole wagon box up off the wagon and take it up high and then dump the corn out of it, and then it would go back down again.

Eunice: He never married.

Bill: Now you helped him build that elevator didn't you?

Ambrose: I helped him build that.

Bill: And Uncle Henry was a brother of Ambrose Allain Jr. right?

Ambrose: I don't know the history label.

Bill: Yeah, yeah, he was the brother of pe pere—pe pere is French for grandfather, her grandfather.

Ambrose: We never saw much of the Allains after my mother died. We went out to the country and lived at my grandparents on my father side. Grandpa Allain, Ambrose, he used to be an accessor. He used to come out every year he always come out there and visit with us kids and he probably give us a quarter. And we thought that was wonderful to give us a quarter.

Eunice: You got a quarter that was a lot then.

Ambrose: Yep, you better believe it was.

Interviewer: Sticking with that, how was daily life with the neighborhoods? Did you guys grow up in towns or mostly out on the farms or did you have neighbors?

Eunice: I grew up on the farm until I was 11 years old.

Ambrose: I'm about two blocks from where I was born.

Eunice: Yeah.

Ambrose: Right across from Rudolph Sheffler.

Interviewer: On Guertin Street.

Bill: If he told you about his childhood, that's quite a story cause his mother died at 7, when he was 7. You and your brother lived alone on the 40 acre farm?

Ambrose: Well, after my mother died and my dad traded the house in St. Anne where I was born, for the farm out in the country, my grandparents moved to town and my brother and I stayed alone out there when I was about 9, and—no, he was 9 and I was about 11. We stayed out on the farm by ourselves for a couple of years and when I was 15, I lied about my age and got a job in the tile yards. Doing a man's job. I was 15, I told them I was 16 otherwise I couldn't get no job.

Interviewer: What did you guys do for fun though? Besides probably just work the fields.

Eunice: The neighbors all, when I was growing up on the farm south of …oh well in Papineau township actually, the neighbors all got together at night and played cards and the kids all played games and we had sleigh rides in the winter because we had a lot of snow back then. A lot more than we have today.

Interviewer: We're lucky if we get any.

Eunice: Yeah, right. The thrashing time was always a big time because it was always, you know, it was a big group that came to do the thrashing, thrashing of wheat was it Bob? We thrashed wheat, Bob?

Bob: Oh, oats too

Eunice: Oats too, OK, but then you know then the lady of the house like my mom would always cook a huge dinner. All the farm ladies, neighbors came and helped so then the next day they moved to the next farm.

Ambrose: During the thrashing.

Eunice: Doing the same thing over again. All the ladies got together. They baked pies and they'd cook. But we kids…and we went to a country school so we had box socials and we had…

Ambrose: No electric lights or telephone

Eunice: Oh no, no no no no…but finally then my dad got a Delco plant and we could have a little electricity once in a while. But we used it very carefully because the battery would go dead.

Interviewer: Now what's a box social, if you don't mind me asking?

Eunice: Ok, all the girls would put a whole bunch of food and decorate a box and the then the boys would…

Ambrose: Bid on it at the school.

Eunice: Bid on the box and then they would eat together

Bill: They'd have kind of an auction. "Who'll give me a dime?" "Who'll give me a quarter?" You know this type of thing.

Bob: And if they knew some fellow wanted a certain girl's box, the other guys would bid it up just for meanness of whatever.

Eunice: And they weren't supposed to know whose box they were bidding on, but somehow or another it always got leaked out.

Bill: They used to have barn dances.

Eunice: I never went to those.

Bill: You never went to those? Well, of course Mom told about it 'cause they used to play for them. They were a musical family, her side of the family.

Eunice: We didn't uh-

Bob: Ciroys had barn dances in their barn.

Cleva: Oh yes, Charlie Ciroy.

Eunice: Oh.

Ambrose: Kleinnerts used to.

Bob: I didn't know about Kleinnerts. I just knew about Charlie Ciroy.

Bill: Wasn't it Chamberlain that used to have—

Ambrose: Oh, Mayor Chamberlain had 'em every week. Every Saturday night.

Eunice: Ciroy's is a French family too.

Ambrose: That was on the other side of the fence, I mean—

Bill: That was north of Wichert

Ambrose: It wasn't on the Allain side.

Cleva: No, no.

Ambrose: That was the neighborhood on the other side of the relatives.

Eunice: They had a lot of French people.

Ambrose: We never had many picnics or what do they call 'em, family get togethers or reunions.

Eunice: Well, we never had any on the Allain side. We did on my mom's side.

Ambrose: There was a lot of 'em that understood French and the younger kids didn't know French, so there was kind of a language barrier there.

Cleva: I'm hurting. I'm going to have to get up. I can only sit so long.

Ambrose: You wanna sit here?

Bob: Would you be better off here?

Cleva: No, I'm goin' to sit over here. I'll try that. I hurt like the Dickens when I sit a certain way in the same place.

Bob: Your back?

Interviewer: Sticking with kids for fun: Kids tend to get in a lot of trouble these days with drinking laws and such so what kind of trouble did you guys get into?

Bill: Could you hear him?

Ambrose: No, I didn't hear him.

Interviewer: What kind of trouble did you get into as a kid, if any at all?

Ambrose: What'd we do for pleasure or—

Interviewer: Did you-

Eunice: Were you a naughty boy?

Ambrose: Well, I couldn't be naughty only climb a tree and fall out, I guess. You went farther up in the air than you did away from home.

Eunice: It was always our family, you know, it was very family-oriented when we were growing up.

Ambrose: We never. It was horse and buggy then.

Eunice: Yeah, I remember when folks got their first car.

Cleva: Sure.

Ambrose: We never had no car, we had horse and buggy.

Eunice: We never had a place to go you know so we stayed at home and had fun.

Ambrose: I went to Kankakee we'd get up at four o'clock in the morning to go to Kankakee to my Aunt Chora's.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Ambrose: Drive all day and start their four o'clock in the afternoon it would be in the fall ya know, it 'd be dark time we get home with the horses ya know. Boy the guys today they got it made.

Bob: They also used to grow onions on chairs. The Ciroys owned the ground and they'd furnish the seed and the fertilizer and whatever, and we'd plant the onions. Ambrose and

Ambrose: We was right along side you wasn't we?

Bob: Yeah, and uh plant'em and do all the work, I mean

Ambrose: Weed'em and

Bob: Keep the weeds down and a uh a little hand culivator

Interviewer: Right.

Bob: I mean we'd have what a couple acres of them. I guess, huh—

Ambrose: Yeah, two or three.

Bob: Yeah.

Ambrose: Pickles…

Eunice: A creek ran through our farm… a creek, so we'd go fishing there all the time, me and my brother. My mom, she used to take us fishing. We used to gather nuts out of the, uh, walnut…not…not walnuts, but hickory nuts in the flats down there by the creek. That was our fun. We had a dog. We had a pony. I had a sister. My sister was just a year and a half younger than I was, so we always did things together.

Interviewer: Umm…

Bill: Dad always said they worked too hard to have any energy left to get in trouble.

Ambrose: Yeah, you worked when you was a kid. Kids today don't do nothin.

Bob: That's right.

Ambrose: That's the truth. When we were kids, we had to go up in the woods and gather leaves in a sack for uh to bed the cows with…ya know. Cause we didn't raise enough uh…uh straw or anything like that. We didn't have no straw, so we had to get leaves from the woods to bed the horses down...ya know.

Eunice: One of my jobs was to pluck the chickens. You never heard of that I don't think.

Interviewer: Oh I have a, I have a friend that has a little machine that you just put the chicken in and it does it all itself.

Eunice: Oh.

Ambrose: Oh yeah.

Eunice: We did it by hand. My mom would….Mom would put it in boiling water to get loosen the feathers and then my sister and I.

Ambrose: Stir em around a little.

Eunice: My sister and I would take all the feathers off. That was our job. We did lots of that.

Ambrose: It was fun getting them pinfeathers out wasn't it?

Eunice: Yeah…I don't know. Well we did, but it was our job.

Interviewer: Umm. School is kind of rough these days for kids. Uh…some schools are and some schools aren't. Umm, a lot is demanded for kids these days we're in to technology and stuff. Uh, how different was school for you when…you went?

Eunice: Well I started when I was five. Because…I don't know why, but the teacher let me start when I was 5 years old. So then I was in…I graduated a year early out of high school. It was a little country school. There was three kids in my class and uhh. I guess uh… I never had any problem with school. I loved it.

Bob: Was it a one-room schoolhouse?

Eunice: Oh of course, yes.

Ambrose: We had a one-room school house.

Eunice: Yeah all the grades.

Ambrose: About thirteen kids and there'd be all eight grades in that one-room schoolhouse.

Interviewer: Now did you go to school when you were living on the farm though too, or?

Ambrose: Oh yeah.

Bob: How far did you walk?

Ambrose: About a mile and a half.

Eunice: How many, how, how far did you go in school?

Ambrose: Huh? I went to the Koster school.

Eunice: How many years did you go? Did you go all eight?

Ambrose: No I didn't, I didn't even finish eighth grade. They expelled me from kindergarten cause I wouldn't shave.

(General laughter)

Eunice: Delete, delete.

Ambrose: No I ….I didn't and found my dad to get a working certificate, you'd get a working certificate for 30 days and and they'd let you loose 30 days of school and then they'd try to make'em catch it up.

Interviewer: Well why did you…..Well why did you get the working certificate?

Ambrose: Well because I had work to do. I had to get onions out of the field.

Cleva: Weed onions.

Ambrose: Huh

Cleva: Weed onions.

Ambrose: Weed onions in the fall. We had the onions all had to be topped by hand, top onions all day long for weeks. You know, don't you Dykstra?

Bob: Yeah.

Bill: Now tell um what you did for the teacher, remember you….

Ambrose: I was a janitor of this one-room school. I got a dollar and a half a month, a month. I had to dust the desks, sweep the floor, haul in the coal for the furnace and go there ahead of kids and start the furnace and…

Bill: Did you have a furnace or a stove?

Ambrose: It was a big, one big furnace.

Bill: Big potbelly.

Ambrose: But it was sittin in the middle of the floor and it had a big hood around it and the heat would go up and circle it. They had the real high ceilings in there and the ink wells was frozen every morning in the school.

Cleva: He had to take the ashes out.

Ambrose: Yeah, I had to take the ashes out and…

Bill: Clean the blackboard?

Ambrose: Clean the blackboard and dust the erasers. All for a dollar and a half a month.

Eunice: That was pretty good pay.

Bill: Now who paid you for that?

Ambrose: The teacher was gettin a hundred, uh, I mean thirty -seven fifty and she paid me a dollar and a half out of that thirty-seven fifty. That was her wages. They don't know what hard times is. It was a different ball game then.

Interviewer: Well that kinda goes into my next question which is um, what are some of the major differences today compared to how things were back then? What are some positive and negatives? You have any positive and negatives or…?

Ambrose: Well you walked to school, that was one thing. There wasn't no school buses then.

Eunice: Walked through the snow, up to my knees. My mother always bawled me out because I got my stockings wet.

Cleva: If the snow was too deep, my dad used to put us on his horse. My sister and I both went to the Wichert School, and if the snow was so deep that we couldn't get through it; the snow banks would be so high; and he'd put us on the horse and then he'd walk the horse and they'd take it. He'd take us to school horseback. And then after school was out he'd come and get us.

Eunice: I think I walked all, cause we were only half a mile.

Cleva: Yeah, well we were...

Eunice: It was a country school.

Cleva: Yeah.

Eunice: But I, I just think there's nothing like a one-room country schoolhouse for education.

Cleva: Right.

Bob: But you could buy a loaf of bread for a dime.

Eunice: Yeah.

Ambrose: Uh, I had to help the teacher on, with her horse and put it in the barn they had for the horse. She drove a horse and buggy to school. Mildred Manny out here on...

Eunice: Oh yeah.

Ambrose: …on Suzy's Hill. She taught. And we had to help on her, hitch her horse up when she went home and help her unhitch it. That was worth about a dollar and a half. That all went with it.

Ambrose: And then you'd feed the horse, and you had to haul water out of the pump and take it a bucket of water and water it.

Eunice: ¾ of it

Ambrose: So you could, just thank your lucky stars you was born 75 years later.

Eunice: I'm not too sure that it's all that great. I tell you what, what the kids and the young people have today is…

Ambrose: We never had time to get in trouble.

Eunice: This is right and you know it, it was fun. We always enjoyed it. We had a good...

Ambrose: I did.

Eunice: …family life together. We at all of our meals...

Ambrose: We was a lot tougher, too.

Eunice: We ate all of our meals together.

Cleva: That's right.

Eunice: You know we'd, we didn't just eat, eat. You know anybody come in and just take their sandwich and go. It was always sit down at the table and eat your dinner.

Cleva: You bet ya, you bet ya.

Eunice: At night my dad always rocked my sister and I and sang to us while my mother did the dishes. That's one of the biggest, greatest memories I have is sitting on my dad's lap rocking. Just, uh...

Ambrose: You probably had an old cylinder phonograph; used to play that on Saturday night.

Eunice: No, we had a crank-up.

Ambrose: Yeah, it was a crank up, but it had round cylinders about this long…

Bill: I thought we had records!

Ambrose: …about that big around.

Interviewer: Cylinder record, no?

Bill: She's younger than you

Ambrose: Yea.

Bill: They had the flat records.

Eunice: My sister and I used to play; we had two records that we'd played…

Ambrose: Yeah.

Eunice: "How you gonna keep them down on the farm?"…

Ambrose: After they've seen parade.

Eunice: "Since Jesus came into my heart" that was our two songs we played. We played those over and over and over—on that old record player.

Ambrose: On Saturday night Grandpa plays a couple of songs on that old phonograph, that was our Saturday night. We'd be in bed at 8:30.

Eunice: (Laughing)

Interviewer: Did you guys have the radios then or…

Ambrose: No, we never had no electricity, never had no radios.

Eunice: We had a radio.

Ambrose: We didn't, I am going back to 1917, '18, '19, '20. I was born 1910.

Eunice: Well, we had our radio.

Ambrose: We didn't.

Eunice: I don't know how much we got to listen to it though, because I suppose it was a battery.

Bill: You see, one thing that they haven't said to you. They had outside toilets. They did not have bathrooms in the house. Water was outside. They had to pump, pump water to haul it into the school, haul it into the house. They had kerosene lamps. They didn't have electric lamps.

Eunice: We had a gas lamp that gave a lot better light. But then the little mantle was…

Bill: But you lived a little closer to St. Anne though didn't you?

Eunice: No we lived out where Kenneth used to live.

Bill: Oh.

Eunice: Seven miles

Bill: But didn't you have a central heat? You didn't have central heat.

Eunice: Yeah they had, uh, a, uh, furnace in the basement but we had a cook stove, and with a little reservoir on the end, we kept the hot water warm.

Bill: A cook stove meant that you had to put cobs and wood and stuff like that…

Eunice: Hauled in wood.

Cleva: There was a box on the end of the stove, and that was our job at night after school. We'd have to go home and fill that box full of wood. That's what we did.

Eunice: That must have been my brother's job, because I don't remember that.

Cleva: That's cause we were all girls in my family.

Eunice: Oh, yeah, right.

Cleva: I was the tomboy of the family, I had to do all the stuff that the boys should have done. I did.

Ambrose: We had a round wash tub that was the bathtub that you wash clothes in today. Put that in back of the stove and burn yourself if you get too close to the stove, and if you got away from the stove you'd freeze.

Interviewer: Um, do the cities and towns look the same, or do they look a lot different, or would you like them back the way they were, or do you like it now, or…?

Ambrose: I don't know. Friends were friends then, weren't they?

Bob: But there were many more little stores like, uh, here in St. Anne. I mean there's only one grocery store left, isn't there?

Cleva: There used to be five or six.

Bob: Almost half a dozen.

Cleva: Right.

Ambrose: There was Shreep's, Martins, and Royal Blue, an A&P store, um, Chino's um, Seno's, Chavalier's Butcher Shop, Clema Butcher Shop. Burt Clema had a butcher shop.

Eunice: They're too um, citified today. We have to go to Kankakee for almost everything.

Bill: Back then, you had a drug store. You had, a, didn't you have a movie house?

Ambrose: Oh yeah, the old Opera House.

Bill: A barber shop, an opera house, and they'd have programs there.

Ambrose: I, um, had a, went to the dentist, had a tooth pulled--one dollar! (Laughter)

Eunice: You don't even sit down in the chair for a dollar now. (Laugher)

Interviewer: You walk in the door they charge you a dollar.

Ambrose: They didn't give you a shot first. They just got a hold of the tooth and pulled it. Old Brass, he was across the track there, where the depot used to be.

Bob: Just on this side of the track.

Ambrose: No, yeah, on the other side.

Cleva: east side of the track.

Ambrose: In the house on that side.

Bob: You're talking the house, oh! Oh!

Ambrose: Ol' dog Brass. You remember Jerome Brass? That was his son.

Bob: Oh, okay. I though you was talking about Crats.

Ambrose: No, no, I was talking about Brass.

Cleva: That was before Crat's.

Ambrose: Way before.

Interviewer: Uh, do you like how transportation has changed over the years, or would still rather have the old horse and buggy?

Eunice: I'll take the automobile any day. Even the airplane. (laughter)

Ambrose: I think the modern age is wonderful. Cause you'd freeze to death. You had to heat up bricks and put 'em in the buggy to keep your feet warm.

Interviewer: Do you think that people have become more lazy now than they were back then?

Eunice: I don't think they're motivated like we were. We were brought up to do, and the kids today don't.

Bill: You had a different work ethic.

Eunice: That's right.

Bill: But that's because you had to work. You had to work so hard because we grew up working.

Ambrose: Everybody had their work to do.

Cleva: After school at night you didn't play. You went home and you did work. You took your school clothes off because you didn't change clothes everyday like they do today. We had maybe one or two sets for the week, and we had to wear those and that's all. So when we got home from school at night, we'd take our good clothes off, our school clothes off and put our everyday clothes on, and then we'd go out and do the chores, and there was always lots of chores. Cows to milk, hogs to feed, uh, asparagus to pick. My sister and I used to cut two acres of asparagus.

Ambrose: In the fall you had to pick grapes.

Eunice: I didn't have to work quite as much as Cleva did I don't think. Cause uh, my brother did the farming.

Cleva: I didn't mind though. It was fun. Cause that was our fun really. We enjoyed it. The other kids at school used to talk. We would go to school next morning, they'd talked of what they did the night before and it wasn't anything that I would have enjoyed as much as I did going home and doing the chores. Cause that was something I knew how to do, and it was something to help my parents. It was nice.

Bob: My dad made home brew during Prohibition. Beer I'm talking about here.

Eunice: He's not French though.

Bill: Well, the French, some of them were worse! (everyone) laughter.......

Eunice: Not at my house!

Bill: No, not at your house.

Eunice: No, no!

Bill: Some of the French in St. Anne were.

Interviewer: Are you in any way intimidated by technology now, with the internet, cellular phones?

Eunice: Well, I have a cellular phone, I have a computer. I don't go on the internet a lot, because I seem to have a hard time finding what I want, but I enjoy something new and a challenge. I worked as a bookkeeper for years and years, and so I like that kind of work.

Interviewer: So you've worked into computers, so you know ....

Eunice: One of the kids gave us one of their old ones, then they gave me a new one a couple of years ago.

Cleva: It's nice.

Eunice: I do a lot of e-mailing.

Interviewer: It's easier I think to do it that way than it is to....

Eunice: Oh, my, it's so much easier to use and even your word processors are much easier than a typewriter to correct all your errors. I enjoy the computer. I enjoy modern things like that.

Interviewer: How about you with technology is it...

Ambrose: Technology? It was just a common old pencil was all we had, we didn't have no typewritters or anything then.

Eunice: Oh I learned how to type.

Interviewer: How about now?

Ambrose: Oh it's wounderful the things they can do now. I'm not in it, I have no computer. I don't know how to...I can stand on the right of it I guess and run it, but I never had any contact with one.

Bob: I don't either. I never went to high school. I never learned to type so...

Eunice: Well, your brother types on his.

Ambrose: Your folks couldn't afford high school huh? You're like me.

Bob: Well, I didn't want to go anyway. Eight grades was enough for me

Ambrose: Well, my dad kept me out of school so much that I had no idea what I was suppose to learn. You can't lose three or four months of school. You only had about seven and half months of school then.

Eunice: But Ambrose, in the end when you worked at A.O. Smith what did you do? You were a tool and dye man weren't you?

Ambrose: I was a tool and dye maker yeah.

Eunice: Yeah, you didn't have to have all that education but you were still a tool and dye man.

Ambrose: Oh I learned alot and I know how to get out of a mess or in a mess or something. Where people today just walk away from it, and throw their hands up. Today there's hardly a week that goes by that some of these old fellows don't come over to me and say: Heah, I got this. Do you know how we could fix this? Earl Shefner called me this morning before he even got out of bed, asking me about a job and he's coming over Friday.

Bill: He could compare the technology in tool and dye for ya to what it was thirty years ago or fifty years ago as to compare what it is today. Everything is computerized. My son's a machinist and he has his own business and my dad was oy there this summer at his business and the difference...

Ambrose: Oh, they set up a programming machine and ran it by tape, their machines a whole business for them today. We used to have to make one part at a time and get it right or it be too costly.

Interviewer: Or scrap it and start over.

Ambrose: But he would like me to move out there because he said I need your technology. There's stuff the computer don't do yet.

Bill: He's a good problem solver. Had he been able to go to college he probably would have been an engineer, but he has a wonderful ability to solve problems even with less then eighth grade education.

Eunice: I knew he was a tool and dye man.

Ambrose: I was there twenty-three years at Smith's and then I worked up at Borg Warner and Press Steel Car Company, Flint Coat, and Mall Tool, and the steel mills in Gary.

Cleva: Kennedy Auto.

Ambrose: Kennedy Auto.

Bill: And they built, where he worked, they built Sherman Tanks during World War II.

Ambrose: World War II, and you know them mobsters, they'd hire when they went on strike, they'd even turn over the police cars. Then, because the policemen was chasing the strikers back to avoid trouble, you know. They were rough, I'm telling ya. There is a different ballgame today. They didn't have radios to call 'em in, and say come on, we gonna need help. They just had to fight it out and whoever lasted the longest was the one that won.

Interviewer: How about money? Is the difference between the amount of money earned compared with the prices of things today, and…the same with back then?

Eunice: Maybe the ratio is the same, although we never had any money, you know, we always got along. We always had plenty to eat, and plenty to…always dressed, but we just…today, it seems like we have a bit more money to use.

Bill: Disposable income, so to speak.

Bob: Oh yeah, we're better off financially.

Eunice: I guess so, you know. It's compared to back then. Of course money…we went through the 1929 Depression, you know…that's when my dad lost the farm. But then when my brother got married, he was able to get the farm back. And it's still in his family.

Ambrose: I remember gas was eleven cents a gallon.

Interviewer: Now what's some stuff that you would want to keep the prices form when you guys where younger to have today? Certain things you'd…like the gas, well probably everybody would like to have seven cents a gallon gas?

Eunice: And groceries are getting out of hand, but ah, we still don't have a problem. Yes, I think at least that's what I feel like.

Bob: We're much better off financially then we were back then. But I was from a big family I mean well there was eight of us kids at home at one time. My oldest sister was gone but ah, I mean we were poor.

Ambrose: Crow would fly over with their claw over their eyes. they would look down on us wouldn't they? I know my grandparents I don't think they made as much as five hundred dollars a year.

Bob: But you see at that time, my dad could buy groceries on time, at the store there in Witchert. If it wasn't for that, we would've really been hungry I guess?

Ambrose: You could buy a pig 2.50, two dollars and fifty cents a hundred, and two hundred pound pig you give for five dollars.

Bob: My mother always baked the bread.

Eunice: So did I.

Bob: And uh, they would uh send to Sears for a fifty pound bag of flour, and they'd also get a big bag of sugar.

Eunice: That was a hundred pounds.

Bob: And you buy it at Sears & Robuck at that time.

Cleva: Yeah, a hundred pounds.

Eunice: You don't know what it was like.

Bill: You didn't go to the store every week.

Ambrose: You didn't go to the store once a month.

Cleva: You did well to go once a month. When you bought you bought enough to at least last a month. We always even till this day, I still have a cupboard in the basement where I keep a supply. always have one of everything more than what I'm using in the kitchen. So if I run out I got my supply ready I don't have to go to the store.

Eunice: We always had meat because my, we'd butcher pigs.

Cleva: On the farm.

Eunice: We'd butcher beef, and we had chickens and we had eggs.

Cleva: Butter!

Eunice: Yeah! My mother always made her own butter my dad loved buttermilk.

Cleva: Right.

Eunice: We used to eat boudin.

Bill: That's an old tradition.

Eunice: That's a tradition, I won't eat it today!

Interviewer: What is that?

Eunice: Blood sausage!

Interviewer: Oh, ok.

Bill: When they'd butcher, they'd make that blood-based sausage.

Eunice: My grandmother had the recipe for all the spices that go in it you know, it was delicious then, but I wouldn't touch it today.

Bill: You're mother made it?

Cleva: Oh yes, and cheese!

Bill: Head cheese.

Eunice: Oh yeah we used to have good cheese.

Ambrose: We saved everything but the squeal of the pig when they butchered it.

Bill: They used everything yep! Nothing was wasted the French were very thrifty people.

Eunice: They had to be! If you look at the family genealogy they had umpteen kids.

Bill: Yeah. Yeah.

Cleva: They had to be conservative.

Eunice: But they're, you know one thing that I noticed while I was reading these, how many babies…died. They didn't live that was ah, it was ah. and just unbelievable amount. Almost every family was hit with two or three babies that died. You know, uh in that genealogy it shows it some of them diphtheria and some doesn't say why.

Bill: Diphtheria, typhoid, um

Eunice: Well they don't always say why they died, but they just said

Bill: But these were the two I think that were usually...

Interviewer: How has politics changed? Has it gotten better or worse? Do you have your own ideas that you care not to share or…?

Eunice: Well I've been a politician for sixteen years. But I've quit now. But it's politics, that's all there is to it. There just…you gotta know how….

Interviewer: There is just no good no bad it just a kind of…equal plain.

Eunice: I wasn't interested in politics growing up.I don't remember ever talking politics, ya know.

Cleva: And your parents didn't talk about it either.

Eunice: Oh no.

Bob: Oh my dad did. My dad was quite a reader. He, he had his idea about politics.

Cleva: Well, they did too, but they never said a whole lot in front of us.

Eunice: No, I don't remember anything growing up.

Bob: Well, I didn't pay any attention to it, I mean. But ah, when Hoover was in that's when the Depression hit, so then everything went Democratic. I mean, the Kankakee paper was Republican and they were kind of given them the works and he says, well he says, if Jesus Christ would have been on the Republican ticket, he'd a lost, that's the election, which was probably true.

Interviewer: Do you have anything for the politics?

Ambrose: Anything about politics?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Ambrose: Well I tell ya, I guess they'r pretty honest until they get into politics, most of the time. And the ones that aren't honest, don't last forever. But the others, they can keep going on and jump from one bracket to the other and keep on going and nothings ever done about it.

Bob: Henry Horner was elected back then as governor of Illinois, and he's the one that introduced the sales tax. I mean that's when the sales tax started during his administration.

Interviewer: Now did you guys have to do income tax or anything back then or…?

Ambrose: We never paid income tax then.

Bob: No we didn't.

Bill: They didn't make enough, didn't make enough. The income tax I think started, started in 1914, but they were poor. They were so poor that they didn't have to file. They were below, kind of like, what we call poverty level today I suppose.

Eunice: When my husband first started working at...Where did you work…which factory?

Bob: Codey's

Eunice: Codey's factory. What was your take home pay?

Bob: $16.63.

Ambrose: A week?

Bob: A week.

Eunice: How much was social security? .37 cents?

Bob: Well, it was uh…

Eunice: They took social security out.

Bob: Yeah, $16.80—so they took .17 cents out.

Eunice: Yeah, so that was his take home pay. We had what two children.

Bob: Yeah.

Eunice: Then, that's what we lived on then. We lived on that!

Cleva: And you had something saved at the end of the month.

Eunice: Not much.

Cleva: I did.

Ambrose: Not much.

Cleva: Just the littlest bit like that. But at the end of every month, I had a little bit. Not a lot, but in the bank it went we never touched it. That's the secret of the young people today. If they would only do that. Save it. It doesn't have to be a lot, but don't touch it once you put it in the bank. Leave it there, and let it grow, let it work for you. Instead of that, the kids today they put it in the bank and…we've got $3000 in the bank so we can buy this and we can buy that, and the first thing you know, it's gone. So all their work that they did to try to save it, they blew it. So, that's the secret that all young people should remember. If you put a little money in the bank, leave it there until you get retirement age. Then it comes in handy.

Bob: You know, when I started at Armstrong, the personnel man told me that when they went from six days down to five, men would have to draw out there retirement money because they were living on six days.

Ambrose: They couldn't change it.

Bob: And I knew a guy there with about ten or twelve kids, and he said I live on five days pay. When I get six days, he said I save that extra day's pay.

Cleva: That's right.

Eunice: But our rent was $10 a month…so you know. This is the Allain book that dates back to (pause-rustling of papers) 16 (pause-more rustling of papers) 46, and this is all of our family history of the Allains, and he's in here. Bill's in here and so, I think she got a lot of this…on the internet, a lot of the information, but it ah, it has all of the descendants clear back. Some of them were named A-L-A-I-N, and then some were A-L-L-E-N and…eventually it was A-L-L-A-I-N-

Camera person: Mmmhmmm

Eunice: But it was all the same. It all went back to this Andre-

Camera person: Mmhmm

Eunice: Allain-

Camera-person: Mmmhmmm

Eunice: And they were the first settlers in St. Anne, the Allain, two Allain boys—Antoine and Ambrose. Then Ambrose Junior was the first white child born in St. Anne. There was quite a…quite a history goes along with their…

Cleva: Yes…

Eunice: They built two houses over there by the Catholic… where the Catholic Church is now.

Ambrose: They were log houses weren't they?

Eunice: Yeah. Then they…and they gave the dimensions. Then they sold them to Father Chiniquy when he came to town to… for his mission that he was going to (pause) have, and (ah) I mean it's a…we have quite a history in the Allains, actually.

Cleva: Settlementers.

Bill: They were… they were French Catholics. They came from Canada.

Eunice: Yeah. At that, but then they turned Protestant with Father Chiniquy.

Bill: And then Father Chiniquy got in some disagreements—

Bob: Did, did you know about Chiniquy? He was a Catholic priest and he turned Protestant. He started teaching what the Bible taught, and so they actually kicked him out of the Catholic Church. But I mean that's…that's. Otherwise St. Anne was all—

Bill: Father Chiniquy came here in 1851, I believe. The Allain brothers came, they settled in Bourbonnais for two years, 1848. And then in 1850, they founded St. Anne there, like Eunice says, they built their cabins where the Catholic church is now. Father Chiniquy, I think, came in 1851, and Ambrose Allain was born in…Ambrose Allain Jr. was born in 1852, he was the first white child born in St. Anne, at that time, as opposed to American Indians. And then, ah, Father Chiniquy, ah, was, got in difficulties with the Catholic Church, and he was excommunicated in 1858. And he started a church called the Christian Catholic Church, which, in 1860, was accepted into the Presbytery of Chicago, as a Presbyterian Church, that's the church that was over here. But, ah, you know, its quite a history in that family, and the Allain family left the Catholic Church when Father Chiniquy, uh, was excommunicated, when he started the Christian Catholic Church. I brought a couple of pictures.

Eunice: This is our coat of arms. The Allain coat of arms.

Interviewer: This one right here?

Eunice: It's kind of interesting. One of our—

Interviewer: I was trying to find mine on the Internet to see if I could find it and I haven't yet.

Eunice: Oh, it's A-L-E-N so that might be different too.

Interviewer: Oh, my last name is French.

Eunice: It is, too?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Eunice: Oh.

Interviewer: So.

Bill: Spell it.

Interviewer: B-A-R-R-I-E.

Eunice: Oh.

Interviewer: And so I've . . . I've…they started…started looking for stuff for ours, but I—I was trying to find a coat of arms just for fun and—and I haven't found one.

Eunice: You haven't found one?

Interviewer: That matches it yet, so.

Eunice: Well, it umm, it's quite…quite interesting. The man that did the first book that we obtained . . . umm . . . was my dad's cousin. And then now that another shirttail cousin has gotten this one, which went further back yet, that one didn't. This only went back to Michael Allain which was in . . . what? 1787?

Bill: Yeah something like that. Yeah. His wife was a Chiyier.

Eunice: Yes and uh, so they did a lot of work. Now this woman in…in, she lives in Missouri, has updated it, too. And we're thrilled with that. Because it's interesting. And they added little bits of history down in some of the family records, you know.

Interviewer: Uh, stickin with, now, did you guys go into church every Sunday or did you stay at home?

Eunice: Oh no, we went to church every Sunday. Just in the morning though I guess. I don't suppose they had it…Yeah. That was, we always went to church on Sunday. But aside from, church that was, that was it.

Interviewer: The only time you ever rode out…

Eunice: Except, then, except, uh, the neighbors, they all got together. They use to have a big time. We get up to one house and then another. I remember that.

Cleva: I do too. The adults would play cards.

Eunice: Yeah.

Cleva: Or play Bunko.

Eunice: Yeah, I think mine played ah…

Interviewer: What's Bunko?

Cleva: Bunko, now you take three dice and you throw three dice, and if you get three of a kind that's, that's Bunko. I guess they called it.

Interviewer: Kind of likeYatzee with three dice.

Cleva: I think so. It's similar to Yatzee. Uh huh.

Eunice: I think mine played Rook or Five Hundred more. They used to play Dominos too.

Cleva: Well, yeah, we did a little bit, but not as much.

Bill: Did they ever play Euchre?

Cleva: Yeah, we played Euchre.

Eunice: No.

Cleva: My parents did, yes. But we kids didn't play, we didn't play games. Of course if it was cold, we had to stay in the house, but if it was nice like tonight would be, we went outside and we played Pong Pong Pollway and Hide and Go Seek and all these kind of games you know. That's…we didn't have a dime so we couldn't go and spend money on a movie or something like that. We just had to have our own fun and we did, we had a wonderful time without spending a dime.

Eunice: Yeah, that was, well when we were first married that's all we did was… We were about five couples—some of my siblings and then some of Bob's, I guess. I don't remember now who, but we got together often through the week, took our kids with us and put them to bed.

Cleva: Well, my parents never went anywhere they couldn't' take us along. Even after we were married and had our children. We never went anywhere that we didn't take our children with us. We didn't go anywhere we couldn't take our children with us. Today, they have a babysitter and they go out go to bars and all this. There never was such thing with us.

Eunice: We had a babysitter once in a while with ours after, after our first three children were born. We had five children.

Cleva: Uh huh, but I think about it today and how it has changed so much.

Eunice: The kids, the young families don't get together with other families. They don't have that ah, I don't… they just, they're lacking something, they're missing something because they've never had it I guess. But our kids still remember the family things.

Cleva: Yes

Eunice: Kind of…it's a different world.

Cleva: I think today the parents wanna go their way. And with children, you have to entertain the children. They need the entertainment, and we use to…Bill use to belong to half a doz…how many kids was there, about ten of ya?

Bill: Um huh.

Cleva: About ten of the kids, and they'd come to our house, go down the basement. We had a smooth basement floor and the kids just loved to square dance. So we got a record player and we got some records—fiddlin' ya know. And Bill would call and they'd square dance. Those kids had a ball, but we told em' once you come in the house, you don't' go back outside.

Ambrose: You'd go home!

Cleva: You stay! If you go outside, you go home. You don't run in and out.

Ambrose: Never had any problems either.

Cleva: No.

Eunice: No, no.

Cleva: And those kinds to this day, they talk about that. If they get together, they talk about what good times they had at out house.

Eunice: I believe it.

Cleva: And at Christensen's house too, those kids…

Eunice: Yeah.

Cleva: Mrs. Christensen was so good to those kids. But we'd always try to have refreshments for them, something for them to have fun with. They didn't need a penny, they didn't need any money at all.

Bill: It wasn't much we didn't…we couldn't afford soda pop in those days.

Cleva: No.

Bill: We had Kool Aid, and we'd have sandwiches…

Cleva: Yep.

Bill: And potato chips that was about our refreshments. But that was fine we were really glad to have them.

Eunice: Yeah…anything else?

Interviewer: Anything that you guys wanna share that we haven't covered or anything that's popped into your head since we've gone along or…?

Eunice: Well in our family, we went to my me mere's on Christmas day because she a…

Bill: It's grandma.

Eunice: Well, it was me mere and pe pere because the other family…my mom's people weren't French. So that was grandpa and grandma. So we always went to me mere's all the time, and my dad had three…two brothers and a sister, and so we always went to me mere's for Christmas, and then on New Years we would go to my mom's family. That was a big tradition.

Bill: Now was that Oliver Allain?

Eunice: Oliver and Eliza. She used to…well, we moved into the town and my mom ran a little lunch room, and then we slept in my grandma's house, in me mere's house. So us kids would go over to me mere's you know, once in awhile. And she would sit there and sing and tell us stories. And she'd sing some of those old songs you know. And she had a pump organ that we used to pump and pump and play. We had a lot of fun.

Bill: Do you know what a pump organ is?

Eunice: Where you pump the pedals to make it go.

Bill: The pedals fill up with air, and it was a reed organ.

Interviewer: I thought that was what one was. I've seen one before I was…

Bill: I think they have one at the historical society.

Interviewer: Right.

Bill: If you've been there?

Eunice: Yeah.

Cleva: That's where Bill learned to play the piano, with the pump organ.

Eunice: Oh, I often wish we would have kept all that stuff, but…

Bill: Yeah.

Cleva: Yeah.

Eunice: Don't know what you…

Bill: Garret Young has our old pump organ yet.

Eunice: Oh does he? Oh, I saw that too. Yeah, I've seen it.

Bill: Kind of tall and stands about six feet-high.

Eunice: Yes.

Bill: Seven feet maybe? Anything you want to tell them that you haven't thought of?

Ambrose: Uh?

Bill: That they haven't asked ya?

Ambrose: I don't know what they want to hear. Ha Ha Ha Ha. I…went through a lot of rough times. I remember when it'd storm. We'd all get up, and get up, and get our clothes on, and the whole house would shake a little bit.

Eunice: I never knew when there was a storm. We slept through it. My mom never got us kids up. We'd get up…

Bob: Our, our folks got us up all the time.

Cleva: You betcha, and we had to get our clothes on…

Ambrose: Yeah.

Eunice: My…

Cleva: …go downstairs, 'cause. we slept upstairs. But we'd go downstairs, and that's when I'd sit on my dad's lap…

Eunice: Well, we'd…

Cleva: …'cause I was scared of storms.

Eunice: Oh…

Bob: Ha Ha.

Eunice: We'd get up the next morning…the hay rack was on top of the telephone pole. We'd, us kids, never knew it had stormed.

Cleva: Oh my goodness.

Eunice: No, they never, no mom never got us up. And…

Ambrose: Oh, ah it's it's different, it's all together different, and some families had a different a routine that they went through…

Eunice: I don't know…I'm not scared of storms to this day. I never go in the basement, never. I want to see what's going on.

Ambrose: Oh, well I've got a…a nice big L-shaped gash in my hip here where we lived over here on Guertin Street, I was about four or five years old. My mother was ironing, and she…I was going. We had cobs in the barn. We had a big barn in the back. And she told me to go out and get a bucket full of cobs to heat the irons. You heat the iron on the stove.

Eunice: Oh yeah, on the stove…did you ever see a flat iron?

Interviewer: Mm huh. My aunt has one.

Eunice: Yeah we have, I have one, too.

Ambrose: She used to heat the irons on the stove. I went out to get the cobs. She says there's a storm coming, I want you to get me a bucket of cobs. I went out there and I started to get some cobs, and I saw some little rats in the nest in the cobs.

Eunice: Sure, in the cobs.

Ambrose: Come down, I fooled around with them rats and pretty soon the roof went off of the barn…

Eunice: Oh…

Ambrose: …and the two-by-four fell and…

Eunice: Oh…..!!!

Ambrose: …hooked me right here in the…I run to the house and left the cobs and everything out there…

Group: HAHAHA…

Ambrose: …and I was ringing wet. And…call the doctor, and he laid me on the ironing board, and sewed up my gash here and put some iodine on it and I screamed bloody murder, but…

Group: HAHAHA……

Ambrose: …I never did get that bucket of cobs!

Eunice: HAHAHA …

Bob: When I was about fourteen years old I broke my arm. My dad took me up here to the doctor, no anesthetic, nothing! He grabbed it, and pulled it, set it …

Interviewer: They still do that today.

Bob: But…Yeah…

Eunice: HAHAHA!!! Have you had that experience? HAHAHA!!!

Bob: But, ah…

Interviewer: Yeah..Yeah, so…

Bob: Uh, uh…piece of wood on each side wrapped it in gauze and tied 'em on the arm, took me in and had an x-ray to see if it was set right. The whole bill was twenty four and a half dollars…HAHAHA…!!

Eunice: HAHAHA!!

Cleva: Yeah…yeah…

Interviewer: That was probably a lot, though.

Bob: Well, yeah uh, it…

Eunice: It WAS! In compared to, uh, their income…

Interviewer: Yeah…

Ambrose: Ughh…tell them how much you paid when Bill was born…she was…

Cleva: When Bill was born I went to St. Mary's Hospital, and I was there ten days. The baby was born and everything, he was born. Cost us FIFTY dollars.

Bob: Doctor and all

Cleva: The doctor bill…

Ambrose: Twenty-five was the bill.

Cleva: …delivered…

Bob: Yeah…

Cleva: …and his was twenty-five dollars.

Bob: Yeah, right.

Cleva: So, the two, the doctor and the hospital, to have this new baby…

Ambrose: For ten days!

Cleva: …was seventy-five dollars.

Eunice: I think…

Cleva: Today it's five thousand.

Eunice: I think when Mark was born, it was seventy-eight dollars. I think I only stayed eight days.

Cleva: Mm huh.

Interviewer: Well, now you have one, and they send you home the next, same day!

\Cleva, Eunice, Bob: …the next day! YEAH!

Interviewer: …still same day!

Eunice: But it's still twice as much money!

Interviewer: Yup! They sent you home the same day!

Eunice: Yeah it's…

Bill: Dad, tell 'em about the time you and Uncle Lavern went swimming when the water was high, and he hit the…the…

Ambrose: Well, the uh, there was a flood..

Bill: …the…the culvert.

Ambrose: There's two great big culverts that used to flow into this ditch, and we used to swim in this ditch along the road. There was a bridge, and uh…and the water was all over the fields, it just flooded all over, and there's them two tiles of full—full out, full blast. My, we would dive into that fast current and we'd go way down the creek before we came out, you know. And he dove and he must have went too deep because it cut a hole in his stomach and his gut stuck out.

Eunice: Oooo!

Bill: Is that right?

Ambrose: Pushed the guts back in, took him, and went, we went home, put iodine on it, taped it up and that was it. HAHAHA. My brother and I living alone, we was just kids. I was probably ten years old, something like that. They don't know what a hard time is. HAHAHA.

Cleva: Well, you know, today, there are so many chemicals and insecticides, all these sprays put on the land that if that would be the same thing happening, the water is loaded with germs. But in those days there was nothing, it was just water that came out of the sky and it was pretty clear, clean water, that's why he didn't get an infection, because it was clean.

Ambrose: It was muddy but it still, wasn't contaminated anyhow. But they use so much chemicals now its, there's no pure water anymore, just force fed. You take the corn we used to raise with little nubbins—there were better vitamins in that corn than what you got today, cause you can fatten your hogs on them little nubbins.

Bill: Yeah.

Eunice: Yeah, we got married in about what? 1938? And when we moved here to this house in '53, that's the first time we had indoor plumbing. We haven't, we lived out on a farm out in the country, and we always had…

Cleva: We lived where Darlene and Don Hookstra live now.

Ambrose: Oh!

Cleva: We lived there for three years, and we had no plumbing…

Eunice: No.

Cleva: …no bathroom, no running water. We had to carry our water from the pump in the yard…

Ambrose: That was in '49…wasn't it?

Cleva: …right into the house.

Ambrose: …to '52.

Cleva: Then we…

Eunice: We had that till we moved here in '53.

Bill: My folks built their house in '52 and that was their…

Cleva: That was our first.

Bill: …Yeah, had indoor plumbing.

Cleva: Really nice, wonderful, comfort. (HAHAHA)

Eunice: Well, we had electricity in the last house before we moved here, but no indoor plumbing.

Cleva: No.

Ambrose: Hey, you didn't mind it. You didn't go out either way.

Eunice: Oh, yes I did! (Laugh.)

Ambrose: In the wintertime, you got out and got in, in a hurry.

Eunice: Now, that it the one thing I don't miss.

Bill: The only time that toilet smelled nice was in the spring when the lilacs were blooming. (Laughter) A bunch of lilac bushes around it.

Eunice: I'll tell ya, the bathroom is the best place in my house because I remember being without it for so long.

Bill: Yeah, you really treasure that.

Eunice: I do.

Ambrose: It's only a shanty in back of our lot. Winter's cold and summer is hot. There's a hole in the door, A Sears Catalog on the floor It's only a shanty. Who could ask for anything more? There's a hole there for Mama, for Daddy, and me. The neighbors all call us the unholy three. With a cob in my hand, I'm the king of the land In the shanty in back of our lot. You like that one?

Cleva: That song was…uh…

Ambrose: It's about as true as you can get it, ain't it? During the next few lines, two conversations are going on simultaneously.

Cleva: You sing that to "A Shanty in Old Shanty Town."

Bill: That was Ambrose senior's.

Cleva: Maybe you don't even know that song.

Bill: No, I didn't know that one.

Cleva: You don't? See, these are all modern songs; they were when we were kids. And that's all we know today. We have a booklet of 350 songs in it, and they date back, one is 1858. You know what was written in 1858? "Glory, Glory, Hallujeluh."

Bill: Oh, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Cleva: "Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written in 1858. We had a bunch of wonderful songs, but they're all the old time songs that was popular at our day. We were married sixty-six years. So it's been awhile back. We still have a good time playing those old songs.

Ambrose: Our ancestors come here in a covered wagon. That's the truth. If you'd seen them, you'd know why they covered the wagon.

Interviewer: To keep everything in?

Ambrose: Yeah, they did come here in the covered wagon.

Cleva: This is all the story about Uncle Henry. Picture of everything, interesting.

Ambrose: Your brother Kenneth?

Eunice: Yeah.

Ambrose: Kenneth is your brother, ain't he?

Eunice: Yeah, he was.

Ambrose: He and I used to spear fish together. We had a lot of fun.

Eunice: Oh yeah, he was a fisherman.

Ambrose: I loved him. I got along good with Kenneth. Darlene, she's just a vegetable today, ain't she?

Bob: Yeah.

Cleva: Not hardly even that.

Eunice: Her heart's beating.

Bob: Yeah.

Cleva: That's about it.

Bill: She and my mom went all through school together

Cleva: We graduated from high school together.

Bill: Good friends.

Eunice: Yeah.

Cleva: Darlene and I.

Eunice: Yeah, well you and Bob graduated from grade school together.

Cleva: Right, right we started grade school together didn't we Bob?

Bob: Right.

Cleva: First grade.

Interviewer: Been friends for a long time then.

Cleva: Right, right we haven't been very far from St. Anne.

Bill: And their families, I mean their parents were friends as well, same with your parents.

Eunice: Yeah.

Bob: Remember Lucille Regnier?

Cleva: Oh sure.

Bob: She started there but they moved.

Cleva: They moved, yeah, and she had to leave.

Bob: Yeah.

Cleva: But you know Bob, a lot of those kids are gone.

Bob: Oh yeah. Course Elmer Bowrath, I think he got killed in service.

Cleva: Yeah, he got killed in service, yeah.

Bob: Mary committed suicide.

Cleva: Yeah.

Bob: But ah…

Camera woman: Are you done asking, are you done asking questions?

Interviewer: What?

Camera woman: Are you done asking questions?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Camera woman: You wanna like introduce everybody or something? So I can stop this?

Interviewer: Ok.

Camera woman: Ok, you guys can introduce yourself, and how you're related or something.

Cleva: Ambrose and Eunice are cousins.

Camera woman: And your name is?

Cleva: I'm Ambrose's wife.

Camera woman: Ok.

Bill: Tell her what your name is. Cleva: Cleva Dyon.

Camera woman: Ok.

Bill: And your maiden name was Hubert.

Cleva: And my maiden name was Cleva Hubert.

Eunice: That's French too isn't it?

Cleva: Mmm hmmm, my dad was French.

Camera woman: Go ahead.

Bob: I'm Bob Dykstra. Eunice is my wife.

Eunice: And I'm Eunice Dykstra, his wife.

Bill: Maiden name Allain.

Eunice: Yes.

Bill: Daughter of Charlie Allain.

Eunice: Charles.

Bill: Yeah, I'm Bill Dyon. I'm son of Ambrose and Cleva Dyon.

Ambrose: I'm Ambrose Dyon, husband to Cleva. 92 years old.

Cleva: And your mother was…

Bill: And your mother…

Ambrose: My mother was a Allain, Edna Allain.

Bob: That was her maiden name.

Cleva: Yes.

Ambrose: Yeah, that was her maiden name.