Wow, there are so many memories of Aunt Fronie. She would have been 90 in April, but she died last Sunday afternoon, March 15, at the Lutheran Home in Little Falls.
She married Leo Karasch in September of 1947...and for many of us, they became favorites. With no kids of their own, the farm in rural Royalton became a second home to Gail and Tim, and Jerry. They babysat for Josh, too, when he was little.
Remember when that tornado ruined the barn? It was old and wobbly to begin with, but the storm really wrecked it. Then, some men from Minneapolis came by and LOVED the old wood--could they possibly buy it from the Karaschs? (Imagine Aunt Fronies eyes when she re-told this...lol) They carefully carted it away, and eventually sent a free dinner invitation to Aunt Fronie and Uncle Leo--"Come see how perfect it looks!"
They did....and couldn't wait to get home and tell about what was STILL STUCK to the barn wood, in a restaurant, no less!
To say Aunt Fronie was frugal was only part of the truth. Case in point: when the Rural Electric Association ran lines out to the countryside, they were the last house on the line. No problem there, but every house was charged $11.00 a month, whether or not they used that much electricity....and really, who had appliances or lights then? Aunt Fronie protested, but they said it was standard procedure and it couldn't be changed. So, Aunt Fronie figured out how to read her meter, and went out and bought electric appliances JUST so she could use what she was being charged for. She turned stuff off when it got to $11.00 exactly. Dark was better than paying for a line they deserved anyway!
The company protested, but she finally won. I still cheer for her when I think of it...lol
Oh, I remember the smells there by the river--like inside Aunt Fronies' wash house--lye soap and linoleum, sorta. It smelled clean; her kitchen almost always smelled of something GOOD, and the livingroom smelled like dill (no idea why!) She made wonderful poppyseed kuchen that my mom tried for years to duplicate, but never quite made it. Remember sheets of noodles hanging to dry? And jars of canned chicken, and sauerkraut? She made something with mashed potatoes and...dandelion greens? Jerry, she said you loved it, even if it looked awful. We helped with haying a time or two. The meadow south of the house smelled so hot and fresh...oh, and when Aunt Fronie still smoked, she always chewed spearmint gum, remember?
Marion mentioned 'Hank and Alma'--(pet pigs). She remembered Uncle Leo telling Hank and Alma stories to Josh, and taking him outside to visit 'em. Was there really a pig shelter made of straw there? It looked like a huge thatched roof on poles. I'm almost sure I remember a thrashing machine shooting straw up there...?
The farm was sorta magical, wasn't it? If you have stories you want to add, leave them in the comments...
Rest in peace, Aunt Fronie.
Veronica Marie Karash, 89, Royalton, died Mar. 15. Vis: 4-8 p.m., Thu., Mar. 26, & 9-10 a.m. Fri., Mar 27 both at funeral home. Services: 10:30 a.m. Fri., Mar. 27, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Royalton. Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service, Royalton.
(From the 19 March 2009 St Cloud Times)