This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Treasures from 65 years ago

When the troops came home to America after the Second World War, they brought souvenirs:  not only the good and bad memories, friendships, new skills, foods they vowed never to eat again....but also the traditional spoils of war: items found in bombed-out or abandoned homes in Italy, France and Germany.  It was understood--small items that fit in pockets were fair game, and besides, who would know or care? 

There was a cardboard box in my parents' closet where dad's "war stuff" was kept.  There was a collection of paper money and coins from the countries where he saw action, a cream-colored set of those ugly "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys, and a fancy German dress sword that dad said a dying German officer gave to him. (Dad spoke fluid German--I can imagine he talked to the man who said, "Ich brauche nicht mehr machen - nehmen Sie es"  (I don't need this anymore--you take it)--that was dad's account, anyway. 

There were decks of cards and a few letters home,  a couple of pipes (one that looked like the kind Heidi's Grandfather smoked in the book, with a little metal cover on the bowl** and a piece of horn in the stem)....and there was a delicate woman's wrist watch.  Last night, by instant messenger, Larry and I examined the watch, since the other artifacts were sold after mom died in 1996.
These photos make it look big and less elongated than it really is.  We're pretty sure those are seed pearls around the face, and Larry read that jewelry with 40 pearls (like this) would have been given as a gift on a womans' 40th birthday.  It isn't marked very well as to maker--there are two imprints on the back, but they're poorly stamped, and we think the word SWISS is below the 6, tho it's incredibly tiny.  I wound it last night, and it ran for about 5 hours....incredibly.  A dime covers most of the watch.
I've always wondered what town it came from, and whose house, and if anyone missed it....ya know?
**Research always brings knowledge, and new answers for Trivial Pursuits: A MEERSCHAUM pipe is a light colored sort of stone bowl, and a BRIAR pipe is made from the burl or root of Erica Arborea, a member of the heather family. It closely resembles a dwarf tree, since it grows to no more than fifteen to twenty feet high.
Found chiefly on the shores of the Mediterranean basin, its development depends on climate and soil.  The burls are roots just under the ground.


  1. That is a beautiful watch Marlys. Take it to a jeweler and see if it can be made to run longer. And then wear it!

  2. Hi, Deborah! I would, but really the face is tiny. The macro setting on my camera distorts the width, too--and there's no way to see the flowers in the middle unaided. That area just looks sorta In reality, the pearls are the size of the ball in a ballpoint pen--very delicate. It needs wearing by a delicate sized person, and damn, Heschs breeze by "delicate" at about 6 years old.