"Upon a poet's lips I slept dreaming like a love adept in the sounds his breathing kept. "(Percy Shelley)
We are a product of those who have come before.
Introduction to the Kleins
by: Mary Klein
The information gathered for the “Klein Tree” is quite skimpy. Most of it was acquired from listening when family members assembled and a bit from “Eureka, 1887-1974”. This book was published for the observance of the city’s Golden Jubilee. It was a project of the state’s WPA. (Works Progress Administration) The following is copied from page 162 of that book.
“Johannes Klein came to Eureka in 1893 with the ebb tide of the great immigration from Russia. He had come to America in 1875 from Teplitz where he was born in 1855, settling on a homestead a part of which is now occupied by the city of Tripp, South Dakota. On his arrival in Eureka he purchased a blacksmith shop operated by Johannes Stickle. Together with his son John, he conducted a general blacksmith business in Eureka until 1900, when he moved to Artas, engaging in the same business. Three years later he removed to a farm four miles west of Eureka, which was home until 1908, when he moved to Eureka again, entering the plumbing and heating business, and continuing until his death on August 9, 1920.
Johannes Klein was married in 1879 to Regina Isaak, a native of Kulm, born in 1856. Six children were born to this union, five of whom survive. They are Jacob J., Gottlieb, John, Theresa (Mrs. Andrew Stickle), Maggie (Mrs. Ed Stickle), all residing in Eureka and Ed Klein of Aberdeen, S.D.
Johannes Klein, while a modest and unassuming man, will long be remembered by the generation who knew him. Not only was he an ardent churchman and a faithful member of the Lutheran church, but also as an amateur musician, early in life he may have had a desire to develop an innate musical genius, but also circumstances of his life made this impossible. When he reached middles age, however, he went to work in earnest. From the Reverend H. Reinhardt, who was pastor of the local Lutheran church, he learned the rudiment of music, being entirely ignorant of the art of reading a musical score. It was not long until he was able to play simple music on the organ. Natural genius and faithful practice enabled him in a short time to play church music and he served the church as organist and choir leader for a period of years. And anvil, but whose ambition, natural gifts and industry opened for him a new world of pleasure and accomplishment.”
Mary (Atkinson) Klein – Mother (1916-2001)
by: Mary Klein
I was born August 15, 1916 in Willmar, Minnesota, the oldest living child of James and Lula Atkinson. Their first-born was Naomi who died shortly after birth and is buried in the Butler, S.D. cemetery.
My Dad worked in the yards of the Great Northern Railroads at that time. When I was still quite young we returned to the Bristol, SD area. Due to a severe bout with rheumatism, he had to leave the railroad work.
As I reflect on my growing up years, I know I was what was called a “tomboy”, and from all reports, pretty strong headed. I exasperated my mother frequently. She said spankings failed to thwart my determinations. However my Dad had a rather unusual approach to discipline and for us it was very effective. He would call our name give us a penetrating look, drop his gaze and shake his head from side to side, It would stop me in my tracks and if it was in public I wished the floor or ground would open and swallow me.
When I was about seven or eight I must have really been out of line one day and he called me to his side. I remember it was in our front yard. He told me that what I had done deserved a punishment. He took out his pocketknife from his overall pocket and opened out the large blade. He then handed it to me and instructed me to go cut a switch. As I recall I cut one from the nearby lilac hedge and walked back to him. He reclaimed the knife, closed it and slipped it back into his pocket. Then he stretched out both of his hands in front of him and said in affect; what you have done deserves punishment and because I love you I am willing to take the punishment you deserve to receive, then he commanded me to strike his outstretched hands with the switch I was holding. I was aghast! How could I strike my Dad? This kind, gentle, loving person who had never physically hurt me in any way. He said, “Go ahead. Hit me.” I gave a token response and he said “Harder”. Whether I struck him again I don’t know. I do know that I could not see clearly for the tears running down my face. I dropped the switch, turned and ran into the house and flung myself on the bed sobbing. I do not recall that another episode like it was repeated. Over the years with love, gentleness and firmness we were taught how to make wise choices. That doesn’t mean I always did but both my sister and I held our parents in high esteem and that kept me in line on many occasions.
As a sub-teen and a in my early teens I longed to be a cowgirl. I spent part of every day except the coldest of winter on the back of my beloved Molly. She was a lively little bronco who could run like the wind and cattle ranch trained to keep up and turn an errant critter. I had to mount her in the barn because the minute your foot was in the saddle stirrup she was ready to go. She met an untimely death and I spent the rest of my riding days with a part Arabian named Barney. He wasn’t quite as spirited but has an easy gate and was long winded.
We moved several times those early years of my life and were renting a farm about 6 or 8 miles west of Butler and slightly farther from Bristol when I started first grade in Valley township school #148. My mother was my teacher for the first three years and I’ve always been thankful for that, as she was a stickler for basics including phonics. For Thera and I it was having a teacher 24 hours a day as the teaching did not stop at the classroom door. We worked on fractions as we cooked and baked and weights and measures as we did farm tasks. One of her favorite control measures when Sid (Thera’s pronunciation of her name when she was little was Sido and the short version stuck for many years) and I got boisterous and scrappy after too much shut-in time in the winter was to have us sit down and we would have a spelling bee. Mother would throw words out to us verbally as she continued getting the meal or ironing or whatever. We both became pretty fair spellers as well as developed our vocabulary. The dictionary became a ready resource. She also taught me to appreciate and enjoy the sound and magical qualities of words. There is more to language than simply communication.
Economics, mediocre roads and the culture we lived in kept us quite close to home especially in the winter months. As Thera mentioned we all loved to read and had no difficulty filling spare time sans radio, television or electronic diversions. Music was also a big factor in our development. Mother played the piano beautifully and gave some lessons to the neighbor children as well as her own. I never achieved anywhere near her skills. Thera had a gift to play by ear and developed her own style. Our Dad had a good singing voice and we girls started singing together at an early age. Thera had the better voice (alto) and she also learned to chord Hawaiian style on a Sears Roebuck Guitar. We sang wherever we were ask to, mostly church and community clubs. Thera played tuba and then baritone horn in the Bristol High School band. I played mellophone, which has the sound and shape of a French horn. I remember how badly I wanted to be in band but how could we possibly find money for an instrument when it took every penny just to exist in those “dirty thirties”? I’m not sure how it came about but my cousin Irene’s husband, Neil Jones, offered to loan me his alto horn. He played it in the Waubay band when he was in high school. I was ecstatic! There was however a problem or possibly several. The instrument obviously was much tarnished brass, no gold or silver plating.
Neil told me it had been used as a visual token of victory. When Waubay won an athletic contest and the band had encouraged their efforts, the alto would be tossed in the air and frequently; used as a football to express their exuberance. It was dented, marred and disfigured but it required much soldering to achieve an acceptable sound. I learned the fundamentals on it and the band slowly began to make music man that took on the task. He made us feel we were capable of great achievement and we were determined to prove him right. The next bandleader we had some how convinced my family that I should have a real horn. We purchased a “satin finished” mellophone, which was my pride and joy. I even won first place in a district music contest in which I played a solo. I didn’t get to go on to regional or state because there were no funds for such at school and for sure we didn’t have the money.
Because Thera graduated at age 15 we were both in the same graduating class of 1934. It was the largest class to graduate from BHS. We had lost a few also over the four years as they moved away or dropped out.
The year after graduation we stayed at home. Jobs were scarce. There was no money for college. I had dreams of being a pharmacist. That year at home I raised Leghorn hens and went in the egg selling business. It was not a gold mine venture! The next summer I saw an ad in the county weekly paper that Peabody School of Nursing in the county seat, Webster, was recruiting a fall class. It wasn’t pharmacy but it was tuition free. The only expenditures were for books and uniforms, which I made. The sale of the leghorns plus a bit of egg money about covered it. There was however more involved as students worked several hours a day in the hospital as part of training and as we mastered skills to fill out the nursing staff. We also worked 20 hours every other weekend. Shifts ran for 12 hours beginning at 7:00AM with 2 hours off sometime during the shift. Staff doctors and nurses taught our classes. It was hard work. Our Superintendent of Nursing was a maiden lady who ruled with an iron hand. I’m glad she was tough but mercy for undergraduates was not in her book although there was an occasional exception. I did not qualify! More than once I would have been happy to close the door behind me and not return. On one of those bents my wise Dad said, “No matter what you do there will be times when you want to walk out of it but that is when you make the choice to be a fighter or a quitter.” I graduated June 3, 1938 and passed the State Board of Nursing examinations. I was a full-fledged Registered Nurse. Coincidentally the doctor who ministered my first spanking as I entered this world was our commencement speaker. Dr. Branton of Willmar, MN was a good friend of our chief of staff, Percy Peabody Sr.
The first year following graduation I worked as a private duty nurse. At that time there were no ICUs so a nurse was called in to give special attention. Also the more affluent would ask for one and sometimes we were even ask to care for people in their homes which I did on several occasions. It was almost a coveted position as you received $8.00 for 12 hours. The average staff nurse received $50 per month.
In August 1939 I went by train to Eureka, SD having answered an ad from the Eureka Community Hospital. I decided the private duty route was not for me. I preferred the ordered routines and challenges of a staff position. I was there about two weeks when I met Barney Klein. It was love at first sight for both and we were married April 2, 1941. We would have married the same year we met but felt our income was insufficient. However it did not improve much and we married anyway. I had left the hospital in January ’41 with the director of nursing and two other nurses and went to Crippled Children’s Hospital in Hot Springs located in the southern Black Hills of SD.
Explanation: A refugee doctor, from one of the Balkan countries, had come to Eureka. It was a time of short supply of MDs especially in small hospitals and rural areas. This man may have been a good doctor but his aseptic techniques were abominable. I was surgical nurse at the time and the DON was the anestethist. We felt we could not work with him and the hospital board felt constrained to keep him.
Barney came out to the Hills the first of April and we were married the next day in a Methodist parsonage in New Castle, WY. We didn’t announce our marriage until he came to get me in June. At that time society frowned upon working married women. That attitude was due to change very shortly. With the advent of World War ll, every able-bodied person felt compelled to do something. It was your patriotic duty!
On our first anniversary Barney received his “greetings from Uncle Sam”. Due to a heavy spring snowfall mail was delayed. He received the induction notice April 2 and reported to the induction center in Sioux Falls April 6. He was gone for three and a half years. Most of that time was overseas.
It was a difficult time. Fortunately I was back to work in the Eureka hospital. Things were also in a flux there. We have been at an all time high of three doctors. They all ended up in the armed services. Doctors came out of retirement to do their bit and we were able to get a man from Chicago area that served us well.
Nurses also left either to be with their husbands while they were still stateside enlist them selves or enter defense or war related efforts. Soon I was the only nurse left at Eureka Community. I too wanted to enlist but Barney said no. He felt we would not be in the same area and this way it was a comfort to him to know where I was and should be safe. I’m sure he was right and now believe my war effort was on the home front in the “home” hospital. Indeed, it was home! I had a room on the basement level, right next to the kitchen. Also I was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There were no nurses to be had so I trained women and girls to do nursing tasks. I had never heard of nurse aides or assistants but had a 30-bed hospital to operate! They were terrific! Some lacked high school diplomas but they were caring, strong and willing to learn and implement.
The person responsible for the hospital office also left so hours were stretched a bit more. Then came a period when there was no communication from Barney due I learned later to an ordered blackout, a defensive measure. The combinations of stress eventually caught up with me and I was forced to take some time off. Surprise, surprise! There were nurses out there, right in the city! Retirees were pressed into service while I gained strength and some vigor in the bosom of my family. They urged me not to return but I felt strongly this was my contribution to the war effort. I also increased my dependency on God’s grace and strength. Some one wrote, “They also serve who only sit and wait.”
At last the war in Europe was over and Barney returned to the States. After a several week furlough he went to Camp Crowder in MO where he remained until his discharge that fall of ’45. I spent the last few weeks he was there with him. Life quickly gained”normality”, whatever that is! We bought a piece of land and Barney built a cement block double garage on it, which he also made into temporary living quarters. In a couple years he drew up plans for a dwelling and put in the foundation. The house never materialized and the fall of ’50 we moved to a farm northeast of Bristol, SD. James Richard had joined us on Feb. 13, 1947 and was now 3 years old.
Farming was less than lucrative; it was confining and hard work but it was some of our best years as a family.
The first winter on the farm we had many cubic yards of snow that kept us snowbound from the first week in January until Palm Sunday, which I believe, was late March that year. It was a winter of innovation, of bonding, of pressing into God’s presence. We just completely enjoyed each other. James turned four in February and that was the only time he and I left the place that winter. Thera sent word by Barney on one of his weekly trips to town via horseback (see section on Barney), inviting us to come celebrate his birthday and stay over night. The only fly in that ointment was that Barney could not be with us because of the livestock chores. The scenario went thus: After morning chores were done Barney took us via horse drawn sled to the County road about a mile and a half north of us. John met us there with the car and we went to enjoy a pleasant respite from our isolation. James thoroughly enjoyed his fourth birthday replete cake, candles, ice cream and presents plus playing with his cousins. The next day the transportation sequence was reversed and we were back to our imposed seclusion.
During his first year of High School James informed us that he wished to be called Jim and we went with that. In the fall of 1965 he enrolled at Northern State College, Aberdeen, SD. I took a job as supervisor and head cook in the lunchroom of the Bristol Public Schools to supplement his meager school funds. He worked for Ne-So-Dak Bible Camps each summer and for Christmas and Easter retreats through college but need a bit more to make ends meet. To give you a glimpse of the times, I received $100 a month. We made everything from scratch mainly from the Surplus Commodity Program under the Dept. of Agriculture.
I operated the lunchroom for a year and a half. Barney and I had been contacted by the planning board of Sun Dial Manor, Inc. to serve as administrator and director of nursing services. Plans had been formulated to construct a 30-bed intermediate care nursing home in Bristol. It was a community venture with not government funding involved. We opened the doors to serve the people of the area June 1, 1968. The next year seven more beds were added. We committed to a ten-year stint and left late June of ’78. It was headache, heartache But I was glad when it was over.
Our retirement together was short lived as Barney passed away in February 1979 after an illness that was diagnosed just weeks before we retired. It was like losing a part of my body and took some adjusting to get used to it. I went to work in the capacity of a nurse’s aid that fall. I remained at SDM until the fall of ’81. At that time it became evident that the medication I had taken for about 6 years to relieve heart stress was no longer sufficient. I had triple by-pass surgery at the U of Minnesota in Dec. of the same year. Son Jim and sister Thera were there to support each other and to comfort me. I recovered quickly and spent a short time under Thera’s loving care in her home. After Christmas I went to Minnesota to complete my recuperation. By spring I had made plans to make a permanent move to that area. I returned to my home in Bristol the next spring, sold our house and was back to northern Minnesota that falls. I purchased a new 58 ft. Liberty mobile home and placed it in a lovely wooded area in Movil Lake Park 6 miles north of Bemidji. It was to be my home for over 12 years. It was a beautiful spot and I had friendly caring neighbors and landlord. Jim and family were about a mile and a quarter away. Barney would have loved it. He could have gone fishing every day with out getting in the car or hooking up the boat. My house was less that the equivalent of a half block from the lake and I could get a glimpse of it from my eating area.
I spent most of my time from June ’94 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio where Jim and family moved the fall of ’89. After much thought and prayer and the invitation of the Buckeye Bunch I decided to move one more time. As I write this (June 1996) I have been living in their home. A year ago they bought a lovely three-bedroom house on a cul de sac with a large wooded area at the back and is part of the property. It is reminiscent of my beloved Minnesota surroundings. They made a small apartment for me in part of a large room overlooking this area. It is quite, private and comfy. As I write this I am approaching my 80th birthday. I hope there will be no more moving until I get my white robe and wings.
There are other facets to my life but this is the basic physical itinerary.
Bernhardt Johannes Klein – Father
by: Mary Klein
Barney was born August 23, 1911 in Eureka, SD. He was the eldest of five children born to John Jr. and Elizabeth Freimarck Klein. He attended Eureka elementary school and started high school. His father, who by this time was into the cement and plastering trade, kept him out of school frequently to assist him. Barney said, “I was young and something of a hot head. I thought if I had to miss so much, I’m not going to go to school. It did not occur to me at that point that the only getting short changed was me.” He had a good mind and memory and told that when he was studying and reading daily he was able to repeat almost verbatim what he read.
In the early 30’s experienced a severe depression; a period of drought turned the plain states into a dust bowl and a continuing wind kept the dust in motion. It entered every crack and cranny and piled in drifts in road ditches and sheltered side of buildings. People could not build so the Klein income shrunk to zero. As soon as the children were big enough to work they “hired out”. When Barney was about 10 he went to the farm of his mother’s half brother for the summer. He helped with haying, pitched bundles into the threshing machine and other tasks designed for men not little boys. When it was time for school to start the uncle brought him home. He presented him with a 65-cent chambray shirt. It was his summer pay above board, room and laundry!
As I mentioned, during the dirty 30s building construction was down so Barney worked at any job he could find. At one time he ran a gas station for Phillip 66 when gas was about 12 cents a gallon. On Sat. night (the farmer’s shopping time in the rural areas) he would stay open as long as anyone was in town hoping to get a few more cents. It was usually some time after midnight. Gas stations were very competitive and every one gave full service, some even cleaned the interior of the auto. Barney recalled that usually his last customer on Sat. night was a middle-aged bachelor farmer. He came into town once a week. He would buy one gallon of gas before going home. It was enough to go home and return the next week.
He drove new or used cars purchased in the Twin Cities, Detroit and other cities back to car dealers in Eureka. The dealer would send several young men by train to these destinations. It was a holiday so to speak to spend the night in a hotel; meals paid for and make a few bucks beside. He also worked as a mortician’s assistant and as a part time clerk at Melhaff’s Furniture and Mortuary. This was a common combination in rural areas and still is. He had other odd jobs, whatever was available. He helped pay for his parents home and bought a refrigerator and then a washing machine for his mother.
Barney and Mary Get Married
by: Mary Klein
Following our marriage we spent the remainder of that year with his parents. There was very little money coming in for Barney and I was for sometime on the “blacklist” at the hospital due to my “protest” exodus. It may sound like I made this up but believe me it is true! I said we lived with Barney’s parents. We actually had a bedroom on the main floor but used their summertime kitchen in the basement as a living room, dining room kitchen combo. Each Sun. PM, Barney’s free day when he worked, we would go rabbit hunting so we could buy bread and maybe something else for the week. Barney would buy a box of shells for the 22 gauge rifle and we’d trudge the fields and would usually bag 4 to 6 jacks which he would sell for a quarter a piece. A box of shells cost about that too but last quite a while. He wouldn’t let me shoot, although I was a pretty fair shot, because he did not want to waste even one shell. By late winter things were looking up for both of us and we were each getting a paycheck again. We rented a house and were settling in when a greeting from Uncle Sam arrived on April 2, 1942, our first wedding anniversary.
World War II
by: Mary Klein
World War II
On April 6 he left for the induction center in Sioux Falls. From there he was shipped to Texas for orientation and assignment. He was sent to Fort Leonard Wood in MO for basic training. Ordinarily when the men were drafted and the induction procedure completed they were allowed to go to make necessary arrangements for their family, business etc. Not so this time. I didn’t know until history was written that this was a crucial period of the war. The Allies were putting the squeeze on Hitler’s army and they needed all the manpower they could muster as soon as possible. I visited him for a few days while he was in Missouri. He was shipped out to ETO (European Theater of Operations) in late summer, destination unknown. They were on the seas for quite some time. At one point they were in complete blackout as an enemy submarine had been detected in the area. That meant all power and communications were suspended until the sub moved away. They eventually docked at Oran, Morocco on the northern coast of Africa. They waited there until The Plan called for their services.
He served with the 345th Engineer Corps, which was part of the Fifth Army headed by General Mark Clark. Their expertise was preparing the way for the troops. They built roads, bridges, airfields etc. and one of the biggies in their unit was to sniff out land mines. He served in the medical detachment as a first aid man and was there to minister to the casualties of the minefields they were assigned to clear before the troops came in. Due to the shortage of personnel there was no professional medic in this unit so he was the “doctor” to the men who had any physical afflictions. A bonifide doctor came by about once a week to check on things. The men in this unit were in their late twenties and early thirties, men for the most part of maturity and fairly cautious although soundly loyal to their country and assignment. He assumed these responsibilities as a Private First Class rank. His commanding officer apologized for this once. Due to the nature of the unit and the number of non-commissioned men allowed there was no room for advancement. He was doing the work of a sergeant but got PFC pay.
When the “squeeze play” went into action, the 345th crossed the Mediterranean and went to work in Italy. Their first objective was Salerno, then Anzio, Cassino and eventually Naples and finally Rome. It was a long hard haul with very few breaks for the men. It was a time of great mental and emotional as well as physical stress and some didn’t hold out. A sergeant in Barney’s unit succumbed. His job was to go out and probe for mines and defuse them. He gave Barney orders never to go to a fallen man until he had probed the area ahead first. Barney felt he probably owed his life to this man. The 345th hung in there not knowing just what all was going on at HQ until it was over. Secrecy and silence were part of the war strategy. Finally the unit got news they were to get some R&R (Rest and Recreation) and it was to be back in the States! They were transported to Paris in early May of ’45. Suddenly everything was on hold, no travel orders, and no sight seeing, just rumors. Then the news broke. The European phase of the war was over! Germany had surrendered! The “squeeze” was completed. The Axis troops at Rome on June 4, 1945 and the remainder with the Normandy invasion two days later capitulated after a hard fought war with many casualties on both sides. Within a short time, the men from the 345th were back in the US and bussed to their families. After a furlough of several weeks Barney was ordered to Camp Crowder, MO. We didn’t know it then but the returning troops from Europe would be held in the event they were needed in the Pacific Theater. Thank God Japan’s surrender came in August and Barney’s subsequent discharge that fall.
by: Mary Klein
Although he was happy to be home he was restless for sometime. The adrenalin had been surging for so long, now it was difficult to settle back into a small town pace. Before long he was coaching Junior Legion Baseball. His boys won the district but lost out in regional play.
Barney was catcher for the Eureka baseball team for 15 years starting at the age of 15. In the 30s and 40s amateur baseball was the “the game”. Nearly every town in the state had a team and there were rural teams also. I sat in the bleachers thru’ several state tournaments in 100+ degrees—and loved it! Eureka was often a contender and sometimes came out champ. For a few years, after the service men returned, the town fielded 2 teams each playing in a different league.
He resumed the concrete and brick laying trade. At that point in time sidewalks, cement drives and floors were troweled by hand at least by the small contractor. In time his knees began to rebel and was forced to think of getting into other work. It so happened he received tow offers about the same time. A friend of ours was manager of the local Red Owl grocery and he encouraged him to train for management. Also John Bury, my sister’s husband, approached him about assisting him with his farming operation. He had acquired more land and needed a full time man and his sons were not big enough yet to help. The offer included of a farm to live on and the use of machinery to farm it. After weighing pros and cons he opted for the farm. He had asked me what I thought best. I felt that if he was to do the work, he should decide. I was indeed happy when he chose the farm. Farm life is what I loved, even with the hard work and long hours. Barney used to tease me, when we lived in town, by saying “I got the girl off the farm but am not able to get the farm off the girl.” We some times had zero cash flow but it was a good life and a great place to raise a family. In addition to working agreement we were accountable to Our Maker and to each other.
Move to Bristol, South Dakota
by: Mary Klein
We moved to the “north farm”, about 5 miles northeast of Bristol, the first week of November 1950. We had spent the better part of the summer at the Bury farm, as Barney was needed for haying and harvesting. It was the first year John ventured into combining. Prior to that the grain was cut with a binder and the resulting bundles were held in readiness of the annual advent of a threshing crew. The place we moved to was owned by Pete Sandell who had retired and was living with his daughter in Minneapolis. The original house had burned down some years before and the barn destroyed by high winds or a small tornado. He had erected a small 2-bedroom bungalow, which was about 5 years old. It had a full basement and an exceptionally large cistern with an excellent filter. We drank this water and used it for washing and cooking. The cistern never went dry even thru’ some very dry years. It was a blessing in that the well water was full of minerals and was very distasteful. The only amenity in the house was electricity. This was the age of REA (Rural Electric Administration) and bit-by-bit most farms were installing the power. Our second year the owner had a barn built. It accommodated 10 milk cows, the calves in season, our saddle horse and a cream separator room. The second floor was a haymow and oat bin. Other buildings included hog house, chicken coop, granary and the usual and essential outhouse. By the latter Barney rigged a shower for use during the summer months. He built a 3-foot square platform and a framework around it, which held a tarp in lieu of walls, and above it all he mounted a recycled Ford gas tank complete with spigot and shower attachment. We kept the tank filled with water, which was then heated by the sun’s rays. On cooler days or when there were to be more than two showers in a short time, I heated up some water on the kitchen stove. What a boon after a long and sweat-producing day!
I write this narrative as memories come to me so needs move back for a bit to the immediate post war days. Barney managed to save much of his PFC pay. He did however send me some lovely hand carved cameos from Italy and hand styled leatherwork from Morocco. With some of his savings we purchased a 75×200 ft. lot about a half block from his parents. Barney erected a 2-car garage of cinder blocks on a cement slab. And fixed it up for living quarters. We set up housekeeping here before Jim was born. The long-range plan was to; build a home and he had drawn up the plans and when Jim was a bit over one year old he ran in the foundation. There would be no basement as the water table was too high. When we made the decision to go to the farm he traded the property to a Eureka implement dealer for a large Oliver tractor, which they delivered to the farm in Kidder Township, Day County. It served him well during our 17 years there.
As I have mentioned there was little cash to work with but that didn’t mean we were drudges!
We both loved to fish and hunt upland game. Lakes and dams were within short driving distance and Day County at that time was a Mecca for ring neck pheasant hunting. We were in the Central Flyway so usually waterfowl was plentiful. Also a number of species nested in the potholes and small lakes.
The first winter on the farm Barney attended, under a GI benefit provision, a class in agriculture. It convened in Andover, about 17 miles west, one night a week. Not a bad distance if he could just jump in the car and go. However due to the abundance of snow and almost daily winds of 15 -35 miles and hour, travel on the side roads was next to impossible. I referred in another segment to that snow bound winter. He rode faithful Scout, our two-year-old horse, over to Burys the afternoon of the class. From there he drove to his class and back then stayed overnight with the Burys. He and Scout returned the next day. I recall one of those days in particular. The drifts had been building all night and the snow was moving horizontally that morning. I was sure Barney would not attempt to turn that young inexperienced into that bitter northwest gale. I gazed out the window to check on the storm and there about 200 feet from the house was this snow-covered silhouette of horse and rider. Scout had plodded relentlessly, head bent into the wind, through belly deep drifts and blinding snow to reach HOME! I was so glad to see them but had not worried about it, as I was so sure they would not start out. We did not have a telephone during our 17 years on the farm so I learned to trust Him who so amply cared for us.
I don’t remember the year but it was probably the mid to late ‘50s Barney started driving the school bus on a 5 day a week route north of Bristol. One of the pick-ups was at the Maynard Sigdestad farm where he picked up Lola and Richard. Lola later became our daughter-in-law although it had nothing to do with the bussing! Sometimes he drove the bus that carried the basketball team to out of town games and he would also drive for special events. Several times he took the Senior Class on the end of the year class trip. Sometimes this was to the Black Hills and on a couple of occasions I went along as a chaperone. We both enjoyed being with young people so this was a vacation.
One the Farm
by: Mary Klein
For years after we moved to the Bristol area, going to the State B High School Tournament was one of the highlights of the year. We faithfully followed Bristol High School football and boys basketball programs. The latter started in elementary grades and from time to time developed some well rated teams. All the Bury boys played both sports and Jim played varsity football starting in eighth grade. He was captain of the team in his senior year. While we were on the farm I didn’t get to go to the tourney, as there were chores to be done and being a season of uncertain weather one couldn’t count on someone else coming in and taking care of things. Barney and Jim would go, filling in all the car seats with friends. When we moved to town I usually got to go too if I could get someone to fill in for me at the Manor. An added incentive for going was to visit and stay with Ruth and Herb Frey who were our closest friends when we lived in Eureka. Ruth was a co-worker with me in the hospital and one of Barney’s closest friends had been Herb’s older brother. The Freys moved to Sioux Falls not long before we went to the farm.
Several weeks before the 1978 tourney Barney was hit with pneumonia. He became ill the evening of Ash Wednesday I recall. He had run the projector at church, showing a film for the first Lenten service. When we returned home I noted that his face was flushed so checked his temperature. It was 104 degrees so we headed for the emergency room. He told the doctor he had to be well by the first week in March when the tourney was scheduled. By then he was improved but had a persistent cough. When we returned he checked with the doctor again and was given another set of a different antibiotic. After going another round of a third one his lung x-ray did not clear up and the doctor knew we were dealing with more than pneumonia. He gave us a choice of referrals and we chose Rochester again. He went through a battery of tests and on May 26, 1978 received a diagnosis of inoperable cancer of the lung. It was as if the rug had been snatched from beneath our feat. On the ride down to Rochester I ask Barney if he had considered that he might lose a lung. He said he had but added, “If the Duke can live with one so can I”. One of his favorite western actors, John, “Duke” Wayne had lost a lung not long before as a result of cancer brought on by a long history of smoking. It had not occurred to us that there wasn’t a solution to this problem. Chemotherapy and radiation were the offered treatment at that time and nothing was guaranteed. We didn’t question it. When life is threatened one grabs for whatever gives a glimmer of hope. We made the trip to Rochester each month for 5 months hoping for the cure and praying God would see fit to restore his body to health. It was not to be. However he had several more months than he would have had without the treatment. It took a heavy tool on his body and completely destroyed his immune system. The insidious disease invaded his bones and his brain Thankfully it did not affect his thinking or speech. Another bout with pneumonia in a body with its natural defenses gone ended his earthly journey. He was buried on Ash Wednesday 1979.
Before Barney’ illness we had purchased a Dodge van and Barney had customized it so we had sleeping quarters and a place to eat and cook as needed. It was our “prairie schooner” and we planned to do some traveling in our retirement years. The day he completed his last chemo treatment in Rochester, we headed south to visit relatives and friends. We stayed in campgrounds and usually did our own cooking. We visited Steve and family in Tulsa; Bob and family in Houston; my cousin Marge in southern Nebraska; the Schnabels in North Platte, NE; Richard and family in Yankton and the Freys in Sioux Falls. When we got back to Dakota other relatives and friends came to see us. How blessed we were! In the last 5 months he lived he was able to share some time with all who he held dear.
Move to Town
by: Mary Klein
The farm life as I have said was a good life but not a lucrative one at least in the years we were there. After 17 years of mostly mediocre harvests and low commodity market, the offer of a regular paycheck for managing the new nursing home in Bristol was tempting. Barney was more enthused than I. I was somewhat aware of the responsibilities and difficulties involved. I had an RN friend who worked at and at one time Director of Nursing in the home in Webster, our county seat. I eventually relented and we agreed to a 10-year tenure. We started our paid duties June 1, l968. Prior to that we put in countless hours of preparation, as this was a new venture for both of us.
The late summer before, after making our commitment, we made arrangements to purchase a 5 year old, 2-bedroom house with a full walk out basement. It was 2 blocks east of Sun Dial Manor, the nursing home. The fall of ’68 we added a garage and small workshop. We enjoyed keeping up the lawn and flowers and a small vegetable garden. This was our relaxation after a long day of being indoors.
Barney served on the church council of Bethesda Lutheran and as head usher for a number of years. He was confirmed in Zion Lutheran, Eureka when a teen-ager. I was confirmed as an adult while Barney was over seas as it was important to him that I do so. Barney also served 2 terms as mayor of Bristol. It was during the years that the groundwork was laid for the WEB water system. This is the water network in eastern SD that brings in Missouri water to supplement the diminishing aquifers.
by: Mary Klein
The year 1976 should be in bold type in Klein history. All three of us were severely afflicted in a space of less than 3 months. It started Oct 15. Jim, Lola and nearly 2-year-old Johann were living in Howard Lake, north west of the Cities where Jim was teaching music. The three of them had started to St. Cloud to do some shopping. They were broad sided by an oncoming pickup making a left hand turn. Jim anticipated the turn and served so he got the full impact. He suffered a severe concussion, a dislocated and a very deep cut in the posterior deltoid muscle, which is just back of the shoulder. Fortunately Johann had asked to go in the back seat and was sitting on the floor looking at a book and Lola had bent over to tie her shoe. All were in shock and Jim was hospitalized for several days.
The same day John and Thera, Barney and I had started south in our car. This would be the first real vacation we were getting after working 8 years at SDM. That evening we stayed in Vermillion with Richard and Jodi Bury and young family. Richard was in Medical School at the University. We were just settling in for the night when the phone rang and it was for me. Lola was informing us of the accident. She kept assuring me that everything was OK and Jim would come home the next day. The next day we continued our journey southward to Broken Arrow, OK here we stayed with Steve Bury and family. I believe at this time he was a district manager for World Book. By this time I was sure Jim’s injuries were more serious. I felt Lola did not want us to give up our long awaited vacation. Anyway we decided to get up early and head for Howard Lake. Barney drove the whole way non-stop except for gas and another time when I insisted that we get out and have a good meal and stretch a bit. He wouldn’t let me drive, saying I was in no shape to do so. He was probably right. We stopped at New Ulm, MN and called Lola that we were on our way so it would not be too big a shock on top of all else. We were glad to hear her mother had come to be with her. We spent most of our vacation time there, as they had no transportation as their car was totaled.
God has a way of making long-range plans that we know not of. We took the Bury’s transportation to Houston, which was to be our next stopping point. The oldest of their sons. Robert and his family were there. He was doing his medical residency at Baylor. After a few days visit with Steve’s, he lent them his sports car to continue on. It happens that good friends of Lola and Jim also live in Houston and when they were advised of Jim ‘s and Lola’s problems they offered them their old Oldsmobile. It had been in the family so long they hadn’t had the heart to trade it in or sell it. But how to get it to them! Remember the Burys are in Houston with transportation only as far as OK. Problem solved for every one. Thera had the fun of driving the sports car back to Broken Arrow where John picked her up in the Olds and they had transportation back home and then delivered it to Howard Lake where it served well.
Now for the rest of the story! We hadn’t been back but a few days when Barney developed very severe back pain. He said it was even worse than the kidney stone episodes he suffered prior to our marriage. The Webster Clinic was unable to give a diagnosis except that it was kidney related. He was transferred by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN, hometown of the famed Mayo Clinic. To make a complicated story brief, he had exploratory surgery. The findings revealed a completely closed urethra to one kidney. This caused the severe pain, as the kidney could not empty. The etiology was listed as unknown. I believe it was a build up of scar tissue. He had passed stones a number of times plus he took a severe hit to the kidney area while guarding home plate in his baseball days. His team mates called him “House” as they said it was like running into one when he got set for an incoming runner. At that time he had passed bright blood for several days. He did have an x-ray but that was it. Thera had taken me to Rochester by car. Barney insisted that I stay with him thru’ the entire hospitalization. He had never been in a hospital bed before. Someone picked us up when he was discharged.
But, the story was not yet over. When we got home it was into November and we’ had some snow and ice. I thought Barney should ease up a bit after the stress he had been thru’ so I decided to walk to work and arrive at 6:30AM. He would drive over about 9:00. I had followed that schedule for some time. One morning as I was walking our of our driveway, my feet hit a patch of ice and I was flat on my back visualizing and unusual variety of stars. I don’t know how long I lay and I don’t thing I lost consciousness. I got up walked to work and put on an ice pack. I received the night aid’s report and was about to write the Day Orders when I began to feel woozy. I excused myself and walked home. When Barney woke up and saw the ice pack and heard the details he said, “Get in the car. We’re going to the doctor. I was x-rayed and diagnosed concussion. I was put to bed, flat on my back and told to stay quiet. I was not to get up for any reason. I don’t recall how many days I was there but Christmas Eve day came and I wanted out. Jim, Lola and Johann would be coming. I went with the stipulation that I would not go to work for 6 weeks and then gradually ease myself into full time. I could barely get someone to relieve me one two days at a time, where would I get someone for 6 weeks? A retired pastor’s wife came forward. I was so grateful. So ends the saga of “76.