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Mary Hoffert Reinart


Posted By: Richard Gehling (email)
Date: 2/4/2010 at 12:32:34

(From The Memories of Genevieve Reinart Gehling, 1980)

My mother Mary Hoffert was born on a farm near Funk, Nebraska. One of her jobs as a young girl was to pick up buffalo chips to burn in the kitchen stove. Indians still roamed the Nebraska prairies at that time. They would often stop at the Hoffert house to demand food. Gypsies also stopped by. Once they kidnapped a little neighbor girl.

Her father Anton would on occasion go to town for supplies. Whenever he returned home cursing the horses she knew that he had been drinking. Although her half-brother John Schneider usually bore the brunt of her father's anger when in that condition, my mother vowed that she herself would never marry a man that drank liquor.

When my mother was a teenager, her parents moved to a farm south of Carroll, Iowa. At the age of sixteen my mother was voted the most popular girl in Carroll County. She received a gold watch and fob chain in appreciation. My mother had always loved to dance, especially square dances. She also enjoyed the music of polkas and waltzes. Two of her favorites were the "Blue Shirt Waltz" and "After the Ball Was Over." Her brother, John Schneider, often served as a caller at the local square dances.

After her parents' return to Nebraska, her mother took in school teachers for room & board. In the summer of 1904 my mother met a young man named Peter Reinart, who had traveled from Iowa to Nebraska to help with the oats harvest. They were married the following January 23, 1905, at Axtell, Nebraska. The priest was Father Cronin.

My parents lived on a farm in Nebraska for ten years after their marriage. There was no irrigation there and they had dust storms. Mom used to tell that they hung wet bedsheets over the windows so they could breathe. She also told of the many tornadoes they had. One time three tornadoes struck their farm. The hired man, Don Casper, hurriedly wrapped their baby Gladys in pillows so she wouldn't get hurt. The tornadoes destroyed all the farm buildings except the house, which was pushed two inches off its foundation.

My mother gave birth to three daughters while farming in Nebraska - Gladys, Monica, and Bertille. Monica lived only a few days after birth, screaming constantly until she died. She was buried in the cemetery at Axtell, Nebraska. Grandma Hoffert planted a cactus over her grave. It has been mowed off every year for over ninety years, but still lives on.

In 1915 my mom and dad moved back to Iowa and lived on a farm south of Carroll where Mary was born, then moved to a farm 4 1/2 miles southeast of Halbur where I was born. When I was seven we moved to Halbur where I grew up.

After their retirement, mom and dad spent their time working in a large garden, canning fruits and vegetables, and passing out the surplus to family and friends. The garden was a delight. It was entered through a rose-covered arbor. Near the back edge of the garden was a large raspberry patch, where the grandchildren picked and ate berries to their hearts' content. Nearby was a crabapple tree, from which my mom used to can the most delicious spiced apples. The garden itself contained vegetables and flowers of all kinds, including sweet-smelling peonies of red, white, and pink. Slips from one of these red peonies were later passed down to my daughter Bonnie and son Richard, and planted in their own gardens in memory of my parents.

Soon after celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary in 1955, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She struggled on for a few more months, before passing away on 17 August 1956. She was buried at St. Augustine Cemetery in Halbur, Iowa.

Firstborn Sons of the Gehling Family

Carroll Biographies maintained by Lynn McCleary.
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