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Isador and Matilda Ferderber

Photo page 385

Father, Isador Ferderber, migrated to the United States from Yugoslavia in 1914, and came to Madrid. He then moved a few miles south, to what was then known as Scandia, a small coal mining camp, as they were referred to in those days, and began to work as a timberman in the coal mine.

Isador chose Scandia for the same reason many others did. He had friends there who had arrived previously and who spoke the same language.

He worked in the mine by day, and repaired shoes in the evening. He learned this craft in Yugoslavia. It was said that Isador's was the only house that had electricity. He needed electricity for a shoe repair machine, and ingeniously tapped into a high line owned by the coal company.

The following year, his wife, Matilda, and his first born, Mary, arrived from Yugoslavia. The next four children, Emery, Charles, Mildred, and Lewis, were born in Scandia.

In 1918, the nearby Des Moines River flooded the entire mine. There was only time for the men and the mules to be removed. This naturally wiped out the thriving little coal camp called Scandia.

Eventually, all of those employed at the coal mine settled elsewhere in the area. Some came to Madrid, others to Zookspur and High Bridge. All three localities had coal mines.

My father chose Madrid, but not to work in the coal mine. With twenty-five dollars, he managed to open a small shoe repair shop, on the north side of Main Street, just east of what was once the Madrid Hatchery.

Our family lived temporarily above the old creamery building near the railroad depot.

In the meantime, and by himself, with the aid of his pit lamp, he started and finished building a small four-room house, in the area later so aptly described as "Box Town." He built this house at night and on Sundays. We lived in the house only a few years, as I recall, and in 1923, my father purchased a two-story business building across the street from where he was located. He moved his shop in the front part, and the family lived in the rear quarters of the premises. Everyone was happy about the move, with much more room, and an inside bathroom.

We were living uptown, only a block from school. Opening day of school - - always on Labor Day - -meant going to school for about an hour, and then being excused to attend the Annual Labor Day Celebration, which was a big event. These celebrations went on for years, and eventually died out, as did the coal mines.

The last two children, Elvera and Florence, were born in Madrid, and all seven children attended and graduated from the Madrid Schools.

In 1934, we were terribly saddened when Mary, the oldest child, passed away at the age of 21, from complications as the result of the flu.

Since all of the kids graduated from High School during the depression, any ideas about furthering their education was out of the question. Most worked at various times in the family business. The future was not encouraging. All three boys learned the shoe and shoe repair business, but only Emery pursued the craft as a livelihood.

Not many years later, World War II began, and all three boys were in service. Emery served 20 years in the Air Corps, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and lived with his wife and five children in Florida. He passed away in 1976. Chuck served 26 years in Medical Administration, and retired as a Colonel. He is currently employed as Director of Management, Deaconess General Hospital and living with his wife and three children in Evansville, Indiana.

Louie, the historian and self-appointed author of this writing, served four years in the Air Corps; became a Corporal and considered himself lucky. He moved to Des Moines, attended business college, and eventually opened a small business. With the help of his wife and three daughters, he has operated it for 26 years.

Mildred (Mrs. Leo Hallett) and her husband are living in Las Vegas, Nevada. She, after serving many years with the Los Angeles School System, has since retired.

Elvera (Mrs. Maynard Theobald), her husband and son, are living in the Los Angeles area. She has for many years been employed by the U.S. Government. Florence (Mrs. Alvino Gioffredi), her husband and five children are also living in the Los Angeles area. He is the former owner of the Madrid Jewelry Store, and has for many years been involved in the manufacture and repair of oil industry timing instruments. Mr. Ferderber passed away at age 75. Mrs. Ferderber is now a resident of the Madrid Home. She is 94.

Even though we grew up during a very uncertain economic period, Isador and Matilda, our beloved Father and Mother, taught us a great deal of the values generated by hard work, ambition, honesty, and compassion for others. They demonstrated this throughout their lives, and contributed greatly to the Madrid Community.

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