Recalling Grandfather Herman Schwarz

Just a memory today that needs to be noted.

Herman Schwarz, my grandfather on my mother’s side, was born this day in 1900. He was born in Ozone, Arkansas, (was a twin) and moved to Hancock, Wisconsin in the 1940’s. He married Anna Ross. I was fortunate to have them live across the road from my childhood home. It was a rather awesome arrangement.

They had a sweet cast-iron stove in the kitchen. On cold days I can still see my grandfather pull the main oven door down and sit on it for warmth. I also recall poking the embers with a wooden stick from the side grate while grownups sat at the table talking.

In addition, there were many Saturdays when I would stay with my grandparents while my parents went shopping. It was then that my grandpa would often take the small tractor off down the country lane, with me riding along, to get wood to be stored near the back door for the stove. On the smaller tractor, there was an iron portion to the left of the driver’s seat where I sat–as if the manufacturer knew there was a kid-sized portion they needed to add to the machine. Grandpa had paths among trees heading out towards farm fields that were wide enough to allow for a tractor to be driven.  

As a man, I wonder what stories concerning the first decades of the 20th century he could have told. As a kid, that type of talking, obviously, was not on my radar. Today I would relish such conversations. What does, however, stand out to me from those years is Grandpa snacking before doing afternoon chores, and since I wanted to help throw the corn to the pigs I would sit at Grandma’s table and ask for some of the coffee that was being served.  I wanted to be like the adults, and so in a cup that was far more milk than the coffee, I had my first java experience. Now that is a habit that has lived on and on. (Minus the milk!)