The Marriage of Daniel Kline and Leona Bassett

Dan and Leona's Wedding Photo
Dan and Leona’s Wedding Photo November 14, 1911.


Daniel Edward Kline and Leona Josephine Bassett were married November 14, 1911 at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Hastings, Nebraska.  Their attendants were Leona’s cousin Arthur Bassett and Dan’s sister Mary Kline.  Dan was one month short of his 25th birthday and Leona was 18 years old.

Dan and Leona's marriage license filed at the Adams County, Nebraska County Clerk's office.
Dan and Leona’s marriage license filed at the Adams County Clerk’s office in Hastings.

In 1911 Dan was still living with his parents and helping with the farm work.  Edna Kline Trausch remembered that “Dad drove the Watkins Wagon with horses.  Uncle George Kline drove it first and when he quit Dad took it over and ran it for a year or so.  I don’t know when it was, before the folks were married or when they were first married.  I just remember Uncle George and Dad talking about it.”

In a 1996 interview Edna Trausch and Rita Obermeier told what they knew about their parent’s courtship.

Edna:  “Mom was working out for somebody around Hastings when they met.  Mom used to do house work. [It was common for girls and young women to earn money by living with a family and doing the cooking and housework. They received their room and board and about a dollar a week.]  Dad was going with Cora Halsted from Giltner.  She wanted to marry Dad, but she wasn’t a Catholic.  She wouldn’t join the church.  She said “I’ll go to my church and you go to your church.  It doesn’t matter to me.”  Dad said “But it matters to me.”  Dad’s folks would have up and died if he had married her.  All the time Dad went with her, Grandma and Aunt Kate picked on her because she wasn’t a Catholic.  She never did marry.   Mom never did say who she went with, but she told me this story.  The neighbors always listened in on the phone if somebody called her for a date.  The neighbors said she would go with anybody, but not Sunday night, [then] she was going with Dad.  Dad came to the farm with a threshing crew; that’s how they met.”

Rita:  “The only thing I remember about it, Mom told me about one time they were going to Grand Island on a date and they were going on that long bridge; they called it the mile bridge. [over the Platte River]  They met somebody and they had to get on a little turn off on the bridge.  It was only a one-lane bridge.”

St. Cecilia's Catholic Church The main portion of this frame building was erected on Second Street between Minnesota Avenue and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. In 1889 it was moved to Seventh Street between Kansas and Colorado, facing north onto Seventh. Dan and Leona were married in this building. The cornerstone for the current brick church was laid just eight days after their wedding.
Post card view of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, about 1908.
The main portion of this frame building was erected on Second Street between Minnesota Avenue and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. In 1889 it was moved to Seventh Street between Kansas and Colorado avenues, facing north onto Seventh.  Dan and Leona were married in this building. In early 1911 it was moved east to the corner of Seventh and Kansas, where the rectory now stands,  to make way for the current brick church, the cornerstone of which was laid just eight days after their wedding.

In a 1988 interview Sister Francis Kline remembered going to the wedding at St. Cecilia’s.  The Kline family went in a carriage.  After the ceremony, a wedding dinner was held for the immediate family at the home of Jule Bassett, Leona’s father.  Jule and his second wife, Maud, lived on the farm where Leona grew up on the SE1/4 section 33, West Blue township.   The location is 1.5 miles east of Hastings on 26th Street on the north side of the road.  The buildings are gone.

Dan and Leona “went home” to Dan’s upstairs bedroom in his parent’s farmhouse.  They lived there until March 1912 when they moved onto the farm they would eventually purchase.  Those must have been very difficult months for Leona who was three months pregnant at her marriage.  Her mother-in-law, Bertha Kline, was a stern, unloving woman who blamed Leona for the family’s embarrassment. (Leona was just 18; Dan was 24 when the pregnancy began.)  Dan’s sister Kate, an old maid, age 30 living at home, was much like her mother with an added component of “humor” that belittled people.   (Kate Kline got married on January 1, 1946, at the age of 63, and her mother, Bertha, dropped dead the same day.  But that’s another story.)

In a 1982 interview, Grandma Kline told me the following:  “My wedding gift [from her father] was $35.  We went to town and bought a dresser, a chest of five drawers with a mirror on top, and a bedstead and springs.  Then we went home and we picked shucks out of the cornfield and filled the tick and that’s what we slept on.  We either had a straw tick or a shuck tick.  We emptied them every year in the fall and put in new ones.  Spring we’d shake ‘em, take out all the scraps, put some new ones in with ‘em and back on the bed they would go.  A Shuck mattress was four or five inches thick.  We had feather pillows.  We always raised ducks or geese and made feather pillows.

“Dan’s mother bought us a kitchen table to eat on and Dan’s father made us a kitchen cupboard and a washstand.  We always had a washstand.  We set the water bucket on that and washed our hands there.  In the living room for years we never had nothing but six wooden chairs.  Later we bought a library table.  Then later we bought a dish cupboard for the kitchen that cost $5.  It’s still in the basement at home.”  [On the farm]

“We had a Bible that Dan’s mother gave us.  In the evenings we’d sit around and read the Bible and pray. I did embroidery.  In the summer we sit on the porch.  We didn’t subscribe to a newspaper, couldn’t afford it.”

“We paid $65 for a cook stove, bought it on time.  And our house was so poor that we couldn’t live in the kitchen.  We lived in the living room and the bedrooms.   It was so cold that our reservoir would freeze solid on the stove at night.  The kitchen floorboards were worn through and the foundation was full of holes.  When I cooked I put on my overshoes to go out there.  My dress would blow up from the wind coming up through the holes in the floor.  We lived there for two years before we got a new kitchen floor.  The landlord just didn’t see how he could afford to put in a new floor and they were wealthy. His name was Belsley.  He was a mine digger and every time he’d get a little money he’d come out here and buy this cheap land.  Make a down payment on it.  They had lots of land they got for four and five dollars an acre.”

“The kitchen was a big room.  The people that lived there before we did had a washer with a motor on it in the west end of the kitchen.  But we took that out and put the floor in.  We were two years like that.  We threatened to move and then the landlord got busy.   For years I did the wash in the kitchen.  Heat the water on the cook stove right in the kitchen.”

“We had the living room and two bedrooms.  One bedroom was a little room that just held a bed and a low chest.  You had to squeeze to get between the bed and chest when you were making the bed.  The other bedroom must have been nine feet wide and twelve feet long.”

“The big bedroom was the one that had the bedbugs in it. They were in the house when we moved in. Then after the spring opened up the first year I said to Dad, “We’ve got bed bugs.”  They crawled up the wall in the corner, the wall was just black.  We used kerosene on them; if we would see a place where there were several we would put a little kerosene on them. And then we would pick ‘em.  Take them off the wall with a needle.  Every day we would pick every one we could find.  We couldn’t get rid of them any other way.  Bed bugs are terrible! You can’t sleep with them.  They bite; raise a welt just like a mosquito. I can take everything but bites.   They get in every little crack, behind the windowsills, behind the mopboard, behind everything.  Then at night they crawl out.  It took us a couple years to get rid of them.   Mary Kline Wunderlich [Dan’s sister] moved east of us and their house was full of ‘em.  They bought formaldehyde and burnt that on some wood.  Didn’t faze ’em.”

“The south end of the house was all cracked away from the floor and we tinned that all up with tin to keep the mice and rats out. The plaster in the house was so poor that every night the mice would gnaw through, then the next day we would fix that hole, and the next night the same thing over.  We fixed the holes with tin.    We used everything we could find.  We didn’t make the tin very big and the next night they would chew through somewhere else.  It was a mess.  We lived that way for three years and then we hollered, “We’re going to move.”  The landlord came in July and Dad said to him, “We’re looking for another place. We can’t stand the mice.”  So the landlord said to plaster the house.  So then in the fall the landlord paid someone to plaster the house and we never had but one or two mice in it since.”

Despite “having to get married,” and the hardships they endured wresting a living from the Nebraska prairie, Dan and Leona were married for over sixty-five years until Dan’s death in February 1977.









The Nebraska Sanitarium

This post card photo of the Nebraska Sanitarium was mailed in 1913.
This post card photo of the Nebraska Sanitarium was postmarked in 1913.


Many Adams County people do not realize that the Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital was not Hastings’ first hospital.   The Nebraska headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist church were in Hastings from 1907 to 1917.  The Sanitarium was one of seven large buildings located on three square blocks between California and Cedar Avenues on East Ninth Street (then known as High Street).  The headquarters complex included offices, a church, elementary and high schools, a nursing school, dormitories, a printing plant and the large Sanitarium.

The Seventh Day Adventists promoted healthy foods and vegetarian diets.  They operated several sanitariums that followed the health principles of Dr. J. H. Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan.  The Kellogg Brothers, who made a fortune selling corn flakes,  were a part of the Adventist movement.

The Nebraska Sanitarium, which cost $30,000 to construct, opened in December 1908.  The three story, 65 feet tall frame building included a basement and an open porch on three sides.  The building contained e-ray equipment, several homeopathic treatment rooms and an operating room.  There was room for 30 patients, many of whom stayed for several weeks receiving treatments.

For several years the Nebraska Sanitarium was the only hospital in Hastings and treated non-Adventists as well as church members.  When the Mary Lanning Hospital became fully operational in 1920,  the number of Sanitarium patients fell from an average of 700 a year to only 215.  The building was sold in 1928 to Carl Pratt who used it as a private business college, then during World War II it was converted to apartments.  It was jokingly called “The Hatchery” because of the many pregnant women who lived there.  The building was demolished in 1986 by Peace Lutheran Church for a parking lot.

The Sanitarium’s most famous patients were John O’Connor, whose body was kept at Livingston Brothers Mortuary for two years, and Carl Burton Whitcomb, a Pauline area farmer,  who was wounded in a gunfight with Adams County Sheriff W. A. Cole in 1916.

Two members of our family have a connection to the building.  Irene Kline and her husband Ken Engel lived in an apartment there shortly after their marriage.  They lived on the top floor and I remember climbing all the stairs to visit them.

Bert Trausch was hospitalized there about 1919.  He was just recovering from scarlet fever and Grandpa Matt made Bert go out and work, carrying manure for the rhubarb plants he was setting.  Grandma Catherine said she told Matt that Bert was still too sick, but Grandpa said, “That won’t hurt them.” He had Ed and Bert helping him, it was about April. Then Bert got sicker, with diarrhea and yellow jaundice.  Bert became so weak he could hardly walk.   Dr. Mace from Roseland treated him, and told them to take Bert to the Seventh Day Adventist sanitarium in Hastings.

In a 1984 interview, Bert told the story.  “I had scarlet fever and then I got yellow jaundice. I got the scarlet fever at school [District 28] from the Portz kids. Schifflers got it too.

Ed Trausch remembered ” I was the first one in our family that had it. We went corn shelling and I picked it up. The whole school, everybody had it. That one Portz kid went away to Lincoln to be a mechanic and he came back and he had it and that set the whole country afire around here. Nobody died that I know of.  Lots had after effects–kidney and liver trouble.”

Bert continued the story “All of us got it, we were quarantined all spring and summer.  One would get scarlet fever and be quarantined for three weeks, then another one would get it, another three weeks and that went on. It started in the winter and it was summer before we were out of quarantine.  I was getting better and then I got the yellow jaundice.   I sweat so much the bed sheets turned yellow. I was really tired and my eyes turned yellow. The folks took me to Hastings in Dad’s Overland.  It took an hour to get to Hastings.  Driving a horse and buggy it took about four hours.”  They left him, went home, and didn’t return until he was discharged.  “Them days they didn’t run to town like now.”

“They didn’t give me any medicine. They put me in a salt bath and rubbed salt all over me and then in steam baths to boil the poison out. I was in the sanitarium over a week. I don’t know if it did any good, but I got over it. I was plenty sick.”

It took about a year [for me to recover]. That’s when I quit school.  I was in the seventh grade.  When Schifflers were sick we went over and did their work and when we were sick he came over and helped us. Dad never got the scarlet fever. Schiffler took our cream along to town to sell it for us when we were quarantined and couldn’t sell it. Hell, the guys out working in the barn weren’t sick. We did that for them too.

Whether the diet, steam baths, and salt rubs helped Bert recover we don’t know.  Probably the days of quiet and rest helped as much as the treatments.




Three Generations of Sad Irons

Blacksmiths started forging simple flat irons in the late Middle Ages. Plain metal irons were heated by a fire or on a stove. Some early irons were made of stone, earthenware or terracotta.

Flat irons were also called sad irons or smoothing irons. The sad in sad iron (or sadiron) is an old word for solid, and in some contexts, this name suggests something bigger and heavier than a flat iron.  The metal handles were as hot as the iron and had to be gripped with a pad or thick rag.  In 1871  U. S. Patent number 113,448 was filed by Mary Florence Potts of Ottumwa, Iowa. The invention was a detachable body and handle for sad irons. This permitted a person to heat a number of iron cores on a stove, attach the handle to one, and iron with it until it cooled, then attach it to another heated iron core.  This invention shortened the ironing time by eliminating the time waiting for the iron to reheat.  At least two irons were needed for an efficient system: one in use, and one re-heating.  Since the handles were no longer heated with the iron, wood handles that didn’t conduct heat could be used.  Cool handles stayed even cooler in asbestos sad irons.

Ironing traditional fabrics without the benefit of electricity was a hot, arduous job. Irons had to be kept immaculately clean, sand-papered, and polished. They were regularly but lightly greased to avoid rusting. Beeswax prevented irons from sticking to starched cloth.  Constant observation was needed over the iron’s temperature.  Experience helped decide when the iron was hot enough, but not so hot that it scorched the cloth. A well-known test was spitting on the hot metal.

In 1996 Aunt Dorothy Kline Myhrberg reminisced about ironing.  “We couldn’t even think about going anywhere until those two oil-cloth-lined bushel baskets filled with ironing were done.  Mom wet the clothes wetter than they were when they came out of the washing machine. [Then the items were rolled and packed in the baskets so they became damp through.  It is easier to remove the wrinkles from damp cloth.]  We had an ironing board that set on the table and a regular ironing board.  One of us ironed the flat things on the table board and the other one used the ironing board.  We had to get all those baskets of clothes dried with those irons off the stove.”

The first electric iron was patented in 1882, but was far from an instant success, as most households lacked electricity — and many that did had power only in the evening to run lights. In addition, the early electric models were difficult to regulate.  None had thermostats until the late 1920s.  Edna Trausch didn’t have an electric iron until after the farmhouse was wired for electricity in 1950.

Bertha Kline's Sad Iron J W WILLIAMS CO. CHAGRIN FALLS The top of the iron is very pitted because it was cast in a sand mold. The ironing surface and the handle are smooth. is molded into the iron top.
Bertha Kline’s Sad Iron
J W WILLIAMS CO. CHAGRIN FALLS is molded into the top of the iron.                        
The top of the iron is very pitted because it was cast in a sand mold. The ironing surface and the handle are smooth.  Bertha is my great-grandmother.

The J W Williams Company was established at Chagrin Falls, Ohio in 1844.  I do not know when they began making sad irons,  but they were manufacturing them by the 1870s.  In 1895 the Montgomery Ward catalogue sold solid metal irons similar to this one by the pound–.02 ½  cents a pound.  This iron, which weighs six pounds, would have cost 15 cents.  By the 1908 Wards catalogue all irons had wood handles.

Clarice Clark Renschler Bugg's sad iron with the handle and cover removed.
Grandma Bugg’s sad iron with the handle and cover removed.
Salesman's Sample Sad Iron given to me by Pat's grandmother, Clarice Clark Renschler Bugg,
Salesman’s Sample Sad Iron given to me by Pat’s grandmother, Clarice Clark Renschler Bugg,

Dover Manufacturing Company, from Dover, Ohio,  produced this salesman’s sample sad iron numbered 602. Salesman’s samples are a scaled-down version of the item that is for sale, so that it can be easily transported. This sad iron could also be used on small jobs like ironing collars, cuffs, or lace.  The iron is in good condition with some age-related wear to the surfaces and light rust.  It measures 3 ½ inches long and 2 ¼ inches tall. This iron was given to me by Pat’s grandmother, Clarice Clark Renschler Bugg.  She said that as a girl she played with it.

Edna Kline Trausch's iron with two extra irons.
Edna Kline Trausch’s iron with two extra cores.

This was the iron my mother used prior to 1950.  Unfortunately I do not know when she got it, however I suspect she purchased it used.  She told me that prior to her marriage in 1937 she went to auctions in Hastings to purchase household items she needed.  This iron was in production as early as 1906.

The removable case and handle.
The removable case and handle.

This iron has asbestos inside the cover that fits over the heated core.  The asbestos prevented the heat from rising up to the woman’s hand.  It also kept the iron hot longer.  The ad below is for the identical iron.

Typical ad for a set of three cores, one asbestos-lined hood plus handle, and an asbestos stand. This one is from 1906.
Typical ad for a set of three cores, one asbestos-lined hood plus handle, and an asbestos stand. This one is from 1906.


A Nebraska Farm Boy in World War II

Edward John Kline’s World War II Experiences

As told to Catherine Trausch Renschler

Edward Kline in 1941, age 27.
Edward Kline in 1941, age 27.

By 1940 the government had initiated one year of compulsory military training.  I enlisted on February 14, 1941.  I went to Ft. Riley, Kansas and got my uniform, then was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas.  There I joined Company G, 35th Infantry Division; the Hastings National Guard unit.  Floyd Pressler and Dean Behrends of Trumbull were in the Hastings unit. I was in that Company until about two weeks before I went overseas.

The pay was $21 a month for the first four months, then $30 a month until I got out.  $25 a month of my pay was sent home to the folks while I was overseas.  We had to buy our tooth paste and shave cream and bar soap.  Cigarettes cost four cents a pack—I didn’t smoke so I traded them for candy.

I was at Little Rock, Arkansas until December 1941.  A week after Pearl Harbor we were sent to Camp San Luis Obispo in California.  While I was stationed at San Francisco I got transferred to Company G, 164th Infantry.  Twenty six of us were transferred to Company G, 164th Infantry Regiment of the North Dakota National Guards. We were based at Fleschackkers Play Field and Zoo, it was an amusement park.  There was a tunnel, big enough to drive a car through that went under a road to the beach.  We bunked in the tunnel.  We did night beach patrol there, looking for lights.  Some days we walked guard duty around the zoo.

I went overseas in March 1942; from San Francisco to Melbourne, Australia on the ship the USS President Coolidge.  I was on the ship at Melbourne for six days.  While there I got a one-day pass and went to a theatre.

At Melbourne we got off the USS President Coolidge after six days and got on a little cattle ship that sailed under the Javanese flag.  It was pretty crude; we slept in hammocks.  That ship took us to New Caledonia.  We didn’t know where we were going; we were just on the ship.  They didn’t tell us anything.  When we got there we just went out into the woods and set up our tents.  We were there for jungle warfare training.  We carried M-1s, but we didn’t have any ammunition unless we were target practicing.  We practiced with our bayonets. We carried our full pack–it had blankets, extra pair of shoes, shaving and bath stuff, socks and underwear.  We were four platoons—three rifle platoons and one automatic weapons platoon.  Each platoon had four squads of ten each, eight soldiers, one corporal, and one sergeant.

The people on New Caledonia spoke French and the natives spoke their language. In Noumea, the Capitol, the school kids were learning English

We were on New Caledonia until October 1942 when we were shipped to Guadalcanal on the USS McCaulay, a Marine transport.  We were on the ship five or six days.  They told us on the ship we were going to Guadalcanal.  I had never heard of it before that.  We landed on Kukum Beach on Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942.

On Guadalcanal the Marines and the Japanese had reached a stalemate.  The Marines held about six square miles.  We landed behind the Marine lines.  The ship dropped anchor back 300 or 400 yards from shore on Kukum Beach.  We crawled down those landing nets into landing barges.  They put about a platoon in the barge for a trip to shore.  The barge pulled up to shore and we walked off, I didn’t even get my feet wet.  We could see the Japanese landing troops across the bay while we were landing.  The first night we marched up to the place where we were going to take on the line.  There was a line set up around Henderson Airfield to protect it.  The Marines had been there since August when they took over a Japanese base, six square miles. The Japanese were already building this airfield.  We had to stop that because if the Japanese got that airfield completed, then they could bomb Australia.   Marines were manning the line and we replaced some of them.  In the night, the first night I was there, the Japanese came in with their big battleships and our fleet left.  The Japanese were stronger than we were and our fleet had to be careful.

The Japanese shelled us for two or three hours that night.  Shrapnel was flying; occasionally you could hear somebody hollering.  You can see those big shells coming, they were red hot.  If they hit where the ground was soft they dug a big hole when they exploded.

Henderson Field was right on the ocean, the line was a half circle around the airfield, the ocean was on one side.  All we had was a few fighter planes, maybe a half dozen, flown by the Army Air Corps.  When the Japs came down with their bombers our fighter planes went up and shot at the Japs.  Our planes were pretty slow getting up to the fighting altitude. The Japs had two observation planes on Guadalcanal—they didn’t do anything but harass us.  They went up at night and threw flares out that lit up the whole place.  They were small planes that they could hide in a cove someplace in the daytime.  We called one of them Maytag Charlie.  His plane sounded like a Maytag engine.  He spoke good English, we could talk to him while he was up there aggravating us, and he talked back.

The food on Guadalcanal was mostly rice.  The Marines had captured a warehouse full of rice.  It had worms in it.  We put it in big pots and skimmed the worms off and cooked it.  We didn’t have any food because when they were unloading the ship, the men got off first, then the ammo.  Then the bombers came in and the ship had to leave with our food still on it.

October 1942 letter from Quadalcanal requesting prayers. Grandpa Kline knelt in front of Edward's picture every evening and prayed the Rosary for his safe return.
October 1942 letter from Guadalcanal requesting prayers. Grandpa Kline knelt in front of Edward’s picture every evening and prayed the Rosary for his safe return.

I was at the airfield on Guadalcanal sixteen days; then I was injured.  The Marines came into our camp a little after dark one night; the Japanese had attacked the line in another place and they came to get our group to help them out. We marched over there—two or three miles– in the night. When we got there a battle was going on and we didn’t know what the hell to do.  Nobody had told us anything.  The Japs had made about a two-week march from where their base was.  They had circled around and came in on the back side of our base.

Our Lieutenant had his own platoon.  He said, “Everybody lay down over there and Ed and I will find out where they want to put us on the line.”  He was from South Dakota.    It was dark.  We thought we were getting into dangerous territory so we laid down behind a tree.  Then this bunch of Japanese who had just come through the barbed wire ran into us.  I got up, but they jabbed the Lieutenant in the back before he could get up, and killed him right there.  I was stabbed twice in my left arm.  They didn’t shoot, probably because they didn’t want to give themselves away.  I lost my weapon during the fight.  I got away from them and ran into the jungle.  The Japs stood around there and decided what they were going to do I guess.  There were some Marines in a machine gun hole covered with logs close by there and they were out of ammunition.  Their ammunition carriers were coming up and they both got shot and killed.  I saw one of the Marines who was in the machine gun hole after he got out and he was shaking so bad he could hardly talk. The Japs had been jabbing at him with bayonets and he was kicking at them and finally he got away.  I was out in the jungle all night.  When it began to get light the Japs quit fighting and hid in the jungle. In the morning they were sniping from trees whenever they could get a shot off without giving themselves away.

When it got light I found the rest of my platoon.  The Lieutenant and the medic had been killed that night.  There was a lot of activity around there, they were out picking up the guys that were injured and killed.  By then they were getting organized and a couple Marines would take a soldier with them.  None of us had been in combat before.  They split us up so they could get more good out of us.

The next afternoon they took me to the medical station they had on the island there.  It was a hole in the ground with boilerplate over the top.  There must have been eight or ten people down in there.  It was deep enough you could walk around down in there.  They had bunks in there.  I was there until I left the island a day or two later.  They put us on a plane and we flew to Hebrides Islands—Esperanto Santos—code name Cactus.   There was a hospital there.  It was in a Quonset hut, no ends in the building, just screens in the ends.  I was there two or three days and never did see a doctor there.  A hospital ship, the Solas, came in there and picked us up.  I was six days getting back to New Zealand.  We sailed into Auckland and then they took us on a train to Wellington.  There was a large Navy hospital near Wellington, New Zealand.  I was there until about December 20th.

I had surgery in Wellington to repair the severed nerve in my arm.  The Doctor in New Zealand said “I’ve got good news and bad news.  The good news is you are going to go home.  The bad news is you’re going to be in the hospital from six to eight months.

I got back to San Francisco on January 1, 1943.  I went to Letterman Army Hospital at the Presidio.  I called my sister Dorothy when I got there.  I never got any mail after I left New Caledonia; I got some mail three months after I got home.  They had it shrunk down into those little pages.  While I was in Letterman Hospital a guy from the San Francisco Hotel Association came around and interviewed some of us, and I got picked to be the “Warrior of the Week.”  They put Dorothy and me up in the Fairmont Hotel for the weekend.  We could order anything to eat that we wanted. The San Francisco newspaper printed a photo and story about me.

Clipping from San Francisco Examiner sent to Dan and Leona by Aunt Dorothy. I copied the clipping in the 1970s. Its current location is unknown.
Clipping from San Francisco Examiner sent to Dan and Leona by Aunt Dorothy. I copied the clipping in the 1970s. Its current location is unknown.

Warrior of Week-2I was in Letterman Hospital until February when they sent me to Hammond General Hospital in Modesto, California.  After I got to Modesto they gave me therapy.  They put a metal plate hooked up to electricity in the middle of my back.  Attached to it by wires was a pencil-like probe, and they stuck it on my arm and a shot of electricity made my fingers move.   I can’t straighten out my fingers on my left hand.  The Doctor in New Zealand told me eventually my hand would go shut and I wouldn’t be able to use it at all, but I kept moving it.

While I was in Modesto I got a 30-day furlough and I rode the train to Fort Sill, Oklahoma and picked Grace up and we drove her car to Nebraska.  She was teaching Home Economics in an Indian school. We were married in February 1943 at Harvard.  We stayed at the folks place in their spare room.  Gas was rationed so we left her car at the folks and took the train back to California.  Grace stayed with Dorothy at Coloma, California.  Dorothy was working waiting tables while her husband Archie Greathouse was in the Navy.      Grace got a job in a factory packing department—they made blouses.

My records never did follow me; I never got paid from August 1942 until April 1943.  I was discharged in May 1943 at the Presidio in San Francisco.  I got on the bus in my uniform and Grace and I came home.  The folks met us at the bus station in Grand Island.  We lived with the folks for a couple months and I went back to farming, planted corn on Grandma Kline’s [Bertha Kline] place.  I had farmed her place before I went into the service and I had rented the Snell place.  Dad farmed the Snell place for me while I was gone.  Clayton Snell was living in the house and we had to wait for him to get out so Grace and I could move in.

I was gone from February 1941 until May 1943.  I was 30% disabled.  I began getting $30 a month disability payments three or four months after I got home.  While I was in the jungle I got a fungus under my toenails and I had to have all of them taken off later on.  I received the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal, the American Campaign Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, and a bar with a Battle Star.

Company G of the North Dakota National Guard suffered 85% casualties during the war.  They went from Guadalcanal to Bougainville Island, and then to Japan as occupiers.