Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ralph Happekotte- the Iowa Years

Ralph, Irene, Clarence
In 1935, the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. Grandpa moved to Waterloo, IA in 1935. This picture, to the right, is probably close to that time. In the picture are siblings Ralph and Clarence Happekotte and their sister, Irene Schutte. Grandma and mom followed him in January, 1936.  He had worked for the Illinois Tire & Battery in Quincy, but a job in Waterloo was better. He worked for Bennett Tire & Battery at the corner of Park Ave. and Jefferson. They lived in a couple of places near downtown, including the Elmer Hotel before moving to Sherwood Park. Art Stitz owned several “cottages” in the Park and the Happekottes moved into #4. No running water, hand pump in the kitchen, kerosene stove, and an outhouse- not quite luxury living! This has to be where Grandpa got into the pump side business because it wasn’t too long before he had installed a shallow well pump for running water, he put a toilet and crude shower in the basement. I would be willing to bet that Grandma had a lot to do with that decision! What did they do for a shower before that? They took the bus downtown and went to the YWCA where they could take a bath for 25 cents. So, I guess running water, indoor toilet, and a shower were really luxuries to them.
Ralph started an emigration from Quincy. His brother Clarence lived with them for a time while he was working at Chamberlain’s before he moved to California. His sister, Mary, who had married Bob Foust in Quincy moved to Waterloo in 1952. Bob also worked at Chamberlain’s. Mary and Bob actually had lived in the Sherwood Park home that became our longest Sherwood Park residence at 109 Greenview Dr. 
While working for Bennett Tire & Battery, Grandpa was working on a car owned by Earl Manning. Earl owned Manning Pattern Co. This led to a new job for Grandpa; one that lasted from 1936 to his retirement in 1962. He had a long and good retirement. Working on the pumps and wells down in Sherwood Park kept him busy. They always enjoyed making trips to visit the many relatives in Quincy and I was fortunate enough to get to go along on several. I had not grown up in Quincy even though I was born there, but I always enjoyed the visits. There were so many relatives back in the 1960s and 1970s on both mom and dad’s sides of the family; so there wasn’t a shortage of people to see.

Grandpa and Grandma had a good life in Waterloo, but Grandpa’s heart was always in Quincy. We can remember that he always referred to Quincy as “God’s Country”. Grandma passed away on June 1, 1981; that was the only time I had ever seen Grandpa cry. Even if they were like the Bickersons, we knew how they felt about each other. So, when we lost Grandma, he took her back to Quincy to be buried. We lost Grandpa on August 25, 1983. Now, they are both back there in the Happekotte family plot in Calvary Cemetery in “God’s Country”.

Note: We really don't have a lot of pictures of Grandpa from the Iowa years. We lost most of any pictures we had of him in the house fire that I told about in the March 3rd post.

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