(as recalled by Alfred Gerwing with additions by Clara
Doyle (nee Gerwing))
was 1928 and I was a five-year-old farm boy not yet old
enough to attend school in Lake Lenore with my older
brothers Herman and Leo.
recall a particular day when my mother and father Anna and
Joseph Gerwing (Ma & Pa) were away for their annual
autumn trip to Humboldt some 20 miles distant. This was an
important excursion because it involved taking wheat to be
ground into flour as well as purchasing all the
necessities for the long winter ahead. Ma & Pa were
usually away for two days. The first day they would travel
as far as Marysburg for an overnight stay with Ma's
parents Ludwig & Francesca Gessner. The next day on to
Humboldt for flour grinding and shopping, returning to the
farm late in the day.
this excursion in 1928 I was home alone with Mr. Mauer. My
brothers Herman and Leo had taken a horse and buggy to
school in Lake Lenore. Mr. Mauer's task for the day was to
mend harness. As a typical five-year-old I was being quite
a pest which irritated Mr. Mauer. Finally after several
warnings he slapped my hand with a small leather strap. I
immediately rebelled and decided to run away from home.
The only place I could think of going to was the school in
Lake Lenore 3 miles away to join my brothers.
I went on foot. First stop was the Joe Wourms farm - a
drink of water would have been nice, however no one was
home. On I went. As I passed by my uncle Henry Gerwing's
farm, he came out to the road and asked if I needed a
ride. To a five-year-old my Uncle Henry was a very large,
intimidating, rotund man. I replied in German, "I
don't ride with fat men"! On I quickly went. When I
finally arrived at the school, Herman & Leo were still
in class. At first the nuns who ran the school treated me
royally offering a drink, cake & cookies. However,
when they found out that I was a runaway, they took the
plate of cake and cookies from me.
classes finally ended for the day, I got a ride home with
my brothers in the back of the buggy. By this time, Ma, Pa
& the hired man were all searching for me. Needless to
say after a dose of Pa's discipline, I learned that
running away was a serious matter.