Peeks From The Past



Running Away 
as recalled by Alfred Gerwing with additions by Clara Doyle (nee Gerwing))

It 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. 

I 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. 

During 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.

Off 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.

When 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.


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