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2 May 2006

Hahn Family Memories

(From Florence Hahn Letters to Tom Hahn unless otherwise noted)

    The day we were married Louise [Hahn] and Margaret [Hahn]. Both Walter's sister's] went with us to the preachers house in Topeka for the ceremony and when we came home to Grandma [Mattie] Hahn's house I don't remember how we went but do remember coming thru Central Park and I was so thrilled that was going to live in a city with Parks and plumbing. Was a beautiful Sept day but I can't see how I could wear a heavy suit this early. Grandma Hahn had a wedding dinner for us and then the next day we all went to Baldwin [Douglas County, Kansas] and Eds [Walter's brother] and Marie's [Jenkins] wedding. Whenever we mention their wedding all Dad can think of is the salty ham they had for dinner, while I think of the romantic side.
     This morn at church they sang "Take Tie to be Holy" and I probably have told you before about the time or the first time I ever heard that song and whenever I hear it I still smell peaches. This particular time, was in the fall the first year we were in Topeka [1920] and often Grandma and Grandpa Hahn, Margaret and Louise [Walter Hahn's unmarried sisters] and us would go for a ride. Louise wasn't married until later in the year and was their first year in Topeka, so Sunday afternoons we would get into that Ford of Grandpas and go out on the country roads. Wasn't any traffic on any roads in those days. At one farm house we saw a sign "Peaches for Sale" on the gate down by the road, so we drove up a long lane and there was a peach orchard on one side. The smell was really something and as we got to the house we heard singing -- someone playing the piano and several singing this hymn. So we knocked and said we wanted to buy peaches and they said they didn't sell on Sundays. So I can still smell peaches whenever I hear that song. So this morning my nose got to twitching. We have bowl of peaches and pears on the table now but they don't have that orchard smell. You have never written about the tropical fruits there [the Republic of the Philippines]. Do you get hold of any like the ones in Hawaii? (20 September 1965)  

     I have been thinking about 56 years ago today. What a good life we had together. We were married on the 5th [of Sep 1920]. Louise [Hahn] and Margaret [Hahn] [--Walter Hahn's sisters] went with Dad and I to the First Methodist Parsonage here [in Topeka, Kansas] at 11am and we went to Grandma Hahn's for our wedding dinner. The next day we went to Baldwin [KS] to Marie [Jenkins] and Ed's [Ed Hahn was Walter's younger brother's] wedding at Mrs. Jenkin's home. [Mrs. Jenkins had previously lived in White City, but she moved to Baldwin to give her daughter, Marie, a home while Marie attended Baker University. Mrs. Jenkins also took in students as boarders.] Avis [Marie's sister] and her new husband [Frank? Sharp] of four months were there. I think about six o'clock we two couples went to Kansas City and we stayed at the same hotel. We went to a furniture store. We had a letter for a discount from the furniture man in White City, so we bought a dining table, buffet, and chairs and we didn't have money for anything else. We were there two nights. I had a new wedding suit which was a fall model and was a warm day and then a rain the first day in KC that ruined my wedding hat.
     It was so nice for us to have our relatives living here [in Topeka] and raising our families together. Les [Beckman] and Louise [Hahn] were married in December, then Myrtle [Walter's older sister] moved here the next year and Ed soon after that so that we were quite a family. The Hahns were wonderful people, good folks and loved their children and we were all very happy. Then my folks came two or three years after we did. Dad was still in the Post Office 2 or 3 yrs after I was married.
     We had such fun on picnics and going to the Fair with our kids and we were all poor together. Dad [Hahn had a Model T car the year they came to Topeka and they came here only a few months after we were married. That first fall we were the only ones and them here in Topeka and we had such good times. We would go for a ride Sunday afternoons with Louise, Margaret and Grandma and Grandpa Hahn and we would get lost in the country and finally get back on the road to town. We would stop at their house for a little Sunday evening snack. It seemed that it was a wonderful fall, everything new to us--the big Fair and we even had a guest or two that fall that came to the Fair.
     And Dad had a good time stocking up on apples, pears, etc and grapes. I didn't know much about what to do with them but did know some from home, but mostly my job at home was peeling the peaches and apples and grapes and mother did the rest. And so today all I've done is think about the good times and how beautiful that fall was. And to be in my own home with a furnace and running water and a toilet, I felt like a queen, but most of all I had a good man to look after me and we built our future together with work and dreams. And after 5 yrs we were on our feet getting a head start so planned for a little boy and that made our life complete, you have been so good to us and there are so many things I wish that I had done differently, more patience with you, etc. (September 1976)

     Dear T & N   Fresher this morn and hazy. Was 57 yrs today Dad and I were married. and this year seems so fresh in my mind, some years the day goes by without thinking about it.   The [wedding] day was a bright quite warm one as I had a new winter suit and a satin blouse so it couldnt be as warm as now, for no one could stand a suit this kind of weather. Louise and Margaret went with us to the ministers study First Meth at eleven oclock and then back to grandma & grandpa Hahns for a nice wedding dinner. Dont remember whether there were any relatives there that day. I came to Topeka a few days before and stayed at the Hahns and I shopped for my clothes.
     The day after our wedding was Marie and Eds at Baldwin. The ones at the Hahn house went in the Ford [to Ed Hahn's wedding in Baldwin] and Dad and I went on an early train to Baldwin. We slept in our own home the first night as had my bedroom furniture from home [White City] shipped here, and there was a kitchen table and a stove. The wedding at Baldwin there were a few guests and Mrs Jenkins, Marie's mother, had dinner for us all, and then we left around 6 o'clock pm for KC for a brief honeymoon. Ed & Marie went too. We had a card fro our White City furniture man at a furniture store there and we were supposed to get a percent off. Whether we did or not, I doubt we did, we were so green, and only furniture we got was a buffet, table and chairs, we couldnt afford any more, so we got a few things at a yard sale in Topeka, a few days later--a wicker settee and chair. We did get a table with the dining room stuff, they called them library tables then, a long narrow table and it stuck out like a sore thumb in that almost bare room, but we were very happy and proud of what we had. I had bought things for my hope chest for two or three years so was well supplied with towels, sheets, etc and got a notice from the bank in W.C. a week after we were married I was overdrawn 67 cents. I never lived that down. Dad thought it was quite a joke and loved telling it, but I also came back that I had a cedar chest and many dollars worth of things for the house, also my suit and hat, and only wore the hat to my wedding and to Baldwin and KC and the next day in KC was raining and it was ruined. It cost $18.50 and suit $75.00. Clothes were high then.
    The night before we were married the Hahns were playing the Victrola and the record was, "When you come to the end of a perfect day." Maybe you have never heard it but it was so popular then and I got homesick and left the room and went to a bedroom and cried. Dad came in and I told him I was lonesome and wanted to go home to W. C. but in no time he had me in a different frame of mind, so fall has always been a beautiful time for me as that one was such a lovely one.

   And now this Labor Day am also thinking about later years on that day. We always got Colo peaches, the last ones to be on the market and I made what you called Halloween jam, as had the color of Halloween things, used orange peel, and marashino cherries, and peaches, was a beautiful jam and company jam. (Ibid, 5 September 1977)

      Yesterday Sept 5th Dad & I were married 60 yrs ago, and I thought about that day a lot, seems more this year, and it was a nice fall day and not too hot as I wore a navy satin blouse. Louise [Walter's sister] made it for me, as I couldn't find one to go with suit. I came to Topeka [from White City, Kansas] a few days before we were married and stayed at Hahns. They had only been in Topeka a few months. And now since Ed and Marie [Ed Hahn and his wife, Marie (Jenkins) Hahn] are gone I feel very lonely when I think of that day.. We (Dad & I went on train) and Louise [Hahn, Margaret [Hahn, Walter's sister], grandma and grandpa Hahn drove to Baldwin [Kansas] to Ed's wedding. Mrs. Jenkins [Marie's mother] lived there and she had a dinner at noon for relatives and then Marie & Ed, Dad I went to KC for two days. So grandma & pa gave away two sons in two days. (Ibid, 5 September 1980)

     This is sort of a sentimental weekend for me, as tomorrow would have been Dads and mine 63 Wedding am remembering it so vividly I came to Topeka several days before the wedding and stayed at the Hahn's. Louise and Margaret were living at home. I did not want to be married at home in White City. as Mother had undergone an operation a short while before and wasnt up to having anything special and I didnt want a wedding like most girls do. I was beat up getting my job at the Post Office lined up. [She has written sever times about the wedding days, but this is the first time she has mentioned why she didnt get married in her home city, White City. Since graduating from high school, she had been working as Assistant Postmaster to her father, Postmaster Tom Torgeson.]
     The evening before I was married was with Louise and your Dad, others out some place. They had a record and I rushed to the bedroom and cried "When you come to the end of a Perfect day" and dad came in to see what was wrong. I was just plain homesick and missing I had grown up [with] etc, that is called I have head Prenuptial blue, and after a quiet talk, I was back to normal. [My dad was a nice man who had a way of being kind to people.] Leaving the nest after 23 years was a big change. I loved my parents, sisters, and home. My brother had been gone 10 yr or more. (4 September 1983)

     Mon. Would have been Dad & my Wedding Day 64 years [6 September 1920], thats a long time ago, but this year I remember it more than some years. I came to Topeka 2 or 3 days before and stayed at Hahn (Grandpa Hahns). Louise & Margaret still at home and I went shopping for my wedding suit and Hat, and Louise made my blouse, Navy satin and suit was Navy hot brown. I remember the prices of them also and at the end of that month got my banks statement from White City I was overdue .67. I never lived that down, but would always have a "Come Back" that I came with a cedar chest full of blankets, quilts, sheets, pillow slips and towels.
     Twas a beautiful Sept day cool and bright  and were at Grandma Hahn & grandpa had all the family for a Wedding Dinner. Louise & Margaret went with us to the ministers at First Methodist Church here and married in the chapel at 11 o'clock. The next morn went on an early train to Baldwin as Ed [Hahn] & Marie [Jenkins] married [there]. Grandma & grandpa Hahn and Louise and Margaret  went in their "Ford." We two couples now married went at 6.00 on train in Baldwin to K.C. and there stayed 2 days and one night then back to Topeka. We had a reference letter from a man that ran a small furniture deal and was a mortician  and he gave us a sort of a credit card at a large ware house (furniture) and we bot a dining table & chairs and a table for living room and then later on looked up 4 yard sales for other furniture. House was pretty bare for several yrs. I made an orange crate dressing table for the bedroom. Bare floors everywhere. Got an oil stove for the cooking and it did alright. We had one at home for summer use so I new how they worked. (6 September 1984)

     And now after talking to you last night I got to thinking about 2 days before you came into the world, 2 days before I had my new house all shiny as we moved in the last of May [1926]I had my new house all shiny as we moved in May . And I got busy making fruit cakes for the fall holiday eating. And so the day I did that in the evening Dad & Mother Hahn came over with Uncle Paul who had come that day, and when he got inside he said, "house smells so good, like someone has been baking. [Uncle Paul was Paul Hahn, the youngest of Chris Hahn's brothers and Walt Hahn's uncle. He lived on a farm in Kansas City, Kansas. Then by morn I was feeling like was almost time to have a baby and waited around until evening, Myrtle [Hahn] McCollister [Walt's sister] came over in afternoon, and so Pop [Walt Hahn] and I went to [Christ] hospital[ on West 6th Avenue] around 7.00 and at midnight you came. He [Walt] was very nervous and walked the halls. And then after the event, he was like Paul Revere, went from house to house to tell the news. [However, I don't seem to remember that midnight ride chronicled in the history books.]
     I had told mother I was going to hospital a day or two early to rest up, so she wouldnt worry, so he went over next morning to  tell them the news and brot them to see the new grandson. They were first in the family to see you. My dad [Thomas Torgeson] was always fond of babies [He should have been; he had nine of his own.] and when they brot you in in he held you and kissed you. and I told him your name was Thomas Frederick after the 2 grandpas. In those days they were not strict about visitors being around babies. And the first light snow of the season came while in the hospital and I was the happiest person looking out and watching it snow and holding a little bundle all wrapped in a blanket. (9 November 1983)

     I dont agree with this article, the Nov is a grim month. To me it is a lovely fall month, Indian Summer, Thanksgiving to look forward to, and air so fresh and crisp, geese flying over, hunting season, and fall harvest, things such as apples, squash, sweet potatoes and cranberries, and the Hahn family Special Day Thanksgivings and Grandma Hahn's specialty was cranberry sauce & the jellied kind, and baked apples. Sometimes a light snow in Nov, had a baby boy [me, Tommy] arrive and that Thanksgiving I remember well as baby too little to take out so grandma T[orgeson] said they would come to our house. We hadnt started the Hahn Thanksgiving [tradition] yet so Gladys, Bernice, Tom T[aggart] and grandma T and grandpa [Torgeson] came to our house. Grandma made pie and other things and I baked a large hen, dressing with help as I wasnt too strong yet, and the when all the kids were around 8 & 10 yrs we started going to Hahn families. (November 1981)

   You mentioned the heat wave we had in 1936, it was bad but dry air and we used the basement a lot and kept the inside basement door open and cool air would come up. And we slept out on cots on porch some nights and some evenings would drive up to Security Benefit hill to cool off and spend the evening blankets on ground. I don't think we had an electric fan then. Taggarts [second house tot he south] had a tin tub in living room, folks did all sorts of make shifts to cool off. You kids played with the hose a lot.
      Grandpa Hahns funeral was day after 4th of July or may[be] a day later and temp was 111 and men in those days didn't have summer suits and had to wear their winter suits and was no central air cond. in bldgs then either, it was awful hot going to cemetary [in Topeka, Kansas]. But we were young and could take it and didn't know the difference like now. So Ive been thru 2 terrible summers, and bad flood and bad tornado and a hard winter so know what is all about. (July 1980)

   And then my mind wondered to another Fourth of July, a sad one. Grandpa Hahn died the day or two before the Fourth, I do not or have not kept the dates of the Hahns, but you Tom were around 9 or 10 yrs old, that was the terrible hot summer where for days the temperature was 116, every day, and folks slept out in yards etc. and the day of the funeral the men suffered wearing their good winter suits as they didn't have summer suits in those days. (July 1983)

    In a letter yesterday you asked about Grandpa Hahn as I had written he died the day before 4th of July. You were 9 yrs old and did not want to go to the funeral so stayed with Grandma T. It was such a hot day of the funeral. Maybe  I have written that was the year that we had 111 degree weather  for days. and the men folk suffered with their heavy winter suits. In those days only one good suit. They wore light color cotton pants for their dress up, but did not think the looked well for funerals. Grandpa Hahn had diabetes and cant recall how long, but he would not diet as he should and the doctor told him what to eat, and he got a large splinter in his hand and was hard to get it to heal, so was in a bandage when he died. He could have lived longer had he taken care and stuck to diet. You little folks would ask about grandpa and then when you were eleven yrs old Grandpa T died and we could explain more then about death and you went to White City with us to his funeral, and then when both of your grandmothers died you were overseas. Was a sad time for Dad and I to not have you home and I know how hard it must have been to get word that they were gone and you so far from home. But we have happy memories of the days the Sundays when we were all together over to grandma Hahns and we would go in afternoon and in summer some of the men folks would go to Baughmans and get a freezer of ice cream, and grandpa Hahn always had a box of fresh crackers and we loved them with ice cream and still now I like crackers with ice cream instead of cake. And I am the only one left in both families, and trying to carry on. (Date?)

     Grandpa Hahn died the day before the 4th of July, and that was the year had temp of 112 for days. (12 July 1984)

    I watched the mothers today with their little little folks and thot about the Hahn clan. An another little episode came up came to my mind when I saw a little boy and girl, were about 10, sort of chasing each other. One Sunday you were  hitting the preachers daughter (I think her name was Margo) with a folded up SS paper, and Grandma Hahn [Walt's mother, Mattie (Defries) Hahn ]said "Tommy you mustn't do that." and Margo said" That's alright I like to have him chase me." [Well, how about that!] So you see every generation goes through a growing up phase and through teen age and on to maturity and you love them thru all of them, and I am in my old age enjoying the mature man (1983)

     Guess your article on dishes made me think, and I didnt want a plate from any of the 3 sets of dishes I have so I got out one from Aunt Bertha gave me a very old one called "The Indian Tree," has a sprongly[?] tree of blossoms, and little bunches of fruits and blossoms around the rim of plate, it isnt a thin China. Do you remember Aunt Bertha. She was a widow and lived in K.C. and kept house for an old couple, and the year we lived in K.C. [1928?] when you were 2 yrs she would come see me on her day off and would bring little tidbits of fancy nuts, like cashews etc which were unusual for ordinary folks in those days. and other bits of other food wrap[ped] in little bundles and just enough for me. And then after she quit working and we were back in Topeka she came to visit all we Hahns. She was grandpa Hahns, I think oldest sister. we girls called her Aunt Bert, her husband had been dead a good many years before we got [married] into the family and her request was she wanted to be buried here by Grandpa H. and I cant remember if she went after he did. Of course when she lived in KC. she had Uncle Gus and Aunt Nellie etc to visit with. She had young ideas and didnt dress like an old lady. the way old ladies dressed then. So she gave me the India Tree plate and I treasured it and much of the time it is on the Hutch and she gave me the metal tray I set the toaster on all the time and I sat a long time looking at it and thinking about the Past, that is an old ladies privilege. (September 1982)

     When you cousins were young Tom, we used to go to Grandpa Hahns on Sunday afternoon, he always got a large sq box of crackers (soda) the day before and then Sun afternoon,  couple f men would go to Baughmans for a freezer of ice cream and we ate crackers with the ice cream and that salty with ice cream went so well and I still like crackers with it, sometimes crush them and stir around with the ice cream. (July 1984)

    It was such a shock about Marie and last night was awake all night reviewing in my mind the past 52 years or more of our lives, how we started out our married life the same year. They (Marie & Ed) were married the day after we were and we two couple went to KC together and were there 2 days and bought some of our furniture. And from then on when you kids were little, our picnics, holidays etc. together. ( October 1978)