Memories Of Anna Kuhlman Meier Martin
by Patricia A. Johnson
The year was 1951 and I had just turned sixteen. You were a young wife and mother, age thirty seven. You had a teenage son 18, and three small children ages 2, 6, and 7. The first time I met you was in your home on AK@ Street in Gering, Nebraska. Your home was small, but so neat, clean, and homey. Family pictures on display in the livingroom, plants at the windows, and fancy doilies on the end tables and couch and chairs. I remember the feeling of welcome that was in the air in your home.
Of course, the kitchen was a special place in your home. This is where I first tasted AButterballs and Noodles@ ADina Kuga@(forgive my phonetic spelling), AKraut Bidouck@ and many other German dishes that I came to love, and still fix to this day.
Little did the two of us realize, in the beginning, the many miles, trials and joys we would travel together in the next twenty plus years. There are so many memories it is hard to isolate just a few.
One of my fondest memories is of your father, Fred Kuhlman. I would pick him up on Saturday nights and bring him to our house to watch TV. Our regulars were Saturday Night Wrestling and Lawrence Welk. When Grandpa Kuhlman discovered I smoked he was delighted, I thought he would think I was terrible C but he was happy to have a smoking partner, and we would sit and smoke and watch TV together on Saturday nights. Sometimes we would just sit and he would tell me stories of his youth, and when he migrated to Canada in 1912 from Russia. I wish I had asked him more questions, but I treasure the things he did tell me.
I remember when you and I lived together in Weiser, Idaho in 1959-1960. How a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law could live a whole winter in close quarters, and not have a spat or two is amazing. We never did, even though I am sure there were times that I got on your nerves. Neither one of us ever said any words that hurt the other, and I cherish that memory.
We were partners in 1960 when we both worked at Ore-Ida in Ontario, Oregon. You would leave in the afternoon for the 2nd shift, and I would be home with Roger, Carol, Charles, Steve and Cindy when school was out. Then I would leave for 3rd shift after the kids were in bed and you would be home soon after, from your shift. We both needed the money, and this worked out for both of us.
It was during this time, also that I grew to appreciate how you could make a meal for a large family out of so little. I still marvel at how you can take a few potatoes, eggs, and flour and make a satisfying meal. Of course, you always had plenty of home canned fruit that you put up in the fall.
Remember when you and Steve and I would go into Weiser, Idaho and stop at the Bus Station for a cup of coffee? Steve was about three years old and loved to drink the cream out of those little glass cream jars. We would laugh as he smiled at us with a great big white mustache.
I do have a momento and reminder of you to this very day. Its not a glamorous item, but I am reminded of you every time I use it. It is the ironing board you gave me when you moved to Idaho. Yes, I still have it, after all the years of moving. And I think of you each time I use it.
I used to love to hear you and Grandpa visit and talk about the many families you knew, and who married who, who died, who was related to who. I always wondered how you two kept them all straight.
I appreciate so much the times you took care of Cindy when I worked as a solderer at JEK Manufacturing. I knew she was in the best hands in the world.
You have been the best mom, grandmother, great grandmother and friend to so many people. I hope you know how much you are loved and how much I cherish the many memories of our times together. I had a wonderful mother of my own, but I always had room for another mom.
We have each seen many births, deaths, marriages, divorces, trials, tribulations, and joys.
Through it all we have remained good friends. I will end by saying,
AYou did a great job, and thank you.@