One Christmas Aunt Norma spent with us. There were a lot of letters going back and forth between Alice Strelesky and Dubuque, so Alice knew Aunt Norma was there. When her box was opened there was a present for Grandma, Irene, Eunice and me but nothing for Aunt Norma. A.N. cried. In the early years Aunt Norma was very good to Herb and Alice. Alice could have put something in her box if it were only a little remembrance from the 10¢ store. I remember how bad I felt for Aunt Norma.
Grandpa and Grandma Sanders [Ernest Vincent and Josephine (Uhlrich) Sanders] each came from a wealthy home. Both grew up in Galena, but do [sic] to Grandpa’s drinking problem the family were very poor. Grandma’s sisters were always good to Grandma and her children. One Christmas George Hatzenbuhler, Grandma’s brother-in-law, dressed up as Santa Claus for the Sanders kids. He played the part well, but Al [Sanders] who was about eight to ten said Santa had a nose like Uncle George!
At one time Grandpa was doing well; he was a cigar maker and had a nice business. Due to drinking he lost it and the family were very poor. To feed her children Grandma took in washings. No automatic washers in those days; wash was done in a tub and on a washboard. The irons to iron the clothes was heated on the stove. Uncle Fred and Frank had a wagon Grandpa made. They would pick up the dirty clothes and deliver the clean ones back. Fred was very proud and this hurt him terribly. I have seen that pride come down through several generations.
One afternoon a neighbor came to Grandpa with his son who had a bloody nose and a black eye that was swollen shut. The father asked the boy who had beat him up. The kid said “Sanders did.” Grandpa asked the boy which one of his sons beat him up so bad. The kid said, “Norma did.” The boy’s dad kicked him in the butt all the way home for letting a girl beat him.