Memories of the Home, 401 Highland By Karen Hansen


My great-grandparents, Fred and Emma Glissmann, lived in the house from 1918 to 1946.

They had farmed in Lincoln Township, south of Walnut..

In the 1920 Census, daughter Helen, age 19, and son John (Jack), age 17, were listed with Fred and Emma.

I also found Helen listed with her sister Anna Manke and husband Otto H. J. and children, Otto, Beulah and Leona, who were farming in Pleasant Township, Cass County, Iowa.

One of my aunts lived with her grandparents for her first two years of high school, 1933 through 1935.

She went home on the weekends to her family’s farm south of Walnut.

She remembers the old cold furnace in the basement, Grandma in a chair by the kitchen table beside the window, crocheting, not even needing to watch her hands.

Grandpa liked to lie on the day bed in the kitchen and read westerns with his spittoon beside him on the floor.

The cook stove was also in the kitchen, but no cupboards as there was a pantry down the hall from the kitchen.

As she would be coming back from school, she could smell the buttermilk soup that Grandma was cooking. It smelled bad, but tasted good.

It was a nice, big house at that time with a dining room and a living room, that they seldom used.

Grandma had beautiful dishes in a hutch in the living room, which were fascinating to her grandchildren.

My mother can remember coming to town on Saturday night, as was the custom, and staying overnight in the upstairs of the house.

She remembers the train whistles in the night, which was so different from the quiet of the country she was accustomed to.

The wash shed was at the southeast corner behind the house. Emma had a washing machine with the arm that you pulled back and forth.

The outhouse was by the alley, but the house had a bathroom with a bathtub and a cistern pump and sink.

When George Mertz lived in the house, he planted a pin oak and a red oak tree in the yard.

He bought them from Fred Robinson, who lived at 400 Country Street and had a soda fountain and sold fruit trees.

George enclosed the back porch and put a conversion natural gas burner on the coal furnace.

We remembered a cold winter night when his son Kenny was a baby sleeping downstairs, since there was no heat upstairs.

The front door blew open in the night and it was really cold in the room when they came down from upstairs in the morning.