MEMORIES OF WALNUT
BY DONALD LENEIGH FISCHER
My dad August Fischer and his brother, Ed Fischer, purchased the Briardale Grocery Store from August Christiansen in 1920. Ironic as it may seem, August Christiansen’s wife Caroline became my stepmother in 1936. The name Briardale was a coop out of Des Moines, where small grocers could buy canned foods at more competitive prices. In 1930, when times were difficult, my uncle Ed made the choice to leave the business. The building and all merchandise became my dad’s. It was more than a grocery store at the time. Notions (needles, threads, sewing needs, patterns), bolted dry goods, women’s hosiery, men socks, overalls, tobacco, kerosene, etc. were all part of the inventory. Credit (bartering) was practiced with farmers for eggs, chickens, and butter. Ironically again, Caroline worked in the store while my mother Ella still lived. After her death and the death of August Christiansen, in June, 1936, Caroline and my dad married. We had been neighbors all my life. So there was no period of getting acquainted. To make a complete turnaround at that time, the grocery merchandise was sold to Art Koehrsen. The groceries were moved to the first building south of the post office.
My dad retained sole ownership of his building. It is then, in 1936, that Otto Christensen came on the scene. He was married to my dad’s sister. They lived in Storm Lake, moved to Walnut and Otto became a partner in the newly formed chicken hatchery, C & F Hatchery. The first year we had baby chicks coming out of our ears. After that first year, it went well. In 1945, my folks moved to California. The partnership was dissolved and the building was sold to Otto. My Uncle Otto liked going to Canada to fish. He was a favorite uncle.