Joan Rolenc Bottcher sent this email on 11/18/02.  A note about the “Big Red Barn”. 

 

I read the whole thing on that barn and it brought back memories galore.  Mom designed the barn and laid out all the designs and footings for Dad and then he copied what she did.  Both of them, together, were genius folks while working.  They were a good team.  Dad had a gold mine in Mom and vise versa.  We had some good parents.  I remember so vividly Mom having Dad cut the angles as she specified and she laid the first one out with Mom writing the exact measurements on each piece.  She told him how many and when the footings were poured and the supports for the barn were raised and put into the footings it was something to see.  Mom was an architect and drafter and designer all in one.  That woman was SMART!!!!

 

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Marcie Parolek sent this story by email on 5/5/03. A note about the floods.

 

My memories of 1963 Flood. In June of 1963 we had a very bad flood. At that time we lived just a block West of the Blue River. Whenever there was a flood lots of people would walk down to the bridge to watch the floodwaters. It had rained very hard that night. In the morning, we were told 14 inches of rain had fallen by Garrison and it was coming our way. Kate Hayek picked me up and we went to see how the water was rising North of town. We drove just a short ways North and we could see the water was rising fast and it was high. Someone in a plane shouted at us to get out of there; which of course we did right away. When we came to the East bridge the water was ready to go over the bride. It was already over the road. Where we stood we had to back up because the water was coming up that fast.
The Huges Brothers workers were on their way home. The first car made it over, just in time. The others that followed had to go way around and come in from the South. About that time, a beer truck was coming into town. The driver thought he could make it. He stepped on it and the truck stalled. The driver and passenger got out of the truck and sat on top of their roof. Now the question was, "How were they to get out of there?" Someone suggested that Jim Korinek should get his maintainer and rescue the guys. Jim got on the maintainer and backed it up into the floodwaters on the bridge. Slowly the 2 guys got onto the maintainer and were brought to safety. Poor Georgia was crying, as she was worried that Jim might not make it. That beer truck stayed in the water for about a week. The water took a long time going down. The townsmen were worried that some young kids might try to steal the beer out of the truck in the floodwaters. They took turns staying up at night by the bridge doing guard duty.
I remember some of the boys walking on the bridge railing with the floodwaters under them. It was very scary.

 

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Anita Rolenc Reid tells this story about the flood in 1963.

Another 1963 flood related story.....

In 1963 I was living in Philadelphia, PA. We decided to drive home to see Mom and Dad for I was a little on the homesick side. So my husband Hugh, his brother Charles (who at the time was 14), my daughter Jean (who was almost two) and myself got into the car to go west. It was hot and we did not have air conditioning in the car. Somewhere in Illinois we stopped at an A&W Root beer place and got some cold drinks. Got back into the car and Jean got sick. Oh! did she do a job on us. But she slept most of the way to Nebraska.

When we got to Omaha, we noticed signs of high water. Crossing the Platte on 92 we were very aware that there were going to be big problems down the road. We hit the Butler county line and knew for sure there were going to be problems. The water on the Ulysses spur was level with the ditch's. I told Hugh that it was possible that we were not going to get across the bridge South of the house. When we got close to where Rita my sister lived (which was 1/4 mile from my parents) the road looked to have almost washed away. I told Hugh that this really looks bad and that I never had seen it this bad.

We got to the bridge and the water was right under it. Hugh said I wonder if it is coming up or going down. I told him that it looked to be going down because of all of the wash out around us. As we rounded the bin in the road, the yard was full of mud. All the windows and doors of the house were open. The water line on the house was visible and very high. A sick feeling came over all of us in the car.

I got out and raced into the house to find Mom coming out of the living room with muddy curtains in her hand. She dropped them on the floor and grabbed and hugged me. She started to cry and say it was the worst floor we ever had. The water was high on the first floor and that they had to be taken out in a boat. Grandma Farmer was there at the time and she too had to get in a boat. That must have been a sight.

(Maybe Bridget and Michaelene can tell the rest of that story).

Anyway about that time Dad came around the corner and he too was in tears. The fire truck had just left, they had come to wash the mud out of the house. By now Hugh and the kids were also in the house. Mom was busy making a big fuse over Jeanie and Charles, while Dad explained how bad the flood had been to Hugh and I. He told us that he had lost all of his tools and a lot of his equipment. The car was full of mud and was not running. Dad was a mess. Mom was putting on a strong face, but the house was wet and slightly off the foundation, she had lost a couple of prize dogs, and had lots of things that had to be cleaned out.

I remember Hugh, Charles and I saying, put us to work. Charles told me after we got back to Philadelphia that he did not think he would be a farmer because it was hard work and sad too. I remember how muddy Dad, Hughie and Charles were after they dug the hay stacker out of the mud. Then Charles and Hughie went looking for tools and other things every day. They came back always with something in hand. It was one of the busiest vacations we ever had, but it is looked on as being one of the best. I remember Mom sat down one night after a full day of her and I working on the cabinets in the kitchen and in the utility room, and she fell asleep immediately.

When I think back on it, it was only six years later that Mom died.

 

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