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The Little Book and other Keck memories

The James Almer Keck family
Back row: Sam, Mary, Charles and Ellen
Middle row: Dallas, James, Laura and Marvin
Front row: Lydia, Myrtle and Almer

This little book is dedicated to you our Mother and Father
by your children on Mother's Day, May 1926.
(Little Book written by members of the James Almer Keck family).

M is for the million things she gave me.
O is only that she's growing old.
T is for the tears she shed to save me.
H is for her heart of purest gold.
E is for her eyes with love-light beaming.
R is right - and right she'll ever be.
Put them all together, they spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world me me.

There's love in my heart for Mother
And all Sisters I adore,
Each man I meet is my Brother
I have Friends from shore to shore.
The friends I have all love me,
And their friendship makes me glad.
But as sure as the stars above me,
There's a place in my heart for Dad.

Chapter 1
By Ellen

Remembering Aunt Ellen

"Those happy days of childhood!" What an inspiration they are to us now. And we can thank our dear Father and Mother for the many happy memories.

How often I think of those winter Sunday mornings when we lived on the "corner", how some one, after the chores and dishes were done, would go to the cellar and get a pan of apples -- russets if we had them -- and we would toast them on the stove if they were cold, and all the family would sit together in the front room and study our Sunday School lessons. If there were questions we children did not understand, there was our Father to help us, which he did many times.

Our Sunday School and Church were the big events of the week for us and how we always enjoyed these services. How thankful I have always been to have had a home where we had Christian training. It is the greatest training any child can have. And the many things you have done for us all our lives we are very grateful for. We appreciate it all more than we can say.

I remember some of those winter evenings we used to spend with the Marsh family, eating popcorn and milk. O, how good it was! The chicken dinners we had at home can never be forgotten, and the whipped cream pie or cranberry pie our Mother used to make can never be surpassed. If an extra piece was left in the pantry there would be several in there for lunch to see who would get the most of it.

Then too we always looked forward to the fall of the year when we could go to the "county fair". That was a great treat. In those days we always knew our neighbors when we met them on the road. Old "Charley and Florrie" never went so fast but what we could see the folks we met, but the old dobbins were safe and tipped us over once.

How we used to love to sit out on the east side of the chicken house on a nice sunshiney, spring morning and make stilts. We tried to find nails in the ash pile, but when they run out we went to the shop where we always found a good supply.

And how well we liked to work. Well I do remember the spanking I got (only one I know about) for not picking up cobs with Lydia and getting them to the house in time for Mother to bake the bread. We thot picking cobs was the hardest job there was. If we could bake or cook or clean the house, we thot it would be no job at all. Well we discovered since that we had a pretty easy task with no responsibility attached. Mary was always so cheerful about her work, she was the swiftest dish-washer in our family, not that she enjoyed it so much but she could get them out of the way more quickly than anyone I have known. If there was any fun going on she was right there too.

We were a most congenial bunch and this is the song we listened to each morning. After Father got up and went to the barn, Mother called "Sammy, Sammy get up now". Sammy called "Charlie", Charlie called "Dallas", Dallas called "Marvin", Marvin called "Almer" and Almer always got up some time. The boys seemed to be a sleepy lot but I can't remember of the girls being so sleepy mornings, unless it was Myrtle, eh?

Another big event of each year was the we "raised" potatoes. Some with a coal pail, others a lard pail or molasses pail picked up potatoes all day, and when we were thru and went in to supper we all smelled like potatoes.

Our butchering day with Grandma and Grandpa to help, we always enjoyed so much. Always had liver and sirloin for dinner, then made sausage, cut lard, and had pon haus for breakfast. My! What a treat. The buckwheat cakes were always a treat too. I can almost taste them now.

In those long ago days I don't think Sam ever dreamed of the Great man he was to become, because he never seemed to enjoy school those first years. How well I remember Mother walking after him each morning with a stick and he singing "some kind of a tune".

Well, "them days are gone forever" and how blessed it is to think it over. Our Father always carrying the heavy end of the load, and so cheerfully too, and Mother so brave and sweet about everything. "As a family of children we rise up and call you Blessed."

Chapter 2
By Lydia

Remembering Aunt Lydia

With the hope that this book may be a source of some pleasure to you, we are each adding our chapter.

First, I want you to know that I appreciate more than I can tell you, the good home we had and that you were never too busy to take time for family worship and to help us to get some knowledge of the Bible, which has meant so much to us, for, so far as I know, each of us have established the family alter in our own homes.

Christianity is the thing that counts and I hope each of us may have the privilege of seeing our kiddies grow up to be good Christian citizens. I remember when you first began to ask the Blessing at the table, how we bowed our heads and squeezed our eyes shut.

I remember how we used to love to go to the little old church on the hill, and especially during revival meetings when such large crowds came. We youngsters didn't always go of evenings, and how we used to have "Dolly" McDonough and Jennie Anderson stay with us. But one Sunday night we stayed alone -- pretty soon the lamp began to sputter and the light got dimmer and dimmer and we thought it was going to explode so we fumbled around in the bureau drawer to get the big silk handkerchief to tie on the baby's (Charley) head then we all marched up to the church. But when we got in the hall we were scared to go in but finally Sammy mustered up courage, went in and trudged up thru the aisle until he found Momma, then we were all happy.

I remember too, how we used to try to get out of washing dishes. We'd fly, as soon as we had eaten the last bite, to our playhouses, which usually were in the grove or corn crib. Mary used to be the mother because she could look like Mrs. Al McIntosh. How tickled we would be when a day came that we could all go to town -- as soon as we could smell cigar smoke we thot we were in town.

Then I remember how Lizzie and Liddie used to stand up beside the wall and sing every time anyone came, and how we almost died down on a Christmas program while we watched some folks come in the door.
We used to love to have the preachers come to our house but I often wonder how you ever did manage to get along. But along with all you had to do you taught us some lessons which we've never forgotten. One time we were herding the sheep in the old sheep pasture of the farm on the corner -- we were watching that they didn't get thru the fence into Old Man McDonough's corn field. Well for some reason I was left alone with them and the first thing I knew, over the fence one went, then another and another until a lot of them were in there. Well I went after them as fast as I could, running, stumbling over the corn stalks and praying for help at the same time, for I remembered that you said that if we wanted our prayers answered we must help to answer them, so I was trying my best to help. In a few minutes I saw the rest coming so we soon had them out and all was well. I have never forgotten that first and immediate answer to my prayer.

I remember how I used to love candy and one time when we were visiting Bagwells, she went into the bedroom and I hoped she was getting some candy for us, my mouth was just watering for some, but imagine how my feelings went down to zero when I found she just went in to close the window. Oh, what a disappointment!

We love to think of the old days and we are glad you had so much patience with us -- stubborn and naughty as we were sometimes -- but the memory of our good old home and our kind, loving and patient parents will never be forgotten.

May we have an unbroken circle in our eternal home.

Pictures From Childhood
Chapter 3
By Samuel

Remembering Uncle Sam

This little booklet is intended to be a sort of mirror into which you can look and see your little children. It will recall many, many happy days, many funny incidents, and some of the hardships in bringing up a big family. I hope that as you look into the mirror that there will come into your hearts joy and gladness as you think of the days of old.

Among my earliest memories, I will have to tell about the time when we lived on the corner. Mother had been down cellar taking care of the mornings milk and we youngsters were running around the house when all of a sudden I got too near the open cellar door and rolled down the steps, landing head-first in a big crock of milk. Mother heard me go and started after me, but when she pulled me out I had plenty of milk, on the outside at least, and a white head for a good mnay years afterwards.

Another time when I was older, I had to take the cows, Reddy and Whitey, to the pump for water every noon. Whitey was always easy to handle but Reddy was a little wild. One noon after she had pulled away from me going to the pump, I decided that she wouldn't do it again and so tied the rope around my waist when I took her back to be staked out for grass. Just as we went out the gate a wagon passed, with a dog running after which frightened Reddy, so away went the cow and the boy but the cow could run faster. I fell down and was dragged up over the church hill, yelling at the top of my voice. When the cow stopped we were well over the hill and as soon as she gave me a chance I crawled over to the fence and wrapped the rope around the post so I could hold her. Then I thot I was there to stay for I had tied the rope in a slip knot and it was tight I couldn't loosen it. It was then in the near region of my backbone on all sides and it took some crying and a lot of pulling to get it loose. Then I went home to Mother to get my skinned legs and arms tied up.

This would hardly be complete if I did not tell something of my early schooldays. I can't remember when I didn't go to school, that is until I was old enough to want to go. The last time Mother followed me with the broom, I well remember her sitting on the church porch and me sitting on a lod of dirt in the corn field about twenty rods away. When she started towards me I would move in the direction of the school house. After she got me past the half-mile mark I'd go the rest of the way alone, usually arriving about an hour late. After I got there I had a very good time. Elsie Palconer and I were the only two beginners and sat in the same seat. I remember very well how Father would cut up and make us kids laugh at home, and I tried to reproduce it for Elsie. As a result, the seat which I was supposed to occupy was vacant most of the day. I inhabited a place in the corner of the room standing up, I think fully three fourths of the first year in school.

One of the funniest things I remember was something that happpened one night the first summer we lived at Brookings. It had rained very, very hard. It was about midnight and Charley, Marvin and I got up and went down stairs. The water was running down the stove pipe on the floor. Marvin thot the stove was full of water and picked off a lid from the stove. Just then there was an awful crash of thunder and he dropped the lid landing on his bare toes. My! How he did dance and sputter. I can see him so vividly that I can't keep from laughing while I write this.

Well those were care-free and happy days. It is fun just to let one's mind wander around in childhood and recall these things. But it was not so care-free and easy for Father and Mother. There was sickness many times and sleepless nights. Debts to pay and a big family to feed. Disobedient and naughty children lots of ties and they did not always appreciate all that was being done for them. I think your greatest satisfaction must be that now since they have grown up they all belong to the church and are trying to live a Christian life. This is your greatest gift to us, and I shall be well pleased if I can give my children as much. I remember the Sunday you were here at Watertown after you came home from Washington. One lady said as she went out, "I know your Father and Mother are proud of you today", and I said, "Not nearly as proud as I am of them." I never can tell you how much my life is a joy to me just because you started me in the right direction. If I am able to do any good and help people live better, it is all because you gave me the chance.

I hope that you have many, many more years to live and enjoy the blessings of health each year. It never would seem right if either were gone, and you mean much to your grandchildren. We would like to be more worthy of our Father and Mother and are trying to pay you back for some of the things you gave us by passing them on to others.

Chapter 4
By Charles

Remembering Uncle Charlie

In presenting this small book to you, it is our desire to have you know how your many kindnesses to us have been appreciated. One must take life's responsibilities upon his own shoulders before he is able to appreciate what his parents meant to him during childhood.

As time passes and we are concerned about raising families of our own we come to appreciate more and more the fact that we were brought up in a Christian home. It means more to me than words can tell, so please accept my appreciation for all that you have meant to me in the past.

I also appreciate the opportunities I had in my childhood days. I had the privilege of attending the Iowa State Fair at least two different times, and some of the sights that I saw there I will never forget. Also the part I had in raising and owning livestock as a boy. I never will forget the time that I traded a heifer calf coming two years old for a wee little week old calf, just because he was cute.

I appreciate the advantage I had in an educational way. I can realize now what hardships you had to endure to give us these privileges, so again I wish to thank you.

As a bunch of youngsters in early life, I remember once in a while we got into mischief, probably twice in a while. And I have not forgotten that in all instances the rod was not spared, which I think was a good thing for us. Anyway we had some good old times. As a boy I remember a job that I sure detested and that was hauling milk to the creamery. Old Barney, my milk wagon horse, was so gentle that I almost needed starch in my lines to push him away from me. And then generally when we were almost to the creamery, Old Lady Schramm would come tearing down the road behind us as hard as her team could go and scare us poor kids out of the road, thereby losing our rightful turn in the long line waiting ahead of us. I will remember how I disliked hauling milk for the neighbors, for little or no pay, or to take a plate with a rag tied to it and bring them back a pound of butter. And if my big sister Lydia went with me I would have to crawl back and sit on a milk can on our way home so that Julia and Esther Morsh could ride with us to school. I never could see why I should have to sit on a milk can and give them my seat. Guess I wasn't thinking much of girls in those days. I never will forget the time I tried to unload a can of milk. I thot I could set it up on the back end of the buggy and then let it down onto the ground gently, but when it started down it didn't go gently, and I went right along with it and picked myself up some ten feet back of the buggy. I didn't try to unload any more.

Another job that we never thot much of was pumping water for the cattle by hand. I remember one evening Marvin and I went over in the pasture to pump water. I rode old Flory and he walked, when we started home I told him to pick up a stick and scare her so she would go fast, and in doing so he got too close and she kicked him on the shoulder and knocked him down. I jumped off and picked him up and told him not to cry, that it would soon feel better. But I guess he felt pretty stiff for several days. I wonder if Marvin remembers the time he fell on the stair steps, and the time he got his finger split at school. He sure was a tough one or he never could have stood it.

A close call I once had was with old blind Prince. Sam, Dallas and I were herding cattle. We had gotten off of our horses when we saw the cattle going for the field that we were to keep them out of. The other boys mounted their steed and were off but I couldn't get on mine. Then I thot of a scheme -- I pulled the check rein down on one side and thot I could step in it but in doing so my food slipped thru and then I dropped back down and as I did the check twisted and I couldn't get my foot out. There I was hanging by my foot and Old Prince tearing around to beat all, as all my weight was pulling on one side of the check. He would stand up on his hind feet and swing around in a circle and all this time I was having an airoplane ride. No one saw the circus but myself, for just as the other boys got back, my boot pulled off and that let me loose. I sure felt lucky.

Some of the events that happened in our childhood days will be remembered as long as we live. Do you remember the time we celebrated the Fourth at Falconers? After spending a very happy and full day, us boys and Eric were permitted to go home and do our chores and then went back and helped him do his and had fire-works in the evening. Those sure were the days in the estimation of a kids life. Also the times we went hanging May baskets were the days of real sport.

Well do I remember the days Mary and I spent herding sheep when we lived on the eighty. We thot it a very tiresome job. That reminds me of what we used to call Mary's little hill. It was on the roadside just south of the orhard (on the eighty) about half way up to the Church. It was only a little slope in the ground about two feet long, but it was her little hill, so she said, and we always spoke of it as such.

Well my epistle is getting quite lengthy and I am afraid you will tire of reading it so I will draw it to a close.

Please feel free to call on any of us at any time that we can be of any assistance to you, for we would be more than glad to do what we can.

Wishing you both many more years of happy life.

Your son, Charles

Chapter 5
By Dallas

Remembering Uncle Dallas

Different incidents impress different individuals in various ways, and so I suppose in these chapters incidents will be different in most cases. I have tried to put these in chronological order and that is why topics of a similar nature are mentioned in different places.

One of the first incidents I remember is when I was playing in the yard up on the corner, near the lilac bush. I saw a small animal which to me resembled a cat. I called Mother and when she came out she found it was a salamander and killed it with a broom.

Then you will remember when we were vaccinated for diphtheria. how we all huddled together in the corner each fearing he would be next. Mother did not seem to be in the scene. It was Father's job to pick out the next one and hold him while Dr. Groman did the deed.

Do you remember old Bill? He had a big hoof. Father had to take a saw and saw it off. Old Prince was blinded by the cyclone -- some one was visiting us one Sunday evening when we were watering him, and I informed the visitors that he was blind in one eye and could not see out of the other.

Then we moved down to Grandpa's place. About the first incident I remember was Almer's birth. Then followed a program in school and I was to speak. Do you remember the piece? "Well I've got a baby brother. Didn't choose to have him nuther, but he's here. And he isn't worth a dollar, all he does is cry and hollar". etc. Shortly after that I spoke a piece for Christmas, "When Daddy Ligths The Tree". As I remember it, Father lighted the candles while I was speaking it.

Children's Day was a big event. I remember that hearing the field sparrows sing always reminded me of Children's Day. We were usually pulling morning glories at that season of the year. We were glad when we could go to practice, for we could get out of pulling morning glories. On Children's Day you remember how we always marched all around the church -- out around the porch, and back up to the front again and sing a song.

Many incidents happened at the country school. I can still see Ray Traver reading. Johnny Hendricks carried some kind of a story home and father, very indignant, came with him the next morning only to hear a different story. Johnny refused to talk and his Dad kept tapping him on the head, saying "Speak John, speak".

I remember Mr. Foote coming to our church and holding meetings. I think Father furnished a team and sled to bring the entire school up to the church to hear r. Foote tell about Joseph. As I remember he was a very capable story teller.

It was summer and the cows should be turned out as soon as we were thru milking. It seems that I was to have done it. We seemed to be interested in waving at some passer-by and forgot to turn the cows out. I was a little late coming down to the barn the next morning. Old Pet was gone and I took it for granted that Charley was after the cows. Everything was quiet and I was still sleepy, so I thot I would crawl into the manger and take another nap, which I did. Finally I heard Father call. I suppose he had been looking for me and knew just where the blame belonged. He say me as I arose from the manger. That was the hardest thrashing I ever got.

We always thot Father was a crank on getting places in time. At church and Sunday School we always were there before time. When we went to town school, I hardly remember an instance of being late. I believe that training has stood us all in good stead, and we can appreciate it now.

I don't believe we missed a summer at Chautauqua. Father and Mother had an interest in our welfare that we did not realize then. While other folks were farming more land, to raise more corn, to feed more pigs, to make more money, to farm more land, we were having an opportunity to take in some of the worth while things. I can remember when the corn was actually in need of attention we were taking in chautauqua. Father and Mother realized it too but they were more interested in our welfare than in making more money. We also had an opportunity to go to Storm Lake to hear Booker T. Washington, the greatest negro who ever lived. Not every boy and girl has such opportunities.

Soon after this the Keck Bros. were preparing short sermons. Sam and I monopolized the Young Peoples' meetings. We realize now how crude it was, but thot we were doing the right thing then. We had Dwight L. Moody's sermons from which I think we got most of our material. I remember how we used to write up in the corner (on Sam's suggestion) "Keck Bros. Short sermons a specialty".

The time for higher education advantages came and we needed more land so a farm in South Dakota was purchased and we prepared to move. I don't believe any of us realize what a difference it might have made in our family, if we had not to SD. Father had a sick headache the evening we loaded the cars. We had a hard time getting the horses quieted down so Father hired Bill Horan to go as far as Sioux City with them. Leaving there we went right on to Hawarden where we were held up quite a while on account of snow and because there were so many emigrant cars there. We fed and watered the stock as best we could then went on to Vilas where they let us set all night. It was cold. Marvin thot he would stir up the fire and picked up a coal pail, in the dark, and emptied it in the stove and found out later that it was ashes he put in. It was a slow train, but it's a long road that has no ending and we got there at last at 10:30 Saturday night. I think we unloaded that night and put the stock in the livery barn sheds. He charged us $20.00 for keeping them and feeding them hay till Monday morning. I think we slept in the livery barn office but I don't remember where or what we ate. I do know that I was never quite so dirty -- from Tuesday till Saturday on a dirty freight train with little chance for washing.

Soon I entered high school again and one of the first social events I attended was a masquerade party, where I first met Margarette. I still have a picture of the bunch.

Then followed the high school graduation and college opportunities. I got into the YMCA the second year and had the privilege of going to Yankton and Estes Park to Conferences. I never imagined I could go but there was a way and Father found it.

Were we to write every thing in detail it would make a large volume, so we write as briefly as possible. Many things are omitted. They are written between the lines. We were particularly fortunate in having a Christian Father and Mother and the influence of a good christian home. We were also fortunate in having us get a good education and having advantages of the best things in life. How different our lives might have been without those influences.

We use these feeble efforts to thank you for it all.

Years and Years Ago
Chapter 6
By Marvin

Remembering Uncle Marvin

Along about five hundred years after Columbus began to wear long pants, there was born on the corner a youngen and some said what will we call it? Father said names are getting scarce in this family, guess we will have to call him William after the janitor in the church. No, Mother said, if we call him William they will be calling him Bill, and says Mother we got a horse named Bill, bills at the store, and a bill board at the mail box, and that is enough Bills for one family. About that time the parson stopped in for some potatoes, beans and bread and he said if the youngen don't act up too much you can just as well use my name, as the folks call me parson, minister, and bum preacher, and so my name gets little use. And so it was decided by all hands to call him Marvin after the parson, Rosefield after the bush in the yard, and Keck by request.

Now, I am glad that you stuck up for me that time Mother, because I have plenty of Bills around as it is. About the next biggest event, was the time that Father brought home the Blind Robbins. I must have been pretty little, but I remember the whole tribe of little Kecks came by them on the porch one day, either honestly or otherwise we probably finished the box, because I don't remember any being left and it sure was a good party, the scent still lingers.

Probably the most appreciative event in our early years, was the time that Father and Mother gathered the flock together and headed for Sac City to have the first family group taken. I remember the boys worked half a day trying to get that spring seat to fit the spring wagon. The object was to get three seats to set where two set before and along about sundown they had it in order and one we all get sot it didn't jiggle much. We took some bread and beans along and stopped at Mr. Wilsons for dinner and that was great sport. I don't remember much about the town or the people that we saw on that trip, but I imagine the folks there still talk about the parade of 1905. Nothing could quite replace those pictures and I sure thank you for making them possible.

Mary, of course, will not speak, but we know that she was with us and for us in everything and that her thoughts of appreciation were the same as ours. Here is one on Mary and I. About the year 1907, the neighborhood went fishing to Storm Lake. It seems that all of our family left for one place or another on that day excepting Mary and myself. We decided to get our chores done and hitch old Pet to the buggie and go over to Will Meyers, so I turned the hydrant on so the cow could drink a barrel and give a pint of milk, and went on about my pig calling and horse drinking. Finishing the chores we got the horse and buggie together and after a lot of pushins and pullins old Pet went off like a pop gun and didn't let up until we hove in sight at Will Meyers. Well just then I thought of the cow tank at home and of other things, among them was the boot jack, the boot. and the dark cob house at night. Well I said old Pet we are going west immediately and we went fast. We passed something on the way, Mary said it was Zadow's place but I sure didn't see it, if the speedomiter was working it recorded miles like a sewing machine making stitches. Well we dashed up to the barn yard with wheels a quivering and the whip plumb give out entirely. I jumped for the hydrant and turned it off and then looked around, well by jimminently it sure looked like we were at Storm Lake too. The only thing missing was the fish. Then we took a look at the supply tank and it was pretty gant, so we set the windmill to work and had a good breeze. I spent the rest of the day fixing up a speech, but the Lord filled the nets with so many fishes that the folks and neighbors didn't get home until after dark, well I was right on hand to put the team away. I said go on up to the house and rest yourselves and I will take care of the barn yard thinking that the flood might be dry by morning. So I went to bed and worked some more on my speech, but along about midnight here comes a big storm and rained by the buckets full, well I shouted glory hallaujah very softly of course, and started to snore pretty quick. Morning brought an awful wet barn yard. Gee, I said that was a big rain, and pap said it sure did wet down some.

Now, this chapter only records part of the events of our early life, and I imagine there were plenty of times that Father and Mother saved our necks that we do not remember. When the move to South Dakota was talked, of course, all the kids at home shouted it was the jumping off place and probably said other insulting things about the state, but we are all glad that we came to it, and it sure gave us an appetite and some ambition.

And so I will close the chapter thanking you again Father and Mother for a good home to live in and good home fetching up. Wishing you Mother a very happy Mother's Day and Father can come in on the chorus.

Chapter 7
By Myrtle

Remembering Aunt Myrtle

Long, long ago when the Keck family had plenty of members without further additions, along came the little brown-eyed girl that Mother wanted.

This was a hard place for one so little and inexperienced, but in the course of time she was taken in hand by her older brothers and sisters, and was duly educated in the art of living. However, much credit is due her mother and father for their kindness and patience during all of the many years which have been spent, hoping that at some time in the distant future, she might do something toward earning her board and keep, and being of use in the world. At times, hopes have even been entertained that she might be able to capture a husband, and to this end all of her family are laboring ceaselessly.

During my early childhood, there are several events or happenings which stand out rather prominently. When I was about five or six my younger brother, Almer, seemed to depend upon me a great deal. When we walked along the road, he always insisted on hanging onto my dress, which wounded my pride deeply. After we had met someone driving along the road, I would tell him that he must not hang on to me when we met people. But just as soon as a buggy was seen coming toward us he would take hold of my dress. I was a poor teacher I guess, because I never seemed to be able to impress his conduct sufficiently to make him break the habit.

This same brother and I had to do many chores together. For one thing we may be thankful -- and that is that we were together and alone in our misery. Our chief outdoor sport was picking cobs. This was an especially delightful aversion on Saturday afternoons when we wanted to go to town. Somehow I don't believe I have ever acquired a great love for this wholesome pastime -- I feel that it takes a strong back and a weak mind to be a sucessful cob-picker.

When we lived at Maple Grove Dairy Farms, one of my jobs was to carry water and apples to the boys when they were working. The Early Harvest apples seemed to take well. Sometimes Mary and I would pile a couple of bushels of apples into the buggy, and drive around the country to sell them. Occasionally we could give them away and then other times we couldn't.

Marvin and I used to have a lot of fun when we drove to school. There was usually a streak of dust in the road all the way from the farm to town. When a new term started we always discussed the question of asking for the money we needed, and this discussion usually lasted several days.

It has been so many years since I was really young that I can't seem to remember all of the things which did happen. I will always be glad that I went to Washington to teach, for I am sure that Mother and Father enjoyed their trip out there a great deal. It is a geat country. And yet, Chicago is fascinating. I guess I like all of the world that I've seen, anyway I'm foolish enough to have a good time wherever I am.

"Laugh, and world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care."

I know that both of you have worked hard all your lives, and have never thot of yourselves, but of we children. We thank you for your love and kindness and patience, and hope that we may live to be worthy of our Mother and Father.

Chapter 8
By Almer

Remembering Dad

The days that are not forgotten are past and gone forever. But the memories of those days will never go away. No never.

A long time ago there was a little fellow they called "Allie" or "Stick-in-the-mud" or "Fiddle-sticks" or any thing else they could think of. Well Allie was one of these here kids what always got into things, don't you know. I think you have seen them, haven't you Mother? Yes, I remember one day a long time ago he was hunting for some money and it just happened that he ran into Charlie's pocket-book. Well I think he got about five dollars that time. But it wasn't long until Charlie discovered what had happened, and I'll tell you he sure cotched it then. Allie remembers, yes, and I had to pay it back. Well just then I was looking for a Fourth of July celebration. I never won any prizes at celebrations before or after, but that day I won about four.

Yes, and I haven't forgotten the time that I wanted to go down town and get a present, as we were going to exchange presents that Christmas in the little old school house on the hill. It was just a couple of days until Christmas and I was anxious to have my present, so it happened that I got into Marvin's bank upstairs and got enough pennies to get my present with. But I couldn't get away without Mother seeing me, she said "Where are you going?" "Oh, -- down town to get my present". "Where did you get your money?" she asked. "Out of Marvin's bank". Well I went to bed about three o'clock that afternoon and had a good long sleep.

Yes and then I remember Father would hitch up the old ponies and get Mother Buito and I and go down to Mrs. Ream's or to Leshers at Storm Lake or Sac City to chautauqua and then we would stay three or four days and see the moving pictures at night. Of all my childhood days and experiences those were the best.

And we certainly do thank you dear Mother and Father for making those days possible, and all the good times that we had which were many, and for the patience you had with us, and the good advice that you gave us, and for a good Christian home which means more to us than we can say.

The Keck Gonnerman Tractor
20 HP made in 1923

One of my favorite displays at the Old Threshers Reunion in Mt Pleasant Iowa.

Almer and Lola (Bowen) Keck
Watertown SD, February 12, 1922

Baptistism of Douglas Madison Keck

Marilyn Sue Adey, about age 12

Marilyn's Graduation Picture

Douglas and Marilyn (Adey) Keck
Westminister Presbyterian Church, Burlington IA
December 26, 1957

Children of Doug and Marilyn Keck

The Doug Keck Family, 1976
Back row: Tim, Jim & Carilyn
Front row: John, Marilyn & Doug

The Doug Keck Family, 1982
Left to right: Jim, John, Doug, Marilyn, Tim & Carilyn

The kids of Doug & Marilyn Keck
Left to right: Jim, Carilyn, John & Tim

The Doug Keck family
Picture taken in 1997

This is Lucky