School days, a stepfather, and more loss of loved ones:
When spring came we went back home, mother’s oldest brother accompanying her. It was a red-letter day when, with my new little dinner pail in one hand and Swinton’s Primer in the other, I started off for the little country school not quite a half mile off. Mr. Wood, my first teacher, generally had me sit on his lap for my lessons. It was some time before he had drilled me to say “with” instead of “wip.” The bigger children used to hoist me on top of a large coal bin and have me sing for them. Without hesitating I would start out: “Jesus, for Thee I Live,” placing a special crescendo on the last phrase and repeat this as often as requested. Every day on coming home I had many nice things to tell mother.
The next term Miss Mary Carter was my teacher. Then followed in succession: Miss Maggie Furlong, Mr. Anton Carter, Mr. Joe Wingfield, Mr. Frank Church and Miss Bertha McLaughlin. I liked school very much and wouldn’t miss a day at any cost. On very stormy days there would be but few pupils present. Then our indoor games would usually end in “playing school” and the children would select me teacher. It was made quite real. Classes were conducted, lessons assigned and corrected while the real teacher continued reading.
In the fall of 1888 my mother was married a second time to John Schaefers [12 May 1841-28 Feb. 1917]. Though I was only in my eighth year, I had to make a tremendous effort to cal him “papa.” But I soon learned to love him as though my own. In 1889 my dear Aunt Lizzie died of T.B. and Uncle John, who was now married, left for Europe to visit Lourdes and Einsiedeln in search of health. He died a few months after his return the following year, also of T.B. and his wife followed soon after. Int the fall of 1892 the same malady took grandpa Naescher. [John Naescher.] Thus grandma was left the sole survivor. She sold out and returned to Guttenberg where she lived all by herself, mourning and praying for her dear ones. God had designed one more task for her as we shall see.