A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The All Day Work

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

     During the whole past century the day bell called to get us up.  In the winter the first duty was to heat up the straw oven.  In the old days the women folk still sat every morning "tapr" at the spinning wheel, spinning so quickly a bundle of hemp or wool just as the day was beginning.  Meanwhile the cattle must be fed, cows milked, and the rooms straightened up (zusammenräumen?), then breakfast can be served.  Today the womenfolk still take complete care of the housework in the morning.  There is especially much work on washday which usually falls on Mondays.  After that the wash must be dried and ironed, often they were also (gemangt?).  Thirty-forty years ago there were also "Kolossen?" and "Mangmaschinen?".  Saturday was also considered the big workday and at the same time the weekly market and cleaning was done.  During the winter months the women went to early afternoon "maje".  In the good old days they took their spinning wheel with them, later they knitted during the visit, today it is the custom to croquet and "Schlingen?" (loop), while now they fluently spin tales- with their mouths. - Before sunset the cattle must be cared for. - After supper the married couples went "in die Riehe" (took turns).  Each evening the neighborhood came together in another home.  The women did their needlework again while the men discussed various matters or passed the time playing cards.   They usually had cooked or "splashed" corn with it and often had quite a bit of wine.  About 9 o'clock they left.  With this taking of turns the feeling of togetherness and belonging was expressed.  Already since the settlement the neighbors have helped one another where it was necessary.  Especially when building a house, or in cases of sickness, misfortune, or death the help from neighbors is understandable.  The neighbor is also there for baptisms, weddings, and pig slaughtering.  First is the neighbor in front, then follows in turn the neighbor behind, the garden neighbor, and finally the neighborhood up to the street crossing. - the Salasch, or field neighbors were also not forgotten.  The neighborhood also took the opportunity at weddings to invite the Hungarian neighbors and this friendship was mutual.

     Also the singles had their turn, but only the girls, went without parental supervision, and usually very noisily so. - The youth club of the congregation honestly endeavors to make the winter months usefully spent by the youth and keep their morality along the way.  Saturday evenings they went to club meetings, lectures, etc.

     The church attendance on Sundays was very good.  When the service ended the crowd went from one end of the street to the other to the shade of the next house.  The afternoons were spent with friends.  They played cards, bowled, or played pool (billiards).     

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr, 2004]