Monday, January 13, 2014

1939 Year of Decision and Transition for Pete and Peg Weaver - Move to Faribault from Minneapolis

While looking through her papers and files (she was always very organized and kept lists), one day she decided to show me the stash of letters from 1939, from April to May when she and Pete, my dad, had decided to stay in Minnesota, rather than move back to Ohio.  On P 40 + of her memoir, this is how it occurred to her, by 1994, when she chose to share this openly and in writing:

"WE SETTLED IN FARIBAULT, MINNESOTA Where to settle after Pete's internship? A question occupying our thoughts more and more. For many reasons we chose Minnesota. Minnesota was not densely populated and had many beautiful lakes. For me, the prime reason was to be away from my parents, which sounds awful. But after the recent episode in Chicago when my parents decided that we couldn't go to Europe, I didn't want to live close to them where they would try to control the rest of my life. 

Distance from them seemed to present a better solution than living near by.
As we anticipated, our decision to settle in Minnesota caused a big storm with my parents, with angry Special Delivery letters (15c at that time) from my father saying: that we it owed to our parents to settle in Ohio; that I was very thoughtless, after all my mother had done for me; that I was certainly a spoiled, only child not giving my parents' wishes first consideration. Letters from my mother were tearful, but not resentful and angry. I felt hurt and sad to receive such letters from my parents. (For some reason, I've kept the letters we received from our parents and copies of those we sent.)
My letters to them explained that we did not mean to be ungratefull, but wondered how much we had to conform to their desires in order not to seem ungrateful; that we didn't think that proximity needed to be the way to express our appreciation; that we wanted to cut the apron-strings and become more independent.
But my parents, especially my father, expected us to not only return to Ohio, but specifically to Findlay. They tried to lure us with an offer to build us a house in Findlay and suggested that Pete practice dermatology part-time and work at the Glessner Company part-time. That was an awful idea that didn't have any appeal to either of us. Pete didn't want to specialize in dermatology; he wanted to be a GP (General Practitioner, Doctor of Family Medicine in today's terms). I couldn't imagine him working for my father. My parents had our lives planned for us, expected us to agree and couldn't understand why we wouldn't accept their ideas.
I tried to imagine what our lives would be like living in Findlay with my parents keeping close watch on our activities, making their disapproval evident if we didn't perform according to their expectations. I tried to imagine bringing up a family under their noses. I was most apprehensive. I didn't want that kind of friction-filled life for any of us -- both my parents and we would be unhappy.

 My mother and father drove to West Carrollton to enlist the help of Pete's parents to persuade us to return to Ohio, reporting to us that his parents agreed with them., that we should settle in Ohio. However, a letter that Pete received his mother didn't voice such strong opinions, although she had hoped that we would live closer. Pete's mother wrote that even at such a distance, she would feel closer to us than to Esther, her sister, who lived only a few miles away.


Selecting a town where we would want to live and that would be good for Pete's practice was fun, as well as a responsibility. We knew that we wanted to live in a small town, but not a hick town. Receiving tips from drug salesmen about small towns that needed a doctor, we looked at several. Faribault was the most appealing, with three state schools (Blind, Deaf and Feeble-minded, as it called then) and three private, Episcopal schools (Shattuck, St. Mary's and Saint James). A town with people affiliated with schools, college graduates, appealed to us. Northfield with two colleges, Carleton and St. Olaf, was very attractive, but didn't need another doctor.  In Faribault, Pete was referred to the Faribault Clinic, where he interviewed the doctors, being favorably impressed with them and the offer they made. Those in the Clinic were: Walter Rumpf and Charles Robilliard, GPs; Frank Stevenson, specializing in Ear, Nose and Throat. (Carl Stabbert, a dentist, had his offices with the Clinic group.) Faribault was our choice. Upon the suggestion of Dr. Robilliard, we contacted John Foster to help us find a house to rent. The Fosters, John and Bern, took us under their wings. They found us a house to rent and took us out to dinner at Mrs. Crossett's Bluebird Inn south of Faribault, where John ordered braised chicken livers. In a month Dr. Robilliard was going on a vacation and wanted Pete to take over his practice during that time. We returned to Minneapolis delighted with our prospects.  However, having to be in Faribault in early July for Pete to meet his obligation to Dr. Robilliard, we had to forego a western camping trip we had planned with Bitty and Bill Biel, hoping to take a trip before Pete became tied down with a medical practice. We had substitute this for the European jaunt that we were forced to cancel.
The first of July 1939, we moved into a small house at 520 Tatepaha Boulevard (See pictures #5 & 6, . 135.), a bungalow with a porch across the front, a very small living room, a large dining room with a wonderful view of sunsets across a golf course, a kitchen, one bedroom, and a small room next to the living room where we placed the second-hand piano which we had bought in Columbus. The Columbus icebox had been replaced by an automatic refrigerator, but we needed a stove, purchasing a Tappan gas range "on time" from Donaldsons Department Store in Minneapolis, paying two and a half dollars a month. We were excited when the moving van arrived from Columbus with our belongings. Our furniture fit in, though the dimensions of the linen curtains had to be adjusted.  Being very friendly to us newcomers, our neighbor, Claude Hunt, publisher of the Faribault Daily News, gave us a handsome big walleye that he had caught. Knowing absolutely nothing about cleaning and preparing fish, we invited the Fosters for dinner, preceded by John's fish cleaning and Bern's assistance in cooking.

Here at the 520 Tatepaha rental home in 1939 are Peg, Noah Elwood and Edna Eicher Weaver and there son, Paul Henry "Pete" Weaver in their first Faribault digs.
Edna E Weaver at Cannon Lake during an early trip, 1941?

This is the earliest photo I found of the Glessner's Inez and Harry, Peg's folks visiting.  They are celebrating Christmas in 1942 when their first grandchild, Jim (James Cowles ) Weaver was about 2.
This is at 201 4th Ave SW, later the Estabrook Home, 

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