Posts Tagged: advice

Dee Kuhlman

Dee Kuhlman, aged “it’s nobody’s business” but her own, loves to cook (and fancy at that), is incredibly organized, and has a wonderfully loving and happy spirit. Interviewed by Lorraine Borowski, long-time friend and Decorah Public Library Director.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up during the depression – I had to help support my family, I didn’t have a choice. When I was 10 I said I could go out and work. My dad – previously a successful and wealthy businessman in Chicago – couldn’t stand the idea that I would be a working girl. Finally, he said, “You’re not going to work with your hands, you’re going to work with your head.”

What do/did you do?
At 15 I started working as a stenographer for Sears. I hated it. My friend was going to Europe for a year and said I could take her job working for the railroad while she was gone. I interviewed for a secretary job and they gave me a sheet to write out – I did good job on it and they said, “Okay, you’ll do.” I told them okay, great, but I want a job after my friend gets back too. I was the secretary to three railroad presidents, traveled all over the country – I had a very exciting life. I worked there from age 16 until I was married at age 31.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
I’d want a guy, and the three things he would have would be a good body, a good personality, and a real insight about the world.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
Weird and crazy.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Well I love to eat, if you can’t tell. Anything that tastes good. I love chicken. Oh, and anything terribly fancy and well-served.

Name one thing you could not live without.
Joy and the interesting people around me.

How did you meet your husband (the late Will Kuhlman)?
I was at a church function – that I didn’t really want to go to – and it was crowded. I had my hand on a banister and some man put his hand on mine, holding it. I said, “Excuse me, we’re you the one holding my hand? How dare you?” I wasn’t entranced, but he said he wanted to see me again. A good date’s a good date, so I went. And soon, there was something wrong with me: I was falling in love.

Multiple choice: tell us about… your wedding day.
We were engaged February 14 and married in May just months later. We knew he was supposed to be going overseas to the war. It was very simple – sweet church wedding. My whole office was there, and then there was a reception and dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Chicago.

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Carl F. Nichols, “The Capon King”

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Work, Work, and Work! Treat everyone good and they will treat you good.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A businessman, so I could make money and have my own business.

What do/did you do?
I started working for the Independence Produce Company in the 1939 and ran the Decorah branch for many years until I purchased it in 1958. I was the owner and operator of Wapsie Produce for 40 years, which is now a third generation family business run by my sons Marc and Paul and grandson Craig. We are the largest producer of capons in the United States and most likely the world.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
Food, water, and scotch!

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
Intelligent, friendly, and I can get along with almost anyone.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I love seafood- gulf shrimp, lobster, fresh-caught fish.

Name one thing you could not live without.
Food. (Benji says the memories of friends, family, fishing trips, and Florida time.)

Multiple choice: tell us about…Your wedding day.
Eleanor Field and I were married April 12, 1941 in Iowa City, Iowa. We were married 65 years and had four children; Carol (Hageman), Marc, Paul, Diane (Sondergard).

B.)Your favorite memory.
My many fishing trips to both Ignace, Ontario with the gang, and to Ft. Meyers Beach, Florida where Eleanor and I had a winter home for many years. My dock and the backwaters in Florida were exceptional fishing spots that friends, family, and guests enjoyed as well. (Benji adds favorite memories of catching sugar trout, witnessing giant snook battles, and feeding George the blue heron off the Florida dock, as well as trout fishing at north and south bear.)

Callista Susan Groff Wallmark

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice anyone ever gave me was when I was about 22 years old. I went to Sioux City and purchased a silver fox fur. When I got home with it, my father asked me how I had paid for it. I told him I planned to pay for it in installments. He told me to take it back and only purchase it when I had enough money to pay for it outright. This is advice young people today really benefit from hearing.

How about the worst?
When I was 50 years old someone told me to start smoking. I smoked for about 30 years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pharmacist. I had a friend whose sister was a pharmacist.

What do/did you do?
My folks didn’t think it was a good idea for me to be a pharmacist. There were not a lot of women pharmacists at the time. Instead, I decided to pursue teaching. I attended Clarke College in Dubuque and Iowa State Teachers College (UNI) in Cedar Falls. I taught for about six years in Plymouth County and about four years in Remsen, Iowa. In 1932, I married a pharmacist. After moving a few times to follow his job, we finally decided to start our own drugstore in Ossian, Iowa. We ran a drugstore in Ossian until 1963 when we closed it.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
I would want my hairbrush, my toothbrush and my rosary with me. These are the things I use and need most in my life.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
I’m not sure what words I would use to describe myself. Other people have described me as strong, classy, spiritual, and easy to get along with.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dark chocolate!

Name one thing you could not live without.
My family is something that I could not live without. I have three daughters, 16 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and nine great, great grandchildren. I enjoy spending time with them.

Multiple choice: tell us about…Your wedding day.
I met my husband, Cliff Wallmark, on a trip to Sycamore, Illinois while visiting a college friend of mine. We were married June 15, 1932. I was 25 years old. We were just coming out of the Depression. We were married on a Wednesday morning. Homegrown flowers decorated the altar. We entered the church in pairs. First, the maid of honor and the groom. Then my two bridesmaids, followed by me and the best man.  Following the ceremony my parents hosted a wedding breakfast in our honor. It was mostly immediate family in attendance. It was very different compared to weddings today.

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