Carl Lindberg, November 16, 2010
Carl is very proud of the farm that his family has built, and spends a good deal of time talking about it. He describes the way the farm was before his family arrived, the work his family did to develop it, and the way the land around his farm has changed since he moved to Burlington. Carl also describes what it was like growing up in Queens during the depression and World War II, and the process of transitioning from suburban life to country farming. Carl’s family is very important to him as well, and he describes his relationship with his parents, his sister, his wife and his five children.
Mr. Lindberg’s interview clearly discusses changes in farming practices and the landscape of Central New York. He also provides insight into the lives of New York citizens during World War II, especially those near the Atlantic. Carl also describes child rearing practices during the mid-twentieth century. Carl also details his experiences at Yankee Stadium as a child, and his opinion of the current organization.
In my interview with Mr. Lindberg there were frequent false starts, which I have chosen to omit. I have also edited some of Mr. Lindberg’s speech, specifically hi sentence transitions, in order to better aid the flow of the transcript. I have also adjusted some of Mr. Lindberg’s word choices, such as changing “says” to “said”, in order to better represent the interviewee’s intent. I have attempted to include Mr. Lindberg’s laughter, and other non-verbal communications, as best as possible. I would highly recommend listening to the recording in order to best interpret the tone of the interview.
Contributor is Creator
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Oral History Project Fall 2010
[KR:] = Keith Rohlman
[CL:] = Carl Lindberg
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[KR:] This is the interview of Carl Lindberg, by Keith Rohlman, at 1645 County Highway 16, in Burlington Flats, New York on the 16th of [November], 2010. All right, Carl, so let’s start: Where and when were you born?
[CL:] Where was I born? I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in [Lutheran] Hospital, in Brooklyn, New York, on July 17th, 1931.
[KR:] All Right, and did you grow up in Brooklyn?
[CL:] No. We didn’t, I never lived in Brooklyn. I actually lived in Queens County, Woodhaven, at a place called Woodhaven, until I was about 3, 3 and a half. Then we moved to Rosedale, which was the last town out in Queens County, on the south side of Queens County; far away from New York as you could get, thank goodness. And, that’s where I grew up. And we lived there until I was seventeen, just about my seventeenth birthday, when we moved here onto this farm.
[KR:] So you grew up in a more urban…
[CL:] It was a suburban town, it was a residential town. Most people worked in the city, but they took a bus, subway or whatever to get in there. But, it was a mostly residential town. Just some stores, churches, mostly homes, yeah.
[KR:] What was your family home like there in Queens?
[CL:] What was my family home like? Well it was my mother, my father, my sister and I. And dad was an electrician, and did electrical work, but then, just before the war started, he went to work down in a Shipyard, down in Brooklyn. And, he worked there all the way through the war. And, then after the war, we decided to move out of there. We were the only house on our street, when we lived there. The schoolyard was across the street, and then the school was down the street further. And it was, well you can’t say it was country, but it was not all built up. And then they start coming in with the bulldozers and putting up houses all over the place. And then we wanted to get out. So, some friends of ours that went to our church, they had bought a farm up the road here a couple miles, and we came up and visited them. And we decided that this was the kind of life we wanted. So, we bought this place, I think they took title in January of 1948, and we moved up here in July. And, we’ve been here ever since. And, my parents, we did a lot of things together. I mean, we went picnicking, and stuff like that, together, and to the beach and stuff, and had a good family life. Of course I was brought up during the depression, so I mean money wasn’t that plentiful. But, we always ate well, we didn’t dress fancy, and we always had a car and got around. We did a lot of family things. We always went to church.
[KR:] How did the war affect your family, while you were living in Queens?
[CL:] How did the war affect my family? Well, my father had four brothers and they all were in the service. My father was born in ’02, so when we got into the war in ’41 he was 39, which was kind of old to be [drafted], and he worked in the shipyards, so he was more or less eliminated from the actual war. His brothers were all in the service. His youngest brother was the first one to go in, and he was in the Air Force through the whole war. The next brother was in the Army. He was in the Fighting 69th, and he saw a lot of action, he was a medic, he served over in Europe. The next brother was in the Army, in the signal corps, and he saw some action over in Europe. And the brother just younger than my father, he was in the Navy, and he was pretty old. I mean, he was probably mid-thirties or more, probably at least 35 or 37 when he was drafted. He spent the war in the Navy. And at home, in Rosedale, of course, it wasn’t too far from the ocean. We weren’t on the ocean, but there were always planes in the air during the war. And, us kids, we knew every plane that was flying over, we could tell you what it was and who made it and all of that. And it was something you never forget, living through the war. We had air raids, we had blackouts. There was a lot in the paper; it wasn’t too far from out house, probably ten or fifteen miles that ships were being torpedoed, and stuff like that during the early part of the war especially. And, it was something I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.
[KR:] So, when you moved up here, your family bought the farm here, right?
[KR:] What made your father decide to go from electrician and shipbuilder, to a farmer?
[CL:] Well, he wanted to get away from the city. He liked the country, he did live on a farm, I don’t know for how many years. When he was in grade school, out on Long Island, he lived on a small farm, and I don’t know, he just, we were all in favor of it. I went to a high school down there that had, just in the four grades of the high school, I don’t know how many thousands of kids. It was Andrew Jackson High School, and it was a big H-shaped building and it took up a couple of blocks. I don’t know how many kids were there, must have been four or five thousand, just in the high school. And I came up here, to Edmeston, in my senior year, and there were only 17 of us in the senior class. So, it was quite a change, but I’m glad we made it, because I enjoyed it up here, especially in school. I played all the sports, and it was a change, but a good one.
[KR:] Beyond just the class size difference, where there any other differences between high school in Queens County and high school here, that you remember?
[CL:] Well, in Queens County at Andrew Jackson High School, you knew kids that had you had classes with, all the while. I mean, they weren’t always the same, but some. Here, in Edmeston, you knew just about all the kids in the whole school, and of course I was only here one year, so I knew all the kids in high school. Of course, the grade school, I didn’t know all the kids down there. So, it was a big difference, yes.
[KR:] Was the farm always a dairy farm?
[CL:] It was, yes, but it wasn’t farmed. The first deed we have on this farm goes back to 1814, when the Reed family came from Connecticut, and they bought the farm from a McCormick family in 1814. And, the Reeds, owned this farm, it wasn’t always in the Reed name, but it was in the family, there were some other names where the women owned it. And they owned it up until about 1928. And, then a family from New Jersey bought it, and they owned it until ’46. And then they sold it to somebody from Queens County that came up here. There used to be a big fireplace on that wall, there. A big stone one, it was beautiful. And he thought he was going to open up a bar here. But he didn’t look into it. The town, apparently, was dry when he bought it, so he couldn’t. And they lived here one year, and they about froze to death. They were breaking up furniture to keep warm, to burn in the stoves. And we bought it, I’m sure it was in January of ’48 that my parents took title to it. It was run down, I mean, the Barn was partly fallen down, the fences were practically non-existent, the fields were grown up, and there were blackberry bushes, fallen apples coming up. They had one girl in the family, she liked the farm, and any work that was done here she did it. She did a little bit, but it wasn’t farmed and it took a lot to bring it back. It took quite a few years.
[KR:] Did everyone in your family contribute to bringing the farm back?
[CL:] My Sister, she stayed with an aunt in New Jersey for a while and worked. And then she came up late that fall. She never really did anything on the farm. She worked out. She was older than I was and she was working. And, it was just the three of us, until I got married in 1955. And then my wife, well my father died in 1958. We got married and we had a trailer across the driveway that we lived in. My first son was born in 1958 and thirteen days later, my father died. So, then it was just my mother and me and my wife that really ran the farm and brought it back. And then, as the kids got, we have five children, three boys and two girls, and as they got older they all pitched in. And they all wanted to farm it, the boys did. They got outta high school; they didn’t want to go on. I said, “You got a choice: you can go in the service for a couple years, or you can go to college for a couple years, but you’re not staying here, right away. Go out and see a little bit of the outside world.” So they all went to college for two years, and they all came back and they wanted to farm.
[KR:] Did you want to farm, when you first moved up here?
[CL:] Yes. Yes. Yes. Yeah, I did. It was hard, because we didn’t have any tractor. We started rough, we started real rough. We had a ton and a half truck, [with a] short wheel base, and we mowed hay with a horse drawn mower hooked up to the back of that. My father drove the truck and I rode the mowing machine. Of course, the hay wasn’t very heavy. He drove the truck, and if the mower plugged I had a whistle. I blew the whistle, he stopped and then we unplugged it. And then we hooked a dump rake behind the truck and put the hay in the wind rows, and then we pitched it the hay in the truck by hand. That’s how we did it the first year. The next year we had an all iron wheel tractor that we used. It was a slow process. It took us eight to ten years to really get going. We had to repair the Barn, jack it up and cut out rotted beams. It was a struggle. But then my father died in ’58, and I was left doing the work. My mother still owned the farm, and I bought it from her. And I think we took title on January 1st, 1961. We took title, and we’ve had it ever since. And, that 121 acres that was the original farm, has now turned into over 500 acres. We bought different pieces as we went along. But, now my two sons, they own the farm, I turned it over to them. My oldest son had a farm of his own, up near Madison. He just sold his and he’s built a new house. My two youngest boys, they run the farm now, but I do all I can. I can’t do mechanical work, I’m 79 now; I can’t do much physical work. So, I drive tractors, that’s mostly what I do. I did all the plowing last spring, and I rake hay and tend hay and throw loads, and stuff like that. And that’s about what I am now. I’d like to do more, but I just can’t. I’ve got COPD, which is a lung disease. I never smoked, it’s emphysema and bronchitis, but I never smoked. But, I think it’s from inhaling silo gas and all the dust from all the silage. Different dust from around the farm, and that’s what I got, so I got to take it easy.
[KR:] When you first started working this farm with your dad, besides mowing hay or growing hay, what other jobs did you do?
[CL:] Plowing. Milking Cows. In fact the year I went to school, we didn’t have a lot of cows then. But I had to milk cows by hand before I went to school. It didn’t hurt me. But then I think that was in ’48-49. I think about in the spring of ’49, we got a milk pump then, and bought some more cows. So, we had a milk machine so we didn’t have to milk by hand anymore. And we had canned milk. We had to pull all the cans out of the cooler. They held eighty-six pounds of milk, plus about twenty-five pounds for the can, so it was [plenty] of work. They stood up that high [gestures], and you had to lift them out and carry them up to the road, so the milk truck could pick them up and take them to the milk plant. It was work; it was a lot of work.
[KR:] How have the jobs on the farm, how have they changed, since you first started working here?
[CL:] Oh…entirely different. My two boys, they have, oh they’re milking eighty some-odd cows. And the milk machines they have are automatic take-off. In other words: they wash the cows, they put the machines on them; and as soon as the cow is done, the machine senses it when no more milk is coming. Then [the machines] fall down, but not to the floor, and this vacuum lifts them right up to where the pipeline is. So then, when they get the chance, they come back, take that machine and put it on another cow. So the two of them run about seven units at once, and it goes a lot quicker. That’s milking. Of course, now instead of canned milk we’ve got this bulk tank. We started out with a 435 gallon tank, which was all right for a while. Now we’ve put in a 1,000 gallon tank, and that was too small and didn’t cool the milk fast enough. Now we’ve got a 2,000 gallon tank, which we’ll probably never fill, but in case of a snow storm in the winter time, if the truck can’t get around or something, we’ve got extra room, so that we can milk the fifth milking. They pick up every other day, and there’s always four milkings in the tank when they pick it up. So, we’d have room for another fifth milking, anyway. And, it’s all pipeline now, you don’t even see the milk. In fact you produce it, it goes in the machine, into the pipeline, into the tank and you never see it. The driver now comes at about 4:30 in the morning, and picks it up. So, we never see the milk we produce, really. And, they pick it up and it’s gone to the creamery.
[KR:] Has your farm always been family run, or have you used hired hands, in the past?
[CL:] It’s always been family. We have a boy; he comes Saturday and Sunday mornings now. He works a lot; he helped us haying this year. He was a kid, he’s a good worker, and we pay him by the hour, when we hire him. And, that’s him. And then, the boys take a milking off a week. Saturday and Sunday night, one takes one night, and then my youngest son’s stepson comes and helps the other brother milk that night. But as far as anybody full time, no we’ve never had anybody full time.
[KR:] So, how has Burlington Flats changed since you’ve been here?
[CL:] Well, this isn’t, Burlington Flats is over the hill quite a ways. Burlington, that’s up where the light is here, that’s more or less what we call town. As you came over from Cooperstown, you came up route 80, and you know where 205 turned to go to Hartwick?
[CL:] Well from there, all the way over through our village and all the way over to New York 51. When we moved here, it was a state highway, but it was a dirt road. It wasn’t very good in the winter time. They paved that, worked on that in ’54 and ’55. They made the rock cuts through and all; they changed some of the roadway, where it goes. There used to be a store up on the corner, a big store, a general store. And, at night, that’s where all the farmers congregated. They went in, bought some groceries, whatever, and they visited. I guess, years ago they used to play cards there at night, but I never saw that. But, the man that bought it, after we moved here, just when television was becoming popular, he went in the television business, too. And, he installed televisions. He had a television there and it was on, so everybody went up to watch television at night. Not everybody, but the men mostly. All around the town there, there are a lot of houses that are gone. One, two, three, four… I can think of right in the village that are no longer there. But there are a lot of new houses up and down the road here that you know, when we moved here, there wasn’t half as many houses up and down the road as there is now. People have built houses. It’s changed. The roads, the back roads are in a lot better shape. We have a very good Highway Superintendent. Years ago, they didn’t have the equipment they’ve got today, so they didn’t maintain the roads as well as they do today. The people, well originally they were all country people, then right after the war, there was an influx of city people that came up here. There were a number of families, there were: one, two, three, four, five…five or six families that came, just up and down the road here. It was... I think it was good, that people started coming into the neighborhood. I don’t know, other than that. Of course, there aren't the farms here now that there were, years ago. There’s this one and the one next door, well, I think there’s six farms in the whole township, six or seven. My friend that lives up the road, he was the assessor for years, and he could remember when there were something like close to forty-five of them [sitting in] the town, and now they’re down to about seven. Of course, the farms nowadays produce more milk than they did years ago. Still, it’s growing up. Every pasture used to be cleared, the cows chewed it down, but now that lands idle and it’s growing up to brush, and there’s a lot more wildlife now than there was back then. I mean, we never had coyotes years ago, but we’ve got coyotes, now. Turkeys, we’ve got turkeys coming out of our ears, and deer all over the place. So, it’s changed a lot.
[KR:] So has that changed how you run the farm? Having more wildlife in the area?
[CL:] No, not really, no. They haven’t been too much of a problem. They graze the meadows, the deer do, but they don’t take enough to say so. But, I don’t think the wildlife has affected the way we farm at all, no.
[KR:] So, you stayed here on the farm, after you graduated high school?
[KR:] OK, and after high school is when you met your wife? Or, did you meet her in high school.
[CL:] Well, she rode the bus with me, but I was a senior and she was only in seventh grade. So, that’s five year difference between us. And, we knew her family, they were a good family. Of course, the Grange was very active in those days, up in the village there. The building’s almost falling down now. And, we knew everybody. They had this Sadie Hawkins dance once, and she asked me if I wanted to go with her, and yeah I [wanted to] go. We started going together, and we went together for three and a half years, and then we got married.
[KR:] What kind of dates did you go on?
[CL:] Dances. Square dances. Round dances. That was about it.
[KR:] Did you go somewhere else for movies or were there some in town?
[CL:] No… well, there was one in Edmeston, at one time. But we generally went in to Cooperstown to Smalley’s on Main Street. Sometimes we went to Oneonta, too, occasionally.
[KR:] Was there anything in particular that made you decide you wanted to marry Mrs. Lindberg?
[CL:] To what?
[KR:] To marry, Mrs. Lindberg?
[CL:] Oh, yeah, I loved her. Yeah, no, she was a farmer’s daughter, she could cook, and we got along well. I knew, after I went with her for two or three months, that, yeah, she was the one. But, we didn’t talk about that until, probably, a couple years later.
[KR:] How did you ask your wife to marry you?
[CL:] I didn’t get down on my knee. I didn’t beg her. I think it was more or less, just through conversation. I think we both knew that’s what we wanted. I remember I bought her an engagement ring and a wedding ring. I used to work for Murray Benjamin. He was the biggest maple syrup producer in New York State, up her out of Burlington. Right after I got out of school, we didn’t have much money. So, during sugaring time in the spring - starting in maybe February, March, April - I’d get my chores done, and my neighbor Charlie Bole and I, we used to up and work by the hour. We got paid $0.80 an hour, and if you got there in the morning you got a hot dinner, too. And I just saved my money up, and that year, 1954, I was getting paid $1 an hour then. I saved up my money, and we went to Oneonta one night and looked at rings. And, for $115, which is all I made that year, I got a wedding ring and an engagement ring for her. The engagement ring was pretty small, I’ll tell ya. It was one of those that you should have had a magnifying glass, you know. And, years later, I said, “I’ll buy you a new ring.” She said, “No, I don’t want one.” She said, “That ring has memories, you know, that means more to me than a big stone would [have meant].” So she had [her old engagement ring] made up into a [new] ring. We took [the old] stone out, and that was in the center, then her side is her birth [stone] and my side, the other side, is my birth [stone]. So, that’s what she wears as an engagement ring now.
[KR:] Describe your wedding day. What was that like?
[CL:] That was October 1st, 1955. My sister passed away about three weeks ago. And, I had to get up and talk. Well, first I said, “I had the best sister in the world.” Then I said, “I have to tell you about an incident that happened.” It was about two days before [the wedding], either the 29th or 30th of September. I went to Cooperstown, I needed a haircut and my Brother-in-law had the barber shop out there. And, I needed another set of keys [for my car] made. So I went into the hardware store there, and left my key. I came out and went to the barber shop, and I met my sister. I told her I was getting a key made and I was going to get a haircut. So, I went in and got a haircut, got the key and went home. Back then, on the wedding day, you wanted to protect your car. I mean, they don’t do it anymore, they don’t do anything anymore. Maybe they decorate tin cans or something like that. Back then, I mean, they could do anything to your car; they could jack it up, put in on blocks, maybe take the tires off or let the air out. So, I took it and hid it, over back. And, after the wedding, we went looking for my car, and it was gone. My sister went back in to the hardware store, she knew the guy that ran it, and she had a key made. And, when we looked for it, they took it and they hid it way back up the other side of Briar Hill, way back. And we looked all over town for that car. And finally, we went back to my wife’s place, and my brother-in-law, my sister’s husband, he told my father-in-law that, “They can’t find it; tell them it’s back up on the old farm where you used to live.” We had looked up there, but we hadn’t looked back far enough. We got up there and we got the car. That was our wedding day. And, we drove it, came out to route 80 there, the other side of Briar Hill. We started up the hill and I could smell something. Then I knew what it was. I pulled over, and they put Limburger cheese
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[CL:] on the hot manifold. As it got warm, it melted and it stank. But, my wedding day…We got married up at the church on the corner here. We went on a honeymoon. I had a ’41 Chrysler Windsor. It was a nice car. And, I had a hundred bucks in my pocket, when we went on our honeymoon. We were gone for just about seven days. But, I mean, you could rent a motel for $3 a night, in those days. You could get a good hot meal for less than $1, or $1.25, or something like that. We were gone, and we traveled. We went to Gettysburg, we went to Washington, over across West Virginia, and came up around the state this way, when we came home. I will always remember that, that’s for sure. But, the day itself, it was a beautiful day. The leaves were beautiful. My wife said she was scared, and I said I wasn’t. I don’t know; it was a perfect day. It wasn’t a big wedding, but it was enough. That was fifty-five years ago.
[KR:] Were there any special family traditions for your wedding that you can remember?
[CL:] No. No. No. It’s just that that church means a lot to us. We were married there. Our five children were dedicated there. Two of them were married there. And after fifty years, we went back and had our vows renewed. And, we go to church every Sunday.
[KR:] What is “dedicated?” What is that?
[CL:] Well, it’s some churches say you sprinkle water on them, christen them. I think most churches probably do that. At the Baptist church you just dedicate. You promise to bring up your child, and follow God. And everybody there is supposed to take responsibility, too, in doing that. You dedicate them to God, more or less, to bring them up in a Godly way. That’s what that means.
[KR:] Has religion always been important to your family?
[CL:] Yeah, we’re not religious fanatics, by any sense of the word, but we do believe. And, I remember when I first started going to Sunday school; this was in Rosedale where I grew up. My sister was probably about five and I was four. And, I remember we walked hand in hand to Sunday school, every Sunday. And, we liked it, nobody had to twist our arms to do it, I mean. And then we grew up that way. I’m glad, I’m glad. Of course, I think - I don’t know if you go to church or not, it doesn’t make any difference, that’s none of my business – that’s the trouble with the world. Too many people have gotten away from religion. I mean, the percentage of people going to church today is nothing like it was when I grew up. I used to have a paper route, after school, and I delivered 130 papers. I knew most of the people pretty well that I delivered to, around where I lived. I’d say probably 80-85% of the people or more, where affiliated with a church or something. And now, I don’t think it’s 15, maybe 20% at the most. I don’t know; kids aren’t brought up to go to church. I think that makes a big difference. I think that’s why you have a lot of trouble in the world. But, that’s just my opinion. But, church has been important to us, yes.
[KR:] Were you always a Baptist?
[CL:] No. No, I grew up a Lutheran, with the Lutheran Church. We moved here and there was none around; though there’s one in West Burlington now, but that wasn’t there then. And, I don’t know. When I was in school, I went with a girl my senior year, she was a Baptist [inaudible]. I went there a few times. I think I started going up here, in 1951, near as I can remember. And Mother went up, and she sang - it was a small, a very small congregation – she used to sing. Then I got to going there. Of course, my wife went, too, although I wasn’t going with her then. I don’t know. I’ve always had something to do with church. My wife’s the choir director and the organist up there. And, I’ve been a Deacon there for [chuckle], I don’t know, 40 years, something like that. But, as I say, I’m not a religious fanatic and I don’t try to cram religion down people’s throat or anything like that, because that’s up to them, what they want to do. But, I’ve had experiences, I’ve had three lifesaving operations, and I believe it makes a difference if you believe.
[KR:] So, when you first got married, did your wife move in here, with your family?
[CL:] No we had a trailer, on the other side of the road, a small one. It was nothing more than a travel trailer, a ’47 or ’48 travel trailer. In fact, it didn’t even have a bathroom in it. But, we live there, and we came over here, the door was always unlocked, if we had to take a shower or something, we’d come in the house. And then before our first son was born, he was born in April of ’58, we had saved up some money and that fall we bought a year old trailer. It was nice. 8’ x 43’, that was big then. Imagine that: 8’ x 43’ being big. It had two bedrooms, and it had the bathroom the shower and all. It was complete. That’s where we lived when our first two children were born. Then when my father died, well, my mother still had the house, and she got a job out at the hospital. They said it was part-time, it wasn’t permanent. And, then finally when she was a made a permanent employee she rented a place out in Cooperstown and sold us the farm. And then, we moved into the house, and that’s where the other three children were born, here. And then we sold the trailer. Yep, I can remember that old travel trailer. It had a little pot-bellied, kerosene stove. It held two gallons in the tank. And that was the coldest winter I think we ever had, ’55 to ’56. Of course, you turned it down so it would last all night. It got pretty cold.
[KR:] What was that like? Starting a new family and living across the driveway from your parents?
[CL:] It was alright. It was good. If we wanted to go somewhere, mom always babysat for us. It was convenient that way. Even after my father died, she used to babysit and take care of the kids, if we wanted to go somewhere. So, we could get away, at night. So, that worked well. We had running water there, and everything. We had electricity in the little trailer, too. But, we didn’t have running water.
[KR:] Is that how your parents started out? Living near their parents?
[CL:] No. No, they didn’t live with their parents, no. I almost think, the house where we lived, where my sister and I were born, I think that was their first home. It was built up. IT was more citified, Woodhaven. It was a semi-attached house. My father bought the one side, and there was an apartment downstairs and an apartment upstairs. And the other part he bought for my grandmother. She lived there, and she rented some rooms out upstairs. I think that was the first house that my parents had, that I have ever heard [of]. So, I assume it was. Actually, I never questioned them about it. I assume that was where they first lived.
[KR:] When you first had kids, was that a decision you made, or did it just kind of happen?
[CL:] No, well, years ago when a couple got married around here, about twelve months later, their first child appeared. Well, twelve months after we got married we couldn’t afford to have that baby. So, actually it was two and a half years, after we got married, before we had our first one. And my wife, she’s got two sisters and a brother. Well, her brother is dead now, but anyway. When she was born, her brother was fifteen, the oldest sister was thirteen, and the younger of the two older sisters was ten. [By] the time she was four or five, those kids were all in school, and, in fact, the brother was probably in college by then. And she, more or less, always grew up alone. Years ago, kids didn’t run their kids around like they do nowadays. I mean, they did what they had to do on the farm. So, she more or less grew up alone. And, she said, “If we start having children, if we have one about a year later we’re going to have another one.” So, that two kids can grow up together, you know, have somebody to play with. So that’s what we did. About a year later, my oldest daughter was born, so the two of them, they grew up. Four years after that, my youngest daughter was born. And, about a year later, Eric was born. So, that there was two of them about the same age growing up all the time. That’s why we planned it that way.
[KR:] So, there was a lot of talk between you and your wife about when to have kids, that kind of stuff, planning to have kids?
[CL:] Oh yeah, we knew we couldn’t afford one right off. And it was foolish to even think of that. And we waited, we decided what we were going to do, and that’s just what we did. We decided to have the first one, and a year later there was going to be another one. And it worked out that way well.
[KR:] What kind of jobs did your kids do, working on the farm? Did all of them work on the farm?
[CL:] When they were growing up you mean?
[KR:] Yes, sorry.
[CL:] Well depends on how old they were. I remember the oldest boy, well, my wife always helped in the barn with me, and we used to take him over. And, there was a ladder that went up to the hay bale, well there was a chute there so we could shut it, and we always had a pile of hay there. We had a harness on him and we would tie him to the ladder, and he would play with some toys, the cats or kittens, or whatever was there. And then when we were done, we brought him [home]. The oldest girl never did much. And the kids didn’t do much. In fact, the first thing my oldest boy did, when he was maybe three years old, [when] we used to give out the silage [to the cows], and we used to put salt on the silage. He had a scoop and a little pail, and that was his job. He would do it, he wanted to do it. If he went and skipped a cow or gave two scoops to one cow and none to the next, I’d say, “Look, you have to do it right, or I’m not going to let you do it.” Well, he’d start crying. I knew he wanted to do it. And, that’s how he had a little responsibility and he enjoyed it. All the kids when they were young, they did something like that, real small. Of course, when they got old enough to milk cows and stuff like that, they helped. They always helped. They had responsibilities.
[KR:] All the way through high school? Or did some of them stop earlier?
[CL:] They always took part in everything at the school that they could. All of them were in musicals; they were class plays. The boys all played sports. Jo, the oldest girl, Joanne - well you know Joanne - she was a good basketball player and softball. She played all sports. Lou, I think the only thing she played was volleyball. I don’t think she was as inclined to sports, as Joanne was. But, we pushed them, we didn’t hold back on anything. We let them take advantage of every opportunity they could. I think it pays off. I think every kid should play sports, of some sort.
[KR:] So sports were important to you, growing up?
[CL:] Oh yeah, oh yeah. That high school I went to in Queens County, you ever hear of Bob Cousy?
[CL:] He played for the Boston Celtics. Well, he played at the high school I went to. He was older, a year and a half or two years older than me. But I remember seeing him play there. And, I tried out for the J.V. You used to try out in April, for the J.V. for the next season. A lot of kids got cut, and I was still on it. After I gave up the paper route, I got a job in the store, after school, stocking shelves and stuff. And it got so I couldn’t do both, so I had to give up the basketball. And, I kind of regret it, because it was a big school, and that coach won city championships in the past. I gave up a golden opportunity really, but I had to do something, so I gave it up. And, when I came up here, I had never played football – oh, I had played touch tackle or something like that, where I used to live – but, the doctor was in school that day giving physicals for the football team. I had no intentions of playing, and Bill Zinnegar, he lived over in West Burlington, he said, “Come on, Linny, we’re going to play football.” We ran down into the office there, and he was behind me, kind of shoving me all the way, encouraging me, but he never played football. He got me in there. I got to playing football. I enjoyed it. I had a good time. I had three touchdowns in one game. I was an end. I played basketball. We were 8-0 in football; we were 16-3 in basketball. Back then we didn’t play so many baseball games, we were 9-1. So we only lost three games out of all the sports that we played that year. We had good teams, and we had a lot of fun, a lot of fun. We went to one football game; we went out to Union Springs, which is quite a ways out past Auburn ways. And we beat them. And then they took us to Syracuse that night, after the game. And we saw, I don’t know if you remember, Horace Height? No, you wouldn’t remember. He had amateur hours and stuff. And, we saw his show and a movie. We came back. You see a lot of the kids didn’t get around much back in those days; so I think the coach and Charlie Ryder, the social studies teacher, they kind of wanted to take some of the kids out and see some of what the rest of the world was like. No, I enjoyed sports. I had a lot of fun playing sports. I still follow sports. My Giants did too well on Sunday. [Phew]
[KR:] So how have sports changed since you first started watching sports when you were a kid?
[CL:] I don’t know that they have changed too much. Salaries have changed; that’s about it, I guess. I think the players were more scrappy years ago than they are now. You see Baseball players get on base and they talk to the first baseman or the second baseman. I don’t think you saw that, years ago. I think they were more hostile to each other, you know, there wasn’t that friendliness, I don’t know. But that’s just my opinion. I think professional football [players] have a more “try to kill the guy” attitude than they did years ago. Years ago they tried to stop the guys and that was it. Now you see guys diving in with their helmets. You know, seems as though they’re trying to hurt somebody, I don’t know, that’s my opinion.
[KR:] Did you go to a lot of sporting events as a kid?
[CL:] I went to Yankee stadium, probably about 1943. I had the paper route, and there was another kid, he lived up near [Normalton?], well we had to go up there to get the papers, and we were both Yankee fans. He said to me one day, he says, “Why don’t we go to Yankee stadium, some Sunday?” Of course, you always went when there was a double header; every Sunday was a double header. And, I said, “Yeah.” So I rode my bike up to his house, and we got on the bus and went to Yankee Stadium. I say that was probably, about 1943, maybe ’44, it was a war year, I know that. We went a couple of times. And then, I took my cousin once, we went up there. On my Senior Trip, we went to New York City, and it was opening day, and we went and saw the Yankees play, the boys. Since then, well, my wife had never been to Yankee Stadium, that must be ten, eleven, twelve years ago. She said, “I’d like to go.” So, we got on the bus down in Oneonta, Eastern Travels, and they used to drive you right there. We went one year. And we thought we ought to take the grandsons. So it got that we took all the grandsons at different times, generally two at a time. They each saw three Yankee games. Except the youngest grandson, he’s a Met fan; he wouldn’t go to Yankee stadium. So we didn’t have to take him. But we took them all about three times. I would never go back again.
[KR:] Why is that?
[CL:] Prices are too high, for one thing. I just haven’t had the urge to go. I’ve never been to the new stadium, I haven’t been there. And I don’t intend to go. I’d rather sit here. I’ve got the big TV, now. So, I can sit here and watch the ball games. It’s a lot more comfortable, and a lot cheaper, too.
[KR:] Could you describe the experience of attending a Yankee game? Like when you were a kid?
[CL:] Well, I think it’s an experience everybody should have, to go to Yankee Stadium. I think a lot of the ball players would like to play there, because it’s almost packed every game. And the old stadium - of course, the new one I don’t know - the old one there was a lot of history there. You know, Babe Ruth played there, and DiMaggio, and all those great guys. It’s an atmosphere that I think is inspiring, in a way.
[KR:] How so?
[CL:] Well, if you don’t know the history of baseball, it probably wouldn’t mean so much to you. But, if you know anything about baseball, I think, the edge of the roof where they have that stuff hanging down…I don’t know. It’s special, in a way, to me. But, as I said, I wouldn’t go to the new one. That doesn’t mean anything [to me].
[KR:] Is it because that history is gone? Is that part of it?
[CL:] Part of it, and the prices. Last year in ’09, when they opened up the season, opening day was always packed. But, I watched the game, and all the best seats in the house, most of them were empty. Why? Because, they’re asking so much money for them. Greed. I mean, I heard that tickets for those seats, I don’t know, maybe it was one seat or two, were $1,200, but you could have all the eats or drinks you wanted. But still, it’s greed. If anything ruins sports, it’s greed. Greed by the owners or greed by the players, that’ll ruin sports eventually.
[KR:] When you were a kid how did you get to the game?
[CL:] What’s that?
[KR:] When you were a kid how did you get to the game?
[CL:] How did we get [to the game]? We took a bus, and then the subway. And right by Yankee stadium there was a subway station.
[KR:] You were thirteen the first time you did that?
[CL:] Twelve or thirteen.
[KR:] Could you describe how you raised your children?
[CL:] We made them mind. And we gave them, discipline, they had discipline. We had no trouble. There was one instance I can remember. It was in the fall, October or November; we had a wood burning stove out in the kitchen there. My wife was getting supper, and, I don’t know, there was three or four of them around the kitchen table, they were playing this game, Candy Land. I don’t know, you spun something and then you moved, you landed on a certain spot, I don’t know. Anyway, they got to arguing, somebody got to accusing the other one of cheating. I told them, “Knock it off. If somebody is cheating cut it out, or if somebody is just a sore loser, keep still about it.” Well, this went on about four or five times. Well, I wasn’t going to stand here and police the kids. So, after the fourth or fifth time, I walked over to the table, it was a board, folded the board up, walked over to the stove, opened the top, threw it in, and I shut the door. Now that sounds mean, doesn’t it? I said, “I told you to cut it out and I meant it.” Well, that was October or November, that Christmas there was another game of Candy Land under the tree. So, they got the game [back]. But, it served a purpose: when your mother or father tells you something, they mean it. But, we never had trouble with our kids in school, anywhere. They never fought or scrapped, like some kids do. But, when I was a kid, when I did something I shouldn’t have, I got a crack on my backside. And, some of them did, too. Not all of them. Jo, she was the instigator. Don’t tell her I said this but she was. Her and the middle boy, Eric, she could talk him in to doing anything. And, of course, he couldn’t sit still, he was a livewire. And, they got popped some. Carl did too, the oldest one, some, not much; well we were extra strict with him, stricter than we should have been. My wife had a nephew and he was another one that couldn’t sit still. I remember sitting up in church here, my wasn’t playing the organ or anything then, we were sitting there. And, he was there with his mother, and he got right – it was church service – he got right down in the aisle, lied on his back and started pounding his feet on the floor making a ruckus, and his mother sat there and did nothing. My wife and I, I’m sure we were married then, and we sat there boiling. We made up our mind; we were not going to…So when, our oldest son was born, I think we were probably a little too strict with him, but he didn’t turn out like that nephew, you know. Oh they might have thought we were a little rough on them, a little too strict. But when they got a crack it was right on their backside and nowhere else. I got it when I was a kid, and that was the best thing that ever happened to me. Of course, when kids start getting away with something, and they push their parents a little further and a little further and a little further, and before you know it they’re nothing but brats. And, I can remember once, growing up in Rosedale. It was during the war. It was a beautiful summer day. I forget I did something, and my mother told me to go up to my room, for the rest of the afternoon. So, I went up there. My mother was sitting on the front porch; we had a brick porch with slabs on either side. And I was looking out the window at the planes, all over; there were always planes in the air, down there, then. And this lady came down the sidewalk and started talking to my mother. And I knew which side of the porch my mother was sitting on, [her that other lady going on.] Of course, when you had to go up and stay in your room you had the right to go to the bathroom down the hall in the back of the house. So I started down the hall, and there was this big yellow vase sitting on the end table, there. And, I eyed that. I knew what I was going to do with that. I took it to the bathroom, and I couldn’t get it under the faucet, so I had a glass and I poured cold water into it. I carried it back into my room, crawled across the bed, unhooked the screen and pushed it out. I aimed just right, and I poured the water on the roof, it was a sloping roof, and the water went down. You’ve never heard the noise that my mother made, she squealed. It was a beautiful day: sunshine, bright. And here she was; she was soaked. [Laughter]
[START OF TRACK 3, 0:00]
[CL:] Oh, she was going to kill me that day, she was so mad. Well, she came running up the stairs, I put the vase back on the end table in the hall. I ran back in the room. The doors had locks on them, but there were no keys. Well, I had a small bedroom, and to the left of the door was a dresser. So, I pulled all three drawers out and when she tried to get in the room, she hit the drawers, and she was fuming. Finally, she went downstairs and said, “Wait until your father comes home, he’s going to give it to you.” This was a Sunday, and he worked seven days a week during the war. And, he came home that night; his car came down the street and pulled in the driveway. I heard him come in the house, and I could hear him mumbling down there, talking. Mother came to the stairs and yelled up to me, “You get down here; your father wants to talk to you.” So I said, “Oh boy, this is it.” Well, I went downstairs. Dad, when he was mad, he could put a pretty ugly face on and he looked that way. I saw he couldn’t keep his lips still. He was kind of twitching his lips, and finally he busted out laughing. [Laughter] And, he said, “You know you shouldn’t have done that.” And I said, “No, I shouldn’t have done that.” He said, “You’re not going to do that again.” I said, “No, I’m not going to do that again.” And, my mother was laughing, too. A little clean fun, during the war. Clean fun. I did some things, that I got my britches womped, which as I said did me some good.
[KR:] Is that pretty typical of your relationship with your parents?
[CL:] Oh, we had a good relationship, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, when they said something, we listened. We listened. Yep.
[KR:] You said earlier, that you had the best sister. What was your relationship like with her?
[CL:] Good. Oh yeah, yeah. We never scrapped, no. We got along. We grew up, as little kids, we grew up together. No, we never had any problems.
[KR:] Do you remember any other stories about you and your sister? Anything in particular?
[CL:] The one about when I got married, what she did to me, getting my car there, that one time. No, not really, nothing outstanding, but we always got along. We got along all right, yep.
[KR:] So what would you say, in your life, is your proudest accomplishment?
[CL:] This farm. The way it was when we moved here, I have often said - well, my father died, we moved here in July of ’48, he died in May of ’58. So, he wasn’t even quite here ten years - I have often said I wish my father could come back and see what we got here now. I mean, the 121 acres was run down, and now we have over 500 acres. Well, we bought, where Eric lives, that was where my wife was born. We bought that farm from my mother-in-law. That farm has been in the family since, in my wife’s mother’s family, since 1874. And, that’s producing more now, probably than it ever did. And, we put additions on the barn up there; we put a silo up there. Any building you see here, on this farm, the only thing still standing - from when we moved here - is this two story part of the house. We had an addition that was ripped off and replaced. The kitchen is all different. All the other buildings that are here now – [Doorbell] – where… Carolyn… Weren’t here, when we moved here. All the silos, we’ve got about four, four concrete silos here, plus the SealStore, and barns, all different. Sheds and everything, everything’s different from when we moved here. And, it took a lot of money and a lot of work, but we worked seven days a week doing it. I mean, you have to milk cows every day. That’s my proudest accomplishment in my life, is this farm. Even though I don’t own it now, the boys own it, but we have the right to live here forever. That’s something. I think of the old families that used to live around here farming it, I think they kind of made fun of us when we started out here, the way we did. In fact, I know they did, because somebody let it slip once. They’re all gone now, and we’re still here. I have one regret, the two boys that are running [the farm], they don’t have any sons, or any children at all, of their own. They have step children. And, someday the farm is going to have to leave the family. Of course, I won’t be around to see it; at least I hope I’m not. I don’t know, there will just be an auction here someday, probably, but I won’t be here to see it. I hope not. But, that’s the only regret I have, that it will leave the family someday. It’s been here since, 62 years it’s been in our family, that’s quite a while.
[KR:] Well, thank you, very much for the interview.
[CL:] That’s it?
[KR:] Yeah, that’s it.
[CL:] OK, glad to oblige, I hope I helped you out.