There are so many wonderful memories I have of visiting my grandparent’s farm in Woodbury during my growing up years in the 1950s and 1960s. The crank telephone was a common fixture in farmhouses during that time. Everyone had their own “ring,” but if someone wanted to tell the whole community something important, like a birth, death or if their cows were wandering outside the fences, there was a general ring on the party line.
My grandmother, Laura Schilling Stutzman, used to make my grandfather, Herbert Stutzman, apologize to everyone for something he said or did—a family story that got passed down generations. We never knew just what happened, but she was a strong woman with principles and integrity who never complained and was a very easy-going type of person. So, if she stood up to my very smart but stubborn, cigar-smoking and opinionated German grandfather, and made him speak to all the people on the party line to apologize, it must have been important to her.
Herbert, born in 1883 in North Dakota, outlived many of his peers and died at the age of 94 on his farm, which is now Marsh Creek development in Woodbury.
Patty (Stutzman) Paulus is the board director for the Woodbury Heritage Society. Discover more at woodburyheritage.org.