Tattle Tales by Noah: Who’d have thunk

Submitted by Noah Zobrist
Two men and a truck with “scab” labor on a Saturday job in 1944 at the Kruse dairy barn at Morton. Older teens were on the fighting front so help was at a premium. From left is George Kruse, Noah Zobrist Sr., Ed Kruse and Noah Zobrist Jr. The pay was a bushel of apples.

Who’d have thunk the gents in this snap taken in 1944 would be relatives of a great baseball player one day? Noah Zobrist and son Noah Jr. and George Kruse and son Ed hooked up one Saturday to pour a concrete floor in the Kruse dairy barn and who’d have thunk the old guys would be great-grandpops to Ben Zobrist?

This event was the beginning of a relationship that is cherished to this day.

George Kruse was a Morton farmer and Noah Zobrist, a Morton contractor donated his old Dodge truck, his building skill and his son to a weekend job requiring little scratch.

Back then, it was customary to be neighborly and to exchange work, yet never keeping tabs on who was up on whom.

Who’d have thunk Bob Carius would become a Navy Admiral of fame, Don Rapp a juggler at Florida State University or Eldon Bauman flying heroic bombing missions over Germany during World War II, and who’d have thunk Jim Anderson would be awarded a silver star in Korea for exceptional bravery.

It’s all verifiable.

Gin and Jerry were close pals of mine who worked on my uncle’s farm near Gibson City, but Jerry didn’t do as much as Gin as pulling his weight in the field.

On a 600-acre farm, my uncle needed all the help he could muster to get the crops laid by before harvest and I well remember 60 bushel, per acre, corn as tops in Ford County.

It was all relative in the ‘30s as we sold eggs, in 30-dozen crates, at an IGA grocer for a thin dime a dozen.

Gin ate like a horse, but was a stubborn ol’ mule and loved being harnessed to a corn planter, swishing flies every step of the way.

Times were tough, so Gin and Jerry worked for hay and oats plus a tank of barnyard water. Treats for a mule was a good rub down.

I’d bet my Tom Dewey button that my sister Doris was never kept after school back in my day and ditto for my brother Lloyd. Yet, it happened frequently to this kid.

Keeping me after school for deportment, or academic reasons, meant Liza Ackerman was tardy popping a pie in the oven.

Back then, you disciplined yourself and when weak in your studies, the school mum chose to work overtime.

In later years, my sister Doris Brecher was the first director of nursing and later administrator at Restmor and my brother Lloyd was a Bradley graduate, firing the engines at Zobrist Construction.

Makes me wonder if mums still work “extra” with students, or do labor laws forbid them to do so?

What dedicated gals they were and how unappreciative was I. Sadly I failed to acknowledge their effort and to say, “Job well done.”

If it was stamped Morton, endorsed by Morton or built by Morton it was tagged “quality” as that’s the way it was back in the 1930s. 

If you lived on Grandview Drive in Peoria it is also possible Albert Stetzler built the home or Sam Getz laid the brick, as both were quality Morton contractors of reputation.

To follow were quality builders like Bill Hohstadt and Otto Baum who soon moved into that role and maintain a quality reputation to this very day.

Back then Interlocking meant quality fencing and who could overlook our village of master potters renowned to this day. 

Rocke was a quality name in meat and, now, has hit on an international market as has Morton Buildings in most every state.

Indeed if Caterpillar had settle in Morton in the ‘30s, we’d have had bragging rights at a challenging level of the vocal cords.

Once a year, I return to my hometown and find Morton much the same as when I was growing up. They are proud, yet humble, villagers.