John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
I came from a large family with six children Five girls and myself made up the children. When we were in early grade school, we all had to learn how to cook, wash dishes, change diapers of the younger one, scrub floors and steps, vacuum the house or beat the rugs outside in spring, wash clothes, clean up the house in general, and do to other chores. If did not matter if you were a girl or a boy, we all had to learn these things. If we wanted a snack after school, we would make hot chocolate. You would boil milk or water and add Bosco, Ovaltine, Hershey's Chocolate syrup to make our drink. We learned how to make pancakes, french toast, omelets, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, farina or Cream of Wheat all with a hand mixer. This is while we were in early grade school. As the years went on, we learned better recipes and methods of cooking. Making cupcakes or cakes was always fun. If you used a cordial brandy, you could create,orange, cherry, cherry almond, white chocolate, maple or other such flavors in your cake and/or frostings. In the beginning we used flour and baking soda to make these, but as time went on we used cake mixes as a lazy shortcut. Pancakes were made with flour, several eggs, milk and sometimes flavors. As kids we would try to create unique shapes as we fried the pancakes. Bisquick later was developed and some ingredients were no longer needed. Special coffee cakes were designed by us to enjoy. Our parents were both good cooks, but my dad made the best meals. Some of the beef my mother cooked could qualify as shoe leather.
When I hear about somebody needing to learn how to use a hand mixer, I just laughed at this. When a mill worker made this comment, I just thought about the past. My children and grand-children have knowledge of how to use a hand mixer and how to boil water. They all know how to cook. When the schools have special education classes, these children are also taught how to cook for themselves. This is to make them self-sufficient in life. As hard as life was as a child, the lessons learned have lasted for a lifetime. We never had money, but we also never starved. All of us children were made to be independent so if either or both parents passed on, we could survive on our own. Now I wonder how many children have been taught enough to face life alone if need be. Although we have the knowledge to survive, we also have learned to share our skills with our mates and work together as a team. Either person could do the housework at any time. Sharing the work load makes for a good marriage. If you love somebody enough, you will be glad to help them in any need that they have in life. This is how you set an example to your children and grand-children when they come. Marriage is a two way street in which each partner gives his/her all to the other partner. Please cherish your mate and give them a hug and enjoy the day with them. We have been married for over 42 years. Each year our love grows stronger as we age. As the Polish say:"Sto Lat". Have a long and happy life. Treat each day as the gift of the Lord and live accordingly.