Remembering Joseph (1904 - 1978) and Susan
Lappe Nieland (1906 - 1995)
as told by Lorraine Nieland Starman to
Kay Davis, November 4, 2001
Mom [Susan Lappe Nieland] kept a good many things.
She still had a copy of the new furniture she purchased for her
dowry for the house on the farm. [The furniture] was delivered
the spring after they were married. She was also given a piano
for a wedding gift from her mother. Mom worked for the Holley
Music Co. in Carroll demonstrating sheet music of popular pieces
of the time. She moved in with dad, grandpa, grandma, Louis, and
Herman [Henry Nieland, Anna (Koster) Nieland, Louis and Herman
Nieland] when she and dad were married in August of 1926. Grandpa
and grandma moved to town the following spring but Louis and Herman
did not, so mom had 3 men to cook, launder and clean for as a
bride. Mom had Dad put a house fence with a gate in front (south)
and in back, probably when I came along and started to be outside
Mom had a very nice lawn.
There were good shade trees in the yard besides the grove on the
north and west sides of the farmhouse. The house had a living
room (parlor), dining room, bedroom, kitchen and pantry and an
enclosed back porch where she used to do her washing in summer.
In the winter she would bring the machine into the kitchen at
night to warm it up. It ran on direct electric current from a
Delco plant in what had been grandma's wash house north of the
house, outside the fence. Upstairs there were 4 bedrooms with
one open room where we kept our toys. Dad said it was so cold
in the room he slept in that there was frost on the blankets in
the morning when he would wake up in the winter.
as told by Lorraine Nieland Starmanto
Kay Davis, November 16, 2001
I can tell you a great deal about my mother as I
was the eldest and only child until Denny and Marilyn came along.
She is 11 years younger than I am. Dad used to read the Des Moines
Register funny pager to me and there was a cartoon character called
Skippy. I wanted Mom and Dad to call Denny that but they didn't.
My Grandmother Lappe [Margaret] went to Chicago
with Kate Hoffman to a Congress (Continental or Eucharistic?).
While Grandma Lappe was in Chicago she purchased clipped velvet
material for my mother's wedding dress and then she made it. Mom
saved a piece and I still have it. Mom died the dress black after
the wedding and wore it as a party dress. They went to many ballroom
dances and were married two years before I was born.
Grandma Lappe was an excellent seamstress. My mother
was good at it too because she took a tailoring course. Mom had
to sew my high school uniform blouse, which was white and had
long sleeves. I was so tall for that time 5'8" and with long
arms. After Mom and Dad separated she worked in a tailoring shop
for a while. Before she was married, she worked as a clerk in
a ladies dress shop. She also demonstrated sheet music by playing
the songs on the piano in the music store. She loved to dance
and one year she told me she and her friend Adelade went to every
weekly dance at the Roof Garden in Carroll. I think that is were
she met Dad.
Mom was given a large dowry when she married and
with it she bought the furniture for the house. It was all Queen
Anne style, including a 3-piece living room set, a library table
and a floor lamp with a fringe on it. Also a wool room size rug
for the floor. The dining room was furnished with a table, six
chairs, a buffet and a china cabinet. The bedroom had a bow end
bed, a chest of drawers and a vanity with a bench with a cane
seat. For the kitchen she bought a table and 4 chairs, a kitchen
cabinet, the kind you see in antique stores now. I think it's
called a Hoosier Cabinet. She also bought a cook stove.
Mom was a good gardener and Grandpa Nieland used
to come out and help her garden. She spoke High German and he
spoke Low German, but they were able to communicate anyway and
of course they both spoke English. Until WWII the children were
taught in German at Sts. Peter & Paul School in Carroll where
she went to school. Her First Communion prayer book is in German.
The government stopped them from using German due to war with
Mom was petite and liked nice things. Her
father [Joseph J. Lappe] died at the age of 39 in 1917. Then Grandma
Lappe bought a lot in town, built a large, 4 bedroom foursquare
house on it and bought the lot next to it for a garden, moved
her five children into it and rented out the farms she and Grandpa
had purchased. Grandma Lappe had chickens and kept a milk cow
on the edge of town. Mom said she would milk it in the morning
and Grandma would do it in the evenings. My mom was the eldest
and she was 11 years old when her father died. Aunt Irene [Lappe]
was the baby and she was 1 year old. There was another daughter,
Florence, and two sons, Anton and Nicholas [Lappe]. Grandma was
the most easy going person and so kind and generous. She took
in sick family members when they had no one to care for them.
She took in Mom and we three kids when Mom and Dad separated for
the final time and bought acreage for us to live on. Mom planted
a huge garden and Grandma gave her chickens so she could supply
both houses with eggs and sell what was left. My mom was a wonderful
woman and mother to me.
as told by Lorraine Nieland Starman
to Kay Davis, November 17, 2001
I remember so many good times at Grandma Lappe's
house as I was growing up. It was a special place to me. Aunt
Flossie who never married loved to entertain Grandma's neighbor
kids and me. She would have tea parties for us and birthday parties
for me. She never worked outside the home but lived her whole
life with Grandma.
Once when I got up from
a nap upstairs a traveling photographer from Chicago was there
to take my picture. He said "comb your face and wash your
hair," I suppose to get me in a good mood and laugh. I have
the picture that Mom got then. I am sitting on grandma's piano
bench with one leg under me and my wavy hair just so.
My Mother was given a player
piano as a wedding gift from Grandma Lappe and I took lessons
from the sister at St. Bernard's Convent. Mom was a good player
and used to play a song called "The Edelweiss Glide"
and it was very difficult. I never reached that achievement. My
daughter Deborah [(Starman) Kelleher] is a good player and has
played the organ for church choirs was well as accompany her students
at Corpus Christi Catholic School in Fort Dodge, where she teaches.
My granddaughter [Sarah Kelleher] plays piano, keyboard, horn
and bass guitar. She received a full music scholarship to the
Community College in Ft. Dodge. She is working in Minneapolis
and hoping to go to a music production school there.
Mom left Dad when I was
in the 3rd grade and she and Denny and I lived at Grandma's for
a year and I went to Sts. Peter and Paul grade school. Denny was
3. I got the mumps that year on both sides and Irene said I looked
like Kate Smith, who was a popular singer of the time. She painted
my nails with polish. Funny how you remember the many trivial
Dad came many times to
visit and in the spring took us on rides. Dad was a good singer,
was in choir, and I remember singing with him on the way to school.
I too sing in choir, Community Chorus, have done some solos in
church, lead singing at Church Women United and sang "Second
Hand Rose" at a camp convention in Mt. Pleasant Iowa. I am
a member of a little theater group and have performed in "My
Fair Lady", "Anything Goes", "Dolly"
and other little things. I am a bit of a "ham" and like
a good time.
as told by Loretta Voss Schaefer
to Kay Davis, November 17, 2001
Your letter brought back some memories I'd
forgotten. One was of Lorraine Nieland. Her dad and mom, Joe and
Susan [(Lappe) Nieland] came to Oklahoma to visit and Lorraine
is near my age so we played together. She was so much fun. She
had a brother, Dennis, I think. Joe Nieland used to come to Oklahoma
after his divorce many times to see Grandmother Mueggenborg [Margaret
Nieland]. She had such a soft spot for him. I know Gran always
considered Susan one of her favorite people, long after she and
Joe were apart.
as told by Lorraine Nieland Starman
to Kay Davis , November 19, 2001
Now I will tell you what we found in grandpa's attic
when the electricians rewired the house for REA power. I asked
Denny if I could boost him up through the hole in the storeroom
ceiling where the electricians were working so he could look to
see if there were anything up there. He was so excited when he
saw a good-sized box. I asked him to drag it to the opening and
maybe we could bring it down. So he did and when we got it in
the room we saw that it was a brown, tin, upright box with part
of the top hinged. We lifted up the lid and found women's clothes
in it. As I remember there was a white, cotton skirt in 3 ruffled
layers, a gold colored dress with pretty gold glass buttons, and
a couple of what my grandmother called "waists" and
we would call blouses. I really loved those things and would dress
up in them.
as told by Lorraine Nieland Starman
to Kay Davis to Kay Davis, November 24, 2001
Yes, we girls [Lorraine and Marilyn] do have a completely
different outlook. I was raised in affluence with beautiful clothes,
fur trim on my coats, birthday parties at Breda and at Grandma
Lappe's home in Carroll with her neighbor girls and all the good
food that I wanted....
...Mom made bread and she was
a good cook and really stretched a dollar. She kept a record of
every cent she spent, even when she bought a 3-cent stamp. She
had numerous books she kept with figures until she went to the
nursing home. Marilyn had them for a while and then she gave them
to me. I kept them for a number of years in mom's suitcase and
finally this Spring I disposed of them.
In 1951 Grandma Lappe decided to sell the farms
and divide the money between herself and her children. Mom used
her share to build a new house on a lot right behind grandma's
house and then mom worked at the hospital. I lived at home from
1947 after getting out of The Iowa School of Beauty culture and
1950 when I married Tony [Starman]. I made sure Marilyn got to
be a Brownie and Girl Scout. My grandmother bought the acreage
and we lived on it free till she sold it too and divided the money.
The rest of the land (pasture) she sold to a developer. Uncle
Nick [Lappe] bought the home place near Carroll and Uncle Tony
(Lappe) bought the one at Lanesboro.