If I seems that I am in love with the Haake family (story on page 1a), it is because I am. Ruth (Haake) Bublitz, who generously shared family memories with us this week, is my husband’s grandma. (I suppose some would say that makes her my “grandmother-in-law,” but to me she’s just grandma, too.)
Grandma Ruth is one of many terrific people I am able to call my relatives now that Chris and I have tied the knot, and I have to say I am blessed to have all of them in my life. My original family is relatively small, compared to my husband’s. I was the first grandchild on both sides, and there were not that many to follow. I can almost count my aunts and uncles on one hand, and only one of my cousins has started a new generation of the Elmquist clan, with two beautiful boys of her own.
To marry into such big and welcoming family is something to relish. Christmas is a flurry of fun, rosy-cheeked little ones ripping brightly colored wrapping paper from mountains of presents under the tree—more fun than when I was the one unwrapping the toys! Chris’ relatives on both sides have large families, researched histories and family trees, and deep roots in the Winona area. If you haven’t heard of the Squires and Bublitz families, you haven’t been here very long.
It is a blast for me to hear all the stories, and there may be many more shared on these pages. (Squires family members used to farm the area where Winona Senior High School now sits, and I’ve heard one of the men raised peacocks near the spot.) This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The old Haake farm is part of a new Winona County park on that beautiful bluff top. A few weeks ago all of us—Ruth and Roy, more family members and neighbors—attended a potluck at the park, and I listened to memories of the family farm. When it was over, I was itching for more, and so sat down with Grandma Ruth to hear a few more tales.
Chris and I went to her house about a week later, on a mission to talk about old times and learn how to make Grandma’s famous apple pie. As we rolled out the dough (FLOUR those surfaces, and flip it while you are rolling, or that dough will stick!), the stories made us all laugh until the tears rolled, which is a common occurrence at family gatherings. Before we knew it, hours had passed, and while I brought the recipe home on a notecard, I could fill a book with stories.
I am proud to have a family with such deep roots in the Winona area. The more I learn, the more I cherish this place and the history it holds.