She grew up in a house on Lambach, in Osternadel, Bremen, Germany, with her many brothers (Friedrich, Bernhard, Albert, Johann, maybe others).
Her older son says:
She came from Germany with a promised job as a maid in a German-run resort [about 1925?]. Back in those days, you were essentially an indentured servant for six years when you first came to America. And then you had to pay off your boat fair. I tell you, the Germans take advantage of their own people like nobody else. She must have met her husband immediately after that, or maybe while she was still working for the resort.
Adeline is seated at the far right, with the curly white hair.
They worked a farm. It was the original farmhouse, with all the old wiring. Sometime after her children moved away, the house burned down. It was in the middle of the winter, bitter cold. Her younger son and his wife were over. Around 10 or 11 at night, they noticed smoke and sparks coming from the upstairs attic and rafters. They tried putting it out with water but it just got bigger and bigger. They called up the older son, who lived 10 miles away, and said the house was burning down! As he drove there he saw this red glare against the horizon. He got there just as it all went up at once. One big flare, like a Roman Candle. Flames hundreds of feet high. They went back the next few days to see if they could salvage anything, but there was nothing left. The fire was so hot, the heat so intense, it melted all the metal. No silverware, nothing. Just melted. Stove, refrigerator, furnace -- these are big things -- just lumps of metal.
Her younger son, being a carpenter, built them a new house. Just one bedroom. He didn't use any plans. Everything is standard, standard cabinet height, standard roof tresses, standard windows, standard doorways. He just said, OK, let's make it 30 by 30 feet, and they did it. A few days and the frame was up, a few more days and the walls were in. Ever hear of baseboard heating? Only very expensive houses have it. It's the best there is. You can do zoned heating with it. There's these big copper pipes with fins that they pump hot water through, and a big water heater in the basement. He knew people who install this, so he put it in themselves. Turned it on, and the house heated up to 70 Fahrenheit. But it kept going. 80, 90 degrees. Then it cooled down again. Ah, the hot water kept circulating, yeah? So he asked his friends. Oh, oh, no problem. All it took was a 50 cent cutoff valve. That did the trick. It would heat up to 70, click, and it would stay there.
After her husband died, she sold the house. First she tried living with her younger son. But that didn't work out. Then she moved in this senior living apartment, and they threw her out! She went to bed with the water running and it flooded everything in the apartments below. Lots of damage. She pleaded, her sons pleaded, and they let her stay. Then she did it again. That time they threw her out. Next she tried living with a grandson on their farm out in the stix. They had young daughters, rode horses, showed them in fairs. But Adeline had a different idea of childraising than they did, so that didn't work out either.
Once when she was very old, a relative in the German Merchant Marines (her brother Johann) came to port in New York. She drove all the way down from Binghamton to visit him on the boat, he showed her around the whole boat, then she came back.
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