The frantic pace of modern living seems very remote from Eva's childhood. These were the horse and buggy days when people lived more closely with nature. Winter meant hitching up a bob sled and putting covers over the horses and the passengers, except the driver who had no such luxury since he must keep his hands free to hold the lines. Sunday was the highlight of the week, when the whole family went to church in the horse and buggy or sled. In the church yard was a barn for the horses. Each family brought their own dinner. The worship service was held in the morning with Sunday School after dinner.
At the age of eight, Eva began attending school in the one room country school house. There was one teacher and 40 pupils, all at different levels. There wasn't much individual attention for a shy little German speaking girl. She did manage to complete her work through sixth grade.
Of course growing up on a farm meant there was lots of hard work for everyone. As one of the older children, Eva did field work in the spring using two, three or four horses depending on which machine she used. At harvest, the grain was cut with a binder and they followed and shocked the bundles. The bundles were then hauled and pitched into grain stacks and several weeks later they were threshed. Corn was picked by hand; on a good day Eva could pick 70 bushels or more.
|A young John Schroeder|
|Eva Becker is seated with friends, Sarah Schroeder and Mary Schultz standing|
It was inevitable that eventually there would be couples in the group. It was handsome John Schroeder who came courting the lovely Eva. This had to be done in an orderly way, of course. He took Eva for rides in his horse and buggy. Even the horse must have sensed something special was going on, for it held its head up high as tassels were attached on each side of its bridle by the ear and the lines were pulled through colored rings. After a courtship of just two months, John and Eva were married on September 2, 1913.
|On their wedding day|
The newlyweds were about to undertake an adventure. John had already filed a homestead near Chinook, Montana. This was one reason for their short courtship. Were they ready for the challenge? They were young, but resourceful and they knew how to work hard. They had their strong Christian faith. The things they were about to experience would challenge all these resources, but of course, they didn't know that as they rode home from the church in the cousin's car all full of joy and love.
Read more of John and Eva's story: (Click on the title.)
Part 2: Homesteading in Montana
Part 3: The Great Depression
Part 4: The Minnesota Years
Part 5: Growing Old