Fratzke and Jensen Funeral Home
Susan (Grundmeier) Schilling
May 3, 1992
Back: Dave, Mark, Joel
Front: Peggy Ellsworth, Joan Reiter, Sal, Susan Schilling
Ewald and Frieda (Koepke) Grundmeier
Leonard Frahm, Evelyn (Frahm) Grundmeier, Emma (Oeser) Frahm, George Frahm
Memories of a Town Pest
By Susan (Grundmeier) Schilling
No one ever taught Rastus to talk. He just imitated, and he did it very well! My brother Mark, who was four years old at this time, was always wandering off somewhere, and Mother was always calling for him. Was it any wonder that the first words Rastus spoke were, "Mark, Mark!"? Later, you couldn't tell who was doing the calling, so Mark, to be on the safe side, would come running home.
Rastus' second phrase was, "Joel, get up!" Joel, being a true teenager, was always having to be called! At first, it sounded kind of cute hearing Rastus, as he was perched on the railing of the outside balcony, squawk, "Joel, get up!", but eventually it got to be a pain! Especially at 5 o'clock in the morning, in the middle of summer, with nothing between us and that noisy crow but a screen door! In the morning there was always evidence of a few lost tempers scattered on the ground below, such as shoes, rolled up socks, newspapers, pillows, and anything else that could be found to throw at the little pest!
The third words Rastus learned were, "Bad boy!" I'm not too sure how he came up with them, but with a four year old in the house, I can just about guess!
One of our favorite tricks to play on Rastus was to hide behind the house or one of our many large trees on our property, and watch as Rastus hid his new found treasures or some food that he didn't eat. When he had buried them, he would fly to the top of his favorite evergreen, and then we would dash out and begin to dig up his treasures. Rastus would fly out of that tree in a frenzy, squawking, "Bad boy, bad boy!" with his feathers all ruffled and his black eyes flashing.
I'll never, as long as I live, forget the Sunday morning when a "not-too-sober" gentleman staggered out of the tavern looking for his car. Rastus, as usual, was perched in the top branches of his favorite tree. Suddenly, the words, "Bad boy, Bad boy!" came echoing from "somewhere up above." The tipsy fellow stopped in the middle of Main Street, and with eyes looking heavenward, simply muttered, "OH, my god!" As a car swayed out of town at a surprisingly fast rate, Rastus was still hollering, "Bad Boy!" I don't recall ever seeing that same guy in town again, and I often wonder if those "words from on high" changed his ways!
I think Rastus "irked" my sister Peggy most of all. They both had quick tempers, so it was no wonder that when their paths crossed you got out of the way! I'll never forget the sight those two made one summer day! Peggy was running all around the evergreen tree, swinging a broom and letting loose a few choice words, and there was Rastus, always one step ahead, with one of her brassieres dangling from his beak! This was another bad habit Rastus had. How he loved to snip the clothespins off the clothes as they hung on the line! Then, when they fell to the ground, he would pick up the clothes in his beak and drag them all over the place! It was always so embarrassing to have to go retrieve some of our "unmentionables" from in front of the tavern, where, for a reason known only to Rastus, he decided to dump them. Usually there were two or three men sitting on the bench in front of the tavern watching the whole charade and snickering behind their hands!
I believe the funniest thing that ever happened involved Rastus and my mother. Mother decided one warm evening that we should have a picnic supper outside. How my mother loved eating outside, and how my father detested it! Anyway, Rastus, of course, was hopping around, mingling with the family and looking for handouts. Mom decided it was high time that Rastus learn some "cute" things, such as, "pretty bird," or "pretty boy." So Mom got down on her hands and knees, looked Rastus directly in the eyes and proceeded to repeat over and over, "pretty bird, pretty boy!" Rastus, on the other hand, stared right back at Mom, and stood ruffling his feathers and garbling in some incoherent manner! There they were in the middle of the yard for all the world to see! Suddenly we heard something, and looking around, there stood a salesman taking in the whole thing! He merely looked at us, with pity in his eyes, turned around, walked back down the steps, got in his car and drove away! Dad always did say Mom could sure get rid of salesmen!
Eventually, the shenanigans of Rastus, the town pest, became too many to overlook. We had to face the fact that some of the things he was doing were causing friction between us and the people in the community. Mom and Dad looked around for an alternative to having him destroyed and finally were able to place him with some sort of wildlife association. The last we heard, he was going to be placed in a cage somewhere where people could look at him and admire his intelligence. Ha! If I knew Rastus, he talked himself out of that cage business!
We never did see our little feathered friend again, and our entire family, yes, I believe even Peggy, will always remember him with fondness. I even think the people of Aspinwall will have to admit he was quite a bird!
Mother is gone now, and I'm sure Rastus is, too. And, I know this may sound a little crazy, but, once in awhile, when I'm really thinking about things, I can almost picture a large, slightly lop-sided evergreen standing in the middle of a beautiful, golden meadow somewhere in that great beyond. I can see mother, stretched out, leaning against the trunk of that tree, having one of her beloved picnics. And, if I listen very hard, and imagine very carefully, overhead, sitting in that evergreen, I can see something small and black. And then, ever so quietly, but nonetheless audible, I hear a rather raspy voice calling to Mom from somewhere on high, "Mark, Mark," "Joel, get up," "Bad boy, bad boy!" Ah, memories!
1959 MHS graduates: Vivian Adamson, Glen Ahrendsen, Shirley Beckman, Hans "Junior" Bonnesen, Richard Bowers, Ronald Bromert, Wayne Brus, Beverly Dalgety, Sandra Dammann (salutatorian), Jeanette Fink, Allan Fonken, Mary Frahm, William Genzen, Dennis Grimm, Joel Grundmeier, Larry Handlos, Keith Hass, Paul Hass, Linda Heithoff (valedictorian), Betty Hoffman, Barbara Johnson, Julia Johnson, Bernard Jones, Karen King, Philip Knaack, Rollyn Koepke, Wanda Kolman, Nancy Loftus, Ronald Mahnke, Lorraine Martens, Gary Monson, Evans Samuel Musfeldt, Jay Musfeldt, Sharon Niederfrank, Allen Nissen, David Peters, Keith Pfannkuch, Roger Reinke, Larry Rix, Larry Rowedder, Susan Rowedder, Carlene Schrum, Sharon Schrum, Vernon Sonksen, Carol Spieker, Stanley Spies, Clifford Stammer, Mary Steffes, Larry Vehrs, Ronald Vogl, Sylvia Vollstedt, Linda Warner
1959 former students: Dennis Backhaus, Darlene Breidert, Gary Brockelsby, Lorraine Christensen, Helen Dethlefsen, Phyllis Fritz, Richard Hinners, Mary Jentsch, Jolene Koch, Larry Martens, James Middendorf, Ronald Mohr, Donna Mundt, Edward Neubaum, Linda Paulsen, Rose Porter, Michael Schoeppner, Lavina Seals, David Sextro, Kay Stangl, Larry Stangl, Gary Tigges, Carmen Weifenbach, Marilee White, Marilyn Wyatt