“Mr.Gnewuch how are you today any problems?”
The nurse checked my health in my hospital room I know I was on my death bed from the lung cancer I never smoked in my life but I have worked in a factory for five years. I kept quite knew there
wasn’t very much hope left for me. There was a green leather journal on my nightstand that had my life history well all that I can remember from all those years ago.
“What are you writing there Carl?”
I sighed deeply reached over grabbed the journal handed it over to her letting her read it but it wasn’t quite finished yet there was a few blank pages left for a few more memories.
“It’s my life history you can have it when I’m finished or gone I will leave it for you to read Miss. Karson.”
Once she left I continued writing like a mad man trying to remember things when you have al timers is pretty tough to do. On June 26th 2005 I died like I promised Miss Karson left my
journal by my old night stand.
As Miss. Karson the nurse was cleaning up Carl’s old room she picked up his journal began to read it.
It all began shortly after Dr .Nickels arrived from Watertown. I was born at home in a farm house at the corner of M.M and E.M in Lebanon Wisconsin, July 3rd, 1926. My mother and Dad
worked very hard on the farm clearing some woods and removing stones from the fields. Dad didn’t have a tractor if he needed one; we borrowed one from my uncle Edgar. All the work that was done of
the farm was by hand and with the help from our two horses Jim and Jerry. I don’t remember much of my first five years except that mother would play the piano and my Dad the violin.
At Christmas time we would all sing by the piano with the fireplace burning. We mostly sang Country Western and church hymns. Before my mother was married, she played piano in a dance band. I
remember that we had a bath tub, but I believe the water had to be heated on the stove and taken upstairs. Mother was confirmed in an American Lutheran church (Emmanuel Lebanon). Dad was confirmed
at St. Peter’s Lebanon, a Missouri Lutheran Synod church. This is where they belonged after they were married.
When I was about five years old or older we moved in with my uncle Eddie Turke and Aunt Ida (Neitzel). She was my mother’s oldest step sister they lived on Lafayette Street in Watertown. My dad
worked at the Otto in Biefeld factory for a short time. While we lived in Watertown my parents wanted to enroll me in Kinder- garden, but that wasn’t for me so they took me out. I loved Watertown
didn’t want to leave when my parents decided to move our family to Ashippun.
We lived in two different places in Ashippun. My dad worked delivering gas and fuel oil to farmers. I remember going with him to the farm helping him out when it was needed. It was fall and the
apples were getting ripe.
While dad was filling the tank, I went into the farmer’s orchard and picked an apple. When I returned with the apple, my dad became very angry, and I got a potch on the behind. He said I should
have asked the farmer first whether I could have an apple. Now I had to apologize and give the apple back to the farmer (lesson learned). I was naughty back then dad would tell me to get the belt
from the dresser. If I brought it to him, I wouldn’t get a licking Needless to say I always got the belt.
The last place we lived in Ashippun, was a kitty corner from Zion Lutheran church. There was a big shed that use to be a horse barn there. In the upstairs loft I raised some white pigeons. I
also had some white rabbits and white mice and rats. A few days after my seventh birthday in 1933, my father became ill. My mother took him to St. Mary’s hospital in Watertown. Here Dr .Wallner
removed his appendix and gall bladder. The following morning mother, Lois, my younger sister and I went to visit him at the hospital. My mother wanted to see his stitches and she found the bed
full of blood. She called a sister/nun, and she got Dr. Wallner. At this point I had to leave the room, but I still can hear the screams when the doctor reopened the incision. The doctor couldn’t
give him anymore anesthetic because the amount of blood loss and there was no blood transfusions as of yet. The doctor hadn’t tied off a bleeder properly. My dad died that same day.
After my dad died chapter two started in my life everything was different of course. Initially Lois and I moved in with grandma Gnewuch because mother couldn’t support most of my siblings and me
on her own. They were living on the farm where I was born. (Back home again) While there I started first grade at St. Peter’s in Lebanon. The first day was a bad memory. Grandpa dropped me off that
morning at school, and I cried I guess it was separation anxiety kicking in being away from my family was hard. Teacher Hinz had to hold me on his lap while he played the piano accompanying a hymn
for the start of morning devotion. Teacher Hinz had eight grades, sixty eight pupils, and taught two languages, German and English (English was our second language at the Lutheran school).
While in first grade I had several chores to do when I came home from school. I milked five cows in the morning and at night; I had to feed the chickens and ducks. I also had to take the milk to
the cheese factory with one horse milk wagon. It was down the street from my barn and my home my grandpa was a politician in the town of chairman, first and then a farmer. He was also a male
chauvinist like most men were those days. He always gave us lectures if we weren’t paying attention I remember him saying to someone.
“Wife and dog belong on the yard.”
He was also very impatient on Sunday mornings Grandpa was still in the barn doing his chores, Grandma, Lois and I was already dressed within the hour. One Monday morning I decided to skip
school. I walked past Grandma while she was in the front lawn hanging up wet clothes on the laundry line. When I saw my Grandpa staring out the window he came out drove me back to school. At the
time I finished fourth grade my Grandpa Gnewuch died that summer I stayed with my uncle Raymond and Aunt Elsie for awhile.
This house was a big brick farm house on the Rock River. It had four huge bedrooms upstairs, a big dining room also a huge living room where the gatherings were held on the holidays.
During the great depression my uncle couldn’t find a job to support my aunt and myself. Before the great depression my uncle was a carpenter in Watertown the company lost a lot of money eventually
had to shut down. During grade school I moved around a lot in fifth grade went to St. Pual’s in Ixonia. There we spoke frequent high German learned English as our second language. Our grading
scores back then were obliviously E-Excellent (95-100) G-good, (88-M -medium, (80-88) P-poor, (70-80) F- failure was anything below 70. In grade I managed to stay up too at least an E, when I got
home around 4:30pm ‘The Shadow’ was on the radio Lamont Cranston was the crime fighter and the star of the show.
Mrs. Karson wrote down the address to St. Paul’s in Ixonia took a little road trip after her shift was done at the county hospital W.1956 Gopher Hill rd, Ixoni.
St. Paul’s got an extension the original church got torn down to build a bigger building. Mrs.Karson parked her car in the public parking lot walked the
school lot finding an old pocket watch that was engraved Carol Edgar Gnewuch JR. Inside was also a quote
“Time is a very precious thing to loose.”
“Carol c’mon we have baseball practice right after school meet you at the field behind the building!”
Young Carol looked at his pocket watch to look at the time miss placed it dropped it on the ground thought it was in his jean pocket took off running to the field in the back
of the school. Mrs. Karson took the pocket to put on his tombstone later. She drove off to the next location which was in Waterloo Karson parked on the side of a
small bridge which now there’s a dam. After reading Carol’s journal she kept having visions of what it must’ve been like back then easy living those Carol SR. father) and Carol Jr. were having
father and son time fishing along the shore of the lake during the summer time.
“The fish are just not biting today we have to go further down stream?”
Edgar smiled at his son gathered up the fishing gear put his hand on his shoulder
“Sounds like a good idea. With patience comes reward.”
That was the last bonding moment I had with my father before he died a month later. Mrs. Karson drove to Labelle cemetery where Carol Gnewuch JR. and SR. were buried walking
distance from the marble statue with the cross the whole Gnewuch and Rhode family were related buried next to each-other. She placed the golden pocket watch around the tombstone placed fake flowers
on Edgar’s grave as well. MRS. Karson drove off too Dodge county next stop was at a local church St. Peter’s she wanted to get a fell of the past she was a clairvoyant type of medium who can sense
the past within the foundations of the land or property. Nikki Karson was a prophet of the lord like your modern day Nostradamus gets headaches permeations of seeing people she doesn’t even know
die seconds before it happens and somehow she is connected to them. By the time she drives to the location their already dead.
So working as a nurse at the local hospital in Oconomowoc is helpful she knows when patience’s are about to die. Once she got to St. Paul’s church went inside suddenly she
was hit with the past seeing death echoes reliving their death over and over again the spirits were in some kind of loop they don’t know their actually dead. Nikki thought this was the safest place
to go to she took off down to a crossroad intersection. Placed a box in the middle with a black cat bone, graveyard dirt and her picture in the middle of the crossroads. She turned around
waiting for the demon to appear was going to make a deal to bring back Carol needed more answers.
“Nikki…. Nikki what brings you to summon
me at crossroads?”
The demon had pitch black eyes that showed no mercy what so ever. He circled around her grinned evilly at her.
“I want you to bring back Carol JR. Gnewuch I don’t care how just I need more answers. “
“Well I could give you a year to get as much information you need but if you tell a word to him about this. I will take him back into the pit and you along with me.”
The demon gave her a kiss to seal the deal suddenly vanished into thin air. Nikki drove off her radio suddenly turned onto static noise playing Robert Johnson’s Hellhounds on my trail. The demon
was giving her hints that hellhounds were always on a look out for her when the contract expired after a year. Nikki drove back to La Belle cemetery found Carol’s grave was un-dug
She searched around the cemetery finally found him lost and confused. She went up to him trying to get his attention.
“Carol hey how are you feeling c’mon come with me back to my apartment and don’t worry I still have your journal but I have some questions I need answered if you don’t mind sharing ?”
Carol dosed off into a deep sleep on the way to her apart all the way back Dodge county. He started to have a very vivid dream about the past some how he was connected to the person. An old
dusty road crossroads a man put a bottle with a black cat bone, grave yard dirt and a picture of him in the middle of the intersection. He had an acoustic guitar strap around with a rope. He was
black African American descent.
When he turned around he saw the most beautiful demon ever
He was shocked for a moment that it actually worked.
“What bring you hear to summon me Robert?”
“I want you to make me the best blues player there is.”
“Is that it? That’s the deal you want from me?”
“Yes indeed that’s all I ask from you. So do we shake on it or what?”
The demon laughed she kissed him to seal the deal suddenly vanished into thin air leaving the man alone. He started playing as he walked down highway 8 and highway 1.
“I went to the crossroad fell down on my knees asked the lord above. Have mercy on my poor soul.”
“Hey Carol wake up we’re here?”
She nudges him a bit; Carol woke up a bit shocked walked inside with Nikki sitting down in the living room seeing his green velvet journal he smiled at her that she actually kept it. He picked it
up started scanning through it.
“Surprised you’ve actually kept this. Umm how did I come back thought I’ve died from old age?”
Nikki looked at him having some sort of guilt that he should still be dead. She rubbed the back of her neck trying to think of a good excuse.
“Umm they shocked your heart and I guess you wanted to stay longer. You’re very lucky Carol. Now I found this at St. Paul’s
Lutheran church your old golden pocket watch. What are the odds that I found that huh and that it was still in the same location it had been? Oh answers I need from you is that you’ve wrote Arthur
died at age twelve March 9th 1968?”
Carol thought for a moment about his distant cousin Arthur. Placed his green leather journal on the coffee table cleared his
throat a bit.
“He died from influenza at a very young of twelve years old. He was stuck in the hospital the one you work in fact. They
quarantine him from rest of society tell he passed away in January 24th 1980. He’s buried in Labelle near Rhode and Gnewuch graves he was apart of the family.” Nikki put Carol
Gnewuch back into the nursing home few miles away from the hospital gave him his journal back since a few more pages needed to be filled. Meanwhile Nikki was at her desk in the front office
checking in patience’s in. She walked down the hallway where one of them were there for about four months dying from lung cancer she knew that he was going to die might as well calm him
down and stay with him. She pulled up a chair next to the hospital bed sat with him tell a loud on going beep. Nikki sighed deeply she hated knowing that people were going to die within seconds she
unplugged him from the machines covered up his body with a white sheet took the elevator to the hospitals morgue and autopsy room. She hated going into the morgue alone she quickly locked the door
once she put the toe tag on him. Rushed back to her front desk continued doing her work like nothing ever happened. Nikki called the family of the man who just died to claim him down before he
passed away.” I am very sorry MRS. Smith but you're brother Paul just passed away few moments ago. Was wondering if you can come tomorrow to claim his body to make sure it's actually him and were
not making any mistakes. It's hard for me to say this to families but I will tell you this I stayed with him tell the last minute to calm him down make it easy to let go. I hope we can talk
tomorrow let's say around 12:30pm at Oconomowoc hospital. She hung up after leaving a voice-mail putting her palms in front of her face shrugging off the feeling that she shouldn't of went into
the room. Her manager told her she should go home he knew what happened she took the advice clocked out of the hospital drove back to the nursing home checking on Carol Gnewuch. Once she pulled she
went into the lobby to see what room he was in the clerk told her he was in room 34.C down the hall to the left. She walked down the hall knocked on his door entering the room seeing Carol on
the couch filling out the last few pages of his journal.
"I see you've too in my advice Carol. I brought you back by making a deal at the crossroad in Watertown to bring you back. I lied about shocking your hear to bring you back. You were dead
for a week I'm sorry should've left you alone. I'm selfish I know but I wanted answers to your life so your future relatives can see their history as well."
He closed his green velvet journal placed it on the small coffee table in-front of the couch looked over at her smiled a bit he was glad to be alive again but not the consequence.
"I'm glad to be alive again but not happy that you've made that deal. Why take your life for an old man your young I should've been left alone Nikki.
Nikki sat down next to him on the couch shook her head didn't know why she ever made that deal but she can't change the past now it's over with and long gone.
"I know that I've should of messed around with that stuff. Well I got let off early so I went to check up on you I'll come back later Carol take care of yourself."
Nikki left the three pillars nursing home back to her home in Oconowmoc a three bedroom apartment complex. Went into her bathroom opened the medicine cabinet overdosed
on sleeping pills that night with alcohol she passed away early that morning. The Oconomowoc hospital took her body them selves no one claimed her body so she had a personal burial. Back at the
three pillars Carol knew something had changed he stopped writing in his journal called the hospital on the landline phone that the nursing home required that patience’s should have them in every
“Hello Oconomowoc hospital how may we help you this evening?”
A pause for just a few moments carol cleared his throat put the phone to his ear.
“Yes I was just wondering is Nikki Karson in today she just came by the nursing home to visit wondering if she made it back okay.”
The new desk clerk took a look at the times that all the staff members clocked in before their shift started. He found the time card for Nikki it read that she passed away that morning.
“I’m sorry sir she passed away from suicide late last night early this morning. Did you call to claim the body?”
“No I’m sorry shouldn’t of called good day to you.”
© Copyright 2016 Claire Raine Valek. All rights reserved.