Life 'unplugged' taught 100-year-old
woman many skills she used in later years
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 3:24 AM
Lenora Hintze celebrated her 100th birthday on March 26 with what are truly the most important - family and friends.
Judy Grabau spent a moment catching up with Lenora Hintze and her daughter, Ruth Lemke, during Lenora’s 100th birthday celebration on March 26. DAVE PHILLIPS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Saturday prior to her birthday, she had a public reception at Spring Valley Senior Living attended by hundreds of people from the community. On display were photos from her life, newspaper clippings in a scrapbook and several of the quilts she has made.
Hintze grew up on a farm five miles south of Wykoff along with her older sister and three brothers.
As a child she was enamored with nature whether it be venturing into the woods on the hunt for berries or trekking to Forestville to fish in her favorite fishing hole or taking a dip in the fishing hole after catching her fill. It was also a particularly great spot for her to hunt for beautiful rocks to add to her rock garden.
Though she had to finish all her chores around the farm before she could go explore. For Hintze those chores included bringing in firewood, tending to the garden and bringing in water.
Perhaps it was growing up during the Great Depression that taught her to cherish the simple things and maybe it was ingenuity families used to survive during those hard years that whet her appetite for learning and creating.
When looking back, she recalls 1929 through 1930 being the hardest of years due to the Great Depression. But, these hardships brought the neighborhood together as the Depression was the great equalizer.
"You had to create your own entertainment," Hintze remembers.
There was no electricity, no running water and certainly no indoor plumbing.
With all the change she has witnessed in her 100 years, Hintze understandably considers the distribution of electric power throughout the country the greatest.
Life during that time was hard but arguably more satisfying, as they had to work hard for everything they had.
Hintze attended parochial school for two years in Wykoff, where she lived with her aunt and uncle, and graduated from country school.
She learned to garden, quilt, embroider and the value of recycling while growing up on her family's farm. All of these became a large part of her life throughout her 100 years.
In 1935, at the age of 21 she married her husband, Ruben. They settled into a small farm where they raised Holsteins, pigs and chickens.
The small family grew with the births of her son, Roger, who now lives in Shoreview, and Ruth (Lemke), of Spring Valley.
"You didn't go to the hospital to have a baby, you went to a maternity home. And then you stayed there 10 days," she explained.
When it was time to bring Ruth home, Hintze remembers having to take a sled through fields to get home because the roads were full of snow thanks to a recent snowstorm.
She was always busy on the farm between helping with chores, tending to her garden and flowers, selling raspberries and strawberries, canning fruits, vegetables and meat, butchering and making sausage.
And though they were able to produce much of their own food, Hintze would sell eggs for 10 cents a dozen for grocery money.
As time went on she joined the Spring Valley Garden Club, becoming one of its charter members. The love of creating beautiful flower arrangements grew and she always looked forward to their annual flower show.
But, she wasn't just skilled with gardening and flower treatments. As a member of the Spring Valley Quilting Club, Hintze refined her sewing skills, creating a plethora of quilts over the years.
Many of those skills were passed to her children who will no doubt pass the traditions and skills on to the next generation.
Hintze's life should be a lesson to today's youth showing them the amazing things they can create and skills they can hone by simply unplugging.