Tena John Hartog

Tena John Hartog (1888-1975) was the mother of Harold Arthur Schmidt (1922-2010), who was the grandfather of Curt Bright.

Tena John Hartog

Tena John (Hartog) Schmidt was a hard worker. She stayed at home most of the time and kept a fine garden. I’d say she did the work of three women. When they lived in Colorado, Mom would go out to the fields and turn over cow chips to dry. She used them as fuel in the cook stove.

She was a great cook, and I especially loved her tall stacks of pancakes and homemade syrup. Neighbor kids always came for dinner, and sometimes they would sneak home pieces of chicken in their pockets. After awhile, the neighbor kids were taking too much, so the next time Mom set the table she set the plates upside down. When the kids turned over the plates they found notes which read, “25 cents, please”. The kids hurried home. That was her quiet way of handling things.

I used to take an egg sandwich to school most days, and my classmates asked how we could afford to buy such nice rolls. Was my family rich? No, we were very poor. I told them that my mother made them for me every day. In fact, I remember her always baking bread. She would sway back and forth in front of the oven, waiting for the bread to bake.

When my high school class went on a field trip to St. Joseph, Missouri, to visit a research farm, Mom gave me five dollars (a lot of money in those days) and told me not to spend any more than I had to. So I bought a ten cent can of pork and beans, and made a meal of it. I brought back $4.90, but I was ready to blow up from gas!

Unlike Dad, Mom never swore. There was a time when she and I had finished milking the cows, and a hog sneaked up and drank an entire three gallon bucket of milk! She just said, “Oh, my!” That was all, just “oh, my!”

She was a gentle woman. Once she stopped me from killing a dove with my slingshot. I don’t remember any time when she ever spoke ill of anyone.

She enjoyed seeing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would mail me a dollar to pay the toll bridge so we could bring Sandy for visits to her home in the bluffs north of Craig, Missouri.

Harold Arthur Schmidt
April 2000

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