Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Where We're From, I: Germany/Montana
[click photo to enlarge]
Bink's grandfather Carl (the officials at Ellis Island changed his name from "Karl") Wilken, pictured here, came to the USA in 1923, aged 19.
He'd worked through high school to earn money to emigrate, but all the money he'd saved became worthless in the German depression. So he came as an indentured servant to a farmer in the Dakotas.
After he got free, he moved to Montana and bought his own farm. There he married Caroline, a German woman who was either born in Russia or on the boat coming over, according to family legend...so she qualifies as an immigrant too.
Because the couple spoke different kinds of German, they only spoke English to each other and their children, including Bink's mother.
Here is Carl with the daughters of a friend and neighbor, Lorraine, Alice, and unknown sister, circa 1930 (?).
[more of Carl's story from Bink in comments]