More Dot and Jack Stories

by Paula Hassler
March 2021

It looks like I limited my previous tales to the time when I lived with Dot and Jack in 1945 and 1946. Here are a few more things.

When Dot and Jack were staying at Grandma Christiansen’s house, Jack would have to stop at the Runge house on the way to church on Sunday mornings to shave. Grandma fussed that Jack’s electric shaver raised her electric bill too much.

Jack also didn’t like it when Grandma had him throw out the pan of used dish water. “She not only told me to throw it out, she also told me what plants in her garden to throw it on!”

Some of us thought Grandma never really approved because of the Catholic-Lutheran thing. In fact, Dot told me once why they never had kids. She said they dearly wanted a family, but she miscarried so often they decided to try adoption, but back then they could not adopt because of the difference in religion.

By the way, Jack was absolutely crazy about Dot. Every time he came in the door of Grandma’s house after doing errands, he would ask, “Where’s Dot? Where’s Dot?”

The early days of their marriage were pure poverty. Jack had a job with the City of Denison and had to go out in awful winters to clear streets for a miserable small salary. Dot worked at Bally’s the whole time but I’m sure the pay was meager. She once told me about a beautifully decorated dish or bowl of some kind at the store that she dearly wanted. She said she went up there to look at it almost every day but she never bought it because 75 cents was just too much money to blow on a luxury item.

Even when things got better later on, Dot held the purse strings tightly. Once Jack bought this darling wall clock from a friend. It had a Dutch motif with a little windmill that went around when plugged in. But Dot gave him so much hell for spending the two dollars or whatever that our dad, Martin, bought the clock from him to return peace to the Nason household. We kids should have liberated the clock from the basement wall when we sold the house because we all loved it. [Steve: I remember seeing that clock in the Runge basement.]

Did you know that Raggy, their dog, had ESP? She hated being bathed and they swore she read their minds because when they even thought it was time for her bath, she would hide under the bed in an almost unreachable spot. She was a wonderful pet. Did you know they found her drenched in rain, abandoned on a city street one night? They tried to find her real owner but probably didn’t try very hard. Dot told me when Rags finally left this world, Jack immediately started talking about another dog. Dot put her foot down. She reminded him that every time Rags came in wet or dirty Jack would yell, “Dot, go clean her up!” She was tired of that and he finally agreed Rags was their last pet ever. PS: Tina reminded me Jack would turn around every tine and shout, “STAY!” at Rags when she was still in their locked car.

One more story. When things got better after the war, they decided to drive with another couple to California to visit some dear friends. Along the way, the car started having trouble so Jack stopped at the nearest town that had a repair place. His suggestion was that, when the car was being serviced, everyone should visit the restrooms. Dot had been sleeping and said she didn’t have to go. Well, after a while she woke up a little and decided she’d better take care of things or Jonny would get mad. She sleepily put one foot out of the door when she heard Jack yell, “Dot, get back in the car!!!” She opened her eyes and saw she was about six feet or so up in the air on a lift.