Loris Voigt and the Chivaree

My cousin Loris Voigt Dustin is the daughter of Agnes Krueger and the oldest of my Krueger relatives. At 94 years old she is just as sharp and funny as you could imagine. A wonderful woman with a fantastic, dry sense of humor. This was one of her stories, recounted to her family on August 13, 2012.

Note: It has occurred to me that I should explain what a “Chivaree” is.  A Chivaree was a tradition from the old-world that used to be used to punish people in the community who were doing things the rest of the community felt they shouldn’t be doing (having affairs, getting married too soon after a death, marrying girls who were too young, etc).  It evolved in the new world into a sort of hazing of newly-married people (e.g. putting oats in their marital bed, or banging on pots and pans during the honeymoon night) or (as in this case) a public humiliation of a couple who didn’t do right by their community. In all cases the couple usually had to pay a monetary penalty to get the Chivaree participants to go away. Think of it as paying a fine for bad behavior.

Well, see, the cousins… there weren’t many girl cousins, there were only four of us and the rest were all boys.  And I was the oldest one.  I was in with the aunts and uncles… if they wanted to take up a collection they knew where I was!  And I was also in with the cousins, but when Bob [Krueger]… the second to the oldest; Lloyd was the oldest and Bob came next… when he got married they didn’t invite the cousins.  And my husband and I was to a picnic where I work… with the guys from work, at a park… and we just got home and I remember it was VERY warm and he said “Loris, do you care if I take off my pants and lay on the davenport?”, and I said, “You never did it in your life, why would you do it today?”.  “Well”, he said, “it’s so warm!”.

Just then the doorbell rings… here was my cousin and his wife… I can’t remember which one… it was Elsie’s youngest boy and his wife… Bud… Wally [Wallace “Bud” Madden].  And he said, “Loris, we weren’t invited to the wedding!  What do you think?”.  And I said, “Well, I didn’t even think anything of it”, I said, “If they don’t want us they don’t want us, I don’t care”.  He said, “I think we ought to have a chivaree and show ’em who we are!”.  I said, “Well, I tell ya what, Uncle Oscar [Krueger] just planted a new front yard, and if we would do ANYTHING in his front yard he’d have a royal fit!”.  He says, “I don’t care about Uncle Oscar.  I never see him.”

He says, “I’m calling all the cousins!”.  He called all the cousins to come to my house!  And we lived… that was the second house… that was the first place we lived when we moved to Wausau, ya see, I lived in Schofield the first seven years, my husband [Harry Dustin] had a home when I married him… his family home.  And then we moved to Wausau… in an apartment near the school so Kay [Dustin] wouldn’t have to go far to school.  And it was a two bed apartment.  I don’t think it was as big as this.  Well, anyway, umm… all the cousins came and none of ’em had supper.  So they said, “Loris, well doncha have something?”, and I said, “Well, I don’t know.  I didn’t expect a whole bunch!”, I said, “I was to a picnic all day!”.  So I got out everything and in the mean time, come to find out, one cousin had a tub in his car and another one had a… they each had something for a chivaree.  So I had to get somebody to take care of Kay… a babysitter… and we went.

And they had signs, which they poked in Oscar’s yard, and what money we got we never told a soul until this moment.  Shirley would LOVE to know!  Every once in a while… in fact I’m invited to a party for Shirley and Bob… it’s on my answering machine and I didn’t accept it yet… their anniversary.  I think it’s the 16th.  It’s at the nursing home.  They’re both in the nursing home now.

So Bob, he just gives one… I got the money… I was the oldest I got the money.  So then every place we went, see, we spent this money.  Well, about the third place we went somebody said, “Let’s call the aunts!  I know we’re having more fun than they are.”  I said, “Well, if we call the aunts and uncles who’s going to be at the wedding?”.   They said, “What do you care?  You weren’t invited!”.  So I said, “Oh, I won’t have any part of it, but if you want to call ’em, ok”.  That was including my mother [Agnes Krueger Voigt] too.  Sure enough they all left!  And I don’t know who stayed.  I don’t know who was there besides Bob and Shirley.  I don’t even know if [Bob’s brother] Lloyd was there.  I have no idea.

Well, anyway… we told ’em we’d be at this one tavern.  When we got to the tavern I fell out of the car!  I was going to Mayo clinic on Monday for a checkup… I wasn’t well.  And I just fell out of the car.  Oh, my mother was so mad!  And then from there we went to another place that was near our house… my husband’s home… and I knew the people that owned it, so I said, “I think you’ve all had enough to drink.  Why don’t you start eating ice-cream?”.  So I went to the freezer and I gave everyone ice cream cones.  And somebody said, “But, where’s Marion?”.  And Marion’s husband said, “Who cares where Marion is?”  I said, “Well, I think you’d better.  You’re the husband!”.  So I think my husband went out with him to find her.  She was in the ditch!  Passed out!  So she told him she had to go home.  Oh, was he mad.  He was so mad.

Then we ended up at Shirley’s father’s tavern.  And we told ’em there that… Shirley’s father, oh, he was at the wedding, he told us we could have any drink we want.  We didn’t even see.  So we had free drinks there.  The next place we went one of my cousin’s was bartender, we had free drinks there.  So that money really spread a long way.  It was like a parade!

So then my Uncle Alfred?  My Uncle Al lived in an apartment with his wife Pat, and she said, “Why don’t youse all come to my house and I’ll make coffee and I’ve got stuff for a sandwich”.  So we did.  But then we went in her closet, and we picked out some clothes, and we had a style show.  We got home, I think, about four o’clock in the morning.  We had a lot of good times in our day!

Loris enjoying herself.

About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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