Bill Wade and Mary Anne Wade

Recorded May 1, 2007 Archived May 1, 2007 01:19:14
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MPL000190


Mary Anne and Bill Wade share the immigration stories of each of their families and stories from their trips back to the homeland.

Subject Log / Time Code

- BW’s father’s side immigrated from Ireland; in order to reach the boat, they had to run across mudflats with all their possessions in one bag; they were being pursued and dropped the bag; literally came to America with the clothes on their backs.
- Quick mention of Immigrants’ Rights March holding them up in traffic today.
- BW reflects on number of folks living in the US now who are descended from those immigrants.


  • Bill Wade
  • Mary Anne Wade

Recording Location

Milwaukee Public Library


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00:05 My name is Marianne Wade. I'm 62 years old. It is May 1st 2007 and we are in Milwaukee Wisconsin and I'm about to interview my husband William.

00:22 I'm Bill Wade. I'm 61 years old and you'll note that. I'm somewhat younger there for today is May 1st. I expect to get to May 2nd. We're in Milwaukee and I am the husband of the interview room.

00:37 No bill, tell me a story about how did we meet while I'm going to tell you and give you some new information that you should never heard before and that is we met of course at the college, you know in a religion class. So we sometimes say that our marriage is based in heaven. Well, what happened was I was sitting in this class and I was just back from a year of school in Italy and I felt somewhat alienated from things at Loyola and I was sitting at the back of this mandatory religious class and you came in and you had to a very spit in your eye attitude in your walk as you came in and I don't want this very interesting and there were no seats left anywhere in the room except next to me cuz it's was at the back of the class. And so you sat down there.

01:34 And I became very interested in meeting you more because of that attitude.

01:40 Well, we ended up in the Student Union once in a while and you had a friend and her I no longer remember her name but you had a friend who lived on Ainsley or some Street like that and I became very interested in her became very interested in her and I wanted to know more about her and so I would make it a point to hang out in the student union and all this kind of stuff and I became confused between the two of you and show you the nature of the confusion here. It is 30 whatever. It is. 3837 South call it almost 40 years ago.

02:22 I can't remember her name.

02:25 So that's how we met on my side of it, except I will point out that I got an A in the class, but I'd like to turn this over to you for a second and tell me about your

02:38 Reaction to that. Well, I know that half the time there was a young man that I was interested in and I did not show up for theology class very often.

02:52 And when I did I would borrow your notes and I think I probably got a C or something. We were in the shadow of Madonna Della Strada. So it's sort of sad that you get to see in the shadow of a church. But anyway other young man, didn't we we take walks along the lake instead of going to my going to class when you kept asking me if I wanted to ride home and I think there was one day it was raining or the weather was bad and I accepted and the rest is history. I have to explain a little bit about the car thing. It was my car as my mother's car and I would have to beg her for the car because she wanted it and every once in awhile. I would beg her for the car. It would only be on those days and you would always turn me down and I was getting into such debt with her. So that's that's another piece of that. Maybe you haven't heard before.

03:50 I I think it's terrific. I did get an A in the class and this is pretty good because the cement in this is the power of interest because the semester before in Italy I had with inside of the Dome of st. Peter's flunked my previous theology class.

04:07 Come out right. Well, we know that you're a good Irish Catholic. And how did your family arrived in America? Well, one of the stories and I have a bit of a I can't reconstruct the name of the person or a direct line of descent. But as a story my dad told me about one of his ancestors and it was in the early eighteen-hundreds like 1805 1806 and the story was that this boy and a man who might have been his father might not have been where in Ireland hiding from other people along the shore.

04:54 And it was low tide and saw there was a great mudflat front of them because of the tide and there was a ship that was to take some to America lying way out your The Horizon and I both had to come in to the edge of the mud flat to pick them up to take them to the ship.

05:14 And the boy had a bag of with all his possessions in they were that he was going to bring to America.

05:23 And there were people searching for them and he began they began to run for the boat across this title flat.

05:32 It was thick and deep and soft and it was like running in a nightmare running through this mud.

05:40 And people were chasing them.

05:43 And the boy dropped his bag.

05:47 And the man was running ahead of him and the boy called him and said drop the bag.

05:52 A man came back to pull the boys out of the mud and there's no time to go back for the bag.

05:58 Until they ran to the boat tumbled in and I rode out to the ship.

06:04 I came to America for the clothes on its back.

06:13 Later, your mother's no.

06:16 Your father's mother's family came during the Potato Famine.

06:25 That's where we got those plates from thought they were from Mom. All I can think of is rested. Well, they were dressed in place, but they're called the Irish plates in the family and it was so can't think of a name something like Emily Emilia Emily and sales were from Tipperary left through Cork and a God knows how they got here and they were known in the family is the Irish plates and they ended up with Rogue Uncle Bill how to Colorado and his daughter sent them to your sister when all of the family out there was gone. She said someone should take care of them. They were the Irish plates and when we turn them over they said Dresden headed back, so they're hanging up now they're on our wall. So

07:20 And then I know you're so good at telling stories much better than I am. So, you know the stories about my family coming to America.

07:28 So go ahead and tell me when I may be a couple while one is your father Anton who was one of 11 children of a twin youngest and his brother Rudolph or the youngest he came to America legitimately with papers after the first world war in 1923, but he had to move his older brothers had come earlier and that's a part of the story. I'd like to tell how they came to America first to set it your family is from both your mother and father's family from to roll in Austria, which is the the mountains that lead up to such places to Saint Moritz and Davos and things like that help heal from Innsbruck.

08:17 And if you think of where they live if you put your hand down on the table and look at your fingers those of the mountain ridges of the Alps that lead up to the to the back of her hand at the house of the very peak of the Alps and they lived in The Valleys between the fingers and there are several valleys that they lived in the end river valley and the countertop which is the next Valley over three little valleys were different members of the family came from when we went there to visit a couple of years ago. And because your father was one of 11 and almost all of them stayed in to roll.

09:00 These Villages are populated by your cousin's and the children of your cousins so that we had three different towns. We had the mayor of the Town carry-on suitcase upstairs and in one house the man of the house was related to your mother.

09:20 And the woman of the house was related to your father and every place we went we're meeting cousins.

09:27 Show me where is Mardi Gras time can freaking flashing and in Austria and maybe Bavaria? I don't know about the rest of the Germanic World flushing is heralded by rushing's crops. And then I just love the sound of that word. Which big jelly Bismarck.

09:48 Fashion Crossing sound so we're sitting there. So we're sitting there in these houses house after house visiting people. Sometimes we'd walk down the street and go and house number one in and talk with people and then they would take us to house number two, and we would talk with the people who are relatives and we go to house number 3. Well in one of the places where we stayed several days was Alfred and Agnes and Agnes was your cousin Alfred and there is a generational bump because your father was the youngest of 11 and 8:40 so that you are 20 and 30 years younger than your first cousins which sometimes can lead to confusion, but we're sitting there in the house and Alfred was talking about your two uncles that and come to America and he wasn't born at the time that this happened cuz it was during the first World War.

10:45 But he remembered and he recreated what his father said had happened. And here is the stories best. I can the course it was said in the in the Thriller dialect which is not exactly German and I can understand it but I can understand the toad and you translated it after and what he said was

11:02 There was a word first world war in these two young men did not want to be in the Austrian Imperial Army and

11:13 So they got made other arrangements and he said that his father reported that one morning there in church one Sunday morning, and the priest was up on the pulpit and he's making all of his various announcements.

11:27 And then he said and I'll do it in English, but it was done in German and he said Envy stumping the table is he said it it is said and organisms Epi have Ronnie for America and he was outraged and what else had told the story he practically fell out of his chair laughing.

11:48 Sew-in in both our families. We have people who came to America undocumented which I find interesting because we came to the interview today. We were interrupted on the trip by immigration demonstration rally.

12:02 So

12:05 Oh, okay. That was one story about my family with.

12:10 I could tell the story about my mother who was born in, Chicago, Illinois.

12:15 And her father had asthma very bad asthma and I went back to Austria and lived in the mountains had a small farm and her father died.

12:27 And so she and her mother were running this little farm and there was a person.

12:33 Nothing has sound mind who was against the parish priest in this little village if I stood no, count.

12:47 He starts at the church on fire in their Barn my mother's and grandmother's Barn was next door to the church and cells in the barn caught on fire and then house caught on fire. And so it was decided to come back to America because it was an uncle here in Chicago for my mother being a citizen had no problem but her mother

13:11 She had to go to Vienna to take you to get some papers and things and then they came and they live basically at Irving and Kedzie for

13:24 30 years or something like that, which is only about a mile from where I've been fans of growing up.

13:31 So that's another piece of that story when we were visiting and we are in one of those towns fight than which I brought up which was just uphill from Counts. We were talking with the cousin and you mentioned part of that story. She said, well your grandfather's in the church here and you hadn't even thought about that, huh me at all and she walked over to the church in the dead of winter and it's just this little town and everything looks like a postcard with a snow on it up in these mountains and walked us into the churchyard and they're a bunch of iron crosses set in the stone because of course, this is on the side of a mountain.

14:11 And she stood looking at all of these crosses in the head lists of names done on him in that old German script and gold and their names one below the other on the cross and she stood in for the front of the front of one of them. And she said this is your grandfather's grave and we're looking at it and his name wasn't on there and she explained how because it was all set in the rock that the family had three spot and as each member of the family died, they went into one of the spots and they opened it up and whatever the box was down at the bottom. They break it with the iron poles, then they put the next casket in and then they both turn Xbox one another family member died and they put the name on the cross.

14:53 And every once in awhile, they repaint the cross because there be too many names on it. And she said this one is your grandfather's but there been so many since he's pushed off the bottom.

15:07 Gifts

15:11 Anyway

15:12 And you've had a very

15:15 Interesting Uncle you ever call him be true character in his older years. I'm not so sure about his younger years, but you can tell me about his younger years if he was a character or he was this might it I did not know him then but that's my father's brother. My first memory of him was in the late 1940s and he lived on her back porch. You have no place to live and he lived on our back porch and I remember going out there one day and he was extremely fussy and he'd gotten up and he's made his bed and I climbed on the bed to look out the window and he was upset and that's one of my earliest memories of life was having this adult.

16:03 Angry with me for having done something. I couldn't figure out what it was. I done wrong as he was known as some skate there Skeeter you short for Skeeter mosquito because he was very small and feisty as my brothers younger brother my off dad's younger brother is very feisty.

16:22 Anna probably the central event in his life that I'm going to talk about now. It was being in the Navy and that happened to be during the second world war. And in fact, he was in the Navy in the late thirties and was expecting to get out 1942 but Along Came Pearl Harbor and he didn't get out until 1946 is it turns out then he came with no other options came and lived with us, but the principal story I'd like to tell about him right now with his involvement at the surrender of Japan Tokyo Harbor and I think the date was September 1st. I think it was 1945.

17:06 He was the chief quartermaster by this point on the battleship, Mississippi the last two-and-a-half or three years of the war. He had been on the Mississippi as Chief quartermaster. He's responsible for signals. And I who's the chief enlisted man for navigation and he wrote The Log the rough log for the ship.

17:31 So here's how the quartermaster and at the time of the surrender in Tokyo Harbor his ship was going to be involved in it.

17:42 And I spent the night before there's another Bay South of Tokyo bay like a turn of land and that's where they spent the next morning. They were supposed to move up to a particular birth in Tokyo Harbor for the surrender. But the Japanese sit taken out all the harbor marks. So there was no certainty where the safe for a thing like the battleship to go.

18:06 So they sent Chief quartermaster in the chief bosun ahead. And what's called a whale boat which is a small powered diesel powered boat gasoline powered boat.

18:20 And their job was to go ahead of the battleship about half a mile or so and take soundings of the water and then signal back so that the ship could get into the harbor get to its birth safely. And of course there were just many. I don't know more than a hundred Capital Ships coming into the harbor to time.

18:41 And they spent all morning. What they would do is the whaleboat would come forward the bosun would use thousand-year-old technology throw a line in front of the boat.

18:54 It was straight up and down the line had markings on it. It would read the marking for the surface the water didn't know the depth and their different marks. There was a knots and a piece of leather piece of leather with a hole in it. And then another kind of not to tell him the different depths and on the end of it is a lead weight with a piece of wax in the wax collects, whatever on the floor of the harbor and it tells him combination of the depth of the kind of stone that comes up where they are in the harbor.

19:26 And it did this all day. It's through the line out measured the depth the Boston until my uncle the depth.

19:36 And then he would stand up with signal flags and Signal back to the ship.

19:41 And this one on for hours and hours and hours.

19:45 And he said it was really

19:48 Difficult form because the harbor all around them it been destroyed by bombing. And he said there were tumbled street cars that were Rusty from fires and it said all the time he was doing the sigelei a choppin.

20:01 Bit of rain showers blowing in his face sometimes and it was worried the whole time that he was standing up on the on the rail of this boat. Very visible. Very close to Shore and is he said the sons of the Nippon were standing there with her rifles? We didn't know what they would do.

20:20 So that was his involvement in the end of the war.

20:26 I know you and college Spencer year in Rome and your family was little bit more well-traveled and my family when I was 6 years old, my father took the entire summer off because that was 1950 and they weren't the kind of people who took care of planes and to get to Australia. We took a train to Hoboken in a boat from Hoboken to Lockhart La Habra. I can speak French very well and then a train to Innsbruck another strange from the bus from there to the Village of the referral. Let's talk about a week to get there.

21:09 Cancel my first real experience with international travel. That's when our second daughter. We have four girls and two boys are second daughter was involved in Irish dancing and I was not going to pass up this opportunity because they ate her school was going to Ireland for a dance competition. There is no way you're going to keep me at home. And our oldest daughter just happened to be her 16th birthday that time so she came along with us also and we were there I think for I believe for 15 days.

21:48 And we had some minor Adventures, but I'll let Bill tell you his great story.

21:55 Well, I was at home and I had these other kids to take care of and that was all right then.

22:01 One day the phone rang and at that time I had a personal banker Continental Bank Chinese woman named Han and she called up and she said that

22:16 There's been some.

22:18 Account activity on your account and so we were working on trying to get a balanced and there'd been some checks written that I hadn't known about before you left town, but I didn't know about them and they were large because I guess because the plan trip and they were causing some problems. So she and I talked about it for a while we decided that we would take money out of the savings account put it in checking because there were we to know what other checks might be coming. So she said okay so she took care of this and this was in the days before you had things like a phone Banking and cash cards that can make those go to your mom's or 9.

22:58 So Linda is she took care of all of this and that was lovely.

23:03 And then I got a phone call from Ireland.

23:09 Or was it a letter? I can't remember but I got a notice desperate collect desperate for money got to have money.

23:17 Because they had spent are all the cash they had in there was five or seven days left Easter. So the banks are closed down Good Friday Holy Saturday Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, and I had no money left. I couldn't leave town cuz I couldn't pay my hotel bill which raises the point. We've twice been marooned in cities without cash. You know that we were students Brooke like that, but that's another story in any event. So it turns out that you're desperately needed money and I was died now. I knew what the balances work cuz I've been working on when I called up mrs. On again.

23:54 I said Miss Hahn. Yes, Lester Wade. I need to transfer some money from the ultimate bank account. Now, the ultimate bank account was was her understanding of my understanding of the several savings account. This was the one that was never to be touched because it was like for the final disaster. That's why I need money from the ultimate bank account, but we took care of that. It was like an hour ago. We took care of that as well.

24:24 I want to have $500,000. I forgot to figure probably if I wasn't wired to the Bank of Ireland and cork.

24:35 And there was this was just what I said. Well of my wife needs $1,000 at the Bank of Ireland in Cork as quickly as possible.

24:45 And there was a long long pause now dismiss Han was extremely correct and there was a long pause and we've known each other for quite a few years and she said excuse me mister way, but I I want to say something this will certainly and she said but most people in this circumstance would be closing their bank accounts.

25:07 I was so confused and I sat there for a moment and I stepped on them in as well. My God, no, no, no send the money. I want her to come back.

25:16 So she did so about a week later or whatever was I'm at the airport to pick you up. And this is the point that what you wanted to hear. Right? So we're at the airport and I'm sitting in the car and I have children strapped in the car and I'm waiting at the international terminal at that time, which is very casual compared to today.

25:37 And the door opens and outcomes Beth and she's got the suitcase you left with and in some huge thing over her shoulder and she staggered out.

25:47 The door closes the door opens again and outcomes Kate and she has the suitcase that she left with and she's got two bags crisscrossed over her shoulders and she come staggering up something in her hand.

26:01 They're all excited and bubbling and we're talking the door doesn't open a door doesn't open find the door opens and you came out with a suitcase that you would left with and another thing bigger on a leash for God's sake that there had wheels that you're dragging behind you.

26:19 Descendants all the stuff and so we had a Suburban we filled it up full and went home and started opening the suitcases and stuff is coming out this that the other thing and that you're digging in there and people are just all excited. You're pulling stuff out way down in the bottom of monks to all of the shoes and the hat pins and the hair pins and all of the stuff. It was like you shake it out when you pull it out cuz stuff was falling off at

26:44 Anda it's a sweater for me while it's a it's a vest thing and I'm looking at it and it doesn't have any sleeves is just as fast as wool vest and I II got it doesn't have sleeves. It would have cost me another $1,000. So the story of course, is that the board fault you put up a sign just outside to Shannon Airport later in the summer that said God bless you. Mrs. Wade, and please come back and we did we went back maybe 10 years later the two of us with your sister who joined us there and we had adventures with the tires everywhere. We went we had adventures with tires hitting potholes and all we had we had hubcap call the ejectable hubcap cuz it kept falling off and my advice to anyone now who travels especially in a place like Ireland where the most of the roads are 1 and 1/2 Lanes wide tops.

27:45 With stone walls on each side and people at drive at 60 miles an hour. Both directions is to get all the insurance they offer.

27:56 Which we wisely did because we're we smashed.

28:01 For we we replace two rubber tires of having them shredded and I and a couple of the wheels to iron wheels that go underneath there was a couple of them would have pounded straight and a couple of we just had them outright by noon when we took the car back and it will how was the trip and we said while we are here are the receipts for a couple of tires and are the receipts for a couple of Wheels ninja solo que no comment. So the advice is get all the insurance there is

28:34 That is so true. Every pothole. That was there was that we get well, I'm going to ask you a question here. And my question to you is since you're in the eBay business here tell me about how Saint Anthony saved your eBay business well.

28:55 Last week A friend told me that eBay was having the special 20% list $0.20. I mean listing day and I hadn't put anything on eBay for several months before Christmas.

29:10 That's okay. I'll I'll look and see what I still have pictures of that. I didn't sell and I'll look in my notebook to make sure I have Dimensions written down so I don't have to go and measure things and so I listed some items on Ebay.

29:26 And out of my V listings through a purchase.

29:31 And one of them I just went upstairs and picked up the item and wrapped it up and mailed it the other two I could not find anywhere. I'm calling my sister-in-law in California to say Peg. Did I give you that bowl? Cuz she likes this was a hundred-year-old Bowl centerpiece bowl and she appreciates older things some even calling her just make sure I didn't give it to her cuz I know I didn't sell it.

30:01 And now what am I going to do? My reputation on eBay is going to be shot. I'm never going to be able to sell anything again. So I had a very very serious discussion with Saint Anthony and somebody else and Saint Jude. I figured Saint Anthony for the Lost items in St. Jude because I considered myself a hopeless case, and I'm

30:26 Anyway, it's sort of funny because

30:30 Basically, I haven't been to church in least 10 years. If not longer. I always say it's not that I don't have any faith in God is just my face and the Catholic church is sort of V gone by the wayside. However, I did talk to Saint Anthony and Saint Jude and last night. I went upstairs and within a half an hour. I had both things in my hand. So st. Anthony really works rules. He saved you look for this is important that that you have

31:11 The business to support us because of the big change in my life coming up. Is there the question of retirement and yes exactly and her Circle things about that that I guess put on the table and that is as I don't feel well I I feel an obligation to be certain that we have Financial Arrangements that and given the predictable path of life that is reasonably can be reasonably expected to support us both in comfort for the rest of our days.

31:50 All those I've said to the children several times on don't expect more than a decent down payment on a new used car when we kick off because there's probably not going to be that much available to you, but I would like to see it.

32:08 At least likely to leave us comfortable so that we're not eating crusts and and crawling over things to to make a living. So I may be hanging around a little bit longer than I would prefer in order to help assure that but there's another side to that and that is this I'm from hearing what other people say and in reading and things like that realizing that it's going to be terribly disruptive to your life, which has been 40 Years of of running a house and making all the decisions and setting all the priorities and controlling the time absolutely in that the sequence of things for me to show up and drop with your fingers in my kitchen, right? Well now I have to call I do while I was in her know I wouldn't do that, but I'm learning years ago, of course.

33:07 After a long time home, and I think it was a case where the kid was born. And so I was home for a week or two. I think that's when I rearrange the pots and I thought it was a brilliant thing to put Netflix under the Shelf because they were in a cabinet you kill yourself leaning over and digging through the pots and they get banged up and they are never in the right place. And so I put up cup hooks in the in the pantry and I thought that worked out pretty good, but it was only later when I wasn't thanks that it dawned on me that I'd stepped into, you know, it was like you would come to my office and rearrange my file folders or change the names on my file folders with drive me crazy.

33:46 So I've become sensitive to that, but I do have to admit the other day even though I've engaged now in a

33:55 6 month long campaign to be allowed to come home or invited to come home the other day. I lost my wits and rearranged the dish strainer for God's sake and turned it around and changed where the little bucket goes for the silverware. And again, I thought that this was a really peachy good advance of technology is useful and helpful.

34:21 And so I'm now recognizing even more so since that was met with visible hostility that recognize that I'm going to be dropping into your life and I need to be sensitive to those demands. Although they like the trips. We had Sunday or whenever it was a weird. Oh, yeah when you went down on Lincoln Avenue in One Direction and I went down Lincoln Avenue in another Direction and we got together later on.

34:58 Kind of a nice way to do things got plates and this kind of stuff. That's true.

35:05 So tell me tell me this now that we're having a new phase of life. I've somewhat expressed my concerns about the

35:18 About being allowed to come in the house. So I'll put it to you. What are your concerns about me. Come again.

35:29 I just thought I won't be able to do what I wanted to when I want to do it. That's I guess that's it. Maybe you need to you know, what I try to do in the mornings to say. Well this is what my objective for the day is maybe a data to tell me that too so I know what's going on alternatively we can buy two cars. No, I don't think so. No, I think one is enough when car is more than enough. Are we going to do this? And I know that your ambition is to have a long cabin in the in the u p and I point out to you that at that point in life where where we need good medical care. We're going to be living in a place where anything more than a small cut is a helicopter ride to Green Bay. Are you still excited about the cabin in the U P. Is there any alternative possible?

36:24 I would really like a cabin in the u p. I I really love it up there. It's it's peaceful. It's quiet. People know. Yes. I know. I think I can go in to Escanaba.

36:41 And meet more people that I know that I do if I go shopping at home after living in the same place for 35 years or 36 years ago this past summer you stood in that line and it seems like every fourth person that came by with someone you knew by face. If not by name and they knew you would you would you allow it in the spring and fall cuz Summers and Winters up there are just deadly maybe maybe we'll see but I can't go too far. We have the grandchildren.

37:20 And it takes me back to the Coming to America stories that we talked about right at the beginning and these people came basically with nothing but themselves and their energy and I was trying on her on her way in here. I was trying to total up how many descendants among them. Are there here in America and the number gets pretty big. Yeah, whatever the Kelly's who

37:48 All I want to eat 25 right there. And then they're the people up in the U P The Hansons. That's another 25 or 30 and then there's Us in The Hansons. Those are there descendants of the draft.

38:13 Turn up around on the news some.

38:16 Sun Joe Sun Joe and his kids and their families

38:22 Jon leuer. 75 might be 7. Walters a little people living now for Generations, but it's nothing compared to the people who are over in Austria still a 3lb sir. Almost all relatives with an exchange student. I went over there to meet her when we went to behemoth.

38:51 And there was that party there had to be close to two hundred people in the guest house fall case, which is my maiden name all cousins.

39:06 And that was a huge surprise huge surprise someone.

39:13 I have one minute. I am so glad that you were willing to come even though we had a crisis this morning. We were able to overcome the crisis so that you and I were able to do this together and it's a wonderful thing we've done here and thank you to the storycorps.