A year ago, I started to write about some of my hunting experiences and some of the things that happened that were different from an ordinary hunting trip. The more I wrote, the more involved I got and the more I was wondering, “Just why am I spending so much of my spare time writing about things that I have already experienced? Just why am I writing about hunting and many things connected to it?”
So often as I wrote the stories, I knew that it was on those hunting trips that I really got to know my father as more than just the “big boss” at home. When I think back about my Grandfather Moritz, I can’t help but remember the day I really got to know him. It was one day when I was helping him make a variety of good old German sausages, hams, bacon and all the other good items. Although my grandfather was upin his years when I was young, I did get to know him, and it was very seldom that he ever said anything about his father. So many times I wished that my grandfather had written a few lines about himself and the era that he had lived in. Although he was one of the first settlers in Fredericksburg, very little was known about him. That is one of the reasons I started to write and thought that my words could be passed down to the next generations and eliminate some of the guessing about their ancestors.
I was born in Fredericksburg, Texas on December 11, 1928 to a family of eight: Mother, Father, four boys, two girls, of which I was the second to the eldest. There was a boy who was stillborn. You could say that I grew up during the Great Depression, which also started at that time.
Some of the fondest memories that I can recall are when Grandpa and Grandma Moritz came over to our house and helped Dad and Mother with the butchering every year. Gardening and butchering for food were always on top of the agenda because times were really hard, and jobs and work were scarce.
In the early spring, Dad and Opa (German for Grandfather) Moritz always made a short trip to visit some of their ranching friends and buy three or four big skinny hogs from them. They were put in a pen about one half block away from the house, just out of the city limits. That’s where they were fed until the following winter for butchering. By that time, they were big and fat. Most of the time, we butchered a couple for our own use and the others were sold to the meat market. The money we made was put aside to buy more hogs the following spring.
Every year when butchering time came along, I didn’t want to go to school. I wanted to stay home and watch everything that was taking place. The first year that my oldest brother, Roy, and I stayed home and helped was when I was nine and Roy was ten years old. Since Grandma Moritz had passed away earlier that year, Grandpa was very depressed and lonesome. Dad asked Opa to help finish off the butchering after he went back to work. Dad did that so Opa would have something to do that he liked to take his mind off his problems.