Lydia Loest

December 22, 1909 - March 16, 2009
Role: Area Resident
Maiden name: Kern

Lydia was born in Fayette County, Texas, in a small German community known as the Swiss Alps. There were many German communities sprinkled throughout South Texas. Lydia’s father was born in Frankfurt, Germany and came to Texas in 1890 as a missionary, Her mother came in 1892. Not surprisingly, religion was a major part of her growing up. There was a daily devotion every morning at breakfast. Her mother raised geese, and so, twice every summer they plucked the geese. As a young mother, Lydia would have her daughter ride on the burlap sack she used while picking cotton. She was pregnant at the time.. “I picked cotton in August and Sonny was born on the second of September, and I still picked cotton.” The gentlest of souls, Lydia would tell of a hard life., but her stories were so heartfelt, you would suffer with her and rejoice with her.

Introduction to Lydia Loest

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Lydia Loest
Lydia Loest: And on our birthdays, I never had a birthday party as long as I was at home, there was no such thing as birthday party.

Delores Ressman: Did you get a birthday gift?

Dorothy Lau: Did you get cake?

Lydia Loest: Yeah mother always baked a poundcake and then in the center she would have fresh flowers, a glass set in there for fresh flowers and we would always gather around the little table and sing, have a prayer. And I don't remember whether there were, I don't think there were any gifts.

Delores: Oh well, I was wondering whether there was gifts.

Lydia Loest: Uh uh. There wasn't any money for that foolishness. And another thing that came to my mind, if we got a box in the mail or somewhere it was always tied with a string there was no scotch tape or anything like that.

Maggie Fromme: Oh no no no there wasn't anything like scotch tape.

Lydia Loest: And we would sit there and unknot that string so it could be saved. Have you heard of the old oaken bucket the iron bound bucket, you know. When I was a child that's what we had, we had a well with a bucket hanging, two buckets hanging. Draw the water up you know. Then we had in the kitchen, we had a white enameled bucket with a dipper in it, where our drinking water was. And the one that used the last water had to go fill the bucket again. Can you imagine drawing water out of the well to wash for twelve people. And they drew the water the night before and filled the kettles and everything

Ruby Nelson: How many tubs of water did you have, 3 tubs?

Lydia Loest: We had three with a washboard because my three older sisters, of course I was younger. You know and then draw all that water. And boil all that clothes and those sheets, they had long line of sheets

Maggie Fromme: Lines and lines

Dorothy Lau: For that many people I imagine

Ruby Nelson: That I never did do but the cotton sacks

Marjorie Baecker: My mother picked cotton side-by-side with everybody, and she would be pregnant and have a little one on the sack, pulling the sack with one of us on it and pick

Lydia Loest: I don't know how we lived through that, you know. Picked cotton in August and Sonny was born on 2nd of September.