Stanton Deming

Does MPHS have photographs: No

Date of Interview: Unknown

Interviewer: Unknown

Text of Oral History Interview

Q: Now we’re talking to Mr. –your name is Mr. Stanton. ..
DEMING: Stan Deming, that’s what they call. ..
Q: Stan Deming.
DEMING: W. Stanton Deming.
Q: Okay, and we’re talking from his home on Candota, 605 Candota, and the date is November 15, 1994. I want to thank you for consenting to be interviewed. Appreciated that part of the oral history of Mount Prospect. I think what I’ll do is ask you some of your old bibliography here. Your full name is W. Stanton, S-T-A-N-T-O-N, and where were you born and when?
DEMING: In Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa.
Q: And you want to give the date?
DEMING: March 14, 1909.
Q: Who were your parents?
DEMING: Jessie and Frank Deming.
Q: Do you remember your mother’s full name?
DEMING: Jessie Mae Stanton, S-T-A-N-T-O-N.
Q: Do you remember her maiden name?
DEMING: Well, that. ..
Q: Also her maiden name.
DEMING: Well, that is her maiden name. That’s what I’m giving you.
Q: Oh, excuse me. Jessie Mae Stanton, okay.
DEMING: You asked for her full name.
Q: Yes, Jessie Mae Stanton. I was asking also was there a maiden name, her maiden name.
DEMING: Well, that is her maiden name.
Q: Was Stanton.
DEMING: Jessie Mae Stanton.
Q: For your mother.
DEMING: That’s my mother.
Q: Oh, excuse me. I beg your pardon. I’m sorry. Do you know where she was born, sir?
DEMING: On a farm near Collins, Iowa. C-O-L-L-I-N-S, Iowa.
Q: Our son went to the University of Iowa.
DEMING: I have a daughter and a son-in-law, and they have a granddaughter now going to the University of Iowa.
Q: We love that school.
DEMING: Well, I’m not from the University of Iowa.
Q: You’re not. Are you an Iowa. ..
DEMING: I’m from Iowa State at Ames. That’s my alma mater.
Q: Do you remember someone by the name of Boyne Platt?
DEMING: No.
Q: He was the comptroller of Iowa State. He’s my husband’s uncle.
DEMING: No, I don’t remember that name.
Q: Your father’s full name then was…
DEMING: William Frank Deming.
Q: And where was he born?
DEMING: It was North Dakota, probably Dickinson.
Q: Can I ask about your wife’s name?
DEMING: Her name is –do you want the full name, is that it? Genevieve Julia –G-E, that’s G-E-N, Genevieve. Julia Deming. You’d want her name now, you mean, not maiden name.
Q: No, okay. And we’ll just list the children and their age.
DEMING: Our children?
Q: Yes.
DEMING: All right. There’s Philip S. Deming and Nancy Lee Deming. You want the name now or. ..
Q: No, no, just their children’s names before they were married. Philip S. and Nancy Lee.
DEMING: And then Joyce Edwina, E-D-W-I-N-A.
Q: Okay, may I ask what was or is your occupation?
DEMING: What was my occupation?
Q: Yes.
DEMING: I was a peddlar. I was a manufacturer’s rep all my life, representing several companies.
Q: What is or was your spouse’s occupation?
DEMING: Well, she’s a housewife.
Q: Homemaker.
DEMING: Yes.
Q: When did you move to Mount Prospect?
DEMING: 1948.
Q: Have you ever lived in any other place in the village?
DEMING: Other than this address.
Q: Yes.
DEMING: Yes, we lived for six years 218 South I-Oka.
Q: Okay, how has Mount Prospect changed since you’ve lived here?
DEMING: Well, it changed from population of 2,200 –that’s one thing– to whatever it is now, about 60-…
Q: Fifty-six thousand.
DEMING: Fifty-six thousand. Of course, we’ve -our life and you don’t have enough room on that paper for me to tell you how much all the things have been changed.
Q: I have the whole back. No, I know there’s an awful lot of changes in a place this size over the years. What did you know about Mount Prospect before you came here?
DEMING: Well, I knew quite a bit about it because I used to drive a Kraft Cheese truck from Park Ridge to Lake Geneva, not all on the same day but before the week was out, and I used to peddle cheese. The first stop was Eddy Possey’s grocery on Northwest Highway near Van Driel’s drug store. The next stop was the National Tea on Main Street right next door to Meschke’s drug store, and around the comer on Busse was Bill Meine’s grocery.
Q: What are some of the events that you remember happening in the village over the years?
DEMING: At Ed Busse’s grocery, and deliver cheese and mayonnaise and what-have-you. I’d go across the tracks to Heine Crosey’s tavern and restaurant, and I would get a beef stew luncheon with coffee and dessert for thirty-five cents. Now, that’s something that’s changed.
Q: Yes. And I understand they were mighty good lunches.
DEMING: Oh, they were. The main thing in the changes has been the building that’s taken place. When we were at 218 South Ioka, which was about three or four blocks from the railroad tracks, there was no house between us and the railroad tracks and every night for the first few weeks it sounded like the big steam train was coming right through the bedroom, and we finally got used to that. But then pretty soon, why, it was building, and now you know you can count all the houses between there, and now you don’t have steam trains anymore. They’ve got the locomotives. Another thing that has changed is that in our back yard we used to sit there and eat breakfast and dinner, look out our window and see pheasants in our back yard and a com field back over on Wapella. That’s no longer there, of course. You’ll have to go past Barrington to find that anymore.
Q: Yes, that’s true, and not too many out there either now. There are too many horse farms and things that you –had com fields and pheasants. What do you remember most about shopping downtown in Mount Prospect?
DEMING: Well, we had Van Driel’s there, and of course we had Keefer’s that was on the Northwest Highway at the time, and that was a good drugstore. It still is a good drugstore, over on the other side of the tracks. And right next to that was, I think where the beauty shop is, we had a Ben Franklin store, and, anyway, I sort of recall it was well-known in this town and a very popular place to go shopping.
Q: How about groceries? Where did your family shop for groceries?
DEMING: Well, groceries was Meschke’s, which was an excellent store and good meat market, and Freddy Haas ran the meat market. Len Busse-what was his name? –ran the grocery department, but that was a very fine store. Other stores we …
Q: Yes, for clothes and shoes for instance and your hardware?
DEMING: Shoes and clothes, no, I don’t recall a –there was a dry goods store next to Meschke’s on Main Street, but I don’t remember the name of it.
Q: How about hardware?
DEMING: Hardware was Busse-Biermann Hardware, which was a very fine store and still is, although Fred Busse died years ago and then Frank Bierman died two or three years ago, and it’s now in the hands of Ron Helpers, but he still runs a good store. It’s not the big stores like the True Value and Ace Hardware. ..
Q: Right, Busse Hardware is right over here at 83 and Golf.
DEMING: No. Busse Hardware?
Q: Where is Busse Hardware?
DEMING: Busse Hardware’s on Busse, right…
Q: Oh, right on Busse.
DEMING: …on Busse just west of 83.
Q: Okay, so that’s called something else over there.
DEMING: This over here is Best Hardware, which is a True Value cutter.
Q: Okay, company. So that is part of a national chain, isn’t it?
DEMING: Yes, yes.
Q: It’s not your local, but Busse-Bierman is right here in town. Did you have any cars, for instance? Where would you have purchased your cars?
DEMING: I purchased a couple cars, Buicks, from the Buick agency. That went Busse. That’s another Busse. You know, this is Busseville here.
Q: Yes.
DEMING: The Busses and Bell and a lot of people, but that was the head of an agency on ________.
Q: Okay, now we’re going to ask you where you shopped for medicine in town.
DEMING: That’s always been Keefer Pharmacy.
Q: And the stores were located right downtown.
DEMING: Yes.
Q: Is Keefer Pharmacy, is that the Keefer family that ran that? Do you remember who owned the store?
DEMING: well, Jack Keefer, and I don’t know. I’m sure he had a wife –I know he had a wife, but…
Q: How about the people that worked there. Did you remember who they were?
DEMING: What’s her name?
THIRD SPEAKER: Evelyn.
DEMING: Evelyn was. ..
Q: The lady who’s been there. ..
DEMING: She’s been there. ..
THIRD SPEAKER: For years.
DEMING: …Since ought one.
DEMING: Okay, and I’m going to ask you some of the other things that the early stores carried, other than, I guess, they’re asking these things. The dime store carried everything from soup to nuts almost. Didn’t they get almost everything at the dime store?
DEMING: Remember the Ben Franklin Store.
Q: Practically anything that you needed you could get at Ben Franklin’s. Your grocery stores –the drug store carried, well, they still to this day, do they not, they carried canes. ..
DEMING: I’ll tell you one thing, they used to have a soda fountain there that they don’t have anymore.
Q: Is it Van Driel’s or Keefer?
DEMING: That was at Keefer. Van Driel’s never stayed a real drugstore too long. They became –what do you call it when they sell like wheel- …
Q: Medical supplies.
DEMING: …chairs and medical supplies.
Q: And Keefer is with two E’s, isn’t it?
DEMING: K-E-E-F-E-R.
Q: Soda fountain. Okay, now carry, well, canes and walkers and so on, don’t they?
DEMING: Yes.
Q: Plus what else did I get in there? I guess cards, gifts.
THIRD SPEAKER: Oh, yes, they have cards.
Q: They sell cards. Okay. And what is your fondest memory of early downtown Mount Prospect?
DEMING: Well, that’s when I was out here on a Kraft Cheese truck, big Diamond T truck that didn’t even have a heater in it, and that’s when I was…
Q: Kraft Products.
DEMING: …selling it to the grocery stores. I remember the old bank building, the little bit of a bank there on the northeast corner of 83, which is Elmhurst Road, and Busse Avenue. Then it moved across the street, and now they’ve moved four different locations since I’ve been here.
Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to add about living out here back in the old days?
DEMING: Well, everybody knew everyone.
THIRD SPEAKER: And you didn’t lock –nobody had keys.
DEMING: We didn’t lock the doors.
Q: If there was one thing that you’d want your children to remember about the history of their hometown, what would it be?
DEMING: About the history of their hometown? Those steam trains going in and out. Maybe that’s not the answer you’re. ..
Q: Well, that sounds mighty good to me. That’s a good answer because that’s certainly part of the past that not many of us know of anymore.
DEMING: Yes, they would start up and spin the wheels, and they’d be jt, dt, dt, dt. Then they’d back off and then they’d start over again. It was interesting. These locomotives, they don’t do that now.
Q: No, no, no, no. In what respect is Mount Prospect the same now as it was in the past?
DEMING: I think it’s a peaceful town compared to a lot of other communities, but with so many people here, you don’t have the same friendliness that we used to have. It’s still a friendly town, but it’s not the same when you’ve got a smaller group of people like we used to have.
Q: What do you think the future holds for this community?
DEMING: I would say that it’s good. You take a look at this neighborhood here, and I think this neighborhood is going to be good…
Q: Good, solid neighborhood.
DEMING: …for fifteen, twenty years or so. Whereas, I see a lot of other neighborhoods where it’s changing fast, you’re having government subsidized housing and you’ve got things move in there, and it’s not the same as it –it changes things because you’ve got a different class of people moving in that are on government assistance and they’re not the quality people. They’re just not the quality people that there used to be. Maybe you don’t want to hear that on that.
Q: What grade school did you attend?
DEMING: You’re not talking about me. You’re talking about my kids, aren’t you? I went to school at Des Moines, Iowa. Grammar school was Oak Park School, I guess they called it.
Q: In Des Moines.
DEMING: In Des Moines.
Q: And how many years did you attend?
DEMING: I attended that probably six or eight years, I guess. I don’t know. It would be from fifth grade to ninth grade, when I went to high school.
Q: Okay, we’ll get to the high school later here. We’re just talking about first through sixth or seventh grade, whatever. It will be six or eight years. That would be right. What were your favorite subjects or classes?
DEMING: My favorite subjects there in grammar school? Well, I was always –arithmetic was good, but geometry and physics, I don’t know how much they offered at that time in the grammar school. I don’t even remember, but when I got to high school I…
Q: You tended to physics particularly.
DEMING: Yes.
Q: How far away did you live from the school?
DEMING: I lived across the street for a lot of it. For part of it I lived a mile away and walked to school every day.
Q: Do you remember what time school started?
DEMING: No, I have no –I don’t know.
Q: What time in the morning you had to get up in order to be at school on time, do you remember that?
DEMING: No, I don’t.
Q: Did you have any chores to do before you left for school?
DEMING: Well, I think the usual chores of taking out the garbage and emptying the water under the refrigerator.
Q: Under the icebox.
DEMING: Under the icebox is what we had at the time. We didn’t have a refrigerator.
Q: Did you live in the city of Des Moines or in the country or around. ..
DEMING: It was at the edge of town two blocks from the city limits.
Q: Did you eat breakfast before you went to school?
DEMING: Yes, we ate breakfast.
Q: Could you describe a breakfast meal back then?
DEMING: No, I don’t remember.
Q: Did you bring a lunch to school or go home for lunch?
DEMING: No, I didn’t bring lunch so …
Q: You went home. How many students did you have in your classes. Do you remember that?
DEMING: Probably twenty or twenty-five.
Q: Do you remember the typical order of the day? Did you start with a song or prayers or the Pledge of Allegiance?
DEMING: I think we did. I don’t think we had prayer, but we had…
Q: Probably had the Pledge.
DEMING: Salute to the flag and so forth.
Q: And then a typical day from there, after the salute, would have been reading, writing, arithmetic, I guess.
DEMING: I’m sure.
Q: Okay. Do you remember what clothing you wore to school?
DEMING: It was pretty shabby, pretty shabby clothing I’m sure. It was clean and all that but. ..
Q: Well-used clothing.
DEMING: Yes. We didn’t…
Q: Trousers.
DEMING: We didn’t have much, I’ll tell you that.
Q: I know. Back then things were scarce. Clothing was scarce and …
DEMING: It was all right.
Q: It was part of the Depression time, was it not?
DEMING: Well, no, that was long before the Depression when I was in school.
Q: Oh, when you were in school, excuse me. Beg your pardon. Yes, that was only in the …
DEMING: I was in school.
Q: …twenties and thirties. You’re talking about 19- …
DEMING: I was in school, what would it be, born in ’09, so I went to school about 1915 until I went to high school in 1924. That’s when I went to high school.
Q: Okay, you graduated in ’28.
DEMING: Yes, ’28. Overalls if you really wanted to work, you’d have overalls.
Q: Did you wear overalls to school?
DEMING: No, I did not. You didn’t wear overalls to school.
Q: Now, knickers would have been in the winter.
DEMING: Yes. Short pants –what do you call them?
Q: Sort of Little Lord Fauntleroy type of short suits and so on.
DEMING: There was no dress code for boys in school at that time. I mean, you came in whatever you. ..
DEMING: I don’t think so.
Q: Was there anything your parents refused to let you wear to school?
DEMING: I don’t recall.
Q: Do you remember some of the things you did during your play or recess time?
DEMING: We played soccer, played that all the time.
Q: Any other games that you remember?
DEMING: Played marbles and stuff like that.
Q: Baseball?
DEMING: I think we must have played baseball, but I don’t remember much about it. We played catch a lot, and I don’t know if it was. .
Q: Exactly baseball.
DEMING: Baseball.
Q: How about things in the winter like snow forts and so on?
DEMING: Oh, yes, we had all that in the wintertime. Close to the edge of town we’d be out hunting and shooting, shooting snakes and shooting rabbits and…
Q: Hunting too. Okay. Do you remember any specific songs that were taught or sung at school?
DEMING: I don’t know.
Q: Any kind of craft or art projects or school plays?
DEMING: Not in grammar school, no.
Q: Did you have a favorite teacher?
DEMING: Yes, I did.
Q: Why did you like him or her, it says here.
DEMING: I don’t really know. She was a very compassionate person, and I learned more and I worked more under this woman, Mrs. Green –I remember her. I’m talking about grammar school now.
Q: Was there a special day at school that you never forget, for whatever reason? I’ll never forget the day at Oak Park School when. ..
DEMING: Well, we had fire drills.
Q: Did you go out of one of those tubes for fire drill?
DEMING: No, I don’t think we had tubes, no.
Q: I think fire drills were kind of a frightening experience, weren’t they, for grammar school kids.
DEMING: Those were two-story buildings, you know.
Q: Yes. What did you do after school with chores or work or play?
DEMING: Usually we’d go out in the woods, out in the country or –I had other things to do, like mow the lawn and things like that, you know. Gardening, I’d always put in a garden in the spring and spade the garden and have a horse come in and plow the garden, plow behind, and I’d cultivate the soil and plant the seed.
Q: It says, “Where did children hang out in their free times?” You probably went into the woods.
DEMING: Oh, yes.
Q: Or hunting.
DEMING: For hunting and just go out and we’d go camping in a pup tent. We camped a lot in a pup tent. We would go over the river and go swimming.
Q: What was the river?
DEMING: Des Moines River. Go swimming, buddy, Des Moines river. We’d go canoeing.
Q: That’s one of the rivers that ran over last year, wasn’t it?
DEMING: Yes.
Q: SO was the Raccoon.
DEMING: Yes, the Raccoon was the main one. They join together downtown Des Moines.
Q: Now we’re going to talk about your junior high school and your high school.
DEMING: Well, we didn’t have a junior high school.
Q: Just a high school.
DEMING: High school.
Q: Do you recall the name of that?
DEMING: Yes, North High School.
Q: Do you have any special memories that you hold about high school?
DEMING: Well, I tried out for the swimming team. I didn’t make it.
Q: That’s a memory all right.
DEMING: Those were great days, though. Great days. I wasn’t the best student in the world, but I worked all the time, and I’ve been working since I was eleven years. Sometimes I held two jobs, get up at five o’clock in the morning and peddle papers for two dollars and a half a week, morning and evening, and collect the money. So I didn’t get to participate in a lot of activities like a lot of others did because I just didn’t have the time.
Q: But you did work your way up in your grade so you were able to enter the Iowa State University without a problem.
DEMING: Yes. I entered there.
Q: Which was certainly a wonderful experience, I’m sure.
DEMING: Yes, I could get into Iowa State.
Q: You went on to Iowa State. I’m going to put that in here. Are there any other comments that you might have about Mount Prospect in the old days or Mount Prospect as you remember it through all the years?
DEMING: Any comments, you say.
Q: You have comments about the town or …
DEMING: Well, at one point I asked one of the trustees, “Why are we letting all these people move in here?” I said to him, “I thought we had a nice town when we kept the population down.” I said, “Now we’re up to 6,000 people. Let’s stop it.” His comment to me was, “How are you going to stop it?” He says, “Tell me how you can stop it. We don’t like it either, but you can’t stop it.” So …
Q: He was right.
DEMING: Yes, he was right.
Q: I would put a five in front of that six –about 56,000 is your population out here.
DEMING: No, I mean 56,000 –I’m talking about. ..
Q: Six thousand.
DEMING: Oh, yes, 6,000. Yes. Already gone from 2,200. ..
Q: Twenty-two hundred to six- …
DEMING: Or 2,200 to 6,000. When I first came out here peddling cheese, the town was 1,2000. And I remember the –what was the name of the coal company?
Q: Right here in town?
DEMING: Yes. I can’t think of their names now. They had the big department store up there in town.
Q: Was it one of the Willes?
DEMING: Wille, Wille Lumber and Coal Company. I knew all the Willes, and I remember stopping in their office, and they had a potbellied stove right there to keep warm. They were a big part of this town at that time.
Q: They were –some of the original settlers, the Wille family.
DEMING: Yes, it’s too bad that things happened there. One of the boys kind of went out on a limb and got them into trouble financially and opened a store in Schaumburg, which they should never have done. Another thing I remember when I first came out here, they used to raise sugar beets, and I remember the gondola cars on the railroad sidings being loaded for these five or six cars full of sugar beets. I don’t know where they took them. They took them to some processing plant, but…
Q: Campbell’s, maybe.
DEMING: I don’t know where would they ever take them. I don’t know that I ever did know. The mainstay of the town, and that soon changed when…
Q: Yes, it did, all that land was. ..
DEMING: The people started moving in. There wasn’t any more land available anymore.
Q: Yes, it was an agricultural area.
DEMING: You’ve got the history book of Mount Prospect, haven’t you? There’s a lot about those. ..
Q: Okay. Tell the machine that.
DEMING: Right here where we are now, there was a carrot field that we had built this house forty years, and I would guess that it probably –fifty or fifty-five years ago or up to sixty years ago, they raised carrots right here where we’re sitting right now.
Q: Right on Candota.
DEMING: On Candota. There’s another thing that I wonder if anybody has commented on. On the Northwest Highway –what would that be? About two blocks west of 83, Main Street, there was a pickle factory there.
Q: Oh, which one was it?
DEMING: I don’t know. There was a pickle factory there, but it hadn’t been operating –it ceased operating before I moved out here, but the pickle factory was still there and. ..
Q: Was it Heinz, do you think?
DEMING: I don’t know what it was, but it was a pickle factory there. ..
Q: I’ll be darned.
DEMING: …and it was in shambles, but it was there.
Q: It was still there. I’ll be darned.
DEMING: I don’t remember who operated it.
Q: Okay, well, that’s an interesting fact. I want to thank you very much, Mr. Deming, for taking the time. ..
DEMING: You’re welcome.
Q: …to be interviewed. Really it’s. ..
DEMING: But I can’t remember this stuff, you know.
Q: Yes, I know it is …
DEMING: But I just thought of this pickle factory just now. That is something that, if somebody ran that –there’s some history behind. I don’t know what the history is, but there’s some history behind that pickle factory .
Q: Well, maybe someone will come up with exactly. ..
DEMING: Yes, because they used to raise pickles and. ..
Q: Process them.
DEMING: …and process them right there. I don’t know if they canned them there, or I don’t know what they did with them.
Q: Maybe the brine was there or something.
DEMING: It was an open thing –windows were knocked out, and I saw…
Q: Big wooden tanks, were there around it?
DEMING: Probably. I don’t know.
Q: Okay.

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