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Catalog Number 2015.020.001
Object Name Recording
Scope & Content Oral history interview of Alfred (Al) Goebbert.

Interviewed by Cliff Schultz, a member of the Elk Grove Historical Society, and Sandy Denninger, museum coordinator, February 15, 2008. Interview took place at the school house building of the Elk Grove Historical Museum located at 399 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village, IL. Interview length 95 m 58 sec. Collection includes audio recording, transcript, and digital image.

Digital Image: 2015.020.003

Collection Elk Grove Historical Museum
Notes Al Goebbert Interview, 2-15-2008, Part I

00:00:00 Interview by Cliff Schultz and Sandy Denninger.

00:00:30 Introduction. Al Goebbert bron 1933 on a farm in Elk Grove Township. Parents: Alfred and Sophie Boergener Goebbert. Alfred's parents were Louis Goebbert and Martha Tonne. Louis's parents were Henry Goebbert and Maria Landmeier. Readings from a Goebbert family history book from 1973.

00:04:42 Stories of Henry Goebbert. Al was the youngest of grandchildren and not much was talked about so he knows little.

00:05:46 Arlington Heights and Algonquin Rds. A number of Goebberts lived there. 132 E. Algonquin is where Al Goebbert was born. That home was given to his grandfather by his father. When Al's father married the home was given to him. Living in the area were Walter, Edwin, George and other Goebberts. Klehm Nursery was located there later.

00:07:30 Grandparents. Common to visit on Sundays and holidays. At Christmas the whole family would gather. Card games would be played before and after evening dinner. Al lived on a dairy farm others would be truck farmers. Al's family had a bull. Christmas meal was lunchmeat, homemade sausage, cheese, lots of breads and preserves.

00:11:40 Louis Goebbert farm. Most of their food was home grown. Raised tomatoes, cabbage, apples, carrots, beans, potatoes, chickens, ducks, hogs, would buy a steer in springtime for fall butchering. Meat would be preserved by salting in a 50 gallon or bigger crock.

00:14:00 Truck farming. These were farmers who were not dairy farmers and they grew vegetables like tomatoes, beans, onions ,etc. They would truck their produce down to the market in Chicago. Called truck gardeners.

00:15:12 Louis Goebbert farm. Produce was for home use. Did sell fresh eggs. Had a sign by the road and also took 30 every week or so to a bakery in Arlington Heights.

00:16:18 Hardware store in Arlington Heights on Campbell Street. Never turned the lights on except when you wanted to make a purchase.

00:17:41 Chores on the farm. Had two older sisters, Delores and Marian. Didn't really have chores in the morning before school but did help out at night with feeding the chickens and bringing in the milk cans into the barn. During high school help with the milking. Had maximum of 22 cows. Al was not directly involved in any of the butchering. He did cut the tallow into cubes to cook to render the fat to be used for baking.

00:24:08 Favorite meal. Sunday meals were always chicken. Dessert was Jello with fruit cocktail mixed in. Always had duck for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. Dinner was at 12:00. Supper was at 6:30. Breakfast was almost always bacon and eggs. Cereal was for Sunday breakfast. It was a treat because cereal was store-bought.

00:26:06 Chicken and hog butchering. Processes described. Blood sausage would be made and used for breakfast. It's gruesome but that's what had to be done.

00:31:50 What the house looked like. When growing up was told the house used to be an old post office-doesn't know if that is true. Downstairs walls are 2 feet thick. Added on over the years. 2 bedrooms downstairs with bath. Dining room and big kitchen. Coal heated. Upstairs: 2 bedrooms upstairs and then nooks with uneven steps. Heat was added for the upstairs at a later time.

00:34:29 School. Al attended St. John Lutheran School on Linnenman Road even though public school district 56 was located right there. His father was on the board of Dist. 56. Al's name is actually Alfred Donald Goebbert-different middle name from his father. St. John's is just a little south of Golf Road which was called at that time as the Elgin-Evanston Road (Rt. 58). The school had two rooms with separate teachers for grades 1-4 and 5-8.

00:39:37 End of Part 1

Part II

00:00:00 Continuation of school. The public school was on Arlington Heights Road just north of Algonquin (Dist 56). There was an abandoned school building at the corner of Linneman and Golf Road (District 58 school).

00:01:51 St John Lutheran School. All of the Goebberts who lived in that area went to that church and therefore he, siblings and cousins all attended the Lutheran school for religious reasons. Neighbors such as the Raschers, Linnemans, Willes, Moellencamps, Grimms and others-all farmers in a 4 -5 mile radius attended. The teaching process for four grades was described. There was no playground equipment. Played ball, tag, Red Rover, Annie Come Over and other games. In winter they could play in the school basement games such as spider and the Fly. Description of the two male teachers. There was an 8th grade graduation ceremony.

00:12:56 School picnics. Held on church grounds. Families from the church came. They had pop and ice cream. These were real treats.

00:14:36 High school. Attended Arlington Heights High School (Dist 214). Graduated in 1951. He didn't have a background in sports. He was a "farm" boy now being with "town" people. Also there were issues with how to get back home at night if being involved in school activities. So he rode the bus home and did his homework and chores.

00:17:20 High school subjects/teachers. He was first in his family to take algebra. None of the Goebberts were encouraged to go to college. Expectations were to continue farm life. He took all of the general classes. High school was not a favorite time of his life. But he did have a good foundation from the parochial grade school. There was homework and parents helped. There was discipline. Al was in National Honor Society in high school.

00:20:49 Inspiration to go to college. Can't really point to a particular thing. He did enjoy reading. He also enjoyed drawing. He had no direction in high school-just plodded along. Farming was becoming more challenging-needed to be bigger to succeed. Farming not for him. He had allergies. He never wanted to be a farmer but didn't know what he wanted to be.

00:23:09 Effect of the war. Had relatives in the service. Remembers vividly the day of the Japanese surrender.

00:24:01 Radio. Listened to the Lone Ranger. Everyone had their own favorite radio programs. Some were serials of 15 minutes in length. Also half hour comedy programs. Allowed the imagination to run wild. After supper the family would listen in the living room maybe while doing homework. It was a time when the family was together.

00:26:45 TV. He was senior in high school when they got their first TV (1951). Early programs were often a carryover of radio programs. Hopalong Cassidy, Milton Berle, etc. Most programs were in the evening.

00:29:56 Landmarks. Schnell's Corner (corner of Arlington Heights and Higgins Roads) which was a tavern, next to the Sinclair gas station. Rudy's Tavern. Arlington Ballroom (west on Higgins).

00:32:51 Time of high school graduation. Around that time his father sold the cows. On Saturdays he worked for Klehm Nursery. He went to Coyne Radio School in Chicago. Drafted into the Army right after 20th birthday in March 1953. Did more radio school in the Army.

00:38:27 After the Army. 1955. Went to DeVry to try one more time. He just did not like electronics. He worked for Klehm Nursery for 20 years. He loved plants, outdoors and God's nature.

00:39:53 Wife. She was born in Michigan and her father had Shelkop's TV store across the street from Landmeier's Hardware in Arlington Heights. It was next to Elinor's Bakery. There was a Rural Youth Company sponsored somewhat by Farm Bureau. After the Army he belonged to this group which had a bowling league. Somehow his future was asked to join and that's where they met. Al's cousin Arnold Goebbert got married and Al was invited. She was also invited and since he now knew who she was they started dating after that.

00:42:10 After the Service. Worked for a jukebox company. Discovered there was some Mafia connection so he quit. He applied for a job at Shelkop's TV. Then he went to work for Klehm Nursery. He was married at St. Peter Lutheran, Arlington Heights and just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They initially rented the George Scharringhausen farmhouse that had been moved to Arlington Heights Road just south of Landmeier. (327 S. Arlington Hgts Rd). Daughter was born there.

00:47:40 Move from rented house. In spring 1961 moved to Algonquin Road. Al's dad had sold most of the farm to Klehm's Nursery. His father kept out 2 half-acre plots. Al's sister already had a plot with a house there, Al built a house on a plot and there was a plot between the two houses. Al's family lived there from 1961 to 1985.

00:48:41 1985 move. Algonquin Road was getting lots of traffic. The area was becoming commercialized so it was time to move on. Their house was located exactly where Boston Blackie's restaurant is (which was formerly Marie Callender's).

00:50:10 Selling of farm. His dad sold it while Al was in the service, probably around 1956 or 57 to Carl Klehm who was buying up a lot of the area farmland.

00:51:17 Children. Have two children. One born in Elk Grove Village; the other in Elk Grove Township, with Arlington address. That property had not yet been annexed. Grandchildren quite involved in school and athletics. Al's wife always encouraged children to be involved because she had a different background than Al.

00:55:59 End of interview.

Source Elk Grove Historical Museum