Sleigh and pony from past once delivered Post-Tribune
A column I wrote earlier this month about Dutch traditions reminded Konnie Kuiper of some of his favorite family memories.
After decades of serving families at Kuiper Funeral Home in Highland, which opened in 1969, Kuiper, 79, partnered with colleague Kevin Nordyke in 2017 to launch the family-owned Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center at 8941 Kleinman Road in Highland.
But it’s his first job that Kuiper, a Highland town councilman, loves to reminisce about to his wife of 52 years, Karen, and the couple’s children, Laura and Julie, as well as to four grandchildren, all sharing family pride about memories of yesteryear.
Kuiper told me his first employment came at age 12 delivering what was then called The Gary Post-Tribune newspaper.
“Along with my brothers, I learned the importance of hard work at an early age,” Kuiper said.
“We had a Gary address, but we lived in the area that was farther out as part of the township. Our parents, Case and Marie, owned a farm raising and selling horses, cows and pigs.”
While doing his newspaper route, he said he had the advantage of being able to ride a pony to make the route easier, rather than walking.
“I had one pony named Diamond, who lived until age 40, and another pony named Lady, who lived to be 44,” he said.
“My route area was rather large, covering 45th Street and Colfax, as well as Elm Street and then 41st Street to Calhoun. And when it was in the middle of winter, my uncle would hitch horses up to the sleigh and that’s how I delivered my newspapers in the cold and snowy weather. I still have our family sleigh, and it brings back so many memories.”
Kuiper said he was so successful with his newspaper route, he won a trip to Washington, D.C.
Today, it’s Kuiper’s only grandson, Michael KuiperVass, 25, who is following in his grandfather’s career path.
“My daughter Laura works with me here at our funeral home, and her son Michael will graduate this spring from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Ill., on March 6, which happens to also be Ash Wednesday,” Kuiper said.
“And my 80th birthday is on March 10th, so his graduation is an early birthday gift for me.”
Before welcoming 2019, my last recipe for 2018 will be a nod to the past courtesy of Kevin Pazour, executive director of the Porter County Museum in Valpa- raiso.
“For more than 150 years, this cookie recipe has been handed down through generations of women in one Porter County family,” Pazour said.
“Our museum is housed in what was the former home of the Porter County sheriff. The home was built in 1860 and is attached to what was the original Porter County Jail. While her husband was sheriff in the early 1900s, we know from records that Della Green prepared food as a matron of the Porter County Jail. So it’s possible that this cookie recipe might have been made in the kitchen of what is now our museum. We have included additional instructions and measurements to aid today’s baker.”
Columnist Philip Potempa has published three cookbooks and is the director of marketing at Theatre at the Center. He can be reached at pm[email protected] or mail your questions to: From the Farm, P.O. Box 68, San Pierre, IN, 46374.
2 cups white granulated sugar1 cup shortening4 eggsteaspoon saltcup milkteaspoon baking sodateaspoon vanilla6 cups flour1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.2. In a bowl, cream together sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix until smooth.3. Mix in salt, milk, baking soda and vanilla.4. Add flour 1 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl.5. Roll dough inch thick on a floured surface and cut out desired cookie shapes.6. Transfer cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes in “a quick oven.”