83.5 F
West Bend

VIDEO | Addison hospitality with Darlene Hefter

August 16, 2020 – Town of Addison, WI – The Hefter Century Farm has been in the family for three generations.

Hefter Century Farm

Located on Highway DW in the Town of Addison about a quarter mile east of Highway 175 and the corner with the old snowmobile collection.

Darlene Hefter is chief cook and bottle washer; she also tends the barn cats, mows the yard, and pretty well oversees the operations of the homestead.
Hefter Century Farm
Married in 1963 to Ray Hefter, Darlene moved from Newburg to the country life. “Rooster crows in the morning and that train whistle blows at night,” she said. “Jeepers,” I thought, “I’d never get used to it.”
Darlene got her wedding dress at Edith’s in Fond du Lac.  “That was back when you actually went in and tried the dress on,” she said.  “There were rooms and rooms of dresses. Now it’s online and you look at the dress on a model.” – she shakes her head at “progress.”
Darlene was married in Newburg. “My dad was Lawrence Becker and he was from Newburg. My mom was Helen Schmidt; she was from Myra.
“My uncle was a machinery salesman for WB Implement Co. which was at the top of Barton Hill and his brother Ray was a salesman for the West Bend Aluminum Company and he was a deputy. He patrolled a lot of wedding receptions and dances.”
Darlene has a sharp recollection of the family lineage; both her family, her husband’s family and pretty much the Town of Addison all the way to Newburg. She knows names, who they married, where they lived, worked, how many kids, birthdays and funerals.
”When I was growing up, Newburg had three grocery stores, two garages, a hardware store and a post office and a butcher shop, a barber shop and eight taverns,” she said ticking off the names of the groceries. “IGA, BI-LO, and GS-and that stood for General Store. Everybody came to church and then to the grocery. And you didn’t get it [yourself], the clerk would pull it off the shelf and put it on the counter. That’s the way it was.”
“My sister lives south of me on Blueberry Rd. south of the bank, Allenton.  She and her husband will be married 55 years in October. My brother still lives in Newburg.”
It was actually amazing; no calendar, cheat sheet or notes.
Darlene would be in charge of name tags and drafting the family tree during reunions and everyone would love it because the rest of us would get stuck and simply give up.
Ray Hefter served in the military. “He was in Germany and served in the Army 1959 – 1961,” said Darlene.
Our Friday night conversation extended across the long dining room table. Wheel of Fortune could be heard on the TV in the living room.
Darlene sat at the head of the table, there was a neat stack of State Farmer newspapers at her elbow. “I love following the farm news. It’s so interesting.”
Darlene’s voice raises an octave or two with excitement.
“I clip articles and send them to my son.”
Darlene and Ray had two children; Larry is now 50 and her daughter Melinda, 55, lives in Cedarburg.
A great grandma twice over, Darlene proudly displays photos of kids and grandkids on the walls, perched on counters and covering the white space on the refrigerator.
Scattered in the mix are aerial photos of the Darlene’s homestead farm on Congress Road in Newburg. “This is a homestead. My husband’s grandpa cleared the land, built the house and the barn and a machine shed we eventually tore down,” said Darlene. “Out back is another building for wood, a shop and a summer kitchen where his mother used the oven to bake 12 loaves of bread at a crack because of 10 kids; the upstairs is storage with a smokehouse.”
The homestead housed dairy cows until 1998. The barn stands but has been cleared of stanchions and hay.
Darlene said the place has been taken over by cats and barn swallows. The mud nests of the birds are tucked under the support beams in the old milking parlor. “They help keep the building safe from storms,” she said.
A graduate of the old West Bend High School Darlene went to work at the Clothes Clinic. “I was the secretary for six months,” she said. “It used to be way down by Toucan Custard area years ago. Glenn’s Grill was next to it and Klinka Olds was down the street on the same side as the brewery and then I went to the Gehl Company.”

Darlene worked in accounts receivable at Gehl. She also kept the books and did the taxes for the dairy.

The conversation switches quickly to how the dairy was affected by the ice storm in 1976. “Chuck Poch and his dad, Gordy Pock, were milk haulers; one was the driver and the dad came in another truck with a generator to get the milk out of the cooler. We had no electricity,” she said. “We were without power for about 11 days.”
Another conversation shifted to the challenges of living in the country. “You wonder how people made it when there weren’t even roads,” she said her voice rising. “If somebody died you had the showing in your home for three days and three nights and then you load the casket into the wagon. In the winter the roads were sometimes worse than the fields so they hauled the wagon through the field and it tipped and the casket fell out. Well, they loaded it back on and kept on goin.”

Darlene was a gracious host. As a grand finale we climbed aboard her runabout tractor and she took me for a mosquito-filled tour of the acres of corn and soybeans.

Darlene Hefter
A gorgeous farm in the hands of a beautiful caretaker.

The primary sponsor for the Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s is Cedar Community. Your partnership in this event will help to provide unique events and special activities for seniors at Cedar Community – right in your own back yard.

Cedar Community is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and is therefore supported solely by the gifts and contributions of friends like YOU. All gifts are tax-deductible to the extent of the law.

Checks made payable to “Cedar Community” with note “JUDY’S BIKE RIDE” can be mailed to: Cedar Community Philanthropy, 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095. You may also click here for a downloadable donor form. (In “additional comments” add the note “Judy’s Bike Ride”

Leave a Reply

Work or the content on WashingtonCountyInsider.com cannot be downloaded, printed, or copied. The work or content on WashingtonCountyInsider.com prohibits the end user to download, print, or otherwise distribute copies.


FREE local news at Washington County Insider on YouTube

Related Articles