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When Mrs. Eisele Took Manhattan: Big City Failed To Awe Minnesota Journalist

Susan Frawley Eisele binds her 6-week-old son, Albert Jr., during a Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City in 1936. Eisele, of Blue Earth, Minn., won an letter competition with Country Home repository and was named best American farming match of 1936.

Courtesy of Kitty Eisele


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Courtesy of Kitty Eisele

Susan Frawley Eisele binds her 6-week-old son, Albert Jr., during a Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City in 1936. Eisele, of Blue Earth, Minn., won an letter competition with Country Home repository and was named best American farming match of 1936.

Courtesy of Kitty Eisele

In a summer of 1936, a plain and stout plantation lady from southern Minnesota trafficked to New York to accommodate a mayor, stay during a Waldorf, sup during a Stork Club and make headlines in each vital newspaper.

That lady was Susan Eisele, my grandmother, who Country Home repository comparison — out of 4,000 entrants — as a “Rural Correspondent of a Year.”

The endowment came with a $200 esteem and a two-week outing to New York and Washington.

All a vital newspapers published stories about Eisele’s revisit to New York City, including a print of her receiving a hulk pencil from Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

Kitty Eisele/NPR


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All a vital newspapers published stories about Eisele’s revisit to New York City, including a print of her receiving a hulk pencil from Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

Kitty Eisele/NPR

To know what a large understanding it was to go from Blue Earth, Minn. — some-more than a hundred miles south of Minneapolis — to Manhattan in 1936, cruise this: My grandparents’ plantation didn’t even have electricity yet. Susan wrote her journal columns by kerosene lamp.

She had started essay in high school, and her tiny news stories about farming topics had been published in informal papers given a 1920s.

At a time of a award, she had a mainstay about life on her family’s tiny farm. Her editor entered her in a competition though her knowledge, and she found out she won on a day she gave birth to her sixth child — my father.

So design this stout farmwoman, only bashful of 40, in her one good fit — black with white buttons — stepping into her apartment during New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria hotel, a 6-week-old tot in tow.

I consider it was a broadside attempt for a delayed Aug news month — “Country Mouse Visits Big City Newsroom!” — though it worked. The large city newspapers roared.

Rural Journalist Not Awed By City. A Bit Stunned by Its Size, though She Finds Country and Urban Reporters Alike. / Here as a Prize-winner / Correspondent of Blue Earth, Minn., Has Recipe, Untried, for Stuffed Peacock. — The New York Times

Mrs. Eisele of Minnesota Expects Slight Thrill from Skyscrapers — The New York World-Telegram

All Right for a Visit, Etc., Says Rural Authoress Here / Prize Winner Says She Wouldn’t Give a Straw for Our Wild Oats — New York Post

Photographers descended on her apartment during a Waldorf, posing her with her baby in a hotel’s sole rocking chair, pecking during her typewriter (a used Underwood purchased during Montgomery Ward.)

The New York World-Telegram published a print of her with Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who is handing her a hulk three-foot pencil instead of a pivotal to a city.

But it was another title that got to a genuine story: “Sorrow Inspires Mother to turn Prize Writer.”

In reduction than a decade of marriage, my grandmother had borne 5 children, and buried 3 of them in a tomb outward their town.

When her 2-year-old daughter engaged disease from a visiting farmhand and died on Christmas Day, it roughly pennyless her. It was afterwards that my grandfather — whom she’d met when both were contributing to a journal in Iowa — urged her to start essay again about a medium though pleasing life that still remained.

Eisele is shown here with her son (and a author’s father) Albert Jr. in 1936. Eisele found out she had won a County Home competition a same day she gave birth to Albert, her sixth child.

Courtesy of Kitty Eisele


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Courtesy of Kitty Eisele

Eisele is shown here with her son (and a author’s father) Albert Jr. in 1936. Eisele found out she had won a County Home competition a same day she gave birth to Albert, her sixth child.

Courtesy of Kitty Eisele

So she did: in columns about small boys creation sleet forts in a duck coop, mislaid mittens, flax fields and second-day cake.

Her prize-winning mainstay was called “Threshing Time” — a devious square about a unsung work of cooking and cleaning for all a adjacent farmers who came to collect a wheat.

Susan approaching essay like this would entertain a “heartless, nervy” large city reporters, though to her warn they took her severely — and took her everywhere: Chinatown, Harlem, a Bowery and night court; Radio City Music Hall and a Stork Club, where she conspicuous a celebration “spectacular, though amateurish” and suspicion a showgirls would eventually settle down as good wives and mothers.

My grandmother was dumbfounded to find a reporters so accessible — she had disturbed they’d make fun of her as a nation rube, slay her “with pointy tongue and pen.”

But judging by their many stories, she and a hard-boiled journalists — and they were all group — strike it off. Walter Winchell favourite her so most he traded columns with her, essay for her farm-reader assembly as she common her impressions of New York with his.

“In a East, we Midwesterners are regarded with amazement,” she wrote of her trip. “It is tough for them to comprehend that we are a same people that they are. That we dress, act and consider only like they do. Sometimes we consider Easterners courtesy us a people vital in a far-away land.”

My grandmother never returned to New York. But all her life, she was in adore with a city. She believed New York should go to all Americans, “as London does to England, and Paris, to France.”

Last month my sister and we took my recently widowed father to a Waldorf again, 80 years after his initial outing there as an infant. This time a hotel didn’t need to find him a rocking chair.

Instead we poured a potion of champagne, toasted my grandmother, and marveled during a wink lights of a Chrysler Building outward a windows.

Then we incited out a light.