Jernberg Family Stories


In 1982 Elaine Munns and her sister Kay Bare stayed in Phoenix with their parents Dave and Cleo Jernberg.  While there, they recorded 3 tapes, both sides, of stories told by Dave and Cleo of their early years, homesteading in Idaho, and raising a family. This is part 3 of the series.

Dave Falls In Love With Cleo Skipping Over A Bridge

ELAINE:  I remember you telling me once how impressed you were with Grandma when she’d walk home.  You’d watch her walk home from school.  Do you remember that?

CLEO:  You do, too.

ELAINE:  You said she looked so cute when she skipped home.

DAVE:  Oh, this Grandma? 

CLEO:  He thought you was talking about his mother.

DAVE:  Oh, she used to live at Jones’s and walk to school and had a bridge out in front of her place.  And every time she’d come to that bridge, she’d hippity-hop over, and I thought that was sure cute.

CLEO:  That’s what he fell in love with.

ELAINE:  She did just the right thing when she went over the bridge huh?

DAVE:  Yep.

1927 or 1928 Dances at Medicine Lodge

ELAINE:  What was that about the first dance at Medicine Lodge?

KAY:  Yeah, tell us about your first dance at Medicine Lodge. 

DAVE:  Well, I guess it was about one of the first dances I went to, we went to a dance and Lambs were playing.  Lamb Brothers.  It was an orchestra.

CLEO:  And they were from Dubois and they used to live in Lorenzo.

DAVE:  They used to live in Lorenzo. 

ELAINE:  And then when you first moved to Mud Lake and there weren’t enough women to dance with, what did they do?

DAVE:  Oh that was when I was just a kid, we went to a dance and there was 8 women and 40 men to the dance.

ELAINE:  So, what did you end up doing?

DAVE:  Well, the guys were tying a ribbon around their arm so they’d be ladies.

CLEO:  Men dancing with men.  Is that sad?  I think it looks so sad for a woman to dance with a woman, but for a man to dance with a man, that’d be pitiful.

ELAINE:  How did you manage to get more women out to Mud Lake?

DAVE:  Oh, school teachers started to come out there and picked them up.

One by one.

Dave and Cleo - Dating in the Old West

KIM:  What did you do after you met Grandma?  What did you do when you went on dates out there?

DAVE:  I went to dances.

CLEO:  Yeah, I was the one that taught Daddy to dance.  He’d never danced before.

DAVE:  I did, too.  Somewhat.

CLEO:  You never told me that.

DAVE:  Yeah, but I danced some.  I went to dances before I met you.

CLEO:  Well, I thought I taught you to dance.  I thought that’s why you were such a good dancer.

ELAINE:  Dad, was the show you went to, the movie you went to when you went to Salt Lake and were married, was that one of the first movies that you had been to?

DAVE:  No, there was some before that.

Where did you go to movies?

DAVE:  Idaho Falls, I guess. 

Were they talking movies?

DAVE:  No.

CLEO:  No.  We went with Ed and Della the first talkie we ever went to.

DAVE:  Yeah, it was Weary River.

CLEO:  Weary River.  Yeah, that was Weary River.

DAVE:  Out to Idaho Falls, that was after we was married.

The one you saw in Salt Lake when you were married then was a silent movie?

DAVE:  Yeah.

They just had the things written underneath and you had to read what they said?

CLEO:  They called them captions, captions.

But what, did they used to have traveling people come out to Mud Lake, shows or anything?

CLEO:  Yeah, what was his name, that Taylor that had that little boy, I can’t think of his first name.  Yeah, they used to come out there all of the time.

Had a little boy named Arod.

CLEO:  Arod, oh that was right.

ELAINE:  And his wife was named Dora and he ran for ….

DAVE:  Glenn Taylor

ELAINE:  Or he ran for, he was State Senator.

DAVE:  For the United States?

ELAINE:  He was State Senator from Idaho or something like that.

CLEO:  Yeah, they put on pretty good shows.

1929 Dave and Cleo Get Married!

Now after you met Daddy, tell us about getting married and where you lived and everything.

CLEO:  Where did we live?  Well, we got married.  I still lived up to Kuharski’s the first of the school year because that’s where I lived and there was no other place to live and I had to finish my school and then we lived over on the homestead.  We moved over.  Daddy took up a homestead and we moved over on the homestead.

Where did Daddy live while you lived at Kuharski’s?

CLEO:  He was living with Freddy and Roy.

He’d just come and see you on weekends or something.

CLEO:  Uh huh. 

How did he travel, on a horse?

CLEO:  Yeah, he had an old car didn’t you?  Yeah, he had an old car. 

DAVE:  Sedan they called it.

CLEO:  Your Dad had it?  Was it your Dad’s car you drove?

CLEO:  Who’s we?  I didn’t have any kind of a car.

Move over here and sit so Daddy can hear you.

CLEO:  It seems like you drove your Dad’s car most of the time, didn’t you?

DAVE:  No, had an old Model T sedan.

CLEO:  Just you?

When you went on your honeymoon, tell us about where did you go when you got married, tell us about that.

CLEO:  Well, we went down to Salt Lake and got married.  We got married in the courthouse, didn’t we?

DAVE:  Yep.

What did you drive then?

CLEO:  We went on a train.  We didn’t drive down there, we went on the train.  We came back on the train, back to Hamer and then Mr. Jones was the mailman and we rode home with him.

DAVE:  We rode the train with Ed and Della.

CLEO:  Ed and Della.

They parked the train in Idaho Falls?

CLEO:  Yeah, we rode to town with Ed and Della and we caught the train in Salt Lake and got married.

You were married in Salt Lake?

CLEO:  Uh huh.

And you told me you went to a movie

CLEO:  Yeah, we went to a movie.

Do you remember what it was?

DAVE:  It was Boop de Boop or something.

CLEO:  I thought it was Tiptoe Through the Tulips, wasn’t it?

DAVE:  No.

Did Daddy give you a wedding band?

CLEO:  No.  He couldn’t afford to.  He didn’t have it.

He told me he borrowed money from you to get married to buy your license.

CLEO:  Yeah, and I bought this myself.  That’s why I said I didn’t want any diamond now.

DAVE:  Had to give three dollars to get her.

CLEO:  It was hard times.  I’ll tell you.  That was during the depression and you, there just wasn’t any money going around at all.  I was tickled to death to have a job and the money.  I was making $125 a month and Mrs. Jones charged me $25 was all to stay there and she did my washing and ironing.  She just did everything for me.

Daddy might have married you for your money then.

CLEO:  I think he did.  Cause I had a thousand dollars saved up in my bank.  And he talked me out of it to buy old barbed wire and a bull.

1929 Dave's and Cleo's Chivari or Shivaree[1]

ELAINE:  What did you do, tell me about being chivaried when you got married?

DAVE:  We got home, some woman got in the house and started to chivari us and they was all out.  I beat it out and then I come back in there, everybody was out looking for me.  There was some people there at the house, they didn’t know me.  I was in the house the whole time they was out around looking for me.

They didn’t know who they were looking for huh?

DAVE:  Yeah.

So did they do anything to you?

DAVE:  Well, then they got me, they had a little dead ax cart and they put me in a wool sack and put me in that cart and hauled me all around - I thought I’d suffocate.  Then we had a dance that night, a party.

Where was that?

DAVE:  At Level at the Level school and they, you couldn’t buy a drink so they brought a bunch of moonshine and had at the dance.  And then about a week later, I got a bill for so much coal.

CLEO:  It was illegal to have.

So that’s what they charged you for instead of the moonshine.

DAVE:  Yeah, they sent me a bill for so much coal. 

Did they do anything to you Mother?

CLEO:  I don’t think so.  I just was worried about Daddy.  I didn’t know where he was.

That was the thing that whenever somebody got married, they had a chiavari

CLEO:  Oh yes, we were wild I’ll tell you.

ELAINE:  Was Level school the first school out there.

DAVE:  No.  They had a school down by Staley’s down in Mud Creek.  Down in .. towards the lake ... by the lake they had a school there first.


[1] (Chivari or shivaree  or chivaree was quite common in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the country. It described the activity as part of a post wedding ceremony where the bride and groom were teased and pranks were played on their wedding night.

According to some customs, it was common for some of the family to slip around and fix up the couple’s bedroom before the honeymoon night. Couples often found the bed linens short sheeted. Sometimes the bride or groom’s gown or union suit might have been sewn shut. They likely found raw grits, rice or finely cut bristles from a shaving brush in their bed linens. Cowbells were hung under the bedsprings.)