From the recording When I Think of Home


My Wisconsin
Text by Carolyn Wille-Rivera, edited and arranged by Marcos E de Jesús Wille copyright ME de Jesús 2011
I can’t sleep.
I’m sitting at a desk,
Staring at a computer in San Juan, Porto Rico.
-I mean-
Puerto Rico

It’s cool (by Puerto Rican standards) outside,
But hot, hot, HOT inside.
Coquís, tiny tree frogs forming a chorus after rain.
It’s lovely and I know I’ll miss it if I ever leave.
But it’s not home.

I am not home

Puerto Rico has natural beauty and nice people,
But, tonight I’m homesick.
I’m remembering my country years,
Growing up on a small dairy farm in Mequon Wisconsin.

I liked roaming the fields,
Making up stories
About little people
Living in forests of alfafa.

I liked bringing the cows to the barn for their mid-day drink of water,
And observing their “pecking order”,
As the more docile cows waited their turn for water.

After supper, I looked forward to taking my dog, Prince, along
To round up the cows.
(My father never believed me,
But Princie did accomplish this feat,
One time!)

I also enjoyed standing at the gate, calling,
“Come, bass”.
Some of them came, sometimes.
Mostly, not.

My heart swelled as I contemplated the sun setting
Over the area of the parcel that we called “Cuba”.
(All we knew was that a man had lived there
And had put up a sign over his door that said: “Cuba”)

I remember the summer that I tamed wild tigers
Born high in the Haymow.
All tigers became loveable and docile kittens,
And eventually vicious mousers.

I may be-I am- far from Wisconsin, but my heart is still in Wisconsin.
It’s my Wisconsin and I’m home…
And I’m home…

II-Edgar Wille

I remember my father, Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille.

Who, despite an eigth-grade education,
Was not only literate
But who knew when to plant and harvest crops
At just the right times.
Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille

And who, though not an agronomist,
Understood the benefits of crop rotation
And the appropriate use of manure.
Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille

And who, though not meteorologist,
Knew each cloud,
And what it could, and could not do.
He knew tomorrow’s weather
Better than the men on TV.
Edgar Wille, Edgar Wille.

He was, in his own way, a naturalist
Who would pause from his work
To observe the migration of geese.

He also would report
On the sighting of a fox,
Deer (not so common then),
Or a garter snake, sunning itself on a rock.

Edgar Wille…My Edgar Wille…Our Edgar Wille…Oh Edgar Wille!
My Pa.

He was not an agronomist,
He was not a meteorologist.
He was a naturalist.
Quite literate
In the reading of Word,
And cloud.

He read earth…and clouds.

III-Esther Wille

And I remember my mother, Esther Wille

I remember my mother, Esther Wille,
And I remember the excitement of the first day of Ozaukee County Fair.
Waiting until early morning, to pick fresh flowers for the competition,
She would fill the basement with zinnias, marigolds, petunias and more.
I can still recall the scents…

Then on to Cedarburg to participate in the first highlight of summer.
My mother also entered the bread competition.
One year, she won $50 from Midas Flour
She won $50 from Midas Flour
She won $50 from Midas Flour and treated my sister and me:
To ice cream.

She also entered canning.
Sadly, one year her blue-ribbon peaches were stolen.
(Yes, there was crime, even back then)

The other high point of summer was the Wisconsin State Fair.
-The Wisconsin State Fair-

My mother was the star-the unofficial pickle queen-
The unofficial pickle queen!

Her dill pickles, cherry dills, bread and butter pickles,
And others, won so many prizes that a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal
Came to our farm to interview her.

Mom was practically famous.

I remember my mother Esther Wille.


There are other memories,
But, mostly I remember the land,
The gentle inclines,
The low spots, and the higher spots
With a view of the woods,
And the steeple of Trinity Lutheran Church
Our Freistadt,

When I think of “home”,
I think of the land,
Fifty-eight and a half acres, on Wauwatosa Road.

I feel the land beneath my feet.
I become aware of the alfalfa and the oats
As they brush against my legs.

I smell the aroma of freshly cut hay.
I again experience the pungent dampness of the cow’s breath
And I remember the dust in the lane
As the cows trudge towards the barn.

I may be-I am- far from Wisconsin, but my heart is still in Wisconsin.
It’s my Wisconsin and I’m home…
I’m home.