Chris Vogt

Chris Vogt in 1954

 

By Doug Boilesen 2018 (my uncle and half-brother of Betty Ann Barr)

 

Chris "Crissie" Vogt, who was born on November 4, 1907 at Elba, Nebraska to Frank and Anna Ellen Ender Vogt.

Chris had one brother, Ray Vogt, a sister Fay and seventeen years later half-sister Betty Ann Barr.

 

Fay, Chris and Ray Vogt, circa 1908

 

 

 

Chris circa 1909

 

 

Chris grew up in the Elba area. He married Miss Hilda Jensen in 1926.

Chris and Hilda had two children, Dorothy Jean Vogt Holechek (b. 1927) and Franklyn "Sonny" Vogt (b. 1934). Throughout Betty Ann's diary Chris and Hilda are always referred to as "Crissie's."

 

Chris and Hilda, Christmas 1951 at Anna and Manley's farm with daughter Dorothy and 'Sonny'

 

 

 

 

 

Like many Nebraskans, Chris and Hilda had hard times during the Great Depression and lived with my grandparents Anna and Manley Barr while they got back on their feet. During the week Chris would drive to small towns of Nebraska selling brooms and then return to Elba on the weekend. According to Mom, Chris enjoyed Rice Krispies and "ate very large bowls".

1933 Rice Krispies ad

 

 

I don't know much about Chris's later worklife but do know that Hilda worked in the ladies' dress department at Gold's in Lincoln for many years.

Chris and Hilda, 1951

Chris Vogt, November 4, 1907 - January 1, 1987

Hilda Jensen Vogt, January 20, 1910 - November 1, 1982

 

Chris had quite a sense of humor and liked to try to shock his much younger step-sister, Betty, which he was probably trying to do when this picture was taken with me standing between my two two uncles with a cigar in my mouth.

Chris, Doug and Ray at a family picnic in Grand Island, Nebraska ca. 1953

 

 

Chris and his mom, ca. 1952

 

 

Chris and Hilda lived in an apartment near the State Capitol Building in downtown Lincoln and I can remember as a little boy that we would visit them on Sunday afternoons.

They had a light fixture in the middle of ceiling of their living room and Chris would work it out so that when I wasn't looking he would have a candy bar or other wrapped candy seemingly fall out of that light fixture. I think I was a bit skeptical that candy was actually coming out of that light fixture but I didn't really question it and was happy to gather the candy and eat it.

 

Chris and Doug outside Chris and Hilda's apartment building, ca. 1954

 

Years later Chris would like to remind me of the time that I spent the night at their small apartment and I slept in the same Murphy bed with Chris. I had just gotten a new flashlight and he claimed I kept shining that light in his face all night long.

One other story I also remember Uncle Chris telling me was about his early experience of going to the moving pictures.

In the summers there were weekend movies shown in Elba during the teens and 1920's. Since there was no movie theatre in Elba the silent movies were projected on the outside wall of the grocery store for people to watch who sat in the empty lot next to the store on chairs and blankets.

According to Chris he would ride his horse to Elba on a Saturday night if there was to be a movie that night and if the weather was ok. This would have been about a 2.5 mile ride from his mom's family farm outside of Elba. Though not a great distance he still would have been a teenager and it would have been quite dark as there were no farm yard lights or outdoor lighting as the Rural Electrication Administration did not yet exist. Lighting for his journey home, therefore, would have primarily been by the light of the moon. But that was no deterrent for Chris as he thought there was nothing better than watching a good western moving picture on a Saturday night.

I don't know the name of the movie or its star (perhaps Hoot Gibson, Tom Mix, William S. Hart or some other movie hero of the day) but Uncle Chris remembered a particular movie from some western serial (1) which left him quite perplexed. On one of those evenings the movie's single reel had ended and the situation was dire: the cowboy and his horse were stuck in quicksand and they were slowly sinking to certain death.

 

Tom Mix, The Best Bad Man 1925

 

What concerned Uncle Chris and what he said he couldn't understand was how that unfortunate cowboy was going to survive all week in that quicksand.

Now he probably told me that story with a smile as I was young and he might have thought I wouldn't get the disconnect that this was only a movie.

Or perhaps he really was worried all week about the fate of that cowboy. Suspended belief, after all, has its own reality and is a requirement for enjoying a good story.

Either way this new wonder of moving pictures was making strong impressions on Chris at the time and it was a memory he enjoyed sharing.

 

 

 

July 1965 - Betty, Chris, Fay, Manley

 

 

 

1976 Chris, Betty and Hilda

 

 

 

Footnotes

(1) A movie serial was a series of short movies or one-reelers that were designed to be seen as episodes. They were famous for leaving you wanting to know what was going to happen next.