Diane Kreisher has a world of stories to tell
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 9:00 PM
Admiration is definitely my feeling for the fine lady I've chosen for this week's column subject. Being the first female pharmacist I met, I was truly amazed that a woman could be smart enough to have taken all the science and math needed for the job. Having grown-up in Lafayette, she graduated from Central Catholic HS. A part time worker at Hooks, she assumed she'd find a position easily upon graduating from Purdue in 1963. Many letters later, still no job. Now, my feelings about Diane Kreisher are of awe, but the men druggists did not welcome her with open arms into the pharmaceutical world of work. One man, however, Lee Whitecotton, said, "Let's give it a try!" She ended-up his partner!
This gal has brass! She worked the morning of the birth of her and Ken Kreisher's first child, Stefan, oldest of eight. Raising eight children is an amazing feat in itself. The next three, Monica, Anne and Heidi came along while the Kreishers lived in Lincoln, Neb. where Ken taught German and went to school and Diane worked throughout four drug stores, filling-in vacations.
Education cuts (foreign languages) rid the family of a livelihood and since Ken taught German, they decided a couple of years spent in Germany would pad his resume. So off the family of six ventured to Duisburg (on the Rhine). Their grocery shopping was mostly done in Holland, though, because they had peanut butter! An interesting tidbit is that Duisburg is where C'villian Hubert Danzebrink was raised.
The first couple of years were spent in an apartment on the fourth floor with four kids in an industrial area. Searching, they discovered a wonderful house in a small town to rent where they spent eight more years where the other half of their entourage arrived: Rebecca, twins Margriet and Elisabeth and the baby, Jennifer. Although Diane pinpointed that they were somewhat the "exotics" to the townspeople, they nonetheless welcomed the Kreishers to become a part of the community. The children attended the local school and the family went to St. Warburg, a Catholic Church with a baptistery dating back to the 1300s. The little Dutch priest would show-up at the Kreisher's with cast-offs such as a car load of coats or a bicycle, a great gift since the Kreishers were often seen biking around the area and even into Holland. After eight years, their landlord wanted his home back and the Kreisher's were faced with the decision of remaining in Germany or returning to America. Luckily, the USA won out. Lee Whitecotton had told Diane if she ever wanted to come back, she was welcome. Diane said, "I came back to where I began, although there were changes." The Gold & Blue part of the business had closed. Part of Diane's pay at this point was a percentage of the store. When Hook's arrived on the corner of Chestnut, she and Lee were not losing money but not going to make it with the big guys near, either. So, she went to work at Hooks which was bought-out by Revco which was purchased by CVS. At that point, "I was making more money than I could imagine."
Upon their return to Crawfordsville, all eight Kreishers graduated from CHS, three having been class Valedictorians. All eight have college degrees. Stefan lives here and works for Sommer Metalcraft; Monica lives in Thorntown, and supervises housing for special needs people (with the Wabash Center); Annie is employed in the C'ville City Clerk's office; Heidi lives in Greenwood, and is presently a stay-at-home mom; Rebecca and her husband are lawyers in a small Michigan city; Margriet also lives in Greenwood and is in the business field; Elisabeth is in the same field, living in Florida; and Jennifer is a psychiatrist in Seattle. Eleven grandkids fill-out Diane's world.
With the children grown and in her retirement years, Diane loves to travel, having been back to Germany. A 14-day tour in England showed her London, Oxford, Edinburgh, beautiful cathedrals and amazing literary places. More traveling is planned. She enjoys keeping up with family and her German friends on Facebook. She has been secretary of the Board of Health and Visitors Commission and enjoys her membership in Kiwanis. British television, symphonies and other activities to expand her education she enjoys.
Since I don't believe I've ever interviewed anyone with eight children before, I asked her about that. She said they helped raise each other. A story about a bridge and one of the girls began a fun conversation with a little diddy on each I'd love to share. Stefan had been told squirrels attack you so he crossed in the middle of the street to avoid one and was hit by a car. Monica drove alone from here to Washington state for her new job. The twins both work in drug-affiliated companies, involved with FDA inspections. Jenny lived through two New Orleans' hurricanes. She also duct-taped her car when the hood wouldn't stay down. Heidi worked in New York state as a counselor in a youth camp and hitchhiked into the city. Annie didn't learn to drive until five years ago. Rebecca, in Spain one summer got sick on calamari and ended-up in the hospital.
In an essence, here's the life of Diane Kreisher, but wish I had another five articles to fill-in more. Greatly appreciated Diane sharing with me and my readers of Around the County!