Local centenarian recalls lifetime in area
By Kris Leonhardt
Dorothy Hartman reached another milestone July 29, as the calendar indicated the start of her 102nd year.
The lifelong central Wisconsin resident was born to Nora and Arthur Herman in Dorchester on July 29, 1916. The middle child of five, she is the last remaining member of her family, but her mind is sharp in recalling the early days of her life.
“I never got a spanking; not that I didn’t need one,” Hartman said. “My dad worked on the railroad for many years. He was on the bridge crew. He wasn’t home too much, maybe weekends or something.”
Hartman attended Dorchester public schools, graduating from Dorchester High School, which was at that time a statuesque three-story building that has since been demolished.
After graduation, Dorothy took a job at the Dorchester Co-op and spent her leisure time going to dances with friends.
“A girlfriend of mine had a car, it was just one seat. Every time we got to the town, I was the smallest one, so I had to duck. They’d say, ‘Now, duck,’ because there were four of us in the seat. Until we got out of town, then I could sit up,” Dorothy recalled. “We used to go up north of Medford to dances up there.”
At those dances she met her husband. Fred asked her to dance and began a courtship that lasted through his seven years in the Navy. “There was a lot of letter-writing,” she added.
The couple married two years after his return and the couple built a home in Dorchester near the high school she attended.
“I lived in Dorchester all of my years until we moved (to Marshfield,)” Hartman said.
They came to the Hub City, where Fred worked for Marshfield Milling and Dorothy began a long career with the McCrory store.
“I worked for McCrory’s many, many years – 37 years I think. I think the last ten years I worked part-time,” she recalled.
Hartman never had a driver’s license and walked to work every day. “It was about a mile, back and forth, and I was on my feet all day at the checkout. No wonder I can’t walk anymore,” Dorothy laughed.
The couple built a home on South Felker Avenue in the early 1950s, and Dorothy has now resided there for 67 years.
Dorothy recalls a day when she and Fred would head down to the nearby Cecil Jones restaurant to grab something to eat.
“He was on this end of town,” she said. “That was a great place for a hamburger. It was on Fourth Street on the end of town. That place was torn down.”
Hartman says that one of the best inventions of her lifetime is the television, and she spends her time watching news and game shows. Her first television was a Zenith, which was purchased when they moved to Marshfield. Dorothy said that she had the television set up until a couple of years ago, when she had it removed, and the television still worked.
If you know a local resident who is turning 100 or older, please contact Kris Leonhardt at [email protected].