The Frau Erica Project
Muellers in America:
The first 155 years





 
 
       

Life stories   In late July 1986, Adelheid and her three brothers gathered for a reunion at Ernie’s home in Eagle Lake. From left: Ruth and Herbert, Lorraine and Kurt, Charlotte and Ernie, Adelheid.

Ernie as storyteller
Foot, Foot Foot, and Foot Foot Foot

Ernie Mueller was, among other things, a born storyteller. No one knows whether “Foot, Foot Foot, and Foot Foot Foot” was his original composition, but his telling was highly original and memorable for a generation of nephews and nieces. Nephew Tim Mueller once asked him to write it down, and Ernie obliged — on both sides of a large sheet of paper. Tim transcribed it.


Once upon a time there were three rabbits: one by the name of “Foot,” another by the name of “Foot Foot,” a third one just plain “Foot, Foot, Foot.” Foot and Foot Foot and Foot Foot Foot lived in a valley surrounded by hills with a river running through the center of their land — by the name of “Foot.”

One beautiful sunny day, Foot Foot Foot called Foot Foot and Foot and said, “Let’s play foot tag. I’ll be it! The other side of the Foot River is home base. I will take turns chasing the two of you. I, Foot Foot Foot, will chase Foot Foot up the hills and down again, and when Foot Foot hops over the Foot River then I, Foot Foot Foot, will chase after Foot, and so on, until Foot hops over the Foot River too. Then Foot Foot will be chased by me, Foot Foot Foot, again, and so on.”

Foot Foot Foot asked Foot and Foot Foot if the rules were understood. Foot and Foot Foot told Foot Foot Foot that they, Foot and Foot Foot, knew the rules.

So Foot and Foot Foot were chased by Foot Foot Foot in Foot Foot Foot’s foot tag. It was fun to watch Foot Foot Foot stretch one foot after another foot as Foot Foot Foot chased Foot Foot. Now Foot Foot was fast on foot, and Foot Foot Foot saw Foot Foot leap over the Foot River.

Then Foot Foot Foot turned to chase Foot in the same old way, stretching one foot after another foot chasing Foot. So also Foot got his foot into gear as Foot Foot Foot was coming closer to Foot, who was stretching first one foot then another foot to keep one foot ahead of his other foot to foot his way away from Foot Foot Foot.

In the afternoon, still playing foot tag in Foot Foot Foot’s foot race, Foot Foot Foot chased Foot Foot over the foot-deep Foot River. Then Foot Foot Foot turned his foot to chase Foot in Foot Foot Foot’s game of foot tag. Foot Foot Foot was chasing Foot when Foot’s foot slipped a foot at the edge of the bank of the foot-deep Foot River. Yes, Foot’s foot slipped a foot into the foot-deep water of the Foot River. Finally, Foot fell into the foot-deep Foot River. Foot Foot Foot tried to reach for a foot of Foot, but Foot went under the foot-deep Foot River water. Foot drowned. Foot Foot Foot called Foot Foot for hel, to save Foot who had already floated a foot down the Foot River in foot-deep water. When Foot Foot finally ran down to the Foot River foot by foot, Foot Foot Foot said, “It is too late ‘cause we have a dead Foot in the foot-deep Foot River.”

So together, foot by foot, Foot Foot and Foot Foot Foot dragged Foot from the Foot River. Foot Foot said to Foot Foot Foot, “What do we do now?” Foot Foot Foot said to Foot Foot, “Dig with your foot a foot-deep hole for Foot so we can put Foot to rest.”

Foot Foot used his foot to dig a foot hole for Foot, foot by foot, as Foot Foot Foot told Foot Foot to do. Then Foot Foot and Foot Foot Foot buried Foot in the foot hole dug by Foot Foot as Foot Foot Foot told Foot Foot to do — and closed Foot’s foot hole foot by foot until Foot Foot and Foot Foot Foot had a foot-high grave piled up for Foot, who had slipped into the foot-deep Foot River while trying his luck in the foot race of Foot Foot Foot’s foot tag.

After Foot Foot Foot and Foot Foot had finished, Foot Foot asked Foot Foot Foot if they should continue to run their foot race and play foot tag. Foot Foot Foot said to Foot Foot, “I don’t think so. It is a dangerous game. Remember, we already have one Foot in the grave.”

More Muellers   Gathered on Ernie’s front porch in July 1986, from Left: Adelheid Nickel, Ernie, Nancy Nickel with daughter Adele, Dan Nickel with cousin Laurent, Herb, Ruth (obscured), Jim Nickel, Tim Mueller, Dawn Mueller with son Jacob, Tim Nickel, Joel Nickel.