Dennis Schlichting

Interview by Layne Miller

The most interesting man from Burt County might be Dennis Schlichting, born at the Oakland Hospital on October 11, 1937. He grew up on the Schlichting Homestead near Lyons, Nebraska.

When asked about his childhood, Dennis describes, “Although we were dead broke, we always worked to help support our family.” The law of the land was: Breakfast at 6:00 AM, Lunch at 12:00 PM, and Supper at 6:00 PM. If you were not there, you did not eat.

The farming operation consisted of 360 acres of prairie grass as well as feeding and managing the cattle and hogs. There was so much work that needed done, Dennis’s mother would help on the farm. When catalogs came in the mail, the family referred to it as a “picture book” because they couldn’t afford what was sold. Dennis graduated from Oakland High-School in 1955 with several honors in different organizations. After high-school, Dennis stayed home to help on the farm.

Dennis met his wife a few years later. Dennis was blessed with two girls, Lisa and Lena, four grandchildren, and two adopted grandchildren. In later years, Dennis was divorced and left with his two daughters.

Dennis moved out to his own homestead near Rosalie at the age of 30. Life on the homestead was very tough, trying to make ends meet through harvesting 260 acres of hay with no hired hands. This adds up to roughly 2,400 bales of hay that need to be stacked.

Dennis has several interesting and challenging hobbies. He is currently learning the Chinese dialect of Hanze, he has made many friends at Chinese restaurants through his curiosity of this language. Another hobby is restoring old gas engines and showing them at several county fairs and the Lyons Bluegrass Festival. Some of his most prized engines have been exhibited at competitions and received several honors. Another collection he has is of one row planters.

Dennis is also a musician, playing the banjo, guitar, mandolin, and some fiddle. Dennis has gone around playing music at different senior citizen centers and nursing homes for nearly 50 years.

Earlier in life, he was also a coin and gun collector. When he had nearly $2,000 worth of coins and revolvers robbed from him, he stopped collecting these expensive artifacts.

Dennis has been through a lot. He has had four near-death experiences which includes a 30 day coma.

Dennis told me, “Be true to yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone who you aren’t.” I asked Dennis if he could compare the difference between generations and he laughed and said, “You can’t compare my generation to yours because it would be like comparing apples and oranges.” This is true in several aspects and you have to appreciate what these senior citizens have gone through within their lifetime.

When asked if he has any regrets, Dennis simply replied with, “I have no regrets. It would have been fun to have money, but without money there are no challenges which defeat the purpose of living.”

Leave a reply

Leave a Reply