Zona with her brother Sheldon in front
of the house where she was born.


  1. The House Where I Was Born
  2. Frederick and Louisa and Their Children
  3. The Kuehn Family
  4. Grandpa and Grandma Schwandt
  5. Extraordinary People
  6. My Spinster Aunt
  7. A New Home
  8. County Line School
  9. The Great Depression
  10. Miss Luedtke
  11. October Night
  12. The College Years
  13. Ah! Colorado!!
  14. Texas!!
  15. Life Takes a Turn
  16. Howard Visits Wisconsin
  17. Life "On Hold"
  18. Magic Valley of Texas
  19. The Phelps
  20. Vignettes
  21. A Proper Lady (Ida Schwandt Schraeder)
  22. A Working Team
  23. Mabel Alone
  24. The Schwandt Family Touched My Life


Thistles Cut, Ironing Done

A Wisconsin Heritage

Thistles Cut, Ironing Done is the memoir of Zona Schwandt Justiss. She writes of her early years surrounded by the families of her Wisconsin German parents and grandparents, evoking a way of life that is all but goneĀ—of farming with horses, of teaching in a one-room school, and of Sunday afternoons visiting with extended family.

She continues with an account of the first half of her own life, including the story of her "love at first sight" romance that continues after sixty years. Zona Justiss now lives with her husband, Howard, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Without starched shirts and dresses there is less ironing to do, but when she sees thick patches of tall thistles on Tennessee roadsides she wishes for a corn knife in her hand.


Foreword to the Print Edition

These written accounts are primarily for my children and grandchildren, who may be interested in noting the differences between ways of life in bygone years and life in their world. It may be that their sense of who they are will be amplified.

I have tried to give a sympathetic as well as honest picture of these extended families. The values they upheld still shape my life.

Zona Justiss
Nashville, Tennesee

About the Author

Zona Justiss died of Parkinson's disease in 2008. Sandra Collins' eulogy gives some intimate insights into Zona's personality and character.

Thistles Cut, Ironing Done: A Wisconsin Heritage is copyright © 1991, 2004 by Zona S. Justiss. Web edition by All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to make one printed copy for personal use only.