Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Summer of Silliness

It occurred to me this morning that this summer, 2014, is truly the “Summer of Fun Filled Silliness.”  In the past month, I have had the pleasure of having my head shaved as part of a fundraiser for the Sherburne County History Center in Becker, Minnesota and I had the pleasure of playing a really bad, but historically accurate, game of baseball. 

I lost my hair when I challenged the Sherburne History Center group to raise $3000 and I would shave my head.  The early reactions to all of this included people asking about my sanity.  I received one particular e-mail that asked: “Are you in your right mind?”  Well, just call me baldy.

Last weekend, July 13, I had the good fortune to participate in a Vintage Baseball Game, playing by 1860s rules.  My wise brother has always maintained that Brubakers, especially me, we have no business participating in any type of athletic endeavor.  Well, he is right but I didn’t listen.  At my first at bat, I managed to hit a decent fly ball, just out of the reach of the shortstop.  I instantly discovered a significant genetic failure: Brubakers, especially me, we can’t run 90 feet.  I fell on my face about 20 feet short of first base.  Needless to say, I was out.  You won’t see any pictures of that fateful tumble, I have threatened the staff: if photos appear, I will fire them all!  But, there it is.

The County Fair is coming up.  I can’t wait to see what I tumble into next!


Here are photos of my beautiful bald head and my intimidating stance in the batter’s box.  If Babe Ruth were alive, no doubt he would be worried.




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Revelations From Their Love Letters

Okay, we have already read about Mom and Dad’s first date.  After an evening of dancing, Dad asked Mom out on a date and then promptly stood her up.  Well, I have been reading some of Mom and Dad’s love letters they wrote to each other in the two years before they were married.  And some interesting details can be gleaned.
On June 24, 1953 Mom wrote to Dad that “last Saturday” was their sixth month anniversary.  By using a perpetual calendar, I can calculate that their first date was right around December, 20, 1952.  That would have been a Saturday.
Now, if you use a little conjecture and Mom’s recollections about how they met, then we can guess that they first went out dancing with a group around the first week of December.  Give Dad a week or two to stand up Mom and then regain her favor, and you have a first date on December 20, during the Christmas holidays.
As I read these letters I gain some new insight into Mom and Dad.  They have become more than these two people that worked so hard to give me a good life.  They enjoyed movies, going out, drinking beer, and sharing the company of each other.  They really had a beautiful life.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mom Was Hiding Her Talents

You've heard the cliché “don’t hide your talents under a bushel basket.”  As I am researching the Hislop line today, I am finding new and interesting details about the life of Mary Jane Hislop Brubaker.  As I search more and more, I am realizing that Mom really didn't say much about herself, or I wasn't listening.

The Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper in the 1930s and 40 covered the news and happenings of Huntsville, Utah and the Hislop clan showed up often.  In these pages and reports I am discovering that Mom was very active and very talented.

When she was about 12 years old, in the middle of the war years, Mom (along with every other woman and young girl in Huntsville) was volunteering for the war effort.  I've heard stories about the rationing and the recycling to provide material for the war effort.  But Mom didn't ever tell about baking cookies for the USO.  But on June 6, 1944 (a day no less important than D-Day) Mom and a group of young ladies are baking cookies.  The Standard Examiner reported that the “Primary girls of the LDS Huntsville ward baked 25 and one-half dozen cookies for the USO” during the day.  And, Mom was in the middle of it.  She was 12 years old at the time.

A few years later, when Mom was 16, there were regular reports of Mom entertaining at community programs as part of a violin duet.  I remember Mom telling us how she played the violin, and she made her children take violin lessons with the same instrument.  I also remember her talking about playing the organ.  But, who knew she had enough talent to perform in front of community groups?  Mom was hiding her talent.


And, more details are coming out with every search.  I just now found a news report dated 1937.  Mom was about 5 years old (17 October 1937) she broke her arm.  The Standard Examiner reported: “Jane Hislop, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hislop, is confined to her home today following a compound fracture of the arm.  She received the injury when she attempted to jump from a table.”  Okay, Mom’s talents did not include gymnastics, but as the research builds up, I am discovering a new person that I really didn't know.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A New View of Dad

There are so many records and documents available on the internet, it is amazing the new details about life that we can learn.

I found this photograph of Dad in a digital copy of his Nampa High School Yearbook.  This is dated 1946. Perhaps the most eye opening detail is that I don't think Dad ever mentioned that he was on the Student Council in High School.  I always thought of him as too introverted to be active in many groups.  But here he is.

According to the yearbook, the Student Council worked to raise money for a new piano for the school.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

Family Health History

I was recently reading an article about hereditary diseases and I started to think about the multiple diseases I should be looking at in the Brubaker line of the family.  In his own history, in addition to the regular childhood diseases, Dad had whooping cough at about age five.  He suffered from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.  He also suffered from heart disease that prevented him from having back surgery in his old age. 
The Parkinsons is an interesting consideration, because the verdict is still out on whether or not it is a hereditary disease.  In the case of the Brubaker’s: Dad had it, I think Uncle Jack and Uncle Bud had it.  I think Grandma Brubaker also suffered from it.  So what is going on?  One theory, the idea I like to call the “Pure Crapola, Theory” of Parkinsons is that maybe the family lived on farms and was exposed to multiple pesticides and fertilizers in their early lives.  The theory says this may have caused the Parkinsons.  I read about this theory in the Minnesota newspapers because there seems to be an increasing number of Parkinsons sufferers in the Upper Midwest.  This theory seems to be along the lines of when in doubt blame someone else for your troubles.  Anyway, that is all just rambling thought.
A point to consider is the heart condition of the Brubaker family.  It is not intended as some great compliment to say the Brubakers had great hearts.  The reality is that, although they may have suffered from heart disease, I don’t think any of them died from any type of heart disease.  Did they?
The point of all of this is that maybe we should be tracking diseases in the family.  It might help us in the future.  A new line of investigation in the family might be to record the diseases and the medical history of the family.  Maybe it will enlighten us in the future.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Photograph with Uncle Dean

After posting Uncle Dean's mission diary, it occurred to me that a photo of Dean might add something to the blog.  So, here is a photograph dated August 1985 with Dad and Mom, Mom's sister Allie, and Mom's brother, Uncle Dean.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Uncle Dean Hislop’s Mission Countdown

Another diary I received as a Xerox copy is (I think) from my uncle, Dean Hislop.  The first date of the diary is dated Monday, December 13, 1943.  I don’t know if this is the actual date or if this is simply a handy diary for Dean Hislop to use.  This appears to be a countdown of the missions flown by Dean Hislop in the European Theater during World War Two.  I hope you find this to be an interesting document as I provide transcripts from time to time.


“First Raid” Target—Bremen  Got up this morning at 2:30 had breakfast & went to briefing (.)  Got target, ship no., and position, which was 2nd in 1st element which was good (.)  Went out to ship & radio was out.  They put in new trans. but it didn’t work so took off without one (.)  Just at take off I noticed my gun was busted and it took me until we were almost to Germany to fix it, we went into the target over the north sea which made the Raid a 6 & ½ hour run (.)  We test fired our guns & all were working which made us feel good (.)  We encountered flack when we were over the target which was only about 5 min & not to(o) heavy (.)  Only half our bombs would release and we had to take them back to the north sea & drop them (.)  Going out P47 were with us all the way which was good (.)  Saw no enemy fighters(.)  …I had my face frost bitten, Reposh (?) got the back of his hands burnt (.)  Other than that all went well (.)