Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dad Liked His Beer

The stories about Dad and his beer usually start by mentioning that after his service in the Navy he spent a lot of time in the Idaho bars.  A favorite hangout was a place called The Schooner.  Although he didn’t have much of a belly at the time, a joke he used often: he would walk up to the bar, stick out his stomach as far as he could and tell the bartender “fill it up!”

My favorite Dad and beer story happened many years later.  When Dad was sick, he had trouble sleeping.  When I came for a visit, I bought a six pack of LaBatts beer to drink.  Dad had stopped drinking beer, at least twenty years earlier.  He claimed he no longer liked the taste of it.  Well Dad was at the table in his wheelchair, and I was standing next to him, slowly nursing a beer.  It seems like the entire family was standing around joking when my sister across the table noticed Dad drinking my beer.  Before she could say anything, he chugged the entire bottle!  It is good thing he didn’t like the taste of it!


That night, for the first time in a number of months, Mom said he slept like a baby.  After that night we kept a supply of beer in the refrigerator to help Dad sleep.  I don’t think he ever drank one of them.  But, for a brief time, he was back in The Schooner, “filling it up.”

Monday, May 4, 2015

Free Association Thoughts about Dad, Dogs, and Cartoons

Something recently came to mind, I was folding some towels when I came across a towel with Snoopy, the character from Peanuts comics.  I remembered how much Dad enjoyed cartoons.  He loved to just contemplate about Snoopy and all of the challenges faced by this one beagle.  Every year we were watching The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas.  Every year Dad would laugh at the very idea of Snoopy climbing into his sopwith camel and flying off to face the Red Baron and finally landing in Linus’ pumpkin patch. 

We once got a small dog, she was supposed to be hunting dog but that never really completely developed.  Dad, I think, wanted to desperately name the dog Snoopy.  He kept suggesting, “Let’s name her Snoopy.”  Us kids kept insisting, no there has to be a better name than that.  Being young teenagers we were oblivious to his wants.  We wound up naming the dog Penny.  

Another cartoon Dad loved was the roadrunner series.  He would really laugh, I mean out load, belly laugh type of laughter, at the road runner and the coyote.  Mom used to tell the story, when her and Dad went to a movie, a road runner cartoon was showing before the feature.  Dad was laughing and waving his arms.  Mom had to move over one seat so the Dad would stop bumping her every time he laughed.


Just some more random thoughts about Dad: he loved his dogs and his cartoons

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Trula, My Sister

I haven’t mentioned my brother and sisters because I have adopted a special standard of personal privacy.  I don’t write about anyone that is alive.  That way, no one gets in trouble. 

But, it has been nearly 30 years since my sister Trula has died.  It seems about time to write about her.  But, this is not a simple biography, no dates to hang your hat on.  This is a brief remembrance of a sweet woman.

I have never been able to figure out she got her name.  Mom and Dad could never remember how they came up with Trula, but they did.

Trula was five years older than me.  She was in high school before I was really cognizant of the life around me.  In high school I remember her art work.  She liked to work in clay, throwing pots and other pieces.  A piece that she was particularly proud of was large vase.  It had a glaze that was several shades of yellow.  Inside she had dried flowers and a peacock tail feather.  I remember this pot because I once tripped and my head fell into the dried flowers.  Some bizarre little ball of burrs landed in my eye and I was forced to visit the doctor.  For a week I was soaking my eyeball in warm water and Epsom salts.  At the same time the doctor was picking little slivers out of my eye.  I remember that vase very well!

Physically, Trula was short.  Around her, I felt tall!  But, beyond height, I couldn’t measure up to Trula.  She was hard working and persistent.  After high school, she put herself through college, first obtaining an Associate’s Degree in accounting, they later transferring to a four year college, the University of Utah.   There she acquired her BS in mine engineering. 

The one story I wonder about, but Mom swore that it was true: Dad always wanted an engineer in the family.  Neither John nor I had the interest.  Me, I didn’t have the aptitude.  Well Trula knew Dad wanted an engineer, so she majored in engineering. 

Dad was also proud of Trula and her intelligence.  In her senior year at the University of Utah, she won an award from the Mine engineering Department.  Dad was very proud of Trula, that night.

While she was at the University of Utah, she worked at a credit union.  She helped me negotiate a loan for my first car.  I was able to buy a brand new, metallic blue Chevette with her help.

After graduation she worked in coal mines in eastern Utah and Western Colorado.

Trula was generous to everyone.  During one of the several times that I was unemployed, Trula offered me a place to stay if I wanted to come down and work in Carbon County.  I stayed in Salt Lake, but her house was always open.  

Trula died too young.   She had two young boys. Unfortunately, I have not kept up with these two, but they have grown up into fine young men.   I am certain she is very proud of her two sons and her two grandchildren as well.

Trula was a unique lady.  She was kind, generous, and incredibly intelligent.  To this day, I miss her.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

Land records make for some interesting and confusing details about family history.  In the case of the Brubaker/Tiernan clan, I have found that Ellen Tiernan Brubaker and John Brubaker filed for at least three different land parcels under the Homestead Act of 1862.

In 1893, Ellen Tiernan filed for the final title of land on Section 15, Township 24, Range 51.  Family lore said that all of the Tiernan children filed for land then sold to her father John or her brother Charles Tiernan after title came through on the Homestead Act.  This may have been true.  The plat maps for the area round Snake Creek Township shows that John and Charles Tiernan owned a lot of land in that part of Box Butte County.

Just ten years later, Ellen T. Brubaker was filing for more land located on Sections 32 and 33 of Township 23, Range 44.  I believe this is an area south of Lakeside, Nebraska.  Ellen Brubaker claimed the land was filed under her husband, but he had deserted her.  Her petition stated he had left in July of 1904.  She stayed on the land until October.  She felt she could not care for her five children and work the land.  She left the claim and “went to her own people in Box Butte County.”  But she did not want to lose the land.  She petitioned the land title be assigned to her name.  She could not produce the original receipt of entry because John Brubaker had taken it with him.

Her petition must have been denied.  She remained married to John Brubaker.  A decade later, John H. Brubaker obtained 480 acres in Section 12, of Township 21, Range 50.

This all reminds me of the song: “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone."  I think it was fairly typical to move from one parcel of land to another to try to improve your economic condition.  In the defense of John Brubaker, he worked for the railroad and was constantly moving for work.  This may have been the situation, or something less favorable may have occurred.


I don’t know the circumstances.  But John Brubaker and Ellen Tiernan remained married and are buried together in Alliance, Nebraska.  The land records simply add to the confusion of their relationship, yet it is really very interesting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Mom

Mom was born 83 years ago on March 25, 1932

I don’t think I can adequately describe Mom.  She was very direct, very proud, and very protective.  The stories about Mom protecting the family are too many to relate.  But to illustrate the point, think of the story she liked to tell, about some neighbor kids teasing me and John.  She came out of the house, into the backyard waving a large, silver butcher knife.  She told the kids she was going to “cut their damn ears off” if they didn’t stop.  They stopped.  Or, when the Hislop family reunion came around, Uncle John liked to tease the kids and my brother John was afraid of being teased. 

And Mom told brother John to just avoid Uncle John because Uncle John was “just an old blowhard” and to not pay attention to him.  And that was fine, until brother John repeated it to Uncle John’s face.  Mom choked on the peanuts she was eating.

Mom and Dad got married in November of 1953 and had a good life until Dad died in 2007.  In the early years, Dad liked to go out drinking with his buddies.  After a short time, Mom made Dad transfer out of Idaho.  She gave him a choice, either keep drinking with his buddies or stay married to her.  After they moved to Salt Lake, I don’t think they ever seriously contemplated moving back.  Just another example of Mom protecting her family.

There is no doubt Mom and Dad loved each other.  The five years between Dad’s death and Mom, she talked a lot about how much she missed him. 

Mom was a talented woman.  She could play the violin and the organ.  Newspaper reports when she was 16 years old commented on the quality of the recitals she presented.  She was also a pretty good cook, but she didn’t ever enjoy cooking.  I remember the favorite dessert she would make for the Hislop Family reunion was a cherry cheese cake.  Very few people ever got a slice of the cheese cake because it was gone so quickly.  Pizza from hand-tossed pizza dough, and lasagna with fresh sausage, ham and pepperoni tossed in, were just a couple of her dishes.  Unfortunately, as she got older she stopped cooking.  To her, after so many years of cooking for seven, a good meal came from one of several restaurants in the area.  I think Olive Garden was high on her list in the years before she died.

Mom was talented and encouraged her children.  She was very protective of us all.


Anyway, just some memories of Mom.  Happy Birthday Mom.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nicknames Are Interesting

For years the family has marveled at the multitude of nicknames we have had for each other.  Inevitably the nicknames would be credited to Mom and Dad.  I won’t go into any of the names we had for each other, because I don’t want to embarrass anyone.  After all, you probably know as many embarrassing facts about me as I about you.  The threat of mutual embarrassment is an excellent deterrent. 

I want to share one set of nicknames for Mom and Dad.  I found this particular nickname in the letters they sent to each other when Dad was working out of town on the railroad.  Dad was stuck in Ogden, Utah or Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Mom was living in Nampa. 

I don’t know where it comes from.  I had never run across this before.  Mom and Dad called each other “chicken.”  A letter from Dad in July of 1953 starts off with the greeting, “Dear Janie, Hi Chicken.”  In a letter dated a few weeks later, in the body of the letter Mom writes, “I miss you so much chicken.”


I am not exactly sure what this says about Mom and Dad.  But, I thought it was interesting.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Food and Dad: An Interesting Combination

Another story Dad liked to tell related to how poor they were growing up.  During the Depression, whenever there was a dinner to be served and not enough fired chicken to go around, Grandma would call the kids into the kitchen and instruct them that would not take any chicken for dinner.  If they were asked why they weren’t eating the chicken they were supposed to respond that they really didn’t like the taste of chicken.  According to Dad, Grandma always chose to eat the neck because that was one of the least desirable pieces of chicken.  But in reality, Dad maintained that it always had a lot of good tasting meat on it.

Dad had some interesting food memories.  He hated homemade bread.  He grew up eating butter sandwiches with two thick slices of homemade bread and a slather of butter.  He grew to really hate homemade bread.

Something I never quite understood.  He hated pork.  He would gladly eat bacon and ham.  But I don’t think we ever, or rarely, had a pork roast at home.

Oh well, just some random thoughts.