Ruth Brubaker (Grandma) was the amazing glue that kept the family together. Throughout the family history, she is the one constant force, apparent in either the background or leading the charge to live life as a Brubaker. A well-educated woman, she graduated from the Nebraska State Normal School and began teaching at age 16. She married Grandpa and raised her large family during the terrible economic times of the 1920s and 1930s.
An example of Grandma Brubaker and her inner strength comes from a collection of memories and oral histories, they all tell the story about Grandma and her extended family when they moved to Boise, Idaho in 1937. In an oral history from Charles Brubaker, Jr, he explained: “We didn’t see dad (Grandpa Brubaker) much because he was on the railroad. He worked sixteen hours a day, when he worked. When we moved to Idaho, he was supposed to trade seniority with a guy in Idaho but the guy backed out. Dad was stuck in Cheyenne while we were in Idaho.”
Grandma’s extended family seems huge, and that caused some problems. In the Boise home the landlord allowed only three children in the house. “When the landlady came to collect the rent, us kids would have to hide,” dad said. “My uncle was living with us; his wife and three kids; my mom and us eight kids and my brother-in-law. It was wall to wall people.”
Feeding this huge group was another challenge to Grandma and the rest of the family. “My uncle and brother-in-law Bill went out to pick fruit,” Dad remembered. “When they got done the farmer couldn’t pay them (in cash) so he paid them in plums. We had a whole garage full of plums. We all ate those plums. I hate them to this day.”Life in the Boise house lasted only about one year. In 1938 the family moved to Midway, and later that same year moved into the city of Nampa. Grandma’s resilience and strength continued to shine through. But those are more stories to tell at a later time.