Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 3 ~ Papa and Mama

If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.

Papa and Mama

My father was Charles Romain Brubaker, who was born in Troy Township in Whitley County, Indiana, August 15, 1872 [1]. His father always called him Charlie and his mother called him Romey. If he had a split personality I think this may have contributed to it. He loved the farm and as a very young boy, and into manhood, he worked hard on the beloved farm that his father had bought when he returned from the Civil War. However, his mother wanted him to become a doctor and sent him to Valparaiso to college.

I do not know how long he stayed there, but long enough that his classmate, Carl Sauder, told us that he was a very bright student and might have been an excellent physician. In time he tired of college and took off for Chicago. There he worked as a newspaper reporter. He then left for the Northern Michigan lumber camps; here he was in his glory. While we children were growing up he told us many stories of his life in the lumber camp of the Indians and the rough men. He loved it all.

In the fall of 1896 he returned to the home farm. He began courting Maude Catherine Wise, against the wishes of her family. So in February 1897, he and Maude eloped and were married by a Methodist minister in Larwill. Her parents refused to let him enter the house when they came for her clothes, but they soon relented. And though they never fully approved of him, the two families were friendly for many years.

Romey and Maude set up housekeeping in Huntington, Indiana. They were very happy and carefree for a time. Then came the Spanish American War. Romey just didn't have a thought about enlisting; it seemed just a very small affair. But one day his mother drove down to Huntington and demanded that he enlist. She told him that his father would disown him if he didn't. Well, he enlisted and was soon in Cuba. He was a mess sergeant.

Charles Romain Brubaker is the second man from the right.
On duty in Cuba. 1899.

Papa was out "scouting" in the jungle. He heard a voice call "Hello". He crept on his knees closer and closer to the voice. Then to his everlasting embarrassment, he saw a parrot, one that had possibly been trained to speak and had escaped into the wild. The parrot was with several wild ones and seemed to be trying to teach them to speak English.

Later, he contracted Malaria Fever, so prevalent in the swampy country. He was taken to the hospital where Catholic Nuns were the nurses. He was very sick and they put him into a ward reserved for the dying, when he made a miraculous recovery. He always praised these wonderful women whom he credited for saving his life.

While Romey was in the service of his country, Maude was trying to live her life as best she could. Mama was a very small girl, weighing only 98 pounds when she married and only 89 pounds while Papa was in the army. She was a brunette and very attractive. Mama had gone to live with Papa's parents. She and Grandma Brubaker never got along as both of them had terrible tempers. As she had very little to keep her busy, Mama got a job selling books about the Civil War so that she could be on her own some of the time. She always enjoyed meeting people and this was good therapy for her as she missed her husband so very much.

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[1] The Civil War Pension Application for Charles' father gives Charles' birth date as August 15, 1871 while Charles' gravestone gives his date of birth as August 19, 1871. An obituary gives his birth date as August 19, 1870.

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