Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 5 ~ Move to Traverse City

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

Move to Traverse City, Michigan

When Mama came from the hospital we had to get a home to live in where Papa could keep house and work at making a living too. So we moved into Sanford Tinkham's home. There Papa baked our bread, did our laundry, etc. and helped Sanford at his sawmill. This was a house in the woods and the sawmill was in the center of the wood. I was enchanted. I expect I was allowed to roam about freely because Mama was weak and ill, and Papa was so busy. But I learned a lot about the woods, and loved it all. I learned about the trees and the wild flowers. I remember looking for babies in the hollow stumps, where my parents had assured me they came from. It was years before I found a baby and then it wasn't in a hollow stump!

Now Papa had the wanderlust again, and as soon as Mama was able to care for herself he moved the family back to Grandma Brubaker's, and he went to Traverse City, Michigan. (Note: This was the time the pictures were taken of Mama and us kids.) He got a job and rented a house and soon we were on our way again.

Taken about 1909. Jane is on the left, then my grandmother Hazlette, and their brother William Hale. Their mother, Maud Wise Brubaker is the pretty lady seated behind them.

We left Fort Wayne on the G R & I, and in Grand Rapids we changed for Traverse City. The train from there on was old and very slow, stopping often. A foreign (to us) family on the train was kind to us and gave us things to eat. I remember cookies with caraway seeds, the first caraway seeds I had ever eaten. Well, Jane and I were very "car" sick, and kept Mama and several friendly women busy caring for us. Billy slept through it all. It must have been terrible for Mama; I know it was for me!

Our first home was on Peninsula Avenue, facing the Grand Traverse Bay. I thought it was wonderful. The water has always fascinated me and this seemed so wonderful to me. This was the happiest time of our lives as a family.

I was in the second grade and my teacher, Miss Stevenson, had been to Yellowstone National Park the summer before. She talked about this all the school year and told us many things about the park that winter. I always wanted to see the wonders of the Park, and finally, when I was 64 years old and married to Fergie [1], we went there. It was just as my old teacher had told, it almost seemed as if I had been there before and I sure enjoyed it.

The first Christmas that we spent in Traverse City Papa and I went out into the forest, which at that time came close to town, and he cut a beautiful Christmas tree and began to drag it home. It was quite large. A man on a bobsled came by and we rode home dragging the tree behind us. Then Papa decorated it with real candles, popcorn that Mama and us kids strung on thread, and some cranberries, also strung on thread. I thought it was beautiful. This was a beautiful time. Our house faced the bay and I remember how cold it looked in winter and how we all loved it so. The air was so pure and one morning Mama sent us outside to play. A neighbor came over and said it was 20 degrees below zero so we had to stay inside. But we were never uncomfortably cold; it was a wonderful climate.

Mama and Papa had friends here from Whitley County, Lulu Eisaman and Elmer Arnold. We called them Aunt and Uncle and loved them as much as if they had been relatives. Aunt Lulu had taken a baby girl to raise and they came to our place for Christmas. While the grownups got ready for Santa, we children went next door to the Wade's and looked at Magic Lantern slides. This was wonderful entertainment, and then we went back home to receive our gifts, which Santa had left under the tree. This little girl that Aunt Lulu had later died and in due time she adopted a little baby boy, named Paul, and he was a real son to them.

I know that Papa worked at different things while we were there. He was very mechanically inclined and could do almost anything. Papa worked in an Oval Dish Factory. They made the little wooden dishes that were used to put lard, peanut butter, etc. in at the grocery stores. He received $1.00 per day and worked six days a week, twelve hours a day. In fact, we hardly ever saw him except on Sundays. Uncle Elmer worked in a foundry and one Sunday morning Papa took me there to see him. Of course there was no fire going on Sunday, but he was making molds, or something like that and it was just a very black hole of a place. A foundry is still a bad place to work, but then it was terrible. Uncle Elmer died a few years later.

Papa left the Oval Dish factory after a time and worked for the City Transportation. They had purchased some kind of streetcars and Papa operated one of them. It was just a big automobile like affair with seats, something like the first school busses. Papa was a good mechanic and liked this job. He also worked at the Yacht Club repairing motors in the launches for a time; I think he was doing this when we left.


[1] She married Raymond Austin Ferguson on February 17, 1964.

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