Monday, January 10, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 7 ~ Return to Goose Lake

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

Return to Goose Lake Farm

One night in mid-December 1910 a telegram came that changed all our lives. Uncle Hale, Papa's only brother, had died of pneumonia in New York City where he was attending Columbia University. He had only a few months to go before getting his degree and being admitted to the bar as an attorney. This death was a terrible shock and grief to my parents as they both loved him so much. He was a genius and widely known and loved. Papa and Mama were both terribly grieved.

In the morning following the receipt of the telegram I went to school for my books and we took the first train for home. I remember that the neighbors helped finish dresses for us girls and did many things to help Mama get us ready to leave. Only a few miles from Traverse City our train was stuck in the snow and before we resumed our journey our car was very cold. But we were finally on our way and arrived in Columbia City about 4:00 A.M. the next day. We had traveled from Fort Wayne on the same train as Uncle Hale's body. Papa took us to Aunt Betty's house and then rode with the hearse out to Grandpa's home at the farm.

This was a terribly sad time for everyone. There were so many people and there were so many floral gifts. One was a beautiful wreath of Magnolia Leaves from Thomas R. Marshall [1] and his wife. Uncle Hale had been a protégé of his. And there were gifts of wreaths from New York and Washington as well as those from many local friends.

Papa never went back to Michigan. Several weeks later Mama went to Traverse City [2], settled affairs there and packed our household goods and had them shipped to Columbia City. Papa picked them up in a dray (horse and wagon) and we got settled back on the farm where we were determined to stay for several years.

I think of this more and more and really wonder about it. Several beds and bedding, a set of "Mission Furniture" in the living room, such kitchen ware that only Walter Mitchell [3] would appreciate, a cook stove with a front apron - an antique when I was born. Freight must have been rather cheap at that time for surely the things were not worth much.

Forty years later I returned to Traverse City. The schoolhouse where I had spent many happy hours and the place on the Bay that I had often taken a book and spent an afternoon seemed to be much the same. Except the town was more a resort place with the lakefront built up and many summer homes there.

In the spring Grandma and Grandpa Brubaker moved to their home in Columbia City as we settled in at the farm. Before they moved we had to keep to our rooms upstairs as we made Grandma so upset. So we were happy to be free to roam again.

We thought our house was pretty nice, with the new mission furniture and Mama always had nice stands with pretty covers. Grandma left her organ for us and this made our living room. The dining room, which was our family room and place to study, was used as a dining room only on special occasions. It was furnished with table and chairs, always a heating stove, and the telephone was here in the corner. It was a boxlike affair and was very new.

The rooms were carpeted with rag rugs, woven by looms, and in the front sitting room, a manufactured ingrain carpet. These were laid down with carpet tacks every few inches, then someone would stretch the carpet as tight as they could and finally tack it all around the room. When cleaning the carpets, salt was strewn on the floor and then swept with a broom. In winter, snow was used to keep the dust down. No one had ever heard of vacuum cleaners!


[1] Thomas R. Marshall was a Columbia City attorney who was the Governor of Indiana 1909-1913 and later in 1913 became the 28th Vice President of the United States serving for eight years under Woodrow Wilson.

[2] Article in the January 14, 1911 issue of the Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana: “Mrs. C.R. Brubaker, who went to Traverse City, Michigan, to look after the shipment of the household goods, was stormbound for three days and did not arrive here until Wednesday. A great snow storm was raging in northern Michigan. The C.R. Brubaker family will make their home with his father, Wm. Brubaker in Troy township.”

[3] Walter Mitchell was her son-in-law and a collector of all kinds of “old stuff” that he bought and sold.

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