|Jakie and Minnie in back.|
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
George A. Borgman's Birthday!
Since January 22nd is George's Birthday, I thought it would be appropriate for him to tell a little about his birth in 1928 and give some information about his family and early life.
I remember well my Grandaddy George, George W. Wecker, my mother's father. He was something of a character, but I really loved him. He smoked Camel cigarettes. When I was very young I frequently had ear aches, and he blew cigarette smoke in my ear to help ease the pain. I thought it did, but it probably didn't. Since it was my grandfather sitting me on his knee and blowing smoke in my ear, I believed him when he told me it was good for my ear.
Jakie used to tell my cousin Bettye and me that she
remembered the "damn Yankees" riding through her father's farm in
Civil War! Kentucky
- that is where I was born on
January 22, 1928, a Sunday - around 11:00 a.m., I have been told. St. Louis, Missouri
My father was Herman Francis Borgman, a postal clerk at the main Post Office, located across from Union Station in downtown
. He was originally from St. Louis . Martha Vivien Borgman, nee Wecker, my mother,
was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas . McLeansboro, Illinois
My parents resided at a small house, that sat on the top of a terrace, at
Monroe Street, , an unincorporated village
then. It was located in Vinita Park, Missouri St. Louis County,
west of the City of . St. Louis St. Louis is
not in a county - just like Baltimore and are not in
counties. Los Angeles
My mother had two miscarriages - both male babies - before she had me. Maybe that is way she was always so protective of me, especially when I was a child.
John Allen Borgman, my father's father was still alive then. He lived in
with Ida, his second wife. Ida's sister,
my father's mother, had passed away from tuberculosis, and John married
Ida. My father's sister, Lola, had also
passed away from t.b., as we called it. Jonesboro, Arkansas
My mother's parents - George W. and Minnie Wecker lived in the West End of the City of
. Their address was St. Louis 1373
I recall going there almost every week-end to visit my grandparents and
my great-grandmother, Minnie's mother, Annette Jacobs.
I recall my father playing leapfrog with me, as a child, in the livingroom and catch with me in the backyard. We used a tennis ball, and he throw it a little too hard to me, and it hit me in the eye, and I was a bit afraid of a ball ever since then. I remember my mother and Aunt Thelma and grandmother talking about me reciting the nursery rhyme, "Three Little Kittens." I used to lisp, and I supposedly said "Three little kithens, they lost their mithens," or whatever. Maybe, I think I remember this, because I kept hearing about my lisp on this rhyme all through my childhood and even into adulthood. Even as a child I grew weary of hearing the story.
At the age of four or five I was in a "play" - or was it a pageant? - regarding Tom Thumb's wedding. This was a big thing in those days, it seems. It was held at the
. My school mates Dawn Roth and Walter Eschbach might have had
played parts in it. Eschbach was
probably Tom Thumb. It is also possible
that Margaret Rose had a part in it as well. Vinita Park Methodist Church
Grandaddy George was a drummer - a travelling salesman. During the Depression, he hardly ever worked. He did not have a gray hair in his head. He never did until the day he died. He used to lie about his age, trying to get a job, but I beleive he was caught in the lie at least once, and he did not get the job.
Mimi, my mother's mother, and Grandaddy George lived at
1373 Temple Place
in . Mimi's mother, whom I called Jakie, my
great grandmother, also lived there. It
was a big, two-story, brick house, with a big back yard. An interesting footnote is that the famous clarinetist Pee Wee Russell's mother's family had resided at a house at St. Louis 1369 Temple Place.
My parents and I used to go to the house at
1373 Temple Place almost every weekend
and sometimes during the weekday evenings. My Aunt Thelma, my mother's sister, Uncle Stanley, her husband, and
Bettye Jane Tollman, their daughter, also frequently visited there. They came from South St.
Louis, where they usually lived. For some reason, they moved around a lot.
Uncle Stanley worked for Standard Oil of Indiana. I believe he was a truck driver part of the time. Later, he managed a Standard Oil distribution center, or something like that.
Jakie was an interesting character. She used to ask me to help her walk up or down the three or four steps of the front porch. Sometimes on Saturday afternoons, Jakie would disappear. Mimi would ask everybody - my mother, my father, Grandaddy George, or me - where she was, and nobody knew. Aunt Ruth, who also lived there when I was a young child, wouldn't know where Jakie might be either. It was like a game. Someone would finally say, "It's Ladies' Day at the ballpark! She must be at the ballgame."
And we learned that on Ladies' Day, Jakie would sneak out of the house, go down the porch steps with no help whatsoever and get into a cab that she had called. She would go to the ballgame, pay 25 cents (for tax) and see the Cardinals or Browns. Sometimes she would talk the cab drivers into taking her to or from the ballpark for nothing. She really was quite a character!
I began Kindergarten when I was five-and-a-half years old. I went to
which was located in the adjacent unincorporated village, Vinita Terrace. In my class were Ralph Meek, my next door
neighbor, Lina Mae Sparks, Martha Belle Zehringer, Walter Eschbach, Edward
Bachstiegel, Alberta Freeman, Dawn Roth, and John Wesley. Washington School
When I was five years old, I began playing the xylophone in the grammar school orchestra. My bandmate Ruth Aust was way ahead of me in school, and she didn't like me because I was so young. Not long after I began the xylophone, I began piano lessons with Mrs. Kennedy, who lived down my street, across North and