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.

At the Baptist Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri - that is where I was born on January 22, 1928, a Sunday - around 11:00 a.m., I have been told.

My father was Herman Francis Borgman, a postal clerk at the main Post Office, located across from Union Station in downtown St. Louis.  He was originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Martha Vivien Borgman, nee Wecker, my mother, was born in McLeansboro, Illinois.

My parents resided at a small house, that sat on the top of a terrace, at 8246 Monroe Street, Vinita Park, Missouri, an unincorporated village then.  It was located in St. Louis County, west of the City of St. Louis.  St. Louis is not in a county - just like Baltimore and Los Angeles are not in counties. 

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 Jonesboro, Arkansas, 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.

My mother's parents - George W. and Minnie Wecker lived in the West End of the City of St. Louis. Their address was 1373 Temple Place._ 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 Vinita Park Methodist Church. 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.

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.
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 St. Louis.  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 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! 
Jakie and Minnie in back.
Jakie used to tell my cousin Bettye and me that she remembered the "damn Yankees" riding through her father's farm in Kentucky during the Civil War!
I began Kindergarten when I was five-and-a-half years old. I went to Washington School, 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.
 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 South Road.  

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