Continued – Written by Irene Postle, older sister to Lee, May 1995. Edited for brevity, otherwise writing is original. Part 3
It was also while we were living on this same, small farm, that Lee had and almost fatal accident. He was helping our older brother, Donald, syphon gas out of the tank of the car (I can’t recall for what purpose.) He inhaled some of the fumes and had a horrible reaction. My parents grabbed him, jumped in the car, and raced to town, to the doctor’s office. I am not sure of the subsequent treatment, but Lee came home weak and wan and had to “have a lot of bed rest” according to the doctor. That no doubt ended his career as a gas syphoner.
Soon, after these incidents, my folks moved us into the town of Brainerd, where we were close to schools and to our dad’s employment at the town’s one and only Creamery. We lived there for five years and then we moved to a large farm, six miles outside the city limits. Dad never wanted to be anything but a farmer. It was nearest and dearest to his heart and he was never happier than when he was ‘close to the land’.
After dad lost his prize herd of registered Holstein cows and the one bull to Bangs disease, in circa 1925, it took him years to recover from the loss. He had worked and saved his money all of his earlier years to buy this herd. Our mother told the story, later, of how, when he got the news of the disease, and the subsequent loss of the entire herd, he sat down and cried. It was like the end of his dream. The end of a way of life, so near and dear to his heart. For him, it was akin to cataclysmic.
It was at this newest location where Lee and I and our other brothers soon became champion baseball players in our country school. Easy to become champions in that we didn’t have much competition since this was an elementary school, with an overall attendance of approximately 32 students, none of whom were yet teenagers.
Baseball and Fun Times
Donald, our oldest brother, was, at that time, an eighth grader; he was the best hitter and pitcher; Irene, two and one half years younger, as first baseman, the best close-range catcher; and Lee and Vern, younger still, great as long-range catchers, out in the field. Our school team became outstanding; we all gave credit to the fact that we had a man teacher who was first and foremost a great teacher and secondly, he loved the sport of baseball. We won most games we played against neighboring, country schools.
Our mother seemed to be on a lifelong trek during those years, looking for patches for the boys overalls. They always seemed to “be out at the knees” as she put it. Guess this was from the way they slid into first, second or third base, or just doing “boy things”.
I can’t recall any major mischievous incidents during those years, but I do recall what great times we had, as farm kids, riding horses bareback, sometimes without even a halter, through the wooded areas and over the wide open fields that lay between our farm and that of our closest neighbors. (Our farm consisted of 160 acres with barns, silos, misc. outer buildings, a garage, smokehouse and a large, sprawling, one house plus several cows, a few horses, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs.)
When we reached our teenage years Lee and I continued to be ‘best buds’. We left country school and began to enjoy our high school years. We learned to dance at the pavilions located on any one of the many lakes that dotted our state of Minnesota. We often double dated, Lee and I, with friends from school.
World War II changed our lives. Lee joined the U.S. Navy and served as a member of the Shore Patrol, stationed on the East coast of the United States. I went off to the West coast of our country with friends who moved there to take up a new lifestyle. Lee came to visit me there, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on one of his leaves from duty in the Navy. We had a great time sightseeing and catching up on news of what was going on in his life and mine and that of our family and mutual friends.
Lee and I continue to be ‘best buds’. We write to each other, talk at length on the phone, and every few years have fun get-togethers to include Ruth and their ever-growing family.
Thank you, Aunt Irene for keeping our dad’s young years alive.