Friday, May 15, 2020

A Tragic Death in the Family History

I want to share a family story with you.

My maternal grandmother had a history of twins in the family. Her grandmother was a twin. But her sister died at the age of 9, when she was burned to death in 1919. I never knew the details of the fire. All I knew was that there was a picture of her hanging at my grandmother's house, and that my Grandmother was named after her.

Here is the graphic and somewhat crass newspaper story of her death. I don't know what paper it appeared in, but this is how it was done back then. This account was discovered after the death of my grandmother in 2019:

In Which Little Clara Baumberger Loses Her Life by Fire.

Last Friday between 3 and 4 o’clock p.m., the citizens of this place were shocked by the report that, Clara, Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Baumberger, had met with a terrible accident resulting from her clothing taking fire and later on her life.

The child had been writing a letter to her grandmother and had made a mistake in her letter and went to the stove and attempted to burn it up. The next moment the child’s mother was startled by a cry from one of her other children of, “Mamma, mama, Clara is on fire!” and turned from her work to see her daughter enveloped in a mass of flames.

The burning child started to run into another room and the mother after her, who seized a rug and threw it around the child in an endeavor to outen the flames, but the little one broke away from her mother and ran thru the house out the kitchen door, screaming. Her cries were heard by the men at work in Robinson’s blacksmith shop who immediately ran up the back stairs and found the child on the floor, her body one mass of flames. Mr. Gribbens, first on the scene, threw water on the child to deaden the fire and then with hast, stripped what remained of the burning clothes from the poor burned body and hastened for medical aid.

The child, upon examination, was found to be in a terrible condition. Her entire body was almost burned to a crisp, with the exception of a small portion of her lower limbs from her knees down, and her face. Some idea may be gained of the extent of the injuries from the fact that her fingernails dropped off and her body had to be bound so that the burned flesh would not drop off.

The little sufferer lingered until about 1:30 Saturday morning when she passed peacefully away. Mrs. Baumbeger, the mother, was severly (sic) burned about the hands and arms in trying to save her little one from the terrible fate which she foresaw was in store for her.

Clara was the youngest of the children and was born Sept. 9, 1899. She was aged 9 years, 7 months and 23 days. She leaves to mourn her loss four sisters, three brothers, father and mother.

Funeral held Monday afternoon at 2:30 from the St. Louis Catholic Church.

The bereaved family have the sympathy of the entire community in this, the sad hour of their affliction.

In Memory

This lovely bud, so young, so fair,
     Called hence by earthly doom,
Just came to show how sweet a flower
     In paradise would bloom.
Ere sin could har or sorrow fade,
     Death came with friendly care
The opening bud to heaven conveyed
     And bade it blossom there.
One by one the flowers are taken
     One by one the roses fall,
And we carefully remember,
     Pain and sorrow come to all.
A shadow o’er our life is cast;
     We miss the sunshine of thy face;
Thy fond and earnest care is past,
     Our home is dark without thee.
We miss thee everywhere.
     A bitter grief; a shock severe;
To part with one we loved so dear.
     God called her: He alone knows best.
Our loss is great, we’ll not complain,
     His will be done forever
But hope in heaven
     To meet again.


We desire to extend our sincere thanks to the neighbors and friends for their assistance and help during the death and burial of our beloved daughter Clara, also to the many friends for their beautiful floral offerings.

Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Baumberger and Family.

Here is a copy of the original newspaper article.

Twin sisters Clara and Mary Baumberger (I don't know which is which)

This is the photo that hung at my grandmother's home for so many years. What I didn't realize for a long, long time, was that this is a photo of her flower-covered casket. You can see the casket handle(s) at the bottom of the photo. This photo, with her portrait inlay, was probably taken inside their home.
Clara's grave

Friday, May 26, 2017

Drunkle Billy

This might upset some people, but I had fun doing it, so I'm going to share it.

I make beer. I've made several batches so far. I give each one its own unique name. So far, I have bottled:

  • Swamp Juice
  • Wobble Water
  • Corduroy Road
  • Howling Fantods
For those who don't know, I live in what used to be the Great Black Swamp, and I was heavily into David Foster Wallace (Yes, I have read Infinite Jest, but it's not my favorite. That award goes to The Broom of the System). 

The most recent batch, five gallons, which I bottled on April 1, 2017, is a honey ale. I called it Drunkle Billy. I know.....offensive, right? Oh well. I thought it was funny. If it makes you feel any better, I screwed up the label. At the bottom, I wrote the tag line: "Sweet, but a little...." I should have finished the sentence so it read "Sweet, but a little alcoholic." But I refuse to peel, redesign, and and re-label all of the bottles.

Before you ask, no, I don't sell it. I do this for fun!

So here it is: Drunkle Billy. Ta-Da!!

The label

"I'm gonna' hit him over the head with a bottle!"

Friday, March 10, 2017

My Collection - Christopher Radko Ornament

This Christopher Radko ornament is titled "James Stewart as George Bailey." It's beautiful artwork features an image not seen in the film. I have since found the stand for this in order to safely display it.