Person:Paul Tonsing (9)

Watchers
m. 07 SEP 1893
  1. Evan Walker Tonsing1894 - 1947
  2. Orpah Tonsing1896 - 1973
  3. Luther Maurice Tonsing1897 - 1952
  4. Cyril Martin Tonsing1901 - 1902
  5. Robert Lowe Tonsing1902 - 1998
  6. Ida Tonsing1908 - 1989
  7. Ernest Frederick Tonsing1908 - 1995
  8. Paul Martin Tonsing1917 - 2011
m. 12 Aug 1944
Facts and Events
Name[1][2][3] Paul Martin Tonsing
Alt Name[4][5] Junior Tonsing
Alt Name[6][7][5] Martin Paul Tonsing
Gender Male
Birth[6][7] 03 MAR 1917 Atchison, Atchison County, KS, USA
Occupation[11] 1929 Tonsing's Printery and Book Store, 500½ Commercial, John A. Martin Bldg, Atchison, Atchison County, KS, USA
Other[12] 29 JUL 1929 Boy Scout Troop 2
Graduation[13] 1935 Atchison, Atchison County, KS, USA
Occupation[43][44] 1936 Tonsing's Printery and Book Store, 500½ Commercial, John A. Martin Bldg, Atchison, Atchison County, KS, USA
Residence[14] 1936 Atchison, Atchison County, KS, USA
Residence[15][16] 1936 Tipp City, Miami County, OH, USA
Residence[15][16] 1936 West Milton, Miami County, OH, USA
Occupation[15][16] 1937 Church Press, , Glendale, Los Angeles County, CA, USA
Residence[16][2][5] 1937 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, USA
Occupation[17] FROM 1938 TO 1942 a printer
Residence[17][18] FROM 1938 TO 1942 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, USA
Occupation[21] FROM 24 SEP 1941 TO 06 NOV 1945 a low speed radio operator and printer
Occupation[16][19] FROM 1940 TO 23 SEP 1941 Times, , Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, USAa linotype operator
Residence[20] 1941 San Diego County, CA, USA
Other[22][4] 24 SEP 1941 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, USAU.S. Marines serial number 323436
Other[22][11] 24 SEP 1941 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, USAU.S. Marines serial number 323436
Other? 24 SEP 1941 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, USAMilit-Beg
Physical Description[21] 24 SEP 1941 blue eyes, brown hair, ruddy complexion, and 69 ¼ inches high
Residence[21] FROM 03 AUG 1942 TO 10 FEB 1944 Pacific Ocean
Occupation? 1944 US Marine Corp., , San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USAa printer
Residence[23] 1944 San Diego County, CA, USA
Residence[3] 1944 San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USA
Marriage 12 Aug 1944 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United Statesto Martha Elizabeth Pittenger
Other Grandchild: Danny Tonsing (4)
with Martha Elizabeth Pittenger
Other[24] 01 FEB 1944 Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI, USAIllness
Other[25] 18 FEB 1944 Oakland, Alameda County, CA, USAIllness
Occupation[26] 1945 Depot of Supplies, U. S. Marine Corps, Depot of Supplies, U. S. Marine Corps, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USA
Residence[2][5] 1945 Oakland, Alameda County, CA, USA
Other[21] 06 NOV 1945 San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USACorporal
Other? 06 NOV 1945 Depot of Supplies, U. S. Marine Corps, Depot of Supplies, U. S. Marine Corps, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USAMilit-End
Occupation[27] 1946 Blade Typography, 324 - 13th, Oakland, Alameda County, CA, USAa linotype operator
Occupation[28][29] FROM JUL 1946 TO OCT 1949 News, Tonsing-Giersten Publishing Company, 135 Main St, Mansfield, Tarrant County, TX, USAa co-owner
Residence[28][5][30] FROM NOV 1946 TO 1950 Mansfield, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Occupation? ABT 1950 Wilson Printing, 2619 W. Dickson and Merida, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[5][30] 1950 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[28][30] 1950 Haltom City, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Occupation[16] ABT 1951 Fort Worth Star Telegram, , Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Occupation[16] ABT 1952 All Church Press Tribune, , Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Religion[31] NOV 1952 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[30] 1953 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[5][30] 1953 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Occupation[30][32] FROM 1955 TO 1962 Printers Service Company, 3745 Merida Ave, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USAthe owner
Residence[33][34][28][35] FROM 1957 TO 1967 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Other[35] 25 JAN 1960 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USAhas been found to be properly qualified to exercise the privileges of private pilot number 1004050 with ratings and limitations of airplane single engine land
Other? 25 JAN 1960 1058 Glasgow Road, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USAMisc
Occupation[28][32][36] FROM OCT 1962 TO 05 FEB 1986 Printing Center, Inc., 701 E 5th St, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USAthe owner
Residence[37] 1970 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[38] 1984 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Other[30] 29 JAN 1985 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USAlost an age discrimination lawsuit to John E. Riley. Riley was awarded $145,718
Other? 29 JAN 1985 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USAMisc
Residence[39] 1989 Mansfield, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[40] 1995 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[38] FROM 2000 TO 2008 Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Residence[41] FROM 2008 TO 2009 Sacramento, Sacramento County, CA, USA
Residence[42][38] FROM 2010 TO 2011 Fair Oaks, Sacramento County, CA, USA
Occupation[16] Fort Worth Press, , Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, USA
Death[8] 04 FEB 2011 Mercy San Juan Medical Center, 6501 Coyle Ave, Carmichael, Sacramento County, CA, USArespiratory failure, congestive heart failure, and cardiomyopathy
Burial[8] 09 FEB 2011 Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, Dixon, Solano, California, United States
Other[41] 09 FEB 2011 Citrus Heights, Sacramento County, CA, USAFuneral
Physical Description[9][10] were left-handed

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF PAUL MARTIN TONSING June 23, 2001

I was born on March 3, 1917, in the old Martin home in Atchison, Kansas. The same house my mother was born in.

My father, Paul Gerheart Tonsing, was 47 at the time of my birth, and my mother, Ruthe Martin Tonsing, was 44. I am sure my birth was a shock to them and to the rest of the family, as I was preceded by seven other siblings, which by any measurement would signify a full bushel. I have always understood that my father had always wanted a son named after him, but for one reason or another, they had all slipped by with other names. So, presumably, I was planned by him, at least, to be named Paul after him.

But, as will be narrated further along in this term paper, the Martin family was dominant and my name went on the birth certificate as Martin Paul Tonsing. This was not entirely appreciated by me in my formative years, as I was subsequently called “Junior” the rest of my sojourn in Atchison, of some 18 years.

I have always told less than interested people that I left town to get away from that nickname. But when I did grow up and get out of town, I changed my name to Paul Martin Tonsing, without any legality, but in those days they were not so red tapish (and who cared!).

I had a wonderful childhood, probably not appreciated at the time. But my oldest brother and wife, Evan and Bess, were wonderful to me, like a fond uncle and aunt. I spent many happy days in their home on Riverview Drive in Atchison, and their children, Virginia and Gene, were my frequent playmates.

The old house was a treasure trove for children, having cabinets, mainly in the large library, full of treasures like music boxes, stereopticons, some Civil War bayonets, and thousands of books lining its shelves.

The cellar (we were not so high-fallutin’ as to call it the basement) was under about half the house, and was a wonderland of places to play hide-and-seek with kids in the family and neighbor playmates. My mother used to can anything that would grow in her garden and on the cherry, mulberry and pear trees, plus a rhubarb patch in the garden under the bay window, on the south side.

Alongside the house below the library windows was a huge bobsled, perhaps 20 feet long, left over from when my older brothers used it to slide down the Second Street hill. But, it was long past its prime, and just sat for years and rotted away.

Jutting out from the kitchen on the northwest side of the house was a porch, mainly sued for washing clothes. Mom had an old washing machine, armed (I’m sure with the grandfather of electric motors), wooden slatted. It would leak slightly at first introduction of water, but the wood would soon swell until it was leak-proof. It did not have a wringer, so it was usually my job to hand wring the clothes with a hand wringer, a contraption with two rollers about two inches in circumference, and a long handle projecting from the side. Clothes were introduced into the wringer, then with one hand, they were steered down the middle of the rollers, while turning the handle with the other to get the clothes through and into a washtub sitting underneath. From there, the clothes were carried outside and hung on clotheslines on the north side of the house. As clothes were added, clothes poles were constantly moved and adjusted to compensate for the load of wet clothes. Mom always said, at least once a day, that there was nothing sweeter smelling than clothes fresh off the line and warmed by the heat of the sun.

I am probably jumping the gun, but across the road in front and down the bluff, was (or were) rail yards and a roundhouse where engines were turned around, and as I recall, there were repair shops there also. (My mind isn’t slipping, I am still on the subject of washing.)

Consequently, all this railway activity generated tons of coal smoke and ash, and any clothes on the line turned white sheets into gray ones. But mom never complained and was glad the railroad was there for it generated jobs for men who otherwise would not survive the Depression then racking the country.

Returning to the cellar: As a result of all the trees and crops from the garden, mom did lots of canning in Mason jars with a glass lid and a little metal clamp that sprang down and kept them airtight. A rubber gasket kept them airtight.

The basement was usually cool the whole year, except when it got too cool in brutal winters, when lots of the jars would freeze and we would be busy sweeping up shards of broken glass and sloppy fruit. The floor of the basement was some sort of primitive or cheap cement, for as one swept it, one could always rely on it giving up dust. In other words, it was never entirely clean.

On the south side of the basement (oops, cellar) there was a coal bin and in better days, coal was heaved through a window from wagons then the window was sealed until the next load was needed. By the time I came along, this was never done, probably as we could never afford a load of coal, and it, along with wood and corn cobs were carried down steps on the southwest side of the house, with very crude steps. A wooden cover and door covered this stairway, and was used only if something had to be carried into the cellar.

There was a large old furnace at the bottom of the steps leading down from the kitchen, which had long since given up the ghost before I came along, so it was only a space-waster. Instead, the house was heated by stoves in various rooms and it was my job to take a coal scuttle down the steps daily and bring up enough coal to last the night or day. Stoves were banked (or shut down when we went to bed and on cold nights Mom would hand out bricks that had reposed on top of the stoves all day, and we would wrap them in newsprint and put them in the foot of the bed. I can still remember how cuddly these bricks were (that’s decidedly a feminine term, but can’t think of anything more appropriate). Plus piles of blankets and comforters, some kept over from the Civil War.

The house was not well built, and I am sure Grandfather Martin really got cheated by various workmen when he had it built. I am sure he was busy being governor and the workmen got away with things.

The house was originally equipped with gaslights and little gas jets, with their lines on hinges, jutted out from various walls of the house. By the time I came along, the house had been wired for electricity, with wires many times running across ceilings and down walls. The plumbing was also rather crude and pipes would freeze in winter, bursting at times.

The roof would also leak, but by the time I came along, it was a very old house. We could not afford a roofer, so my brother Ernie and I would go up on the roof with a tar bucket we got at J.C. Penny and patch the shingles.

I am digressing a bit, but while on the subject of roofs, the old barn had a tarpaper roof in two levels and it was old ant rotten and always leaking. So we took great pride in getting sheets of muslin at J.C. Penny, a bucket of tar, and patching that roof, sometimes in fairly large areas. That method worked beautifully, and in later years I have patched roofs in that manner at a cost of cents instead of hundreds of dollars.

By and large, all this maintenance and repair taught Ernie and me a great deal about maintenance and repairs, plumbing, brick work, electricity, and all sorts of things to meet the challenge of keeping the place functioning and livable.

The bricks were also always bulging in one spot or another, and we would get some cheap mortar and patch them in place, sometimes improvising braces to keep the walls from bulging too much further. The kitchen was the real center of the household, on the west side of the house, almost the entire width. In the north west corner was a sink with one faucet. In those days, if you wanted hot water, you would heat it on the stove in a teakettle mainly. This teakettle was a backbone of the household, used for cooking, making tea, coffee, hot soup, and a myriad of other uses. It sat on an old black gas stove south of the sink and I can still remember the teakettle whistling when it got hot. The stove was mom’s pride and joy, as it had four gas burners and a large oven. I remember when I was very young and running around with Papa and we found it in a shop and bought it as a surprise for Mom for $5. Leaving the oven door open would heat the kitchen, also. South of the stove was a window and a small desk where Mom had her typewriter and writing materials, and usually an album she was always working on.

Almost to the wall, in the southwest side of the kitchen was a staircase to the second floor, with about four steps in the room, then a door and then the stairs curving to the east upstairs.

To the east of this desk and staircase was a large table where we ate all meals, and which I would guess would seat up to eight eaters.

I remember that Dad was a very friendly fellow and would often bring home a customer from the print shop, a supplier, or visiting pastor, always saying tat Mom could add another cup of water to the soup.

Mom was a marvelous cook, and as Dad was of German ancestry, we ate a great deal of German dishes. Like sauerkraut, sausage, German pancakes, potato pancakes, hogs jowls, and even brains for breakfast with eggs. The chickens we kept in a fenced part of the yard between the house and the barn. I also have a very dim memory of a nanny goat that Mom was forever forbidding me from riding. But in later years, the only animals were cats….lots of cats, and an occasional dog.

I will get to the barn in more detail, but in reference now to the animals, I was crazy about cats, and we had one old calico cat that I swear had 10 or 15 kittens every six weeks. These kittens would often disappear, and I remember having dreams of making a cat refuge in the barn, where I could keep dozens of them. Sort of a cat orphanage. But, I guess I figured out what Mom was doing.

Her pride and joy was a Singer sewing machine, really a beauty, and she was shocked to find scratch marks down the front of the center drawer. She nailed me for doing it, and I told her I did that in revenge for her drowning my kittens.

To feed her large family, Mom was always baking, either pies or cakes, and as I showed a fondness for piecrust, she would always bake a little dab of piecrust separately for me. And I usually got to lick the bowl.

By the sink in the north west side or corner of the room was a dipper with a long handle, and if one wanted a drink, one would rinse it out, and drink whatever he or she wanted. At one point we had a person living or visiting there I did not like, and I always dreaded drinking from his spot, so I would get in one of the corners by the handle. I was horrified one day to see him carefully drinking out of the same spot.

I am jumping ahead, but in my teen years, neighbor kids and I would make fudge and divinity in her kitchen, and she kingly furnished the ingredients. We tried popcorn balls one time, and could not make them stick together, but we ate the popcorn anyway.

Remember much later, hosting a taffy pull with half a dozen kids from school. As we were pulling the taffy, mine came out sort of gray. That was after I started working in the print shop, and I can remember how embarrassed I was, as I had printer’s ink imbedded in my skin. I did not get teasing for this, but that was the first and last taffy pull I ever hosted.

Continuing in the kitchen, on the east wall, perhaps ten feet from the south wall, was a door leading down to the cellar. The steps were wooden and steep and I recall a handrail along one side.

To the north hardon to that door was a waist-high window….that of the pantry, which backed up to the kitchen wall.

____, to the westward end of which ended up in a clothes closet with a slanted roof, to adhere to the contours of the steps above going upstairs. I remember winter clothing there, and my sled and ice skates liming in that closet.

Sort of zigzag, was the main entry outdoors, to the porch.

Probably when the house was built and shortly thereafter, guests and family members entered the premises from the eastern side of the house, though the front door. But by my days there, almost all entry was through this door.

The porch was perhaps eight feet wide and twenty feet long, with another entry to the house on the eastern side of the porch to the living room.

Casual guests and family members came in the kitchen door, but more formal visitors came in the living room entry, and as I remember it, was graced with rather an ornate door with a glass window, perhaps partly etched.

This porch was one of the main habitats of the family, as it had a wooden slatted bench with a back against the northern wall, and a couple of rocking chairs spread casually on other spaces.

At the southeast corner of the porch was a two-inch pipe railing with two horizontal rails….and my earliest memory was of Mom tethering me to that rail so I would not wander off.

Projecting out southward of the railing was the door or lid to the cellar entrance…which was seldom opened. It evidentially had a strong lid, for I recall myself and neighbor kids bouncing up and down on it without going through.

To the west and abutting the porch was an old cistern. It had a wooden platform and was made of tin, perhaps three feet tall with a crank on one side and a spout on one end. This cistern was widely known and had a certain taste I can’t describe, perhaps that of soft water, for I remember feminine members of the household washing their hair in cistern water. And in my infant years, it was my duty to go out with a pitcher and fill it for meals…almost ice cold not matter the season.

Down in the cistern perhaps ten or twelve feet was a bed of charcoal, and slightly above that, inlet pipes from the gutters around the house which caught rainwater and channeled it to the cistern. I’ve read about them since, and that they take a lot of maintenance…but, I can’t recall anyone ever tinkering with it in any way. Inside the metal casing was a sprocket wheel and sort of chain with little cups were attached at intervals, and as the crank was turned these buckets would go down into the water and bring up their contents to dump into the spout.

I remember distant family members visiting and delighting in the taste of that water, so it must have been special.

Continuing with a description of the house. Behind the fancy door and the entry down the hall from the kitchen, was the living room. It had a long couch along the north side of the room (now in the possession of Fred Tonsing). It was rather hard and stuffed with horsehair, but I recall sleeping on it many times, or reclining lazily. Mom also had a china cabinet along the east side of the living room, and various chairs were scattered around the room. On the south side was a bay window, projecting out perhaps two feet, and it was my duty every night to go out and close the wooden shutters.

The living room was perhaps the real heart of the house, for here Grandma Martin resided and received many guests. I’ll cover that subject more thoroughly later on in this theme paper.

A fireplace adorned the south wall, just east of the bay window, but I never recall seeing a fire there. Perhaps it was dangerous, and so was never used. We always had trouble with the outside walls in that area bulging outward, and that may have prevented use of the fireplace.

Along the northern wall, going eastward, was a large room, probably originally a sort of sitting room…but in my day it was Grandma’s bedroom. I had to sleep in there on a cot beside her bed in my formative years and get up when she wanted anything.

I was somewhat of a bookworm in those days and I recall spending many a night with a Boy Scout flashlight reading under the covers, thinking I was being clever and eluding authority.

When one came in the front entry, on North Terrace, one mounted about seven steps, and was on a large porch. It was sometimes used and had a swing that held two or three people. Digressing a moment, six or seven years old, my sister Ida came down with some sort of illness that necessitated quarantine, and so Dad screened in this porch and she spent the summer there.

Entry into the house from the porch ended up in rather ornate hallway with a curved staircase leading upstairs with a railing about eight inches wide. I’ve probably slid down that railing several thousand times, as it was also a favorite with neighbor kids.

To the right of the staircase was a rather long hallway with one door on the north leading into the library, and the end up in the living room. Just around the corner, in the living room, was a door to another clothes closet under the front stairs.

Retreating to the bottom of the staircase, when one climbed the stairs and reached the upper landing, to the south was a door into a bedroom that was also my home after Grandma died. One of my strongest memories, was on hot summer evenings, with all the windows open, laying there and sweating through the sheets, it was so hot. We had primitive electric fans then but they didn’t do much to help.

Back into the upstairs hallway, to the north was entry into a small bedroom, occupied by a succession of family members, like Ernie and Ida, for instance.

Going west along the hallway, gained entry into a large room, probably a sitting room originally, but used in later years as Mom and Dad’s bedroom. My memory of this room is rather vague.

More or less in the center of the house, abutting the south wall and over the living room, is what I presume was the master bedroom, and again I have little memory of its contours, except perhaps a closet or two.

Returning briefly to downstairs, the bathroom was located against the north wall, off a passageway leading to the library from the kitchen. IT was small and consisted only of a toilet and wash basin, although I wouldn’t risk more than a dollar betting on that.

An afterthought. On the downstairs kitchen north wall was a long cabinet with a shelf about three feet high and drawers and shelves below, with two rows of cabinets or so above. This continues almost to the library door on the east, with a space perhaps three feet by four feet, occupied by a large crate-like receptacle with hinged lid….which contained all the dirty clothes generated by the household.

Also, I recall a cubbyhole with a door, above the bathroom, containing files of John A. Martin’s paper, the Champion. They were bound, perhaps in yearly volumes and occasionally they were brought down for reference.

To complete the layout of the house, the upstairs bathroom was at the top of the back stairs, in the hall connecting the front room and the master bedroom. It consisted of a toilet, wash basin and a tub. I’ve stated before that the source of hot water in the house was solely water boiled on the kitchen stove, but think now that was wrong, for I never remember carrying water up for a bath….so we must have had a hot water heater somewhere….but I don’t remember it.

The house was situated on two large lots overlooking the Missouri River, but large trees across the street and on the bluff prevented any glimpse of the river from downstairs, and only limited ones from the upstairs window. Doubtless during John A. Martin'’ sojourn there, the trees were small or non-existent, so it had a fine view of the river and Missouri on the further bank.

By way of explanation, I’ll divide the yard in thirds, more or less equal, with lines running east and west.

The eastern third was mostly grass, and again divided in thirds. The western third was a garden most of the time, and I was assigned the job for years to till the garden, plowing it with a primitive hand-operated plow, then laboriously planting radishes, onions, green beans, corn tomatoes and various other edibles that flourished there. It was also my job to go out and pluck from the ground whatever was mature to eat, just before meal times, and we ate it only a few minutes later. As a result of this chore, I still have an aversion to gardening, and would do so only under duress.

East of that, in the center third on the south, was sort of recreation area, with a croquet court and I recall pitching tens out there on summer evenings. Usually neighbor boys would come over to adventure with me, and we’d roam the neighborhood, usually with mild mischief in mind…and feeling it a grand adventure. We thought we were fooling Mom, but with six children proceeding me, I’m sure she was aware of what I was doing. Luckily we’d get sleepy fairly early and get in the tent and go to sleep before we could get in real trouble.

The eastern part of the southeastern part of the yard slipped down to the street, and consisted of lawn. We had a hand-pushed lawn mower, very primitive, and it was my job to keep the yard mowed. One time I recall, the folks were away, and I mowed the whole place with just paths, with neighborhood kids and myself playing tag. When the folks came home, that game ended abruptly and I had to finish the job.

Them middle third of the yard was occupied by the house, and I recall a cherry tree almost against the bay window, separated form the house by a brick sidewalk. The edges of the sidewalk had bricks imbedded at a 45-degree angle, and they were always getting knocked over…so I had to keep them aligned. Right under the bay window was a rhubarb patch, and as Mom’s best pie was made from this succulent weed, I showed no reluctance to gathering rhubarb for a pie.

East from the house was also a yard to be mowed. The entire length of the yard along North Terrace was sloped down to a wall, with the yard side lawn coming to the top of the wall, then under the wall was a concrete sidewalk. I recall that tree roots had grown under the slabs of concrete and forced them upward, making a somewhat uneven path. But further to the north was nothing, so there was no foot traffic along there.

Three giant elm trees were planted down near the wall, and the center one had a tire swing which my brother Ernie erected for me. It was great fun to run down the yard with the swing ahead of us, then as it soared into the air, get in and go far out over the street. Or, if more than one kid were present, we’d push each other down the slope, and try to set records as we gravitated over the street.

As previously stated, 99 percent of the traffic came up the back alley and parked in the yard. The alley was fairly steep, and led to a large number of parking spaces in the yard, which was paved loosely with cinders from the railroads.

Some sort of giant tree was directly west of the porch and another to the north of it. At one time or another, I erected a tree house in this last tree, with wooden rungs nailed to the tree, and I spent many a happy hour up there, seemingly at the top of the world, looking down on small humans as they came and went up and down the alley. At times we heaved missiles at unsuspecting passersby, but more than often that not missing them.

An area perhaps 100 feet long and 20 feet wide was the driveway to the west of the house and was paved alternately by bricks, coal cinders and beaten-down grass or bare ground. More about this area later.

About two-thirds of the final third of the yard was in grass and two or three shade or fruit trees. The old barn occupied the northwest end of the property, and originally was a combination gymnasium and stable.

It was a two-story brick structure perhaps 50 feet by 20 feet, and a later addition was two garages, probably added when cars appeared on the scene and horses were obsolete.

One gained entry to the barn via three or four steps and this led to a large two-story room, commonly known as the gymnasium, with a wooden floor. Not much was left of equipment when I came along, except an exercise wooden bar, perhaps seven feet in length, with notches on one wall and one post whereby it could be lowered or raised. Ordinarily this room was the receptacle of junk and castoffs from the old house, and I remember cleaning it out periodically when I was of an age to do so. Along one was a flight of stairs which led to an upper room, evidently where the hay was kept when horses were the vogue. And another room to the south of this was just a room for tack and miscellaneous horse stuff, I presume. A large window led out onto the roof of the added -on garage. Below these two rooms was space for a couple of cars with a dirt floor, as I recall. Probably originally where horse stalls for a couple of horses had been.

I spent many happy hours while growing up in this building, along with my friend and we could arrange the junk inside any way we wanted to suit the occasion.

One item was a tandem bike, or frame of one, that Dad had used on older members of the family and I have a picture of him on this bike with infants Ernie and Ida in a parade. But it was in hopeless shape for me to fix up, so just stayed there until the barn was dismantled, I presume.

Inside the upper south room was a winch with a long cable, which stretched out over the garages and to a branch of a large tree, already mentioned as the home of my playhouse. A pulley there extended to the ground.

In all the years I lived there the back yard was littered with old cars and parts of them, perhaps as many as six or eight, mostly ’23 and ’24 Chevy’s. Dad and I would go out and spy one in a vacant lot or in a driveway and he’d bargain and usually get one for $5. We'd drag it home, and my brother Ernie would either get it running, or use it for parts. I learned to drive at 15, but long before that I was pulling motors out of the old cars via the winch, and overhauling them or repairing them. I remember Ernie and I bragging once that we had the motor out of a Chevy and on the ground while it was still hot from running.

At some point I got various parts off these old cars and hang them on the wall of the upstairs room in the barn, cleaning them in coal oil first.

We also had an old ’26 Essex sitting in one of the garages for years. As I remember, Dad had an old Mitchell that Ernie and Ida drove to a summer Lutheran camp, ant it broke down, so they traded it for this Essex. I got the Essex running once, but it had a very weak and small motor. The maker had theorized that a small motor would do if one installed a large flywheel and ran it at high speed, so the momentum would substitute for power. This theory didn’t work. We had a sloping alley to the south of the house, and this car wouldn’t climb this alley. Finally had to tow it up the alley and store it again in one of the garages.

Eventually, as the Essex had a fine steel body, said to be the first one in the industry. I got hold of a good ’26 Chevy motor and chassis, and mounted the Essex body on it. It fitted fine, except the hood wouldn’t work. The Essex was sort of square and the Chevy was rounded. We called this vehicle a Chevy, and after I left home I understand Mom sold it for $15.

I never knew what the neighbors thought of this junkyard at the former Governor’s mansion, but I’m sure they didn’t like it. But it was in the midst of a depression, and a lot of rules were broken in order for people to survive.

Along north Terrance to the south were fine homes, but to the north was territory known as the hollow, and mostly black people lived down there. I got along fine with them and had a black playmate known as Walter. I’ve often wondered what became of him. Speaking of black people, the children went to a segregated school until the age of about twelve, and then they’d attend Atchison High School, along with all the white kids. We had a few, perhaps a dozen in my class, and I can’t recall any tension or segregation. They fit right in. One particular was poor in English classes, but a math whiz, so as I was the opposite, we’d help each other out.

There were a couple of wealthy black families in Atchison. One the Kerford family owned a rock quarry north of town, and had a good business going. They dug gravel out of huge tunnels that could accommodate two boscams side by side. I drove in them for many years, but didn’t go in very far, as I was afraid of getting lost in the labyrinth. Rumor had it that directly above them was St. Benedicts Monastery, and a shaft was run up from these tunnels that delivered cool air to air condition the building, as it was about 58 degrees in them year round. The tunnels are closed now, with mounds of dirt blocking the entrances.

While on this subject, other tunnels were excavated south of Atchison, miles of them, and after World War II, the government took them over and still stores machine tools in them, with round-the-clock armed guards. In the event of another war, these tools would be needed to manufacture planes, tanks, trucks, ammunition, etc.

Backtracking a little, just at the foot of the stairs coming down into the cellar, was a hole in the floor, in two levels, about the size of a coffin and covered by a heavy wooden, hinged lid. This was the cold storage, of a sort, for the household. It was always a few degrees cooler than outside air in the cellar, and worked fairly well, I suppose.

I don’t recall us having an icebox, the forerunner of a refrigerator. So meat and spoilables had to be consumed quickly. I recall us getting milk deliveries to the back door, and once I was severely reprimanded when I came home earlier than anyone else on a cold day, and the cream was sticking out of the semi-frozen milk bottle…so I yielded to temptation and ate it.

Although I grew up in the age of automobiles, horses and wagons were still around, and most notable in my life was the iceman. I don’t recall us ever using his services, but he had a big wagon, high off the ground, sort of shaped like the old covered wagons. It was drawn by two horses and had a seat up front for the driver, but the reins were long and extended through the body of the wagon out to the back of the wagon. There was a step there, and the iceman usually stood on this rear step where he could reach into the wagon and get out chunks of ice with an ice pick and tongs. It was a really fun thing for us kids to ride on this step, and the iceman was always in a good humor, and didn’t mind us picking up and eating small chunks of ice scattered over the bed of the wagon. The iceman knew what to deliver to each household, for his company distributed beforehand a piece of cardboard printed into four sections, and each side had a hole punched for the attachment to the front door or window. I don’t recall the sizes, but if a person wanted 10 pounds, he’d have the 10 pound side up. Same for the 20, 30 and 40, I presume.

The iceman wore heavy clothes, and had a big leather apron extending down his back, with a gutter in the end to keep the ice from leaking onto his legs.

Other assorted peddlers would roam the neighborhoods, and housewives would gather to pick over their wares. I can’t recall the names of nay of them, but they were quite popular.

Atchison was a city of 15,000 people back then and I understand it still is, and in some ways has changed greatly, and in other, very little. Farmers came from many miles around to shop there and Commercial Street was a busy and industrious boulevard. It used to run through east to west, but after I left, a devastating flood enveloped downtown, and urban renewal came in with the bright idea of closing Commercial Street and making it a strolling mall. It is my understanding that this never really went over, but it still is that way.

Ours was a very close-knit family, and for better or worse, I’ll take on the characters inhabiting this world and describe their activities and lives to the best of my ability.

Grandma Martin was the matriarch of the family, and as the governor’s widow, evidently had some clout, for someone or other was always at the doorstep wanting to see her.

I presume she had been a very active woman, but by the time I came along, she had retreated to a wheelchair with rheumatism, and my earliest memories of her are in that wheelchair. When I reached the age where I could be trusted, I presume, I was her “gofer” and did countless errands for her and slept in the same bedroom to help her if she needed to get up at night.

When the folks went somewhere, which was rare, I stayed with her, and we’d play games, the only one I remember was “Flinch”. As this was a strict Baptist household, playing cards was not permitted on the premises. I never recall her leaving the house, but she was a leading power in the local Baptist church, and the ladies would frequently come to the house and hold prayer meetings, and gossip about the pastor and doings at the church.

Grandma was presumed to have a little money, deriving from rentals of the building at 500 Commercial Street, which contained Wolter’s Drug Store, a doctor, and a dentist with offices upstairs in that building, and Dad’s little print shop. I doubt that he paid rent, or could afford to, but she probably had a veteran’s pension and perhaps one from the State of Kansas.

I remember very little about Grandma’s death, except that I got to ride in a Cadillac limousine. As it was my first funeral, I was shocked to be surrounded by adults who talked and laughed on the journey to and from the cemetery. I thought everyone should be weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth during the whole proceeding.

“Papa” was the next ranking member of the household, at least by age. In a sense I was never near to him, yet lived in the same house and worked side-by-side with him for many years. I guess it’s the perspective of being a restless kid trying to understand an older man. I resented him through my youth, and having to go to work when everyone else was playing baseball and football, or in the band.

But later years brought reflections that he was a very kind and affectionate man, and I was too stupid to realize this. He called me his “boy bearcat” and would proudly introduce me to all strangers by this title. He was a huge man, weighing some 325 pounds at his death.

Papa never spanked me in my whole life, and I don’t remember him ever raising his voice to me. In that regard, I escaped childhood entirely without being spanked. It is a common believe in modern society that schools therein happily and frequently spanked students, but I never recall anyone in all my school years getting spanked by the school authorities.

Getting back to myself, I certainly deserved getting spanked, but by sins were either overlooked or I got away with it. As I was the eighth, my par3nts on one hand knew all the tricks, and on the other hand were simply too tired to inflict any damage on me.

I feel a tinge of embarrassment in calling my father “Papa,” but that is indeed how my siblings and myself referred to him.

Since his death, I have always felt guilt in that I did not appreciate the fine man that he was and what a wonderful father he was. Probably as in the case of all kids, I was selfish and engrossed in my feelings and wishes and desires, and resented his interference in fulfilling those aims. In later years, I have more and more appreciated him and understood what he went through in his lifetime.

He grew up in Ohio, the son of German immigrant parents. Before I go further, I must emphasize that I never had any contact, knowledge or informatj8iooon about them. The Martin-Challis dominance in the family was overwhelming, and to this day I don’t know anything about my grandparents on my father's side, except that which has been unearthed in the first few years as a result of the family reunions. I supposed I had uncles and aunts on that side and cousins. But they were never mentioned. In recent depictions of World War II, many scenes are shown of German soldiers marching and fighting…and now I’m quite sure that cousins and relatives of mine were in that group.

I suppose, coming from a strict Lutheran family, my father was inspired to seek to enter the ministry, and that desire led him to come to Atchison where there was a Lutheran seminary. There is a story, whether true or not, that my father spied my mother in a parade, as the daughter of the Kansas governor, and he asked someone who she was. Getting the reply that se was the daughter of the governor, he said “I’m going to marry her.” And he did.

I am sure this caused consternation with my mother’s family, as they were hardshell Baptists (whatever that means) and very opposed to Lutherans. Besides, he was the son of German immigrants, while mom was the daughter of the governor, of very high social rank, and no doubt spoiled by wealth and privilege.

But in due course they married, and he graduated from the seminary. Thence they had a call to a little church in Nebraska, and started having a family with the birth of my brother Evan. I have heard that they lived more or less in poverty, with church members giving them a sack of potatoes now and then, or a chicken, but very little money.

Mom’s second baby was Cyril, and for one reason or another he did not live long. At that point, the family lore says, Grandmother Martin came up and urged Mom to return to Atchison. I imagine he was given an ultimatum to come with her or not, and he quit the ministry, to a degree, and returned.

I am sure with the help of Grandfather Martin, he set up a small print shop and worked there the rest of his life.

Being a very religious man, Dad or “Papa” preached at small churches in the periphery of Atchison, like Valley Falls, Bendina and Troy. In addition he stayed in touch with Lutherans by being a staunch member of St. Mark’s Lutheran church in Atchison, and a firm friend of its pastor, Rev. Wheeler. One of the mainstays of the print shop was the monthly printing of the Kansas Synod Lutheran, and my earliest memory was of the typesetting, makeup, printing, folding, and mailing of this publication.

I used to accompany Papa on his weekly excursions to these outlying churches, and must confess being a little heathen at the time. My purpose and aim was to go after church services to some form or other and partake in delicious and bountiful meals, usually with fried chicken.

Looking back, Papa must have had a miserable life, not able to pursue his calling, mired in poverty, living in his in-law’s house and bringing up seven children. But I never was aware of this as I was growing up. This frustration was probably what caused his weight to balloon to 125 at his death, of cerebral hemorrhaging at age 65. I blame the depression for killing him.

It was the custom of the family, and taken for granted, that the children at the age of 12 would go to work in the print shop. Before that time, we were enlisted to fold papers and sweep up, but at that point it was almost full-time work.

He made arrangement with school authorities to let me out at lunch every day, at which time I’d go home, four blocks, and then go to work with him after his brief nap. I remember it was our custom to stop at Wolter’s drug store in the street level of our building, and we’d have chocolate root beers, at a nickel a glass. As these were fountain concoctions, the person making these would make them about half syrup and half water, and they were delicious.

We’d usually work at the shop until about 6:00, then go home for supper. Saturdays we would work all day, and sometimes Sunday after church if there was a deadline to be met.

It was my job to sweep out the place, and sweep the long hall and stairs leading to the street level. I remember a dentist who had an office there, one time was critical of my work and my brother Even overheard him. Evan backed up the dentist to a corner and used words I’ve never heard before or since. Needless to say, that dentist avoided me thereafter….but I never dared to sit in the chair and let him poke in my mouth.

We had an old Linotype #666, Model 1, high base. It was an extremely cranky old machine with frequent meta squirts of hot lead, so it was a slow process setting anything on it. As forms were printed, they were usually poured into an old stove that had a metal bowl over the burners, and the lead would be melted in there, and after the dross was skimmed off, they were IT WAS poured into “pig” molds, or chunks of lead, to be few into the Linotype as needed.

Besides the Linotype, the shop was equipped with a 10x15 Chaldler & Price press and a 12x8 Chandler & Price press. I was taught to feed the smaller press, standing on an up-ended crate to be high enough. I supposed this taught me the patience I have been blessed with the balance of my life, for the press’s speed was about 1,000 impressions per hour, just lifting the bare sheet with the right hand, putting it into guides on the platen, and with the other hand pulling the printed sheets off and putting them into a pile. Hour after hour was taken up by this task, sometimes day after day. During that time the mind would wander a thousand miles away, and fantasy would usually set in.

As I grew, I was graduated to the larger press. I got a bright idea, to mess up badly, Papa would allow me to miss this chore. But as I’m sure that was not an original thought with me, I didn’t prevail.

We also had an old 30-inch paper cutter, a real monster with a long handle, and rows of hand-type cases.

The Linotype and two presses were powered by a large old motor about 12 feet off the floor, and power transmitted to a large pulley wheel on a long shaft, leading one-way to the Linotype, and the other way to the two presses. As these belts were wont to stretch and slip, we’d use belt dressing to keep them gripping, and finally, take the belts off, cut out a portion, lace up the new end, and put them back on the pulleys.

_____________________ We had a part-time helper in the person of a young Irish woman, red-headed and volatile. I remember one day her skirt got entangled in the belt, and disappeared instantly. But she was wearing modest bloomers, so despite her embarrassment, the work proceeded.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but so be it. Going to school really only part-time, I barely squeaked by, getting __ and D’s mostly. But setting type on the Linotype and with hand type, taught me English very rapidly, so I could slip by in school, particularly in English classes. To this day, I don’t know the difference between verbs and nouns and pronouns, as I could write theme papers grammatically correct, at the drop of a pin. I squeaked by in Latin partly because of the awe the teacher had of my grandfather, and partly because I’d use mom’s old typewriter and write notebook, and print up a cover at the shop, stapling them into booklets. I still have some of these old books.

I was extremely lazy as a kid and resentful, so when Papa would go on an errand somewhere or other, I’d cease all work and stick my head out of the upstairs windows and gawk at the traffic below, sometimes throwing little chunks of lead on people below me. I could hear Papa return down the hall, so back to work I went. I know now that he had knowledge of what went on, but being a kind man, and, probably a very timed man, he let it slip.

I was deeply resentful that I couldn’t take part in school activities, which abounded. Like football, baseball, basketball and band. But I passed over all that. Also, I had little time for class activities. But on reaching adulthood, I thank God every day that I learned a trade, particularly in the depression, and as a kid could go anywhere in the country and get a job as a journeyman.

For some years Papa had published Atchison City Directories, and it was a real chore to canvass for them, which I did a little of. But most of our data came from various postmen, and previous directories. We would set and arrange type for alphabetical listings, print that section, then rearrange the type sorting the slugs into street listings, numerically listing businesses and houses according to their addresses. This practice stood me in good stead later in life.

Again, getting ahead of myself, Papa died at age 65, and was buried on my 18th birthday. At that time I did not appreciate this wonderful man, and guiltily realization came later of what a wonderful human being and father he had been.

INSERT: Times were very hard for Papa, as we had the telephone number “3” in Atchison, and at one time it was taken out for non-payment of the bill. Another time I overheard him talking to Mom, when he asked what she needed for supper, and he replied, “I only have a dime.”

Now and then Papa and I would take a Saturday excursion, perhaps for 50c, down to Kansas City, where he’d go to a used clothing store, which would sell him clothes they had obtained from an apparently wealthy man of his size, and this was his clothing for years.

I was supposed to get a salary of 50 cents a week, but most of this time this wasn’t forthcoming, and I would go crying to Mama. If she had it she’d slip me a dime, and I managed to get a pound of candy at Woolworth’s for that amount.

I’m sure that my parents had many differences and difficulties…yet, I do not remember one word of irritation, anguish or disapproval between them. I’m also sure that these inevitably happened, but they did it in private.

I hope I’m not being trite, but I firmly believe that if all children could grow up in such an atmosphere of love, caring and closeness, this would be a far, far better world.

And while on this theme, Papa was a strict prohibitionist, deeply against the use of liquor in any sense, and Mama belonged to the WCTU, Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Back when I was growing up, Prohibition was in force in the nation, particularly in Kansas, and I can’t recall any family member or friend or acquaintance who used liquor. I think that goes down as one of the lies of the century, like Hitler filled his nation with lies, that Prohibition was a failure. It was a grand success, and only an occasional few would drink in defiance of the law and peoples’ beliefs. The Roosevelts made their money with liquor, as did the Kennedys, and they, along with powerful liquor interests, perpetuated this false belief on the American people.

The only example I saw of booze was of a hard drinker named Sullivan who lived across North Terace in a small house. At times we could hear quarrels over there, and his wife screaming as he beat her. I once came upon him lying in a puddle of throw-up in another puddle of urine, as he tried to get home from a visit to Missouri across the river. A teacher at the high school was also rumored to go over there and get drunk on Saturday nights, but I can’t verify that.

Consequently, I was deeply imbued against booze, and to this day have never tasted alcohol. Even the “wine” at church was grape juice.

Mama…words can’t convey the deep respect I have always had for her…a wonderful, loving mother, a friend, confidant, and grandmother to my children.

One of my earliest memories is of her switching my legs with a branch from a small tree, as I misbehaved in one way or another. I don’t ever remember her raising her voice to anybody, including myself.

I’m sure I was a surprise to her and the rest of the family when I was born when she was 44. Particularly after raising six of my siblings. But she obviously knew the ropes, and had infinite patience with me. I remember complaining about having to work so much, and not getting paid…but she did the best she could and was a patient ear to my selfish complaints.

Mama was a wonderful cook, and we had many dishes of German origin that we ate regularly. Sauerkraut, that was dished out of a big barrel at the store into a little white cardboard box with a thin wire handle. Lots of sausage, and Papa would procure halves of hogs that some friends had butchered.

Fish out of the river, bought from a fisherman named Koester. Catfish a yard long, that she’d buy steaks of. Early on I remember her keeping chickens in a pen north of the house, and we had fresh eggs daily from them. A frequent dish was “smearcase,” a watery version of cottage cheese. And when unexpected guests showed up, someone went out and caught a chicken we’d eat an hour after it had last squawked.

Another favorite was an old German dish, “scrappel,” made up almost anything left over, probably mixed with flour, spiced highly, and baked. I look forward to visits to the Northeast, where this dish is still paopul (pg 13).

Mama had a voluptuous mailing list of people she’d write to, and she had an old typewriter, I think called a Varietyper. She’d write wordy letters leaving hardly any margin showing, to same space. One of her most frequent correspondents was Amelia Earhart’s mother, a cousin of Mama’s.

Mama had an extremely difficult task in keeping harmony in the household, for Grandma and Papa didn’t get along, and I remember one period of a year or two when they didn’t speak to each other. But this eventually blew over, and he’d finally get Grandma and take her riding.


In my late teens when I started dating, she’d always wait up for me…but by this time she fell asleep often, and many a night I’d sneak home, go past her, and on to bed.

After I left home, Mama still lived in the old house, and it was badly crumbing by this time. I estimate I’ve made well over a hundred visits back to Atchison, but I’ll never forgive myself for my neglect in her later years. There is so much I could have done for her…but I was engrossed in my own family and life and business.

In her later years, I went up and got her and she made several trips down here to visit us, but by 1966 or so she was getting forgetful, and finally had to move out of the old house and into a nursing home. She was stone deaf by this time, and roomed quite happily with a demented woman who never shut up.

Mama was a deeply religious person, with her Bible nearby for perusal at any time. She faithfully read it, and truly believed it. But she was not a preachy person, flaunting Bible verses in the face of anyone who disagreed with her. I lived with her some 18 years, and knew her about 50 years, and I never recall her being critical of any person. Or complaining about any circumstance. I feel deeply that she was the most worthy of sainthood of all the thousands of people I’ve met in my life. I used to tease her that every time the church doors opened, she was the first one in, and the last one out. But she was no shy violet either, having opinions about many subjects, and not loathe to express them. One thing, among many, that I learned from her was not to argue with someone with whom you disagree. Just change the subject to something you could agree on, as the other person has a right to his opinion also.

I adored my brother Evan and his wife, Bess. They were probably the closest family members to me, as Orpah, Luther, and Bob had grown up and left home. And I was only with Ernie and Ida for nine or ten years before they, too, departed.

Evan was a very handsome man, with a million-dollar personality. He worked for the Atchison Daily Globe most of his working life, after learning the printing trade in Papa’s shop. I think he met Bess Moyer when they were in school together, and waited some years before they could get married, vowing to get a new car and build a house. It turned out to be a beautiful house of Riverside Driver, overlooking the river and a bluff. I spent many happy times there, and their children, Gene and Virginia, were not too far from my age, that we had a lot in common. Gene was drowned in Bean Lake over in Missouri when he was 18 or so, and his father never got over the shock.

Evan also was deeply religious, and was Sunday School superintendent as well as choir director. At some period in my life he enlisted me to sing in the choir, but I understand got tired of punching me to keep me awake in front of all the congregation, so I soon escaped.

Evan held various jobs on the Globe, probably starting as a Linotype operator, and advancing to reporter, ad manager, and one of the editors, before he and Bess bought a bookstore and took over Papa’s print shop after he died, and a few months before I left Atchison.

Evan was stricken with cancer, long lingering, at an early age, but had time to teach Bess and Virginia all about the printing business and the bookstore business. They ran the business for some years, before finally selling out.

One of the things I remember is that Evan had a beautiful tenor voice, and I think sang over the radio at one point. I think in other circumstances, he could have become a professional singer, but he was too busy at other pursuits to ever follow that up.

Orpah left and went on to school before I came along. She married Parl Mellenbruch of Topeka, and subsequently had four girls, Ruth, Esther, Kitty and Marjorie. Ruth was near my own age, and we were good friends.

I greatly admired Parl, and all my life have considered him one of the four or five geniuses I have run across. He was a Lutheran minister, a psychologist and university professor, and could succeed at anything he put his mind to. I don’t remember much about Orpah, except they lived in Ohio at Springfield, and she was a rather quiet person. Orpah, Parl and the girls were all musically inclined and the four girls all have followed music all their lives professionally.

At one point, Orpah and Parl went on a missionary journey to China, and left the girls with us all summer. We had a delightful time, I remember.

Luther was gone when I came along, moving to California and marrying a girl named Mary. They had two children, John and “E Geeta,” but I have only faint memories of any of them. Luther and Mary later divorced.

When I went to Los Angeles in 1937 or thereabouts, I looked up Luther, and we became good friends, seeing each other once a month or so. He was the foreman of a large printing company with a good job.

Later, after the war, Luther and a girlfriend named Lucille, visited us in San Francisco a time or two, and I later heard he had died in Chicago.

Good ol’ Bob was a wonderful man. He had married Helen Horniker of Wichita, and had two children, Bob, Jr. and Helen Louise(?). Bob had also left home before I came along, and moved to Wichita, where he assumed a job on the Wichita Beacon…a Linotype operator at first then moving up the ladder to one of the editors. I understand he spent some 40 years there before retiring. They were also a fine, devoted couple, and a source of admiration and example for me to live up to. I visited in their home many, many times, always stopping in on one of the numerous trips to Atchison, and finally ending when Bob died four or five years ago.

Bob and Helen were a deeply devoted couple and deeply religious, setting a fine example for all who knew them. Bob had a fine tenor voice, and had joined the glee club in high school in Atchison, continuing with the glee club at KU, and sane in his church choir until he was about 92. He also played handball for many years, until perhaps 90, which kept him in good shape and contributed to his longevity.

I remember little of Bob and Helen during my growing-up years, except occasional visits to their Wichita home. But in later years, we became much more close, particularly after Helen grew increasingly weak and finally had to enter a rest home. Bob went there two or three times a day to help with her care and oversee her eating, and getting to bed at night. They were married 78 years.

Bob died two or three years ago, and I deeply miss him.

The next sibling was Ernie, the ideal big brother. There were some nine years difference in our ages, but in my earliest memory he was a part of my life, fixing things around the house, and particularly our cooperating in keeping the old cars strewn around the yard running. I recall one time he had obtained a motorcycle, and occasionally took me for a ride. But one time he was gone, and I was fooling around with it and it started. I was horrified and terrified, as I couldn’t turn it off. It didn’t move, sitting on its stand. Just roared with me sticking my foot in all accessible lower parts, and turning every gauge and knob, until it finally quieted. He died without me ever telling him of this event.

Ernie had numerous neighborhood pals, and I was allowed to tag around with him as they went ice skating on frozen lakes; and one time they built a giant kite, which they flew out over the bluff. I was small at the time evidently, as it would lift me off the ground, but I was too chicken to go up very high with it.

As stated before, we were very poor, and as Ernie had a job, I think as a Linotype operator on the Globe, he bought me some fine shoe ice skates and a Flexible Flyer sled, then the Cadillac of racing sleds.

Ernie, to the delight of Mama, decided to become a preacher, and for a year attended school at St. Benedict’s College, a Catholic institution in Atchison. I remember him saying the priests there were among the finest and kindest men he had ever seen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as he and Ida both attended Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas, some 60 miles away from home. He came back, evidently to attend St. Ben’s.

Then he was off to a seminary in Nebraska and one in Chicago, where he got his degree.

Ernie fell in love with, and eventually married Dorothy Peterson, a Swedish girl from Falun, Kansas. I remember attending the wedding, and what her parents looked like. Even today, I could pick out their pictures if presented to me.

During the ceremony I was baby sitting a nephew, “Skeeter” Denton, an infant son of my sister Ida, and during that time he took his first steps.

Dorothy was a very sweet and gracious lady, and I immediately fell in love with her, which affection continued until her death in 1983.

Ernie and Dorothy moved to a little house on Second Street in Atchison, presumably while he was attending St. Ben’s, but I’m not sure of that.

At one time, perhaps fo rher birthday, I got a box of chocolates for her, but being at times very shy, chickened out giving them to her, so ate them myself. I later confessed to this misdeed at Ernie and Dorothy’s wedding anniversary.

Ernie ended up with a fine church in Topeka, until called to service during World War II, when he was commissioned a chaplain. He served overseas in the European theater, and was in the Battle of the Bulge, and other engagements.

At the end of the war, I think in Poland, his unit came upon a town where there was a German concentration camp quite by accident and, upon entering found hundreds of emaciated and dying prisoners, skin and bones, plus piles of others, lying dead, laying like cordwood in stacks. The Army rounded up townspeople and bayonette point and made them bury the dead and tend to the living. I don’t think he ever got over that event.

After a long and painful illness with cancer, Dorothy died on May 171, 1983, and I tearfully attended her funeral. My wife Martha died two days later.

For a time of several years, Ernie kept the house in Topeka, but eventually contracted Parkinson’s and entered a Presbyterian nursing home in Topeka, where he died.

INSERT ABOVE: After Martha’s death and Dorothy’s, I was not handling it very well, and one day called Ernie and asked if he wanted to get out of town. So we piled in the car and took a trip of a month’s duration, driving some 10,000 miles over much of the western and northern as well as the eastern states. It was a time of healing for both of us. An we talked endlessly.

Ida, of course, was Ernie’s twin, born a few later than him, so she was the junior of the pair. I understand she instantly adopted me, and was a second mother, treating me as a doll. I don’t remember any of that, as she went away to college in Lawrence when I was about nine. During her sojourn there, she met and married Paul Denton, and they ended up with five children.

Ida, followed the family custom and earned her way through college via being a Linotype operator, probably a pioneer, as Linotype operator of the feminine gender were extremely rare, then and to the end of their use in the ‘70’s.

References
  1. Charles Richard Tonsing v. The State of Louisiana, Volume: 43003, Record Info: Name Change Petition.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Charles Richard Tonsing, birth certificate 46-028706 (1946), CA Department of Health Services, Sacramento, CA,. (1946).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Richard Tonsing and Margaret Wayne Bernard, Certificate of Marriage (n.d.), CA Department of Health Services,. (1992).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Linn, Dorothy Joan. "Dorothy Joan Linn (P.O. Box 109, Edmond, OK 73083-1091, dotdot006.at.yahoo.com) to Richard Tonsing". Held by
    17 July 1996.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Tonsing, Ruth Martin. Ruth Photo Album. (1967).
  6. 6.0 6.1 United States. 1920 U.S. Census Population Schedule, Atchison County, Kansas, National Archives and Records Ad. (1920).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Martin Paul Tonsing, birth certificate 203 1310, (1917), Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka,. (1917).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Certificate of Death for Paul Martin Tonsing, 9 February 2011, 3052011022395(, (CD))(, (CM))(, (CREF)), Califo. (9 February 2011).
  9. 1920 to June 4, 1935, Record Type: newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and relatives
    155, Thursday, August 28, 1930.
  10. Ancestry.com. Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio), Record Type: (database online), Location: Provo, Utah, Url: www.Ancestry.. (2006)
    1941 > March > 27 > 13.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Martin, Ruth Margaret Mellenbruch. Family tree--Challis Harres Martin Tonsing Otis. (Fort Worth, Texas, USA: Paul Martin Tonsing, 1979)
    78.
  12. 1920 to June 4, 1935, Record Type: newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and relatives
    140, Monday, July 29, 1929.
  13. The Optimist: Senior Supplement, Series: Atchison, Kansas. (1935).
  14. Kansas Synod Lutheran, Location: Atchison, Kansas
    March 1936, 1-2, "Paul G. Tonsing".
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Chaky, Rebecca (Rebecca Carol), and Ruth (Ruth Mellenbruch) Martin. Ruth Martin Family Tree 1995: Brown, Challiss, Earhart, Harres, Martin, Mellenbruch, Milbank, Tonsing, Walker. (Friendswood, Texas: Never Done Press, 1995)
    82-117.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 Martin, Ruth Margaret Mellenbruch. Family tree--Challis Harres Martin Tonsing Otis. (Fort Worth, Texas, USA: Paul Martin Tonsing, 1979)
    79.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ancestry.com. California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968, Record Type: (database online), Location: Provo, Utah, Url: www.Anc. (2008)
    Los Angeles County > 1940 > Roll 50 > 845.
  18. Paul Martin Tonsing. Scrap Book
    vol. 1 p. 31.
  19. Chandler, Norman. "Norman Chandler (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA) to Mrs. Ruth M. Tonsing," 21 July 1942, Recipient: Tonsi. (21 July 1942).
  20. Tonsing, Ruth Martin. April 27, 1939 to April 8, 1946, Book VII, Record Type: Newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and
    p. 49, Saturday, September 13, 1941.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Honorable Discharge, Subject: Tonsing, Paul M, File Number: A64963.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Battery B Reunion 1991, Url: picasaweb.google.com/okrick/1721BatteryBReunions. (1991).
  23. Tonsing, Ruth Martin. April 27, 1939 to April 8, 1946, Book VII, Record Type: Newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and
    p. 94, Wednesday, December 27, 1944.
  24. Tonsing, Ruth Martin. April 27, 1939 to April 8, 1946, Book VII, Record Type: Newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and
    p. 79, Tuesday, February 1, 1944.
  25. Tonsing, Ruth Martin. April 27, 1939 to April 8, 1946, Book VII, Record Type: Newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and
    p. 79, Saturday, February 19, 1944.
  26. Tonsing, Ruth Martin. April 27, 1939 to April 8, 1946, Book VII, Record Type: Newspaper clippings, Subject: Ruth Martin Tonsing and
    p. 104, June 29, 1945.
  27. Oakland Telephone Directory. (AT&T, Oakland, California, 1946).
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 Photo Album, Subject: Paul Martin Tonsing. (1999)
    Album #2.
  29. Mansfield News-Mirror History, Second Location: http:/www.mansfieldnewsmirror.com/History/NMhistry.html/. (Mansfield News-Mirror, 119 N. Main St., Mansfield, Texas  76063, 6 April 2003).
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 Paul Martin Tonsing. "Paul Martin Tonsing to Richard Tonsing". Held by Richard Tonsing (4742 Bamboo Way, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, 916.4
    interview November 2001.
  31. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. The Messenger, Record Type: Church Newsletter, Location: Fort Worth, Texas, Url: http:/www.stmatthews-elca.org. (November 2002).
  32. 32.0 32.1 News Tribune, Location: Fort Worth, Texas
    28 March 1980, p. 6.
  33. Records of the Adjutant General's Office: Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, Subject: Richa.
  34. Mount Olivet Funeral Home. "Mount Olivet Funeral Home (2301 N. Sylvania Ave., Fort Worth, Texas) to Richard Tonsing.", Recipient: Tonsing
    18 January 1996, Record of Nearest Living Relatives of Martha C. Pittenger.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Private Pilot License for Paul Martin Tonsing, 25 January 1960, 1004050 , Richard Tonsing (4742 Bamboo Way, Fa. (25 January 1960).
  36. Tarrant Appraisal District, Second Location: www.tad.org/. (Tarrant Appraisal District, 2500 Handley-Ederville Rd., Fort Worth, Texas 76118, 15 November 2003)
    account numbers 01861808 & 00004952.
  37. Martha Elizabeth Tonsing, death certificate 52662 (1983), Texas Department of Health--Bureau of Vital Statisti. (1983).
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Richard Tonsing. Personal Recollections.
  39. Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1, Record Type: (database online), Location: Provo, Utah, Url: www.Ancestry.. (2005).
  40. Ancestry.com. U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002, Record Type: (database online), Location: Provo, Utah, Url: www. (2005)
    City: Fort Worth; State: Texas; Year(s): 1995.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Richard Tonsing. Personal Recollections, Second Person: Richard Tonsing , Url: freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~okrick/.
  42. Margaret Wayne Bernard. Personal Recollections (1).
  43. Martin, Ruth Margaret Mellenbruch. Family tree--Challis Harres Martin Tonsing Otis. (Fort Worth, Texas, USA: Paul Martin Tonsing, 1979)
    68.
  44. Compiler: Paul Gerhardt Tonsing. Tonsing's Atchison Directory, 1936. (Paul Tonsing's Sr. and Jr, Atchison, Kansas, March 1936)
    62.