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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Bergit Hinkle's Century by Jerry Hinkle
It was 100 years ago today that a baby girl was born to a typical Hyde County, South Dakota farm family. That little girl grew up to be my grandmother, Bergit Hinkle. Very little about her life is known, except for what she had written for the Hyde Heritage book, but she told me a few things about her early years that I'd never have found out any other way.
When she was born on December 11, 1912, her dad was hoping for a boy to replace John Acel, the son that lived for 45 days after being born in 1910. She told me that he was disappointed that she's been born a girl. I'm not sure if that was the case, but she must have thought so. At any rate, another boy was born in 1916, and if, in 4 years this Newsblog is still in operation, I'll have one of his grandchildren write about him.
Back to Grandma. when she was growing up, she liked ice skating, and in the wet years in Valley Township she was literally able to skate to school. When she told me that, I found it hard to believe, but when we had that hard winter of 1996-97, and the flood that came in the spring, I began to see that she could have done that. She also liked dancing. She hated celery, that is until she tried it. At least that was her story. She was always trying to get me to try different foods. Even claiming that I hated peanut butter before I tried it, but it didn't work. It wasn't until I moved to the big city that I was willing to try out new things. I HATE celery, and yes, I tried it!
Grandma was the 4th of 6 children if we include John Acel. She was the middle child. For all of her Skating to school, Grandma only made it to the 8th grade. As it happens, that's all he education she needed. Grandma had more common sense than just about anyone that has earned a Ph.D. When it came time to marry, she ended up marrying the boy next door, my Grandad. Her dowry was an expectant sow.
Grandma was married for 63 years to Grandad. From what I saw their marriage was more about putting up with the other person more than love, but as I think on it, putting up with someone is a part of love. I noticed that when Grandma washed the dishes, he would dry. I've been told it wasn't always that way between them.
Motherhood was something that Grandma took to well. She took care of her family through a depression, dust storms, drought, grasshoppers and other forms of pestilence. Somehow Grandma's 3 kids never knew they were poor. Keeping up with the Joneses was easy when the Joneses were poor too! They managed to send the youngest daughter to college, get the oldest daughter married off, while the son stayed behind to help out until Uncle Sam requested the honour of his presence in the Army. Her children were indeed the best gift that she gave to this world!
As soon as she sent her kids out into the world, they came back with grandchildren. She was always ready with a hug and a cookie whenever either was needed. The healing words "Don't cry it's a long way from your heart" didn't always do the job, but her heart was always in the right place.
Grandma was not one to travel, she was usually content to stay home. Indeed she never traveled far from there. When the end came, she didn't want to die in a cold impersonal hospital. She wanted to die at home. As difficult as it was, that is how it happened. On that cold December day in 1994, she died in her own house, just a few feet from where she was born. It was a very sad occasion for me, but a few years after her passing I noticed something wonderful.
My brother had a baby girl 15 years ago. Like my great grandfather, I was hoping for a boy, because my other brother had 3 girls that tried my patience severely. While at first I was disappointed, I began to see glimpses of Grandma in Brittany. She made all kinds of facial expressions, especially that "Are you kidding me" look. I began to see that watching Brittany grow up was like having Grandma back. Like Grandma, Brit is quick with a joke, and always had a hug for anyone who needed it. She even bakes cookies. I know that she will grow up and be every bit the incredible lady that my Grandma was. She's not exactly like Grandma, and she never will be, and that's fine. But it's good to know that there is a part of her that will always live on, even though they never met.
So happy 100th Birthday Grandma! God be with you and do the best you can!
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