10/3/09

My Grandfather ( who is 95)

I am proud to post this article( my grandpa ( my dads dad) on far left, ED, 95) This was in our local paper...

Three brothers have seen it, lived it all

By JIM BUSEK - Special to the Reflector | Friday October 02 2009, 3:07pm

Ed and Harold Hammersmith stopped to visit their older brother, Ray, at his tidy and comfortable home on New State Road recently.

JIM BUSEK/SPECIAL TO THE REFLECTOR (From left) Ed, Ray and Harold Hammersmith have more than nine decades of memories about life and farming...

They chatted for a couple of hours, and the conversation was fascinating.

There are many reasons for this.

For starters, they have been brothers for a very long time. Ray is 97, Ed is 95 and Harold is 92.

They have personal recollections of almost the entire 20th century, plus nearly nine years of the 21st.

Their oldest children are in their 60s and 70s.

They recall farming with horses and threshing machines.

And despite what some would consider their advancing years, they said the reason they do not get together more often is that they are too busy with their day-to-day lives.

Ray recalled moving with his parents from their original farm on Ohio 113 near Bellevue in 1932. “I was 21 when we moved over. We brought everything: farm machinery, hay, horses, wagons, everything.”

They relocated to a small farm on the east side of New State Road, near Hasbrock Road. The house and a small barn were situated down a long lane, far from the road in those days. “We moved the house and the little barn closer to the road in 1936,” Ray recalled. “We used a draft horse we rented from someone on Wakeman. They had that horse trained to walk ‘round and ‘round pulling a device that moved the whole house.”

Ray’s brothers nodded their heads in agreement.

The boys worked the family farm until each was old enough to begin “dairying” and grain farming on his own.

“When we first moved over,” Ray continued. “I remember getting up while it was still dark and working every day until it was dark again in the evening. We had so much work to do.

“I remember digging the foundations by hand for the barns (which are still standing) in 1940.”

“We always had to work,” Ed said without complaint. “Even on rainy days dad found plenty of work for us to do.

“And when it was harvest time, we did the threshing with horses and threshing machines. I don’t think we had a combine until 1939 or 1940.”

By the 1950s, all three brothers were farming.

Ed Hammersmith’s farm was on Old State Rd. “In 1936, I went to work at Norwalk Upholstery. I was farming 71 acres and working as a springer in the factory. But after five years I went back to doing what I liked the best, farming. I started with eight dairy cows and finished with 31.” Ed recalled.

“I couldn’t live without dairying. That was my life. Of course, I had to have grain and hay so I rented quite a lot of land. But milk was my paycheck every two weeks.”

Ed, looking happy (“They always called me Smiley”) and healthy at 95, stopped farming in the late 1970s to care for his ailing first wife. But he is still plenty busy with his remaining four acres and two large gardens. He says he is busy seven days a week but “I still miss going out and doing the farming. I never got over getting up at 4:30 with the cows. I still get up at 4:30.”

He has five children; the oldest will be 70 in November.

Harold Hammersmith, the youngest of the brothers at 92, farmed until 1958 when he went full-time with Ford Motor Company. “For a while I worked at Ford and farmed, too. It was hard when I first started; hard to get used to working on a production line when you’ve been working on a farm all your life. But now it turns out to have been a good thing with the benefits I am getting.”

Harold keeps busy with odd jobs, taking care of his lawn and garden, and delivering Meals on Wheels three days a week. He has six children; the oldest is 66.

As for his health, Harold says he “can’t complain.”

The three of them acknowledge that with the dangers of farming they have been lucky to be generally healthy for so long. Ray suffered one of the worst family accidents more than 50 years ago.

“I think it was 1955. I was going to show my boys how to safely throw hay out of the hay mow. I was going to tell them not to turn their back to the open space when they had the bale in their hands,” Ray remembers. “So what do I do? I climb to the top of the mow and did the very thing I was going to warn them not to do. I fell 30 feet out of the mow, landed on a plow point and broke my back. I was in a hospital bed at home for months.”

“We didn’t figure you were going to come out of that as good as you did,” Harold said, shaking his head.

Along with good genetics — their father and mother lived to 94 and 97, respectively — Ed attributes their long lives to “hard work, fresh air and food we have raised ourselves. Even the Depression times weren’t so bad; we didn’t have any money, but we had plenty to eat.”

As for bad habits, Ed laughs: “Ray and I tried smoking, but it didn’t work. One time we were working on a ditch bank and dad saw our tobacco. Right away, Ray says ‘I’m quittin’, I’m quittin’!’ The only other time I remember is when our sister got married and each of us took cigars. Four horses pulled us home. We were sicker than dogs.”

The brothers all agreed their happiest times were, in Harold’s words, “when the kids were all at home.” They are all proud of their families and have had long marriages. Harold has been married 67 years to Wilma. And Ray was married 66 years to Margaret who died in 2003.

Ed remarried to Charlotte a few years after his first wife, Marian, passed. He says: “I told my doctor, you have to help me get five more years. Then I will be 100, my wife will be 95, and it will be our 25th wedding anniversary.”

As the gathering was breaking up, Ray said, and his brothers agreed: “We’ve really lived a long time. We’ve been lucky.”


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7 comments:

Needled Mom said...

That is a great story. 95! It is amazing.

ShaggaBear said...

that's a great story. thanks for posting it.

Shionge said...

Oh Wow!! This is absolutely awesome and they are so healthy at this age. I want to age with grace just like them Tina. Good health always!!!

Thank you for this buddy, great one!!

Karen said...

I missed this in the paper, thnaks for posting it! It is great reading about these men that have lived for so long!

Tinsie said...

That's an awesome story! My grandfather is 93 years old and his eldest child is 66. However, I don't think any of his brothers and sisters are still alive :-(

Jodi said...

Awesome story!

Nadine said...

Wow!!! 95!! Awesome story.