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Chuck Hinman. IJMA No. 125: Hinman family dirty laundry

It's Just Me Again. No. 125 Hinman family dirty laundry, circa 1893- 2007.
Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated.

The next previous Chuck Hinman column, Chuck Hinman, IJMA No. 114 : Music in My Life

By Chuck Hinman

Hinman Family Dirty Laundry, Circa 1893-2007

This is the time of year when people send their annual Christmas letter extolling all the family virtues, some of it even true. You never hear about the shady stuff.


I have written about the time I "lifted" an engagement ring for my 2nd grade girl friend, Georgia Pinkston. I selected it at the Hested dime store in Beatrice, Nebraska. Mom caught me and made me take it back and apologize. Fortunately I didn't do any time. And the time in 1937 when CB&Q railroad detectives swarmed the Hinman farm in carloads to inquire why brother Bob and a bunch of his hoodlum Liberty, Nebraska high school friends were "casing" railroad property late at night in Wymore, Nebraska. Yes, they even confirmed the auto tag number while Bob was squirming. Mom and Dad were having heart attacks. I was standing nearby thinking "he's guilty -- take him away!"

Or the time Mom and Dad escorted sister Joy Ann in the front door of Constable's drug store in Wymore, Nebraska to have Joy Ann return an ice cream soda spoon she and her high school friends had crafted into "spoon bracelets" -- the "in" thing to wear at "Zephyr Hi" in those days.

And I have confessed in a recent writing about stabbing Bob in his arm with an ice pick before Mom taught me the Hinmans don't fight with ice picks. She illustrated what she was talking about by tearfully stabbing me in my arm -- to, as she said "see how it felt!" Not very good, I agreed as Mom was bandaging both our arms. I didn't serve any time for that either probably because there were no cells for nine year old boys at the time.

Or the time you don't know about when I was getting the worst in a fight with Bob -- so what's new? Bawling so hard I could hardly talk, I faked a telephone call to the County Sheriff at Beatrice and asked him to come quickly to the Hinman farm and pick up Bob Hinman, age 12, who had just inflicted great bodily harm on me, age 10. My call was realistic enough that Bob quickly told Mom who was in the garden. She was squirming around crying and looking for a telephone book to "call the sheriff off" when I "fessed up"!

Just an average day in the daily farm life of the Hinman family.

Well you say, "we know the Hinman kids were bad kids -- petty theft -- two counts, brawling with ice picks, suspicion of trespassing on railroad property. But what about the good stuff. I'll bet you could write a book on Arley and Merle Hinman, your Mom and Dad. After all they both had those beady eyes and you just know they have done something juicy bad."

OK you asked for it and forgive me, Mom and Dad -- I'm going to tell on you. All your friends thought you were the perfect pair -- Blue Springs, Nebraska high school sweethearts and all that gooey stuff about a hundred years ago. But when you had spats when we kids were little, you didn't talk to each other for a whole day. You made us little kids talk for you like this:

Mom: "Ask your Dad what time he will be in for supper?" Dad was sitting right next to her. But it was kind of fun too, Mom and Dad acting like us kids!

Dad: "Tell her -- the usual time -- 6 o'clock." Etc., etc.

Well, I've gotten this memory out in the light for the family and the world to see. It's the Hinman family dirty linen you didn't know about.

I hope you won't judge your parents, grandparents, and siblings too harshly. The Hinmans -- all of us, have made peace and loved each other years ago for who we are, warts and all! We recommend you do the same.

Written by Chuck Hinman, 12-16-07
Chuck Hinman lives at Tallgrass Estates in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He began to write his memories for his two kids when he was eighty and in 2005 he self-published his book "It's Just Me," a collection of seventy-five of his stories. Chuck's wife Connie whom he writes about frequently in his stories passed away in 2002 after a 15 year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Chuck was her long-time caregiver.


This story was posted on 2011-11-13 07:34:34
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