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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Leaving the nest... Bob Hinman

Chuck Hinman: Leaving the nest and early days of flying: Bird 1 -- Bob Hinman. Chuck says "As his brother, I know Bob well enough that when he closed his eyes for the last time that he didn't wish he had done things differently."
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Our Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

By Chuck Hinman

Leaving the nest and early days of flying: Bird 1 -- Bob Hinman

Every high school senior is asked, "What do you plan to do after you graduate from high school?" That question carries with it the assumption that whatever your answer, your days of living 'in the old nest' are numbered.

As remarkable as my memory is, especially of my teen years, I can not come up with a memory where I gave this subject any thought. Really.

College was not for the undecided

It was not a given then as it is now for kids who don't know what they want to do, to simply go to OU or Oklahoma State a few years and decide on something.

In the 1930's, money was scarce 'as hens teeth' and college was not an option for the undecided. In those days, the valedictorian and the salutatorian were awarded a scholarship but it wasn't enough in itself. Times had been so tough for so long that seldom did you know of a family that set money aside regularly for their kids' college. It wasn't a matter of poor planning, it was the facts of life.

Our family simply did not have the money to send their kids to college; otherwise my brother Bob who had been out of high school for two years, might have gone. He was smart enough; none of us three kids were valedictorians of our graduating classes but I would guess we were strong 'B' students.

Brother Bob hitchhikes to California

When brother Bob graduated from high school in May 1937, he packed a bag with his earthly possessions (including a graduation gift of a bottle of aftershave from Uncle Floren and Aunt Norma in Wichita) and hitchhiked to Glendale, California, where Dad's sister, Auntie Grace lived. He hoped to find work. He was the first of our family to be pushed (gently of course) out of the nest as the rest of the family watched anxiously to see if he made it and soared out of sight in the stratosphere. It happens in every family -- the young leaving the family nest. That's what this memory is about -- when the Hinman 'birds' left the nest.

I remember so clearly the empty spot in the nest -- the bed we shared and his place at the table where we struggled for who got to put their foot on the table leg we shared. The whole family in their hearts and prayers were urging 'Go Bob -- GO!' He wasn't very big for such a big world! I can't imagine Mom's and Dad's concerns. I prayed urgently for his well-being and success, a rarity coming from a very competitive sibling.

It was a hopeless situation with no answers; there were no jobs in those days and at 17, Bob of course had zero skills. So he came back to the nest and he and Dad co-farmed at first.

Bob Hinman lived 'the good life'

After a lifetime of farming Bob and Lindy accumulated a lot of land and farm machinery, a fine farm home, raised a family of three, were extremely active in the Liberty community, and feasted on that -- boasted as you enter Nebraska -- 'the good life.' As his brother, I know Bob well enough that when he closed his eyes for the last time a few years ago at the Good Samaritan Home in Wymore, Nebraska, that he didn't wish he had done things differently -- no regrets!

This segment is about the first of our family to sprout wings, falter a bit at first but eventually soar with the eagles.

Bob takes care of his widowed mother

Just ask Mom about her first-born. As a busy Nebraska farmer and faithful son, Bob single-handedly and at great sacrifice to his own home and marriage made it possible for her to live out her life in her beloved home, my best friend, my brother, Bob Hinman.

We salute you -- Bob Hinman for leading the way! ~~~~~~~~

Written by Chuck Hinman, Tuesday, 29 April 2008

This story was posted on 2013-11-24 04:18:10
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