My uncle Glenn Maurice Eidemiller Jr. died last week. He was much more than an uncle to me. He was, when I was quite young, an older brother, and when I was an adolescent he was my father much of the time. During WW II there was considerable disruption of my parents’ life and I spent half of my time or more living with my grandparents, Glenn Eidemiller Sr. and his wife Bertha (Aspinall) and Jr. At that time Jr. was like my brother. After he returned from the war he got married and I lived with him and his wife Marjorie (Ward) and he was like my father.
The Eidemiller brothers and their wives about 1912
Jr’s. parents Bertha and Glenn Sr. had emigrated from Tip City, Ohio to the Wilder – Homedale, Idaho area in 1910 with Glenn Sr.’s brothers.
Jr’s. mother Bertha and grandmother Estella in front of the family’s house several years before he was born.
When I can first recall them they were living on an apple farm which they had created out of a sagebrush hillside as seen in the distance above when the irrigation canal which they helped build became functional. So far as I know all of their children were born on that farm including Glenn Jr. whom we all knew by the name of June, short for Junior. I know I lived on the farm when I was five years old because I attended the 1st grade at Homedale, and Jr. was in high school at that time.
This picture was labeled my first day of school. Jr. already has his H.
We slept in the same bed upstairs in what I remember as an interesting house but my mother told me much later that it was a horribly cold house in the winter. I remember that Jr. complained to my grandma that I kicked at night because I was cold and threatened to put a board between us, but that never happened.
Glenn and Little Charles together in Caldwell about 1941
I was known at the time as Little Charles to keep me separate from my cousin Big Charles – Charles Yost, who lived up the road a quarter mile.
As Jr’s. older brothers Earl and Bill went off to WW II, these stars appeared in the window to symbolize their and our family’s service to America’s war effort. Those stars represented a serious danger—for example, Walt, one of their close friends whom I remember as a very fun guy, joined the Navy early and was killed at Midway. Near the war’s end Jr. entered the Navy and his star would have been the third star, side by side with the first one pictured above. Both Earl and Bill were in combat zones during the war but it was Jr. who barely escaped death when a PBM he was training on crashed in San Diego harbor and sank. Note that by the time this photo was made the siding on the house had been considerably improved since the earlier photo .
Glenn Sr. pictured on the Caterpillar which we all drove a lot.
When Earl and Bill were off to war more demands were made on Jr. and me. It was my job to drive this tractor slowly forward thru the apple orchard pulling spraying equipment while Jr. and Sr. sprayed insecticide or pollinators on the trees. It sounds impossible to modern people for an eight year old child to be operating such a beast as this but they put a box behind me and blocks on the pedals so I could reach and operate the clutch. It went really slow and I steered it left and right with two levers, the right one Glenn Sr. has in his hand and the left one is pitched all the way forward and barely visible.
The farm as seen looking west from the windmill at +43.6315 -116.9005
This picture was taken about 1946 before granddad built a more modern one story house in the gap between the two-story house on our right and the sheds to the left of center. There were apple orchards directly beneath the camera and behind it for about 350 yards to the irrigation canal.
Bill, Glenn Sr, Irene, Bertha and Glen Jr.
Glenn Jr. looks about 11 or 12 years old in this picture.
This rather large model airplane hovered over the corn crib for years
This model of a Jenny biplane was put up before I can remember and was always there perched high on a pipe over the drying shed. I later became a pilot in the US Air Force, apparently we all liked to get above things a bit.
Glenn Jr., Bertha (Aspinall) and Majorie (Ward) - Eidemiller about 1945
I really liked and loved these people and we had many good times together laughing a lot about the ironies of things. The whole family moved to new farms in Madras, Oregon in 1949. When I moved to Berkeley in 1960 I started keeping a diary and strange to say when I went to the farm for Christmas vacation or to work on the summer harvest I never had any entries in those diaries. Later I realized it was because we were having too much fun to bother with something so trivial as a diary.
These people are all gone now except for our memories of them and I am getting so old now that my memories of them won’t last much longer. But believe me they were all wonderful, wonderful people.
Last September I met my cousin Alexa for the first time and instantly had this same family feeling for her. Without these people she wouldn’t be here nor would I be who I am. It all fills me with a happy nostalgia and a hope for the future.