I Went Searching For an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman

I Went Searching for an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman.
I've always been interested in history so when my Uncle Wayne gave me some information about our family roots I had to begin changing the way I've always thought about where I came from. We had always been told, "there's Indian blood in our ancestry, we just haven't been able to prove it". I have been surprised to learn that while searching for an Indian link, I found a Dutchman. Now I'm not saying there may not be some Indian blood somewhere but the prospect looks dimmer the more I find out.
I also have had some general prejudices about folks back east, especially areas like Ohio (I grew up in the Woody Hayes era and couldn't stand Ohio State). What a surprise (and God ordained I believe) to find we arrived in Ohio in the early 1800s, my ancestor fought in an Ohio Regiment in the Civil War, and came to Kansas afterwards. That, and some visits to Ohio, has adjusted my thinking.
And the other reason why-to keep communication between the far flung members of my family and encourage them to drop a note so we can keep in touch with the details of their lives. We miss too much by not being there in the day to day workings of life. So, leave a post for all of us.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Hero Goes Home: My Uncle Bart

The Earl Bartlow Family
Back-Rex, Bart, Duane, Wayne Front Norman, Rachel Victor, Earl, Mel, Elsie, Leta
In a man's life, there are a few men who are his heroes.  It's not that he doesn't have women who affect his life greatly but that's another whole different thing.  Of the men in my life, there have been a few who rose to hero status.  My father, grandfathers, and a man named Carl Wales (who I'll tell you about some other day), and my uncles.  I have six who are my father's brothers (Bart, Wayne, Duane, Rex, Victor, and Mel), my father's sister's husbands (Hal and Loyd), and my mother's sister's husband (Ric).  There's not a one in the bunch who aren't great men in their own right.  Their characters are more than just one dimension but f I gave each a one a simple description they would be: Wayne-Sensitive; Duane-Teacher; Rex-Honorable; Victor-Joy; Mel-Adventurer; Hal-Faithful; Loyd-Integrity; Ric-Endurance. Of course, I left the subject of this entry until the end: Bart-Steady.
Bart (far right) with brothers Wayne,
Duane, and Rex. Howard, Ks
My uncle Bart was a little distanced from me due to my father's place in the pecking order: In the lower half of the siblings at number six.  Bart was one of my dad's older brothers and thus one of my older uncles.  He was born the second child and first son to my grandparents Earl and Rachel, on the plains of northwestern Oklahoma in May 1928.  Their lives weren't easy scratching out a living farming and such in land that wasn't very forgiving.  Life was difficult, so much so, that shortly after my father was born in 1938 when Uncle Bart was but ten years old, they lost their land and had to live in a tent until the crop came in and then moved to southern Missouri.  Life wasn't any easier there and they once again were forced to move, this time to Howard Kansas where his Uncle Willy and Aunt Lucy lived.  Facts are stranger than fiction as Bart graduated from Howard High School and his middle name was...you guessed it...Howard.
The family eventually moved back to NW Oklahoma and Bart took on many jobs over the next few years ranching and cotton picking in Texas but in 1950 he along with his younger brothers Duane, Wayne, and Rex joined the famous 45th Division Thunderbirds and went off to Korea for a couple years of adventure (if you can call it that). Thanks to the Lord's protection, they all returned home, he in 1952, where he married my aunt Joan.
Uncle Bart took a job operating a D6 Cat building ponds late at night.  It was cold and Uncle Bart was never a complainer but he was smart enough to know how to find something better and ended up with a job at the AT&SFRR, a career he held for 34 years, retiring in 1986.  He and Aunt Joan eventually settled in Enid although they never did really "settle" until his health turned poor. For many of those retirement years he was the head of the Retired Bartlow Brothers Traveling Circus-all of them with trailers who went from place to place on great adventures.
Probably the greatest picture of Uncle Bart I could give to describe him as the steady man he was, was given by my daughter Kellie at his funeral. She said "Uncle Bart always reminded me of John Wayne".  Wow, and it was true.  Uncle Bart didn't talk as much as his siblings but when he did it was in a low, growly voice that demanded attention and got it.  It was a voice of steadiness, of power, of experience.  A voice that demanded respect and made the listener sit up and take note.
John Wayne-he
always aspired to
be like my Uncle
He told me stories of working on the railroad as the supervisor over derailment sites when he would take charge of the mess.  Some less knowledgeable in the upper management ranks would show up and try to tell him what to do.  In his best steely, growly voice he would inform them they could either do it his way or fire him and they could do it themselves.  He said he got fired several times but never lost his job!
He was a John Wayne kind of guy.  Faithful to his wife and family, true to his word, confident in his abilities.  He never talked a lot about his faith but I know he trusted the Lord and led his family that way.
Just like when the weather turned cold on that old D6 Cat, he never complained.  Even when he fought the cancer that eventually took his life, he never complained.  As Pastor Jeff Jackson said at his funeral, he was of the generation that just got things done.  They weren't whiners about the difficulty of life like some of the generations who have followed.
I'm sure going to miss him.  But as Pastor Jeff said, Uncle Bart spread his sails and moved out to sea, we watched until he became a speck and said "There he goes".  But those just over the horizon on the other side saw that speck appear and he got larger and they said, "Here he comes!".  Because of Christ, one day he'll say that about me. Until then, he awaits on the shore, joyful with his King and family and watching for us.
Aunt Joan, Uncle Bart, Ramona 2006 Enid, OK
So, one of my heroes has left this world.  If you're a young man and want to take notes on how to be a REAL man, not those sissified, mamby-pamby, momma's boys who seem to pervade our world these days, take note of a real hero--Warren Howard "Bart" Bartlow.  My uncle and hero.
Soli Deo Gloria

No comments:

Post a Comment