A Word Portrait of Earl Henry
Earl Henry was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on 29 December 1919, he was the last child of Carl Jerry Bremmer and Lucy Methesmith Sharpe. Earl was the name of Dad’s youngest brother. Henry was the name of dad’s father.
My introduction to baby brother was traumatic! Lucille and I had been sent to the matinee. While there, the movie house manager had received a phone call requesting that we be told to stay for a second showing, Great! We arrived home, only to be met at the door by a strange woman in a white starched uniform who told us we could go in to see our mama and her new baby boy!
This unexpected news threw me, an eight year old, into near shock. I ran to the stairway, went half way up, sat down on a step and wrapped my arms and legs around a post. There I clung for three days and three nights crying out of control for hours at a time. Dozing off, crying again, but still clinging tightly to my post, I remained. Everyone in the family tried to reason with me, tried to tempt me with food but to no avail. Finally father consoled me and coaxed me to let go. This was the “welcome” I gave my brother Earl.
He was a handsome little fellow, a real charmer. After the divorce, mother went back to college and then to work. So at an early age, Earl became my responsibility and I had my sister Lucille to care for. They tagged along wherever I went.
The hardest part of my responsibility was to leave him at nursery school before I dashed off to school. He would cling, and cry, cry, cry. It was enough to beat your heart. Forcibly, I would have to beak loose. Many times this caused me to be tardy. However at pick-up time, Earl would be fine with smiles for everyone.
One day he picked up a cigar, still smoldering, which a guest had left in an ash tray. Earl decided to smoke it, and oh how sick he was, staggering around with a nicotine hangover. This was a four year old boy!
We tried and tried to get Earl to the bathroom like a big boy, but not having a male model in our home, it was a slow process. Finally the day came that he declared he was a big boy and could go alone. Alas, the toilet seat came down and cut off the end of his penis. A creaming bloody boy and areal set back for us.
After mother moved to California, with Lucille and Earl, he developed a lung problem and had to be placed in a fresh air camp. He did well and recovered.
He grew up and went through the Los Angeles schools, later going to work for Menasco Mfg. Company, in Burbank. In 1941, he married Josephine and theybuilt a home five blocks from us, her in Burbank. Through they years, seven children were born to them.
He went to Europe in World War II and experienced all the agonies of war, but he returned unhurt.
Earl was always interested in unionism and started this activity at Menasco. He gradually progressed to Grand Lodge Representative for the International Association of Machinists and worked out of the Washington D.C. Headquarters.
Earl and I had our differences throughout the years. We are just alike in temperament “strong willed”, “stubborn”, “short tempered”, and convinced that we are in the right (we usually are). We were both spoiled “Earl by my mother, and “me by my dad”. However, we eventually have reconciled and became members of the family again. We have both mellowed through the years and are good friends.
Written by Winnifred Jones