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Walter Clifton Robbins
Norma Louise Haas (1919-2004)
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|Walt and Norma began their
married life in the midst of World War 2. Walt was home on
leave and they got married in the Walnut Street Baptist Church in
Muncie by Rev. Edgar L. Hamilton on 29 May 1943. Walt soon had to return to Arizona
where he was stationed for training and Norma continued to live with
her mother at the 17th Street house where she had been born and
lived her life up to that point. Norma Lived with Walt at Camp
Carson in Colorado for a period of time while he was stationed
there. On 27 Aug 1944 Walt left from a pier in New York City on the
USS LeJeune and they arrived in Cherbourg, France on 7 Sept 1944.
Walt was wounded at the Battle of Inden, Germany on 28 Nov 1944 and
spent time in hospital and rehabilitation facilities in Paris France
and in England. Walt was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze
Star for his service in Europe. While Walt was in the hospital in
Paris his first son was born in Muncie. They did not see each other
until Walt took the train back home in July 1945 while he was on a
30-day leave. Norma worked at the Delco Battery Factory for the US
Navy as an inspector during the war checking the rifle and artillery
shells they manufactured. Walt and Norma went on to have two more
children and lived on farms and in houses in several locations.
Walter Clifton Robbins, Sr. was born to a farm family in Fall Creek Township of Hamilton County, Indiana on 19 March 1918. Woodrow Wilson was President and the end of World War 1 was still 8 months away. Walt was the second son born to Oscar Clifton and Grace Gertrude Foulke Robbins. They had a total of 6 children and Walt was number 4 with his brother Myron Foulke Robbins and his two sisters Ina and Mary coming before him. The family mostly lived on rented farms in Hamilton County. By 1920 the family is living near Cadiz, Henry County, Indiana and the Census for that year shows the family consists of Oscar, Grace, Myron, Ina, Mary and a 1-2/3 year old Walt. At some point in the early 1920's the house burned on the Cadiz farm. The fire started in the smoke house and the house was a total loss. Some men came from Cadiz to help but could not put out the fire. The men helped the family get some things out of the house like furniture and they threw dresser drawers full of clothes out the windows. Dad told me several times there was an article in the newspaper about the fire which mistakenly said that "Walter burned up in the fire" but what it SHOULD have said was that "Walter's Clothes burned up in the fire." I have tried and tried but have been unsuccessful in finding that article. Oscar was away working somewhere the day of the fire and was not there to help with the fire or the family.
A nearby farmer allowed the family to live in a building that had been converted to living quarters from a Chicken House. The family lived there until other accommodations were secured. Oscar found and purchased a house, cut it in half and moved it to the Cadiz farm. He put the two pieces back together and finished the house for the family to live in on their farm. It was while Oscar was rebuilding this house that Walt and Mary were playing in the house chasing each other across the bare floor joists when Walt fell through and hit his chin in the fall. He bit his tongue and he remembered bleeding a lot. The family moved to the Scott Farm at some point until the new house was finished on the Cadiz Farm. Oscar and Grace ran the farm for Mrs. Scott, a widow. Mrs. Scott had been married to a man that was a house mover but he had died and she needed someone to run her farm. The Oscar Robbins family moved in with her and Oscar ran the farm. This caused some problems because Grace was jealous and afraid that Oscar would have an affair with Mrs. Scott. They only lived at this farm for about a year and probably moved to the Shirley farm from here. This was an 80 acre farm and this is the farm where the eagle landed on the fence and stayed a long time. Scott's Farm was about a mile west of Cadiz farm in Henry County - the house had a porch built out front and was a 2-story house.
At some point the family moved to a rented farm near Shirley, Indiana. They rented the farm from a banker and he paid the bills for Oscar to build a silo on the farm.. They hired someone to do the concrete work. Walt filled the holes in the concrete blocks with Concrete and Myron helped in some way. The silo was 20 or 30 feet in diameter and about 20 or 30 feet tall. This farm was located about 2 or 3 miles from Shirley back east from Shirley and there was a railroad - the farm was next to the railroad. The farm was off of highway 234 about 2 miles south. Highway 234 goes north of Shirley to Kennard then north then east to New Castle.
It was while living on the Shirley farm that Walt had his tonsils removed in a clinic type facility in the town of Wilkinson. He stayed overnight and got ice cream and went home. His dad took him over and left him and came back for him the next day as he remembers. He wasn't having any trouble with his throat - people just had it done then - same thing when I was a child. People had it done because so many people had tonsillitis and getting rid of the tonsils was suppose to make it better - make it easier to breath, etc. He helped make hay the same day he got back home. At that time they used a hay fork and pulled it up into the mow with horses.
While living in Henry County the family added two more children with the birth of Sarah Esther on 26 July 1920 and later Orris Milton on 28 Apr 1926.
Walt stated that he started first grade at Shirley School in about Sept. 1924 and that Myron and Ina went to Kennard H.S. because Shirley only had 6 grades. This was a one room school, with one teacher and a pot-bellied stove in the center of the room - the water and outhouse was behind the school. They took a bus to Shirley and then Ina and Myron took another bus to Kennard. Walt was a good student and did not miss many days of school. His 2nd, 4th and 5th grade report cards show him attending Cadiz Schools. Dad remembered that if school started before Labor Day, which it usually did, they could be excused to attend the Indiana State Fair. They went about every year because Oscar entered his hogs and Grace entered her chickens and some of her canning products.
Oscar had wanted to help run the Foulke farm for Mary Underwood Foulke, Grace's Mother, but she felt that he was not good enough, because he came from the poor class. Instead, she allowed Rob Ross, Husband of her daughter Sarah, to run the farm. Rob Ross was a big-time auctioneer in Hamilton County so Mary felt he was upper-class and thus worthy of running the farm. Her son Arthur stepped in and took the farm from Rob Ross but it was almost too late. This was during the depression and things were bad for everyone. Arthur forced Rob to move off the farm and he got Oscar and family to move there to run it. This move took place in about March of 1930 when the Robbins family moved from their Cadiz farm which they had lost because they could not make the payments or even the interest on the mortgage on the farm.
Oscar and family moved here and the children began to attend Cicero School. The grade cards for Walt for his 7th, 9th and 10th grades show him to be less interested in school.
The George Foulke family farm was located 5 miles west of Cicero and consisted of about 102 acres in 1930. They ran the farm until about March of 1934 when things got really bad and Arthur could do nothing further to help his mother and she lost the farm. Arthur committed suicide over this and probably other things as well, but mostly the farm. While the Oscar Robbins family was running the farm they lived in the big house which was a 2-story house with about 8 rooms or so and Mary moved down to the smaller 4-room tenant house which was about 1/8 of a mile from the main house. The 1930 US Census Shows the Oscar & Grace Robbins family plus Mary Frances Foulke living on the George Foulke Farm.
They had taught algebra at Cicero High School. They fired the teacher because everyone passed the first semester but he failed everyone the second semester. Cicero was going to have a special class for the students the next year so they could get the credits in Algebra to graduate. Dad's family moved to a rented farm in the Arcadia area and he began going to Walnut Grove School. They did not honor this and would not let him out of the first semester of Algebra so he quit school in the 10th grade in the 1934/1935 school year and began working on the farm. His mother didn't like it but his dad didn't mind. If he had stayed at Cicero he would probably have graduated. His father had gotten ill and he took over the biggest part of the responsibility for the farm and his parents bought him a car for helping. The car, the first one for Walt, was a 1930 Chevrolet Coupe, dark in color which cost $150.00. He was 17 at the time and that made a nice vehicle for a young man. He also stated that gas at that time was probably about $.20 a gallon. Walt was a farm boy at heart and stated that he had always like farming. He said that he started helping on his dad's farm when he was about 9 years old and continued until he left his last farm in 1958.
In about 1937 the family moved to Randolph County to a farm near the little community of Fairview in Green Township. This is the first farm that the family bought after losing the Cadiz Farm in 1930. This farm consisted of several acres. Walter was unsure about the exact amount but estimated at about 105 acres. The Fairview Farm was where the family first got electricity. It was a Co-op of some kind out of Portland. They paid something like $40 for a share in the Co-op - They also had to pay for the poles and the wire up to the farm from the road. Also, on this farm there was a tobacco barn between the house and the big barn - Dad and Myron were tearing it down and part of it fell on Myron and later Myron got a nail through his finger and it became infected.
By 1940 Walt was listed on the US Census as a Wire Cutter on Cabinet Parts in a Tin Shop (McCormick's Brothers in Albany). This source stated that he had worked 40 hours in the week of 24-30 March 1940. He always talked favorably about working there and said the owners were fair to the employees and there was plenty of overtime if you wanted it. They made the wire shelving for refrigerators. In Oct 1940 Walt was described on his Draft Card as White, 5' 8", 154 pounds, Brown Hair, Brown Eyes, Light complexion. He also worked at a service station in Muncie and performed minor automotive repair and serviced vehicles.Walt and Norma had met at the Gibson Skating rink in Muncie near the home of Norma's family on 17th Street. According to Mom "I had skated at Gibson's for a long time. Marjorie (sister) and I went about every night, learning to Waltz, do the two-step and many other steps. Then along came this boy from Fairview, Indiana. I thought he was good looking and a fairly good skater, so we started skating together and from then on, it was history." They were engaged on 13 Oct 1942 (Norma's 23rd Birthday).
Norma Louise Haas was born 13 Oct 1919 at her home at 1917 E. 17th St. in Muncie. The doctor and her parents did not expect her to live so a birth certificate was not created nor filed for her. Years later when she applied for Social Security Benefits she had to obtain a delayed Birth Certificate. Norma was also born with only one kidney which proved to be quite a problem for her later in life. Her parents, August and Mabel Worthen Haas, were in their early 20's and Norma was the second of five girls, her sister Wilma having been born in April 1918.
In the 1920 Census the family is living in their new home that had been completed the year before. The household consisted of August, Mabel, Wilma, Norma and Marguerite, the 13 yr. old sister of Mabel. When the house was built it had a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. There was also a large front and back porch. Her father later built a one car garage and dug a basement under the home. There was also a small building that was used to store coal in the winter and in the spring it was cleaned out, scrubbed and became a playhouse for the girls. The yard was full of fruit trees and they had a garden to supplement their meals. Norma lived at this home between the time of her birth until July 1945.
The family grew when Olive Jean was born in 1921 and Marjorie came along in 1923. When the girls became old enough they attended Stevenson School from grades 1-6. Stevenson was located about 2 blocks to the east of their home on Mock Avenue at the end of their street. About 1926 Norma sustained a minor wound when a neighbor boy shot her with a rifle he was playing with. The parents enjoyed taking pictures and there are many photos of these little girls to be seen (See the RobbHaas Family Page to view many of them).
Mabel was a very good cook and made a variety of canned items the family sold. She also fixed Pork Loin sandwiches which the teachers at Stevenson School would eat for their lunches. The employees of Ball Brothers would come for lunch as well.
Norma and her sisters attended Blaine Junior High School for 7th through 9th grades. Norma attended 7th Grade classes beginning in the fall of 1931. She was so-so in all her subjects except for Music and Home Ec. (B's) and she got A's in Deportment - so, was she having too much fun? Her grades did not improve much when she began attending classes at Muncie Central High School in 1934. Maybe the arrival of her new little sister, Barbara Jane, in April had an affect on her. Norma graduated from Muncie Central High School in May 1938 and there are pictures of her in her cap and gown and a hand-colored version of her in her prom dress in 1938.
Norma's first gainful employment was as a babysitter for the Gibson family Between 1937 and 1938. They owned the Gibson's Skating Rink on South Mock Ave near her home. Later, probably that same time period she, as did her father and most of her family, worked at Ball Brothers Company. They were a large producer of glass canning jars and other glass products. "Worked where they made the jars with metal things over the top (bales ??) - Worked there after graduating from Muncie Central. Worked there quite a while - She would ride her bike to work and park it in the factory. Worked on putting lids on the jars on an assembly line."
She also attended classes at Indiana Business College taking secretarial classes but did not finish the program.
|Further information for Walter and Norma, please see
these Web Pages:
- RobbHaas Family Page (Contains Timelines, Sources, Photos)
- MRM Page (Contains the latest and up-to-date data with Sources but no Photos)
- FamilySearch Profile for Walt
- FamilySearch Profile for Norma
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