The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 27, 2013

A Forgotten Hero

Who was this Marcus “Mike” Brough? I visited him often. He lived across the street when we lived on Kenilworth court. Mike was tall and very thin and wore thick glasses. He read a lot. Like many young men, he slept late and drank milk by the quart from a large glass bottle that was waiting on the porch each morning. He seldom went out. Mike wore slippers instead of shoes and was rather ahead of his time as a 1940’s hippie. He was gentle and quiet.


One day we walked over to Sandaler’s store on 7th Avenue, and he bought me a double-dip chocolate cone. I don’t recall what he had, -- we just walked and didn’t say much. We passed Danny Aldinger’s house on Melrose, whose mom and dad ran the movie theaters. I was to see them often in the years to come. And then we passed Franklin School, where I would attend kindergarten in the fall of 1944. Miss Ethel Holmes was principal, and my teacher would be Miss Bertha Bingham, who had taught there since at least 1920! (I have her notes as PTA Secretary at that time!)


Unfortunately, that is about all that I can remember about Mike, because he was one of the last men called up for active duty during the war. I remember missing him, because he listened when I talked and, as I said, adult males were hard to come by for a pre-schooler like me in those days.


A few years ago, one of Mike Brough’s classmates called me, because they’d never been able to contact him for their class reunion. I don’t know why they would call me, unless perhaps someone remembered that my sister Joan had known him. She dated about every lonesome boy who ever lived in Clinton back then! Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) also worked at the new DuPont Plant, with people like Marv Ohsann, whose energy and staying power I continue to marvel at, as he still meets for coffee with another stalwart, Warren McEleney, each day before the two of them go off to work! Ellen O’Neil McEleney is a longtime friend of the Herrity children from our days together on 4th Avenue. Recently, when I asked her about Warren and Marv still working, she said, “Oh Gary, they don’t know any better!” -- She’s a darling, who has the exact same 4th Avenue attitude and personality that she had while playing there so long ago with all of us.

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