Olga's Place - Olga's Poems
  

Olga's Place - Olga's Poems

Olga's Place Home | Olga's Poems


Olga Varie (Brobst) Hitchcock 1898 - 1991

Olga Brobst

My Grandmother, Olga, was a genuine American character, usually joking and full of antics. She resided most of her life in Trumbull County, Ohio. A woman of many interests and talents, including... singing, whistling, acting, sewing, traveling, history, and writing poetry. She was always busy and was often involved in a "project".

Olga Varie Brobst was born January 3, 1898, Adams Township, Defiance County, Ohio, in a settlement called "Low Dutch". (Low Dutch was a term used for people who spoke a certain dialect of the German language.) She was a daughter of Martin Elmore Brobst and Ella Nora Bensing

As a girl she worked hard with her 15 brothers and sisters as their mother urged them on and lead them in singing while they worked to make the tasks more pleasant. They all had their chores to do, and there was no "spare time". They would rise early and go to bed late. As he herself said "We worked, somebody had to bring in the bacon. I really mean that literally. We carried wood for the stoves and if it slipped out of our hands and fell on our toes, we were not to cry. We would say our back hurt and they would tell us; 'Little girls' backs don't hurt.' But that farm work was good for us."

Martin Brobst was determined that his children would have a good education, and to that end he moved his family in 1910 to Trumbull County, Ohio. There he purchased the farmstead that we know today as the Don-Marie-Donna farm in Johnston, Ohio.

In 1918, Olga married Marcus Hanna Hitchcock, a son of Herbert C. Hitchcock and his wife Zella (Dunbar). They lived for awhile in Johnston, and Mecca, finally moving in 192? to the homestead on High Street in Cortland. Here they raised their eight children, through the depression and WW2.

Mark was employed for 45 years in the transportation department of Republic Steel Corporation in Warren Ohio, retiring in 1962. He was always loving and kind to his grandchildren and more than one of them have happy memories of sitting on the tractor next to Grandpa and mowing the fields. Grandpa always enjoyed watching nature shows on TV, and we would go to their house to watch the Wizard of OZ, because they owned a color set.

One of the best times to go to our Grandparents home was on Halloween. Grandma always had the house decorated as a haunted house, complete with "Beware all ye who enter here" warning signs up the walkway, there were cobwebs, skeletons and a scarecrow with a pumpkin head on the front porch.

If a child could get past the signs and onto the front porch, without running away screaming (and many didn't).... The next obstacle was to ring the doorbell. Then Grandma would appear, on the one night she "really let her hair down," literally, she had waist length hair, which she died with the juice from the skins of black walnuts. She would be dressed in a witches costume complete with black dress, cape, and pointed hat. She would whip around a noisemaker, and if you were still standing there, you were invited in to the party, for punch and cake. Grandma could not simply hand out candy, it had to be a big production.

When her children were grown, Olga used money she had saved from selling eggs from the hens they raised, and from sale of some the land that they owned, and traveled all over the world.

She ventured to Mexico, Japan, Hawaii, South America, Europe, Alaska, Africa, Australia and the South Seas. By the time she left us in 1991 at the age of 94 she had been almost everywhere she wanted to go except India. By the time she tried to travel to India, she was refused a visa because of age.

Olga (Brobst) Hitchcock on the Great Wall

Olga on the Great Wall of China

She traveled with some of the first groups to visit Russia and China when these countries were finally opened to visitors. She stood on the Great Wall of China, went on a safari in Africa, and saw King Tut's tomb. At the age of 76 she cruised the south seas and took part in a Kangaroo Chase on horseback at Alice Springs in Australia. She would give slide shows and talks to share her adventures with students and shut-ins.

At home, she was a member of Wealthy Rebecca Lodge in Cortland, she sang in choirs, and whistled bird calls. Olga was involved in the Cortland Street Fair off and on for 26 years. In 1953 when Ohio celebrated it's 150th year of statehood, she rode in the Cortland Street Fair Parade as "the oldest commemorated queen." She was carried on an oxen pulled cart. The dress she wore in that parade was her own authentic 1803 re-creation. She delighted in discussing the history of Cortland Village, a subject in which she had put a lot of time and research.

Olga (Brobst) Hitchcock

She was proudly an Ohioan and American and I think the Bicentennial provided her with one of the more enjoyable times of her life.

She was a member of the Niles Bicentennial Chorus, which gave many concerts in the area performing patriotic songs.

She created and displayed more than 100 historical replicas of flags, both American and Foreign, most hand sewn, which she exhibited at fairs and schools and such.

She sewed recreations of each of the First Ladies inaugural Gowns, and other period gowns dating from 1771 to present. A talented seamstress, she never used a pattern and used beautiful brocades that she purchased in China and other fabrics that she had purchased in her many travels.


This page was last updated on: Friday, 30-Jan-2009 19:33:35 MST, Copyright© 1998-2013
by Kay Starr Schaney
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