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Updated on November 18, 2010


Fellow Hubbers and other readers, as you may know I love to relate funny things that have occurred during my past lifetime. This is part 2 in this series. These stories may be things that have happened to me or things that others have recounted to me during my sixty-four years.

In this Hub I have one of each. I have previously told the story of my brother Kimmie in numerous Hubs about my hometown of Moundsville and the first story of this Hub is one of my memories about him. It was a very close call that almost made me a killer and cost Kimmie his life. In the second story of this Hub my Mom related a story of her sister, my Aunt Gertude, who I have Hubbed about previously in my Hubs about my foot and mouth disease.


At Christmas of 1959 when I was 13 years old my Uncle Jimmy convinced my parents that I was old enough to own a shotgun.

One dark and stormy night in 1960 when I was up late reading Mad Magazines, I heard a noise at the front door. I was startled at first, but I shrugged it off as just being the wind rustling through the trees and rattling the front door. The second time I heard the front door rattling I jumped from my bed and scurried down the hall. I gave the door a glance and all seemed normal.

When I heard the garage door opening I leapt from my bed and grabbed my double-barreled 16-gauge shotgun. Time seemed to stand still, but I know that subsequent events took place in less than a minute. I was quivering in my bedroom as I broke down my awesome firepower and loaded the double aught buckshot into my deadly weapon. I never wanted to bring harm to any living person for all of my young life, but the next event was harrowing indeed!!!!!!!!!

I crept down the hall and into the kitchen with my shotgun loaded but not closed. I didn’t want it to discharge prematurely until I knew danger was afoot. I turned into the kitchen where the door from the garage to the house was located. My knees knocked in fear. The next event brought that fear to a fever pitch. I saw the doorknob on the door from the garage to the kitchen slowly turning!!!!!!! I heard my heart pounding as I held my breath and shut the fully loaded shotgun, then released the safety!!!!!!!!! My mind was racing as I prayed, ”Dear God don’t let me kill a person!!!” The next memory I have was hearing Kimmie’s voice coming from the partially open door calling out my name. Kimmie said,” Hey Tuck are you there? I want to borrow your shotgun to go hunting in the morning.”

I replied through my tightened throat with my knees now completely turned to jelly, “You almost got my shotgun with both barrels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”



Whew, that was a close call, but we both learned lessons. We learned that a gun is always loaded and not to enter a house unannounced late at night!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It almost cost my brother, Kimmie his life and my nervous system was shot for a month of Sundays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I spent a lot of time each summer with Aunt Gertrude and Uncle John Zumbrunnen at their camp on Fish Creek. I really enjoyed my time on Fish Creek. Particularly since my cousin Chris had been born. Now that he was three he was a lot of fun. I always looked forward to going to camp with my part-time summer family.

My Mom told me the story around the time I was 8 years old in 1955 about my Aunt Gertrude and her adventure into the world of bottling home made beer. Mom said this had occurred about four years earlier when she went to Aunt Gertrude’s house and discovered her in the cellar bottling home brew. As Mom walked in the door she discovered Aunt Gertrude was in the cellar and she walked down the cellar steps to see what her sister was doing and found Aunt Gertrude was using a unique method of bottling her potables. The method of employing a siphon isn’t unique in the home bottling realm, but aunt Gertrude was swallowing the first gulp of each and every brew she bottled. Since Mom observed at least 48 bottles of freshly bottled home brew it comes as no surprise that Dear Aunt Gertie was more than a little impaired by the alcohol she had consumed during this bottling process. To say she was stewed to the gills would be an understatement.

I had personal experience with Aunt Gertie’s and Uncle John’s home brew while staying with them at the camp on Fish Creek along with my cousin Chris (their son and bassist for my band The Darvons in later years). My aunt and uncle would give both Chris and me a half juice glass of home brew at the table before bedtime some nights at camp. We thought we were big deals getting to drink home brew with the grown-ups.

Chris and I had our own adventures. We went fishing, swimming, hiking, cooking out and just being boys. We got into a little trouble but nothing major or felonious.

WE ALWAYS HAD A GREAT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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    • Tom Whitworth profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      You should be thankful that it wasn't Aunt Gertie's and Uncle John's home brew because one 6 pack would put a 600 pound bear under the table!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      It got me blasted a few times and thank you for commenting!!!!!!!!!

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      Tom, Didn't anyone ever tell you, "not to discharge too early!" Those home brews made me sleep alone one night. A date and I downed two six packs of tall boys. I was waiting for her to get drunk. She told me, "daddy brought me up on moonshine, because he knew I'd meet boys like you.

      She challenged me do do 2 more six packs. I took her home early. H

    • Tom Whitworth profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Yes we had both good and bad adventures. My Uncle Jimmy coaxed Mom and Dad into getting me the shotgun because he and Aunt Eva were avid hunters.

      Aunt Gertude and Uncle John made root beer also, but it never exploded like the home brew did. So any explosion noises were the result of home brew exploding.

      Thank you for your interesting comment.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Apparently both good and bad adventures. I was lucky to get a BB gun at that age.I believe my dad made some beer during the prohibition era but that was before I was around. I do remember he made root beer but made the mistake of storing it in mason jars with screw on covers. I believe the family was woke up by exploding jars of root beer.

    • Tom Whitworth profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Thanks for the vote and visit.

      I had a blast doing the living and thank you for commenting!!!!!!!!!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Tom, I can't tell you how much I enjoy these stories. Voted up!

    • Tom Whitworth profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      About the nickname Tuck, My Dad and my Brother Kimmmie gave them to me when I was very young and Aunt Gertie had more in common with Mr. Key than bursting bombs and bottles, as she could sing, "The Star Spangled Banner" like a lark.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Funny story, Tom, about your Aunt Gertrude and the home brewed beer. She had a lot in common with Francis Scott Key. He wrote about "bombs bursting in air." She lived with home brew beer bottles doing the same thing.

      Curious - How did you get the nickname, Tuck?

    • Tom Whitworth profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Jolly Rogero,

      Then we fooled them because we snuck out anyway!!!

      Thank you for your comment.

    • Tom Whitworth profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      I always had fun with Aunt Gertie and Uncle John. When I was at their house the air was filled with the sound of exploding home brew bottles from the cellar!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thank you for your complimentary comment.

    • Jolly Rogero profile image

      Jolly Rogero 

      8 years ago

      You've had some close calls. I'm glad you didn't shoot your brother. I think the reason your aunt and uncle gave you boys beer at night was so you'd sleep and not sneak out to the creek.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Another fun bunch of tales, Tom! Your personal experiences always make me smile.


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