Leon Burge and Kevin Burge (2022)

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00:04My name is Kevin Leon Burge. I'm 45 years old. Today's date is Sunday, September 15th, 2019. We are in Yuma, Arizona.

00:20Leon Paul Burge is my interview partner and he is my dad.

00:31I'm Leon Paul Purge and age 78

00:41Today is Sunday, December 5th.


00:472019. We're in Yuma, Arizona.

00:52And my partner interview partner is Kevin my son and

01:03I guess that's that's it start with.

01:08So Dad, I thought I'd ask you about some of your earlier memories with your dad and what sort of interesting fun memories that you might have of Paul Leon Burge.

01:27Good question. I remember when I was probably about 4.

01:35For five years old who lived in a place called and Selmo, Nebraska and

01:46We we had this pig that I guess we bought.

01:55And were fattening up and I was very sad when the guy came to pick up the pig and he had a team of horses and Laika.

02:12Hey, hey.

02:15Trailer and the pig was tied up and he was hauled the pig off too. I suppose The Butcher Shop. Remember this story? What? What was the name of the the Pick O ya paga maroon, he was red in color question.

02:35I don't think I remembered that. It was pick up maroon. Yes.

02:43And did you ever find out what happened with that pig? No, I was just kind of the end of my memory there. Yeah.

02:54Family pig that you have. Yeah, and we obviously weren't raised it to 2 in the small towns back there when I was young. Well, they used to have a butcher shop and then they'd have a cold job freezer storage area where people keep their meat while it was whatever they had butchered her.

03:24Like maybe a sporting.

03:29If they're done got game that they wanted to put in there or whatever or were you upset with your dad yet. Well I was upset but I'm not sure what who

03:41How old are you in that have had to have it has a response for 500K?

03:48And you you moved around a lot when you were young quite. Why did you move around so much my dad work for?

03:59The railroad he was first employed by the Burlington and

04:08Later on by the Union Pacific

04:11And he had an I thought kind of an interesting job. He was at the hell out here for agent and he would listen to the Sounder key.

04:24Hand at a typewriter wood

04:28Type messages in triplicate and in those days there were no cell phones or

04:38Train engines had no radio equipment. So they there was a long stick that they would buy the message on to and it tied On Loosely and if you if you saw the

05:01Big Boy engine come through here a few couple months ago few months ago. You would realize how high up the crew of the engine were and he would hold the stick up and either the engineer or fireman would put out his arm and catch this loop with the message tied to it to give them orders on.

05:30Which siding to go into so I can meet other train pass other trains and so on and then he would hand the second copy up to the Caboose.

05:43The rear end and the conductor or the brakeman would catch that message.

05:50So had a couple chances to to get are they both needed that message? Maybe I would have never thought about that.

06:03I remember being fond of trains myself and I presume I got that from being around Grandpa and being around around you. No doubt.

06:20Sir, I thought there was a story but I might be wrong about.

06:26Those messages getting missed.

06:30And I imagine it would cause problems I suppose it could yeah, so with you guys moved around a lot so that took you to a lot of different little towns in Nebraska western, Nebraska and North Eastern, Colorado on South Eastern.

07:02Wyoming did you have a kind of a favorite stop moving around could have been easy moving around alot, you know hard to make friends every time you move. Yeah, I was always felt like the outsider and

07:26I guess that was

07:28It was hard to go to a new school and

07:32But later on is my dad got more your grandfather got more seniority. He was able to beat in the branch Branch line job and which is more or less permanent.

07:49Until they did away with a lot of the branches.

07:56Does some

07:59Is it was our particular stop along the way you remember more or maybe a friend that came across that you maybe you have kept in touch with her. Maybe you haven't.

08:17Some of my friends are gone at my course, but

08:23I guess one of my favorite places was a town called Loup Loup City, Nebraska and it was

08:35County seat

08:37And all of that Dad was between the Brewerton and the Union Pacific and he had a photo shop at that at that time.

08:48And it was just too I thought was a neat place to live. So so grandpa had a photo shop in Loup City. You're right. He was enjoyed photography and

09:05I just one time he might have shot a wedding.

09:09And for someone


09:14I got all done and they realized it wasn't any film in the camera kind of remember embarrassing situation. I wonder if they had to restage everything. I don't know. I'm not sure. That's right. I remember that Grandpa like to paint. Yeah, he liked photography. Why why do you think he was such an artist or tell me why he was such an Artistry had an eye for it.

09:51I don't know. He he went to art school for a while in Chicago and

10:01He would always as a boy or member. I'm saying it in the summertime when you have the cumulus clouds building. It was interesting to look at the sky and see different.

10:17Possibilities I do remember that now, I remember even seeing if I could research his time in the presumably the twenties in Chicago last thought that would be an interesting time. You'll be there.

10:32Internet's not that good yet. I don't think

10:41Tell me a bit about your mom.

10:45I know there's a story there.

10:50I'm not sure which store you're talkin about. Well, you you I never knew Grandma right and she passed away when you were very young 11. You were 11.

11:05So rather than focus on that tell me what you've finally remember about her.

11:14A long time ago

11:23She was very loving person. She

11:29She was a school teacher and

11:35She started off by teaching.

11:38In country schools

11:41Little one house country schools and at that time you could go to summer school after you graduated from high school and get the have the

11:58Have a I guess it's certificate that allowed you to teach though in a country school would show.

12:08Was kind of a you know you had

12:128th grades in the country school and

12:17I think it would have taken.

12:22Creativity or I don't know why it be a rough rough age to her a rough job.

12:36You know, I don't think I knew that he was a teacher. Yeah, I find that interesting because later on your dad became a locksmith.


12:55Grandma was a teacher and

13:02I've never really put this together before but you had both those professions, right? I did teach

13:09In a small

13:13High School small town High School in Nebraska 2 years, and then we moved to Yuma and I taught at Woodard Jr. High School for

13:24Six years and gradually got into locksmithing.

13:29Why why did you get into locksmithing? I have not many people that I've known that this find it absolutely fascinating.

13:40Dad had did hurt his back I guess on the job when he worked for the railroad moving Freight around or something. And so we had a disability rehab disability and he at that time he worked in a locksmith shop and got some Basics and then when he came came to Yuma

14:08A year or two later. We came Carol my wife and I came to Yuma and we I started doing it after school and on weekends, and then eventually we opened the shop in 86.

14:29On 24th Street and

14:33Now I'm retired.

14:35But I'm officially retired but in actuality I'm still working at least for a couple more months has impressed that you've cut your hours to 36 a week. That's that's good. So well.

14:53Are you holding to that? No?

14:57I remember being able to leave school and walk to the shop cuz school was pretty close to Ryan's Pet Shop and serve the refuge on the way home on the hot days in Yuma and you even had me work a little bit. Oh, yeah, right.

15:24Anything you want to ask me about that?

15:29No, I'm okay. Go ahead. But I I was just thinking of of you know going out with you on calls and yeah, okay. Yeah, we went to Barney's one time Barney's gas station and they had a storage building or something up back and I probably couldn't pick her bump open the lock and yet there was a small window and you were pretty young at the time. If and I don't know whether we got the window open.

16:10And then you crawled through and unlock the door had a very very unique way of picking a lock put me through a window and out. I might be wrong, but I thought it was a bathroom cuz I remember a bad smell could have been

16:29I do remember stories of probably relate to time to myself by Mom of you helping somebody out. You used to have a business line at the house. All right, so you get now you calls Night Calls.

16:53Seems to me there might be an interesting story or to their butt.

16:59I'm remembering that invariably there would be somebody that would.

17:07Be out swimming. Oh, yeah.

17:11What would happen? Okay, I will work.

17:16Oh, I guess I was taking a

17:19Scuba class through City Parks and Rec and

17:25Will you try to be in shape and so

17:32We have for the completion of the course. We would we're going to go out for a final check out Kellogg beach in near San Diego and also out on a boat the following day. Anyway, it was over a week and that

17:51It happened and we went out to Senators wash and

17:58I was doing laps or whatever. I hadn't done my just my mask and snorkel on and any young boys.

18:10My uncle lost his keys swimming out there. I should hope so. I'm looking for the keys and in the visibility. It is Senators wash is pretty bad pretty for and I did find a dollar bill that much time out of his pocket and I didn't mark the spot. So I went back down and you know, it wasn't very deep and

18:43Finally their his keys were sitting on the bottom and I was happy because I didn't want to go back to town and get my van and come back out there to make car keys for him. That was back when I did a lot of lot more Automotive locksmithing. Did they even though you are a locksmith or is that they just I don't know if I can't remember if I ever told him. I'm also thinking of stories of visitors to Yuma from California during the float down.

19:24Yeah, they would come.

19:27Drop their keys in the river and make the classic mistake of driving over here with one set.

19:37So many people drive around you and my with one set of keys, which is Russian Roulette in 00.

19:46Well, don't put them on the same ring, right?

19:51One story that just makes me chuckle is have we had that

19:58Business phone at the house. And when I was a little you take those late-night calls trying to build up the business. This is probably before the shop open and there was it was one time that mom decided to rearrange the bedroom furniture in your room. Yeah, and then the phone rang and I got out of bed and

20:31Tried to go through the closet door and instead of the door into the bedroom to get to the phone to get to the hallway. And I think that hole is still on the door telling me that while we watch that out to them. That's the kind of service you had that's good.

20:56Sure. Sure.

21:05Oh, yeah, that's actually a good story home. Well, I had a

21:11Close friend


21:16Had day

21:19Was getting married in this little church and

21:28He asked me to stand up for him in the wedding party tonight I did and

21:36+ 2

21:38Friends some

21:41To be

21:43Ask a friend of hers to stand up on her side and some mom was a bridesmaid and groomsmen and and they win.

22:01This Tall

22:03Good-looking young man brought Carol my eventual wife to the wedding rehearsal. They pulled up and she's got a boyfriend.

22:16Well, it was her brother actually and eventually

22:22She took some snapshots and eventually I used that as an excuse to ask her for some copies and and that's how you got her address.

22:36A long wait because I was trying to get through school before but we eventually got married. So you met mom walking down the aisle walking down the aisle added as soon as wedding rehearsal that makes sense and you sneakily asked her for her address by asking for copies of the pictures. She was divine.

23:09If if my recollection of the story is correct after the wedding was over. Did you to share a ride? Maybe Jason the bride and groom or am I not review in Ohio. I'll have to check with her on that. Maybe her memories better than what I thought it was her ex has got a tickle that story I met somebody else's wedding.

23:46So do you remember the first time you met me?

23:53It's a yes. I'm well, I know it was it to Yuma Regional Medical Center, and I think you were 8 lb, baby.

24:06We are.

24:08We decided to keep you I'm appreciative.

24:1645 years ago. Thanks. Yeah. I know. I don't look a day over fourteen or right?

24:25Who's been a while? I so much more appreciate spending time with with my dad now that I have a son to.

24:37And I can't believe it's been 10 years since he came along right?

24:44So he can be a character but the hit sort of fits with our family so

24:53What lessons about fatherhood you learned from your dad?

24:58Well Dad to the lesson set you taught me about fatherhood where I think were.

25:09Mostly by your example

25:12It's hard not to get a little emotional and I know you were gone a lot.

25:18Cuz you were working sometimes Out hours, but never loved you any less for it. And I think the things that I learned was being kind of others.


25:36Learning to appreciate the subtleties in life you and Mom were so very loving and that's I hope coming out with with the my son and daughter to write and I boy you didn't get angry often, but I never wanted to see it when you did because you you knew the important times to let me know when I was misbehaving and I appreciate that. I've tried to learn to Linda speak softly with my son and one to use a firmer and so it's helped.

26:25Leon do you have any funny memories with Kevin when he was a boy he got in trouble at church one time. He was disrupting the service and and

26:42Finally is Mother.

26:45Tookie took hold of him started carrying him out back into the narthex. I suppose if we had the narthex then and I can remember no Mom. No, Mom.

27:02Well, I don't know if you got it. I don't think you got a spanking of he just but anyway the threat was good of the other parent.

27:14Do you do you think you would do the same career? And if you had to do it over definitely I would it's always interesting and

27:29Even now I'm kind of helping the

27:34The new making the transition to the new family that's starting to run the shop on the business.

27:43Finding outfit there's things that I used to do and I'm finding there's probably easier waste to do the same job that I've done it for years.

27:59What are you what do you miss most about the old days? Is there anything you're nostalgic for?

28:19I can't think of anything. That's okay your forward-looking person.

28:29You ever kind of come across the sort of a maybe a major decision or Fork on the road that you think about?

28:38Maybe you would have done differently or

28:41I'm up for grabs the right word. But yeah.

28:49Not really, I guess you know.


29:02You have times when the

29:06You do have to make decisions on which Fork to take. I guess it's too much for general question.

29:27NE well, I suppose one pretty fun memory that I have is times that I've got to spend with you and Mom just the two of you and me and I do have a sister and tell her he's great when she's been around but we taking some trips together.

29:50We took one last year and we took 113 years ago together to two different trips. So different place we can talk about them both, but the one trip that I

30:07Remember a lot was traveling overseas to

30:14Wales yeah, we was becoming rotary president. And yeah, we went to England Wales Denmark touched in Sweden for bed.

30:30I don't know that there's one specific thing but it was it was a great time to go. Yeah, it was.

30:41Everybody most of the most everybody we encountered spoken English and we could do one thing about it. I remember you, you know, maybe we couldn't understand the

30:57The Bobby's in London, but what they said when I asked directions one time, but the Danes we could understand them and I was told that the reason for that is that the change of at one time watched a lot of Western American Cowboy movie. So so I remember

31:25We did a lot of genealogy, right mom likes to do that.

31:33But we would hit what libraries or cemetery cemeteries Hellboy those Cemetery see which brings us to the story of you and your teacher asking you what maybe she would he or she the teacher would want to know just for fun was asking the kids what they did in the past or passed and some went to Disneyland someone to Magic Mountain and Kevin. What did you do? I I went to cemeteries with my mom. Mom is genealogy. Love took us to a place is not every child would go beyond. This is when we were when I was much younger and crazy cool. Right, right.

32:31I always like to tell the story of why do you bring shaving cream in a in a towel to a cemetery? Why is it that well?

32:45Maybe you shouldn't do this, but I guess so we would put the shaving cream if it was ancestor that we wanted to take a picture of the stone you would.

32:56Put shaving cream on the

33:01Habitat or the information on this on the stone and then maybe squeegee at offer something and then and then take the picture and a little better results. If you can see the the numbers and the letters r I am I forgot about the picture part the whole purpose of and yeah, but you know, I wouldn't trade those memories Bernie's that was neat to see you learn a lot about your ancestors that way

33:35What from North Carolina to?

33:38Canada to Missouri, Nebraska

33:45Sorts of trips

33:52Yeah, you made a lot of people that weigh that are instantaneous.

33:58Friends are Reno there if there's a connection a relative.

34:03If they're related you that it takes the fear out of being with them and visiting with him and

34:15What's your favorite trip? You took with Mom?

34:23Gosh, let's see. I've been a few yeah.

34:32We honeymooned in Lake Okoboji in Northern, Iowa.

34:38One of the neat ones was to Perth Ontario and we found the Weavers told by the people that had the records on the

34:55Who is Barry choir and the one and sister?

35:04He was a

35:06For Irishman

35:08And he didn't have the best, you know, they buried him and used Sam Stoner I think for marker and it was gone, but we knew

35:21They said while this is where he was already has and he had been this particular Montgomery was the surname headband that he was a veteran of the

35:38British Army and they were giving land in Canada to Veterans like in the United States they gave land to homesteaders and because the crown was worried about being invaded by the newly formed United States the colonies who just been interesting one thing about the genealogy. I know that moms discovered is she can't seem to get our family out of the United States to go back really far in there. They're well though the bird is anyways for that particular branch.

36:33Anything you want to ask me ask you? Okay? I don't know.

36:44That's good. Who are you who are your favorite relatives?

36:51I don't know if they might always listening to this. Yeah. Well, I would say so I'll cut you in mom out there because that's you guys are probably first but I'm in my kids and wife but I would say outside of that.

37:12I particularly enjoy going to break down to two I particularly enjoy the Morris. Is there a fun-loving bunch bunch? That's my mom's family and I do enjoy your sister my Aunt Marsha and her husband Fran as well as they've always they never had children, but they've always been something like their other their children just with the children we did they didn't have I should say I didn't say that very well and they were there fun to be around and looking forward to seeing them again soon.

38:03I suppose one story. We were visiting.

38:09Aunt Marcia and Uncle Fran and they lived in Florida at the time

38:19So kind of backwards we go from Arizona to Florida in the summer, but we'd we're visiting them and

38:29We're up early for breakfast and Uncle Fran comes down and he gets opens up the refrigerator and cookies ice cream and cake for Brett now. I think it was a variety of things. I think you and Mom had a hard time explaining as to why that was, okay.

38:56Made for a funny story anyways

39:06Is there a

39:08Anything you would either tell me or you're maybe your younger self or some sort of piece of advice?

39:18If you could

39:23Should I should have gotten these questions ahead of time?

39:32Sorry, I kind of get it.

39:49I'm very proud of you.

39:54I don't know what we did, but we did something right to have you turn out to be.

40:01The good son that you are the same with Dawn.

40:07Your sister

40:10Well, thank you. I don't feel.

40:14Perfect by any means but I do feel that I was raised in a good family and enjoy a good support system and something must went right.

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