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Memories of Paul M. Brokaw’s stories

as told to his son, Paul B. (Bill) Brokaw,

and written by Bill Brokaw

This is the cover page for the recalled stories of Paul’s life as he told them to me. Many experiences included, pertaining to his life, are really mine. My first intention was to write only the stories he told. I soon realized how limiting it would be to view his and my mother’s life and experiences from only the perspective of the stories he enjoyed telling, and I could remember for retelling. Anything written from my perspective would be no earlier than 1936. It would be tempting to try and write his stories in the first person, but I fear it would be a dishonest representation. It is impossible to compile these experiences in true chronological order as I would have nothing better than a guess as to the year. Where it may be known or approximated, an effort will be made at such order. I will write them by broad subject and compile them in that fashion.

Paul had an amazing life. The times had much to do with this as the twenties and thirties were prime times for the adventurous. He was not defeated by the great depression. The severe adjustments required forever changed how he and Neda viewed life, establishing their conservative lifestyle. Dealing with the depression was an adventure of a different sort. The end of youthful adventure came with the start of WWII when his motorcycle club, the Blackhawk M.C., almost to the man, left to do battle. Many challenges were to be successfully met in the war years and following, but that certain pioneering feeling would never be the same. His favorite stories would always be from the twenties and thirties.

Being a professional journalist, it is sad that he never attempted to put his own life on paper. As a story teller he had few equals and his life experiences were the great majority of his subjects. My failing was that I did not make the concerted effort to have his stories recorded so his words could be used here. His telling of his early life as a child and youth is the only thing taped and a typed copy of that will eventually be added to this collection. He loved to tell of his experiences to the point that he would retell them to me as thoughts surfaced, without hesitation. I should know them verbatim, but my failing may well surface as I attempt to put them on paper.

The night he died, I well recall looking at his lifeless body with remorse more for the loss of those wonderful memories than the loss of my dad. It seemed that his memories really were my dad since his mind was the only thing agile at the end of his life. Great feats of those early times are well recorded, but the small but romantic events that occurred, on the sandlots of life, have gone to the grave with many of the rugged men who lived during the years between the great wars. We will see if I can do reasonable justice to his stories and experiences.

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