Clarence Hylland

by

Sharon Ohmann

Junior High Division

 

I will call him Uncle Clarence because that is what he is to Mom. He has always been so much like my Grandpa, yet so unique. Many times I have asked my Mom, how come Uncle Clarence is so different from Grandpa Martin? Why hasn't he learned to think before he talks? Why doe she say things that he only regrets?

Mom says, "There's so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the rest of us."

Clarence Hylland was born August 15, 1899, in a pioneer home four miles north of Badger, Minnesota. His parents were full blooded Norwegians. At Clarence's birth he was so tiny that his Mom and Dad, ---le and Mary Hylland, doubted that their second son would have a fighting chance. Afterwards, he was acting sick and having convulsions, so a neighbor performed a baptism. There was no time to argue over a name for the child, so it was decided that Clarence would be appropriate. A second name couldn't be settled on, so it was just Clarence Hylland!

Clarence had a hectic start in life but survived and came to join his sister, age 7, and his brother, Henery, age 5. Three years later, Martin arrived, my grandpa, Martin.

Clarence had a questionable start in life, but lived a normal childhood. Many enjoyable hours were spent roaming the woods. One of Clarence's hobbies was carving. He and Martin made many wooden farm animals. As teenagers, they carved their own violins. Listening to the Silver-tone records they picked up tunes and played at many house parties. The log cabins rocked to the melody of the violins and the tap of the dancers' feet!

As years went by, the boys grew older. Henery seemed to be in control of his younger brothers. He spoke the Gospel. Clarence and Martin were like two peas in a pod. Clarence, the bigger pea, gave the orders to Martin.

When Clarence was 17, he had a narrow escape. He was cutting wood and his axe slipped. He cut himself from the top of the foot all the way through. There was a little luck involved with it. He happened to be right outside the cabin. His parents could think of only one thing to do- bury the foot into a pan of flour. The bleeding was stopped and no doctor was consulted.

In 1931, Clarence was at a country dance. He was sitting by a girl whom he thought he should ask to dance. A conversation started and soon enough, Clarence had a steady dance partner. For four years, Jenny Hylland and Clarence courted. In June, 1933, they decided to get married. The nineteen year difference in their ages put the marriage off to a questionable start. One year later, a son came along. They named him Melford. For two years, the family had fun times together. Because of some argument, Jenny took offense and ran home to her mother. Soon a divorce was brought about because of mental cruelty. Clarence was left without a son or wife.

Right after that, Clarence found living along wasn't so enjoyable, so he moved in with his brother, father, and mother. The three would do the farm chores and they had quite a few good times together. My mom always remembers them being a weekly visitor on Sundays.

Sadness struck the Hylland's as years rolled by. At age57, Clarence's dad died from an ulcer and the boys took over the farm. Twenty-five years later my great grandmother had a stroke. They took her to a hospital and the third day she passed away. She was missed very much, but the boys kept up the farm work.

Clarence was always a sickly man. He had ulcers pretty bad, so Henery got the heavy load with the farm work. After a while his stomach was feeling so bad he couldn't even eat. Henery talked him into getting an operation and 85 percent of his stomach had to be taken out. After that, he was never bothered any more. He was living fine again.

Sometimes Clarence got so disgusted with the cows not coming in the barn when chores had to be done. He talked about it with Henery. They had some neighbors nearby that had puppies to give away. They got a dog and in a little while it had become part of the family. For years they had this dog. When we were old and his sight was getting bad, the dog ran up in front of a pickup that Henery was driving. Henery couldn't stop quickly enough. The dog was suffering, so they had to shoot him. The brothers mourned over his loss.

During all these years, Clarence kept in touch with Melford. In 1974, Clarence had received word that Melford was in the hospital sick with Hodgkin disease. Clarence went to visit him and he couldn't talk or open his eyes and his head was swelled so badly. Next morning he was dead, leaving a young wife and three girls, ages: seven, eight, and nine.

Despite Clarence's 76 years, he is still very active. He was seen doing a standing high jump over a 4 foot fence at 75 and running down a rooster at 70. With his slim figure, masculine profile, and nice head of hair, Clarence could still qualify as a perfect model in a man’s clothing department!

Bibliography

Hylland, Clarence, Interview, January 13, 1975

Hylland, Minnie, Interview, January 13, 1975

Ohmann, Gloria, Interview, January 13, 1975

Ohmann, Gloria, Interview, January 13, 1975