" The Story of Turk and his Family ".
In the year of 1931 times were very hard and people had to work together to help each other survive. The depression caused great hardships on all families .
Turk was born in 1931 into a already growing family . His father and mother were of the Catholic faith . They were very religious and practiced their faith . They felt each child they had was a special gift from God. All the children worked together to help their mother and father and eachother . They were not rich in wordly goods but rich in love for eachother .
Turk's father was a policeman for the city of brotherly love [Philidelphia, Pa] . His mother took charge of the household and raising the children .Turk's father's name was Francis and his mother's name was Bridget . Turk's mother went to early mass eachday to pray and ask God for his guidance in raising her children .
In the early years there were some times of discord between the two families of Francis and Bridget over the large family they were having . Bridget was a very religious and devout person who felt the number of children she had was in the hands of God and not a decision she should make .
As Turk grew up he tried to help his mother all he could and developed a very special bond with his mother . Turk's father was a very good and gentle man . As with all families , things do not run smoothly all the time . There are always problems and trials to be over come . Turk's mother Bridget was a small woman in statue . She trained her children from the oldest to the younger ones to take care of eachother . That lesson is one they never forgot .
Bridget thru her faith and trust raised her children to always love the Lord and go to church . She wanted them to know how important that was and would be to them all their lives . I never got to meet Turk's parents but I heard many things about them all the years I was apart of this great family.
Turk's father placed a Blessed Mother Statue on the grounds of the St. Bridget's Catholic Church , East Fall , Philadelphia Co. Pa. The statue was placed there in memory of the great and wonderful woman she was by her husband , Francis Joseph Hillanbrand .
One day when he was 11 years old his mother Bridget , who
was pregnant again , began having serious problems with her pregnancy . She had started to bleed and was rushed to the hospital . Turk was very upset and wanted so much to go with her . He was not able to go see her in hospital because of his young age . That was to be the last time he saw her.
Bridget , his mother , had a beautiful baby boy who was named Raymond. The birth had taken all of his mother's strenght and she bleed to death after giving birth .
Turk took her death very hard and because he never got to tell her " Good Bye " he became very sad and depressed . Turk became very angry and withdrawn into his self. He loved his mother so much and had been so close to her it was hard for him to realize she was really gone.
The family was in great turmoil and great indecision about what could be done to care for all the children . The two great families pulled together and a place was found for all the smaller ones and the new baby Raymond .
Turk was one of the sixteen children of Francis and Bridget Hillanbrand . The five oldest children remained with their father but a home was found for all the younger ones but three . Those three went to a Catholic Home . The families made sure those three were included in all the Holiday Celebrations . Tom was very sad that any of them were placed in the Catholic Home .
Turk , a brother named William and baby Raymond went to live with their Aunt Deloris[Hillanbrand] Brecht and Robert Brecht . Aunt Deloris was a very sweet and gentle woman who already had three sons of her own to raise . She raised the boys to love God and to go Mass . Her husband Robert Brecht was a good and loving man who cared about the boys just the same as his own boys .
The family stayed very close thru the years and always helped eachother . As Turk began to grow up he always had that deep hurt about the loss of his mother and not being able to tell her 'Good Bye " .
Turk and his brother Charles joined the Army when the Korean War started and both were sent to Korea . Turk made it back home unharmed but his brother was lost on Pork Chop Hill in Korea . Charles Hillanbrand became one of America's MIA . Turk was very touched by the loss of his brother Charles . He felt very happy to be returning home to the USA but very sad that his brother Charles was not coming with him .
Turk had worked himself up in rank to Sergeant and had signed up for another two year hitch when I first meet him . He was stationed in Ft. Smith , Ar. at Camp Chaffee , Army Base .
Turk loved to roller skate and often was at the local skating rink on the week-ends. On one of those week-ends he decided to ask me to skate with him in a special dance . That was the beginning of our relationship .
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