Living An Ordinary Life? Never.

Archie Baumann was born in a log cabin in Bagley, Minnesota in Clearwater County. You might ask Archie Baumann? Who is Archie Baumann?archie and vi
Archie Baumann is one of those people who has lived an ordinary life. He is one of those people who normally doesn’t make the newspaper, but there is a story in every life, and this is Archie Baumann’s story.
Baumann grew up in Bagley, Minnesota. His mother died when he was five years old and his grandfather lost the family farm in 1936. Times were hard. Archie didn’t go to high school. He went to CCC Camps which stand for Civilian Conservation Corp.
Civilian Conservation Corps began March 31, 1933 and was particularly active in Minnesota. Men 18 – 25 years old could enlist in CCC Camps and work in a military style environmental camp. Enlistees were paid $30 a month to build roads, plant trees, hang telephone line and learn vital job skills.
According to Baumann $25.00 went back to your family and people got to keep $5.00 to spend any way they wanted. It was here that Archie started his hobby of drawing cartoons. He still has the first cartoon he created for the Deer Lake Echo, the camp newspaper. The camp was in Effy, Minnesota. The cartoons were printed on a mimeograph, a low cost printing press that works by forcing ink through a stencil.
As America was coming out of the depression, Baumann moved to Cleveland, Ohio to work in a Steel Mill. That is where Archie and Violet began their love story. Although Archie and Violet both grew up in Bagley, Violet commented “We didn’t chum together.” Violet also moved to Cleveland to work in a battery factory and according to both of them “It was a whirlwind courtship.”
Archie knew he was going to be drafted into the Army and he didn’t want to be drafted from Cleveland. He wanted to enlist in the Navy and move back to Bagley before he did this. He and Violet decided to get married. They visited the library to find the closet county to Cleveland that would marry them without a waiting period. They found that county and drove to Cumberland, Maryland from Cleveland to get married.
Any wedding can’t happen without a couple of stories. Along the way Archie and Violet picked up a hitchhiker. Archie describes that experience. “This is one of the fun things that happened on the trip. It was a hot July day. We decided to pick up a hitchhiker. In those days it wasn’t unusual to find hitchhikers and to pick one up. He was a smart aleck, he knew everything. I was getting tired of it and his hat blew out the window. So I pulled over and let him go get his hat. He got out and went back to get his hat and I took off. I suppose he’s still waiting out there.” Baumann finished the story with a chuckle.
Archie related another story that happened on their way back to Cleveland after their wedding. “One of the first things I learned after getting married was that I didn’t know how to feed a bride. She got hungry as we were driving back to Cleveland. I stopped at a little Pa and Ma gas station and picked up what I thought would be a nice little lunch – bananas and orange pop. That didn’t go good at all. And I haven’t cooked a meal since.”
After the wedding, the Baumann’s moved back to Bagley where Archie enlisted in the Navy. He was stationed in Okinawa and was on the island when the United States dropped the bombs on Hiroshima.
After the Navy, Baumann came back to Bagley to raise his family with his wife Violet. They have five children, Karen, Debbie, Kay, Connie and Dennis, 14 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. Bauman commented that they have 50 direct descendants.
Baumann worked various jobs over the years but his 20 year stint at the Minnesota Farmer’s Union gave him the readers for his cartoons, which were published in the Farmer’s Union Newspaper. That also led to his cartoons being featured in the Minnesota Senior News and the Minnesota Board of Aging. Archie’s love of cartooning, continued long after he retired, publishing his cartoons in his own books for his family and friends.
After retirement, the Baumann’s moved to Wells and spent many hours volunteering for the Wells Area Food Shelf and helping in the community. They now reside in Janesville.
Baumann has never taken any art classes but his self-taught skill is evident in his cartoons whose subjects range from editorial comments to parenting and family. His favorite cartoon is one of two little boys in front of the television watching the six o’clock news. One boy says to the other boy: “If the President would send our Grandmother over there, they would stop fighting.”
Archie commented, “Drawing was fun. Thinking of new ideas was the tough part.”
Although Archie’s hands have stiffened and slowed and drawing is harder now, the ideas still come strong into his mind and he will leave behind a legacy of cartoons and ideas that will live on forever.
When asked to sum up his life, it wasn’t a final comment about his talent; it was a comment of love for this country. “One thing I say about my life is that the last 90 years I have been around have been the best 90 years for the country, in spite of the depression and all the other hazards and wars. We’ve got a pretty good life in this country.”

4 thoughts on “Living An Ordinary Life? Never.

  1. The story you wrote about Archie and Vi Baumann was really appreciated. Archie is the brother of my late husband Basil Baumann who went to heaven Feb. Sixth of 2011

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  2. Thank you for the wonderful article about my Uncle Archie and Aunt Vi. These two wonderful people are such an inspiration to not only their family but to all who know them. A LIFE WELL LIVED!

    Like

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