The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

A Visit to Frank & Edna Burgum

Published in Spring 1998, this article appeared in Volume 33 of the BFHS Journal.

I am very lucky with my job. As an airline pilot, I get to travel all over the world. This means that I have had the privilege of meeting many of you, despite the thousands of miles of continents and oceans that separate us. I have met Burgums in the USA, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore and Australia. Without exception they have been nice people. Just recently, I flew to Brisbane, Australia (its a tough job, but somebody has to do it!). While there, I hired a car and drove north to Maleny, a journey of about ninety minutes. I had arranged to stay with Frank and Edna Burgum (RR 090) and arrived in the late afternoon.

Edna was there to greet me, as was her grand-daughter Sally (daughter of Mal and Dell, RR 075), who is a nurse. Frank has been ill for some time now and Sally has been a great help to Edna and Frank during these difficult times. Unfortunately, Frank had been taken poorly a few days before I arrived and was now in Maleny Hospital. I sat and chatted to Sally for a while. She was going away for a few days, but took the time to tell me something about her life in Maleny and her time with Frank and Edna. She loves her grandparents dearly. Edna had had a major heart operation at the age of 84, but remains strong and healthy. "Gran seriously amazes me," Sally said. "She's so fit." Frank, on the other hand, has grown old, weakened by a lifetime of smoking. In and out of hospital, Sally and Edna do their best to make him comfortable.

Francis Glen Burgum (Frank) died 4th April 1998. Later that day, Edna and I went to Maleny Hospital. Frank lies in his own room with an oxygen unit nearby to help him breathe. "Hello, mate. How yer doin'?" he asks. Edna tidies Frank's pillows and makes him more comfortable. "By geez, it good to see you." Frank asked about the boys. (We had visited Frank and Edna back in 1991). "I remember that boy of yours," he told me with a glint in his eye. "He'd walk around with his notebook; interested in everythin' he was." (Ashley was just five then).

We sat and talked for a while and Edna told him her news: I'd arrived later than expected, Sally was off to her party by car (a very long drive) and Craig (a grandson) was coming around for dinner. Then it was time to go. "We'll be round tomorrow morning," Edna assured him. "Anything you need?" I said good-bye to Frank and told him I'd be back in the morning. Back at home, Edna cooked a meal and Craig (Ross's son) and his girlfriend came for dinner. We sat and drank beer and talked about family and life. I slept in Sally's room and fell into a deep sleep. It was either the jet-lag or the beer.

The next day, Edna drove me around Maleny. It's a small town, in the hills above the Sunshine Coast. I remembered Burgum Road (named after Frank's brother, Tom). I still have a picture hanging in my house, in the Forest of Dean, with me, Vicky and the boys standing underneath the sign "Burgum Road". As we approached the hospital, Edna pointed to a site across the road. "They're planning a park just there," she explained. "They're thinking of calling it Burgum Park, after Mary (Frank's late sister)." Frank had had another bad night. He had not slept well and he apologised again for not being well. He pulled himself higher up the bed and we chatted. We talked about my last visit back in 1991. We talked about my job with British Airways and my travels. We talked about my visit to Ray (Frank's brother), who lies ill in Perth, Western Australia. We talked about the Burgum Family History Society and my research. We talked about family.

Finally, it was time to go. Frank and I said our good-byes and I shook his hand. "Nice of you to drop by," he smiled. "Good to see you again, mate." Edna and I left the hospital and quietly made our way back to the house. "I have to be going," I explained. "I have a plane to catch !" I knew it wouldn't go without me, but I shouldn't be late. Later, I re-read the sheets of paper given to me by Sally. She had decided to write down some of the things her grandfather had said to her over the past few months. Some are funny; some are very moving. Its sometimes hard to nurse someone you love.........


(Papsy likes to sit quietly and just think about life for long periods of time but sometimes, just sitting there, you hear his voice and these sayings are just "Out of the Blue").
"By Christ, Sally old girl. Isn't it a bastard?"
"What's a bastard, Papsy?"
"Everything in general."
(A few minutes later..)
"Oh no, I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
"I'll be glad when the old girl gets back, she can get me some tobbacca. By geez, it'll be great to get a new packet of tobbacca."
"How's old Snow McKillop? Tell him I've got an old wire brush that'll clean out any ulcers he's got in his guts."
"God, that Healy, he's a good boy." (Talking about the Australian cricket wicket keeper).
"How I'm going to get out of this chair is a bloody mystery."
"I remember it first came out in 1949, when we were in Millmerran."
"What are you talking about old boy ?"
"The Tennessee Waltz, of course."
"Me and Noel, they were expecting us to be dead this morning." (He was in hospital; I was working the nightshift and Peter and Camille arrived...)
"Sometimes I think about how I used to come home on a Friday night and I don't know how the old girl coped."

After a fall and Frank is out of hospital, he still insists on getting out of bed in the middle of the night for a 'cuppa coorrfeee', so now I get up with him to make sure he's alright and no more falls occur. (Silly me!).

"God almighty, Megs."
"What's wrong Papsy?"
"I'm just buggared, that's all. Buggared, buggared, buggared!"
Frank - "I might not be here for Christmas, I just might not be here."
Edna - "Don't you dare, old boy, you'll ruin it for everyone."
Frank - "I'll come back to haunt the bloody lot of ya." (9th December 1997)
Frank - "Did you see Andy tonight?"
Sally - "No, just talked on the phone."
Frank - Did you tell him that your Grandfather has gone completely off his crust?"
Sally - "Yeh, told him that."
Frank - "Good, 'cause that's the truth."
Frank - "What are you doing, Megs?"
Sally - "I'm writing a book. Do you know what it's called?"
Frank - "The Last of the Mohicans."
Sally - "No, it's called 'Frank'."
Frank - "Well it be a best-seller then."
"It takes a bloody lot of tobbacca and drink to kill a man, I have decided."

Sunday Morning (November 1997)

Granny is wanting to get to church. The time is 8:15 am and church is at 9:00 am. Frank has been up half the night and doesn't feel much like getting up. Gran walks into the bedroom to get him up to come and have some breakfast. He says "Oh, I don't know old girl" and she yells "Oh, poo to you too !" There is a long pause and I think it gets the better of him and all you can hear is Papsy yelling "DEAR JESUS, GET ME MY SHORTS." Meanwhile, I'm laying in bed wondering whether he'll get out of the right side of bed this morning. Slowly he gets up, finds his stick and makes it to the toilet. The whole way he is muttering to himself. The sort of talk only he can understand. Granny goes down to the toilet to see how he is. He states "Don't you let those people at the church upset you old girl." Gran says "Frank, you're the only one who upsets me!" A broad smile crosses my face as I continue to lay in bed. He finally struggles out of the toilet and comes up the stairs yelling "GET ME SOME AIR OLD GIRL," and then he starts to laugh and I have decided he got out of bed on the right side. Granny doesn't say a word, you can just see her head shaking from side to side and out of the door she walks to go to church. When she's gone he secretly says "Pray for YOUR BURGUM old girl." The last remark I hear is "Hey, stick on Macca on a Sunday morning Sally girl." I get up, turn on the radio and head straight back to bed, and for some unknown reason I can't get the smile off my face.

My thanks to Edna for looking after me during my Maleny visit and my thanks to Sally for sharing these words with us. There's a lot of love in that house. Good luck to you Frank.

Francis Glen Burgum (Frank) died 4th April 1998.