The Best of Him- Each Item Details


May 27th 2021

The meaning behind these items for JoyGenea

1     Savage 12-gauge pump action shotgun

One of the things my dad did with each of us kids was to bring us to the wild rice paddy fields on the weekends. That was when he had to go check the pumps and make sure they were still working from the creek to his wild rice paddy’s. While we were there he would remove the nuisance birds that were destroying his crops. I picked this gun from the collection for a reason, it never harmed a person. He was one heck of a shot and those birds were the only thing I ever saw him shoot.

2     U.S. Army Sargent 101st Airborne uniform

So much of who is was, as my father, starts with this uniform and the Vietnam War. It represents a hero and a conflict with other humans. He was proud to have served, once he was able to know that it was safe for him to share that. He hid this uniform away at his parent’s farm for years. I never saw it until I was an adult.

3     Vintage Velvet pipe tobacco tin

From when I was young until about age 10, my dad smoked a pipe, and this was one of his favorite brands of tobacco. Not only was it a great tobacco, but the tins could be repurposed as so many great storage options. When we were cleaning his house, we found so many of these tins, even an entire burlap bag of extra empty tins ready for storage.

4      Skoal Xtra Winergreen Pouches Chewing Tabacco

When the pipe left that was when the chewing tobacco started. You would often find whole columns of these tins in the fridge. I was not a supporter of this any more than I was of the pipe smoking as a kid. IIf you can’t tell, I really wanted my dad to live a long life and not die from cancer like they were teaching us in school.

5     Tan Smooth Leather Work Gloves

He was the hardest working person I knew. Sun up to sun down, he was always working on something. He had a good collection of work gloves. This pair was the brand he loved, he bought them from L & M Supply, his second favorite store after Target. He loved Target more because in college he worked there in the evenings and was able to get lots of stuff for his new young family at a discount.

My Father valued hard labor and a person that could keep up with him. There were only a few. The gloves represent a lifetime of hard physical labor. They represent his work ethic and everything he did to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. He was a good provider.

6.    The Flag of The United States of America

My father believed in the flag. He fought for the flag. He made sure that everyone knew how to care for a flag. He always had a small flag in his cars, at his job, and with him at all times. He would assist with the flag raising and lowering at his job and he would, in the 1990s, carry a flag in parades. Charles Kapsner’s ability to capture the American Flag in his paintings is why I chose him for this project. It had to be the base and foundation of the painting.

7.     Catholic Black Rosery

Catholicism was his core religion. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School from 1st – 12th grade in Bird Island Minnesota. He was an alter boy and raised all of us in the catholic religion. He had immense faith and the rosary represents the core of that faith.

8.     University of Minnesota Mug

My father proudly worked for the University of Minnesota North Central Experiment Station from his graduation from college until a couple of years before his passing. He loved the u of M and was proud to have worked for them as a Wild Rice Researcher. On the bottom of the mug is another one of his trademarks. In sharpie black ink it says, “ Property of Henry Schumer.”

9.     Wild Rice in a Wooden Bowl

Henry had over 40 years of experience researching wild rice. His work has been recognized worldwide, and he has received numerous awards for his dedication, insight, and contributions to the field.

10.     Jade Buddha on a Gold Chain

One of the few cherished items brought back from his time in Vietnam. Along with a Nikon camera that he bought while in Japan during transport. I don’t know the whole story of his connection to the small Jade Buddha. I believe that he wears it with the rosary while in Vietnam.

11.     Empty Brass from the Shotgun Shells Fired After The Playing of Taps at His Internment

On July 13th 2021 Henry’s three children and a small group of friends gathered at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls, MN for his interment. These three casings represent his three children. Three of the most important people in his life.

12     Red Paper Poppy with Veteren’s Tag

Veteran poppies are red flowers that symbolize sacrifice and support for military members and veterans. They are inspired by a war poem “In Flander’s Field” and were first used after World War I as a way of remembering those who died.

The Friday before Memorial Day is designated as National Poppy Day in the United States. Anyone who knew my father would have noticed that he always had a red poppy looped through a buttonhole, or tied to something else. He would help to give them away for donations to veterans and he would have one of his kids memorize the poem “In Flander’s Field”.

13     US Army Helmet

The helmet represented his time at war and his effort to survive. It would carry so many things from food, mementos, lucky charms, and religious symbols.