John Bernard Gage was the third of ten children. He was called "Bun" by his family - which I think had something to do with his ears. My grandmother was his older sister and she always said that she was especially close to Bernard when they were growing up. He was her comrade and playmate and during their childhood they had many adventures in and around the farm at Mapleton, Iowa where they spent their childhood. When they moved to Hatter Creek near Princeton, ID in 1935, Bernard enjoyed tinkering around the farm. He made himself a gun that he used to hunt around the place. This homemade gun is a bit infamous in the family - it had the name of Diploducus and many of the younger generation wonder if it is still back in the scrap pile behind Bernard's old place.
|Bun and his homemade gun "Diploducus"|
|Grandpa Frank ready to drive Bernard's Tin Lizzy in the Derby in August of 1939|
|Bernard flying his Corsair over Emeraru|
Bernard began the great adventure of flying a plane and was an experienced pilot who had already flown missions over China when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Bernard flew over 400 missions in a Corsair flying reconnaissance for the most part, but after the war was over - Bernard was ready to come home.
|Bernard and brother Don and his Indian!|
|Bun and his VW test vehicle!|
|Bun trying to negotiate with my brother for his tractor!|
Bernard was part of the "Greatest Generation," like many men who had military exploits in the war, he didn't really talk about them all that much. Perhaps to his brothers or sons - but not for general consumption. I'm not sure that he really understood a lot of his nieces...his nephews made more sense to him. When it came time for a hug though...he was front and center with that wonderful twinkle in his eye and quirky smile. I learned a lot about Uncle Bun when I was older and appreciated what he had done in his lifetime. I learned not too long before his death that he didn't allow anyone outside of the family to call him Bernard or Bun and that he was instead referred to as John. I didn't even know his real first name was John until I was an adult. He was always Bernard or Uncle Bun. There was nothing that Uncle Bun liked better than to work in his shop on his latest project. When he got to the point that he couldn't do that anymore, I think that a lot of the fun of life left him. Bernard never liked to leave his home and after he died, his brother and son scattered some of his ashes over the home place so he would never have to leave!