Regina Cecelia Broghammer (nee Knox) Born at home “on Groundhog’s Day” (February 2), 1908 in Plymouth Rock Parish in Winneshiek County, Iowa. Regina is the eldest of nine children: eight girls and one boy. 1908 was the year of a devastating hailstorm that struck the area in June. “My parents were at the ‘Old Settlers’ Picnic’ in Burr Oak when the sky grew dark as night. We went home to put the chickens in the henhouse, and my folks left me in the baby buggy while they corralled the hens. The weather grew so bad, however, they decided to take me into the storm cellar. When we emerged a while later, my buggy was full of glass: the windows on the North and West sides of the house had shattered. They had to use horse blankets and scoop shovels to clean up the mess.”
What’s the best advice anyone every gave you?
“Don’t be afraid to give a little more than 100%.” This is the advice Regina told her own children.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“A teacher.” Regina’s mother was a teacher, and so were several of her Aunts.
What did you do?
“I taught in a one-room schoolhouse for three years, and then I worked at McNeil’s coat and suit store (now J. Tupy’s) for ten.” Her first school was in Burr Oak Township, the second at Lost Nation, now Willowglen Nursery. After their marriage, Regina and her husband, Leo, lived and worked on the Broghammer Century farm and raised two daughters, Barb and Mary. “Both girls graduated from St. Theresa’s College. Barb earned a degree in Sociology and joined President Kennedy’s Peace Corps, spending two and a half years in Bolivia. Mary received her B.S. in nursing and was an R.N. first at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, and then at the University of Iowa Hospital while her husband was in graduate school there.”
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
“Food, water, and a short-wave radio.”
If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“A good-quality beef pot roast cooked in a Dutch oven all day with vegetables.”
Name one thing you could not live without:
Describe your wedding day:
“My husband Leo and I got married on October 19th, 1940, at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Decorah. It was a gorgeous fall day. All the flowers were still in bloom, and we picked chrysanthemums, which are my favorite, for the altar.” Regina met her husband dancing at Matter’s Ballroom. Their farm was located next to Matter’s, and Leo Broghammer was “the last one in the neighborhood to stop using his horses for planting corn.”
Memory of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic:
“I was about 9 or 10 years old. A local boy trained at Camp Dodge near Des Moines contracted influenza and was sent home. He spread the disease to his family, and two of his brothers died. I remember my mother putting food in a laundry basket and securing it to a sled. I pulled the sled to houses where people were sick, and my dad knocked on their windows to ask them if they needed anything and to let them know there was food outside for them.”
In your opinion, what is the biggest human accomplishment of your lifetime?
“Putting a man on the moon.”