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July/August 2006
Voice of the People: Robert Bruchey II
Mayor Robert "Bob" Bruchey II Recalls the Town of His Childhood.

When I was approached to write this column, I was asked to write about what impassioned me. Giving that some thought, I wrestled with several subjects — finally deciding on family. I was born in Hagerstown on Sept. 16, 1958, to Robert and Patricia Bruchey of Church Street. My father was a police officer in Hagerstown for 26 years and was well known throughout the city as a fair but firm policeman who would just as soon take you home after a night of drinking than arrest you. My mom was a working mother who helped my dad make ends meet. I spent my formative years on Fairground Avenue, where we lived in a half double on a community-minded street. I soon learned that if your mom or dad didn’t know what you did wrong, it didn’t take them long to find out.

During my years on Fairground Avenue I spent many a day at the fairgrounds watching the horses race. It was a magical place. The sights and sounds were intoxicating — as were the smells. I spent my summers in the West End with my grandparents Carter, where I attended summer playground. Unbeknownst to me, I probably made lanyards and potholders with my future wife, Susan, whose grandparents lived on Mitchell Avenue. I spent many weekends with my grandparents Bruchey in the South End, where a special treat was walking with my grandfather to [now defunct] Victor Products at 11 p.m. Fridays, then walking home with my grandmother. I realize this probably doesn’t sound like a great time, but waiting in the lobby with its marble floor and huge open staircase felt to me like waiting in a castle.  

I played baseball at American Little League and softball at Wheaton Park and Broadway School. If Coach Brandenburg found out that you played softball the day of a game, you got to watch the rest of your team play from the bench. He believed that ruining your arm by playing softball was a punishable offense.  He was a stickler of the best kind — kind and harsh, nice and grumpy, loving and strict.

So, as you can see, I had a blessed childhood. I want nothing more than to help make Hagerstown a great place to live, work and raise our families to ensure that other children have great childhoods and will be able to stay here and raise their families. I am passionate in my belief that we should leave Hagerstown better than we found it.

Robert Bruchey II, mayor of Hagerstown

   view more articles from the July/August 2006 issue >>

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