Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, November 25, 2012, pg. 11
If you need to purchase a Christmas gift for someone and you donít know what to give them, how about one of my Albion history books? "Growing Up in Albion," and "Albion in Review" are both available from yours truly, or at the Albion Chamber of Commerce. They both make great conversational reading with lots of Albion photographs.
Earlier this year an Albion landmark was demolished, the old Dubina's Tavern building at 604 Austin Avenue. The Dubinaís were part of Albionís ethnic immigrant population in "hunky town" on the West End, and the dance hall located there was a popular hang-out place in the 1930s and 1940s. We wrote about this in the February 23, 2003 edition of this column.
One of the Dubina sons, Harry Dubina (1913-1963), was quite an agriculturalist. He lived just west of town along Austin Ave. where his father Michael Dubina (1886-1959) had purchased land in 1925. Harry also developed, operated, and sold apples from the family apple orchard northeast of town along Calhoun Road on land the family had purchased in 1943. He continued his apple business from the 1940s until his death in 1963. Harry had formerly worked at the Albion Malleable Iron Company, and the Service Caster & Truck Corporation. He was a veteran of World War II.
Harry's "claim to fame" was a booklet he authored in 1957 entitled "Corn Borer: Picking Instruction and Information." The back cover proclaimed, "Corn Borer for Panfish in Winter, for Trout in Summer." This handy guide was available in sporting goods stores in the area. His introduction states, "This book has been written and is based on methods employed by me during my 20 years picking experience with corn borers, as a guide to aid Corn Borer Pickers, Fishermen, and Commercial Bait Dealers, who are becoming increasingly interested in corn borers and picking corn borers."
Dubina really "covers the bases" in his writings. His 41 topics include titles such as: Evaluation of the corn borer; History of the corn borer; Corn borer moth and egg laying; Price to pay for corn fields; Corn borer picking equipment; Your index fingers and thumbs; Corn borer picking clothes (NOTE: They didnít have Cabelaís back then); Corn borer knife injury; Never sharpen the knife; Injured corn borers; Selling corn borers; and Keeping corn borers from one season to the next. By time you get done reading this book you will have become a boring expert. All these topics are covered within the bookís 24 soft-covered pages.
Here are some selected quotes. Page 1: "[This book is] For anyone considering taking up this pastime, to make extra money for your extra time, even as much as $50 per dayÖA good corn borer prospector can make $1,000 in a single season." Page 8: "It has been found that the majority of the corn borers escape death after the harvesting mechanical corn picker twists and picks the ear of corn from the once standing corn stalks." Page 14: "Never use your best hunting clothes to pick corn borers. Itís a messy job at times if corn stalks are wet or damp and some of corn stalks have a black, dusty, sooty growth on them." Page 24: "It is unlawful to raise any kind of corn to populate European corn borers."
The fact that someone from an immigrant family from the "West End" wrote and published a book was quite an accomplishment back in 1957, and was something to be proud about. Dubinaís book was purchased by numerous fishermen in the area for the price of $1.00 each. It was even purchased by people who didnít fish, because it was written by an Albion person they personally knew from the "West End."
Whatever the case, "Corn Borer" has become a local classic in itself, and I bet there are still some families in town that have a copy of this. From our Historical Notebook this week we present the cover of that booklet, and a photo of Harry. How many of our readers remember Harry Dubina, and have read his booklet "Corn Borer"?
Cover of "Corn Borer: Picking Instruction and Information"
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic