Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meet Dad, in his own words. Part III

Dad's family didn't come from money, and the Depression meant hard times.  From his memoirs:
My mother gave birth to me on the kitchen table that I ate off until adulthood.  I have always considered the humble conditions of that birth to be a distinction, one to be proud of.  In spite of the humbleness of that birth, I was able to become a university professor, author of several books and many articles, and to be blessed with marriage to a wonderful woman and father to three fine sons.  Having accomplished that from such a birth had given me bragging rights.
Dad wasn't a braggart, and my brothers and I learned growing up that the fastest way to get him into "lecture mode" was to let him hear us bragging.  And remember, his lectures weren't the typical Father-Son lectures; he was a trained professional, and so his lectures lasted for fifty minutes.

We also grew up with the expectation that you don't look down on people because of their background.  What they do is on them, but where they come from is off limits.  It was a good lesson, and came from his beginnings.  The Depression in particular was hard:
More than once, my father cut and sold firewood "on shares."  That must have meant that he got stumpage rights and gave the stumpage owner part of the cut up stove-length firewood.  This was before the days of chain saws or machine splitters.  Small as I was, I remember trying out the two-man cross cut saw.  It had a hand hold plus a large attached dowel so that one operated it with two hands.  My father did not have helpers.
It was during the Depression that he collected old newspapers and sold them, making enough money to buy his own bike.  Family "vacations" involved stays at his grandfather's farm, where he found (rescued?) the old family rifle from behind a door.

Deep roots are what keep you standing when the gales blow.

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