Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

This past Monday, January 19th, my Dad celebrated his 84th birthday. He has spent his whole life in the same county he was born in, Chautauqua County, NY, with a few short exceptions. He grew up in and around the Sherman, NY area; sometimes living with his Father and Step-Mother and sometimes with his Grandfather and his housekeeper Pearl. Pearl saved his life when he was little and had cut open one of the veins in his neck, she put him on the farmhouse table and packed the gushing wound with flour. When the Doctor finally made it he said the the boy would've died had she not acted as she did.
Here he is in 1929, 4 years old

His Father and Grandfather were both farmers and my Dad recalls that they did all the heavy work with a team of horses but they also had a "hoopi", that's a Model T truck rear-end and they used that to disc and drag. They couldn't plow with it though because it didn't have enough weight. His Grandfather also kept a yoke of oxen. After his Step-Mother broke his nose he ran away and was working in a bowling alley sticking pins. He had eaten leeks and she told him never to come in the house smelling like that again, so the next year the hired man asked him if he knew what that plant was and he said "leeks". The hired man said they were wild onions so my Dad ate them; when his Step-Mother asked him if he ate leeks he said no, but he had eaten wild onions. She grabbed him by the shirt and hauled him over the table and onto the floor where she proceeded to beat him. This wasn't an isolated incident and eventually he ran away. His Father said he'd sign the papers for my Dad to join the service if he'd come back to the farm for a while, so he did that. He joined the Navy in February 1942 when he was 17 and was discharged in December 1945. He was on the USS Wyoming, USS Izard and the USS Ross and received 13 battle stars. He was in Tokyo bay when the peace treaty was signed and returned home and went to work on the Nickel Plate Railroad. He was called up to go to Korea in 1950 and returned to the Nickel Plate after he had served there.

1951 aboard the USS Lioba

He married my Mother in 1950 and gave up his hell-raising ways, but I'll save that for the post I want to write on their Anniversary in April. He led such an interesting life and truly (like Laura Ingalls Wilder herself thought) saw the end of one way of life and saw many, many changes ushered in. From farming with horses to space travel; Model T's to the internet.
Happy Birthday Dad, I'm so proud of you!


  1. Wow! What an interesting life your Dad has had! He was mighty handsome too!


  2. Thanks, Nona. I'd like to write a lot more of his lifestory on here, he has really seen a lot.

  3. Great post, Paris! How interesting your father's life must have been. He's quite the handsome man. Thank you for sharing. :)

  4. Awesome story!!! Please do write more like this on here. :D