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Farm Boy

March 20, 2012

6-26-2011-120801-pm6-26-2011-82954-pm

I lived on several farms, here I am earth moving in the garden.  I remember fresh milk from the cow, still warm with cream floating on top ( Yuk!).  I recall Grandpa giving me a willow branch to usher the cow to the barn….”am I hitting to hard?  I don’t wanna hurt her.”  The cow knew the way on the well worn path.  I recall excitement to get to help shovel maneur, LOL.  Then there was the fancy new outhouse Grandpa built with a special little hole just for me.  I tried it once and made him sand it so I would not get splinters in my butt.  I recall the whole family going over the fence to pick green beans from the field for supper.  Before me and Illinois, the family (Mom’s side) lived in the backwoods of Arkansas.  They are mentioned in the 1956 book, Journey Through the Springtime, a real positive read if you can find it.

The farm ( top right ) I recall Aunt Maggie hitting the little dog with a Model T Ford.  The small farm is now a factory for chrome railings and other boat fittings.   But, before that it would be my Uncle John’s farm and home of cousin Harold who will retire from a TOP SECRET USAF career and soon after be crushed in a coal mine.  A stray dog bit Harold’s sister Betty.  Uncle John shot it and cut it’s head off to take to the vet.  Yes it was rabid and Cousin Betty had to take the shots.

The most UNIQUE FARM I lived on was in the middle of Chicago ( lower right ).  Mom and I lived in an apartment behind the landlord’s big house.  He was a switching engineer at the freight yards just blocks away.  A spare lot on either side of the main house made up the ~3/4 acre farm.  It had a full variety of crops, honey bees and a milk cow.  I helped him out for free because he was a father figure and he taught me to grow things.

burr-ridgeHere is where we moved soon after Mom’s second marriage ( refer to First Things First ).  I called it a farm for it was so big. Step-Dad dropped me off and picked me up from Louis Pasteur School in Chicago for a month.  I would be able to finish high school all in Hinsdale, almost getting kicked out 1 month before graduation.  The house has been replaced by a million dollar mansion, but the house by the zipcode is where Vincent Price was.  What with school, work and taking care of the chores and my half brothers, it was hard and I felt like a bonded servant. 

In effect my High School years were like a first basic training, step-Dad was a sergeant in the Army Corp of Engineers.  He built bridges for General Patton’s tanks and had many dozens of patches and medals.

My friend Bob Nieman in High School won Silver in swimming at the Mexico City Olympics, another is an attorney for the FDIC (banking) and my best friend and neighbor George retired as manager of the computer department of International Harvester.  After my career collapse and subsequent stress disorder, I have been jobless longer than anybody and will never catch-up if this venture I am in flops.  My last boss said he was sorry about the layoff and that I was his best worker and he saw unlimited potential in me.  Yet, I was not hired and soon had the long term unemployeed stigma…”You mean you’ve been out of work a year?  You could have been in jail”.  This nice guy, but hypocrit wanted references I did not have because I was tired of making friends and having to move on.

My apology for jumping from subject to subject.  It is part of the stress illness.  Things remind me off other things making it hard to keep the story short.  I left out my angry words (1979) when the Hostages were taken in Iran, the letter from the White House advising me not to go to Iran to free the Embassy Hostages, and the X-Mafia man who offered to be a reference that I had not “been in jail”. 

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