Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Words from my father
I found this writing in some papers left to me by my paternal grandmother. She had saved clippings, programs and just about anything having to do with my father. Among these items I found the following writing. My dad was sixteen years old at the time and it must have been a class assignment or something though there was no grade on the paper. What I find mind boggling is that when he wrote these words in 1931 he never dreamed of something like the internet. He never saw it in his lifetime but I can only imagine the blog he would have written. He would have loved it!
By Earl Simpson 1931 age 16
Across-the Y in Fourth Ward is where I was and am being brought up. Over where boys and girls come under the simple heading of “kids”; a simple and unaffected group of people for neighbors, whose boys were my pals and belonged to my “Gang”. At the youthful age of ten I was the leader of a small but clannish group of boys; we called ourselves “The Fourth-Ward Alley Rats” and were quite proud of the title. My chief assistant in command was Roland Broom; with his muscle and my brain we managed to engineer several projects that still glow in my mind. A cave in a road bank, a house in a tree, and a boat are my chief sources of pride from that line. The cave has long since been filled in with tin cans and rubbish; the boat took her last voyage many years ago; just the other day I noticed a two-by-four running across two limbs and that told another story; memories linger on.
A boy is not a real boy without a dog. I was a real boy. My dog I called “Happy” and I think bespoke his name by not missing a wiggle of his tail for eleven years. He was a small brown collie with the heart of a lion. I’ve come home many a time with a black eye after a difficulty arising over the fighting merits of my dog. I wasn’t very large, neither was my dog, but, even if I do say so myself, we put up some good scraps. Yes, we got a lot of thrashings but we also gave out quite a number. Happy fought his last battle three years ago; I buried him under a tree where he and I used to sit and comfort each other on melancholy afternoons. I go down to see him every once in awhile; I’m not sentimental but I did love my dog.
I shall never forget that April night in 1927 when I became a Boy Scout. Words cannot describe the pride with which I displayed my Tenderfoot badge. I was an official member of a Troop for six years; I received a Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle awards; I was a Patrol Leader and believe I got a lot out of Scouting. I remember hikes, camps, and troop and patrol meetings. I see patrol “dens” and the faces of all the fellows whom I played and planned with and called my pals. Some day I hope to have a boy of mine in Scouting.
There are really two places which I call home, the house in which I live and the ice factory that my father runs. As far back as my memory goes the plant is part of my surroundings. The hum of the machinery, cakes of ice in the storage room, the ice cans, the fillers, an ice pick and a pair of hooks are all as familiar as the steps at my back door. I rode on the wagons and trucks as a “kid” and learned the routes and the public we served. I’ve worked as a peddler, a puller, a stacker, and as the engineer. I have been book-keeper and a general handy-man for my father; I know the ice business.