Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Dad had to do it his way...there was no other choices!

I was listening to the song by Frank Sinatra "My Way" the other morning and thought of Dad. I realized all the life changes my Dad encountered by the time he was 43 years old.

Dad was born Nov. 19th 1923 in Pleasanton a city in Linn County, Kansas. At some time in the 1920"s his Father moved the family to Rich Hill Mo. His Father commuted  by train to Kansas City MO. And was working as a truck driver for The Franklin Ice Cream Co. at the time of his death.

My Grandma Brittingham told me when the kids Dad came home from the city on a Friday evening he expected all the children to be clean, properly dressed, well mannered and sitting on the porch waiting quietly for him. He was a very vain man and Dad said he was very strict.

At age 11, his Dad died leaving his Mother with 5 children, Dad being the oldest son. There was Evelynn (Dad called her Sis-I believe she had already married and left home) Dad, (Stanley Lee) Sherman Arthur, Vernon Martin, Opal May and Mary Louise. His Mother took in laundry and sewing to support the family. This was not enough money to support all the children during the depression-

(The Great Depression (1929-39) was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors)

Dad told me of standing in soup kitchen lines in Rich Hill for food. His Mother was losing her house and decided to "farm" the children out to relatives. Her brother, Uncle Thurman Burk who lived in Kansas City Mo. stepped in and bought the house for the family. This kept the family together.

Two years later his little sister died at home of  pneumonia while Dad was running across town to get the Doctor.

Dad finished the 9th grade in school and then joined the CCC and was shipped to the Northern States to work. This is the story he told me-

While the nurse was checking Dad medically to be admitted to Moore Few in 2007, she asked Dad about any problems with him feet, he said "Gout in his left foot big toe
(Gout is a kind of arthritis. It can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, usually a big toe. These attacks can happen over and over unless gout is treated. Over time, they can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues. Gout is most common in men)

from when I was in the CCC and got frost bite on my feet"  I immediately said "What is the CCC" never heard of it and YOU NEVER TOLD ME THIS!!! How AWFUL shipping a teenagers in an empty railroad car in the winter! I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE!
He said "you know the Civilian Corp during WWII"???

I said "what was that"? He said when he was 14 or 15 during WWII, President Roosevelt started the CCC for young men?? (how about male children!)" because his Dad had died and Grandma Brittingham was an unemployed widow with 5 children, he qualified to joined the CCC. He earned $30.00 per month, which most was sent back home to Grandma Brittinghm. He said they shipped him off in a empty railroad car up North. I think he said Michigan? Anyway somewhere that was freezing cold! He said his job was lying railroad tracks.

At age 17, back from the CCC, Grandma Brittingham sent Dad to Kansas City to live and work in her Sister Stella and husband Max's Boarding home on Independence Ave. Dad said the work was hard and Stella and Max did not treat him well. At age 17 & 1/2 Dad told me he walked from Independence Ave to Union Station and joined the Navy. It was July 1941.

                                                       Dad's enlistment photo July 1941

After the Navy, Dad returned to Rich Hill met and married my Mom, Bertha Louise Evans. After briefly living in Kansas City they settled in Nevada, Missouri. Dad took a job at the State Hospital. he purchased a car which was repossessed after he could no longer afford it. We lived in a house on Ash Street (where Dad joined the Police Force and kept a job at The Missouri Public Service as the Janitor) he bought another car with a loan from Mr. Fowler at the Nevada Finance Co. then we moved to Spring St, Cherry St. and finally Main St.

While living on Main Street and my Dad had advanced in the Police Department to Chief of Police

In Nov. of 1964 Dad retired from The Police Force and started his own full time Janitor Business-the pay was much better! As Chief of Police the salary was $400.00 per month!!

We were living "happily ever after" until one horrible night in Aug 1966. My big brother Marty was killed in a horrific, devastating car accident. This change my Dad and Mom, Mom stood strong, Dad crumbled, he was only 43 years old and was never the same.

Frank Sinatra and Paul Anka - My Way
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain

I've lived a life that's full
I've traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say - not in a shy way
No, oh no not me
I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

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