By the age of 18 months, Dad had had spinal meningitis. The fact he survived this in 1926 was amazing.
Dad joined the Army Air Corps right after graduating from high school in 1943. It was amazing he was able to pass the physical as he barely, by 1/2 an inch, made the height requirement. That was one of the aftereffects of having the spinal meningitis. During his time in service, Dad grew 4 inches and was 5'6 -1/2" at the end of his service. Dad left a book in which he detailed his experiences during WWII in the South Pacific as a nose-gunner in B-24s. More about that later.
He loved golf. In his early teens, Dad was a caddy at Valleywood Golf Club here in Swanton, Ohio. After joining as a member after the war, he became the president in the mid-1960s.
Dad was artistic. He loved to paint in oils and did some drawing with pen. One of his drawings from his high school years is on the wall in our home.
He was also a fantastic cook. Something that may have skipped a generation as my daughter is great - can put together anything and it's the best you've ever had. Two of my favorite recipes are his homemade tomato soup and his chili. I'm so glad I have his handwritten recipe cards. They are treasures.
Dad was also a writer. He just did it in his spare time and loved to put to paper his thoughts and memories of growing up in a small town during the 1930s. And I'm so very glad he did! So to honor him, here is some of his story.
"I'm going to write a little story for my granddaughter, Lindsay, nothing earth shattering, just some thoughts and events that have occurred in my sixty-six years, some good, some not so good and some indifferent. What it was like growing up in a different era, what you did as a child to have fun and yes, you could and did survive without TV and electronic games. Where you were allowed to use the family car, maybe once a month to go to a movie in Toledo, and then to the Polar Bear for a frozen custard and a hot dog. I'm getting too far ahead.
"I was the fourth and last of four sons. My oldest brother was Pearle, 14 years older; Kenneth, 10 years older, and Junior, 6 years older. Now, already you can see the trouble, right? When you have brothers that much older, you know they don't want the little kid tagging along..
"I always wore bibb [sic] overalls in the summer (my Mom [Kathryn Sloan] said I didn't have enough butt to hold up regular jeans) and my brothers had a favorite 'thing' they did with me. One would grab hold of me and lift me up to the clothes line post. Another brother unfastened my suspenders, hooked me over the clothes line post, leaving me dangling, kicking and yelling for Mom. She used to come right out and unhook me so I could get down, but I noticed later on in the summer, she didn't come out to get me down quite as fast.
My mother was the only woman that I can remember who would be out sweeping the front steps and sidewalk at 7:30 in the morning, with an apron, a fresh clean housedress and earrings. If cleanliness was next to Godliness, we were the Holiest family on West Garfield. I don't know of all the things that my brothers did to give her gray hair, but I'm sure I did my share. Like in the summertime the Street Department, which was Mr. Hollis, would come down our street to repair the cracks. This consisted of putting tar in the cracks and then sprinkling fine stone on the tar. Now, I always had to 'help' Mr. Hollis. He would pour the tar in the cracks and I always managed to get in the wet tar barefoot before he could get the stones on. I had it on both feet and on my legs. Mr. Hollis would look at me and say, 'Golly, gee, Jackie, your mother sure is gonna be mad at us.' I don't know how my mother always saw me coming in the house, 'cause she always met me at the back door and said, 'Get the coal oil can from the garage and clean all of that tar off. No dinner until you clean off every speck.' It was always the same...one vegetable brush, a tin can for the coal oil, an old washrag, a bar of Fels Naptha soap and an old towel."
There will be more next week of "In His Own Words."