belief system

excerpted from 'my grandparents' by pauline anderson gibbs about her father paul

> PAUL was the youngest and the hope of the family. he was christened paul herbert anderson. one may compare him and charlie to the head and tail, for charlie was old and paul the youngest. yet even so they were the greatest of buddies. everything paul learned in the way of politics, books, and hunting he owed to charlie. charlie always called him "the kid." paul was a brilliant student in school even though he was as stubborn as could be. he began attending the country school when he was four. he won all the spelling contests in the school. three of his children did likewise. he speared muskrats and other game in the sloughs and earned enough to spend two winters at tobin college where he met mabel johnson, a girl from down near his home. whey were married in 1916. the family didn't think it was a good match -- she was a teacher, she wouldn't know how to keep house and cook. they have learned differently since. they had six children, four girls and two boys.

from a conversation with mom about her father's ideals. typed by me, spring 1999

ethics and intellect were very important to him. scholarship also. he went to jr college unlike other farm boys at the time. (jr college was considered more academic than it is nowadays) he studied latin, philosophy...

he scorned churchgoers. he felt they were hypocrites because they had rejected his innocent sister ellen. his oldest brother and mentor, charlie was not churchgoing either.

he was honest, honorable. as a senator in particular this was is trait. he told a story about a bill in the iowa senate - there were 6 republicans and 6 democrats who were crossing party lines because of ethics - b.j. palmer from davenport, came to wine and dine them to lobby not to pass a chiropractic law which would require science education for chiropractors. the senators took the favors and still voted for the law. it turned out to be a good thing - it gave chiropractics credibility.

ask your brother bentham for the quote, it's in a book of my dad's that i just gave him called quotes for the bartender or something like that. the inscription is dated 1953 to himself in front of book . the quote goes something like "that which grows upon the vine, or all things that grow are good... then if it is so good then why is it bad to make wine of it." paul saw the hypocrisy of those who were prohibitionists. he enjoyed socializing with political friends, and the straight laced lutheran methodist clucked their teeth. they looked down on alcohol even though it was made from nature.

your dad, richard and and my dad, paul agreed an awful lot in politics. richard had great respect for paul. i'm sure it was my upbringing in a political environment that partly added to my attraction to your dad -- thinking about the larger world, not just himself.

richard was a master debater. he could build and lead an argument. it wasn't really a matter of dominance between the two, it was more about a mutual respect, an enjoyment of the fray. richard was good at shifting an argument. pulling it back into a direction that he wanted to go if it wasn't going anywhere. he tried to raise the level of any discussion.

paul was a good debater too. they would stay up in the late hours, as is usually around here too, but of course i was usually busy getting the kids down.

paul was a great reader too. when he would take the cattle to chicago he would go to brentanos, THE bookstore of the midwest and bring home books. all range of books. we have quite a few here now. he loved cowboys, the glamorous life. he read zane gray novels, the virginian - stories of the old west. they were his favorite reading, novel reading anyway.

paul saw so much. he lived through world war I, prohibition, women getting the vote. he was very open minded. when i think about women not getting the same opportunities as men in education it disgusts me. paul wouldn't have gone for that. it was a different atmosphere then. during world war II men would go from the farm to get a college education, thanks to the gi bill, but for many it was just to get a couple of years training and then head back to the farm.

maurie (a cousin who lived on the other side of the the creek) was an exception. i think he was somewhat influenced by being around paul. you know maurie would come right into the kitchen, get some cookies, find the books and be right at home. he went on to the draft horse journal and midwest trails and streams - regional magazines.

paul was forward looking. he worked at modernizing the systems on the farm, in the house. bringing in electricity. updating the house itself. in his farming he used crop rotation with clover and alfalfa. he used manure as a natural fertilizer.

as for he and mabel, they shared an interest in politics and he had a high level of respect for her. it was important to both of them to create an atmosphere of intellect and learning.

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