notes from a conversation about mom's father - spring
among his sisters, agnes would come to see dad (paul). anna
didn't. mom (mabel) and i went to see anna dad did not. the
age difference between agnes and paul was 11 years and agnes
took on a caretaker role with paul. she would come to visit
more than any of the others. the courtesy / routine / custom
was that younger siblings, paul for example, would go visit
the older ones. paul's brother, uncle bob visited us too.
paul liked his sister amanda, there was a kinship there.
they both had 6 children. she died young from an injury that
they mistakenly thought turned into a cancer.
in the afternoons when there was not much work paul would go
driving and i would go with him. we'd go visit warner
(larson). they differed politically. unless it was family
you didn't just drop in on a neighbor without a specific
piece of news or business. paul didn't have much to talk
about with a lot of his neighbors beyond the electric coop
project he was working on in the legislature. i can remember
he would cus reuben nelson about farming techniques now and
then. dad was very particular about the upkeep of his own
farm - the fence, weeds, repairing, manure, mowing,
thistles. he would seldom spray and only right at the base
of a thistle root after he'd chop out the plant. he didn't
believe in using harsh chemicals, party because if you got a
hog disease you could loose your hogs.
after paul's parents gave him the farm and moved into gowrie
they lived in the old house next the lutheran church in
town. i don't know what his daily relationship was like with
them. they died in 1930, the year before i was born. did
they have a car in town? they were late 70's early 80's,
maybe they drove. paul had a car in the teens. i don't know
how much he would have done for them in those days.
paul and his oldest son charlie did quite a lot of work
together on the farm. later charlie had a hard time seeing
paul's decline due to alcoholism. charlie had worked with
paul more than anybody and saw him as a strong and vibrant
man, active in politics. charlie hadn't been involved in a
lot of school activities, he mostly did farming chores which
he enjoyed. but it was always understood between paul and
his children that "you will go to college". paul's attitude
was that his kids "get out of here" and "don't come back and
farm after college." paul's life choices hadn't included
life off the farm. he went to junior college and then began
farming. the first generation couldn't make the break. of
course it was a tough choice, having a farm handed to you.
getting married and starting a family.