Friday, October 5, 2012

Autobiographical Fragment

I was born 59 years ago, 1953,  in Battle Creek, Michigan. My paternal grandmother worked at Kelloggs and used to throw wax paper bags of still warm corn flakes to my dad waiting on the grounds a few floors down.

I was a Cold War baby.

My mother's father was, by turns, a reporter, a Congregationalist minister and a United States Congressman who served on HUAC.  When  as a youngster I visited him in DC while he was still in office, he introduced me to his fellow Congressman, Gerald Ford. My grandfather had a lot of interesting stories.  My favorites were the ones about meeting Eugene Debs, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow when he was a reporter.

My dad was/is an only child.  My mother had three sisters, only two of whom are still living.  Mom is still living and doing well.

My dad grew up in a working class family.  They had chickens in the back yard.  He and his father hunted and fished.

 Dad used to talk about playing a game called mumbly peg with his father.  It's a game played with a knife.  My recollection is that one person would do a trick with his knife--flip it a couple of times in the air, say.  And your competitor had to replicate that trick.  If he couldn't, he had to suffer the consequences.  The usual consequence, according to my dad, was that the loser had to eat a piece of chicken shit from the back yard.

Needless to say, I never urged my dad to start up a game of mumbly peg.

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