A few years ago, I had some time on my hands, and I was wandering around the country picking up family facts and history, not so much for the sake of the family–more for the fact that I’m drawn to language and I wanted matter that was “mine own.” Selfish perhaps; honest at most. After some time in Michigan (story later) and in Virgina (story much later), I asked my Dad, who is old enough (at 73) to be considered historical and kind enough (that is his way) to be willing, to send me his autobiography. I offered that he should send it in installments; he sent it in one fell swoop. What strikes me most about the story is what is and is not included. That is, my father’s personality is such that he (93 times out of 100) would rather say what you want to hear than what he, as a remarkable individual with decided tastes and fierce opinions, would like to say. Perhaps, at this point in his life, these two options are the same–he’s southern, and he’s uber-polite. In either regard, he thought this timeline would make me (who might be one of his more difficult children) happiest.
Here is my Dad’s Floridian story encapsulated in chronological outline, typed as he sent it, in his own words.