Home > Family Connections, Life, Writing and Poetry > The Teacher’s Kid

The Teacher’s Kid

 

Growing up in the Midwest during the 50’s and 60’s took less effort than it does today, or that’s how it seems from my perspective.

I wouldn’t be a teen today for any amount of money. My friends and I had greater freedoms then; greater responsibilities as well, I suppose, especially those of us who lived in the country. I can only speak from that perspective since I didn’t have the “townie” frame of reference.

We country kids grew up with a different sense of the world. Take hunting and fishing, for example. Most of our dads did both. Sometimes Moms helped out in that hunter-gatherer pursuit. I know mine did.

When I was in elementary school, it seemed that Dad went fishing every weekend. There are family photos that show some of his catches; catfish, bass, crappie, and others. Much of the time his preference was catfish. He and a few of his friends would spend the weekends at the river or large creeks in the county and they’d fish. We had a freezer full of fish at all times.

Perhaps this explains why the smell of catfish makes me wretch; over-exposure at an early age.

Hunting worked much the same way. Dad took me squirrel hunting when I was about six. He gave up that idea because I couldn’t see well enough to avoid pit-falls, small twigs in my path, and other noise-makers. I also could never see the prey in the trees. My participation, therefore, was pointless. I would never be Diana on the hunt.

Bless his heart; he just couldn’t give up hope for me. When I was about eight, he stood me outside, facing the door to the shed, on which was tacked a homemade target. In his hands was a .22 caliber short-stock rifle. Thus began my instruction in the use of firearms. I practiced until he was satisfied that I could consistently hit the target and then the bulls-eye. As soon as I accomplished that, I didn’t have to do it anymore.

Of course, he wasn’t serious about me using a rifle to go hunting. I don’t have a memory of his taking me rabbit hunting, for instance. I would succeed with that only when the prey stood still, giving me a clear field for a heart shot. I doubt that would have ever happened.

At age thirteen, I received my introduction to archery. By my own reckoning, I did well enough. I don’t remember losing too many arrows. My brother took his training with me. He’d completed and passed his other trials with flying colors and went on to hunt very successfully with his own bow and arrows. I never hunted that kind of prey.

During those early years Dad taught me all sorts of skills, most of which I can’t remember now unless conditions are absolutely perfect. He delivered regular dissertations on local flora identification with explanations of purpose, leaves, bark (if any), resident fauna, and other lessons.

Along the way, brother and I learned how the climate affected our small part of the world, why certain species grew on one hillside but not in the hollows, as well as other natural science topics. Every day held its lessons, though we seldom thought of them that way. We knew that he wanted us to understand the world we lived in, from the ground up.

His guided lessons in the hunter-gatherer framework prepared us to take up our responsibility for our planet, our immediate portion of the planet, and to accept those responsibilities as both guardians and reapers.

I wish millions more people could have studied with Dad and his friends. Perhaps less destruction would have taken over the world, if they’d been made guardians, too.

This one aspect of my father never diminished. He’s kept his knowledge and passes much of it on to his great-grandchildren. It doesn’t look like he’s going to close that classroom for a while yet.

 

 

Advertisements
  1. February 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    What a sweet tribute to your dad! I wish I could have studied with him too.

    • claudsy
      February 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Ah, Ruth, I think you would have enjoyed it. If I could have retained all that he taught, and gain all that he still knows, I’d be a wealthy woman in knowledge.

      Unfortunately, we have to age to appreciate all those long-ago lessons. Would that we had been as bright as we thought we were back then.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Claudsy

  2. February 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Hi,

    I’m finding you for the first time through IComLeavWe, and I have to say, what a wonderful first post to have read by you. You have captured your father’s essence in these words, even though I do not know him, I feel I do through the power of your writing.

    Best wishes- I will return to read more of your writing,

    Casey

    • claudsy
      February 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you, Casey. I see by your website that you deal with loss and the grieving process. Grief is a hard subject, but talking and writing about it is definitely a valuable tool.

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed my post and that you’d like to return. Please do so. I like repeat visitors. Thank you again for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Dad is still teaching, though he never stood in front of a classroom.

      Claudsy

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: