Friday, June 1, 2007

Dad and The Duke

If my dad were still alive, he would be 100 on June 3rd. My father in-law and John Wayne were born the same year, 1907. These men saw amazing changes over their lifetime.
In 1907 we had never had a World War. Teddy Roosevelt was president and had sent the Great White Fleet around the world to impress other nations with the might of our Navy.
The Titanic was still in the blueprint stages. The first helicopter flew a few feet no doubt encouraged by the Wright brothers first flight in 1903. St. Paul celebrated with the inauguration of the new Cathedral.
Most Americans lived on small farms. Travel was horse and buggy or railroad. Rural kids walked miles or took the horse to school. There were few cars and not many roads to drive on if you had a car. My father in- law loved to tell the story of his family traveling in the Galway truck from town to town playing as a family band. Much of the time they had to ask farmer’s if they could drive across the pasture. No roads connected every rural town.
The Boy Scouts were established in 1907. Cinema was in it’s infancy. The Ziegfield Follies opened on Broadway. Burlesque was big. There was no income tax. The population was 75,000,000 including 170,000 Native Americans. All those not of Native American heritage were immigrants or descendents of immigrants. My dad and father in-law spoke their parents native language before they learned English. My father in-law attended school where German was the spoken language until he was a teen. World War 1 changed that. Americans began to disassociate themselves from their Germanic roots.
Some times it is good to remember our roots when seeing the struggles of today’s legal immigrants in our country.

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