Remembering Someone

Today’s post is by Steve Grooms

One morning around 1955, George Grooms—my father—woke up with a smile. He had been dreaming. In this dream my dad was walking the sidewalks of our town when he noticed a distinctive dog sitting on the curb. The dog was some kind of hound, a bloodhound or basset. It had a long, pendulous nose and droopy ears. The most memorable thing was the dog’s expression. The dog seemed utterly grief-struck.

In the dream this melancholy dog looked at my father and spoke one short sentence.

“Cheer up,” said the dog.

Cheer up?   What a bizarre comment! The saddest dog in the universe had just told my dad to cheer up!

Dad rushed to his office without talking to anyone. He began sketching the melancholy dog before his memory of the dream faded.

My father was a genius at imagining unique toy animals and then figuring out how certain shapes of fabric could be sewn together to form a three-dimensional stuffed toy.


Designing stuffed toy animals is one of the most obscure jobs in the world. My dad was once considered one of the two or three best designers in the world.

This dog resisted the design process. The body was easy, but all the prototypes Dad created looked jolly or cute. None had the tragic look of the dream dog’s face. Dad knew that the problem lay with the eyes. No matter what eyes he put on this dog, it looked idiotically cheerful.

Then Dad did something totally original. He fashioned eyelids that could be sewn in place to give his stuffed dog a sad expression. This was a radical innovation in the 1950s.

At that time stuffed toys were generic objects meant to be given to undiscerning infants. Stuffed toys were designed to be inexpensive. But my dad was an artist, and the artist in him knew this dog had to have a distinctive face for it to connect with people.

Those eyelids were the first of many innovations he would develop to create stuffed toys with vivid expressions. My dad’s company sold these stuffed toys under the name “personality pets” to highlight the way they differed from cheap, generic stuffed toys.

There was never an issue of what this dog would be called. Cheer Up appealed to children and adults, becoming the first of my dad’s designs to be famous. Cheer Up came in several forms (sitting, lying prone, lounging on his back) and several sizes.

Several years ago I was invited to attend a special meeting of the Ames Historical Society. The society was premiering a film that celebrated my father’s company.

Collegiate Manufacturing had been a significant employer in Ames for over 40 years.

The day before the film was shown I was invited to the home of a man who had a wonderful collection of stuffed toys from Collegiate Manufacturing. It was emotional for me to wander his basement gazing at hundreds of stuffed toys designed by my dad.

Monkeys, dogs, tigers, giraffes, horses, skunks, turtles and other critters stared at me from Don’s display shelves. I grew up knowing these toys but had not seen any of them for nearly 60 years. While I recognized many, I was most moved by Don’s collection of Cheer-up dogs. He had about three dozen Cheer Ups.

Don repeatedly urged me to take some toys as a gift. I was touched by his generosity, but I turned him down. I had no right to anything he had collected.

A day later we had the historical society meeting. When the meeting was over, I rushed to my car to start the long drive to my Saint Paul home. Don ran to catch up with me, shoving a box in my hands. “Don’t refuse me again,” he said. “I could tell by your eyes which ones meant the most to you.” The box held three Cheer Up dogs in the three poses that had been most popular.

My father died in 1999, and I heard that Don died a few years ago. Yet both live on in memory and in the friendly form of the little Cheer Up that sits on my bedroom dresser.

Most mementos honor the memory of a special person. My Cheer Up celebrates the memory of two men with good hearts.

Do you have a memento that helps you remember someone special?

79 thoughts on “Remembering Someone”

  1. Nice post, Steve. I have lots of mementos. At this point in my life, most of the things i have are associated with someone. I have lots of things that remind me of my parents and grandparents. I sleep on pillow cases my mom embroidered and a quilt my mom and great aunts made. I also have an oil painting, a reproduction of a Cezanne painting of a bridge, that a long ago significant-other painted for me. Then there is the flag we received at my dad’s funeral.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have thought about those flags given to the families of former servicemen. That’s a classic memento treasured by families all over the country. But not in our family. My dad qualified for a burial in Fort Snelling with the flag and final rifle salute, but we chose against that because my dad’s ghost would never have forgiven us for such a burial. He regarded his military years as absurd and unpleasant.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My dad, too. As a WWII vet he was eligible for a number of benefits, but avoided them. He had been in the Philippines. He had worn a uniform. As he put it, he fought the war from behind a typewriter. I think he preferred leaving the uniform and the memories that went with it in the Philippines.


  2. Beautiful post, Steve. Good on you to recognize your dad’s technical use of an eyelid to achieve the artistic effect he needed. Get the eyes right and you are most if the way home.

    Like Renee, my memory objects are domestic items in daily use. These things came from my grandmothers, some the work of their hands, some the implements of their daily lives. They have little eBay value for which I am grateful, as I suspect that is why they came to my hands.

    The last piece of the family farm passes from our hands next month.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you might identify with my dad, mig. He was an artist, but an artist working in a commercial field. His whole life was a struggle to defend his artistic vision. He had a number of ideas–like those eyelids–that made his stuffed toys distinctive, but he was always at war with bean-counter types who favored less expensive (if more boring) toys. I think any artistic person is likely to have experienced that battle: art versus profit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I recall, he also introduced the art of air brushing his creations with dots, spots, or other character-building marks. For years, he had them filled with cork, so our large garage was filled with bags of cork which we and our friends gleefully jumped around on for hours. Just imagine 100 huge bean bags in one garage.

        Thanks for the memories, brother!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It really is integrity versus profit, I think, with artists representing integrity almost by definition. But it’s not limited to artists. I think I’ve made this comment before. It’s been my observation that any successful product inevitably gets nibbled to death by bean counters who either don’t appreciate integrity or are unequipped to recognize it and care only for squeezing out profits. By the time the bean counters have finished their attack on the integrity of the product, it no longer carries any of the subtle but necessary qualities that made it successful. The bean counters are where good products go to die.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Once a product is subjected to the manufacturing process, there is a lot that has to go.

          My costume construction professor in grad school made the prototupes for the clothing for the first American Girl dolls, based on research from the Wisconsin Historical Society. They were exquisite and sent off the the manufacturer in Germany, and we sighed a bit at the cuts made.

          Later I saw Pleasant& Co was sold to a big toy company.

          I really should have ponied up and bought one of the originals-even manufactured, they were quite special.

          The bottom line drives every decision, and the bottom line must include an ever increasing profit margin, or everybody loses their job.

          This is why I now work as a contracter f

          Liked by 1 person

        2. for a couple of small online companies. No benefits, bit as long as the goods get delivered, nobody cares how long I take to fix a mistake I may have made. That’s on me.


        3. It’s understandable, when you are talking about the transition from hand crafted to manufactured articles, that some compromises would have to be made to suit the manufacturing process. In the case of the American Girl dolls, only you and your professor ever knew what the prototype looked like. The commercial product in its original form was presumably the best mass production could make it. I understand about profits, but it irks me as a consumer that we never have the choice of paying a little more to get a product that has maintained its integrity. We may pay a little more, but the product has also been progressively cheapened somehow.


        4. One of the worst days of my dad’s life was when he discovered that many of his designs had been compromised. When he looked at some of the stuffed toys about to be shipped he saw that their bodies and faces were distorted and ugly. A little research proved that the production manager had taken it upon himself to alter some patterns to make it possible to cut more parts from a panel of fabric.

          That led to a confrontation between the artist (Dad) and the production guy. Dad couldn’t believe someone would change his designs without telling him. The production manager couldn’t believe an artist would take a stand on principle when the altered designs were less expensive to make and (in his eyes) not significantly less appealing.


  3. No, but wish I did. Maybe it’s because I haven’t lost anyone that special …yet. Or maybe I just keep the fond memories. Never been much of a collector of anything, or a souvenir hunter, or a memento saver.

    My wife actually has kept many kitchen utensils and dishes from my maternal grandmother and her mother and grandmother, so maybe those qualify since I do most of the cooking. Wife also keeps propagating an ivy from her maternal grandmother that I think all of her sisters now “own” a piece of. She also has kept going a violet from my maternal grandmother whose cuttings have been shared with others.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have my grandmother’s jar lifter, which I use every autumn when I put up garden produce. It is from the 1920’s and works like a charm. It is made of thick wire with a wooden handle.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I have a Siberian Iris, that I have now split into two places, that came from a dear friend’s garden. Every spring when it blooms I smile, thinking of that friend and her friendship.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Morning all. Steve – did your dad design the large polar bear or was that after his time? I still have her (I call her Klondike Kate) sitting up in a chair in my bedroom.

    I have several mementos. I have the old sewing box that belonged to my maternal grandmother, a pretty porcelain lamp that belonged to my great grandmother and a music box from my paternal grandmother. If you’ve been to my house, you may have noticed a couple of pieces of art. One is a portrait of several native Americans – just their heads and faces looking out from the canvas. Another is a huge weaving with a variety of textiles that represents a sunset. These belonged to my father and were his favorites. When my folks downsized, there wasn’t room for either piece and they went into storage. When my father passed away, Nonny asked me if I wanted them. I was a little worried that my sisters might be upset about this but Nonny said “It will be OK. You and JB had similar taste in art that your sisters don’t care for.”


    1. Replying to vs: I am not sure about the polar bear. Was that an Animal Fair toy or Collegiate Manufacturing toy? I didn’t always know which of his animals were designed by him and which were considered the work of his associates. In a sense, it is an arbitrary distinction. The designers working for him were basically using concepts he worked out decades earlier.


      1. I did a little hunting on line and all I can find is a 1987 Pepsi version, but it’s the only one that has the claws and the same shaped face. It’s on ebay but the tag apparently says Animal Fair by “The Investor”!


        1. You’ve told me the story. And despite who I work for, I completely agree that “…by George” is a great tagline and “…by The Investor” doesn’t make any sense at all!


  5. I have the collars with all 17 cats who’ve owned me over the years. Once in a while when I’m feeling sentimental, I’ll take them out and gaze at the name tags and reflect upon the gift each one brought into my life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I collected dog collars. And I used to keep a red ribbon won by my first springer spaniel in the only competitive hunting trial she entered. The more I reflect on this topic, the more things I remember keeping as mementos of people or pets. The older a person gets, the more this stuff tends to collect in piles!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes… I didn’t think about this. Everybody in my family has matching Christmas stockings that my mother (Nonny) knitted over the years. And I mean EVERYBODY. I have kept all the stockings from my dear departed dogs (Sorcha, Scarlett, Baron, Tristan, Thorin).


        1. Actually… Nonny announced about two years ago that she was retiring from stockings. So last fall, I searched online and found the pattern to the stocking for sale and hired one of my knitting friends to make one for Guinevere. Although I did allow my friend to knit “Gwen” instead of the whole name!

          Liked by 3 people

  6. I was conscious, while packing up for the move, to save one item from each grandparent and other important person… It is fun unpacking to “hold the memories” – often when we’re settled in, these things sort of disappear from consciousness even though they are in plain sight. This way I’ve gotten to handle each one.

    Love this dog, Steve. That must have been quite an experience, being honored at the Ames H.S…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That seems like a good way, BiR, to balance having things to remember important people by and not being totally overrun with “stuff.” Have only one thing for each person – it’s so much easier to appreciate those things when they haven’t completely overtaken your space.


  7. Hey Troop!

    Nice story Steve. That’s a great dog! And would have been a good friend to the kid who had one.

    I’m surrounded by lots of memento’s. Buildings and machinery. Random fence posts that I remember helping my Dad set as we made fence. Pottery and artwork from Kelly’s Uncle Bill from his condo in Phoenix.
    And I have theater books from my mentor, Gary. He just passed in April and I’m still wishing he was here so I could bounce ideas off him.

    We’re trying to prepare for vacation. We fly out tomorrow to spend a week in Charleston SC. We’ve been down there before and I have a niece and her husband down there who own some condos. So we’re spending the first three nights on a boat and the next 4 nights in a condo downtown. Evidently the most important thing to remember on a boat is to only use the special toilet paper.

    Catch ya in the next time zone.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. that must mean they dont just flush it out into the ocean. i was wondering if elan musk had to pay for having his rocket miss the landing and go into the ocean and my son reminded me that neperson created a specail project where they used old train cars with the windows taken out to drop in to the ocean and let the marine life build around it. it is good to put things in to a point
      dont tell bp


  8. i wear my dads wedding ring, have one grandfathers cufflink box and a couple pairs of cufflinks fro the 60’s and another grandfathers 40’s/50’s ties. greatgrandfathers picture on a golf cart in the 50’s he had a saying that comes up when i see the picture. some people send the ball to the right some to the left some right down the moddle but we all end up in the same hole together.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. nice post steve
    i feel for your dad. to create a special look and have the bean counters mess with it would be enough to make me want to fire the bean counters just to make the point that it better not happen again.. there is no reason to discuss these things if its your company. just dictate.
    in my work i work alone so i have been told its ok to talk to yourself… its ok to argue with yourself …. just so long as you dont start losing too many arguments.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have no shortage of mementos, lots of handmade gifts from friends and family. Lots of things my mother made, including the quilt on my bed, now in need of repair. The challenge is knowing how much to keep.

    I have an aunt, now close to 90, who gives me things she’s forced to part with. She keeps telling me “I don’t want anything thrown away”, and I try hard to find a use for everything. I’m thinking I may make a shadow box in her honor, full of all the little things I’m at a loss for what to do with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You offer a good reminder, Linda, of the downside of memorabilia. It easily can get to be too much of a good thing. I start each day by reading Carolyn Hax’s personal advice column. She’s so smart. This morning she was talking about how older generations want to pass along precious stuff like china sets, stuff that is way too formal for the lifestyles of today’s young folks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am also a Carolyn Hax fan. This morning’s column made me think about my stuff. When I was getting married, my parents were insistent about my registering for china and crystal and silver. I resisted but eventually gave in. I use the china and silver occasionally (once every four or five years), have never used the crystal. My guess is that Young Adult won’t want any of this!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. One of the things I treasure – oddly – is my grandmother’s crystal. It’s a Fostoria pattern called Americana. Not hard to find in antique stores or other places, but I love it’s cube-y look. So very late 1920s. It also reminds me of all of the Easter dinners at my grandparent’s house: cousins gathered to hunt for chocolate eggs, changing out of our “good” clothes so we could go play at the park after dinner, the orange rolls my grandmother baked…I believe I was bold enough to even say during a conversation where she was musing about what her grandchildren might want, I spoke up and claimed the Fostoria. Even if I didn’t, she had it marked with my name. She would occasionally make rounds in her apartment and put names on things for her daughters or grandchildren – so books had bookmarks with names, teacups were marked sometimes individually, the wooden bench was marked for one of my cousins…it was kind of touching when it came to clear it out to see what she felt we should each have – especially the surprises like the little wooden bird my grandfather had carved that was designated for my big brother, and the old photos that went to another cousin.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. And why would she, vs? She has no fond memories of family traditions associated with that crystal if you never use it, and apparently it doesn’t mean anything to you either.


        1. This is in reply to PJ. I use the same plates etc for all occasions. I’m holiday and celebrarory-challenged and it makes no difference to me if I use everyday stuff for so-called special days. Those days are often just plain stressful rather than joyful to me and don’t seem to merit fancy plates.


        2. Ljb, I was wondering since you said “china” was way too formal for you, what you use if you don’t like “china.” I’m just wondering what alternative to “china” you use?

          Personally, I don’t care for the “fancy and expensive china” we’ve inherited from Hans’ family, and use it rarely. I love my ceramic dishes, handmade by various potters from this region. That said, there is some very fine “china” that I would love to own, but it will never happen. And actually, I’m glad of that. It’s too precious to use and possibly chip.


        3. PJ, I’m confused. I always thought china was the fancy stuff, the stuff that people only bring out on special occasions, rarely or never. Everyday stuff, such as Corelle, isn’t china in my mind. Are we using the word “china” differently? When I say china is too formal for me, I mean the stuff that other people display in a china cabinet and use only occasionally, if ever. I don’t even own that sort of stuff, and have never wanted any. My everyday dishes are not something I would display in a china cabinet, but I used them every day, even for special occasions.


      2. leo buscaglia used to say just use it. the older generation was afraid to use it or it may get chipped. leo said use it and chip it. its special but it will take a lifetime to break it all

        Liked by 2 people

  11. My Dad found and gave me a milk bottle cap that was left over from the days when my grandparents on my mothers side were in the business of bottling milk from their farm. The bottled milk was delivered to homes in Argle, Wisconsin which was near the farm. My mother made the deliveries. I had seen milk caps like the one my father found because milk was still being delivered in bottles with those kinds of caps when I was a young boy. However, by that time the bottling was done by commercial bottlers and was not done by farmers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder, Jim, what that bottle cap looked like. When I was a kid the caps were cardboard. They fit inside the milk bottle neck. If you left your milk on the porch too long in freezing weather the milk would freeze and the bottle cap would get pushed up off the bottle, resting on a long column of frozen milk.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. did you notice one dog has eyelids and one doesnt?
    your dad was right steve the one with no eyelids has much less personality.
    i have noticed that people who drive me crazy on tv dont blink. i watch a lot or turner classic movies and the guy who has been doing it for 30 years (robert osborne) is getting old and needing to take time off. they have a few new tryouts coming on and one is a woman who is pretty knows her movies but is so self conscious of the tv camera that she talks in a weird almost monotone but with m fass is on the rong sill ab ill and she doesnt blink. its unnerving to have someone who doesnt blink. it isnt easy to recognize but you know its something. look at how simple an idea it was to turn it from a cost efficient nothing with button eyes and an efficient needle nose to a sleepy compassionate buddy with a nose that makes you feel love. bean counters. i think tehey turned out that way because they never bonded with anything but a number two pencil


  13. From a fairly young age, I have been the family archivist and keeper of any and all artifacts. I have all the old family photos including photo albums kept by both sets of grandparents and going back to the nineteenth century. I have their marriage and confirmation documents. My father’s father came from Sweden in 1916. I have his emigration documents, a ribbon from his ship, and an old-fashioned leather wallet with receipts from money transfers he sent back to Sweden shortly after he arrived. On my mother’s side, in addition to the photo albums kept by my grandmother, I have a piece of my great great grandmother’s wedding dress (it’s brown) as well as her wedding picture. From my mother’s father’s side, I have a pocket watch presented to my step great great grandfather by the GAR and a document proclaiming his membership.
    Robin also is the archivist for her side. She has the bulk of ancestral photos. She has her grandmother’s upright grand piano. And she has her share of the family collection of mementos from their years in Japan.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Sorry I’m late to this one. Steve, I remember the first time I read about your dad on the Trail, and how excited I was to find out he’d designed my childhood best friend (whom I still have), Henry (I also have a Henry Jr. and the holiday ornament Henry they made a few years ago). He sounds like a guy well worth remembering!

    I have a lot of other people’s mementoes stuffed in various closets–you may remember my referring to them as “the ancestral cr@p.” My great-grandmother actually put a label on a pair of old glasses “belonged to to be kept in the family forever” (good luck with that, GG!). Like many of you, I have other mementoes around me and in daily use, mainly from my mom. Her little sewing box, one of those white wicker-style ones with straw flowers on the lid, a couple dozen embroidered dishcloths which I remember her stitching, and which I finally decided deserved to get used instead of stuck in a box forever, some Pyrex and stoneware bowls that she used all through my childhood, a set of kitchen tools that had been samples from when my dad tried to be a door-to-door salesman to earn extra money while in the service, that sort of thing.

    I don’t spend a lot of time reminiscing, because it’s very difficult for me to separate the good memories from the more recent bad ones of the person’s (or animal’s) decline, illness, and death. I dip into the past with great caution, but the practical items I have around give me a sense of connection and continuity. I’m very ambivalent about family, but as part of my pagan practice, I’m trying to connect with ancestry, and craft (including cooking and canning) seems to be the best avenue for me to do it.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. It’s got to be painful to arrive at this stage of life without loving, supportive family members. Every now and then, one of my kids blacklists me temporarily for yet another social gaffe. I’m the master of saying things out loud that most people only think. When this happens he/she won’t respond to texts or voice mail for a while, my whole world tilts on its axis and doesn’t feel “right” until we resume contact again, so I can only imagine what it’s like for you.

    I sure hope this post isn’t a social gaffe.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nah, don’t worry. I think it’s difficult for people who are close to their families to imagine what it’s like just not to be. Most understand if it’s an abusive situation, but they really can’t fathom mutual indifference or disinterest. I was an only child and a serious introvert; in my family I was close to only about half a dozen people, and they all died some time ago. There are some nasty toxic relatives, but the majority are just Mundanes with whom I have absolutely nothing in common, so I just kind of drifted off and they let me, probably with a certain amount of relief.

      I’m an aromantic asexual, so I’ve never been particularly interested in partnering, and the desire for children is incomprehensible to me. Instead I have two very close friends, who are equivalent to family…except better, because we WANT to spend time with each other, instead of feeling obliged to because we’re related.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. The family of the heart. I know it well.

        I really treasure the highly functional families I have been privileged to know. You don’t have to possess fine crystal to appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When I first read your second paragraph, it took a moment to figure out what “aromatic” meant – I thought it had something to do with pleasant smells. In recent months, there’s been a lot of media explaining asexuality. I’ve gone through long stretches feeling as you describe. In fact, the last five years – but, I think it’s due to aging and a creeping disillusionment that there is such a thing as romance.

        It’s said that we “choose our family” if our own aren’t healthy or nourishing to us. At this point, I have three brothers; one actual and two acquired over time. My former daughter in law is my chosen sister. One of my three kids is a close friend. I’m pretty sure that were I not their mother, the other two kids would never choose me as a friend.

        I appreciate your sharing, Crow Girl.


  16. I have a mug that belonged to my dad, which my mom gave to me shortly after he died. It says “I want CHOCOLATE and I want it NOW!” I’m not usually one for having sayings on mugs or other things, but because this belonged to my dad, and because it is a sentiment I share with him, I like having this mug. Unfortunately, someone else used it and the handle got broken, so I have set this aside for me to try to glue together someday. And when I fix it, I’ll squirrel it away somewhere safe until I live in a place where the people around me aren’t so destructive.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ouch. I hope that coffee cup wasn’t special.

        I was assured that it was the fault of a kid who was too young at the time to know better. But a part of me thinks, “But if you hadn’t been using my special mug – when there are plenty of other mugs to use – then this mug wouldn’t be broken. Why not use the mugs from the dollar store or your own mugs?”

        Now that I wrote that out, it sounds petty. I’m working on my attitude.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. One last story about Cheer Up. Groucho Marx had a popular TV show in the 1950s, You Bet Your Life. It was mostly a silly contest that gave Groucho the chance to banter with contestants. (“Lady, I like a cigar, but now and then I take it out of my mouth.”) They had a stuffed toy duck that dropped down from time to time to reward contestants who had spoken “the magic word.”

    My father found out that one of the fans of his design was Groucho Marx. Groucho wanted to retire the duck and replace it with a Cheer Up dog. Groucho’s production company wanted my dad’s factory to pay a small fee for the publicity they would get. Dad’s boss, a man who was neither creative nor entrepreneurial, refused to pay. The duck kept his job.


      1. Nobody will see this reply, tim, but I have to write it. You are right to say he would have been successful on his own. But my dad had two reasons for not going that way: 1) he was damned loyal, even loyal to a creepy boss who abused him; 2) he grew up in the Depression when it was terribly difficult to land a job, so he and my mom were always conservative and unwilling to take financial risks.

        Then one day he had a showdown with his boss, a manipulative games-playing sort of creep (think Donald Trump) who loved to prove his superiority to employees. Dad asked for a raise. The boss turned him down, saying, “George, we have to be careful what sort of people we reward here. So he was saying not only did Dad not deserve a raise (although he did) but that he wasn’t the sort of person who would ever be compensated appropriately.

        Dad talked this over with my mother. He had been denied a raise he deserved and his manhood had been directly challenged. He laid plans to leave the only job he ever had and start up his own stuffed toy factory in Minnesota, the land of his dreams. After he pulled out his old company failed within a few years.

        I am biased. I loved my dad growing up, then as I matured and learned more about him he became a personal hero. There might be another side to this story, but I am convinced of the story I know!


        1. Have to comment and let you know ut was seen, read, and appreciated. Like your dad, I firmly believed if you were not on someone’s payroll, you did not have a job, and without a job you were nothing (and as a parent, damned irresponsible).

          Glad your dad got out and grabbed the success he had earned with his talent, integrity and perseverance.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Terrific story! I’m extremely familiar with that Depression mindset–my adoptive parents (great-aunt and uncle, really) were born in 1917 and 1921 respectively. Don’t get into debt, start at the bottom and work your way up, hang onto a job no matter what because you might not get another, “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” I know it well. How wonderful for him (and for those of us who were toy-buying kids at the time) that your dad finally got fed up and followed his dream!

          You know what, you should write a biography of your dad and his company. I bet the Minnesota Historical Society Press would be interested in it! I’d be happy to proofread and line edit if you needed someone.

          Liked by 2 people

  18. What a nice post, Crow Girl. Actually, I did write a book of family memoir about my dad and mother. I worked hard on it and thoroughly enjoyed the project. But I never could find a publisher for it. The times are bad for publishing books in general and even worse for memoir. I’ve shared the book via email with friends, and I guess that is where it will end.

    Thanks again.


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