Dorothy, our oldest sister, has asked me to do an audio tape in memory of our father and mother.
The following are the exact words taken from this tape, for my brothers and sisters, their wives and husbands and their children and children’s children. Dorothy has asked me to do this tape and perhaps I am not completely fit to undertake something of this very serious nature. But, at the same time, perhaps I am because of the fact that my memories of home and family probably are deeper than others because of the fact that I’ve spent so much time away from home and, in some cases, in places and in situations where the memories of home were very dear to me.
First, I would like to talk about Dad. I guess in many ways Dad, who was a product of the frontier (whose people lived on the frontier in Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Minnesota) was in many ways the last of the frontiersmen. And as I think of Dad I think of a person who, I believe, had in many ways achieved the secret of life.
Even in the worst times, I think we all will remember that Dad had a lot of responsibility. He had his own large family; he had his mother, and after Uncle Albert died, he also had some serious responsibilities with Aunt Ruth’s family. So he had a lot of responsibility and things could get pretty hectic and things could get quite anxious but, through it all, he could take his pipe and his book and escape from the pressures for a few hours.
My view of Dad, as a small boy I guess, probably isn’t unlike any child’s view of their father when they were little. And to me he was all strong, all just, all fair, and sometimes quite severe. But I guess we’ll all remember our father as being someone who was very kind and very firm. He seemed to have an innate sense of fairness.
He must have taken me almost everywhere with him when I was a small boy because I can remember many, many places that we went and incidents. One of them that I remember very clearly was driving into a farm yard and an old white-haired lady came running out of her house, completely grief-stricken, waving her arms in the air and looking at my father and shouting, “Rob is dead! Rob is dead!” This was the time they found Bob Ladd (they called him Rob, I guess) up in the north woods, dead. And, of course, this was Mrs Ladd.
I remember many instances about Father, when we were going places and we met people. It seemed, even then, that almost everyone treated my father with a lot of respect. And I guess a lot of people unloaded their griefs and anxieties upon his shoulders.
Dad could get very upset sometimes. I remember the time that Jack and Harve went down to the Big Slough to hunt. They were boys at the time and quite small as I recall. Jack was probably about twelve and Harve about ten. Some hunters, grown-ups from Hartland I believe, were out at the Big Slough and they had been drinking and they decided to have some fun with Harve and Jack. They claimed they were game wardens and they took Jack’s shotgun and generally gave Harve and Jack a bad time. Of course, Harve and Jack came home and told Dad the story and Dad immediately perceived that these guys were just out having some fun with some small boys, so he took the old rifle off the wall and went out to the Big Slough. I don’t know about these guys, but I would have hated to have been in their place. They probably felt that at anytime they might end up with a bullet hole in them. But when things like this happened, Dad would take a very strong stand.