15 May 2011
I've been thinking of my father a lot lately. He was quite a craftsman. He made desks for my brother and me as well as our children. Bookcases and storage cabinets. A train table for me. Tools for building model airplanes. In his later years, he worked on some projects at his church, including building a new set of steps. He was a mason/bricklayer by trade, having worked with his father and brothers since he was 13. He lost his mother when he was 8 and quit school at age 13 to help the family - his father and 7 siblings. He suffered from a form of pemphagus, which caused large sores to form on his neck and under his arms. Treatments in those days, before it was diagnosed correctly, included radiation, boric acid salves, zinc oxide ointments, all to no avail. It was difficult to work because he couldn't always raise his arms to plaster ceilings. But he always managed to live through the attacks. He took time off from work to build houses for my brother and me after we married. He collected books on the West and Spiritualism; he belonged the the Spiritualist Church in Rochester, NY, and was active in Lily Dale, NY. He died recovering from prostate cancer surgery; the surgery was successful, but the cause was a pulmonary embolism.