How my Political Beliefs Were Formed:My mom and dad were traditionalists as was my whole extended family. There was a pride in working, in learning a trade. There was also a strong sense of self-reliance. My dad especially could fix or repair anything. There was not a car in our family that dad had not worked on at one time or another. Dad took pride in his work both at the factory and at home. He had a confidence that he could fix anything. He helped my uncle put a floor in his basement. He did pluming and electrical work, he worked on gas lines in the house. There was nothing he could not fix or make work. He taught me to be self-reliant to depend upon no one.
When I was in third grade we moved to Lake Eliza Indiana it was our first house. It set on an acre and a half. The house sat on a quarter acre the rest was to become our garden, a place to play ball and a place to raise chickens and even pigs. I remember spring, summer and fall being gardening time. My school ended in mid May and started in September after Labor day. My summer vacation consisted of planting, weeding and watering the garden every day. I also had to cut the grass on the house lot and the lot we had next to it. I had to feed the chickens, (Which as I recall we had quite a while) and the pigs which we had for the couple of months until they escaped, (More on that another time.).
After completing my chores the day was mine. It usually involved riding my bike to Lake Eliza about 4 miles a way to go swimming, or to the Tommy Fitzgerald's petting farm. We could rent a horse for a couple of hours for two or three dollars. Funny there was no bubble wrapping us to ride our bikes. It was part of growing up to get hurt, bleed and have scabs to pick in front of girls. We found a pond on one of the farmers fields and often skinny dipped there and cooked our lunch, made up of his corn and whatever be brought from home. When I was in third grade I hunted squirrels and rabbits with a 4/10 shotgun. I shot at a few but don't recall hitting any. Now in target and sporting clays shooting I realize not much has changed. We played army and had the most marvelous wars in the wood behind our house. We played army with BB guns and several times we had to dig a BB out of the butt of one of our friends. Thankfully our mothers never found out what we were doing, you know its fun until someone looses and eye. The world was ours.
When strawberries, raspberries, blackberries came into season usually by mid June we picked them all summer long. Sometimes we would get up early in the morning and pick a bunch for breakfast. Mom and my aunt canned them or made the most wonderful pies , my favorite were the fried pies. Over the winter we had no end of berry jam and jelly, berry syrup and just plain old canned berries for pies, I dearly love pie because it brings back the best memories of my youth.
Mom and my aunt canned our garden vegetables and we never knew what it was to buy canned vegetables until we moved into the city. If we needed meat we bought it at Tommy Fitzgerald's meat locker where we could buy a quarter of a steer or pig. We also got farm fresh eggs when we no longer had chickens. We were mostly self-reliant for food. Looking back I realize that being in the city makes one dependent. Dependent on the grocery store for food, dependent on the government for water and sewer, dependent on the government transportation. The more we came/come to depend upon the government the more freedom we give up.