18 February 2010

Secretary

I liked shop. I got really good grades in shop; aka, "industrial arts." I got mediocre grades in other academic subjects; I excelled in shop. Industrial arts linked an academic narrative with hands-on learning to a machine I could manipulate and produce an object that help the prospect for use and admiration. Shop was a requirement for males, just as home economics was for females, in the public junior and senior high school system in the '50's and early '60's of Oakwood, OH. Oakwood was a suburban up-scale town just outside of Dayton, OH.
My parents, especially my father was enraged at my puny grades in math, grammar, writing, and reading. My mother and father had alcohol-fueled physical arguments over my performance. Conversely he couldn't abide that I excelled in industrial arts. Their response was to 1.) label me, I call it a branding; 2.) sequester me to three years, fall, spring, summer, and winter, of remedial private schooling, mostly out of the home; 3.) to see I learned to type on the now old-school Smith-Corona typewriters.
I learned to type in the 7th grade. I was the only male in a class of females, maybe 20 to 25 of us. I picked it up quickly; did well. A personal typewriter, mine was the Olivetti Lettera 22 portable, was the reward in my family, which is to say I was never rewarded with a hammer, pliers, or a saw for my excellence.
This item, "Why Househusbands Are the Future" appeared in the N.Y. Times recently,
"We both agree that we're moving into uncharted waters on the family front. Maybe it'll turn out that working class young men can adapt to the changing economy, which no longer values their physical strength, and learn to become secretaries." - Gail Collins

Our culture and economy has been moving into these "uncharted waters" and the "changing economy" for decades. I worked as a secretary for many of my productive working years. Did well enough. Now I mow lawns and try to figure out how to sharpen the mower's blade.
And I type too.

09 February 2010

Random 3

I'm the father of two, a boy, 24, and a girl, 20. I'm a daddy, which is to say, I feel like a daddy even though I'm the non-custodial bio-parent who never left town. I wanted to be married; it's a mystery, maybe a calling. It may have had something to do with my enchantment with my parents’ black & white wedding photos that I used to look at as a boy. The photos are as much of the setting, the interior of a Connecticut Roman Catholic church, which is now burned down, as they are of my parents and their ceremony and celebration.

I always wanted to be a daddy; as a boy it was my job to take care of the cat. I was the youngest. I was the one who took care of all pets. As a result, when people asked me what I wanted to be, I said a veternairan. Later I wanted to be an artist. I didn't know what this meant so I experimented and found out. Later on, becoming a daddy empowered me and I felt it to be the most natural me in the world. By any standard I was not perfect, but I managed as a Father and Daddy, and I may have been good enough.

Now my children are young adults living their own lives.

And it all happened so quickly! So quickly it's confusing. I came from a confused birth family.