“You want to see poverty. I lived in poverty. My father was a heavy drinker and a womanizer and beat us kids.”
So summed up my wife’s uncle about his father.
“I’ve made a lot of money in my life. I saved and invested in real estate. They want to put my story in a museum.”
So continued my wife’s uncle about himself.
I could contain myself no longer. I had heard him tell this story three times to three different people. I told my wife that her uncle was using his father as a villain to make himself a hero.
Who am I to criticize this wiry little 87 year old electrician? But his narrative is woefully incomplete.
My wife’s grandfather (her uncle’s father) raised nine children on a farm in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky during the Great Depression. Five of his sons fought in World War 2. All returned. All nine children became independent and self sufficient.
Her grandfather was a hard driving, hard drinking man who learned how to manage a 300 acre farm and built a saw mill after his business ventures in the city ran into trouble during WW1 and the deep recession of 1920. He also learned how to tap into the natural gas on the farm property and pipe it into the farm house so the family could have heat during the winter.
When that didn’t provide enough money, he hired himself out in different states and cut lumber. He lived in the part of Kentucky where moonshine was made, sold and consumed in large volumes. Yes, he drank a lot of that stuff, but so did his sons, and everybody else. Hard times deserve equally hard responses. When traveling to other states to cut lumber he took his youngest son (my wife’s uncle).
Surely my wife’s uncle realizes his life was not one bit as challenging as his father’s was? His father raised a family at a time of two economic depressions, and two world wars in an area considered one of the poorest in the country. On the other hand, my wife’s uncle grew to adulthood during the buildup of the richest middle class in world’s history.
But, who am I to judge?
The stories we create about ourselves, and state over and over again, should be reviewed and edited occasionally.