“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.
Begin it now.”
*Continuing where we left off in Part Two of “My Daddy” :
The year was 1958, the setting our home in Hurricane, Utah — The place: Around our average-sized family room fireplace. While the flames flickered and leaped, warmed and lit our cozy little living room, we (then eleven Spencer kids) huddled around our parents on the colorful rag-rug Mother had crocheted.
I was twelve then, second to the oldest, and seventeen months younger than my oldest sibling, Doris — one of my rivals! While sixty-three-year-old Daddy sat situated on a high stool with a towel wrapped around his neck and shoulders, talented and artistic thirty-seven-year-old Mother was at her routine task of trimming his white hair, employing the clippers he’d bought for this purpose.
As was often the case during such times, we kids were once again peppering Papa with personal questions about his intriguing boyhood, family, life … and white hair!
” I discovered my first gray hair when I was only fourteen years old!” Daddy explained. “Gray hairs really stand out when your hair is pitch black like mine used to be!”
My siblings and I were further enlightened when Mother got out Daddy’s scrapbook and a photo album so he could explain the pictures and keepsakes in them. There was a picture of my paternal grandmother dressed to the “T” in the high-fashions of the early 1900s:
“My mother was a socialite,” he opined disapprovingly. “She was more concerned about her appearance and joining social circles than she was about being a good mother. She always decked herself out in the latest grand styles of the day — as you can see in this picture,” continued Daddy, pointing to a photo of his attractive mother in a hat.
As an aside, I never got to meet my paternal grandparents, nor Daddy’s aunt who raised him. Daddy was about fifty-two when I was born. I was around five years old when, in her nineties, his aunt died. She lived in Michigan, and we lived in St.George, Utah, at that time. Lack of money and means precluded Daddy’s going to her funeral.
Back before she died, I recall how elated he would be whenever a letter arrived from his aunt. Sometimes she would include a photo of herself, so I at least got to see what she looked like as a ninety-year-old woman … And I recall, too, the tears in Daddy’s eyes (a man who seldom showed any sign of tears) when he read the letter that said she had died.
One of the many disadvantages of having a father old enough to be your grandfather is that his parents/ your paternal grandparents die before you are old enough to meet them — that is, if he even kept in contact with his parents at all — which Daddy did not.
Continuing with Daddy’s pictures, now: In another photo, his handsome “half-breed” entrepreneur mother stood on the porch in front of a wooden building. And Daddy recounted:
“My mother owned a little motel or boarding house. I helped her with the work there, oftentimes — sweeping the big porch, fixing things, and helping at the front desk.
“In my free time, I loved to create things that really worked … like miniature model windmills I carved and devised myself, where the blades of the windmill could actually turn if you blew on them … or there was wind.”
He was very proud of his ingenuity and creativity — the things he was amazingly able to come up with and make, though only a child … things nobody else around him devised; not even adults. He loved to draw, too — funny caricatures and so forth.
“I also loved to design and create things like tiny little wagons and cars with wheels that could roll — and even miniature houses and buildings.
“And I loved to carve whistles, wooden ducks, dogs, and other toys that had wheels on them so they could be pulled around with us wherever we went — which was how we made our toys move, back in those days.
“My dream was to be a train Engineer — How I longed to be in the driver’s seat of a train and to work on trains. Trains were the big thing — just coming into existence when I was a young boy.
“It was back when most people did not own a car, and Model-T Fords were barely becoming the big rage among the rich.
“One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. I was thirteen years old when that car came out. Henry Ford was my idol! I loved that he was an Inventor. I wanted to be an Inventor, myself — to design and create things like Ford and other Inventors of my day.
“If I could’ve had my way and I’d had the advantage of money ‘n’ a good education, I would’ve been an Engineer. But instead of goin’ back to school ‘n’ workin’ for years to get the education I needed so as to go to college ‘n’ get an Engineering Degree, I married ‘n’ had a bunch of kids — to help build up God’s kingdom. Then spent my time workin’ to raise ‘n’ support my families — my first family with Eva, and now this one.”
Then Daddy changed the subject:
“As a youth, I never liked to sit around wastin’ time, nor to play silly games like the rest of the kids … Liked to put my time to good use … to create things. Silly, noisy kids got on my nerves. But being an only child was a very lonely life. That’s one reason I chose to have lots of kids when I got married.”
Explanation: Daddy was an Introvert — a creative like me — only one of a number of traits I inherited from Daddy’s side of the family. If you do not know the characteristics of the different but unique, special Introvert brain and personality, there are a number of good books on the market that explain this valuable and wondrous trait.
And if you are related to Floyd Otto Spencer, and other such, chances are you or/and some of your children and posterity are also Introverts.
So here are titles of three spectacular books you may be interested in reading or at least skimming. If you can’t find some of these in your library or online, there are other books on the subject.
But the following books are the ones I have read and can highly recommend if you are able to get them:
1- “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World,” by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.
2- “Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto,” by Anneli Rufus
3- “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You,” by Elaine N. Aaron, Ph.D.
(*Continued in My Memoirs: My Daddy, Pt. 4)