“A good memoir is born from that uniquely
important place in your personal history.”
“Writing Your Hot Topic Memoir”
My Daddy, Part 5 (continued from Part 4)
Daddy was an autodidact. In other words, he was self-taught — in many areas. He would get books on auto mechanics, carpentry, building construction, watch and clock repair, farming, health — you name it — and learn how to do these things … How to eat healthfully, for example. Sometimes he took Night School classes too.
By the late 1940s or early 1950s, he was a Singer Sewing Machine salesman and repairman. He went from home to home selling and setting up this then newfangled, popular electric sewing machine that had quickly outdated the old treadle sewing machine.
He taught the proud owners how to use their new modern electric Singer sewing machine and its many attachments — such as the attachment for making buttonholes. And he maintained the machines, should they need service.
Later on, he morphed into a self-employed entrepreneur — a General Contractor, capable of building homes and commercial buildings, from the ground up, including creating the blueprints.
People liked to hire him because he could save them money, time, and trouble by doing everything himself — from the blueprints, foundation, building’s frame, cement work, flooring and roofing, to the electrical, plumbing, brick and rock work, landscape, carpentry, and the painting of his new buildings.
Provided they had time to wait for a one-man job to be finished, he was your man. Hiring a bunch of contractors and construction workers to do the job all at once was more much expensive and time consuming, but would get the job done a lot faster, if that was what one needed to do.
Because he was an introvert (or ambivert?) he preferred to work by himself. It’s a good thing because he didn’t get along well with most people. He had an artistic, fastidious, and perfectionistic personality, topped off with religious fanaticism, plus a high-strung, short-fused bad temper, and a sharp tongue. (He regularly called to repentance people in his presence he saw doing things that were against his religion!)
For example, he would tell mainstream Mormons they were headed for hell because they had given up plural marriage, practiced birth control, and had “mutilated” the holy temple garments Joseph Smith “ordained of God” and said should never be cut nor otherwise changed. This fervent and footwashing fundamentalist father of mine took his religion very seriously!
That said, he would also regularly worry, harass, and chastise women in the Mormon fundamentalist groups, too, for doing things like cutting their hair, sporting “worldly hairdos and makeup” — and for wearing their hemlines too high and their necklines too low! (Hem lines were supposed to be about down to the ankle, and neck lines about up to the collar bone.)
“That tight sweater and skirt you’ve got on is exactly what leads men to want to rape women! You look like a goddamned Delilah!!” he swore at me one day when I was thirteen years old and dressed to go to school. That sure “learnt” me a lesson!
I’m being facetious, of course. Though I took off the sweater and skirt, so popular in the 1950s, and never wore such clothing again (during my life in the fundamentalist cult) I now know there is no excuse for men to rape women under any conditions!
If how women look or dress determines whether they get raped or not, then what about Aborigines and other Indigenous societies, for example, who go/went around (as a way of life) stark naked, half naked — and “half-baked“? (Pun intended!)
It’s all a matter of culture, style, and one’s values, really. Women are not to blame if some all-braun-and-no-brains men choose to try to dominate and use women to their own advantage.
Just because most men are much more muscular than women, that doesn’t make men superior to women. It certainly doesn’t give them a right to brutalize women so as to run them. Only backwards people and cultures adhere to that old-world way of thinking.
In general, men aren’t superior to women, other than muscularly … usually. (When I was young and in shape, I was able to win more than one man in an arm wrestle, LOL!) Women are not objects, either, as some men seem to think. Men don’t own them — nor do they have the right to strong-arm nor otherwise control women — despite what some fundamentlist Mormons, et Al, believe.
But getting back to Daddy: His regularly chastising others and setting them straight led me to believe he was pretty perfect, himself. He must be, it seemed, if he could be calling others on the carpet for not adhering to our extremist sect’s strict dress code, or other such. If he could do that, he must be doing everything right himself, yes?
However, in hindsight (always the best sight) I see he needed to lighten up, simmer down, mind his own business — and quit projecting his own fears and faults onto others. In other words, like so many of us, he needed more patience and persistence, and less pestering of others; i.e., He needed to exhibit more charity. He just didn’t know it yet.
*Continued in My Memoirs: My Daddy, Pt 6