Forum: Memories of Dad
June 15, 2012 10:06PM
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:39AM
On this Father’s Day, I’m remembering those fathers who came through the Great Depression and kept their families together despite unemployment, lost savings and living in poverty. My dad was one of those fathers.
Born in 1892 in Chicago, he became the architectural engineer for the Burlington Railroad. When Wall Street crashed in 1929, followed by the banks failing, construction came to a halt. Dad lost about $50,000 in investments and savings. Bank accounts were not insured then nor were corporations bailed out.
Dad was placed on administrative leave from the railroad from 1931 to 1938, when he was recalled to his same position. He worked there until 1952 when he died of heart failure. However, when a man takes his last breath, his success in business is not measured nearly as much as his success as a family man by those who loved him most and knew him best.
Dad was a quiet man, not given to anger or impatience, and never raised a hand to my older brother or me. The only good thing about the Great Depression was having him home more, and he became integral in forming our character, beliefs, patriotism, ambitions and moral standards.
Dad had a variety of jobs during the Depression, including raking leaves for the park district, an egg delivery route and work with the Works Progress Administration as a surveyor of many south suburban streets and sidewalks. He was overjoyed when the Burlington called him back because he loved working for the railroad and the travel involved.
Thanks for the memories, Dad. I will love you into eternity. And Happy Father’s Day to all good men who place their families above all else. A good father is the finest role model any child can have and the best husband any woman could hope for.
No sympathy for retired teachers
This is in response to the June 8 letter from the retired teacher from Mokena. I believe he is misrepresenting the entire issue of teacher pensions.
The central thrust of his letter was to cause readers to be sympathetic to his status, which requires him to work at Jewel-Osco because his pension is inadequate to sustain his living standard. Before we become too sympathetic, we should know how old he is. What was his age at retirement? How long has he been receiving pension and health benefits? These are fair questions.
I think it’s a safe bet that he’s a lot younger than 65 and is enjoying a secure fixed income with lifetime health benefits far earlier in life than his private-sector counterparts. Sorry, no sympathy deserved here.
He goes on to state that Illinois teachers are being disproportionately required to sacrifice. I submit that this is just practice for what is yet to come in succeeding budget showdowns. Just about everything in this letter is standard teacher union demagoguery.
The reality is that there is no place to go for public service pensions except down. The state of Illinois is bankrupt and so is the nation.
Edward J. Springer