Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - What My Dad Learned About His Dad - Part Two

This week we continue or Sundays of June series of things my dad learned about his dad, my grandfather.

Some Things I Know or Learned About My Dad…. by Jim Eiswerth

My dad was a good shot and liked to hunt especially whitetail deer. This was another good meat source during winter on the farm and it helped eliminate some of the crop damage they had too. My dad was never a trophy hunter, more of a meat hunter, but he got lucky one year (1939 I think) and shot a beautiful 9 point buck. It was the only buck he ever got mounted. Today I have that deer mount hanging on my family room wall. We even decorate it for Christmas … but that is another story.

Dad got introduced to baseball through his Aunt Agnes. She worked for a wealthy doctor in Williamsport, who had connections with the Williamsport Grays ball team. Ballplayers were invited over to the farm for a good home cooked meal and to taste some of my grandfather’s home-made wines. There always seemed time for a game and that how my dad learned a lot about baseball. It is still his favorite sport, and he often catches a good nap watching the games on TV.

Dad enlisted in the Navy and served at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station and on the USS Helena. I’ve related some of those stories already so I won’t repeat them here. The only one I missed, was one dad related about an officer, Henry Fonda (the actor), temporarily working in the control tower. All the sailors were trying to get Fonda to sign autographs to send home to their girl friends. When he signed anything, he just wrote “H. FONDA”. Dad said that Fonda was pretty quiet and professional.

After the Navy, dad married and went to tech school on the GI Bill. He went to school during the day, and worked 2nd shift at a Williamsport leather tannery. Although trained in the Navy for sheet metal work, he decided on masonry, and in those classes he met Guy Reeder (served in the Navy Pacific theater), and Red Shaw (served as Army medic in Italy). All three were recently married, starting families, and got along pretty good. They completed their training and formed a partnership that lasted until they all eventually retired in their sixties. Dad was always good with numbers and took on the additional job of the business record keeper, billing and payroll. The partners were so close, that as kids we always called them, Uncle Guy and Uncle Red.

One of E-R-S’s first big jobs was to do all the concrete work (foundations, floors, sidewalks, and curbing) for a brand new sub-division in South Williamsport. New construction skyrocketed after the war was over. That job got them going and the quality of their work was easily recognized, so that just by word of mouth their business grew. My dad had a knack of remembering people and jobs he completed. He and his partners took a lot of pride in their work, and dad can still point out some of their work when you drive him around town.
After living several years in South Williamsport, my dad and mom bought property about 2 blocks from my mother’s parents, in the East End of Williamsport. Dad, with the help of his friends and my uncles, built our new house from the ground up. I can’t imagine the long hours he put into the house. Dad worked all day, and then all evening on our new house. Uncle Norbert Bower helped him with the house electrical wiring. Initially our house did not have a garage, but when I was in high school, I helped my dad build the block walls that became an attached garage. Of course the boys needed to have a basketball hoop, so dad built a nice backboard and we shot hoops a lot. My youngest sister, Dolly, turned out to be the best shot and even lettered in three sports in college.

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