The above picture is the only one I have of my father -- Edwin Lawrence Lynch -- that was taken before the day he married my mother on September 28th, 1940. (Actually, there is one that I'll hopefully be able to find, which shows him as a young adult, but that one may or may not have been taken before the wedding.) My current plan is to contact my Dad's sister Irene to see if she has any, and I'll report my findings here, sooner or later... but this is it for now.
My dad was raised in Auburn, Massachusetts, a town on the border of Worcester. His birth-date was variously reported as being September fourth, fifth, or sixth, 1916. There was a fire in the Auburn town hall that destroyed the actual records. We -- "we" being my parents, my elder sister Kathy (Kathleen), and myself -- always split the difference, so to speak, and celebrated on the 5th... although his headstone reads September 4th.
My father died when I was not quite twelve. He died in a work-related accident on September 26th, 1968. Therefore, interestingly enough (to me, anyway), the three most important dates in his life -- birth, marriage, and death -- all took place in September.
I know next to nothing about his childhood -- for that matter, I never knew him all that well growing up, due to his work schedule -- with the exception of three all-too-brief anecdotes which I'll share with you today.
But first, I want to make quick references to my previous "Sepia Saturday" post and my next one (which may or may not be next Saturday).
Because there's so little info from my father's side of the family pre-1940, my Sepia Saturday excursions will be heavy on my mom's relatives, the Hartman/Stremekes/Korsak side of the family. (And wait until you "meet" Joe Korsak, Sr., the uncle I regrettably never knew. The guy's kind of a hero in my mind, for reasons you'll learn about soon!)
Anyway, as I stated above, my knowledge of my father's youth is severely limited. I only have three actual stories, as well as a couple of cool facts which I'll tell you about first.
My father said he was acquainted with Dr. Robert Goddard, one of the "fathers of modern rocketry," who launched his first liquid-fueled rocket in Auburn, in 1926.
If I recall correctly, my father claimed he'd had a paper route as an adolescent, and that one of his customers was Warner Oland, the first star of Hollywood's Charlie Chan films. However, my research shows that Oland and his wife made their primary residence in Southborough, Massachusetts, which is a good distance from Auburn and the adjoining city of Worcester.
So... Who knows? Maybe Dr. Goddard was the customer on his paper route. Which makes me wonder where Warner Oland fit in... but I oh-so-characteristically digress.
Here are the three "stories" I promised, such as they are:
1. My mother's side of the family was very musical, but until yesterday, the only thing I knew connecting my father to music was that he'd owned a banjo when he was a boy... a banjo which his younger brother, George, put his foot through. And I don't even know if that was an accident, or on purpose.
(Funny thing is, I recently contacted some of my cousins on my mom's side of the family, as I began the project of writing down my family history, and my cousin Joe -- son of the Aunt Josie whom I mentioned in last Saturday's post -- told me that my father played the piano occasionally. My dad couldn't read music; he played by ear. Interesting, thought I, remembering two years I spent learning (of all things) the glockenspiel in grammar school. I could read music, note by note, but as soon as I learned the notes to a particular song, I played the song from memory. I couldn't "sight read" music like my mom -- an accomplished pianist and organist -- could.)
2. When my father was in grammar school -- this was in the days when just about anyone had the right to dish out corporal punishment to other people's children -- he was spanked by the principal for some unnamed offense. Upon his arrival home, my father told his dad about it. As it happened, my grandfather had known and respected this old principal when he'd been in school. Figuring that my father must indeed have earned his punishment, my grandfather's response was to give my father a second spanking.
3. My paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Gamble Lynch -- she once told me that she was very distantly related to the Gambles who started the Procter & Gamble Company -- once related a story about how my father had come home one day after it had rained, his feet soaking wet despite the rubber boots he'd been wearing. She sent him back outside wearing some sort of wet-suit, and he still came home drenched. She assumed he must have actually lain down in a puddle. When I repeated this story for my father sometime later, he defensively replied, "I was pushed!"
Doesn't sound like he was raised with an awful lot of understanding or sympathy, does it? Times were different then, I guess...
It'll be a while before I write about my father again, since I'll be doing this ongoing history more-or-less chronologically. Next time, fellow babies, I'll be showing you the earliest existing photo of my mother.
Thanks for your time.
P.S. ~~ I've noticed that some of the Sepia Saturday "players" are wondering if a certain photo or two of theirs would qualify, and even though the "rules" laid out in The Sepia Saturday Manifesto are very lenient, it's possible to work wonders with PhotoShop or (in my case) Picasa, as follows:
Or, if you prefer something that looks more like a "period" piece...