Friday, June 15, 2007

truck and bus

I think I'm a true mix of my parents, not only physically but personality wise.
I have the Spitznogle nose and the Gremelspacher chin (yeah, I said Spitznogle and Gremelspacher, what of it?).

The last funeral I attended in Cass County, I had folks on either side me simultaneously say "you look just like a Spitznogle" and "you look just like a Grememspacher" (yeah, Cliff -- I said Spitznogle and Gremelspacher again!).

I get my love of writing and reading from my Mom. I hope that I've also gotten a fraction of her compassion, spirituality, generosity, style and wisdom. She is also an excellent public speaker and I am enjoying that more and more.

From my Dad I get the never-met-a-stranger, and I-can-sleep-when-I'm-dead vibe. He's very social and not afraid to walk in to any room. I also have a bit of his "one more can't hurt" attitude. He is also incredibly generous and very involved in the church.

Mom is retiring this month from her career in the Catholic Church. She's worked as a director of religious education for decades. It has been fun to run in to people who's lives she's touched.

Dad retired in 2001 from the GM Truck and Bus plant after 44 years as a tool and die maker. He also farmed most of that time. I had a pretty good idea of what farming was about, but I was never sure what happened each day at "the plant."

When I was young I had a real romantic idea of what working in a factory must be like. I pictured a bunch of men in denim aprons pushing deck brooms back and forth all day. I have no idea where I got that image. Dad did not talk about his actual work much, just the card games and conversations that happened on his break times. When I was older I realized that it was a hot, loud and dangerous place to be each day.

When Dad retired we realized that he did not know the real names of folks that he'd worked with for decades. Try addressing an invitation to "Wild Lil, Toad, Mountain Man or Big Joe."

The UAW chapter at that plant has a community and health fair each year and I've signed Second Helpings up to participate.
Three years ago I manned the booth by myself. I'd ask people if they knew Dad.
Me: John Spitznogle? Spitz?
Them: No...
Me: He also farmed...
Them: No....
Me: He sold sweet corn from the back of his truck in the summer.
Some of them: Oh, his name is John?
If they didn't recognize Dad as Mr. Sweet Corn, I'd press on.
Me: He, um, also made wine...
The rest of them: Oh yeah! We miss him!

Dad was not alone in his lack of name knowledge.

Now that Dad and Dale (another retired die maker --nickname Whitey, brother of Toad) are volunteering at Second Helpings I send them to man the booth. I think they enjoyed seeing everyone and everyone loves seeing them.
I managed to slip over there at shift change today.
It's still fun to be introduced as "my daughter" to dad's friends -- what ever their names may be.


Jamie Dawn said...

Both your parents sound like great people.
That's why you are such a likable person.
You're funny, gregarious, and just plain nice.
I have great parents too. I feel incredibly blessed.
You are very blessed also.
Congrats to your mom on her retirement from doing the work of the Lord. :-)
Mr. Sweet Corn sounds like a fine man.
Happy Father's Day to him!!

Cliff Morrow said...

Okay Nora, Blogger had me on the edge of crazy friday night and yesterday. I'm typing a third comment under the assumption that it will work this morning.
You've been brought up by good parents. There's something about being out in the country that makes one a self confident individual.
I'm not making fun of family names. You've pretty well explained why you come from two of the best family names going.
Was Big Joe the guy who broke fingers for the union??