Saturday, June 20, 2009

Buck Earle

On the occasion of Father's Day of the centenary year of my father's birth I offer this tribute. I was 10 when he died suddenly at age 43 so I didn't know him well, but E. D. Broadhurst, who had a column for the local paper wrote about my father after his funeral in 1952. Much of what I know about my father's personality was in that article. It says some very nice things about Buck.

My father, who was also Elias Preston Earle and named for his father (and grandfather), was called "Buster" growing up, but as an adult this morphed to "Buck", the name by which everyone knew him. Though I barely remember him, he left me with a number of life lessons, some important, others less so.

He taught me to respect books, not just for their content but as books. Even today I find it almost impossible to throw away a hard-bound book.

He taught me to love baseball. I learned to read to read baseball articles in the summer of 1949. He had told me that he was in service with Ted Williams in WW II so I was always a Red Sox fan. Only later in life did I realize "in service with" meant Buck was on a destroyer in the Atlantic while Ted was a Marine aviator in the Pacific. If that was good enough for my dad, it was good enough for me.

He taught me the value of photography as a hobby. After a half-century of saving memories in pictures I realize how valuable this lesson was.

He taught me to keep my knife out of the jelly jar. We didn't have many rules around my house growing up, but if one of us (my two sisters or me) tried to use a knife (rather that a spoon) to reach into a jelly jar, we were sure to be rebuked. Even today I can't use a knife in a mayo jar without thinking of him.

I never heard my parents have a fight or heard my mother, Margaret, say a harsh thing about my father. On one occasion, about 15 years ago, she did mention one night what a spend-thrift he was--that he'd get paid on Friday and if she wasn't careful he'd have spent it all by Monday. She was very careful with money, and that was the lesson I learned. I often think I'd have been happier if I'd learned Buck's lesson rather than Margaret's.

Here is the Broadhurst column, As We See Them, from November 1952. I suspect we all wish we could be as well remembered when we're gone. Click to make it readable.

1 comment:

grmapege said...

Very well said--both by you and Ed Broadhurst.