The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

OUR BOYS

Perhaps I should not include our boys with the rest of the characters, but I don't seem to find a more fitting place to put the things that I would like to say about them. You might say that the three boys were raised at the lake. Todd was twelve years old when we moved there. Skip was eight and Scott was born the year that we moved in.

Our life style, on the lake, was not a continuous vacation, as some people might think, especially for Louise. Our property was in the Schock country school district, but the kids all went to the Three Rivers schools, because there was not enough kids, in the district, to justify operating the little one room school. That meant that someone had to take the kids to school, in the morning, and pick them up again at night. That was before the days of School Busses in our District.

I had bought an old Model A Ford that provided me with transportation, to and from work, but it left Louise with the task of getting Todd and Skip to and from school. Our kids were always involved in activities, both in and out of school, such as Scouts, High School Band, Jobs, School Plays and other things of that nature. This involvement usually meant that the boys would not all be coming home at the same time. That also meant that Louise had to make at lease two trips to get them all home, and then there would be times when one or more of them would have something going on, in the evening. That meant two more trips, in and out.

From the middle of February, 1950, until early June, I was working in Onaway, Michigan, so during that time, Louise had it all to do. Even after the Onaway work was completed I was away on jobs, much of the time, so I was of little help in the matter. After a few years of that shuffling, the Schock District bought a second hand school bus, which relieved the transportation problem, considerably.

In about 1960 the Schock District was annexed to the Three Rivers School System which completely eliminated the problem, as far as getting to and from school was concerned. However, the after school and evening activities still had to be taken care of. Another problem was created. The problem was that the bus turned around in our driveway and the driver, Joe Genova, would hit the end post of our fence, at regular intervals. I didn't complain because I was a member of the School Board and I guess that, as such, I would be expected to think that things like that would happen once in a while.

All three of our boys had jobs, of one kind or another, from the time that they were old enough to get a work permit and they all left an outstanding record with their employers. I know this to be true, because, in each case, the employer told me, without being prompted. Todd worked for Jean and Al Capert at the Windmill Restaurant, Skip worked at the Miller's Dairy and the A&P Store, and Scott worked for Jack Broker, in the Service Station.

The first gasoline driven device that Skip owned was a Cushman Motor Scooter that he rode to and from school until he was old enough to get a driver's license. After he got his first car, he decided that the scooter was in need of a major overhaul, so he completely dismantled it, in the basement, and there it laid for weeks and weeks. Threats of disposal, from his mother, had no effect. The scooter parts still remained scattered over the basement. Finally an ultimatum came down to me, from the Summit, stating that if the mess was not cleaned up at once, the scooter, Skip and yours truly would all be evicted. Very shortly there after the scooter was gone.

The kids all got cars, of their own, as soon as they were old enough to drive, legally. Some of their cars were not much to brag about but, some way or another, they kept them going, most of the time. I think that Skip 's holdings, in the automotive line, were probably the most questionable. One such holding was a Two-Door Chevrolet of the late 1940's vintage. It had a lot of "free wheeling", not in the drive train, but in the steering mechanism. One night that Chevy got to shuddering and while in a rather tight situation, it got away from him and hit a parked car. Luckily, it all happened right in front of our insurance carrier's house, so things were taken care of, with no problems. He might have had a date with the agent's daughter, for all that I know.

As well as the Chevy with the nervous front end, Skip had two or three others, at different times, and finally wound up with a GMC Pickup that had a full floating cab. If he were to make a sharp left turn, it was imperative that he make a sharp right turn, before he attempted to stop. The reason being, that any sudden right or left movement of the chassis would shift the cab far enough, on the frame, so that the clutch and the brake pedals would become inoperative. He must have abandoned that pickup about the time that he finished college and went to work for Delco, in Kokomo, Indiana. Scott and all of the Dobrowolski boys learned to drive with it. Later, I fixed a blade on the front of that old truck and used it as a snow plow, in the winter time. I don't remember what finally happened to it, but if such devices, as that, have hereafters, I am sure that it is resting in peace, because it spent a hectic, as well as a very useful, lifetime.

For some reason Scott seemed to own a little better quality of automobile than Skip did. Perhaps it was because he presented a greater quantity to choose from. When I would return from two or three days out of town, on jobs, I would think that I was in the wrong place because of the strange cars in the drive. The sequence of events was about the same with Scott's cars as it was with Skip's scooter.

I seem to remember only one car that Todd had. He must not have had too much trouble with that one, or I would have remembered.

Across the street from us, there at the lake, was a large field that had grown up to brambles and scrub trees. The field belonged to one of our neighbors, Chuck VonDrack, who gave the boys permission to use it. They would take the old pickup over there and practice until they got so they could maneuver it, over the track that they had made, much the same as Mario Andretti might have done under similar circumstances.

Louise and I helped each of the boys buy their first car, but after that they were on their own. Condition of auto ownership, in our family, was that the owner had to pay all of the operating costs and carry adequate liability coverage, also at their expense. As a result there never was a problem and I think that, possibly, our strict discipline might have made the boys a little more cautious and self reliant. The good thing was that we all lived through it. We were always proud of our boys. They never got into any serious trouble. They were always involved with activities beyond those required of them and they were ambitious, in the sense that they wanted to, and knew how to, work for the things that they wanted.

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