Saturday, June 25, 2005

Not Politics! Not Science!

Well, I've posted too much about politics, and I am not in the mood for science.

Earlier this evening, my wife and my father were talking about antiques.  That's because she has a couple of small antique booths at local dealers.  She mentioned that she had seen an axe from the Civilian Conservation Corps, sitting in one of the shops.  It had been used so much that the imprinting on the blade was barely legible.

It turns out that one of my uncles was in the CCC.  He might have used that axe.  In 1934, he graduated from Port Austin High School.  Being well into the Great Depression, there were no jobs.  He even went to Detroit to find work.  No luck.  Thanks to FDR, he had a chance to join the CCC.  

A friend arranged a drive to Bay City, necessary to catch a train to the Upper Peninsula.  My Dad went along.  While there, they saw a John Wayne movie.  It was the first color movie that any of them had seen.  

My wife remembered reading somewhere that the young men in the CCC made thirty dollars a month, and had to send twenty-five home.  My Dad did not remember that, but he did recall that some money came home, as well as boxes of cranberries.  I'm sure religious zealots would be upset that my uncle was picking cranberries instead of working.  That sort of thing helped my grandmother, who sometimes had a tough time getting food on the table.  Occasionally, he would send home office supplies, like paper and pencils.  That must be the bureaucratic waste that Republicans are always complaining about.  That helped his younger brothers get through school, since times were hard back then.

The CCC played an important role in revitalizing the ecosystem, after the massive commercial deforestation of the late 1800's led to serious problems with soil erosion.  Everyone back home really appreciated what uncle Ernie did for his family, as did the the Tamias striatus chipmunks in the U.P.