10.31.2012

Dad & the CCC's


My Dad grew up on a farm in northwestern Minnesota.  He only went through 8th grade, which wasn't unusual back then.  When you were part of a farm family back in the 1930s, every hand was needed to make it run.  Farming was a labor-intensive job back then, with many farms, including my Grandfather's, still using horses for some of the work right alongside machinery.

Dad, 1938
When Dad got to be around 19, he went further north to a town called St. Vincent, where his Uncle Gail and Aunt Liza ran Short's Cafe.  It was actually part soda fountain/ice cream counter, part restaurant, part saloon, and - if rumors were true (and I have heard stories from people who knew, that they were), part backroom gambling hall.  He went there to work in his uncle's establishment and there met my mother (age 16), one of the village girls stopping by for a soda.  While the rest of that story, as they say, is history, Dad had more personal history to forge before he and Mom were married and walked the rest of their lives together.

Dad's discharge papers from the CCCs.
Sometime in 1940, Dad decided to check out the CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corps.  The CCC was one of the New Deal agencies, offering work programs to young men seeking employment during the Great Depression.  To put it simply, the program provided training/experience for the young men, and much needed works projects for the public - a win-win for everyone at the time.

Dad worked in Company 718, stationed near Big Fork, Minnesota, which is in the north central part of the state, not far from the 'arrowhead' region.  His company was part of a group that worked in the Pine Island State Forest.

Dad's time with the CCCs were cut short, when he was notified to report for medical examination, the precursor to induction into the military.  It was then only a matter of time before he was called up for training, active duty, and sent overseas to fight.  But that, that is another story...
Call to Duty