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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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Voices in My Head: Values Dad Put There


Graphics and layout by Robin Foster

My memory of what I consider to be our first house is very special to me.  My dad was a mathematical statistician who worked for US Civil Services in the 60's and 70's.  Parents did not talk much back then to young children as they do now.  The first house we lived in was the first one that my parents purchased.  One day as I looked out the living room window of this house, I saw my father building another house.

I had heard no mention of this, but it fascinated me as I watched from next door as he progressed from the foundation to the roofing.  I can not remember how long it took, but it did not seem long.  It was a ranch style brick home.  He, with great pride, took our family on a tour when it was finished.

I was most fascinated by the dining room which was separated by a varnished, knotty pine wall with a window providing a view to the kitchen.  My father helped a lot of family members move to the North from Tennessee.  I was oblivious to the struggles of African American during the 60's and 70's.  The house we lived in was much bigger with two stories and a full basement, but I looked proudly at my dad on our tour and asked,  "Can we move here?"  He responded without hesitation, "Yes."

I miss my dad, but I discovered where he acquired his skills and talents when I came across his father's, James Foster, carpenter's union dues register.  He was a traveling carpenter.
Local Union 586, Sacramento, California, Carpenter's Union dues book, 1954

I am very fortunate to have had such an intelligent and wonderful father.  I am sure that the things he taught me came from his own life experiences and the words he too heard while growing up.

I have only to heed to those voices in memory bank to put the same values in context for me today.  And guess what?  They still work.  I do not have to make up a new set of rules.  These old standards will still get me to my destination unimpeded!  Please enjoy my recording of those voices in my head instilled by my father as I join in the celebration of the National Day of Listening.


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