One hundred years ago on 7 August 1913, my father was born at Bridgewater, South Dakota to Fred and Jeanette (Sievers) Schwans. He was the youngest of seven children, the next to him in age being seven years older. I think he was teased a lot about being the caboose of the family, but he took it in good humor.Unfortunately, his life was cut short by cancer at the age of 73 but his memory lives on in the lives of his five children and the people who knew him. (An earlier post about him http://maryjlohr.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/a-beloved-person-remembered/)
He was known always by the name Tom, although his given name was Arthur William. I never did fully understand how this choice of name was made. Regardless, to all who knew him, he was Tom, and I doubt he would have answered to the name of Arthur or Art.
He lived for the first 52 years of his live at Bridgewater, South Dakota where he farmed and also drove a truck to collect cream and eggs from farmers. Perhaps that work would be described as a produce buyer.
My Dad had a wonderful sense of humor and in response to a coffee group comment about a local teenager “taking a corner on two wheels” my Dad said, without hesitation, “Which two?” His comment was frequently shared in other conversations for it’s poignancy.
Year s later when my husband was relating a story about going into a store on main street to get change and then mistakenly putting money in the wrong parking meter, my Dad, without missing a beat, asked, “How long did it take you to move the meter?”
And one of his favorite fun times to do with his grandchildren was to swing them on his knee and see the song “Barney Google.”
In his later years he worked as a custodian at a high school and university. He referred to that part of his life as “going into education.” He also drove a school bus and on the last day of school would take the students to the Dairy Queen for ice cream.
He also had an excellent rapport with the students at the high school, and years later stories would surface that he had talked more than one discouraged youth to stay in school. The Brookings High School alumni may have a few more members because of him! The man simply had no pretensions. None. I think his open demure encouraged students to talk with him openly.
We love you, Dad, and will always remember you fondly.