Family Background

by John Tischer on February 5, 2010 · 0 comments

Fonda, Iowa is located in Pocahontas County, some of the world’s richest farmland is in this county. Many of the kids I was friends with lived and actually worked on those farms. We would walk beans in the summer, put up hay and straw and we had a way to actually make some money and earn what we made. We used to walk beans for $1.50 per hour and would start early in the morning and depending on how hot the day was usually go to midafternoon. If you got behind, you came back in the evening when it cooled down. Today with the roundup ready seed corn and beans, you just spray for the weeds, much more efficient and certainly does a much better job. Farmers used to work most of the year to make a living, now we actually joke about all of the farmers with the 4 X 4 decals on the side of their vehicles. It means you work 4 weeks in the summer and 4 weeks in the fall. Not true, but certainly fun to pick at them.

Every building on main street in Fonda had a business in it, it gave us the opportunity to have jobs and work. I worked at the Super Valu grocery store as well as had a paper route. I was paid 50 cents an hour to work and would work after school, all day on Saturday and some Sunday mornings. Most of my friends had jobs as well and was nice to have our own spending money. It taught us the value of work as well as the value of money. It also taught you that you had to show up on time, do your job and do as you were told, there wasn’t alot of voting going on then.

Today’s kids show up when they want, complain about how little they make and how the owner of the company doesn’t understand them. I think more tragically though that most kids even if they want to work can’t find jobs so they do learn those valuable life lessons early on. I was working at 14 about 25 to 30 hours a week. I wasn’t abused, didn’t need the government telling me that I was too young to work and protect me from all of the evils associated with working.

My father was a very no nonsense man who put alot of value on hard work. He grew up on a farm in Wall Lake, Iowa, was a B-29 pilot stationed on Tinian during the war and flew 12 missions over Japan. My father was a very stern person who grew up in a German household. His grandfather still spoke German in the house till WWII started and we declared war on the Germans. His name was Hans, at 15 he stowed away on a boat, leaving Hamburg, Germany to come to this country. My mother is absolutely the opposite of my father, very loving, very giving, very supportive so we had a very interesting pair of role models in our parents. I have two younger brothers who from a personality standpoint are much different than myself. We were an American family with traditional values, middle class, had more than some, less than others.

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