Texas roots are something I am proud of but my Dad’s family actually came out of Protection, Kansas. Just a cattle drive away. My grandfather on my father’s side was named Harry Large. He called his son Dick. Yep, you heard that right. Actually, he named him Richard, but come on, everybody knows the nickname for Richard is Dick.
What a sick sense of humor, right? Not so much. From what I could tell, this man was devoid of humor. But what do I know? This is just an interesting tangle in my Texas roots.
Texas Roots: The Banker and the Baby
This photo shows the only time he touched me that I recall. And you can see how nurturing he was. Like he was afraid I would spit up on his tie. I never saw him without a tie. It’s like casual clothes hadn’t been invented yet. My take on it is that he didn’t know how to relate to people any other way but at the teller window at the bank where he worked.
He spoke so little in my presence that I have only the vaguest recollection of the sound of his voice. “Quiet” would be putting it mildly. Maybe he spoke more, but I couldn’t hear him. After all, there were eleven of us, including his son and daughter-in-law. That many people make for a lot of noise.
Texas Roots: My Granddad came from the Original Small Town USA
Nine children visiting his usually tranquil house in Protection, Kansas. You can just imagine the cacophony. Good thing it was a big house. The biggest in town, actually. It is a tiny town. One paved road when I was a little kid and that was the highway. Main Street. Farming town. Wheat. The way I heard it, the Big Depression hit hard. A lot of farmers had to sell out. Or they defaulted. Guess who they defaulted to? The bank where my granddad worked.
Harry ended up with a fair amount of land. One of my sisters found this photo somewhere and gave it to me. I can’t believe my good fortune. None of my siblings have anything like it. Why not? If I were them, I would have lined up to be next to pose with granddad. Being the documenter my father was, I’m surprised he didn’t insist on it.
Texas Roots: The Longest Gap in the Chain
“Line up, kids. Your turn, Susan. Now it’s your turn, Tim. Up next, Rick. Okay, Bill.” Or maybe I was first. At that time I would have been the youngest. The gap between me and the next is four years — the longest in the chain. Maybe that’s why the Kansas grandparents came to visit us this time when the photo was taken — a dry spell for Mom and Dad. Mom must have been a little more mobile so she could wait on them, and maybe the four adults could go out to dinner or something.
Texas Roots: Posing with Granddad
I know the photo was taken at our house in Houston where my Texas roots are planted. I recognize our garage. That’s one of the things I love about the picture. It’s so early fifties suburban. Single naked light bulb sticking out. And how about that sky? Almost as white as Harry’s shirt. It looks like he’s using me as a puppet. But I prefer to think I had the foresight that this photo could be retouched to use in advertising my artcar shirt in the distant future. So I pretended to be giving a speech.