My Father Built Me…..Telling Family Stories

Here is a great line to start a conversation and collect a story from someone. “My father built me….” What did your father build for you? Feel free to share in the comments. It might have been a tree house a dollhouse, a toy, a piece of furniture.

Mystic 1 010I was prompted by this photo to remember something my Dad, Herman Marshall built. Using and old pulley very similar to this he built my brother and I a zip line across the yard. We lived on a fairly steep hill. On an embankment he secured a long rope to a strong tree and put a platform beneath it. Down the hill across the driveway he tied the other end of the rope to a big tree. We could zoom down from one to the other which was very effective at scaring people who just drove in, especially as a ghost on Halloween ( although we seldom got more than 3-4 kids).

I am sure the pulley was a treasure he found in an antique shop, old barn or tag sale. I remember he had a box full and what a fun use for one. We spent a lot of time on that simple apparatus. I hadn’t thought of this in a long time and could develop these memories into a fun new story about childhood play. If nothing more I have the basis of a fun short family story to pass along about my father. He could make hours of fun out of something as simple as an old pulley!

So tell me, what did your Dad  make for you?

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5 Responses to My Father Built Me…..Telling Family Stories

  1. Do remember that. I bet he and Tim Moss had one.
    Dad always portrayed Mr. Moss as a task master.I bet he was pretty fair! He really instilled responsibility in Dad for the time he lived with them.

  2. As a storyteller I scrupulously avoided my alcoholic, ‘absent since I was ten years old’ father in my stories for many years. But now as a grandfather, a position which he never lived to see and the fact that I have reached an age much greater than he ever did I find my feelings have softened considerably. I have embraced a few family stories centered on my father and may find that a few more may yet appear in my repertoire. Your post reminded me of one of his great loves, the three engine train set and the intricate tracks that he built on two green painted sheets of plywood in the basement. One memory that arises is the delicious smell of the fake smoke that emanated from the locomotive’s stack. I remember I loved it when he let me be the engineer and operate the transformer.

    • I love the line “delicious smell of the fake smoke that emanated from the locomotives track” what a great jumping off point that could be. What we tell and what we don’t tell of family stories shapes the next generations understanding of family. I am a firm believer in appreciate what was good and improve upon what wasn’t good when it is our turn to parent or grandparent – or even be a friend! The difficult memories are so very hard to tell but are the stories with the most power to change and heal, if and when we are ready to work on them. I could see the value on working on the story even if there were no intention of sharing it, just as a processing method. Let me know if you work out that train story, I’d love to hear it.

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