Punctuality Awards Pictures in the 1930s and My Dad
School Awards in the 1930s
Going through some old photo albums the other day I came across some awards that were given to my dad when he was a school-aged child of 8 1/2 years old and again when he was 12 1/2 years of age. They were quite beautiful and to qualify for those end of school year awards one must never have been tardy or absent from school for the entire year. That would have been an accomplishment back then as it would be today.
Since my dad and everyone that might have been able to answer this question are already deceased I have no idea if these were the only two years he achieved being given those awards or if there were more but the certificates were simply not saved. Perhaps these were saved because of the particularly pretty pictures at the top of each award.
This inspired me to write a bit more about my dad's early childhood years as well as sharing these pretty documents from the past.
My Dad grew up fatherless from the time he was almost 8 years old. His dad died of pneumonia and undoubtedly would have accomplished even more in life had he lived a while longer. Penicillin did not exist back in those days and pneumonia was a deadly killer.
My dad's father had been in World War 1 and had flown in some of those early airplanes. He had actually been acquainted with Charles Lindbergh and had been given an autographed photo of him.
When my grandfather got back from the war he built the house that his new wife moved into and lived in for over 50 years on Okauchee Lake, Wisconsin. He fathered two children, a girl, and a boy. My Dad was born in that home which was quite common back then. He was the youngest with his sister being 5 years older.
My grandfather also built about ten summer cottages on Lake Okauchee with their larger family home being on the top of the hill. They rented the cottages to people who wanted to enjoy a few weeks or more on the lake with swimming, fishing, boating and whatever else they chose to do on their vacations.
The cottages were not winterized so they were only utilized for the time of year when it was warm enough to enjoy being at the lake without a source of heat in each cottage other than the stove.
When he died unexpectedly this left quite a bit of property and a source of income for my grandmother and her children but also a ton of seasonal work to be done.
- Piers had to be put into the water in the spring and taken out later in the year. No small chore!
- The cottages had to be regularly painted inside and out.
- The landscaping had to be kept looking attractive.
- The beaches had to be maintained with additions of sand each year.
- Keeping the cottages cleaned between tenants was a constant chore.
My dad from a little boy on was involved with doing many chores around the place. As soon as he was old enough he regularly mowed all those hillside lawns. To earn some extra money as he got older he engaged in a number of jobs.
- He helped deliver ice. Back then before refrigerators that we now all take for granted people had ice boxes. Chunks of ice would be cut from the frozen lake during winter and stored in sawdust in warehouses. Regular weekly deliveries of ice placed in those ice boxes would help keep perishables from spoiling. Of course, people regularly shopped and did not store as much as we seem to accumulate with our larger refrigerators of today.
He actually remembered seeing my mother as a girl when he was making deliveries. My mother did not remember paying attention to him back then. She lived in Milwaukee with her family during the winter and only spent vacation time during the summers at their cottage on a different portion of the lake. She, of course, remembered ice being delivered but she was in her vacation mode. She was not paying attention to delivery boys back at that time of her life.
- My Dad worked in a roller skating rink. He was very athletic and enjoyed skating, but he spent much more time working than getting to play.
- He also worked as a caddy at a local golf course.
All of these jobs were over and above what he was expected to do at home and at the cottages to help his mother. In later years the cottages were sold off one at a time to people who wished to make them year-round homes on beautiful Okauchee Lake...but that was the future.
I thought that you might be interested in seeing these awards that were given back then. I do not remember anything quite this beautiful being given to us a generation later.
Do you have similar awards for good attendance from your school days or your parents school days?
Living on Okauchee Lake
My dad's early childhood consisted of hard work but he also had fun. Living on a lake gave him the access and time to become an excellent swimmer and ice skater. He was strong and athletic. His work ethic was also molded at an early age and he gave each job his utmost in terms of quality work and time.
Boat tour of Okauchee Lake
He grew up attending Our Saviour's English Lutheran Church as a youth. He was baptized before he was one month old and was confirmed in the Lutheran faith when he was 14 years old.
A snapshot of my Dad in his elementary and high school years would have shown him to be not only a fairly good student with excellent attendance but also a fun loving country boy. When he was not working he played hard.
I remember hearing stories of him and some of his fun-loving buddies moving outhouses to the dismay of the people who were being tricked. Another story had them placing an old model T on the roof of the schoolhouse! Cars were much lighter back then but it still must have taken quite the effort and coordination to have done this. He did not engage in these shenanigans and pranks very often but hearing stories about things like this in later years gave us all a good laugh.
The seventh, eighth and ninth graders from Okauchee won a Waukesha County singing contest and they were awarded a trip to the Milwaukee State Teachers College. That old photo shows my Dad and the other boys wearing short cropped pants and shirts with ties. The girls were all in dresses and it would have been a rather rare school outing for them back in that day and time.
There is an old felt Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce rural school skate meet dated 1941 that my grandmother had kept and which my dad was obviously involved.
World War ll was raging when he graduated from high school and my dad was one of many young men that joined up and was ready to serve his country. In fact looking at the commencement program that was saved by my grandmother my dad was one of 15 in his small class that was already in the service when those festivities took place on June 8, 1943.
Patriotism was rampant in those days once the United States actually entered the war. He became a paratrooper.
Having grown up in the small town of Okauchee my dad always retained those small-town roots. He was the type of person that would have given the shirt off his back to help others. He was as honest as the day is long. He probably grew up a little faster than most of his schoolmates due to his father dying at so young an age but circumstances helped make him the man he would become.
So to say that as a child my dad was punctual and so much more hopefully you now understand the "more" of that statement.
Fishing on Okauchee Lake
Location of Okauchee, Wisconsin
© 2009 Peggy Woods