A man of few words

Robert C Knowlton in uniform                   Christmas 2007

A long-time friend talked about how he was terrified of my dad when he used to come to some of our family events.  He noted that he felt this way because my dad hardly ever said a word.  That made him nervous.  When my dad passed away at the beginning of 2008, he was surrounded by his family and still didn’t say very much.  His life-long introversion, however, did not stop him from making a huge impact on all of our lives.  During his senior year of high school, he joined the Merchant Marines to help do his part in WWII.  He was part of both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.  When he returned, he married his childhood sweetheart and they began to have a family.  He supported us first by working as a truck-driver until he hurt his back.  Then he drove bus until the company he drove for went out of business.  He was earning a whopping $23 a week.  Then he went to work at a tool manufacturing company as a machine operator until his retirement.  At that point in time the company had to hire three new men to take his place.  I always knew he was special.  He taught me everything from how shovel snow to how to mow grass.  From bike riding to car driving.  From how to thaw frozen pipes to how to use a hand saw.  From how to treat a lady to how to run a model train.  He exposed me to an eclectic variety of music and encouraged me to read.  He never spoke about his past, but focused on our future.  He used to smoke, but when he learned of the danger of second-hand smoke, he quit cold turkey.  He taught me about honesty and character.  And decency and hard work.  Despite his lack of a formal education, it’s funny how the older he got, the smarter he seemed.  I miss him today and I always will.

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