Al Smith has created, another exceptional book.
It has 166 pages of short stories.
It's well written, documented and humoures.
LIFE takes care of ITSELF
The Smith Clan
Pop Smith was 21 years old and Mom was 14 when they married in 1910. Mom told me many years later that on her wedding day
she had confided in a friend, "I'm going to go into the woods tomorrow and get me a baby." She had been told that was how
other women got their babies. Mom must have spent a lot of time in the woods. She eventually had nine babies.
Seventh in the line-up, I had to learn to fend for myself at the dinner table. My mother, Lula Belle Smith (nee McGhee),
had a vivid imagination for naming her children: Carl, Alline, Dupree, Woodrow, Byron, Wanda, Alfred, Ralph and Can-non.
Fortunately Mom was so mad at FDR over some of his farm policies, that she named me after New York Mayor Al Smith.
Otherwise, I almost certainly would have been named Franklin or worse, Delano. But I have not the faintest idea how she
selected names for the others. My youngest brother, Ralph Eugene Junior Smith, had the most problems with his name. It
usually happened something like this:
"Ralph Eugene Junior Smith."
"You mean Ralph Eugene Smith, Junior."
"No. My name is Ralph Eugene Junior Smith."
"OK. Father's name, please?"
"No, your father's name is Ralph Eugene."
"His name is Alex. I should know my own father's name!"
With a slight shake of the head, "Maybe you really should."
What followed was often not pleasant.
Pop claimed to be pure Cherokee Indian. His profile certainly looked like the Indian on the buffalo nickel. Because we were
sometimes admonished for calling our father "Pop" we tried to develop the habit of referring, to him as "Dad" but usually he
Pop was a very quiet man, a dependable hardworking farmhand who never weighed much more than a hundred pounds and signed
his name with an "X." Late in the 1940s, he finally learned to write his name but there was such a fuss over his not having
a middle name that he finally began signing as Alex Z. "The Z," he said, "is for Zander." And so he became Alex Z. Smith,
but there was no Zander.
Mom was Irish, I presume.She definitely had an Irish temperament, quick to laugh but proud and easily riled. Mom was
somewhat educated. She had managed to finish eighth grade in a small one-room school. Her education was rather useless as
the wife of a field hand but it was very useful after we moved to Michigan. She handled all the family finances and
memories of her at a little "pull-down" desk helped me learn to maintain a budget and to live within its limits.
None of my older brothers or sisters had attended school beyond second grade. They were needed in the fields and had little
or no time for school. The three youngest of the brood, me and a younger brother and baby sister were to be more fortunate.
The lives of everyone in our family changed for the better when Pop found a job at a tannery in Grand Haven, Michigan, a
small manufacturing and resort town on the eastern edge of Lake Michigan.
Initially, when we moved from the Missouri "Boot Heel" to Michigan, Mom and Pop took only the four youngest of the brood
with them, but employment was plentiful in Grand Haven and all the clan soon followed.
The book can be ordered directly from Al.
2398 Southern Rd.
E-mail for orders:
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