A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 130: Settle Down for Good

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It came all at about the same time: Bud going to work at the factory again, and us getting rid of our first real estate. Now I could spend all my time at the wrecking yard. Kenny, the fellow Bud had working with him, also got a factory job. I had no problem hiring. There were always guys coming around looking for a job. But to get someone who was interested, to put his heart into what he was doing, was not easy. Sure they wanted to work they said, but they were more interested in waiting for pay day. Others hadn't got a clue as to what it was all about. "Oh, but I can learn." "Sure son, you can learn, but for that you have to go to school. But you come here to learn and expect top wages at the same time. It just don't work that way."

Finally, I got two decent men to work with: Carsen from Wellandport who became my right hand man, and Frankie Broughten who was a real hard, conscientious worker.

Frankie's I.Q. was not the highest in society but he made up for that in eagerness and happiness. He was always making up jokes. One time, a fellow came in when Frankie was in the shop. Frankie grabbed his hand, shook it and said, "This is the first time today I put my hand in a pile of shit." Apparently he knew the man from the time he worked with him in one of the plants.

Frank refused to work after five o'clock. The reason was that every day he went to the dump in Fonthill where he scrounged for usable items. He loved our kids. Everytime he found something he thought they might like, he brought it over and surprised them with it. Frankie stayed with us to the end. After that he wandered around for a time, then the next thing I heard he got run over by a train which killed him.

Carson stayed with us until Roy Stewart, who operated a crane service across the road, bribed him to go and work for him. He worked there for a couple of years until Roy Stewart declared bankrupty for the second time. This was the end of Roy here in Canada. Apparently, he took the government for a bundle, so they put a prize on his head and offered a reward for anyone who could help with the arrest and conviction of said Roy Stewart.

Included with our house on St. George Street was an empty lot. Joe had it for sale for $600 when we moved in. It was a low place with some shrubs and weeds growing.

Roy Stewart had just built this shop at the corner of Highway 58 and Shaw and had a pile of top soil pushed up. When I asked him if I could have some of it, he said, "Yeah, for a dollar a load if you load it, and take it away yourself." That's a deal. No problem with that, I already had a Chevrolet with a flat bed dump, 1947 model year. And for loader, I had an International farm tractor with hydraulic cylinders to lift the load and a mechanical bang bucket to release same. So every night after closing the yard, I went across the road, put on a pile of topsoil, drove it home and dumped it in the lot next door. When I had enough, I called a Frenchman with a front end loader on tracks to level it off. Now we even had a house with a garden.

Since I didn't have a green thumb, and didn't know much about gardening, this chore fell on Ma's shoulders. And by golly, she grew tomatoes, beans, lettuce, onions, peas and quite a bouquet of flowers. Life was great, for sure.

But now it got even better, maybe not physically, but mentally. We were elated when Mama presented us in 1963 with another heavenly treasure, in the form of an adorable little girl. It had not been easy for Ma the last half year: vericose veins and swollen ankles and legs, but now them difficulties were soon forgotten with the arrival of a little sister for Elly and the boys. She came equipped with everything that made up a person: two ears and eyes, one nose with two openings and two hands and legs with five little tiny sprouts shooting out. What a beautiful sight. And you know what, this tiny addition was as welcome as the first in our family.

We figured they all were diamonds from heaven and we were entrusted with the development of those precious jewels so they would grow up into living examples of love, beauty, harmony, with respect and consideration. Ma and I together, we were gonna try to do the best in our ability to accomplish this task. We did rely and depend on each other through the years of child raising, and complimented the weak spots in one another. If I was too harsh on the little ones, Ma would smooth things over until all was fine again. On the opposite side, sometimes I had to tell Ma to use common sense, and not the heart. Young ones would take advantage of their mom's tender disposition and get out of line. That was when I had to lay the rules down. In the end, Ma did approve of this method.

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