Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Secret Origins

The reference to Secret Origins has a secret origin of it's own. Back in the '60's, there was a comic book dedicated to telling the background stories of super heroes. It explained arcane things like why Green Lantern had a green lantern and what was he doing with that huge ring and other critical stuff. Where is Green Lantern today, when we really need him?

So, what's the secret origin of this blog? Why did I feel compelled to communicate in this manner? I'm willing to bet that your chances of guessing are very low. I started this blog record because of my Uncle Edwin.

Uncle Edwin comes to my mind frequently of late, it may be because I see his photographs as I do my genealogy work.

Edwin Anton Pawlak b.1916 d.1992.

And when people read my family file, that's pretty much all they'll see. Because Uncle Edwin had cerebral palsy and that limited him a bit.

He was born the youngest of four to a resource-poor farming family in central Minnesota and the special needs funding in Silver Lake was. . . limited. It probably didn't help to have the depression fall right when he was 13 either. Circumstances did not provide an easy road for him. The disease affected his speech and motor skills and facial expressions. Schooling was very limited, college was never an option, he was a farmer all his life. He never drove a car, he never rode a bicycle. He never walked a young girl home after a movie. He never won a ribbon in a track meet. He was never in the army or the navy. He never went out drinking with his buddies and he never raised havoc. He lived with his mom and dad on the farm until they died and he milked cows and he cut hay. So that means he never got called into the President's office to be told about his raise and critical new position. But he never got fired from anything, ever.

So, I started this blog to write down where anyone could read it that Uncle Edwin had lived. I don't want him to be forgotten. My kids never met him, so already it's all secondhand information. Photographs. Stories. Well, he was a very smart man trapped in a body he did nothing to deserve and whatever he had, he earned it personally. By the way, that body he was trapped in was immensely strong. You should have seen the way he could throw those cows around. OK, not exactly.

So, be aware, I had an uncle and his name was Edwin. And he was a sweet man brutalized by a condition I can't IMAGINE confronting. My Uncle Edwin was a real man.

Edwin Anton Pawlak b.1916 d.1992


Leah said...

That was very moving. I often pause as I'm doing genealogy work and think about the person whose data I'm looking at. So many people are just two sets of dates. I like to imagine who they were and how they lived and what made them laugh. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet Uncle Edwin.

debbie said...

Very touching. I remember sitting at Aunt Del's kitchen table and to this day I can hear her chuckling over something Uncle Edwin said.

Dave said...

One of the things I most remember about Uncle Edwin was how steady he was in life. He never asked for much and he never got much but he was steadfast in his duties every day. He also had a laugh that I’ll never forget. We miss the people most that we take for granted in life – unfortunately this almost always occurs when we’re older and have missed many wonderful opportunities.

Dave said...

Rich, it's a pleasure (and an honor) to meet your Uncle Edwin.