Friday, July 4, 2008

Book I

2. When is Jim's birthday?
Jim's 10th birthday is June 16, 1934.
I don't think his mother being about 19 when he was born is that unusual for that time (or unfortunately in today's society as it seems that there are lots of teen pregnancies; there are also lots more people who wait to start their families when the mother is in her late 20's and 30's). My grandmother on my Dad's side married at age 15 while my other grandmother married at age 25. I was 29 when I had my first child.
I remember that one of my brothers and my oldest son found turning 13 to be an extra special day although the same son was also pleased about turning 10 as he got a kick out of becoming two digits old.

3. What birthday stands out for you?
I can't think of a birthday that was outstanding. Old age must be setting in. I'll turn 60 this year. It sounds so old when I say it, but except for my body reminding me otherwise, I really don't feel as old as I'd always thought that 60 was. Over time the ages that had seemed old have shifted upwards.

4. What birthday presents did Jim get? Overall, what did you think about Jim's tenth birthday?
I thought that the baseball, glove, and bat were each very special gifts that were given with love during a time when money was scarce. Each of the gifts were both useful and helped enrich Jim's life.
Jim's decision that at age 10 he was old enough to work with his uncles was interesting as it showed his developed work ethic that he had internalized rather than being told to do. The way that the uncles handled Jim's attempt to take the best hoe was also done in a manner which showed their respect for their workers.
I thought that the way the family kept their planned celebration of his birthday a secret was interesting--poor Jim thought his birthday had been forgotten when they had planned an extra special celebration for him.

5. What did you make of the scene about baptizing the chicks?
I thought the chick baptism story gave fascinating insight into the past generation. The baptizing uncles showed typical childhood reenactments of portions of adult life while also showing the closeness of the brothers and the value that was placed on honesty.

And what do the uncles mean by this exchange (p. 39)?

Uncle Zeno: "Allie turned out to be a pretty good farmer, when you consider how he started out."

Uncle Coran: "At least we can be thankful he didn't try to become a preacher."

Uncle Al: "That's for sure ... I would've had to be a Methodist to keep from drowning people."

Even though Al's early venture in farming involved the disastrous drowning of the chicks, he still wound up being a good farmer. Perhaps Methodists are like Lutherans and baptize by sprinkling instead of the immersion used by Baptists so Al would have had to have been Methodist if he preached to avoid drowning people when baptizing them.

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