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This past Sunday I had the pleasure to interview a nice gentleman named Fred. Fred is an 82-year-old African-American who grew up the first 10 years of his life on the farm in Austin, Ohio. He and his family then moved to nearby Columbus. Given his age, you can calculate that Fred lived on the farm from 1932 (when he was born) until the family moved in 1942.

I had thought that Fred, a modest man, would need some convincing and encouragement to speak about his life. Instead, I was gifted with an eloquent and detailed review of his experiences that lasted almost two hours total. Fred shared about not having the creature comforts and technology that we take for granted today. He slept on a straw mattress in a house without heat or electricity. Being on a farm during the Depression sheltered him and his family from being without food. He recalls that farmers helped the community out and held several rows of their crops open to anyone in need. Do they do that today? Upon moving to Columbus at the age of 10, his family was able to live in a home with electricity but still no heat. Remember party lines? Fred does. Fred continued to share his memories of childhood then into college and beyond. When a gift like this comes along, you let that person speak all they want. Fred didn’t disappoint.

I am pleased to bring to you the first of two outtakes from this conversation; Fred recalling his early life from 1932 to 1952. I think you will be amazed by what he remembers. It is not often that you can learn from living history. What Fred shares is so much better and more worthwhile than anything you can read in a school history book. I hope you will enjoy it and share it with others, especially your children. Our society has come a mind-bogglingly long way in a very short time. It benefits us to stop periodically to realize this, remember and be appreciative of all the hard work and innovation that has occurred in less than 100 years.

Image Credit: QuotesNSmiles