At my age, I find the Nolte siblings are unusual, and some would say, wonderful people. With the incredible life MotherDear had, you would think that alone was enough. But when you take time to think about Pop, it becomes even more apparent.
To understand both of our parents, you have to look at the life that made them that way. Both were born in 1919 and their early years were during the Depression. And to better understand the Depression, look at their lives.
Neither of them were lazy, and I learned during the depression everything had value. When Pop passed away, I found coffee cans in his shop with worthless pieces of copper and brass in them. I felt guilty tossing them out and found myself saying out loud, “Sorry Pop. These are worthless.” This also explains the time when Isaiah had accompanied Pop to Iowa. During the trip Isaiah threw a fistful of worthless pennies out the window and Pop blew up. It was also the reason he used both sides of the adding machine paper.
The first thing he ever bought himself, at 18, with his own money, was a heavy wool coat. It makes me a bit ashamed for the money I waste on trivial things I think I have to have.
I learned to spit on the bait from Pop, also money doesn’t grow on trees. I learned that eating vegetables will grow hair on my belly. I believe that was an untruth. I was also warned to avoid any damn-fool shenanigans.
On trips to Iowa, I learned that his family grew potatoes which were used to feed the family during the lean years. Potatoes can be used to make flour which can be used to make bread. I also learned he walked to and from school every day in two feet of snow. He failed to mentioned he lived across the street from the school house. I also learned that Pop’s patience shortened when Mom’s hearing aid went out. It was at that time, the Iowa trip suddenly turned toward home.
Pop taught me how to change the oil on a car and how to change a tire. There was also an interesting time with him on a trip through Santa Fe, New Mexico, when we stopped at an intersection that had several nuns waiting to cross the street. I distinctly remembering him say under his breath, “Go ahead, Sisters.” as he gave them time to cross. To this day, I have given people, not just nuns, but old people time for what they have to do, just because of his simple comment.
Be mindful what you say around kids.
Thinking of long trips with the family, I remember peeing in the bean pot in back of the station wagon as we traveled down the road. I wonder why I didn’t think of that in my later years, unless knowing my daughter would die from a ruptured bladder before using the bean pot, whereas my sons would drink as much water as possible, just so they could.
I learned if we misbehaved, we had to listen to Lawrence Welk which also reminds me of us getting Pop his slippers; I do remember seeing him with his once a week glass of coke and Lord Calvert, shaking it in a stirring motion.
I learned to watch the weather, specifically rotating clouds. He had his Tornado Alarm and we were to head to the cellar if it went off. “You won’t have time to grab anything, just run.” After that, during stormy weather, I did my daily business in the bathroom quickly in case the alarm went off.
But take time to evaluate what all he accomplished in life. It was his first trip to Iowa that started the Iowa family reunions. There was a century old feud in the Nolte Family. Since the Noltes are bull-headed, (up North anyway) there were families that just did not interact with the others, and yet none remembered what the feud was about. It was Pop who brought them all together again.
When Pop was in his early 40’s, he decided to move the family to Nevada to start a ranch. Mom called it Happy Acres. Some say it was a mistake, none-the-less Pop pulled it off. I personally never could have done that, even with just four kids.
And you cannot forget him building a house in his 70’s.
I used his tools often and he chewed my butt out often for not putting them back. There was one-time, years later I told him, “Pop, every time I turn around, you’ve moved your tools again!” He and MotherDear both laughed.
When he was young, he built a crystal radio that has stayed within the family, and now that I am an old retired fossil, I will rewire it and get it working again.
Time passes and we continue. It is comforting to me to reminisce about our life with these two incredible people. Luckily, I remember the good times and fortunately have forgotten any hurtful times.
There is so much more to say about both of these amazing people, but I have to stop somewhere. I will do so with a joke I heard Pop tell many times.
The farmer asked the horse if it wanted more oats. The horse raised its tail up and said, “a-phew!”