One of my favorite people in the whole world was my Grand Daddy. Charles and Gertrude Hildum left Nebraska in search of a better life for their young family in California. Mom was just a small girl at the time. It was during the dust bowl years and California was a booming place. They settled in Pasadena jobless. The story I got was that Grand Daddy left looking for work and that we would not return until he had succeeded. He came home with a job in construction. He did that until he retired. Uncle Bob followed his footsteps in construction and so did my cousin Kevin. No telling how many nails those guys pounded. This is Grand daddy holding Richard.
Grand Daddy was one of the toughest men I knew. He was a builder and had all kinds of tools. It was really cool to watch him build a wooden tool box out of scrap wood. He used it when he would come out to visit and work around the dairy. There were always odd jobs to do at the dairy and he did a lot of fence repair. The corrals were rail road tie posts and two by six fence sides. When replacing one of the posts he could pull the heavy rail road ties like they were nothing. He was so strong!
That’s Grand Daddy on the left next to Aunt Angi, Uncle Bob, Nana holding me, and Beba.
I have never been able to slam in a fence spike like he did. He would line up the two by six, tap the spike in lightly to start it, and then with a mighty stroke slam it home. I am still amazed. I loved to hang around with Grand Daddy because he always did different things at the dairy. Best of all he let me help and I learned a lot from him.
Grand daddy liked to fish. He took some of us fishing up at Big Bear a couple of times and taught us how to tie a line and some of the basics of fishing. Once I went camping at some river when he and Nana had their pickup camper. I also fished with him off the Newport Peer when they lived in Tustin. It was some of the best times and I was lucky to have done things with him. I have done a lot of fence repair since then and often thought about him when doing so. I love to fish, but unfortunately just don’t get out enough to do so.