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Punctuality Awards Pictures in the 1930s and My Dad

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

My dad as a small boy

My dad as a small boy

School Awards in the 1930s

Going through some old photo albums the other day I came across some awards that were given to my dad when he was a school-aged child of 8 1/2 years old and again when he was 12 1/2 years of age. They were quite beautiful and to qualify for those end of school year awards one must never have been tardy or absent from school for the entire year. That would have been an accomplishment back then as it would be today.

Since my dad and everyone that might have been able to answer this question are already deceased I have no idea if these were the only two years he achieved being given those awards or if there were more but the certificates were simply not saved. Perhaps these were saved because of the particularly pretty pictures at the top of each award.

This inspired me to write a bit more about my dad's early childhood years as well as sharing these pretty documents from the past.

My Dad grew up fatherless from the time he was almost 8 years old. His dad died of pneumonia and undoubtedly would have accomplished even more in life had he lived a while longer. Penicillin did not exist back in those days and pneumonia was a deadly killer.

My dad's father had been in World War 1 and had flown in some of those early airplanes. He had actually been acquainted with Charles Lindbergh and had been given an autographed photo of him.

When my grandfather got back from the war he built the house that his new wife moved into and lived in for over 50 years on Okauchee Lake, Wisconsin. He fathered two children, a girl, and a boy. My Dad was born in that home which was quite common back then. He was the youngest with his sister being 5 years older.

My dad,  his older sister and a puppy

My dad, his older sister and a puppy

My grandfather also built about ten summer cottages on Lake Okauchee with their larger family home being on the top of the hill. They rented the cottages to people who wanted to enjoy a few weeks or more on the lake with swimming, fishing, boating and whatever else they chose to do on their vacations.

The cottages were not winterized so they were only utilized for the time of year when it was warm enough to enjoy being at the lake without a source of heat in each cottage other than the stove.

When he died unexpectedly this left quite a bit of property and a source of income for my grandmother and her children but also a ton of seasonal work to be done.

  • Piers had to be put into the water in the spring and taken out later in the year. No small chore!
  • The cottages had to be regularly painted inside and out.
  • The landscaping had to be kept looking attractive.
  • The beaches had to be maintained with additions of sand each year.
  • Keeping the cottages cleaned between tenants was a constant chore.
My dad as a child with a big rake

My dad as a child with a big rake

My dad from a little boy on was involved with doing many chores around the place. As soon as he was old enough he regularly mowed all those hillside lawns. To earn some extra money as he got older he engaged in a number of jobs.

  • He helped deliver ice. Back then before refrigerators that we now all take for granted people had ice boxes. Chunks of ice would be cut from the frozen lake during winter and stored in sawdust in warehouses. Regular weekly deliveries of ice placed in those ice boxes would help keep perishables from spoiling. Of course, people regularly shopped and did not store as much as we seem to accumulate with our larger refrigerators of today.

He actually remembered seeing my mother as a girl when he was making deliveries. My mother did not remember paying attention to him back then. She lived in Milwaukee with her family during the winter and only spent vacation time during the summers at their cottage on a different portion of the lake. She, of course, remembered ice being delivered but she was in her vacation mode. She was not paying attention to delivery boys back at that time of her life.

Truck used for ice deliveries in Okauchee back during the 1930s.

Truck used for ice deliveries in Okauchee back during the 1930s.

  • My Dad worked in a roller skating rink. He was very athletic and enjoyed skating, but he spent much more time working than getting to play.
  • He also worked as a caddy at a local golf course.

All of these jobs were over and above what he was expected to do at home and at the cottages to help his mother. In later years the cottages were sold off one at a time to people who wished to make them year-round homes on beautiful Okauchee Lake...but that was the future.

These Awards

I thought that you might be interested in seeing these awards that were given back then. I do not remember anything quite this beautiful being given to us a generation later.

Living on Okauchee Lake

My dad's early childhood consisted of hard work but he also had fun. Living on a lake gave him the access and time to become an excellent swimmer and ice skater. He was strong and athletic. His work ethic was also molded at an early age and he gave each job his utmost in terms of quality work and time.

Boat tour of Okauchee Lake

He grew up attending Our Saviour's English Lutheran Church as a youth. He was baptized before he was one month old and was confirmed in the Lutheran faith when he was 14 years old.

A snapshot of my Dad in his elementary and high school years would have shown him to be not only a fairly good student with excellent attendance but also a fun loving country boy. When he was not working he played hard.

My Dad as a young man in school.

My Dad as a young man in school.

I remember hearing stories of him and some of his fun-loving buddies moving outhouses to the dismay of the people who were being tricked. Another story had them placing an old model T on the roof of the schoolhouse! Cars were much lighter back then but it still must have taken quite the effort and coordination to have done this. He did not engage in these shenanigans and pranks very often but hearing stories about things like this in later years gave us all a good laugh.

The seventh, eighth and ninth graders from Okauchee won a Waukesha County singing contest and they were awarded a trip to the Milwaukee State Teachers College. That old photo shows my Dad and the other boys wearing short cropped pants and shirts with ties. The girls were all in dresses and it would have been a rather rare school outing for them back in that day and time.

There is an old felt Oconomowoc Chamber of Commerce rural school skate meet dated 1941 that my grandmother had kept and which my dad was obviously involved.

World War ll was raging when he graduated from high school and my dad was one of many young men that joined up and was ready to serve his country. In fact looking at the commencement program that was saved by my grandmother my dad was one of 15 in his small class that was already in the service when those festivities took place on June 8, 1943.

My dad became a paratrooper during WWII.

My dad became a paratrooper during WWII.

Patriotism was rampant in those days once the United States actually entered the war. He became a paratrooper.

Having grown up in the small town of Okauchee my dad always retained those small-town roots. He was the type of person that would have given the shirt off his back to help others. He was as honest as the day is long. He probably grew up a little faster than most of his schoolmates due to his father dying at so young an age but circumstances helped make him the man he would become.

So to say that as a child my dad was punctual and so much more hopefully you now understand the "more" of that statement.

Fishing on Okauchee Lake

Location of Okauchee, Wisconsin

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Yes, I remember those days. I also remember short newsreals as well as cartoons when attending movies many years ago. Those days seem long ago now but not forgotten.

Robert Sacchi on August 11, 2018:

You have a point. Part of it is the media explosion. Remember when there was only 1/2 hour of world and national news a night?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2018:

Hi Robert,

If you are only talking about the communicable diseases that we now have some protection against, then I would agree that living today is better than what happened back then. However, I miss many of the things as they were back then. We had our fire drills in school but certainly were not worried about school shootings as one example of what I mean. School kids today are exposed to so much more than we were and it is not all good. I actually feel sorry for their lost innocence that comes at such an early age these days.

Robert Sacchi on August 11, 2018:

Yes, the bad old days of everyone in the family getting chicken pox, measles, small pox, and measles. One telling episode of the Twilight Zone had a fellow, who made a deal with the devil, go back to the time of his youth. One of the first things he saw was a typhus flag on a house. It is much better to watch and remember the old days than to live them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2018:

Hi Robert,

I thought that the artwork on those perfect attendance certificates was beautiful also. You are correct in noting that children did not have protection from the number of vaccines that kids today are given. So perfect attendance truly was an accomplishment.

Robert Sacchi on August 11, 2018:

Another touching story. Those pictures are a definite piece of the past. The artwork on those awards is amazing. Perfect attendance in those days was really an achievement since back then there weren't any immunizations against childhood diseases.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 14, 2012:

Hello Trsmd,

Oh...my dad trained us well! Being punctual was important to him and I think that we all picked up that value. We don't have children but certainly honor others who respect people's time and do not keep them waiting. Thanks for your comment and the sharing of this hub.

Trsmd from India on February 14, 2012:

By seeing the award received by your father for punctual, I hope that you might have developed that quality of being punctual and also you made your children also. Great inspiring hub. Thanks for SHARING :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2011:

That is right, Billy. Thanks for reminding me about this hub about my Dad when he was a child by leaving your comments. :))

billyaustindillon on August 11, 2011:

Peggy you have reflected all those wonderful attributes so nicely and I am sure every time you read your writings and look at the photos you feel a wonderful sense of pride.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2011:

Hi Billy,

My Dad was such an honorable fellow, honest and hard working. He was also so much fun. He could tell jokes one after another and keep people laughing for hours. I am very proud to have had him as my father. Thanks for your comment.

billyaustindillon on August 10, 2011:

Peggy what a great honor to your Dad - something that leaves behind and shares your great memories for all to see.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2011:

Hello chamilj,

My Dad was truly a great person. Thanks for your visit and comment.

chamilj from Sri Lanka on May 04, 2011:

Nice hub on great Dad!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2011:

Hi Dave,

So, our dads had the same name! It is one not heard that often. These certificates were so pretty. Even when I was attending school (in the dark ages...haha!) they did not give out such pretty awards.

We did get red and the coveted gold stars on papers well done when I was in parochial school. LOL!

Thanks for your comment and glad that you liked this.

Knightheart from MIssouri, USA on May 03, 2011:

Thanks for sharing this with us! Oh, by the way, my father's name was Ralph also! Isn't that something?? LOL

The awards certainly were something special. Very beautifully done and worth keeping! As a teacher, awards like that are rarely given...everything in our school today is rush, rush, rush, cram in knowledge, etc.

We need MORE recognition of our children like the schools used to do. I am sure if that happened, there wouldn't be so many problems with behavior and such in our classrooms!

Thanks again for sharing!!!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2009:

Hi DjBryle,

Have much more to write about him! He was so honorable and I am proud that he was my Dad.

Thanks for your comment.

DjBryle Works on May 03, 2009:

I love this hub! You're blessed with a wonderful dad, who made a name in history with pride and honor. Thanks for sharing! =)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2009:

Hello tdarby, Yes, I agree. Not finished with telling his story... Thanks for reading and commenting.

tdarby on April 28, 2009:

Dads are so amazing.  Thanks for this great hub in honor of your Dad.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2009:

Hello Lisa,

You are so right mentioning the beautiful penmanship in those days. The teachers that signed these awards had absolutely gorgeous penmanship. My mother told me that my Dad had told her that every boy in the class had a crush on Miss La Mere. Apparently she was sweet and good looking! Ha!

Thanks for commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2009:

Hi Teresa,

Will look forward to a hub on your Dad, Teresa? This only related to things in my Dad's life up to the end of high school. Intend to write more...

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on April 26, 2009:

I loved this nice Hub about.    In answer to the question about awards for being punctual and having perfect attendance, by the time my generation came along (at least where I lived), awards were given out; but they were plain, white, half-sized, certificates.  I never got one because every Winter I'd get some kind of virus and end up missing out on a couple of days of school.    I don't think I was ever late, but I guess they weren't counting "punctual" without the "perfect attendance" too.     :)  (Of course, in high school "late" was pretty much how I "did school"   :) .  My father had some nice things from school - all written in the beautiful penmanship that era (around 1917/early 1920's).

Sheila from The Other Bangor on April 26, 2009:

What a hard-working life, and what a wonderful dad. And what a great place to grow up, too -- also, thanks for taking the time to post the school award certificates (I love stuff like this). Your admiration for your father is clear, here. (Of course, my da was more fantasticker than that, even, but then I MAY be slightly biased on the subject.)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2009:

Hello Shalini,

Thanks for this very touching comment. Thank you!

Shalini Kagal from India on April 26, 2009:

There's so much love and pride that comes through this hub - I guess it's given to only a few to have had fathers or parents that inspire the telling of their story as it's given to only a few to have daughters who care so much :) So touching and such a warm tribute!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 23, 2009:

Hi Mardi, This is so true! Will have to find out more information from my mother who will be 84 this year before it is too late. She has shared a lot with me but there is always something more...

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mardi Winder-Adams from Western Canada and Texas on April 23, 2009:

Peggy, a wonderful tribute and very touching hub about your Father. I certainly echo your comment about find out all you can about your family. Both of my parents passed away many years ago and there is so much I wish I knew or had thought to ask.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2009:

Hello jajeisan5892, Thanks for reading and commenting.

Shibashake, Get the info while you can. Life is so short and memories fade. I was just lucky that my grandmother had saved things like these pretty attendance awards. Glad that you liked this and thanks for commenting.

shibashake on April 22, 2009:

What a wonderful story about your dad. I also really like your pictures.

Your hub makes me want to write a hub about my dad. I don't have enough dirt on him yet though :) He doesn't really like talking about himself, so I only get dribs and drabs from my mom and relatives.

jajeisan5892 from Los Angeles on April 22, 2009:

that's great story. thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2009:

Thanks Lgali. Good to hear from you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2009:

Hi Pete, Wish he was still around to appreciate this tribute. He was a great person and I was lucky to have him as my father. Thanks!

Lgali on April 22, 2009:

very nice tribute tio dad ,good hub

Pete Maida on April 22, 2009:

That was a great story of America. Your dad's work ethic is the kind of thing that made this country. It is good a well deserved tribute.

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