Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Father

This is a tribute to my father, Henry Harrison Errett, better known as H.H. Errett.

I loved my father dearly. I was what you commonly call a "daddy's girl". I was, and am, very proud of
my father. What he accomplished, who he was as a person and what he meant to me and my mother.

My father was born September 23, 1885 in Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of 8 children, 5 girls
and 3 boys. As a very early child he and his family traveled from Pennsylvania to Kansas by covered
wagon. As near as I can calculate the family must have traveled about 1250 miles in that covered wagon. I have no idea how long it took them to make the journey. Upon settling in Kansas my grand-
father began farming. The two older sons in the family remained farmers and stayed in the same area
of Gridley, Kansas for their entire lives.

My father did not want to be a farmer and left Kansas and ended up in New Mexico. The story of how
that transpired I do not know. In 1918, at the age of 33, he served in the 5th New Mexico State Legislature. He was married and had two daughters. He became a widower when his wife died of TB.

On September 19, 1935, 4 days before his 50th birthday, he married my mother, Pauline Dickey Banta.
My mother was a young widow with a 10 year old daughter named Marion. My mother was only 29 years old at the time of their marriage. This made her 21 years younger than my father and only a few years older than his two daughters from the first marriage.

I came along 2 years later. At the time of my birth my father was 52 and my mother was 31. I was born in a small town just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, called Espanola. We moved to Santa Fe when I was only a few months old and I was raised in Santa Fe.

My father was in the Real Estate & Insurance business. H.H. Errett Real Estate. His office was on the second floor of the Ganns building on the Plaza. The picture above was taken walking the sidewalk in front of his office. It so represents him: walking briskly, papers in hand, pens in pocket, hat on head, pipe in mouth and dressed in business attire. He was a very fast walker and consequently so was and am I. Mother use to always be saying, "You two slow down and wait for me". During my entire life I never saw my father dressed in casual clothes. Only one time, when we visited my maternal grandparents in Missouri and we went swimming and he put on some overalls to swim. He was always dressed like this or with an added suit jacket.

My father, like so many of his age, had lost literally everything during the depression. He had started over at the age of 50 and was quite successful. He provided a very wonderful life for me, my sister Marion and my mother. My father was just as wonderful a father to Marion and loved her and treated her as his very own. He had twin grandchildren, a boy and a girl, who were 1 year and 2 months older than I. It was always interesting when they would come to town to visit, which wasn't very often because their father was in the oil business and they lived in Peru, South America. They, being a year older than I, naturally were a head taller than I. So here was my father with these three children saying "These two taller ones are my grandchildren and this littler one is my daughter"!!!

My father was very outgoing and social. He was a Deacon of the First Christian Church we attended until his death. He was active in the Optimist Club of America and served some as the President. He loved to play pool and could quite often be found doing so. He was somewhat active in politics and a staunch Democrat. He was a totally honest man, and had an outstanding reputation with any and all who knew him, regardless of their status. There is a Errett Street in Santa Fe named after him.

He had a very full and happy life and died on June 17, 1972 at the age of 87. I was only 35 years old and my mother was 66 . My biggest regret is that because of his advanced age when I was born our two younger sons never really knew him.

My reason for writing this is two fold. I just find it so interesting if you think about how much life has changed in America and in society in general from his birth until now. During a span of two generations we have gone from covered wagon days to super-sonic jet travel. Telephone's with an operator putting through the calls on a switchboard, party lines. His office number was 616 and our home number was 1520W. The "w" representing we shared that party line with another family. The older lady next door was always picking up the phone and listening to my calls!! One, usually large, radio in the living room where everyone would gather around to hear the news or a few shows. I remember when we got out first black and white TV. What a big day that was. Cars with running boards and no air conditioners or radio. Wringer washing machines and clothes lines. Old Underwood typewriters. He would have no concept of me typing at this computer and this little tribute going literally around the world. Pipe organs at church. He would be very surprised with the many instruments used today to praise his God. Praise and worship songs in addition to the old standard hymns he knew so well. His two favorites were "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In The Garden". The fast pace of life. Stores use to be opened only Monday through Saturday and then only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nothing was opened on Sunday. Most road were dirt and the highways were 2 lane. I could go on and on but you get the picture. Thanks for listening. to this "daddy's girl" reminisce about her father.

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Momma Roar said...

Very sweet tribute!
The "mom and day" type shops in our area are still closed on Sundays! We are a family that doesn't work on Sundays - no laundry, cleaning, shopping, mowing the yard, etc and it is a shame that those things are a rarity these days.
I LOVE The Old Rugged Cross. I'll be singing that one all day now!! :)

weavermom said...

How beautiful! I can tell he was very special to you - and it sounds like with good reason.

It is amazing how things have changed. My dad's dad died a few days before SnugBug was born, but he remembered moving to Tennessee in a covered wagon, and my dad talks about the frustrations of the "party line". :)

Anonymous said...

Want an incredible story. I'm so glad you added the photo. Life has changed so much, but our Lord has not. I rarely get to sing old hymns, but I do love both of those two very much. I sang them as a child and always loved "In the Garden." I would long for the day that I would look right next to me and see my Savior looking back at me. Your father reminds me of my grandfather..a man I dearly loved. Thanks for sharing a precious part of your life.

Linds said...

What a lovely post, and how lovely to have such wonderful memories. I often muse about how life changed in my poarents, and grandparents lives, and now i can see how things have changed in mine too. Amazing.

Just Mom said...

Your father sounds as if he was an amazing man. I wonder what he would have thought about blogging.

I'm actually amazed at how much life has changed even over the last 25 years. I'm only 39 and I still remember how my mom and dad (who are now in their 60s) would slow things down on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing journey. He experienced so much in his life. That was a wonderful tribute! Its nice to get a glimpse of what things were like then.

Candy said...

Very nice!! I loved reading that! I laughed when you said the lady next door used to listen in on your calls. LOL! Thats too funny!

~ Amy ~ said...

I have tears in my eyes. That was amazing. There are so many things in your story that were so touching. My Dad is the person that I admire the most too. We have an old wagon trail going through one of our pastures. We had a party line on our phone for several years too. I walk fast and take big steps too all because I would walk right next to my Dad all the time and I had to learn to walk fast to keep up. The picture of your Dad is very cool. He sounded like such an amazing person.

someone else said...

Susan, this was just beautiful. What a wonderful legacy of love he gave you.

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing this, Susan. What an honor to learn about such a special man, a man who deserved to have a "daddy's girl."

Susan said...

I thanks all of you so much for your comments on this post. It means a great deal to me. I just know my daddy is giving each of you a great bit hug and saying "I'm so glad to meet you".

Lori said...

Oh memories. Isn't it fun to reminisce. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Hi Mom,

As others have commented the technology of today would be daunting to that generation. When you gave me his desk and I placed my first computer on it I too wondered what he would have thought about the contrapation.

And today, as you know, the desk holds a television with over 100 channels being piped into it. The funny part is most of the channels are as worthless as they can be. Perhaps it is a good thing they never had to see the crassness of pop culture we now churn up.

Love you,

Anonymous said...


I love the picture you posted. He looks just like the "go getter" you described in the post. You must ahve brought him great joy in the middle years of his life with your arrival into the world. I loved reading about him!