One of my favorite songs from days past was Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story.” I think the above photo has quite a few stories it could tell. The gentleman top row third from the left is my Grandfather Herman Horton. surrounding him are his brothers and sisters. Those were hard times but their appearance betrays that fact. To me they look almost prosperous. Most of the Horton Clan had moved north to Michigan from Missouri to take advantage of the jobs in the automotive industry. From farmers to labors. My Grandmother told me stories of how she would throw food through the windows of the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan. In 1937 the workers went on a “Sit Down Strike.” In a sit-down strike, the workers physically occupy the plant, keeping management and others out. By remaining inside the factory rather than picketing outside of it, striking workers prevented owners from hiring strike breakers to take their jobs and resume production.
That was one of the few stories I remember. I did some research and found out that one of my relatives committed suicide, and I found a birth certificate of an Uncle I never knew I had. These were some of the stories that no one would talk about. I remember asking my dad some family related questions that I knew the answer was not pretty or even legal. His response….”We don’t talk about those things.”
I wish all these people were alive today as I would have a thousand questions for them. Growing up I was not interested in the past only in the present and future. Stupid me.
My father passed away a few years ago and I found a box of letters, hundreds of letters, that he wrote to my mom while he was in the service during WWII. I asked him about his experiences in France and Germany and true to form his response was, as expected, “We don’t talk about those things.”
If you want to know some more of my family’s untold stories I would like to help but “I don’t talk about those things.”