More than anyone else in the world, my parents have had the most powerful influence on me. They divorced when I was 12, and I was raised by my mom, who passed away much too young when she was 54 and I was 30. My dad built a very successful office machines business from scratch (literally starting with a suitcase full of repair tools he kept in the trunk of his car) after a bad experience from his first venture at building a company with another guy who pulled it out from under him and left him on the street at age 52.
Both of my parents endured plenty of hard times in different ways. My mom died many years ago in 1983 at the age of 54; and my dad passed away one month shy of his 96th birthday in June 2019 (I wrote a blog post on this blog titled, “A Eulogy for Dad,” on that day, and I wrote one last blog post (of four total) on Dad titled, “It’s All Good,” on this blog on September 2, 2019).
My mom never remarried after my parents’ divorce, but my dad remarried four years before my mom’s death, so I had a stepmother for many years after my mom died who was very influential in my life and very much like a second mother to me. She died in 2011 after almost 32 years of marriage to Dad. The three of them are my heroes.
I was born in the Midwest in the second half of the 20th Century. I acquired what is known as the “Midwestern work ethic” at a very young age. Ever industrious, at the age of ten I painted my old rusty blue one-speed bicycle that had really thick tires with bright red lead-based paint (long before we knew lead-based paint was dangerous) that shined so bright I needed sunglasses when I was riding it. I painted it bright red because red is my favorite color, and because I wanted it to look nice–not old and rusty. I also sold lemonade at a makeshift lemonade stand and I did assorted other things industrious kids do. I was also a very compliant kid. Nobody ever had to tell me twice not to do something I wasn’t supposed to do. I learned quickly to stay out of trouble as much as possible, and I learned to keep a very low profile.
According to a 2013 article titled, “The Quiet Curse of the Midwestern Work Ethic,” by Anonymous (that’s the author’s name in the “by line” on the article but if you go to the bottom of the article his name does appear), the Midwestern work ethic goes something like this:
If you’ve lived in the Midwest for any length of time, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of the “Midwestern work ethic.” It’s an unwaveringly pragmatic and dogmatic belief that hard work and perseverance rooted in quiet humility pays off in the long run.
And guess what? It does. You don’t have to look very far around the Midwest… to see evidence of that…. (Quote source and the rest of this article is available at this link.)
I had planned to continue at this point with a little biographical info but I’ve already written a brief bio on my regular blog site at “Sara’s Musings.” Regarding the pic on the right, it was was taken when I was in the U.S. Army stationed in South Korea on a two-year enlistment a few decades ago (four, to be exact).
YouTube Video: “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts:
Photo #1 credit here
Personal photos are mine 🙂