By Eve W. Engle

The dogs rule in our house. They are fed first, allowed in our bed, have their own bed in the guest room and sneak up onto the sofas when we aren't looking. Maxie, short for Maximus, is a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenes mix, Sammy is a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. His full name is Samuel L. Jackson after one of my favorite actors. Both were abused and rescued from their former owners. They get cookies every morning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Indiana Farm Boy at 100 - The Indian

My dad once said he had no idea if any of his brothers actually graduated from high school. His mom was a high school graduate, but his pop had only made it to the third grade. Now granted, that was around 1896 or so, which means he probably knew more about American history and civics than kids today know in 12th grade. But a little more education might have made his life, and the lives of his wife and sons, easier. My dad was respected by everyone in his family as being the "smart" one. My guess is they also thought he was a tad odd. They recognized his talent, but never really understood it.

As my three sons have grown to be men I have had a tendency all along to compare them to my dad. Do they resemble him in their features? Do they have similar talents or interests? Do they have the same sense of humor? And so on. Sometimes it's a gesture, or a "look" that one of them gives me, and I can see my dad. At one point my eldest looked very much like him. Especially his senior year of high school. All you had to do was place his senior portrait next to his grandfather's and it was obvious they were related. Like his grandfather, my eldest has an interest in intellectual pursuits, especially in reading and studying history, literature, and writing. My middle son is a wonderful teacher and is pursuing a career teaching in colleges and universities. My youngest is a very talented draftsman and loves to putter around in his grandfather's studio with all the old tools and equipment.

I don't spend a lot of time looking at myself in a mirror and wondering if I look like my father. My mother has always insisted that I look just like him. Maybe when I was younger that was true, but today most people think I look more like her. I have never thought I had the same kind of talent or capacity for intellectual pursuits he had either. Being a girl, and a Southerner, I have interests more like my mom's. I have, however, discovered something recently that ties me directly to my dad. His high school interests!

Frank Engle graduated from Anderson High School in Indiana in 1935. The school yearbook was called "The Indian". My father's senior portrait portrays a solemn young man with wavy dark hair and a penetrating gaze. Recently I looked for his yearbook on one of those online high school classmate sites. When I found it the list of accomplishments under his name caught my eye. I was a bit stunned the first time I read his list. It was like reading my list in my own senior yearbook!

Frank L. Engle (Class of 1935)                                
Academic Honorary Society                                    
History Club                                                              
Art Association                                                          
Chairman Prom Committee (Jr. year)                        
Annual Staff

Eve W. Engle (Class of 1976)
Beta Club
History Club
Art Club
Chairman Prom Decoration Committee (Jr. year)
Spanish Club
Blue White Staff (newspaper)

Apparently we were very much alike when we were teens. Four decades after he graduated from Anderson High School his daughter (me) graduated with almost the same accomplishments! I also sang in my high school's choirs and marched with the band (flag corps). I know he served as the towel boy for the Indian basketball team. He couldn't play on the team since he was too short, and I couldn't march with the actual band since I didn't play an instrument. I have no idea what else he did, but he must have been very active.

In 1985, shortly after my first son was born, my parents came to Fort Bragg, NC, where we were living at the time, and gathered me up with my baby. We all headed to Indiana for my dad's 50th high school reunion. It was a bittersweet time for him. He was amazed at the people he saw who were still able to put on a cheerleading costume (yes they really could) and a basketball uniform to do dribbling "sorties" (yep, those old men could do that too) but sadly he realized that no one really remembered him. He was the odd one who had left and not really ever come back. He hadn't remained in Indiana supporting the local basketball team, or retired from General Motors. He hadn't corresponded with anyone over those 50 years and there was no Facebook back then (not that he would have ever done that in a million years!!!!). But still, the evening I went with him (my mother and I took turns accompanying him) he enjoyed reminiscing and seeing how some of his old classmates had fared. He was proud of having been an "Indian", but mostly he was happy that he had graduated and moved on to all the wonderful things he had experienced during his long life.

There must be a little "Indian" in me too.

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