Sunday, June 5, 2016

Grandpa and the Tractor

Father's Day is coming and so it is fitting that my essay about my grandpa, titled The Tractor, should be published this month on Thread, a literary magazine. Writing about the American side of my family (my mother's) is a new venture for me. Hopefully this will balance the scales a tiny bit since my memoir coming out in Spring 2017 features my father's side of the family, and my husband's.

I very much wanted this essay to include the crackling recording I have of my grandfather and me talking about the very work remembered in this essay but the editor felt the quality wasn't good enough. So I'm sharing it here (bonus: you get to hear my terrible German accent speaking English at age eight; but hey, at least I could speak!):

Removing a Tree Stump (turn the volume up all the way)

Below a photo of our own tractor these days and our whole wood-splitting operation.

Here's to dads and grandfathers, and to work involving tractors and wood!


  1. You did have quite a strong accent at that point in your life!

  2. Love that old Ford! Funny how the shared, steady work you describe can stay with one for a lifetime. We tend to look to leisure for that now, but I wonder if at some deep level it's always been about shared work, whether in kitchen or field.

    1. Thank you, Richard! I was happy to find the photo of Grandpa and me on the old Ford tractor among the slew of family photos a cousin had given me a while ago. I have to say that shared work has always been gratifying to me, even in the office environment, I have always relished team work.