Lloyd and Joy (Parker) Shaddle have 3 children:
My father, Lloyd Shaddle, grew up in Forrest, the small Illinois town where I was raised. His father, Charles Gilbert Shaddle ("Doc" to most people in Forrest) was a dentist, and had practiced in Forrest since 1909. Grandpa and Grandma Shaddle had three children: My father was the eldest, and daughter Alma Jean who died as a toddler, and Adelle Marie. Aunt Del still lives in Forrest, but sadly Uncle Fran died in 1990. Dad was 10 years older than Aunt Del, so he spent his early years essentially as an only child. Although he wasn't spoiled, it did give him a certain focus in his thoughts: he had the belief in himself such that when he decided something, it was unshakable. Dad was an extremely principled, albeit sometimes overly self-critical, man. He had very strong convictions and was not afraid to express them. Dad was well respected and well-liked in Forrest, and probably by everyone who knew him. Although raised a Methodist, he became one of Jehovah's witnesses in his early 40's (much to the dismay of his mother). This decision shaped most of the rest of his life, and of course, ours as well.
Mom's mother, Kathleen Parker (we always called her "Nanny") came to visit us around 1952. I was a newborn, and she came to help take care of me. With the added help Nanny represented, Mom felt that she could go through the months of morning sickness she had experienced with both Kathy and me. Nanny was a Witness, but Mom had told her Dad was a staunch Methodist and would likely become irritated if she tried to "convert" him. Dad eventually set out to prove the whole "Witness" thing right or wrong, by calling them up to ask to have their belief system explained. He ultimately decided that this was for him, and became one of Jehovah's witnesses himself in 1958, and Mom later on in the same year. This caused no small stir in a town the size of Forrest, as Witnesses insist on witnessing. As this involved going from door to door and talking about religion, this was viewed as intrusive at best, and weird and perhaps even dangerous at worst. This didn't phase Dad, so off we went. Dad's devotion to his faith was a close second to his devotion to his family; indeed in his mind they were part and parcel. His belief was absolute; once he became convinced (and became a Witness), everything else followed. It was very much a lifelong practice to him, and therefor with us as well. In Dad's worldview everything was to flow out of the belief that the Bible is more than a historical record, but a path and a guidebook on how to live (and a very specific one at that!)
Dad had two sisters: Alma Jean and Adelle Marie. Dad was several years older than Alma Jean and was very devoted to his little sister; her death at age 2 devastated him. Aunt Del recalls being told by an uncle years later how much Dad grieved. She stated how Dad had difficulty being close to others, and feels that losing Alma Jean at such an impressionable age may have contributed to that.
Aunt Del grew up and married Fran Anderson. Unfortunately, Uncle Fran died almost 10 years ago, but Aunt Del still lives in Forrest. Aunt Del and Uncle Fran had 5 children: Steve, Linda, Kay, Mark and Eric. Steve is Kathy's age, Linda is a year older than me, and Kay and Jim are the same age. When we were growing up, they lived only a couple of blocks from us, so we got to play with Kay and Linda pretty frequently. Steve was enough older than Jim and I that he had other friends and interests, but Kay and Linda were good playmates for us. Uncle Fran and Aunt Del moved to another home across town when I was 8 or so, making it a little more difficult to play together, but we remained close (especially Jim and Kay) through high school. Aunt Dell still lives in the same house, Steve lives not far, Kay lives near Chicago, Linda and her family in Gibson City, Eric in Bloomington and Mark in Arizona.
My grandparents were long-time residents of Forrest as well, and in a small community like that played an important role in its fabric. My grandfather moved to Forrest in 1909 to open his dentistry practice; I remember in 1959 attending a party held in honor of his 50 years of activity and service to Forrest. He continued active in the community and even in his practice right up until he died in 1974 at age 89. My grandmother taught Sunday school in the Methodist church for years. Grandpa Shaddle was a strong influence in my life. I don't know if he stimulated the interest in woodworking I still have, or if he simply nurtured it, but I clearly remember Grandpa taking me as an 8-year old youngster down into his basement workshop and teaching me appreciation for wood, how to understand its subtleties and nuances, and how to bring out the natural beauty of wood with tools. It wasn't until I grew up and got a sense of the world that I really began to appreciate how important the role that an extended family can have on the development of children.
Kathy and Jim both also have very good memories of the impact that Grandma and Grandpa Shaddle had on us as we were growing up. We have talked often about what we remember about them. Some of the memories center around family times such as Thanksgiving dinners (usually at Grandma's house with Anderson's and us, how after dinner the "grownups" would go into the living room and nap, while the rest of us kids would go out and play in the yard), or the sound of the "bubbly" Christmas tree ornaments Grandma and Grandpa had on their tree, or the smell of the walnuts Grandpa used to shell in his basement that permeated the whole room. It's amazing how vivid those memories are!
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Dad was born in 1917; although my grandparents were not wealthy, as a dentist my grandfather made an adequate, even comfortable, living. I suppose that in the standards of their day and the town they were in, they were considered well-to-do, but it never occurred to us to thing of in any way except as our grandparents. Grandpa Shaddle practiced in a small office just off the main commerce street (a one-block long section just off the highway and adjacent to the railroad station). He shared office space with Doc Hamilton, a medical doctor. (I have some of Doc Hamilton's medical books in my library!)
Dad's high school pictures show a skinny kid with big ears (sounds like me), and he was quite athletic. He was a good swimmer, on the dive team in college, and played football in high school. He was sick during coller, and as a project during his recuperation he and Vic King built a sailboat together. It was a "wet" boat, meaning that it would leak like a sieve when you first put it into the water, but as the wood swelled it became more and more watertight. Dad kept the boat at the cabin my grandparents owned on a small lake in southern Wisconsin, where we would spend at least two weeks every summer. It was an annual ritual with Dad: we would be playing while Dad worked on his sailboat for at least the first week of his vacation. Every year he would sand down the hull, recoat it with fiberglass (it would inevitably have cracked over the winter), we would finally be ready to launch the boat partly into the second week, and we would spend the last few days sailing. If we were planning on coming back up to the lake, Dad would leave the boat in the water, but often we would take it out and set it upside down on blocks, awaiting the repeat of the ritual next summer. Although Mom used to say that those trips to "the lake" were no vacation for her...she still had to cook, take care of the kids, etc., I still have very fond memories of our times there. Dad told me that when he was young, they would drive up to the lake and stay there for a month or longer in the summer. Grandpa Shaddle would take the train back to Forrest during the weeks, but spend weekends at the cottage. Both He (Grandpa) and Grandma Shaddle had grown up not far from there, so I am sure it was nice for them to be near their families as well.
Following in his father's footsteps, Dad went to dental school at Northwestern, in Chicago, after his college days at Wesleyan College in Normal, Illinois. (Yes, there is a "Normal," Illinois--it is a sister city to Bloomington). It was--and still is, I guess--the closest large town to Forrest. Normal is close enough that Dad was able to get home pretty much whenever he wanted to, but far enough that it took some planning and effort. I think it was probably the perfect distance for him, and although he didn't talk to me much about it, I would guess he enjoyed his college and university days immensely. He maintained contact with some of his college buddies throughout his life.
While Dad was in dental school, the Second World War broke out, and when he graduated, Dad joined the Navy. This turned out to be another life-shaping event, as it was that decision that led to his meeting my mom, an Australian.
Mom and Dad first met in Sydney when Dad visited Australia during one of his leaves. He was stationed on a Canton, a small atoll in the south Pacific. Since Dad was a dentist he received a commission upon enlisting in the Navy. He was in a Naval unit attached to the SeaBees, (Construction Battalion), and along with several other medical officers treated the military personnel at his station. He spent time in Pearl Harbor, on Guam and Canton Island (a tiny atoll in the south Pacific), and when given the opportunity, chose to go to Australia for his leave. As he told me, "I had already been to Pearl Harbor and Hawaii on an earlier leave, so I thought it might be fun to go to Australia this time." While in Sydney, he had lunch at a small lunch counter, and the waitress accidentally switched his order with the young woman sitting next to him. With this convenient ice-breaker, they began speaking and the rest, as they say, is history. They got to know each other mostly through correspondence (Mom still has all his letters). After two and half years, Mom sailed to New York and they married in the "Little Church around the corner."
It took Mom a while to get used to small town Illinois life, but her background and naturally outgoing personality stood her well. As a "foreigner," she became something of a local celebrity, and was frequently asked to speak about Australia to social groups in the area.
For the first couple of years Mom and Dad lived with Grandma and Grandpa, until Dad's dental practice grew to where it made sense for him to buy his own house. This put an obvious strain on everyone; Mom was always against us bringing a spouse home to live. Oddly enough, two of her three brothers took great effort (and delight) in having their family settle their families either on the same plot of ground (even connecting the houses) or at least immediately adjacent. Two and a half years after they got married, my sister Kathleen was born, followed by me (in December of 1951), and then Jim (in July 1953). With three kids all under age 5 in the house, Mom was obviously kept busy. She has said numerous times those were the happiest times of her life, and would like to relive it all over again. I hope she means that she enjoyed those times, and not that we turned out badly and she preferred us as babies!
In any case, the photo to the left is of us with Mom in front of the house (Mom and Dad's first house). Check out the spiffy outfits! Jim was probably about one, I was three and Kathy must have been about five.
Grandma and Grandpa lived across the street from us, and Dad practiced with his father in an office a few block from home. Click here to see what their office looked like when I was growing up. Grandpa and Doc Hamilton built the office for their practices around 1920; Mom has pictures of in progress, taken from the top of the stairs across the alley where they had their practices before the office was built. When I was growing up, that building had become a tavern; I never knew for sure what was upstairs but I think it was an apartment. Forrest was small enough that the office "a few blocks from home" put their office uptown, but they could still walk back and forth to the office in a few minutes. I remember writing my name on the underside of the stairs to the basement when I was a kid, and getting a kick out of seeing the names of a bunch of the "grownups" in Forrest, who had written their names there as kids in the 30's and 40's. After Jim and I left home, Dad moved our electric train set to the basement of the office so he could work on it during breaks. Jim and I had built two big loops of track, with one circling a samll town and the other around a farm community, complete with pond and a mountain area (and tunnel). Electric lights and all! Dad took it several levels beyond that once he moved it to the office, with three different tracks and levels--incredibly complex! He got a lot of fun out of working on that set.
Mom's life has revolved around the family. She has a very traditional view: men are the breadwinners, women take care of the home and the children. Back then, before the time of two wage-earner families it was far more common to have this a parent at home than it is now. Mom was almost the prototypical "Mom at Home." She takes great pride in the fact that she was always there when we got home from school, she made cookies and baked regularly, and all the traditional activities of a mother. I think Mom's childhood experiences (see below) made it important to her that she create a very stable and secure family life for her family. I think she was successful; we never had any concerns about being taken care of!
As I stated, Mom grew up in Australia, which is to say near the coast. (Over 90% of all Australians live within 100 miles of the ocean.) She was a young girl during the Depression years, and Australia was hit harder than many. Her family was frequently moving to find work, and Mom's memories were of a pretty hard life (although she says "We were always clean and well-cared for." In spite (or perhaps because) of that, Mom takes a great deal of pride in her cultural heritage, and in recent years has developed an intense interest in her Australian ancestry. Her grandfather, John James Parker, was the son of an immigrant, Thomas Parker, who was sent to Australia from Great Britain in 1829 following conviction of some relatively petty crimes. (Great Britain colonized Australia by force, clearing out the local prisons and establishing a society in Australia at the same time).
Mom has three brothers in Australia: Jim (my brother Jim's namesake), Bill (for whom I am named), and Colin. They are all three very successful businessmen, and have taken delight in establishing their own little patriarchies. Uncle Jim has a home in the northern Sydney suburb of Inglewood, with a home that has a beautiful panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. His daughters Janine, Michelle and Karena all have built homes and live with their families on the property. Uncle Bill has a similar situation, with a home on a small finger of land that juts out into the harbor in Gosford, about an hour's drive north of Sydney. My cousins Kenneth and David both live on the property with Uncle Bill. It is possible to travel by boat from Uncle Bill's home to the harbor in front of Uncle Jim's home. Uncle Collin and his family live in another Sydney suburb.
Mom's favorite spots in Australia include Nambucca Heads, one of the places she lived as a child, and 2 Nundah Street, Lane Cove, NSW, the home her parents lived in when she left to come to America to marry Dad. When we traveled to Australia for the first time as a family in 1962, we stayed with Nanny and Boss (as everyone called my grandparents, Kathleen and Frank Parker) at 2 Nundah. Needless to say, I have fond memories of those places as well, although I had to go to school in Australia during our first visit, which I think to this day was a dumb idea.
Nambucca Heads is a beautiful small town (makes me think of an old Santa Barbara) right on the ocean a few hour's drive south of Brisbane. I visited there on a drive to Brisbane from Sydney on one of my trips to Australia, and agree with Mom that it is one of the most beautiful spots on earth. Too distant from major cities to be commercialized, with beautiful white sand beaches, nice weather...it would be a wonderful place to live. I can see why Mom loved it.
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