Friday, September 26, 2008


“How will we make it? We have nothing to lose now. It is all gone…”

As money evaporated with the market problems everyone was more than a little worried what would happen. How would they go on? Even people without great Stock Portfolios wondered what would happen.

My parents were both in their early childhood when 1929 – on Black Tuesday – October 28 & 29th. My mom was 8 years old then. Dad was about 12 years old. They went through the transition from the Roaring Twenties to the Dirty Thirties – and survived successfully.

How could that be? The answer is simple I believe. There was treasure buried within the family. The treasure was not something you could put you fingers on – like gold or silver or even cash. It was treasure that came from your ability to do something with your life or hands.

I have stated this before… “Don’t be afraid to learn something new.” It was my Dad’s special survival technique – his ‘mantra’. He was able to move through life with an ability to adapt to whatever was thrown his way.

In Saskatchewan, World War II was thrust into his early working dreams and changed everything for him. His first real jobs began as a farm hand working for others at pay that would be a pittance. Then opportunity came to join the war effort and he began work in a factory making large guns as a lathe operator/machinist.

With the end of the W.W. II he began a job in a small community in the town garage. It would begin his journey toward being a journeyman mechanic. In that job he would also do the machine shop work operating a lathe doing various jobs.

Later through another opportunity opening in front of him, he would be hired at the new and growing Government Garage – that worked on the large fleet of Government Vehicles that fanned out across the Province of Saskatchewan.

In a shift of moods within the Province, the political elements changed. In his mid fifties he would lose his job as mechanic at the Government Garage. The newly elected Liberal Government shut the whole thing down and sent all Government vehicles to Liberal Supporter’s garages.

Dad lived his mantra again and found a new job as a Machinist with a place called Brandt Electric and then the very large Stelco – a prairie steel company. His job was to operate huge lathes that machined the fine rollers for rolling steel sheets.

The look in his eyes as he described his new job was amazing. There was new fire as he learned a new craft of huge machines. He wrote his papers for and qualified for a Journeyman Machinist in this job. Amazing for a man his age.

All the while he built The Lincoln Motor repair business that he was so well known for over many years.

Time went on and a new position opened at the Provincial Jail in Regina. It was not a glamorous position in my mind. He was to be the maintenance man for the whole place. His description was simple, “When a toilet is broken, I fix it. When a jail cell lock doesn’t work I fix it. When the sewage holding tank needs cleaning I clean it.”

I looked at him as if he was crazy. Why would he take that kind of ‘demotion’ in all appearance? Especially when he had achieved his writing of his qualification papers as a Machinist now. Why leave these jobs for this Government Job as Super Janitor? It didn’t make sense at all!

His work with the men inside 0f the jail, the offenders was amazing. Everyone saw his ability to work with the men. Even the dirtiest job like cleaning the putrid sewage holding tanks had men volunteering to work with him. He had built a good relationship with the different guys that he had work for him. The management “saw his ability” and suggested that he apply for another position within the Jail – the Welding Shop Instructor.

Over the years Dad had learned welding as early as the old garages on the farm had existed. He had operated the blacksmithing part of any early garage on the prairies with the Forge and Anvil. His step up to the acetylene tanks and torches had happened years ago. So the new offer was not that hard to accept.

A man that had not yet completed his High School Diploma let alone college of any sort was now the Welding Instructor.

Under the amazing leadership of his Staff Supervisor he not only received his qualifications a Journeyman Welder he also completed his High School equivalency and graduated from High School at around 58 years old. They then offered him the opportunity to go on to University to study more. But that never happened – he planned to retire at 60 years old.

If I sound like I am bragging on my Pop – you bet I am. He was amazing.

Yesterday I re-discovered something that I already knew. Kind of funny actually when I think of it. My Dad was very creative. In 1957 he bought his first good camera. It was a Zeis Ikon, 35 mm camera.

I have been looking through the 1000s of slides that he took. I have also been trying to scan some on to the computer hard drive of my kids and grandkids. Ity is amazing what he did with his small camera.

There is the small boxes of slides is our entire family treasure – hundreds of photos of early times that are forgotten. People that are now long gone – were captured for their children to see… on small 35 mm slides. What a legacy to discover.

I am blessed to witness this long gone treasure again. These old home slide shows that once bored us to death now are soon to be new DVDs for the Lincoln and Kirkpatrick Clans to see.

As I sat there pondering yesterday this treasure that I have found in some old boxes I was amazed again.

This is all made possible because of my radical change of jobs in my late life and career… 90 some days ago.

It is appropriate that it should happen yesterday. Today I sign my new contract with the Ontario Department of Colleges as a newly minted Self Employed Benefits Program particpant. I am going back to school at 64 years and 5 months old.

I checked in the mirror this morning and there is something special happening – I have a twinkle in my eye – just like my Dad did. It is really there and I have never felt more alive than NOW.

Finally – here is photo from one of the slides that made me giggle when it popped up on the computer screen… or so many memories… so very many.
Believe it or not… this is Murray, Glen, Pat and young Karen – about a million years ago. Oh Boy!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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