In considering the history of any event, there are a myriad of side stories. How something came to be is not a straight line. Life is not linear, it is circuitous. Dad’s dirt basement TV repair shop was part of a life of ‘jerry rigging’ events and circumstances to make life work. The one who provided the name to Flanders Music had a non-stop life of making things work.
The influenza of 1918 was the worst disease ever recorded. One fifth of the world population was affected by this deadly flu strain. It killed more people than World War I. By the following year it had morphed into what became known as the Spanish Flu. In the late summer of 1919 my Dad’s mom became pregnant with her fourth child. Giving birth to William Mark Flanders, she did not make it. For a poor dirt farmer in North Dakota it was too tough to care for an infant. That baby went to live with his paternal grandparents.
In the early 1920s, to be killed in an automobile accident took some doing. There were hardly enough cars to be involved in a car crash, but that is what happened to my Dad’s grandparents. With a very young child motherless and grandparent-less, up stepped a bachelor uncle. Dad was raised by Uncle George. He was a good man and loved my Dad very much.
It was with George that Dad learned how to run a retail store. George had an all purpose hardware store in the tiny town of Chasley North Dakota. Dad worked alongside George from the time he was tall enough to stand behind the counter and reach the cash register. He loved that hardware store and had great fun memories of working at the store then running to the Chasley High School to play football with one of those old leather football helmets.
Dad told me one of his favorite stories about the hardware store. He said that in the 1930s there would be groups of roving…well, it is not PC now, but, Gypsies. They would crowd into the store and steal whatever they could put their hands on. Once Dad and George caught a woman putting things under her large hoop skirt. George and Dad walked over to her and each grabbed the hoop, pulled it up over her head and tied it tight with a piece of rope. They then led her to the door and pushed her outside. Dad would laugh when he closed his eyes and could still see it all.
So, around 1957 when the TVs started to get bigger and the need for more tubes became greater, Dad came up with a compromise for the little house on Nordman. He would get some friends to help him build what we used to call in the mid-west, a mud room to hook on the back door of the house. Then he would move all of the tubes and tools up into that room for his shop. Boyhowdy it could get cold out there in his shop, but at least that trap door was closed from then on.
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