Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henry Pratt's Memoirs

In our "Guidebook to the Pratt Family of North Berrien" we included copies of four pages of "Memories of Henry Bond Pratt" as actually typed by him in 1965. At that time Linda Pratt was a Junior at Michigan State University taking among other courses Professor Kuhn's History 330. She used her father's "Memories" plus a number of letters he wrote as the basis for a paper entitled "Memories of a Michigan Farmer, from the life of Henry B. Pratt". I don't know what grade she got on the paper or for the course but I think she deserved an "A". She now lives on the Kalamazoo River under the name of Linda Lacey with husband Jack and 43 years have gone by. For my pleasure and for the benfit of all you descendents of Wilmer Pratt and Nellie or Abigail Bartram I am going to serialize Linda's paper. Here is her introduction. I will follow immediately with the first segment of the paper. I'll send another every day or so. If you don't want these cluttering up your Inbox click on "Reply" and tell me so. We will also be Emailing photographs. Linda has a great collection.
Change is the key. The key to life now and life as it was in this country's "teens" and "twenties". Changes now seem radical, earth shaking and dangerous but it is my contention that changes which have occured in my lifetime are less drastic or surprising than the ones occuring during the last part of my father's first 22 years. Life before 1920 on a Southwestern Michigan fruit farm was unbelievably unchanged from what it had been 50-100 years before. There were hints of future change but these changes didn't really get rolling until after 1920. Life was uncomplicated, not easy mind you, but uncomplicated.
The key to change is education and knowledge. The more knowledge that exists the faster the rate of change. Change affects every one but the person who is still in school, who is in reality set apart from society as a whole gets a different perspective than those who are more closely involved. They have time to think and reflect on ideas, memories and changes. This is why I am taking, particulaly, the first 22 years of my father's life. He remembered both the quiet farm life that hadn't changed for years and the beginnings of the 20's and radical change while he was a student at M.A.C. (emailed July 4, 2008)

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