Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pratt Stories - The Thayers

Aunt Isadora was the youngest of the seven Pratt brothers and sisters and the last of the six who attended M.A.C. My Mother said she was named for the famous dancer Isadora Duncan.* The following is mostly from Mary Thayer Floro:
Isadora Margaret Pratt met Robert F.Thayer while attending college at M.A.C. in East Lansing. He was majoring in forestry and she in home economics. Isadora was a member of Ero Alphian society. Bob played football at guard and tackle for Coach Ralph Young. He was All State in high school at nearby Williamston where he grew up. Pudge ( Rodney's nickname) was told that Bob's picture still hangs in the MSU football building. He graduated from M.A.C. but Isadora returned home just shy of one semester to graduate due to health problems with her father.
Bob and Isadora married August 30, 1925. His first coaching and teaching position was in Breman, Ohio. A few years later he took a similar position in Oak Harbor, Ohio. He taught Agriculture while coaching. He coached football, basketball and track. He was affectionately called "Coach Pop Thayer". Don played for him but not Rod. When I asked them how good they were, Don snickered with the reply that they had indeed won 2/3 of their total games. Don played quarterback and Rod running back. Rod still holds the Oak Harbor High School record for yards per carry.
Isadora was a "stay at home" mom and together she and Bob raised four children, Donal, Rodney, Dorothy and Mary  All four children grew up on a 70 acre farm south of Oak Harbor.
Bob taught and coached in the high school while farming at the same time. He raised and sold seed corn, farmed beans, corn and wheat while raising hogs, cattle and chickens. There was a team of horses, or just one.(I don't remember, I was the baby).. On Saturday evenings, a chicken was killed for Sunday's dinner.(Didn't much like pulling that chicken between two nails to chop off its head). Once I tried to jump off the shed with a tractor umbrella as I was sure I could fly. Sad to report, the umbrella was heavier than I and it ground me right into the soil.
PERSONAL NOTE: One summer when I was a lanky teen-ager I was recruited to come down to the Ohio farm for a while to pull tassels off of corn stalks in Uncle Bob's hybrid seed-corn operation. Strictly a no-talent job if you were tall (which I was and my cousins weren't). My favorite story about that summer was about the family dog. Uncle Bob had just put a smooth wire electric fence around the hog pen and turned on the power. The dog (whose name I forget but I think he was maybe a fox terrier) was following me as I was walking down the lane by the pen. Being a male dog he decided to raise his leg and pee on a fence post. Of course he got a terrible sequence of shocks in his tenderest of places. He went yelping back to the house and never came near me again as long as I was in Ohio as he thought I had done it to him 
* Google Isadora Duncan and read Wikipedia for the fascinating story of her life and her bizarre death.
NEXT: More on the Thayers

Emailed August 28.

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