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that part of the reason we moved to California was to get away from his parents. They drank a lot and split up. Dad always kept bad feelings because of that. Dad would sometimes have a beer when he was young, but he stopped drinking when I was around 6 years old or so. Dad gave me a taste of beer I think when we lived in California. I hated it and always have since then.
Dad always worked hard to provide for the six kids, working as a machinist most of his life. He had a late 1940's Plymouth, black as I recall, that he sold while living on Water Street in Jackson. It was when we lived on Water Street that our Uncle George Boyers was killed in an auto accident. He had quite a large life insurance policy that went to Grandpa Boyers. Some of that money helped to pay for a new home, which Grandpa bought and Dad paid it back over the years. It was in about 1956, when Mom & Dad got the new home in Vandercook Lake, about five miles south of Jackson, with a small barn or horse building and five acres of land. Dad had a couple of station wagons to haul the family around. One was a 54 Ford and a 57 Ford wagon. Raymond kept a small workshop in the basement in the old coal storage room after he converted the furnace to gas burning.
After working long days at Miller Industries where he worked many years, you could see Dad outside working or pushing that old hand powered culitvator in the garden he always planted each year at the side of the house. Mom worked her magic with all the vegetables, canning much for the winter or letting everyone have a treat of fresh veggies and fruits at mealtime. You could find Dad on a ladder up in one of the two big cherry trees, picking buckets of the delicous fruits. One tree was tart cherries and the other was those wonderful and sweet Bing cherries. In the summer at harvest time, many of the cherries and garden vegetables were sold out front of the house along McDevitt Street and helped to pay for the family vacations. Dad loved fishing, lots of fishing, and he once owned a small fishing boat. He loved playing softball at family reunions and in later life, liked to hit a few golf balls around the yard or at the park. With such a large family to provide for, both Mom and Dad worked hard. They had their share of medical problems to complicate things but in the end they can be proud of the family they raised.
Perhaps no better insight can be had than to hear the story from the person themselves. Dad sat down at various times to write his recollections and memories of his life and of a couple of trips they took. That story follows. I've added some dates or names in (quotations) where that information helped.




                         My Life

                  By Raymond Walter Ripley
                          Written in 1991

I was born Friday, September 18, 1914, to Walter and Grace Ripley,
on Meeker Street in Leslie, Michigan, in the home of my grandparents,
Jacob and Minerva Ripley.  The home was located at the top of the hill
across from the water stand pipe. It was Friday evening and my mother
always said it was the hottest day of the year.
My other Grandparents were Cassius and Lena Hudler. Grandfather
Hudler died the winter of 1906 of drowning, while
Raymond as a baby