Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My friend Pat sent me the book "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."  I've heard of this book.  Reading it I discovered something that I think just about all of us know, at one time or another we've all been that wimpy kid.  I know I have been.  

I'm tempted to write my own "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."  However, what really makes this book unique are the illustrations.  I would have to work on that folks.  I could make my own cartoon characters but it would take so long.  So bear with me while I do my own personal take on "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", sans the illustrations.  

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Ron's Version

"Little Ronnie" - First Grade class photo - 1948

I was born in November 1941, one month before Pearl Harbor.

Me at two years old - literally a Living Doll (at least my Mother thought so) 

My father was a transplanted hillbilly from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. He was ten years old when he arrived in Pennsylvania by train.  First time he ever wore shoes.

"Pop" - Ike - my dad 1941 - 21 years old

My Mother was a 16 year old motherless high school senior anxious to get out of her Cinderella like home life.  "Pop" was her "Prince Charming."

My father Ike Tipton - the man my mother fell in love with at first sight when she first set eyes on him when he dropped  my Mom's date "Hank" off - my Mom immediately dropped Hank and told her girlfriend Edie to take Hank because she said "I'm taking HIM!" And she did.  Married sixty years, my father was the only man my Mother was ever "with."

I was the result of this unlikely union of a truck driving, semi-literate, handsome hillbilly father and a beautiful but poor daughter of a Quaker family.

My beautiful Mother - high school senior 1939

And it shows.  To this day I am a weird anagram of those two disparate cultures.  

For almost a year I was an ONLY CHILD.

Then my parents decided to HAVE ANOTHER.  That would be Isaac, Jr.

Me and brother Isaac, Jr - I have lost my privileged status as an ONLY CHILD

Even back then, in those black and white days I knew my special status as an ONLY CHILD had changed my life . . . forever.

Then, to add insult to injury my Mom and Pop decided to have yet ONE MORE.  His name was John.

 Baby John, hood ornament 
Now there were THREE.  I was the OLDEST but I had two coming up the rear.  

My Baby Brothers - Isaac and John - 1947 - Washington Avenue, Downingtown, PA
And from that day on my life was inalterably changed.  For the rest of my life sibling rivalry would rule, even to this day.

Growing up on Washington Avenue I had my friends and John and Isaac had each other.  Yes folks, I didn't hang out with my brothers. They were just THERE . . . in the way.

The Three Little Terrors - John, Isaac and me (hand over my eyes shielding the sun and my FIRST leather jacket) and High Water Pants 

One good thing about being the oldest, I never had to endure hand me downs.  But I was always outgrowing my clothes . . . long legs and long arms

Being the oldest I was the first to go to school.  Our school was three blocks down Washington Avenue, where we lived in a second floor, roach infested apartment that rented for $22.50 a month that we had to share with one of my father's younger brothers who was still going to high school.

My father had ten brothers.  The two youngest brothers(Sam and Bruce) were born in Pennsylvania and were orphaned before they finished high school. 

My grandmother Hester Tipton with ten of her eleven sons (the eleventh one took the picture) at Union Hill Cemetery Kennett Square, Pennsylvania where she buried her husband (my grandfather) Fieldon Jacob Tipton - 1939 - Uncle Sam (head peeking out next to my Uncle Bruce petting dog) were still in school - both Sam and Bruce was only Tipton boys born in Pennsylvania thus not authentic Hillbillies

My Uncle Sam (far left in photo) and Uncle Bruce (fourth from left with sailor cap) and Uncle Tip (kneeling with dog) on the porch at their rented home before their parents died. Note the wringer washer on the porch - an authentic Hillbilly Touch

Growing up I was constantly mortified with my paternal hillbilly roots and always tried to hide them.  My father was a Hank Williams wannabe - sooo embarrassing.

Pop with his brother Luther "Dude" Tipton playing Hank Williams on his guitar - so embarrassing (at that time)

When I began school two things were paramount in my mind.  I knew I was different and not just because I was "half a hillbilly" (as my father often liked to refer to me). 

I wasn't quite sure what I was but I definitely knew I was different.  I liked wasn't into marbles and pen knives. I was more into paper dolls.  Uh oh.

To be continued . . . . . . . . .


Jon said...

A fantastic documentation of your family history, Ron, and I love the photos. You were a cute kid.
Well, we have yet another thing in common - - my father was a HUGE Hanks Williams fan. That was strange since he was a Hungarian, not a hillbilly. My Mom called him a Hungarian Hillbilly. I was subjected to an endless array of Hanks Williams records when I was a tiny kid. And Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb and Kitty Wells......Holy crap......
I'll look forward to Part Two of your wimpy kid childhood memories.

Ron said...

I know I posted all those old photos before (my old photos are limited so I have to do repeats when I post). What a coincidence that your father was a huge Hank Williams fan too! And even more of a coincidence my father also loved Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow and Kitty Wells. I used to hate that music when I was a kid but now I recognize the authenticity of it as pure Americana and I don't hate it. In fact I consider Hank Williams a genius and I am sad that he died so young.
Oh for sure I will post more of my childhood memories in the form of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" because that's what I was. I've been meaning to do my autobiography in a more classic form (writing a book) but I don't think that's going to happen now because I just can't seem to get started. But by posting blog entries, I think I can cover most of the bases of my childhood, adolescence and entry into adulthood. We each have our unique story and I think there will be enough interest in mine as I have in others' stories. I just wish there were more bloggers who posted their experiences growing up.
Thanks for your always welcome comments Jon. You are a good friend.


Jon said...

You can certainly compile all of your blog entries into a book. It would be a little easier than rewriting it (and you could add the hot & spicey things that you didn't put in your blog). Much like you, I really hated hillbilly/country music when I was a kid, but now I can fully appreciate it.

By the way, when I wrote "Hanks Williams" in my comment, it was a typo (if anyone noticed). I meant "Hank Williams". And thanks for your new comment on "Me and the Hollywood Pretty Boys".

WARPed said...

Hi Ron,

I guess I am "half a hillbilly" too, though both my parents were from WV. Dad from a mill town way up in the mountains, and Mom from Charleston, the Big City.

And Hank died in Oak Hill, WV.



pat888 said...

Hey Ron - love this entry of yours somewhat based on d o a w k. The photos are great illustrations, And even tho we've seen most or all before they take on new life in this post. Great wimpy kid pics of you too!! But you sure were a good looking and no doubt really really nice boy. I also thought that the type set you selected gave it a nice touch. Your family is interesting - as are you. And that's so good of you to put this together. I hope a lot of your relatives and friends see this posting for they would enjoy it immensely I'm sure.

Also - I'm a big fan of the d o a w k books. They are light hearted and I can relate to a lot of the experiences in them - which often causes me to laugh out loud.

Thanks Ron for this cheerful uplifting entry!


Jack said...


What a great post. It is good that you document your past, when your parents and siblings go, information is gone forever. I was fortunate that my paternal grandparents were around, my grandfather died when I was 16, my grandmother when I was in my thirties. She was a wealth of information until her later years when she succumbed to dementia. She always had a story about the family. My mother was two weeks shy of 101 when she died. She was also a wealth of information, her mind was as sharp as a tack right up to the last few days of her life. I of course have found the information invaluable when working on Ancestry. I just found a pocket ledger that my mother started when she and my dad got married in 1940 that spans expenditures for their household up to 1944 including my dad's salaries and all of the apartments that they rented from 1940 until 1944 the year I was born. We moved into a house in 1947. Some day I'll email you some of the information that the ledger holds. The prices of food and commodities would blow your socks off.

Again, loved the post. Can't wait for part 2.


Anonymous said...

This is a piece of art, Ron! What a wonderful family memento.

Now rent the movies, they are hilarious!

Peace <3

Ron said...

I completely missed that "Hanks Williams" thing. I think I will put my "Wimpy Kid" blog postings in a book after I'm done posting them. I understand Blogger does that…..for a fee. Thanks for the reminder.

Ron said...

I wish I had a grandmother who was alive when I was growing up. Unfortunately all I had was one grandfather and he was a Jehovah's Witness. Of course I always tried to avoid him, trying to convert me and all. My Mother, a few years before she died, started to share some of the family secrets with me but I know a lot was lost when she died. Hopefully, with my "Wimpy Kid" blog postings, anyone in my family who is interested, will know a little more about me and how I grew up. Somehow I feel like I have to get that information out there before I kick the bucket. Makes me feel complete. Closing the ledger so to speak. By the way, I would be interested in the information you found in your mother's ledger.

Ron said...

Thank you very much for your kind and generous remarks. Very encouraging! And thank you for introducing me to "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." I think most of us were at one time in our young lives.

Ron said...

Both your parents from West Virginia? I would say you're 100% hillbilly. Coincidentally my Uncle Sam, who used to live with us, married a West Virginia gal so that made him 100% hillbilly again.

Ur-spo said...

Someone feels the same way at times with some of his relations. I think having some hillbilly blood sounds rather quaint; always good for supper invite. Better than my insipid New England 'pure blood' lineage who were mostly a bunch of bores

Ron said...

Thank you Jay! Movies of the Wimpy Kid? I didn't know they existed. Thanks again!


Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
I used to be so embarrassed about my "hillbilly blood" until I started my genealogical research and discovered that the "hillbillies" are actually Scotch-Irish who came to this country in the late 1600's and early 1700's and settled the frontier of Appalachia. The so-called "hillbillies" named after the Protestant Scotch Irish in the Highlands who supported the Protestant King William got he name "hillbillies" because they lived in the hills of Scotland. Coincidentally, and perhaps not so coincidentally, when they moved to America they migrated to to the mountains of Appalachia thus the continuing name of "hillbillies." Hillbillies are perhaps the most pure Americans except of course for the ta ta Mayflower descendants. I am no longer embarrassed.

Diary of a wimpy kid said...

wow amazing photos Thankyou man , i was actually looking for Diary of a wimpy kid book 1 pdf