Friday, March 10, 2017


I was raised on a Funny Farm, we called it a Honey Farm, it was a farm with no seeds, or fertilizer, the livestock were bugs.  My Grandfather on my father's side, started keeping bees as a kid, his family was scratching out a living on a farm in Illinois near St Louis.  When he found bees in a hollow tree, he was able to capture the swarm, move it into a hive and bring in honey for his family.  He almost always kept bees.  For decades the bees were a side business.  Eventually he left the factory, and kept bees full time.  

My father grew up with bees being a part of the normal livestock in the back yard, right next to the chickens (my father grew up in the suburbs of Detroit.)  My father helped his father with the bees.  Eventually the bees caused to many complaints from neighbors in the city, and during World War II, my grandfather bought 80 acres about 60 miles north in the very-rural Michigan.  In the mid 1950's my parents moved out to the farm.  A couple of years later, my father bought several hundred hives of bees, and joined his father in business.  At one time, they had about 2,000 hives.  That is a lot of bees.  

I started working in the bees, and in the extracting plant - known as the honey house, when I was 12.  I have been filing tax returns since I was 14.  After my grandfather retired I worked with my mother in the honey house.  We would start in late July and go 7 days a week until school started, then I would work weekends until the we were finished about the end of September.  

None of my siblings wanted to take over the farm.  My parents sold out and retired in 1982.  When we were making funeral arrangements for my mother the funeral director asked what we wanted to list her profession as.  We talked about retired, or homemaker, or store clerk, or print shop layout designer, and beekeeping.  We settled on beekeeper.  She was good at it, she worked with my father for about 15 years.    

Bees are a part of my heritage. If we had a family crest, bees would need to be on it.  

What is profession is a part of your heritage? 


  1. What a,fascinating tale. I love honey and go through it quick in tea, or to spread on my English Tea biscuits on weekends. I even can eat teaspoons of it when I have a sore throat. Not one profession stand out, but a common thread would have to be art related in my family. It seems alot of us are all involved in art or arts, and art on the,side as a hobby. My fathers cousin was a huge and wealthy painter in Long Island.

  2. No family heritage that I know of. Everyone did something different. I'm allergic to bees and pictures often give me the willies. So, sorry I zipped past that last photo after just one glance. I DO love good honey!

  3. my maternal grandfather drove an 18-wheeler; my maternal grandmother was a seamstress/knitter/house slave. they had 3 kids.

    my father was an electrical engineer who worked on those YUGE mainframe computers in the 60s. my mother was a house slave. they had 2 kids.

    I am the office manager for a small business. spouse works in the health insurance industry. neither of us are house slaves. we have cats.


  4. Great grandfather and grandfather worked in the sawmills in central WV.

    Dad worked as a surface coal miner as a summer college job (he was a good baseball player, and the coal company wanted him on their team!)

    Dad eventually became a chemist, and worked formulating paint.



  5. My mother never worked outside the home.
    Mom's father worked in a lumber mill as a youth, the Naval Shipyards in Norfolk VA before the war, then ran his own businesses like a BBQ shack and a Locksmith business. He had an alcohol problem and stopped working in the late 1940's.
    Mom's mother worked as a carpet/rug saleswoman for Sears and supported the family from mid 1940's on.
    Mom's paternal grandfather was a miller in a grist mill, as was his father.
    Mom's maternal grandfather was a farmer, as was his father.

    My father when he married my mother was a brick mason apprentice. He also worked as a shoe salesman, a bookkeeper, an accountant, got his college degree at 37 and then became a CPA.
    My paternal grandfather worked as a dept store salesman, then a foreman electrician in Brooklyn, after WWII he worked for the government in the General Services department in fueling services(I don't know what that is called today)until he retired.
    His father after being a farm laborer was a steam fitter, an electrician and eventually became a dairy farmer in Upstate NY.
    Grandfather's father's father was a laborer and eventually became a stone cutter.
    My paternal grandmother was forced to work when her husband deserted the family in 1940. Not sure what she did but she worked until retiring in the 1970's. Her last job was working for Dr. An Wang of Wang computers in Lowell, MA. It was probably on the assembly line.
    Her father was a grocer, then worked in a rubber factory, then a painter for the Boston Terminal Company, then worked as a rigger in a construction company in MA.
    Her father's father I have no clue as her father immigrated from Ireland and I have no records beyond him.

  6. Anonymous3/10/2017

    I am sure your mother would have loved that.

    I went out with my Dad in Central London a few months ago and he had a chance meeting in a restaurant with a woman who worked for him years ago. "Your father used to be big in construction," she said to me. To which my father replied "Honey, I still am."

  7. I come from a long line of attorneys. Some of them were judges and lobbyists. They were a good bunch, all over four feet.