| An unedited email to us from Titbird's oldest
daughter. We appreciate her email and look forward to more.
by Patricia Berrie
I just wanted to say thank you for the nice story about my Dad.
He was a character. He was such a talented multifaceted man. Did you know that he had to quit school in the third grade to take care of his Mom and 4 younger siblings when his father abandoned them? He had a work ethic that is unrivaled. When us first 5 children were growing up, he was so busy, that we saw him when he was eating, sleeping or out in the workshop making decoys.
He and his brother Harry constructed a two story building in our back yard to make decoys. The bottom floor was equipped with band saws, a big belt sander and workbenches with every kind of clamp, file, knife and chisel you could imagine. The steep stairs lead to the second floor where the magic happened.
Daddy’s painting workbench sat in the middle of the floor, and he was surrounded from floor to ceiling with shelves, two rows deep. After the decoy shapes were cut out, filed, carved, assembled and sanded downstairs, they came up stairs to be painted. Some ducks took as many as 20 different steps to complete. Daddy would have 50 or 80 geese at a time, and would start the process with the first layer of paint. By the time he finished all 50, he would start on the next step. Being a kid, and not having the same concept of time as adults, it seemed like it took forever for him to complete all of the steps. But in actuality, it was only two or three days at the most.
Daddy didn’t just make and paint decoys, he melted the lead and molded it into the weights that he would later attach to the bottoms of the new decoys. I can remember the first time I ever saw and smelled the red hot liquid metal in the molds. I was fascinated. I watched him create those beautiful decoys from start to finish for a long time. I was very proud of him, and thought he could probably do just about anything.
Did you know that he and his brother Harry were also fishermen. Daddy would crochet their fishnets, and he and Uncle Harry would catch and sell fish to local restaurants and markets.
In addition to the decoy making, his full time job on Edgewood Arsenal, and fishing, Daddy also took novice hunters to his blinds, and taught them how to duck hunt.
Lastly, Daddy was, during this time, a house painter. He would be up on scaffolding at one of those beautiful old Victorian houses on Union Avenue, scraping away old paint, or hand painting trim, and my heart would just about stop when I’d see him.
Of all the children, I am probably the most like my Dad. I am blessed to be gifted in many creative avenues. Some use my brain, some use my hands, but all use my intuition. This and confidence, I got from my Dad.
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it in to share with all of us.