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Rose Petals

My Daddy, Hubert Matthew Van Treese

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Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
November 4, 2011 | 1,332 views | 2 comments

Jobs were difficult to find in the 30’s and 40’s, and imagine how much more so when one is visually impaired, as Daddy was. So it was a great opportunity when the Texas Commission for the Blind sponsored a 9-month course on poultry husbandry at Texas A&M. My mother had gone to work at the Texas Lighthouse for the Blind after she met Daddy, and they married in 1939. Dad had worked at several jobs, but now with a family, he needed to learn a trade. So he and several men attended the course.

It was 1946; I was 14 months old and my brother was 5 years old. We lived in Bryan in a duplex, and while the men were paid $30 a month while they were there, Mother still had to work, so she left me and my brother, Travis, with the landlady who lived next door. Mom told me that at A&M at first the students were served their meals family style, then when the school opened the cafeteria, she and another lady, Lucille Sullenberger, the wife of a blind fellow, worked as servers in the cafeteria. We became close friends with that family.

When Daddy completed the course, we settled in Cuero where he ran a chicken farm that was owned by a man who had a feed store and paid Daddy a percentage of the proceeds. There The Lighthouse Commission continued to pay him $30 a month to board and teach another blind fellow, a Mr. Owens (who was an expert wood carver) to learn the trade.

We eventually owned a chicken farm south of Somerset where Daddy had four houses with a total of 10,000 chickens. We left the chicken business in 1952 when the bottom fell out and Daddy could no longer make any money with it. But the love of chickens was deeply imprinted on me. I have his books from his courses at A&M, his graduation certificate (May 31, 1946), and numerous photos of him with his classes and of us on our chicken farms. Several of these photos are on display in my home. I was a chicken lover before it was cool!

We then moved to Southton, and Daddy bought a merchant patrol business in downtown San Antonio where he was the merchant patrolman for most of the downtown businesses. He was completely blind in one eye and had only limited vision in the upper corner of the other eye; yet somehow he managed to drive. Of course, traffic was sparse in those days, and he only drove at night when there was no sunlight to bother him. In fact, it was in 1968 when a law was passed that everyone had to take a vision test to renew their licenses that he retired, as he obviously wouldn’t have passed the test.

But what a blessing, because that year my son Vance was born, and Daddy spent a lot of time running around with me and my baby. That’s when we really became close, and although he’s been gone since 1982, “he’s always in my heart and often on my mind,” to quote the Oakridge Boys.
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Your Opinions and Comments

Patricia Jurek  
December 14, 2011 11:01am
Kathleene, Thank you for sharing your memories. I am enjoying the stories about your family. I especially enjoyed the articles about your multi-talented father and how he overcame so much in his life to become a successful ... More ›

Elaine K.  
November 4, 2011 11:42am
New post.

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