meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling,
graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.
Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is
it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But
I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the
richness and complexity of my background.
My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of
straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now
contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless
other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the
railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills
that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of
steel and its renement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of
hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong
rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the
cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of
persons had a hand in every cup of coee the loggers drink!
The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California.
Can you imagine the individuals who make at cars and
rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the
communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are
among my antecedents.
Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are
cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an
inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the
same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that
I look prey, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln
dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint
and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the
belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers
in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men
who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacic Gas & Electric
Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!
Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a