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True story from 1953

June 10, 2015
Professor Robert Powers Struckman was 47 when he died of a brain tumor.

Professor Robert Powers Struckman was 47 when he died of a brain tumor.

I concluded that people just want true stories. Not stories, really, the truth. And yet we heard about Goldilocks. I heard about Goldilocks from my father when I was quite small, because he died of brain cancer in the fall when I was four. Daddy and I were at the kitchen table, I think, and he told me the story. Only he changed “porridge” into “Wheaties.” As young as I was, I knew he had made the change. It made me marvel at his strength. He smelled good, like tweed. A subtle wool smell. He towered over me and I saw the red hairs of his nostrils. He had a good laughing manner, but I remember him roaring at my sister Carol to wash the dishes. In my mind flames shot out. He told me how to pet Smokey the cat from front to back. He played guitar and sang to us in the front room. He made popcorn and we ate it. He spanked me when I wet my pants, while standing on the Missoula year book he co-edited. I have a copy of the 1930 edition of “The Sentinel” with my urine stain on the back cover.
Daddy came home from the doctor’s with a black patch on one eye. The patch was incorporated into his eyeglasses, so he put coins in to the patch-side to make the weight equal. His ear on that side was bright red, so I laughed. He laughed also. In the basement Daddy sawed the boards for pieces of some cabinets he was building in the hallway past the kitchen. He used a handsaw and he asked me to help him by sitting on a board. I was happy to help. I was four years old. Daddy went to the hospital to stay and I had to sit in our car while mother went to escort him out so he could go home with us.
Daddy sang in the Missoula Mendelssohn Club, so we went to the concert. I was disappointed that Daddy was impossible for me to pick out of the 80 or so singers on stage, dressed in tuxedos. My parents bedroom had a musical instrument case in it, but I never knew why.
Soon I was in Kalispell with my grandparents while my poor dad died his painful death in Missoula.

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