With one of the local communities celebrating “Viking Fest” this weekend, my mind started thinking about my dad and his nick name, Swede. I thought since my Dad and his sister were always the toeheaded children that the nickname might have some basis in fact. As so often happens for me ……… wrong!
So this is my dad. Lloyd Fletcher Putnam Born to Ira (Ike) Blossom Putnam and Etta (Gay) Jane (nee Francis) on May 3 1912 in Los Angeles, California. His sister Gertrude (Babe) Eunice was born two years later on Feb. 20, 1914. Lloyd and Eunice grew up on a ranch/farm outside of Visalia, California.
They all had nicknames, heck even the cows had names. The milk cow was always called Blossom. My older brother and sister had nicknames.
I guess by the time they got to the last two kids they ran out of ideas. We were just who we were, Madeleine and Ada.
Well back to Dad, this was about Dad.
After graduating from high school his family sent him up to the state Ag School in Davis. Where he spent two years and met his future wife Dorothy Ada Dougherty. They were married on May 21, 1937.
During World War II Lloyd tried enlisting in the service but was turned down as 4F. This was due to an accident when he was a teenager. He had a broken arm that had not been set properly. It had never effected his playing sports or hunting but when he turned his hand over his lower arm did not rotate properly. Unable to enlist in the Army he worked in the states as a civilian heavy equipment operator, working on the construction of airports. I do not think he ever worked on the Ranch again. After the war he spent a couple of years (1952-1953) in Okinawa helping on the construction of an airport there. He was on the Road Construction Crew that built Hwy 50 through Placerville. That was when we moved there.
I think that he got the nickname “Swede”, while he was in Okinawa. It was always his co-workers and drinking buddies that called him “Swede”. I can still see him coming home from working on those large Caterpillar Blades, taking off his hard hat to exposed that white forehead and the rest of the face was a bright red under all that dirt. His hair went from blonde to a white grey, just as his mothers had. Since I was only two when my grandfather died I do not remember what his coloring was like, but Dad definitely looked like a “Swede”.
Lloyd died on October 23, 2000.