This was originally posted on 14 April 2012 and has been slightly edited.
[This is a slight diversion from our usual topics on Rootdig, but there is a genealogy slant.]
My paternal grandmother began baby sitting me when I was a few months old and my mother returned to work in August of 1968. A regular ritual (until I went to school myself) was my Dad and my uncle coming into the house every noon for dinner. When I was about maybe three or four years of age, my uncle teased me and told me that if I misbehaved Grandma would use “that old butter paddle of Grandma Trautvetter’s and spank me with it.” He also told me that if I didn’t want to get spanked that I should put the butter paddle in the kitchen garbage can and then I’d never get spanking. That seemed to be a pretty sound conclusion to make.
I couldn’t get spanked if there was no butter paddle.
So later that day while Grandma was outside doing something, I set about to avoid spankings the easy way. I put that butter paddle in the trash can, sliding it under other garbage so Grandma wouldn’t see it.
And she didn’t.
I know she didn’t.
A day or so later, she said that she couldn’t find the butter paddle anywhere. Of course she couldn’t find it. She had burned it with the garbage in the burn barrell
I forget how Grandma came to find out about the butter paddle. I guess I eventually told my Dad or Grandma. My uncle may even have mentioned that he teased me about it. That part I don’t remember.
I don’t think I got punished for it. But my uncle never suggested anything of the sort again. I have a vague memory of Grandma talking to him about it, but I’m not certain of that either.
What I do know is that I got rid of the butter paddle of my great-grandma Trautvetter.
And so at the age of five, I destroyed my first family history artifact.