Biography of Calvin L. Skinner, Sr. – Part 2 – College, Marriage, First Jobs

Cal Skinner, Sr. in college.

The first part of my father’s multi-part biography ran yesterday. Today, we’ll run Part 2 in honor of his birth 105 years ago.

Dad graduated debt free from the University of Maryland in three and a half years.

Somehow I have gotten the impression that he was something of a lady’s man. I don’t know how he had time.

He had to take off one semester to work the farm while he father was sick, which I didn’t know until I read my sister Jan Patel’s memories.

Dad’s goal in life was to become a county ag agent.

One of his part-time jobs was candling eggs at a market in Washington, D.C. The Southeast District of Columbia market still exists and I believe it is now an upscale shopping area.

(Later, during the Richard Ogilvie administration, the McHenry County Republican Party sent out a list of jobs that were open. Dad had been elected Algonquin Township Precinct Committeeman in 1966, when I ran for McHenry County Treasurer, and served until 1988. He had been head of the local Nixon citizens committee in 1960. He lost a GOP primary race for County Auditor in 1964 to Harley Mackeben, McHenry County Board Chairman and Grafton Township Supervisor.

(In any event, “egg candler” was one of the jobs and Dad guessed rightly that no one else would have relevant experience. Don’t know where the job was located, but he didn’t get it. Of course, he didn’t really want it.)

He also worked in a warehouse between College Park and Washington.

When we visited the campus shortly before his death, he showed me what I remember as a four-story building and told me he live in its attic.

Mom was teaching in Elkridge, Maryland. It’s on the Western Shore. Her first year, she coached her girls basketball team to second place in the state tournament.

Eleanor Stevens and Calvin Skinner’s marriage certificate, July 31, 1938.

Mom was a smoker, as was Dad, something her landlady did not allow. After being told not to smoke in her room, Mom leaned out the window, dropping her butts on the ground below. They were found by the landlady, who was not pleased.

Wedding photo of Calvin L. and Eleanor Skinner

My mother and father were married on July 31, 1938, in Wilmington, Delaware. The fancy marriage certificate says it was by a Methodist Episcopal minister named Wingate Daniel Short.

Mother lived in Barclay at the time; Dad in Sudlersville, both in Maryland. Helen Roe Stevens, Mom’s mother, and Addie Louise Skinner, Dad’ mother, were the witnesses.

After college, my father taught agriculture in Cordova, Talbot County, Maryland, but discovered it didn’t pay well enough to support a wife.

Then, he took a job with the Federal Land Bank in Baltimore. The two lived in an upstairs apartment in a row house.

As an appraiser, he worked with farmers who held loans with the Land Bank when the Pennsylvania Tollway right-of-way was being purchased, among others.

In 1941, he took a job as assistant to the Tri-State (Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey) Packers Association in Easton, Maryland, with the prospect of becoming its Executive Secretary when the man who hired him retired. I think his name was Frank Shook. They lived in half a house until I was born in 1942.

My September, 1941, conception occurred before Pearl Harbor and for some reason that kept Dad from being drafted. Dad also worked for what the government considered an essential industry–food production. That may have contributed to his deferment later in World War II.

When my parents decided they needed a home of their own, one came up for auction at 212 S. Aurora Street. The owner had died, owning a number of houses.

When Dad reached the limit my parents had agreed upon and it was obvious he was not going to win the auction, his boss offered to loan him $500, which was enough to win (price was $2,500, I believe).


Biography of Calvin L. Skinner, Sr. – Part 2 – College, Marriage, First Jobs — 2 Comments

  1. Absolutely fascinating I feel so privileged to have known him personally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *