Filed Under:

A Father Reflects On Strength And Meeting His Match

Play associated audio

Robert Stover grew up in the late 1930s, and as he remembers, he never really had a hometown.

"My father was a salesman with the Hoover vacuum cleaner company. He could move into a city and sell out its potential fairly rapidly. So I lived all over," Stover tells his daughter, Valerie Anderson.

Making friends wasn't easy.

"When I would get to a new town, everybody had to see who could whip the new boy," Robert says. "I was willing to stipulate that they all could — including the females. But it had to be proven."

"If you're born puny but born bright, teachers tend to like you and they call on you a lot. And I was so stupid as to volunteer the answer when one of the other kids couldn't."

And a boy named Buffalo Kowalski didn't care for that, he says. "He was very sturdy, very big for that age. That's how he got the name Buffalo; he was built like a damn buffalo. He used to beat me up going to school, at recess, coming home," Robert says. "And I had no chance against him."

One day, he remembers, he happened to be taking a Gene Autry cap pistol to class, and in desperation, as Buffalo was hammering him, he swung it and hit him in the face. "And I broke his nose. He thought it was a good move. You know, he said, 'Way to go, boy!' He quit beating me up, and I got to know him. He wasn't that bad a fellow."

"Daddy, you were always very strong," Valerie says. "But I have to say, my mother was equally strong."

Beautiful, but scrawny and strong-willed — that's how Robert describes his wife, Kay. "When we bought this farm, we had people who paid monthly rent. But typically, they would be behind a month or two, so Kay said she would go out and get the cash. She said, 'You're too damn nice to those people,' " Robert says. "So she took her revolver, strapped it on, went out and got the payment on time." From then on, she collected it.

"She was my match," Robert says. "Some days, she was more than my match."

Produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Neither Snow Nor Rain' Celebrates History Of U.S. Postal Service

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with author Devin Leonard whose new book, Neither Snow Nor Rain, celebrates the history of the U.S. Postal Service.
WAMU 88.5

Should Local Restaurants Retire The Phrase, "Farm To Table?"

Where does Washington restaurant food really come from? Kojo explores how the phrase "farm to table" is used and discusses whether it should be retired altogether.

WAMU 88.5

The Results Of Tuesday's Indiana Primaries

Senator Ted Cruz drops out of the presidential race and Senator Bernie Sanders wins Indiana. Guest host Lisa Desjardins talks with a panel of guests about what Tuesday's primary results mean for the 2016 presidential race.

NPR

Not Just Bitcoin: Why Blockchain Is A Seductive Technology To Many Industries

From bank regulation to military messaging, blockchain is offering a wide potential to change the way online transactions and communications are carried out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.