Francis Taylor Pratt
18 April 1907 – 3 August 1984
I’m not really certain how to describe my Pop, Francis Taylor Pratt. His background of card playing, beer drinking, and [usually mild] cussing, was a sharp contrast to my upbringing in a conservative, religious Mormon home. When he came to visit in our home, he kept his whiskey in the garage, always stepped outside to smoke, and made good friends with the bartender at Paul’s Place. As a child, I knew he lived very differently from the way we did, but that didn’t seem to bother me. As an adult, I realize that his lifestyle was probably even more different from ours than I was aware. But we knew that he loved us, we loved him, and I cherish the memories I have of my Poppie.
Perhaps I can describe him best with this memory. When we were kids, we often visited at Gram and Pop’s house, as they lived only about 40 miles from our home in Saginaw. On one occasion – or probably several – Pop would start singing us some “good Sunday School songs.” He had never been a church goer, so we can be certain that he’d never sung these songs in an actual church! One of his favorites started like this:Old folks, young folks, everybody come
To the Baptist Sunday School and have a lot of fun.
You’ll need to check your raisins and chewing gum at the door
And you’ll hear some bible stories like you never heard before. Now Adam was the first man who ever was invented.
He lived all alone, and he never was contented.
At that point in the song, we’d hear Gram’s voice from wherever she was in the house, “Frank, Frank! Stop that right now! Don’t sing that song to those kids.” He’d laugh, slap his knee, and that would be the end of that song. I’m sure I could do an internet search and find the rest of the words, but it’s more fun to remember Pop singing and Gram scolding.