Monday, July 31, 2006

Beekeeper



My grandfather, Sheldon Albert Fitzpatrick, was a beekeeper; it was one of his many talents. The others included carpentry, farming, and community service (he was town treasurer, mayor, and cemetery caretaker...)

I asked my mother recently about Grandpa's reasons for being a beekeeper, and she said, "To make money!" She went on to explain that there weren't a lot of ways to make money in those days (during Depression); besides selling the honey itself, he used it in his bootlegging. He got some of the supplies for making his brews from Emerson, and the rest he provided himself, including the honey...Mom said it was pretty strong, something like 25% alcohol, and people seemed to like it. He used an old shanty-roofed shed to make it in.

My cousin, another granddaughter, told me, "My Mom, too, often talked of Grandpa & his bees. She said in all the years he had bees he never got stung by them. They did lots of things to make money in those days. Did your Mom say why Grandpa got rid of the bees? I sort of remember Mom saying something about losing them all somehow or something bad happening that caused Grandpa to give up and quit the bee business..."