Carl J. Young Memorial Web Site
Shortly after my father's death, I produced a Memorial Web site for him. During his professional life, he spoke often of writing his memoirs when he retired. Once he retired, he ceased being interested in the project. Like his father before him, he had wanted to be a writer. He was not satisfied with his attempts at it as a student, and assumed that he simply didn't have the ability. He had not yet learned that writing was a harsh and difficult discipline, rather than the result of innate ability or inspiration. His first profession was as a minister. His tour of duty as a U.S. Army chaplain in WW II took him to Dachau and exposed him to other examples of barbarity and depravity. After the war, he continued with the ministry as a part time activity, filling in for churches temporarily without a pastor. He had decided, however, that education was more important in preventing nightmares such as he had seen from happening again. Part of his career in education was as an administrator during the struggles of the 1960s, particularly those involving Civil Rights. This he did out of a sense of responsibility, but his real love was teaching English. Among other important aspects of his teaching career, he thought that people could not understand each other, or even their religion, if they did not continue to develop their abilities with language and if writers, in turn, didn't continue to make language new and appropriate to the times in which they lived. He had several potential careers in mind for me. The one that came to pass was writer. As such, he saw his support of me as an investment in the English teachers of the future and in the evolution of language.
I wrote the text of the memorial web site for a number of reasons. It helped me deal with his death and the difficult circumstances surrounding it. In an odd way, I did what I have called an Elder Book in the first entry in this series not for myself but for my father. I felt at times like his amanuensis, working from memory rather than immediate dictation. It simplifies a number of issues and is written as an easy-to-read memorial. It was not meant primarily for a literary audience, and contains some whitewash out of courtesy to family members and friends. None of the whitewash, however, was necessary for my father himself. It's also a rough draft of a fuller biography I intend to write at a later date. It may also assist me in gathering information for that project. The web provided me with a different medium from that which I used to produce my grandmother's Christmas book. During the last 12 years of his life, he watched the development of the web with interest. He didn't feel any interest in using it himself, but he was eager to see what I did with it, and acted as an enthusiastic proof reader. He had a firm belief in the evolution of language and saw the web as part of that process. The web itself is a continuation of his story as much as mine.
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Some Volumes of Poetry: A Karl Young Retrospective