Wednesday, November 26, 2014


As a Brit ‘Thanksgiving’ was a new experience for me as I well learned on my first invitation to my dear friends ‘The Perkins family’.

with the Perkins family at my birthday bash

It was Christmas 1967 and I must say I had no idea how celebrated this time of year was. The only reference that I had been given about this event was that the early settlers all left from Great Britain sometime in the 1600’s from a pub in Boston, for those of you who don’t know where Boston Lincolnshire is, it is on the middle to North east side of the English coast off the North Sea. These adventurous people got on a boat, hoping to reach the new land of the Americas and ended up at another pub on the other side of southwest side of England at a place called Plymouth, in the county of Devonshire. As the crew were obviously inebriated and having never been to this region before, they naturally assumed that they had reach a different land. It was then that the guys in the pub at Plymouth decided to take the boat on to the new land, hence the famous Plymouth Rock that is now referred to!

Where these crazy stories come from, old folklore, I don’t know? I've always found an element of truth in these stories, but have yet to find anything close to establishing the fact, other than that the people telling the story have had one over the top, as well as those hearing the illustrious tale.
Anyway, the fact remains that this is a magnificent way to celebrate the ‘founding fathers’, and a time where people travel great distances to be with their relatives and catch on all the latest news. I am always impressed that people take the time to make the journey to be with the people, they love, on such a vast continent. In England we celebrate Christmas in a similar way, but the distances can’t ever be compared. 

my 3 children
Not to say that Christmas is not important as well in the States, but there is something very special about this time of year, so thank you America I enjoy be a part of ‘Thanksgiving’, and as a U.S. citizen wholeheartedly celebrate the season with my family,my grandchildren and y’all !!!    

my daughter with her mother and my sister

4 of my grandchildren
me and my brother

my son and his family


Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Grandfather ..........

Victor Cook was born in 1884, the second son to a family of six, and to my Great Grandfather Leo Cook, who was a famous tailor to Queen Victoria, King Edward the Vll and many of the aristocracy of that period. He also tailored the uniforms for the British troops fighting the, ‘Boer War’ of the 1890’s, in South Africa.

My Grandfather not being the eldest, started his own business in 1917, and having developed his skills, to cut cloth for suits, transferred these abilities to the early aircraft of the day, which used material to fly planes.  In 1917 he started his own business, Hercules Engineering, in the same year my father, Francis Cook, was born.

He turned the back yard of his East London home into a factory, and was soon on his way to becoming a, ‘sort after’, master of his trade. In 1929, the banks with the onslaught of the ‘Great Depression’, failed and his hard earned savings were lost. Through difficult times he struggled, eventually taking out all of his six children, from school. It was the end on the 1930’s, and they would all have to contribute by working in his fast growing factory. This was possible to do in those days. Soon after he was hit with the traumatic loss of his beloved wife. So now in his fifties, six children and a growing business, he was delivered the most challenging fight of his life. On the edge of World War ll, after recovering from a failed bank, he was yet again hit with an insurmountable task.

Victor, took the challenge with a courage few could imagine. He trained the two eldest daughters to do all the administration in the office, and his four sons in all the practices necessary to work in his machine shop. After dinner each night, he would teach them on the blackboard at the end of the dining room table. For example, how necessary it was to learn ‘PYE’, in order to cut threads to shape material, and so much more.

His method of teaching was invaluable. In other words, do we teach a baby to speak ‘English’ with a grammar book? No we let them learn by ear and then add the grammar afterwards. More note, should be taken from this manner of teaching. His children’s accomplishments are a testimony to this. In other words, learning the practical, before applying the technical aspects of much of what we learn today. As an educated man himself, he was able to teach them about world affairs, and what England was about to encounter, with the rise of Adolf Hitler and the increasing expansion of Germany.

As a result of my Grandfathers efforts, he has helped to make our family’s credibility within the financial community, stand head and shoulders above us all. His honorable behavior in paying off all of his creditors, when the banks failed, gave my family a platform of trust and goodwill towards our future endeavors that has lasted through the generations.

In addition he was able to not only build a company, but leave a lasting legacy to all his children. His Eldest daughter, my aunt, started and built her own business, called Wilment Engineering. She became the first woman President, of the mechanical engineering institute in England. My father and his brothers all started their own businesses, and the eldest Lawrence took over my Grand- father’s business in1959, having passed on at the age of seventy five.

I always felt sad for my Grandfather, because after all the hard work and financial success he created for himself, and his dedication to his family, he had materially everything in the world anyone could imagine. Yet I don’t think he ever got over the loss of his wife. He lived in his huge mansion called Trowlocks, alone. I used to ride with my bike as a child through the large wrought iron gates to the main entrance of his home, his property extended over seven acres to the edge of the river Thames. I spent all the time I could with him, he would take me to his factories as a young child and have me learn the intricacies of what would one day become my trade. I went with his truck drivers to make deliveries to learn our customers and will never, ever forget those most precious early years.

I remember his 1951, Buick sedan, with its huge front grill, shining in brilliant chrome, and the car body in metallic burgundy. He would stop by to pick me up, and I felt like a little Lord being chauffeured to the factory in his car. American cars were rare at the end of the war. The American forces had brought them over during the war effort. It was my dream as a child to have an American car, which to my way of thinking was so much more appealing than our frumpy little English cars. Large admittedly, but I enjoyed all the people looking and pointing as we drove by. A young kid’s dream!

His many comments and wise words of wisdom ring in my ears today.

  1. ‘Please God, help me to keep my mouth shut!’
  2. ‘Don’t read too many books before learning the art of writing, in this way, you can keep your own individual opinions that God has given you. Then you will be prepared to add to them.’
  3. ‘Man proposes, and God disposes! You may not receive what you’ve prayed for, but it will be the best outcome, for the journey of your life.’
  4. ‘Remember, God’s socialism.’ You may receive a gift one way, but there is always and equalizing force and balance in another way, because to whom much is given, much is expected.

These are just a few of the many words of wisdom I received as a young man, and have now grown to know the importance they have played in the role of my own life.

My own Father, Francis Cook continued on beyond the boundaries of my Grandfather, as I too have sought to do, in the journey of my own life. Thanks to his courageous journey so many have benefited.