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The Little House That Daddy Built

A story about determination and perseverance. He managed to build a small house against all odds and little money. My Father!

Confidence, Courage, and Determination

I don't know exactly how old I was, but I remember times were tough, not only for our family but for most of the country. Jobs were hard to come by, and at times so was food. I still can't imagine how my parents managed to clothe and feed three children (and for a period of time, six children) with very little money.

Mama was magical with what she had to work with in terms of food. She could take a can-of-this and a little-of-that and make a meal fit for a king.

Daddy looked everywhere for work. We had no car, not even a bike, but Daddy found an old worn-out pair of roller skates (the kind attached to the shoe) and would skate for miles, looking for work. He would be gone from sun-up to sun-down day after day.

Where There's a Will, There's Always a Way

Finally, daddy found a job with a lumber company. Things were looking up. We found a small piece of property, and daddy was going to build us a house. The question was, where were the materials coming from and how could daddy build a house when he had no experience?

Well, he had always had a gift for building things and if there's a will . . . there's a way. Nothing would stop this man once his mind was made up. And as far as the lumber was concerned, that problem was taken care of too. His boss at the lumber yard said he could have all the scraps and pieces of lumber that he wanted. And every day, he would sift through the scrap pile gathering up what he needed.

Determination At It's Finest

My father was determined. If he wanted to do something he would, regardless of the obstacles. Not only did he build a house out of scraps, he also made himself a wheelchair, years later, from a wagon and an old chair.

He taught me the value of loving others and accepting them without judgement.

He was quite a man. I never once heard him complain - not even when his leg had to be amputated.

Little Man With a Big Heart

James (Jim) Leonard Kerr

James (Jim) Leonard Kerr

The House That Daddy Built

The little house that daddy built

When I was 6 years old

Heated by our kitchen stove

When winter left us cold…


My brother and my sister

Both shared a bed with me

We only had one bedroom

Hardly room enough for three…


The little house was drafty.

The cold air seeping in

Our little eyes were stuck like glue

Before the day began


But with a nice warm washcloth

To place upon our eyes

Our lashes cleaned so we could see

another sun arise


The one and only bathroom

To be shared by one and all

“Please hurry up and let me in. “

And banging on the wall.


The living room was kind of small

But it seemed big back then

Plenty of room to play some cards

Which we did, again and again


We had an old piano

Much to my delight

And it became a part of me

I played it day and night


It fed my soul. It dried my tears

And filled an inner need

Like sunshine to a flower

And water to a seed


We didn't have much money

But laughter filled the air

We said our prayers each evening

I knelt beside my chair


The little house that daddy built

Spins memories galore

Some I treasure more than life

And some, I just ignore


My life was formed within those walls

Just like a patchwork quilt

It made me what I am today

The house that daddy built.

Still Playing the Piano Today

How grateful I am to have had the opportunity to bring music to others.

How grateful I am to have had the opportunity to bring music to others.

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” — Mother Teresa

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