No Water or Electricity – Dr. David Beatty Personal History

My father was born in 1933 and grew up on a farm in Williamston, Michigan during the Great Depression. His family didn’t have much money, but nobody did back then. His mother died when he was 13. He was the eldest of three brothers. Since his father was busy as a probate judge in town, he was responsible for most of the parental and farming duties. These had him getting up before sunrise to milk the cows and such before school. For most of his childhood they had no electricity or running water. This meant putting on your jacket in the middle of the night to go outside and take a whizz, or much worse. They used Sears catalogs because they couldn’t afford toilet paper. Dad talks about this life in the video above. It was filmed in his hospital room on my iPhone, which has a decent camera but it’s not perfect, and a little shaky.


I’ve provided some references below to some of the things he talks about.

Kerosene Lamp

Kerosene lamp circa 1940

(Kerosene lamp circa 1940. Image Source.)

Crystal Set
Crystal Set Radio Ad from Sears Catalog

(Crystal Set Radio Ad from Sears Catalog. Image Source. A crystal radio receiver, also called a crystal set or cat’s whisker receiver, is a very simple radio receiver, popular in the early days of radio. It needs no battery or power source and runs on the power received from radio waves by a long wire antenna. It gets its name from its most important component, known as a crystal detector, originally made with a piece of crystalline mineral such as galena. This component is now called a diode. More…)

Early Television
Family watching TV in 1951

(A family sitting around the glowing television in 1951. This is how I picture Dad’s family back then, except with his step mother crying in the adjacent bedroom. Image Source. )


Stay tuned for more interviews with Dr. Beatty… Read the introductory post “Dr. David Beatty: About My Father and Lewy Body Disease”

Update: I looked up this ‘Maranatha’ where he mentions his mother went and it turns out to be a place in Muskegon, Michigan which hosts the Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference. This is how it is described: “Maranatha provides spiritual renewal in a recreational setting emphasizing Bible teaching and worldwide missions. Maranatha is an 88+ acre vacation spot and retreat center located on Lake Michigan. We are a conservative, evangelical vacation destination, conference center and resident community where guests and residents Vacation and Retreat with Purpose.” – so probably the worst place for her to be at the time of his television purchase.

Originally from Sackville, New Brunswick. A longtime media producer, visual designer, marketing and communications specialist, Daman loves travel, technology and being a Dad.


  • Maryb Harquail

    I graduated from MTA in 1989. I had DR.Beatty for one class. That is how I remember him. Sad to see him in his later years but good to know that he had family and friends with him during his last years. Thank you for sharing.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.