CHARLES CALLISON

in my own words...

Charles CallisonI don't care what anyone says, it's not that easy being a Callison.  There's a lot of responsibility involved and I have a name to live up to.  My entire life, I've had a lot expected of me and I expect a lot from the people around me.  It wasn't always that way, though.  I still remember that day when everything changed, when I finally had to grow up.

I was 13 years old and still very much into being a boy who looked up to and admired his big brother.  Landon was 18 and he was my idol.  He could do anything.  He excelled at sports, was an ace when it came to school, and was adored by all the girls in Albanyville.  He was the one that was being groomed to take over Callison Publications.  I was just his kid brother who followed him everywhere he went.  Because I was always at his heels, I went along with him when he would go out to the stables we had out in the country.  Landon loved to ride horses.  He said the being on horseback and riding across a big field was the most exciting thing in the world...even more exciting than girls.  I wasn't sure I believed him about that.  Actually, I'm still not sure.  But I digress.  I was out at the stables watching him ride along when I saw the horse start to buck and jump.  Landon tried to hold on, but the way his horse Thunder was acting, there was no way.  He just flew off and hit the ground.  I hesitated for a moment, afraid to even move.  When I saw he wasn't moving, I ran out to him and saw him just laying there with blood all over his face.  He'd hit his head on a rock when he fell and probably died instantly.

In the years after Landon's death, the role of heir to the Callison name and business fell on my shoulders.  Suddenly, I had to stop thinking of music and art and start focusing my attention on numbers and business.  I really didn't have a choice.  I was now the only child to carry on the name.  Father had been an only child himself because his mother died in childbirth.  Grandfather never remarried.  He had remained faithful to my grandmother's memory.  Instead, he focused his energy on building Callison Publications from the ground up.

I originally went to college at Harvard, but that was only because my father pulled some strings.  My grades in high school really weren't all that great.  I really tried, but I knew I'd never live up to Landon's standards.  When Mother got sick during the spring semester of my sophomore year, I came home to be close to her and transferred to Albanyville University.  It is an excellent school in its own right, not quite Harvard, but it has a very high reputation in academic circles.  Father wasn't happy with my choice, but I could tell that Mom was glad to have me close by.  She always worried so much about me.  In fact, coming home lead to the second most important moment in my life.

I met Francis at a school dance.  She came on the arm of another guy, but when I saw her, I knew that I had seen the girl I was going to marry.  I didn't know who she was or what her background was at the time.  Only later did I learn that I couldn't have picked a better girl to introduce to the family.  You see, Francis is the last living descendant of Quinton Albany, the founder of Albanyville.  The Albanys were probably the most prominent family in town.  She had just come to stay with her aunt and uncle for the summer, but she's been here ever since.

It took some effort to introduce myself to her, but once I got up the courage, we discovered that we had most of the same interests.  We both love music and the arts.  During that fall semester, we realized that we were in love.  We married the following spring.

The births of our children over the years cemented our family and ensured that the Callison name would live on.  At least I'd fulfilled part of my duty.  Actually, as time progressed, I got very good with the business end of things.  Father kept pushing me to succeed and I kept advancing in the company.  The older I got, the more business oriented I became.  The less important the frivolous things in life seemed.  When Father died, I was finally ready to take my place as head of the company as well as the family.  I'm proud to say that Callison Publications has thrived under my leadership.  We're posting our highest profits ever and we are continuing to grow.

Mother died a few years ago and I miss her terribly.  She was one of the only people who could remind me of the boy I used to be.  Francis used to be able to, but lately she seems so distant.  She's focused so much on our children and our home and her various charities.  All I seem to have left is my business.  That's why I've got to push the boys so much to succeed and make sure that they are able to carry on the name and the business.  Reginald is the oldest and he seems to be stepping right into his role.  Trevor is a little more like I would have been if Landon hadn't died.  At least I've got him doing his writing for our newspaper.  If I can just get them completely ready to take over the family when I eventually go to join Landon, I will have done my duty as a Callison.  They have to succeed just as I had to succeed.  Just as our business has to succeed and our family has to succeed.  It's what Father would have expected Landon to do.

March 1935