Theodore Roethke was born in the town of
Roethke was said to have hated high school but would still walk a mile and a half to school four times a day. He was a “shy and different” boy, making it hard for him to socialize and attain friends. (2)
Despite Roethke’s beautifully located childhood, he considered his youth--an unhappy one///unhappy--. This could be because of his alienation in high school or the few traumatic events that CASCADED into his family life as he entered his adolescent years. Otto Roethke and the poet’s brother Charles Roethke ran the family business together, but the two quarreled frequently making the business impossible to MAINTAIN. The two ended up selling the business in the October of 1922. The fallowing February the family suffered another but not the last disaster; Charles felt he had lost meaning in life and committed suicide. During all of this Otto the father had been struggling with cancer and endured great struggle before dying in April 1923. Roethke’s world seemed to dissipate in front of his very eyes in such a short time. But in place of all he had lost he must have gained his visionary and symbolic abilities (to write?).
In school doing his best to become apart of something and GIVE IN TO his DEVILS he joined an illegal fraturaty
1---theodore Roethke." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in
2----Theodore Huebner Roethke."Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 7: 1961-1965. American Council of Learned Societies, 1981.