Friday, April 24, 2009

My Dad's Life Stories growing up born 1916

Great stories my father told me of his life

The following events happened between 1918 and 1985 mostly in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona and California and Texas.

Bear Meat

When my father was a boy in Seattle his father was a weekend hunter. He hunted mostly deer and elk and bear in the 1920's. My grandfather was an Electrical Contractor during the week and on weekends he took his 20 hound dogs out to hunt dear, elk and bear. On one hunting trip he shot a bear. He brought it home for the family to eat it. However, the bear meat was so gamey tasting my father through his bear steak out of the window when no one was looking so his parents would think he ate it. As my Dad watched one of the hound dogs walked over to the bear steak with great interest. However, after smelling the gamey bear steak the hound lifted his leg and peed on it it smelled so bad and then he walked away. my Dad almost died laughing along with the rest of the kids. The parents didn't know what the kids were laughing at.

Bear chases Tommy and Dad

On one of these hunting trips Grandpa took Dad and his younger brother Tommy. Dad was probably 15 and Tommy 13. Tommy hurt his leg on a snag tree branch and so was bleeding some while running after Grandpa, the hound dogs while out in front was the bear. They could hear the bear breaking down trees and breaking limbs crashing through the thick northwest forest.Grandpa stopped a moment and gave my dad a pistol, quite likely a colt woodsman 22 automatic clip loader just in case the bear turned on them and attacked the 2 boys. Dad and Tommy climbed up on top of a 4 foot high tree stump 3 or 4 feet wide and waited for their Dad and the dogs to return. They watched and listened to the barking of the hounds, and the crashing of the trees and branches. Eventually the bear doubled back in his escape from the hounds and Grandpa. He headed directly for Dad and his little brother Tommy. Dad and Tommy thought they were dead. As the bear came upon them Dad unloaded a whole clip of bullits into the bear. However, because it was just a 22 caliber pistol, they were at most like bee stings to the bear. Luckily for Dad and Tommy, the bear was more afraid of the dogs than angry at my father and his brother for shooting at it. This was quite lucky for my father and his brother Tommy as the bear was a grizzly bear and they are known to attack anyone in their domain as they are very territorial and will fight other bear or men or whoever comes into their area. Dad said the bear came so close to them that they could have reached out and touched it. They were very glad to see the hounds and their Dad a minute or two later. It was also lucky the bear was scared of the hounds as Tommy's leg was still bleeding and the bear could probably smell it.

Bullet through the forest and wall 1930

I guess Dad was probably 14. Grandpa new prize pistol was a 9mm German Luger, a very well made pistol. My father and his 2 brothers being teenagers wanted to test it so they snuck it out in secret and took it into the forest. My father thought that the forest was so thick that shooting into the forest would be safe. However, they later found out that a lady a mile away was playing the piano and a bullet came through her whole house through several walls while she was playing the piano and lodged in the wall in her living room above the front door. She was very glad she wasn't standing up at the time as it could have been fatal.

You might ask how my father and his brothers found out about the stray bullet. In a small town news travels fast. But you can bet Grandpa never knew the boys had borrowed his new gun.

Bit by a Coyote Note: The above stories all took place in Washington near Lake Forest Park. This story took place in either Morenci, Arizona or Breckenridge Texas.

My father was born in Morenci, Arizona while my Grandfather finished his electrical contract for the copper mining company there. My Grandmother was from Texas. My Grandfather did Electrical Contracting wherever there was work Throughout the west from about 1910 until he bough a home in Lake Forest Park, Washington in about 1929. They had rented a house and my father was now 2 years old. He was a toe head meaning he had blue eyes and curly blonde hair. I have seen pictures of him sitting on one of grandpa's hounds. Bob was 4 years old than Dad and was the oldest brother. So he was about 6 at the time. Bob had caught a baby coyote and was keeping it in a cage like a pet. However, Bob was getting bit because it wouldn't tame. One day the now adult coyote got loose and attacked my two year old father. It bit a chunk out of his left side and almost got his kidney. Bob and the hound attacked the coyote before the coyote got Dad by the throat. The coyote eventually ran away. Bob was injured pretty bad in saving my Dad, too. Bob couldn't walk for a while because it got infected and swelled up. When they took Dad and Bob to a local Doctor he said Dad was very lucky because he would have died if the coyote had bit any deeper so far out in the country away from a doctor. The year was 1918.

Tommy Bit by Red Ants

The year was sometime between 1919 and 1922. They were on the dirt road between Texas and California. Dad said your mouth and eyes filled with dust that consisted of salt, clay or just dirt or sand. He said you would get sores inside your mouth from travelling long distances in this dust and your eyes always hurt. Most roads were just bare dirt and most weren't rocked and almost none were asphalted except in big cities downtown at that time

Dad said the alkali roads across the deserts were the worst and the mouth sores took a month to go away. Most cars then still had wood spoke wheels reminiscent of horse drawn covered wagons except they now had rubber inflatible tires. No one ever drove faster than 45 mph and average on dirt roads was 25 mph or less. As the roads slowly got better out west cars traveled faster and wooden spoke wheels were replaced with all metal ones.

Having hit a bit rock in a hole on the dirt road and broken a wooden wheel Granpa had stopped to put the spare wheel on. It was at this time that Tommy, the blue eyed blonde haired adonis of the family wondered off to explore the desert at about age 4. Unfortunately, he had had no experience with big red ants. He mother was busy taking care of baby Eloise and was pregnant with the yet unborn Doris. Tommy chose to sit on a red ant hill. He had several hundred ants on him before they started to bite him all over. His desperate screams drew everyone in the familiy to his rescue.

Bob gets a 2x4

Whenever the family moved to a new town when Grandpa got a new Electrical Contract that could last anywhere from weeks to months to a year it was difficult for the kids as they would get beat up a lot as the new kids on the block so to speak. When they moved for a while to Breckinridge, Texas, Bob being the oldest and about 9 or 10 years of age was getting beat up every day by bullies when they first moved there. Finally, Grandpa said to Bob, "You've got to make them stop this even if you have to get a 2x4 and wait for that bully and hit him on the head with it." So that's what Bob did. He waited around a corner of a fence for the bully and when he came around to attack Bob, Bob knocked the kid out cold with the 2x4 piece of wood. Bob never got beat up again. Grandpa was right!

Gila Bend, Arizona 1936

My father, who was always "ready for anything" went at age 18 to Arizona to help his Aunt Beulah, his mother's sister run her gold mine. My father worked alongside an old cowboy turned miner. The old cowboy was 40 or 50 years old. Aunt Beulah had purchased the gold mine from a native American. However, the Indian was not well schooled in US or Arizona law as you will see later in the story.

My father recounts his joy at being away from his father and always having to chop wood and do chores. He loved the dry air and the sunshine of the Gila Bend area of Arizona far from his dreary rainy life in Seattle. He Aunt Beulah lived in Prescott, Arizona and her mine was in the Gila Bend area. My father said mice and rats scurried in the night throughout the mining cabin that he and the miner slept in. Since they were miles away from the nearest person he kept a 22 pistol loaded under his pillow and a flashlight at the ready. So one by one he shot the rats and the mice during the night until they were all gone or had left. The only problem for Dad was that he said his ears rang the rest of the night and was almost deaf the rest of the night from shooting a pistol inside an enclosed room. The other problem was that everytime he would shoot a rat or mouse the old miner would wake up and say, "Shit, Fred, you've got to stop doing that. You're going to give me heart failure! as he would wake up out of a dead sleep with a "Bang!"

One day my father and the cowboy miner got word that the Indian who had sold the mine to Aunt Beulah was trying to sell it to someone else now. My father and the cowboy miner loaded their guns as there were no telephones or law within at least 50 miles there in 1934. As the indian and his new customers drew within range words were exchanged and then my father had to shoot over their heads to keep them away. The new customers realized the problem and grabbed the indian so my father and the cowboy miner wouldn't have to shoot him. The indian got pretty upset but he obviously didn't understand property rights and that something couldn't be sold more than once. They had no more problems after that group left.

Bob sets off 50 sticks of dynamite

Grandpa had trained Bob to blow up stumps. Grandpa and the boys seemed to have a 6th sense about mechanical things or animals or even dynamite and so were fairly safe even under dangerous conditions. I even inherited this gift with cars. I have even in my younger days been able to tell when a tire was going to go flat on occassion and so always prepared for it right on time. Other times traffic accidents would occur ahead of me where everyone died ahead of me and behind me but I found a way out miraculously with no damage to my car or me. Though it was very strange I realize now it is an inherited trait probably found in people like Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket and the kind of people who survived difficult times in setling the west.

Anyway, Bob was 16 or 17 and blew stumps for people to make extra money. You dug a hole put dynamite in under the stump and when you set it off the stump blew up into the air and all you had to do was to cart it off.

Anyway, one Friday night Bob wanted to impress his friends and his new girl. So he obtained 50 sticks of dynamite and a 30 minute fuse. He put the dynamite on top of a 10 foot tall 6 foot wide tree stump of old growth. He set the fuse and lit it. Bob and Dad and Tom and all their friends walked to a nearby hill to watch the show. At first it was great. There was a spectacular flash that jumped about 100 feet into the air. Everyone oohed and awed. However, then came the sound which is the loudest thing any of them had ever heard in their lives. It was heard for 100 miles and killed all chicks inside of eggs for 25 miles. In the newspaper even a week later it said, "Mysterious blast still mysterious!" For if one hadn't been looking at the stump at the time of the blast no one would have seen anything. This took place near Lake Forest Park a suburb of Seattle probably in 1929 or around that time.

Eloise gets locked in a steamer trunk

This wasn't something Dad and his brothers were proud of but is was something the felt they had to do it in the 1920's to show their little sister who was boss. Because she was a girl they didn't want to beat her up to demonstrate pecking order. Aunt Eloise is still a very strong minded woman and I can imagine what she was like then. I talked to my Aunt Eloise who is now in her 80's and she said this is a true story. She said she was between 6 and 8 years old and had pestered and pestered her 3 old brothers to take her with them on the row boat to the island in I believe Puget Sound, Washington or Coos Bay, Oregon. She finally forced them to take her with them on the rowboat ride to the island. Bob was the oldest at about 13 and Dad would have been about 10 and Tommy maybe 9. She said they went direct to the island and played a game to see if she wanted to get into a big steamer trunk in an abandoned house there. When she was a good sport and got in one of the boys playfully closed and locked the trunk so she couldn't get out. Then one of the boys made and air hole so she could breathe while they were gone. Then she said the boys left her there for about 4 hours while she screamed and yelled hysterically until she fainted from exhaustion inside the trunk. After the boys had gotten into whatever mischief they had originally planned they came back for her. She said she was alone on the island for about 4 hours until almost dark. Though she was quite hysterically they said she seemed to accept better the pecking order after that. They had much less trouble with her.

Tommy's dump truck and flying

When Tommy was about 17 and Dad about 19 they got summer jobs as dump truck drivers hauling dirt from I believe the Grand Coulee Dam under construction in Washington. Tommy and Dad were both excellent dump truck drivers and mechanics even at that age. Since they were paid not by the hour but by the number of loads they delivered the faster you could drive your dump truck without crashing the more money you made. Tommy innovated his truck by taking out the drivers seat and putting in a wooden board to sit on. This is because if you increased you speed beyond a certain point on a bumpy dirt road you would get a concussion on your head from the seat springs ejecting your body and head into the truck ceiling with great force. At a certain point you would be knocked unconscious and crash. Tommy's skill as a driver and his new seat board he put in allowed him to make more loads per day that any other driver. Therefore he made the most money. Other drivers who tried to compete with him only crashed their dump trucks and some were injured.

On another occasion 5 or 6 years later Tommy was at an airport when an open cockpit double wing aircraft landed. The pilot approached him and asked him if he wished to pilot his plane. Tommy said, "Sure!" Tommy took the plane off and flew around for a while and then landed the plane. The pilot said to Tommy. "That was the best 3 point landing I've ever seen!Where did you learn to fly?" Tommy nonchalantly said it was the first time he'd ever been up in a plane. The plane owner just about fainted in reaction. But that's just how Tommy was- a very quick study!

Grandpa Shoots the Hat off a Ranger

The time was about 1960. Grandpa was in his mid 70's by then. The place Grandpa's mining claim near Elk City, Idaho. Grandpa had owned and developed his mining claim since the 1940's and had built a cabin on it and had collected much heavy equipment their for mining over the previous 20 years. He had World War II army surplus 4 wheel drive trucks. Drilling and mining equipment as well as bulldozers and tractors for maintaining his many dirt roads throughout his large mining claim.

However, the federal mining laws had recently been changed nationwide and Grandpa was supposed to move off his mining claim because he wasn't showing enough profit per year from the claim to legally keep it. This just wasn't going to fly with Grandpa. When a forest ranger came and told Grandpa he had to move off his claim Grandpa simply aimed his 30 odd 6 Army surplus World War I rifle at the Rangers hat and simply shot it right off his head. The rangers left Grandpa alone after that realizing he harkened back to another era and other time and different ways of settling things. Grandpa was left alone and he kept his claim with no further problems until he died near his cabin in 1970 when a wheel bearing in his panel truck or van as they now are called froze on a cliff dirt road that threw him 100 feet down into an ice cold stream nearby. Grandpa was a Kansas Cowboy until the end! Never Say Die!

Grandpa Collapses a Lung and survives

The following must have happened about 1956 or 57. My cousin said he was 12 or 13 when he saw Grandpa in the Hospital in Idaho.

Grandpa liked heavy equipment so he bought a D9 Catepilar Bulldozer with a winch and drag line. One day he decided that he was going to pull a large tree stump out of the ground with the D9 Bulldozer's powerful winch and drag line. He put a metal cable around a large boulder and then tied another metal cable around the stump and turned the winch on. As he wound the powerful winch tighter and tighter he began to feel the huge Bulldozer starting to life off the ground. The pulling power applied to this line if it snapped would easily have cut 100 people in 2 if they were standing near by when it went. Anyway, my Grandpa being a very determined and stubborn man kept applying more tension to the line until the whole huge bulldozer lifted up from the incredible cable tension and turned upside down pinning my Grandfather who was in the operators seat under the Bulldozer. Diesel fuel and the now hot radiator water began to pour over grandpa and burn him some. He was there two days alone with a collapsed lung. When neighbors finally found him he was almost dead.

They took him to the hospital which if he weren't almost dead I know he wouldn't have let them because he hated hospitals. Anyway, in the hospital he woke up and managed somehow to smuggle a pistol in there. He pulled the pistol and told the nurses to put on his cowboy boots so he could "die with his boots on". Then he told them to buy him Marlboro's and Camel cigarettes so he could reinflate his collapsed lung. He reinflated his collapsed lung with cigarette smoke and walked out of the hospital never to return until his death almost 14 years later. Amazingly, this is true story. The people in my family never cease to amaze me.

Grandpa accidentally runs me over with his truck

The year was 1956 during summer vacation at my Grandpa's mining claim in Idaho. I was 8. Mom and Dad were riding in the cab with Grandpa and my 13 year old male cousin was riding on the left front fender and I was riding on the right one. It was raining lightly and I was just too amazed at the loaded woodsman 22 colt automatic pistol with a clip feeder that was holstered on my right hip. I wasn't paying enough attention or hanging on enough to the edge of the fender. So when a 10 inch diameter rock was run over by the truck's right wheel I was thrown forward and then under the truck. I heard my mother screaming hysterically. The wind was knocked out of me so I could barely breathe or talk. I struggled as I looked up at the drive shaft to say, "Mom, I'm okay!". I really was okay. Because of the mud my leg hadn't broken when it had been run over on the dirt road. The truck was Grandpa's World War II army surplus Dodge 4wheel drive power wagon used in europe during the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

After that they made room for me in the cab on someone's lap. I felt embarrassed and chagrined by the experience. Especially because my cousin was still on the left fender no worse for the wear with a loaded 9mm german luger strapped to his hip. I just wore my pistol while sitting on someone's lap.

When we got to where we were going to target practice I had no trouble hitting the targets with my 22 pistol. However, when I tried the 9mm german lugar pistol the kick when I shot drove the pistol into my forehead so it was bleeding. Of course I had to also try the 30 odd six rifle too even though my forehead was bloody. The kick of the rifle made my shoulder sore and purple for several days. I decided to stay with 22 pistols and rifles after that. Dad told me that the german lugar and the 30 odd 6 were made for men to shoot so they were dangerous in the hands of an 8 year old, even in the hands of an 8 year old who was big for his age. Even though I injured my head, my leg and my shoulder that day it made me feel more a part of the world my Grandpa and my Dad shared. Oh, by the way. Grandpa and Dad didn't get along. They were just too much alike!

Dad,his first wife Marianne and Tommy go to Tahiti

The following happened in 1939 until Pearl Harbor was bombed 12-7-41. Dad and Tommy worked as Electricians with their Dad's business to charter a yacht to Tahiti. Both being in their early 20's they thought they could go live there cheap in an idyllic place. Marianne, Dad's wife he married at age 21 when she was 17 liked the idea too. So they Chartered the Lorna D a yacht out of Vancouver, Canada and sailed from Seattle their home first off to Catalina Island off of Los Angeles, California and then after 40 days of seeing no land arrived at the Tuomoto Archipilego and eventually the Island of Tahiti. Everything was much different than Dad had expected. Also, he didn't realize before he was something of a workaholic and didn't do well with lots of time to do nothing. He was disappointed in this. Even though they all had a great time and rented a house there for $2.50 a month which included all the bananas and papayas and mangoes they could eat he found he wasn't suited to this life. When World War II began they hopped on a steamship that came to Tahiti every few months and went to Honolulu, Hawaii. From there they took another ship to Seattle where they all were from. Dad took an early 16 mm color movie camera so as a child I watched movies of their experiences in an around Tahiti, Seattle, Catalina Island and the Hawaiian Islands. I still have an ancient Tapa cloth from their journey to Tahiti. My mother converted most of these 16mm movies to video and then I converted it to Dvd and made several copies.

One Year before Dad passed away

In 1984 Dad was living in a home he built himself in the desert near Palm Springs California. Some drunk strangers had made a wrong turn onto my father's property and insisted that one of their girlfriends was inside my father's house. Dad told them to leave as she wasn't there. They refused so Dad got his gun. He shot over their heads several times in quick succession. The drunk men backed their car up as fast as they could. My father then called the Sheriff who caught them about 5 miles away trying to untangle fencing wire out from under their car that had been part of one of dad's fences. My father like his father before him lived their lives with the spirit of Daniel Boone or a real life John Wayne type of character within them. My father and my grandfather will both always be my most unforgetable characters. They are both sorely missed by me.

Dad's Harley Davidson 74. This took place in 1932

Since what Dad bought was old and used in the early 1930s I imagine this was likely the model he rode and owned at above web address.

Dad was about 15 or 16. His father had forbade him to own a motorcycle so he secretly bought a used Harley 74 in 1932. He worked at the time as a bagger at a grocery store part time after school.

Dad hid the motorcycle in the woods with a tarp on it so his father wouldn't find out about his motorcycle. One day Dad was riding his Harley with his 14 year old brother Tommy on the back at about 40 miles an hour down a gravel dirt road when a big german shepard guard dog ran out to attack them. Dad had no choice but to hit the dog which broke its back and the motorcycle laid down and pinned my father's right leg under it. Tommy jumped off during the accident and was able to run and roll so he only got minor cuts and bruises. However, Dad was seriously injured. Dad's leg had been pinned under the bike while it ground to a stop.He spent 6 weeks in the hospital and they wanted to amputate his leg but his father and mother wouldn't let them. So instead he was on morphine for pain and weathered the infection barely. There were no antibiotics then. They were able to prevent gangrene barely.

However, Dad hated the halucinations on Morpheine and said they were awful during those 6 weeks while he was in the hospital. He later traded the motorcycle for a sewing machine for his Mom. He never rode it again.

After I came along and got to be 14 Dad allowed me to get a Mini-bike in 1962. I think it was called a Wren made by Bird. It was a 2 1/2 horsepower engine with a centrifugal clutch. It could do about 30 mph on a flat highway. Later when I was about 18 I bought an off road Hill climber.It had a straight pipe with no muffler. At night in the desert it shot flame out the pipe. It was a Matchless 600cc single cylinder that was geared so low on the rear sprocket that one could do wheelies in 4 gears.(Wheelies are when you go up on just the rear wheel with the front one in the air. When I first got it I learned not to start in first gear because it had so much torque in that gear that I would end up on my butt with the motorcycle on top of me if I wasn't just perfect with the clutch on the left handlebar. In the highest gear the top speed was only 45 miles per hour it was geared so low. One day I got mad at my girlfriend and went too fast on it and the engine blew up and the chain exploded. Luckily, the engine blew down and the chain balled up on a sprocket so I didn't lose a leg. I just got burned by hot crank case oil. That was enough. I traded it for a World War II BSA 500 off road motorcycle that was extremely heavy. It had been used in North Africa in World War II. There was a thick steel plate under the engine about 1/2" thick to protect the engine from large rocks. It also acted as a drag plate so there were many scratches from going over large rocks quickly. It was liking riding a tank it was so well designed to survive anything in battle. The only suspension was in the front. There was no suspension in the back just two springs on the riders seat. Though it was very heavy for off road use I found it very dependable.

One time I was riding at about 45 miles per hour on a very sandy dirt road. My older cousin and I were racing across the high desert together. I looked back to see if he was gaining on me but my BSA hit a foot tall sand burm in the road. I lost control and had to lay the bike down at 45. Luckily, I have good reflexes so I quickly pulled my left out from under it and stood squatting on top of the sliding motorcycle as it slid to a stop. I will remember always the shock of sliding while standing on the bike at over 30 mph as long as I live. I suddenly stopped so I jumped, rolled and slid to a stop. I came up laughing at having survived just with a few scratches such a spectacular crash. My cousin was concerned but laughed with me after he knew I had survived okay.

I returned from living in Hawaii in late 1974 with my first wife and son. I joined a mining company with my Dad and other relatives as a working partner. I bought a used 1974 Honda 250 XL. Of all my motorcycles this was my favorite. It was light, powerful enough, and very versatile and could still do over 75 mph easily and had tires that worked both off road and on the freeway.

I used to ride it a lot in Southern California near the Coast and in the Deserts. I owned it until 1986. Eventually, I left it on Mt. Shasta where we had a cabin. I used to ride it all around the mountain on dirt roads and up as far as Mud Creek Canyon and Clear Creek while the dirt roads up that far were still open to the public. I still love the freedom of riding a motorcycle on a dirt road miles from the nearest person.

Dad and Bob Join the Marine Air Corps

I believe this happened for Dad in 1932 to 1936 or 7. Dad and his older brother Bob joined the Marine Air Corps Reserve. I think this meant that they trained as Marines and went flying on weekends. Dad and Bob were machine gunners on a Yellow painted open cockpit Biplanes called a Hellcats. I believe this meant that the pilot sat in front in the open and the machine gunner sat in back in the open. Dad said that when they flew the pilots in their formation of planes liked to divebomb the people on the beaches around Puget Sound of the Seattle area. They loved to watch them scatter. One time the cowling on the engine of Bob's plane started to come off which spoiled the air flow. So the formation landed so Bob could get out to fix the cowl and then spin the propeller to restart the engine. The only problem was that Bob was so focused on not getting cut up by the starting propeller that he forgot to strap himself and I believe his parachute into his seat. So when the Hellcat went upside down doing a practice attack roll Bob had to hold on for dear life not to fall out and have to open his shute in disgrace and maybe be killed by one of the other planes in their formation. Anyway, my dad in one of the other planes was laughing his ass off watching Bob try to not fall out of the plane. He wasn't really worried for Bob as Bob was wearing a parachute so he was laughing hysterically. Later Bob told the story to the squadron and they had a great laugh. Any accident that isn't fatal or maiming is a good story.

After four years in the Marine Air Corps Reserves on Weekends Dad and Bob felt they had had enough discipline and enough fun flying around. However, Tommy who was too young for all these exploits followed them into the air when he got his pilots licence and bought his own plane in 1941. However, someone came up under him that he couldn't see and apparently they couldn't see him either. Both their wings were sheared off and one of Tommy's. The fuselage of the other plane went down like a bomb and the people in that plane died instantly. However, Tommy had one wing still and slowly spun down until he hit a power line and bounced. He might have survived except for the fuel in the wing tank that remained. When the old lady who saw him crash went to get a hose to put the fire out he burned up before he was rescued. I think she was just too old and too scared to have done anything useful. Tommy's death permanently traumatized the whole Hartzell family in Lake Forest Park. This happened in 1942 shortly after Tommy had been drafted into the Army. Some in the family think this was better than dying overseas far from home.

My father requested that I not get my pilots license or solo or become an airline pilot as I wanted to at age 20. However, after my father passed on in 1985 I soloed in a Cessna 152 within 1 year.

My father and his brother Bob were deferred from combat service during the war since they were skilled Journeyman electricians. Instead the government put them to work wiring Liberty ships that they helped build and outfit all during World War II. Liberty ships were built to carry soldiers, weapons, and food and other supplies throughout the Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans and all over the world. Many are still in service all over the world even today.

I still have my father's honorable Discharge papers from the Marine Air Corps Reserve. I believe it was dated 1937.

In Memory of a Life Long Friend

I just found out one of my childhood friends passed away today (June 26th 2006) His name was Richard Root. I guess he was about 60 and taught High School in East Los Angeles for about 40 years now. Though I was raised in Glendale mostly in Los Angeles county also I moved away from LA at about age 21 and returned only once for a job in 1977. I had had enough of being stuck in traffic and the smog for a lifetime.

I met Richard when his mother and Sister(who was my girlffriend from my age 17 to age 19) when I was 6 years old. I was shy and tried to climb out my bedroom window but I couldn't undo the lock so I scrambled under my bed. Richard's Mom and my Mom grabbed my legs and dragged me out from under the bed. It was not a fun experience for me. However, over the next 6 years Richard and I became lifelong friends

I can remember when Richard was about 15 and I 13 he began telling me jokes and we spent a lot of time laughing together. He also introduced me to philosophic ways of thinking and the Socratic method of communicating and solving problems. I have found this very efficient and useful all my life. Though Richard and I didn't always agree on everything throughout our lives we always found ways to bridge any barriers that stood between us and to remain friends.

The last time I married I had two best men who stood up for me at my wedding and one of them was Richard. Richard talked me into marrying my present wife and I will be forever greatful for his recommendation. Though he wasn't the only one that encouraged me to marry again I will always be greatful for all the happiness, joy and peace that my present wife and daughter brought into my life! Thanks Richard! I wish you Peace and Joy wherever you go

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am so applauded with your grandpa where heavy equipments were his passion already. This machines here like the crane trucks can really make a difference with this kind of job in construction and same as in mining.