Wednesday, February 28, 2007

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Friday, May 26, 2006


What is a hero?
Nowadays it seems like heroes are pretty plastic. They are cartoon characters or movie stars with superhuman powers. They are actors that play a role as a hero in a movie. They are famous athletes. They are people that have amassed a lot of wealth. They are even heroes because they handsome, cute, sexy or pretty. Sometimes they are heroes because they are bizarre or shocking in their behavior or mannerisms. You hear very few people say their personal hero is “so and so” because they are honest, hardworking, nice, loyal, virtuous, religious, patriotic or service oriented. Our society or the media push heroes on our children that have little redeeming value.

When people ask me who my hero is I answer without any hesitation, “My dad!” Often they will ask why? They will then wait for me to describe some amazing feat or great worldly accomplishment. I simply tell them that he is my lifelong best friend and that through consistent hard work and tough choices he created a better life for me and my progeny. However, if they have time, I like to tell them the story that follows this foreword. It is a story of hard work, surviving, tough decisions and incredible self-learning, development of quiet pride and the use of common sense.

My dad will not feel comfortable with this writing because he will say that he has made many mistakes and would do things differently if he had life to live over. He knows he has grumpy days and lazy days and that he could have helped his neighbor more. He would say he should not be anyone’s hero. However, it is not up to my dad to choose who my hero is, that is my choice!

My hero is the very young boy who literally walked out of the wooded impoverished countryside of Mammoth Cave Park, Kentucky with very little parental supervision, no money, tattered clothing, no education and very little mentoring. Somehow he made it to the “big” city of Louisville, Kentucky. This would have been very soon after World War II when so many in America were trying to establish themselves after a long and difficult war. While in Louisville, when he was around 13 years old my dad, Harry Wells, was looking for work and food. He went in to a diner and saw two uniformed Air Force recruiters with their big blue staff car parked outside. He observed their black shiny shoes and medals pinned neatly on their uniforms as they were drinking a cup of coffee and talking confidently. Something about these men and their presence captivated him. This young boy looked longingly at the airmen and said to himself, “One day I am going to be one of them!” He had no education, not a plug nickel to his name really. All he had was a hope and a desire and some innate confidence that few people are blessed with.

A few years later, when he was 32, Harry was a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the Air Force and was assigned recruiting duty in Louisville. On reporting for duty at his new assignment, my dad asked the supervisor if he could have the keys to the staff car. My Dad took them and said, “I have something to do.” and drove the staff car to the same diner where he sat glaringly as a thirteen year old boy. He got out of the car with his own shiny patent-leather black shoes and a chest full of medals. He sat down and had a cup of coffee and probably pondered how far he had come in his still young life at that point. I am sure he felt quite a bit of personal accomplishment as he realized he had achieved one of his greatest boyhood dreams. He had become someone he was proud to be and had overcome incredible odds to be there.

So, what is a hero? As mentioned earlier, a hero can be many things to many people. As for my definition, well, I would say it is someone who, without fame or fortune overcomes difficulties without complaint, helps others along the way and creates a better life for those around him. The world is a better place for them having lived in it.

Many people say that I have accomplished a great deal in my life. My accomplishments pale in comparison to my father’s. My father gave me the platform of a common sense upbringing and shared life experiences that gave me a roadmap and foundation of confidence. He had no road map. He mustered up his own confidence when the world around him was beating him down. My father somehow, as very young boy, had the courage to walk alone out of the hills of Kentucky and start a career and a family that has blessed me, my family and my progeny for many generations to come. We will all be stronger because of the choices of this remarkable young boy. I write this story and let him share his, so that my kids and further generations of progeny will benefit knowing from whence they come and that they have the same genetic make-up to forge good lives regardless of the circumstances we are faced with.

Jeff Wells
February 12, 2006

My Dad, My Hero

As we were tramping around the leafy forest floor I couldn’t help but think that at any moment I would spot a copperhead snake or brush up against a bush and get doused with ticks or chiggers. All three were my constant companions when I used to walk through the hills and woods of Kentucky as a young boy. Today my Dad (Harry) and his older brother, Uncle Trenton, were walking the ridge of an old abandoned railway line that was constructed by the Conservation Corps in the years of and following the depression. Public works done by the Corps kept many people fed during very tough times back then.

When my dad was born in 1934 my dad’s family lived on what is now Mammoth Cave National Park. It was never their land. They were just squatters on the land and eventually the government moved them off park grounds. We were looking for remnants of the cabin where my dad was born and where his mother died. Soon, and surprisingly close to the old railroad bed, we found the stone foundation of an old chimney. The outline of the cabin footings began to take shape and through the leafy bushes bits and pieces of junk began to stand out.

Standing at what would have been the doorway I was surprised at how small the cabin must have been. Uncle Trenton pointed where the well and outhouse were. I knew instinctively they were too close to be sanitary but, what did people know about sanitation then? I thought to myself that their way of living in 1934 on this spot was no different than it had been for the human race for thousands of years. They lived off the land, stayed warm around a fire and lugged water in to the cabin in buckets and left the house to relieve themselves or filled a bucket in not very private circumstances. When I look at the conveniences I have today and realize I am just one generation apart from this lifestyle I am amazed. My how times have changed.

I could picture the cabin, unpainted, grayed wood and a rusty and loose tin roof. There was perhaps one wooden step to get in to the cabin and very little furniture. Maybe a pot-bellied stove that served as the center piece for everything. It heated the house, cooked the food, warmed the iron and burned the trash. My dad said that in the winter they used to stuff newspaper between the cracks of the wood or logs to cut the cold winds from blowing through the cabin. He said there was never any food in the house. They used to cook something up every day to get by but I don’t remember what it was that they cooked. I do remember that they were all good hunters and would go shoot squirrels, rabbits and possums with a .22 gauge rifle. I miss at 50 yards with a shotgun and can’t imagine someone hunting varmints with a single shot rifle. My dad proudly talks about having the best hunting dog in the countryside. I am sure not only was he proud but also grateful. A good hunting dog meant a greater likelihood of food on the table.

Uncle Trenton bent over and picked up an old wheel barrel tire rim. The rubber had rotted off long ago. Dad found an old thick square bottle and I picked up a rusty canteen. Dad said it was quite probable his family had used any one of these items as they were the last family to occupy the site. I brought the items home with me that day and as I later stumble across them in my chipmunk stash of things in storage many years later I remembered this walk in the woods back in 1993 which has led to me writing this story.

I am not quite sure where they moved to when they were kicked off this spot, but probably not far, just off the park. I wonder how they were told to leave and how they felt? (Oddly, sixty-six years later, by pure coincidence, I have drilled and invested in a natural gas well maybe a couple miles from this location that will produce a good income for me.)

We walked out of the woods and dad said that his only real memory of the spot was riding on or seeing the wagon that pulled his mom to the graveyard called Locust that is still on and cared for on Mammoth Cave National Park. The graveyard is not far at all from the cabin site we walked. It is a pleasant place and I enjoy thinking that my grandparents are together there and some of my relatives. In fact, my Uncle Trenton is buried there now as well.

Uncle Trenton said he could barely recognize the homestead area because of all the trees. Trees grow quickly in Kentucky and a field can become a forest in twenty years. He said the wood was cut for firewood and then the area could be farmed, but, not farmed much. They were even too poor for that.

Dad’s mom, Mary Alice, was a tiny lady. The picture I have of her shows her to be very thin faced, much like my Aunt Ella. She just got to feeling bad one day and went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Maybe she was just plum tuckered out. She had thirteen kids. My dad was the second to youngest but the youngest to live past early childbirth. I have Grandma Wells’ black chest that seems to have all of her “kept” things. I can’t tell what some things are or what some notes mean, but they were things guarded for one reason or another. Because I have begun doing some of the research too late almost everyone has passed away that can help me find out more about Mary Alice Long. We don’t know about her family and how and when they or she came in to the area. It has been a dead end for us as we do the genealogical research.

My dad was the baby of the family but actually, in retrospect, he became an adult much quicker in age than any of his siblings. The others seemed to have each other and their mom around. My dad pretty much had to go it alone.

The older brother and sisters had moved on with their lives and had left the younger kids. With Grandma Mary Alice gone my grandfather James Washington Wells was old even then. Consequently, my dad and Uncle Conard basically raised themselves. My dad at times has almost proudly shown me a scar from a gunshot wound when a boyhood friend accidentally shot him with a 22 in his leg. Dad has limped or had a shorter leg all his life because of it.

When dad talks about his past it always seems to be a story about getting or working for food or being in a fight with somebody in the neighborhood. I can’t imagine being left alone like that. He just learned to do what had to be done to eat. He was shortchanged in life with many things, but, if you don’t know you are shortchanged you don’t worry too much about it. Harry, my dad, never had a middle name. I always figured his mom just ran out of names or perhaps an older sister named him. As I look at the names of all of the kids that dads ancestors had I see James and John and Joseph come up over and over again….but never a Harry. It might have been a name in vogue at the time.

Last year I met a lady, a cousin of his, who told me a story about my dad showing up at their family’s doorstep once every week or so. He would just come in and sit down at the same place at the table with them wearing a potato sack as clothes, no shoes and not saying much as he ate. After eating, dad would just leave and they wouldn’t see him for a week or so again. They used to make fun of him for wearing a dress. My dad says he didn’t wear a potato sack and never a dress. To be honest, I don’t know if I believe him. Pride could have caused him to forget.

As I hear dad talk about the area and the things that went on in his childhood I can see that he lived in a relatively small area, some 20 miles square but, when you walked it on foot, with dirt or muddy roads, it must have seemed it was the whole world and that it centered right in Park City and Rhoda (pronounced Rhody by the locals).

James Washington Wells’ father was Isaac Wells. His father was Joseph Wells and his father was John Wells, who supposedly came to the area with a land grant from the war of 1812. John Wells was, as best we can tell, the son of Elizabeth and Joseph E. Wells. From whence they came no one knows, but somehow, all of these Wells tie in to Henry Wells of Bucks County Pennsylvania who was born around or came to America from England around 1661. We know this because my DNA ties directly in to Henry’s DNA. (I might be related more to his father and/or his father’s sons who all migrated over at about the same time.) As this becomes more refined we hope we will be able to tie these lines together and go back further with good old’ Henry.

Dad would work for pennies a day literally which even back then was not a lot of money. At times he would show up at the Mammoth Cave visitor’s center and dance on picnic tables for tips. I can just see him as a little urchin and people feeling sorry for him. He might have enjoyed entertaining though.

Dad’s dad just did not seem much involved with him. When I saw him in his later years, grandpa Jim Wells was always sitting on a wooden porch with his brother’s Uncle Linc and Lon, perhaps whittling something and just talking and not moving much because of the heat. Someone said my grandfather was so poor he used to coast downhill on every hill all the way to Louisville Kentucky to save money. My dad says this isn’t true because he never went to Louisville and never had a car.

I don’t believe it was abusive or neglectful that my grandfather was not overly involved in raising my dad. I can clearly see in my genealogy that for hundreds of years my ancestors had many, many children. I am sure this was to help work the land and to provide for the older parents in their later years. That would make sense as a form of survival. With my grandmother dying relatively young, I think the widower would not traditionally know or have much to do with the children. My grandfather did seek companionship for one reason or another even after Mary Alice’s death and I am sure part of it was to help him with the littler kids that were still around the house.

My grandfather seemed to mellow out in his older years and even become religious in a certain sense. I know that my dad meant something to him as my dad has some touching stories about little interchanges of conversations, pranks and situations which he recounts with tenderness.

Through the years as we would visit people in the “country” where my dad grew up we would run in to people he would work for. It seems like he did every kind of a job a young person could do. He gardened, picked and hung tobacco and mowed lawns. He would do anything to make money. At times they said they had no work or that they could not pay him. He would work anyway and most often they would find the money to pay him.

I can see now why my dad likes to learn new things. He must have, as a young child, had to observe people and how they did things to help him know or to pretend he could do the work. He had to act confident while doing it and, bit by bit, he became a jack of all trades, but, as he put it often when I was a kid, “a master of none”.

I have found that to be the case. He does know a little bit about everything. If he doesn’t, even now, he will take the time to look it up on the internet, or listen carefully to the History, National Geographic, Discovery or Travel Channels. My dad likes to learn, experiment with new things and try and figure things out. I believe it keeps him young and enthused about life. In the last few years he has taken up painting and is quite good. He knows more about the computer and internet than most people. He likes to buy the newest capabilities of the computer and will click away at software programs until he figures them out.

We have always had some animal around. We raised rabbits, pigeons, quail, dogs (never a cat), horses, fish, turtles, wild chipmunks and I probably had a snake or two as well. I think dad enjoyed building the cages for them more than the animals themselves. I only saw him ride our horse, Mr. Ed, only once. He said that he rode too much when he was a kid and it wasn’t fun for him to ride horses. Back then riding a horse is just what you did to get from place to place.

My dad has a right to be a bit bitter about his difficult life but you would not see it in his character or disposition. He has a naturally happy disposition and is one of the kindest people I know. He has always been respectful of other people and I find myself calling almost anyone “sir” that is older than me because I have heard my dad do it to everyone my entire life.

Many people develop addictions and never seem to break them. Or, if they do, you see them struggle with the addiction for long periods. My dad seems to have incredible control or commitment. When he wanted to stop smoking cigarettes he just quits. When he said he did not want to drink anymore he just quit. I have found this to be utterly amazing. I believe this inner strength came from a childhood where he just simply had to do hard things.

After going to Louisville, Kentucky around twelve years of age and working odd jobs, my dad saw some soldiers and told himself he would enlist. He waited until he was sixteen and enlisted in the Army. He lied about his age. He was ok for about a four months until they found out, kicked him out with an honorable discharge and then he waited until he was seventeen and with his dad’s permission he joined the Air Force. Seventeen years later he switched back to the Army with a commission as a chief warrant officer and retired twenty-five years later in 1976 as a CWO2.

I wrote the above history as a father’s day present for my dad. I wanted him to know how much I appreciated his history and what he had done to set up such a good life for me and my family. After he read it I think it inspired him to contribute more to the history. Those contributions sent to me bit by bit over a few months follow.

By Harry Wells


In the early 1930s things were hard for everyone. Plus, not having any money or any way to make it caused the rationing of just about everything. Everything made went to the government for the war starting in 1941 as well. We were given welfare stamps to buy all sorts of things from sugar, lard, gas, tires and clothes. However, for us, it wasn’t much different than the way we lived before the war and before the depression. We were always poor. It was the only life we knew.

About all I can remember of living on Mammoth Cave was we had a dog named Shep and a white hog that ran free around the house. It slept under the cabin we lived in. The cabin was on stilts. I can remember feeding the hog out the window in the kitchen. They both belonged to my brother Teamon. He left them there and went off to fight in the war. Dad ate the hog at some point and we kept Shep until he died. He was the best hunting dog in the whole country. Dad was offered a lot of money for him but we couldn’t sell him. We needed him to hunt our food. You could pick up a gun and say “let’s go hunting Shep!” and he would tear the door down wanting to go.

I guess the other thing I can remember from my early childhood was when my other brother Conard and I set Uncle Linc’s tent on fire. It was a large tent. He and Aunt Verna were living in the tent until they could get settled in someplace for some reason. While playing we knocked over a kerosene lamp and it burned up in minutes.

Mother died one morning while we lived in the cabin on the Park and that left dad with me, Conard, Wanda, Ella, Teamon and Dad’s niece Maud. Maud was going through a divorce about that time so I guess dad asked her to live with us. She brought Bud and Dean with her so we were one big family. Teamon went off to war. Ella kept fighting with Maud. She did not want her to spank me and Conard so Dad ran Ella off. Now we were down to five kids. Maud stayed with us until I was ten years old.THE FIRST MOVE I REMEMBERWe had to leave the park because the government was taking the land to create what is today Mammoth Cave National Park. So we got someone to come over in a horse drawn wagon and load up everything. Not much but we still had the dog and the hog at that point. Our new home was just across the hollow. I still had to walk a mile to get to it or go on horseback. Here is where I realized I had to work at anything just to survive. I was three years old. Things were no better for us after the move. I guess the only thing we had was a house full of love, just no one knew how to show it. I don’t remember anyone telling the other one he or she loved them but the feeling was always there.

Dad managed to buy an old mule that was about 29 years old and we made a harness for it and put a little garden in with corn. The first garden we ever had until the old mule laid down and died. We did get a few chickens but could not eat the eggs. We had to sell them to buy flour, beans, salt, pepper and lard.

I did go fishing with my dad at a nearby pond and caught the yellow bellied catfish and brought them home. Maud would clean and cook them. That was a treat over rabbit and squirrels or anything else we could kill or catch. We had to make our traps, snares and dead fall because we could not afford the shells for the gun.

The old house was not very much, just three rooms. And when it would rain we grabbed the buckets and put them under the leaks. If a bad storm came up dad would grab us all up, run us to a cave and we got in until the storm passed.

Ella came back and I was so glad to see her. She was having a hard time trying to make it too. She was only 13 years old when Dad ran her off. She had a boyfriend that came across the hill to see her. He would stand out side the door and talk to her and take out his pocket knife and whittle on the house. I think if he would have dated her for a year our house would have been nothing but kindling.

Here is where I started school. We had to walk about two miles to school and when winter came we all got a new pair of shoes. We went barefoot the rest of the time. They had to last the whole winter. We would stick paper in them and would take small wire and sew the soles on them when they wore out.

Our lunch was just a couple of biscuits. I had never seen white or light bread until I was 8 or 10 years old.

Here is where I met my first teacher, Ramada Woods and fell in love with her on the spot. She was so pretty and trim. I sure wanted one of my older brothers to marry her. Bud and Dean were still with us and we were as one family and we really had no mom and I had hoped Ramada Woods could be our new mom.

On the way to school we had to walk through a cow pasture where a man had some milk cows. The five of us decided he didn’t need all of the cows. I was 6 then, so we tore the fence down and drove one of the cows home and made a coral out of logs. We were going to have some milk until Dad came home and made us take the cow home.

I need to share more about my sister Ella. Dad would be out wandering and not working all day. We never knew when he would come home. If Maud had a problem with one of us she would say to my dad, “I want you to whip so and so”. Dad would reach in to his pocket and get his knife out, give it to you and say, “go cut a switch” and he would whip you without questioning Maud’s accusations. Ella, being the oldest at home, felt she had a responsibility to be a mother to the rest of us. In fact she is the only mother I ever knew and was until I got married. We were very close. Jean, my first wife never could understand why I was so close to Ella. Anyway, Bud, Ella and I were outside and Bud came up behind me and started a fight with me. I mashed his nose. He ran into the house and told Maud I started a fight with him. Ella saw it all. When Dad got home Maud told him she wanted me whipped. He reached for his knife. Ella spoke up and said “Dad, don’t whip Harry. Maud is lying”. Maud said, “I want him whipped!” When he reached for the knife again to cut a switch Ella came out of that chair like a ball of fire and said, “Dad I said you are not going to whip him”. He looked at her and said, “Sit down!” She then went to the back of the pot belly stove and picked up a piece of wood and said “If you whip him I will kill Maud!” She was dead serious. I don’t know if I got the whipping or not but after things cooled down Ella was getting her little things together again and out the door she went again. Dad must have been in love with Maud because she could do no wrong. Ella on the way out turned and looked at Maud and said, “If you mistreat my brothers I will return and kill you”. I have felt bad about that all my life. Seems like I played a role in getting her kicked out again. She never returned to live with us.


In 1941 we moved again. I can remember the cold weather and the talk about the Japs bombing Pearl Harbor. I kept thinking to myself, “My god, they are going to kill my brother Teamon!” Not many people now remember you could not buy a car from 1942 until 1946. They only made them for the war. You will not see a 43, 44, or 45 car unless it was a military car. The body style never changed during World War II.

Little did I know but shortly after that I had six more brothers in the service. If you had a family member in service you hung a flag in your window with a gold star. The flag only came with three stars. Dad had to get three flags and cut the stars out and put them on one flag. I can remember that flag like it was yesterday. People would stop and say, “ Jim you got 7 boys over there?”. Dad’s chest would pop out and say, “Yep”. I was so proud of them. When they came home one by one with their shinny brass buttons and medals my chest would pop out too. I would stand and look at them for hours. My thought was if I join the military they will be just as proud of me too. I have often wondered if that influenced me into going in to the service.

This time the move was to the largest city I had been in. There must have been 40 or 50 families living there in Rhoda, Ky. Our new home was a large open feed store and no rooms. We stretched wire and hung up sheets and made our own room. Doesn’t sound like much but it was heaven to me. I was out of the mud and close to school and had other kids to play with. Food, clothing and other things were no better though. That did not matter. Here is where I learned to hustle. You have got to realize I was only a 3rd grader but I could scrounge a meal here and there and mow a yard for 15 or 20 cents with an old push type mower. Some say I wore dresses but that is not true. I only wore them when I was in diapers. We still had no electricity or plumbing inside the house.

Two things of interest come to mind here. I once played hooky from school and was sitting in front of Carl Wells’ store and Dad came up and said “Why aren’t you in school boy?” I said, “I don’t feel good”. He said, “I will take care of that”. He went into Carl’s store and bought a bottle of castor oil and a Dr. Pepper and poured out half of the Dr Pepper and filled the bottle up with caster oil and stood there and made me drink it. I like to never got that slimy stuff down. I was sick after that.

Here I got my first taste of whiskey. I got the chicken pox and would not break out. Someone told dad to give me a shot of whiskey and that that would take care of it. He gave me two table spoons of whiskey. I haven’t drunk whiskey since….beer yes, but not whiskey. It was as bad to me as the castor oil.


Here at Rhoda I begin to understand life a little better. Up to this point it was a little like living like a caveman. Earlier being cut off from the rest of the world, here I was able to see and meet a lot of my uncles and aunts, learn new ideas, and play with new kids. My whole life seemed to turn around for the better – food, clothing and things we needed were still bad but the change in the environment made a big difference. (Bud and Dean were still with us, including the old dog).
Carl Madison who lived down the road was my age and we became close and played together every day. Now we are four boys running around the countryside and just as tough as they come. They only toys we had were a ball and jacks and a bunch of drop sticks. I often wonder how we could stay so busy all day from daylight to dark.

Over the many years later that I would drive down and visit people in Rhoda a very nice little old lady would come up and be so happy to see me and say she was so proud of me. She would tell me how we could sit on the floor and play jacks for hours. I don’t remember it as well as she does. We never got in any trouble but we liked to play tricks on each other or anyone else we could.

Carl had a dog named Bounce and everywhere we went the dogs went. Bounce and Shep did not like each other. They would always get in a fight. We ran in the woods all day long swinging on grape vines, climbing small trees and swinging out over the grounds. Sometime they would break (the vines) and you would fall and go rolling down the hill or one would not make it close enough to the bank you would jump from and you would fall to the ground. Someone would have to climb up and help you ride it over the ravine if you couldn’t swing out far enough.

The creek that ran close to the house became a good place for us to play in. We would skate on ice in the winter and fish, turn over rocks and catch crawfish. There was a steep bank by the water hole. We would take buckets and pour water on the bank and make a mud slide down into the water. I often wondered if anyone ever saw us four boys down there naked playing in the water?

Carl came up with a billfold and we would tie a string to it, lay it in the road and hide in the bushes. When a car came by he would only be going 30 MPH in an old model A and see the billfold and would stop to pick up the billfold. While he was stopping to get out we would drag the billfold back into the bushes. He would come back for it and could not find it and he would stand there scratching his head as we were snickering in the bushes. It’s a good trick. Try it.

There was a field nearby of sage straw we used to make brooms from. The four of us got into that field, drove rows of sticks about four inches apart in eight foot squares and filled them with broom straw until the walls were about three feet tall and put sticks across the top and then covered it with straw. It was a beautiful house. We worked for a week on that thing. Just as we got it finished Carl brought a kerosene lamp and put it in it and it all lit up with a wonderful soft glow. I was crawling in the new straw house and knocked the lamp over with the fuel. It took off burning like I had burned it with a blow torch. We set that whole country on fire that day.

(At this point my dad Harry was getting tired of typing and asked that I type up some of the things he had told me. He did not know that I was actually saving or using his e mails to me to actually be the story. Below were some of his ideas.


This is a small overview of my life up to about when I was 8 years old. There were several highs and lows in my life. If you want to put something together here are some things you might want to ad-lib about.
Cutting wood for cooking and heat.
Snow and rain blowing in the house.
Just as much ice on the windows inside and out.
Staying in bed until you almost bust to go to the bathroom because it was too cold to get out from under covers.
Cracks in the floor that you could sweep the dirt in them.
Mattress on bed was filled with straw called straw tick.
Frost bitten toes from walking to school.Nose running all winter.
No gloves.

You will see how my life will change from here on out.
Love Dad


After about a year of living in the pole barn house, Maud went to court and got child support for Bud and Dean of $40.00 a month. Dad talked Maud into buying this huge house across the creek. It had four large rooms painted white with red trim and fifteen acres that sat on a hill with a creek running around it like a horseshoe. It also had a swinging bridge about fifteen feet above the water for a shortcut to go to Rhoda. The house was great but it did not change our living style because all of Maud’s money went to pay for the house which cost a bunch…… $900.00. Here is where things changed for me. I was the youngest but the first of us boys that wanted to stop playing with the boys and start playing with girls. I would get in tight with them and con their dad into giving me little jobs that I could do and get me around the girls. What little I made, say 50 cents, I would keep a dime and give the rest to Dad. If I made a quarter I would keep a nickel and give him twenty cents.

This was a fun place to live and I felt I owed my dad for my part in order to live in style. Conard would not hustle up any money. He was very shy and could not talk to people. I never had that problem. I would beg if necessary. I got the title as a sneaky kid at a very early age.

I managed to get some rabbits, a goat and some “banny” chickens. Conard and I made a harness for the goat and pulled things all over the hills. I wanted some more chickens but I had no way to buy or work for them. One day I was sitting in Carl Wells’ store and heard two men talking. One said to the other one “You have a chicken that keeps coming over and roosting in my barn ever night”. The man that owned the chickens said, “Well, I guess you are going to haft to eat him”. They both laughed about it and went on to talk about something else. A few days later I came up with an idea. I went to the man that was boarding the chicken and said the owner didn’t want the chicken any more. He said, “Ok, come back tonight and get him off the roost if you want him”. I did. Everything was going great for about three days until the two of them met up again. The owner told the neighbor that he had not given the chicken to Harry. Of course Dad found out and I was in a lot of trouble for lying. And I had to take the chicken back to its owner and home.

About a week later I found out Mr. Tarter down the road was selling chickens for a quarter each. There was no way I could come up with the quarter and felt for sure Dad would not give it to me. The next day I saw Dad leaning against a tree in the front yard. I walked up to him and said “Dad, Mr. Tarter is selling chickens for a quarter”. He looked down to the ground for a minute and never opened his mouth. I knew I couldn’t say much more to get him to help me get the chicken. Then, out of the blue, he reached in to his pocket and came out with a quarter and gave it to me. Off to Mr. Tartars I went to buy my chicken. I said Mr. Tarter, “I want to buy one of them chickens”. He said “one”? I said “yep”. “Harry I won’t sell just one chicken. You have got to buy a pair!” I couldn’t talk him into it. It took me five minutes to walk to buy the chicken but thirty minutes to return home. I was heart broken. As I approached the house Dad was sitting in a chair under the tree now. Dad said, “Harry, where is the chicken?” I said “Dad, Mr. Tarter won’t sell one chicken, just a pair”. I handed Dad his quarter. He took it with his left hand and kept it in his palm of his hand and just looked at the quarter and never said a word. I sat down in the grass by him and directly he went into his pocket with his right hand and came out with another quarter and put them both together and handed them to me. I jumped up and cried worse than if he had whipped me. Even when I think of it today I get tears in my eyes. I don’t think I stopped running until I got to Mr. Tartars so I could buy my two chickens.

Dad and I were very close. I could do more and get by with more than my other brothers and sisters. They would use me as their spokesperson when needed.

Things went bad between Dad and Maud. She packed up Bud and Dean and headed to Louisville. I did not see Bud or Dean again until we were all grown. They are both dead now. I miss them.

Dad had to get rid of the house to give Maud her money back so now just Dad, me, Conard and Wanda were at home. So now move number five is coming up.


It seems like we had met our high point in life with Maud gone. With Bud and Dean out of the house as well it was just the three of us guys now, Dad, Conard and me and then my sister. It had so happened that my brother Rumsey had bought a fifteen acre farm next to Gladys with a small barn on it and a 2 room rundown house. By this time the dog had died from old age. I still had my goat, rabbits and chickens which I had to get rid of. My chicken had grown to 13 chickens. One hen had hidden a nest out back and one day strutted in with thirteen baby chicks. I think Dad got $4.50 for all of them. He said the money was to pay for the move. I understood.

Dad hired a man with an old model A truck to haul our stuff over there. Wanda, one of my sisters, Conard and me had to ride in the back because there was only room for Dad and the driver up front. It took three hours to get to Gladys and then the truck could not get all the way to the house. We got Mr. Hoffman with his team and wagon to take us up the rest of the way.
Here we were again living with leaks and using buckets to catch water. We were now living four miles from school. We were the only kids to play with my other sister Gladys’s kids. They were all girls. Conard and I got in a lot of fights there mainly because I was so unhappy. Poor Wanda did her best to cook but she could only make flap jacks, boil beans and make oatmeal. Conard and I finished that year of school up. When we took our lunch to school it was just a big piece of bread. At lunch time he and I would go hide to eat lunch. We were too embarrassed that the other kids would see what we were eating.

After school was out that year (I had just completed the 4th grade) I told Dad I had all I could take of school and I was going to go find a job for the summer and get us some money. I started out walking and wearing every thing I owned. I was going south to Brownsville. I was knocking on every farmhouse I came to and asking if they could hire me for fifty cents a day and board. They said, “Why you are just a kid”. Some would even say I was just a baby. I’d say, “I know, but I will work from sun up til sun down and do a man’s work”.

I did not make it all the way to Brownsville. Before dark I came across an old barn and crawled up in the roof and slept the night. Bright and early I was on the road and hadn’t eaten a bite all the previous day. The very first door I knocked on an old but real friendly lady came to the door. She said, “ I don’t need help, but are you hungry child?” I said, “Yes mam I am”. She said, “Come in” and she fixed me a big breakfast with milk and made me 2 sandwiches to take with me. My walk was all the next day clear through Brownsville and on to the park. I knocked on Leslie and Ruth Wilson’s door and she said, “Yes I will hire you”. I worked my heart out for them. My first pay day was $2.50 cents. Ruth said I will give you the $2.50 or shoes. The shoes I had were too small for me. My shoes were totally gone. I took the shoes. We took the wagon to go to Pigs Store to pick up supplies and the first person I saw said “Look at you. You are wearing woman’s shoes”. It didn’t matter to me. They felt good.

We all got along real well and I lasted the whole summer until the school year began. That last week was disappointing to all of us. Ruth came to me and said they couldn’t come up with the money to pay me any more for the last week. She had tears in her eyes. I said if you will feed me for the week I will stay and help you. She hugged me and said that is great. Little did she know that if I went home I would not have a thing to eat. At least this arrangement would keep me full until I started school.

Time came for me to leave and Leslie would drive me to Brownsville and I would hitch hike the rest of the way. Ruby cried like a baby when I left and begged me to come back and see them. I never did.

I had saved every penny I could. While in Brownsville I bought me and Conard a pair of shoes, two pants and two shirts to start school with. I had $17.75 left and I kept 25 cents for my lunch and when I got home I gave the $17.50 to Dad. I said, “Dad this is for the two chickens.” I could see what looked like tears in his eyes. (Dad worked very hard not to show emotion.) He just turned and walked real fast into the other room not saying a word, but, I knew.

While I was working, Dad had met this woman named Edna and married her. That was the worst thing he could have done. She was sick. She had never been off her dad’s farm and couldn’t cook, read or write. She was just an added burden. The only thing I could understand as to why he married her was because her Dad gave them a cow for marrying. At least we had milk now.

We started school. I am in the fifth grade and Conard is in the sixth grade. By now, just before I was to complete the fifth grade, my pants and shoes were worn out. We wore them every day and while playing at recess I bent over and busted the seat out of my pants. I backed off the playing grounds and signaled for Conard to come over. I told him what happened and I was going home and that he was to tell the teacher.

I got home and got out the bottle with the sowing kit and while sitting sewing my pants I was crying. (I don’t think there was a child that wanted an education more than I did. I wanted to read and write but I knew I just couldn’t stay in school). Dad came in and asked what happened? I told Dad what happened and I couldn’t go to school any more. I had to get out and make some money to get something to wear. (I was never able to go back to school again).

The next day I was on the road again looking for work. I must have been eleven by now and a little bigger. The only thing I had going for me was my looks. I had jet black hair, big brown eyes and white teeth that some even said made me have a friendly smile. The reason I had white teeth is Teamon would tell me how he had to gather little willow sticks for mom and she would chew the end of them and make a little brush and use soap and brush her teeth. They said she had white teeth. That is what I did.

It didn’t take me long to learn that I needed to talk to the women instead of the men. Here in my life is where I would walk up to someone working and ask “do you need help?” If they would say, “Yes, but I can’t pay.” I would say, “Don’t matter” and I would jump in and work like a fool. Most times they would at least give me something to eat or the change in their pockets. I was sleeping in barns and washing in creeks. I would wade in and wash my clothes while they were still on me. This lasted for about two months.

When I returned home Dad had sold Edna’s cow and they had moved over next to Roy Ashley’s store. We did not stay there very long either. The biggest thing I remember about this place is a man had a bicycle for sale for $7.00. I told him I would work for seven days for it. He took me up on it and I rode that thing everywhere after I bought it. It was the only thing I ever really had. (I was just thinking about my childhood and I never had gotten a Christmas or birthday gift at this point in my life. The only thing I got once was at school when the teacher put an apple, orange and a couple of candy bars in a bag and gave it to us.)

( My dad, Harry, had been sharing these stories via e-mail and then one day I got the following e-mail from him.)


I am not storytelling. All of this happened, word for word. I am only touching upon a few things. I could fill a five hundred page book if I covered everything that happened to us during these times.
(I responded back to him.)

Hi Dad.....

I know you are not stretching the truth.......this is your history and I love it. It tells me more of who you are, what you have been able to accomplish and where my roots are. I can already tell that our family has traits you have passed on to us. As I mentioned to you before, one generation can impact future generations for even hundreds of years. Your desire for education, work ethic, ingenuity and resourcefulness and yes....even pride, are attributes that you or our posterity will want to hang on to.........and they will be stronger for it.......

At your convenience keep writing........I am not a bit bored. Your life is very interesting.When you mention places or stories, where would they be today on maps?
Love, Jeff


It came time to move again. Dad must have had itchy feet because he kept us on the move all the time. Every thing was packed up, put on a little truck and back to Edmonson County, Kentucky we went. This time a little country house halfway between Rhoda and Mohawk. It was two miles in any direction before you could come to a road. The only way we could get to it was to walk or ride a horse or wagon. School was about four miles away but that didn’t matter to us because we had already quit school.

The place really wasn’t that bad. It had a barn, smokehouse, wood shed and a real good spring about 100 yards away. This must have been around 1947 because I was beginning to chase girls.

Retuning to Rhoda, Carl Madison and I got hooked up again. We were not running around the hills and playing in the creek anymore. We were chasing little girls. Carl was a good looking boy so we had no problem wherever we went getting a girl to like us, but it was a lonely life in those hills. I would get up at the break of daylight and head out. Most of the time I wouldn’t return until after dark. I don’t think anyone ever knew I was gone. I was sitting in front of Carl Wells’ store wanting something to do and a young lady pulled up in new car, got out and said, “ I am looking for someone to work for three days. Do you know anybody?” “I sure do” I said. She said, “Who?” I said “Me!”. She said, “You have got to tell everyone I said no, but
let’s go anyway.” She took me about thirty miles away on the other side of Bowling Green, Kentucky to her dad and mom’s farm. They were real nice people. After three days she brought me back, and no one ever knew I was gone. (Which was fine because they probably would have wanted some of my money.) Brownsville, Kentucky is four miles north of Rhoda. Bowling Green is fourteen miles south of Rhoda.

Carl Madison and I would meet at Carl Wells’ store early in the morning when we did not have a job and sitting on a bread box outside the store, I would say, “Carl, what are we going to do today?” He would say, “Wait on the next car.” The first one came by we would thumb a ride. If it was going north we would go to Brownsville, if it was going south we would go to Bowling Green.

Carl and I stuck together like glue. We did every thing together. Any time we heard of something going on we went to it like the little carnivals that would come through the area. There were a lot of them in those days. Just about every weekend the old people would pick out a school house, push all the chairs around the wall, get out the fiddles and gentries banjo. They would come from all around square dancing until the floor would bounce them off. Carl and I were right in the middle of it swinging the little girls.
Edmonson County is a dry county. You can’t buy whiskey then and still can’t now. But the old timers made moonshine and home brew (beer) and the nights would get pretty rough late in the night. Some one would flirt with a man’s wife or say a bad word in front of them and the fight was on. In fact, while Dad was dating Mom Carl Hanson insulted mom and the fight was on. Carl Hanson took his pocket knife out and started slicing at Dad and cut out part of his liver. They had to wrap Dad in a sheet to get him home to keep his insides from falling out He just about died. I come close to not being here.

Dad had a law that there would not be a loaded gun in the house. We had a single shot rifle. That was all you needed was one shot if you were hunting in our household. You had to get your target with one shot to save shells and there was a single shot, shot gun. One day there was a young rabbit running in and out of the weeds in front of the house. Dad got the rifle out and was going to kill our lunch. Dad was standing in the door waiting for the rabbit to come out again but the rabbit didn’t. Dad sat the rifle down by the door and said boys “leave this gun alone. It is loaded.” That seemed normal to us. The rabbit did not ever come out again and the rifle sat there all night.

The next day Carl was coming over. We were going over to the next hill to see some Lindsey girls and Dad, Conard and Wanda, at about nine in the morning, went down to the creek to catch some Catfish for that day’s meals. I stayed home waiting on Carl. I was out back doing something in the smokehouse. Carl came and went into the house. No one was there so as he was walking out he picked up the rifle. He knew the law- no loaded guns in the house! I thought I heard someone and walk around the corner of the house and there was Carl pointed the rifle at my head and said “stickum up”. For some reason I stepped back around the house. He walked around the house holding the rifle down at his waist and said “stick um up” again. About that time every bone in my body tingled. I felt something run down my leg. Carl’s face turned as white as snow. I started to take a step and fell down. I did not hear the gun go off. I didn’t know what just happened. Then Carl hollered “O my god I have shot you. Where is your dad?” I said “fishing at the catfish hole”. He broke in to a run and ran over the hill. In a few minutes here came Dad, Conard and Wanda with him, running with their tongues hanging out. I think they were in worse shape than I was.

Someone went and got someone to bring a wagon and haul me to Rhoda where they loaded me up and took me to Bowling Green in a car. I stayed over night while they cut the bullet out.

Dad must have notified every one because the next day after I got back home all my brothers and sisters started coming in, even Teamon from North Carolina. I thought man this is great. They all are coming just to see me. I wish I would get shot again. Plus, when they left, they gave me a little money. Wasn’t but about two or three days I was up and running again. Luckily Carl’s dad paid the hospital bill. I think it was fifty dollars.

In 1948 my older brother Rumsey, who was working in Louisville, about a mile and half north of Rhoda bought a small piece of land. He, Conard and I built a nice four room house on it. (He built it just for us.) Shortly after moving in Edna died. Now we are down to Dad, Wanda, Conard and me again. While we were living in the hills Wanda started dating one of the Lindsey boys, Ples. And shortly they married. Now we are just Dad, Conard and me.

Since we had lost the only thing that resembled a cook, you can just imagine how we got by.

At this time things weren’t going too well so Carl and I decided to go to Louisville and work. We each got a one room apartment to sleep in. It sat next to a White Castle hamburger joint. (This is where and when I saw the recruiters) The hamburgers cost eight cents. I ate White Castle hamburgers three times a day.

Carl’s brother BW owned a gas station. He was lucky. He got a job the next day with his brother at the station. He had an old car there and BW let Carl work for half pay until he got it paid off. Carl and I ran the tires off that old car. We could date girls in style now. Carl wound up owning three stations and died in 1992. He was a dear friend.

I had to get me a job and soon but I wanted one of them big factory jobs that paid a lot of money. My first stop was American Standards. They made bathtubs, sinks and stuff like that. I went in and filled out my application and put on it I was 18 years old. (After all I had been through I looked that old!) The lady who interviewed me from the main office said you are hired and to start working tomorrow, so, the next day, with my three white castle hamburgers off I went to work. It lasted for about a week and the same lady from the main office came up and said “Harry, are you only 15?” I asked “Why?” She said “Social security has reported you”. So she took me to the office and filled out my time. So I was back on the road again, but was not going to give up.

I told myself I was not going to return to Rhoda and live like Conard. So this time I went to a factory called Bradley Box Company. They made boxes. I filled out a false application and this pretty lady hired me on the spot and I went to work the next day. In about a week I saw him coming and I knew what happened. I was on the road again. About this time I am getting desperate.

My two older brothers Clarence and Rumsey were building houses for a company and my brother Clarence was the foreman. He said, “Harry I will hire you for fifty cents an hour”. That is all they would let him pay. I was glad to get that and I worked with them for a while. (Clarence has often said I could do more and do it better than his skilled carpenters).

The first weekend in November 1950 I was off of work. Rumsey did not go to Rhoda down in the country so I could not go down there. Our rooms were downtown near the basins district bus station two blocks away. So early Saturday morning I went down to the bus station to watch the people come and go. I decided to walk on downtown and as I went by the Navy recruiting office I went in to talk to the Navy Recruiter. I told him I was seventeen and wanted to join. He said ok but you have to take a written test first. I took it and the recruiter graded it and said “I am sorry I can’t take you. You failed the test.” (That is the only written test I ever failed in my life).

So out the door and on down the street I went and I came to the US Army Recruiting office. I went in with the same story. He also said you have to take a test. I took it and passed. He filled all the paper work out and gave me a form and said I needed to take it to Rhoda and have Dad give me parental consent and have it notarized. I kept the paper and the next weekend Rumsey and I went to the country. For some reason I had signed Dad’s name to the paper so I really did not have his permission.
Early that Saturday morning I went to Brownsville. I was sitting on the side of the bank before the bank opened. Mr. Hudson, the bank owner came to open up and asked “How are you doing Harry?” I knew him. At that time a flash ran through my mind.

I said, “I need to see you Mr. Hudson. I have something for you to notarize.” I said, “Dad could not come down and asked if you would notarize this for me so I can join the Army.” He said sure, put a stamp on it and wished me good luck.
Early Monday morning I was in the recruiter’s office with my papers. I handed him my papers and he said “Fine. Report to the processing center Wednesday”. That is when we shipped to Fort Knox for further process. I was there. They gave us a physical and swore us in. About thirty of us joined that day and then they sent us to quarters at Fort Knox.

When we got to Fort Knox a corporal got on the bus and said “ok all you dumb rainbows. Fall off the bus in formation.” I thought, “I know I am dumb but some of these guys looked smart.” I asked the kid right next to me what did he mean by rainbow? He said we are all in different colored clothing and from now on we will be dressed the same. It was supper time. Then they had issued us all our uniforms by then and marched us to the dining hall. It was a big, hot meal. My thoughts were “You are going to give me clothing, all I can eat, a place to sleep, plus pay me? You can call me dumb or anything you want to. I am staying!”

The next morning they finished processing us and gave all of us $10.00 dollars to get things we needed. That is called the “flying ten”. I sent five of this to Conard. In fact, I gave them half of my pay check until Dad was able to get social security. They loaded us on a troop train and sent us to Camp Carson, Colorado for basic training. I completed basic and was assigned to the medical field. To be trained as a first aid medic which meant I would have to stay on the front line as long as a solder was fighting.

On January 18, 1951 the company Commander called me in and said “Private, you are just sixteen aren’t you?” I said “Yes sir!” “Well, I am going to have to give you a discharge.” I was on the road again. But this time I had all my army issue. I had a duffel bag full of clothes. Not bad for the effort!

When I got back to Louisville Teamon, his wife Ruby and his two girls were visiting. The girls were in wheel chairs. Teamon said “Harry, why don’t you go back to North Carolina with me and Ruby? You can help out with the girls and we will find you a job there”. That sounded good to me!

I went and in a short time I landed a good job in a weaving factory that made fabric. I worked there for about two and a half months before they caught up with my age. They did and now I was on the road again.

I returned to Louisville at this time. I had turned seventeen and could join the military with parental consent. I joined the USAF in February of 1951 and had a job that they could not discharge me from until I retired October 30, 1976.

(After dad had written about his early military career he sent me the following e mail)Jeff, I have told you all of this in bits and pieces. Now you can figure out how or if this is a story interesting enough to share. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I would have landed one of the good jobs. No Jean, No Jeff and Wendy. I probably would not have had any military service. Maybe this was a way God had of looking out for me?It will be somewhat embarrassing for you to show this to someone. But I learned to respect life and nothing is free except a gift from God. You have to work for everything else in your life- your money, your respect for yourself and respect for others, your love for your family.You know the rest from here. If you need any help let me know.Love Dad(After a little more persuasion and a rest period I got dad to keep writing after posing some questions……)


After getting processed in to the Army at Fort Knox, I was shipped to Camp Carson, Colorado located in Colorado Springs for basic and AIT training. I thought this was a great place. We would be marching in our short sleeves and look up at Pikes Peak covered with snow. At this time the Korean War was going on and growing to its most intense period and the Army had called in a large amount of reserves. I wound up with them. They were much older than me and did not want to be in the Army. They were out of shape and could hardly do the physical training. This was a lot of fun for me. I had been accustomed to running around the hills in Kentucky and climbing trees. It was just a joke for me. The drill instructor used me as an example. This made me feel important and like I now had a head start in life.

Just being sixteen and not a smoker or drinker I stayed close to the quarters and kept my bunk area in shape, my clothes hung properly, foot locker straight and shoes shined. I won the quarter’s award ever week. The older troops would head for the PX and drink beer until lights out. I would think how silly this was. Plus, they were spending all that good money they were making. I needed mine. I had to send some of it home for Dad and Conard. It seemed that if the GIs had a problem they would like to talk to me about it.

One night I had gone to bed a little early and had fallen asleep and the gang returned from the Post Exchange drunk. One came over and sat on my bed and woke me up. I could see he had tears in his eyes, He said, “Kentucky, I have a problem.” I said, “What’s that?” He said “My sister has two brothers and I only have one. I can’t straighten it out.” I said, “Go to bed and I will explain it tomorrow.” Anyway he was smoking and dropped his cigarette on my bed and burned a hole in my blanket about the size of a dime. He was a real big guy and bunked across from me.

The next morning we had a quarter’s inspection I had folded my blanket so the burn showed and I did not realize it. We were all standing at attention while the corporal was inspecting when he came to me. He saw the burn and was in my face giving me the dickens. I glanced at the one that had done it. He frowned at me so I knew to keep my mouth shut.

So the corporal had the CQ wake me up thirty minutes before everyone else for three days. I had to carry two five gallon buckets of water around the quarters. He said I was on fire guard. It was the coldest weather I have ever seen.

The quarter buildings were in a row of about ten. Early in the morning they would fall us all out and we would line up and police the area up one side and down the other. It was cold as blazes early in the morning. We started out one morning (the buildings were heated with coal) and I told my buddy, “Let’s duck in this boiler room where it’s warm and catch them on the way back”. We did. Then we got caught by the corporal. They had us run a detail roster to keep coal in the furnace. He came up and said I got my detail and he locked us up in the furnace all day and all night. When we came out we were as black as a tire.

After basic I was assigned to medical training and shortly thereafter discharged for being under age as I have mentioned earlier.

United States Air Force

After having been out of the Army for about three months, the job market wasn’t any better and now 17 years old (old man) I had designs on life! I enjoyed the short tour in the Army and with my Dad’s permission I joined the US Air Force. Before I go any further I need to explain about the Air Force’s formation. September 11, 1947 the US Air Corp divorced itself from the Army and became the USAF. A post was now called a base and troops were called airman. They were building new bases and getting in all new equipment. I could not have picked a better time to join.

My first assignment was Lackland AFB in Texas. I had to take basic training all over again because the regulation was that you must serve at least 6 month to be prior service. (Which I did not mind) Just having former basic training put me ahead of the flight and led me to think I was cheating on my buddies. But because of my previous experience, I passed with honors and I got my first stripe. Now I was important.

After Basic I was assigned to Francis E Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming to attend Cook School. This was a real fun assignment. It was a small town in frontier style. I was there during Frontier Days. That was quite a week. I had a ball.

Back on base at the cook school I worked one ten hour day and was off the next. I teamed up with a buddy named Douglas Y. Bridges from Florida. He worked the days I was off. So he and I bought an old 40 Ford for $75.00. I would use the car when he was working and he would use it when I worked. We had the same two days off so we would go together then. We ran the wheels off that thing. I bet we put a 100,000 miles on in three months. The roads, except the main through way, were unimproved roads, gravel or a step above it. You could drive for miles without meeting a car in the countryside and mountains.

Here is where I started drinking beer and getting on the wild side of life. Doug or I were not twenty-one so we had a time finding a place to buy beer. We always got it to go. We found one little bar that would sell it to me. I looked older than Doug. We would buy a quart bottle of Black label beer. The cheapest you could get.

Of course by then Doug and I had a couple of little girls on the line. Once when we were off work, we had our girl friends and we went out. We bought a quart of beer each that day. We wanted to act big this time. Again, we were only 17 or 18. I was driving on one of the country roads drinking my beer from a quart bottle. Doug and his girlfriend were in the backseat. I had just about drunk that whole quart. It just about wiped me out. I would turn the bottle up to drink looking over that quart bottle. It looked like the hood of the car. I kept running off the road. They made me stop and Doug took over.

After completing cook school we sold the old car for $80.00 and luckily Doug and I got the same assignment. And now, North Dakota!

My assignment to the AC and W site in Finley, North Dakota to an aircraft and warning sight was a choice assignment. The government had the sites scattered from Washington State to Washington DC covering the boarder with Canada guarding the US against any air attack that might come across Canada.

When Doug and I reported to the site in Finley we were the 19th and 20th airman assigned. It took about three months for it to come to its full strength of about 100 Airman. There were no more than 200 people living in the town. It had one restaurant, one bar, one pool hall and a country store and no gas station. We had to go to Cooperstown to get gas.

The restaurant was run by an old couple we called Mom and Pop. The whole town took us in like we were their own children. But it did not take long for this to change when the Airman started getting the little girls in trouble. A farmer was in the pool room. I asked him what size his farm was and he said about ten flats. I said, “What is a flat?” He said “about 700 acres”.

The girls would all come to town on Saturday night and we would be waiting for them at Mom and Pops drinking cocoa and talking it up. There was an all-girl’s college about eighteen miles away. I think it was called Morehead State College. We would load up in a car when we could find some one who had one and go there to see the girls. This worked fine until the local boys got jealous and if they would catch a couple of airman in town they would beat them up.

This did not sit too well with the airmen. So one of the NCOs checked out a bus and loaded it with about fifty airmen and took us outside the town on a deserted road and sent one car in town with three airmen in it. The car drove up and down the street and got four or five car loads of locals following them. Then they led them to our road block. Everyone fell out with clubs and jack handles. We had the biggest fight you had ever seen. It made all the news networks, but, they did not try to beat up on airman anymore.

During all of this I saw this sharp 1941 Chevy I liked really well for sale. I went back in a couple of days during the day to check on it. We made a deal. That was the first car I owned by myself.

Since I was scared to go to the college Doug and I started going in the other direction to a little town called Cooperstown. We did real well there. Doug started going with a girl named Connie Nordvedt, I went with her girl friend named Patty Pladson. Patty was a good deal for me because her Dad and Mom ran a restaurant and she would always be there when I came to town. On Saturday nights we would go to the barn dances. There was one every Saturday night. They were easy to find. All you had to do is get on a gravel road and follow the beer cans. People drank so much in those days. At one of the dances Connie’s sister, who had been staying in Washington State, came and stayed with her. She showed up at one of the dances and Connie introduced me to her (Jean) and that was the snottiest girl and most stuck-up person I had ever met. We did not get along at all. Jean, Connie and Pat started running together so I began to see a lot of Jean.

Pat’s father was very strict on her. She could not go to all the places we went. So that left Doug, Connie, Jean and me. Jean and I started going together. So I let Pat go as a girlfriend. It hurt her real bad because all she talked about was us getting married and that was no where on my mind. Pat wound up marrying a nice guy and now lives in Beverly Hills, California.

My older brother Teamon was a veteran and served in WW2 until he got shot up pretty bad. He told me while running around in town never to use your real name. They can find you on base real easy and get you in trouble using the right name. So I took his name (Tim).
(Harry’s school house….eight grades in 8 rows of chairs)

Tim was my name throughout my military career. Jean stills calls me Tim. From here I was transferred to Kansas City, Missouri in 1953.

Time went on. I must have lived in the hotel for one year before quarters were built in Grandview AFB for us to move in to. When I moved out there, there were just a few buildings up. The flight line was not even done. It was 18 miles from Kansas City so I just stayed where I was in the apartment building. Jean and I did not get married until after I had moved to the base. I had to maintain a room at the base until I was married. I got a thirty day leave in 1954 and when I returned to the base it was late at night. We had two mens rooms when I left for leave. No one lived with me. There was just one bed. While on leave they turned the quarters in to a WAF (woman quarters), and had moved my stuff to another building. I got in late and went to what I thought was my room. I turned the light on and a WAF jumped out of bed screaming and all the women came running out half dressed. I thought I was going to get beat up. Finally I got to explain the mix-up and they told me where my building was.

In December 24, 1954 Jean and decided to get married. It was something like a shotgun wedding, just Jean and I and two witnesses, Connie and Tommy Adams, a friend from the base. We didn’t go anywhere. We just got a motel room for the night. I had to be at work the next day at 4 A.M. to help cook Christmas dinner for the troops. Jean had to stay in the motel all day by herself as I had the car.

In about eleven months Jeff was born. This was a happy time for me. I sure wanted a boy, at least for the first child. We all lived there for a while and bought a house trailer. The first one was only twenty eight feet long. I had to watch TV through the slats in the baby crib as the only place we had to put the bed was in front of the TV.

One day I was sitting in the trailer babysitting and Jean was out running around in the old car and had gone somewhere. She came home all disgusted and said I had car trouble. I said what happened? She said, “I lost a tie rod off the front end.” I said, “Where is the car?” “It’s outside. I drove it home.” (Just about any one knows you can’t steer a car with the tie rod off.) I said, “You can’t drive a car with the tie rods off.” Jean said, “Yes I did. It is laying out there in the yard.” I went out to look at it and it was a jack handle that had fallen out of the trunk. When I told her she was mistaken she got mad.

We were finally able to buy a larger trailer and about 1956 I got orders for a 12 month tour to St. Johns, Newfoundland. I moved Jean and the trailer to Louisville while I took the tour of duty.

Jean got her a job and we had my sister’s daughter come and live with Jean and baby sit while she worked. One day a large storm came up and blew the trailer over with Jeff and my niece in it. It demolished the trailer. Luckily no one was hurt. The insurance got us a new trailer. Jeff made the front page of the Louisville paper the Courier Journal with this crib turned upside down on him while he was playing inside of it.

Spokane, Washington

After my twelve month tour I asked to be shipped close to Jean’s family as she had to be with my family in Kentucky. I got orders for Fairchild AFB Spokane, Washington. This was a SAC base and for the first time I felt like I was in the Air Force on a real base. It had the large B52 bombers and KC147 refuel planes. This was exciting for me here. We stayed for 4 years. I began to feel like I was home there. Jean’s brother-in-law Andy was a big hunter. We would hunt mule deer and he had a son about Jeff’s age (Hooper). We would take them hunting and fishing with us in the mountains. It was a lot of fun for all of us. You had to wear orange to hunt. I needed an orange coat to hunt in. Money was tight and I did not think I could afford one. One day Jean brought this real nice hunting jacket in she had bought for me so a hunter would not shoot me. I got tears in my eyes when she gave it to me. I still have the jacket. It is quite worn and is too small for me but I will always keep it.

While stationed at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington I landed a couple of military jobs on base that allowed me to get part time jobs cooking in Spokane in my off hours. One job I had was a night chef at a fancy restaurant. At the same time we moved our family house trailer to a private lot right under the flight path of the big planes and jets that came in to the base coming over not 2,000 feet high above us and they would rock the trailer as they passed by.

By this time I had three stripes and was running the flight kitchen that provided flight meals for the crew on the planes. I had this job about a year and then got a job running the accounts for the five dining facilities on post. This was my first office job and I felt like I was among the best then.

Jean and I decided to sell the house trailer and move into military quarters which was for low ranking Airman. It was a little 2 bedroom house we liked a lot. While here we decided we wanted another child. I always thought I would like to have two kids, one boy and one girl and five years apart. So when our second child came it was a beautiful brown-eyed girl. When Jean was ready to deliver she was loosing water. I was trying to get her out of the house. She decided she needed to sit down and have a cigarette. I was going nuts to get her to the base hospital which was 10 miles away. I drove 90 miles an hour to get her to the hospital. When I pulled up to the emergency entrance a man met us with a wheel chair and took Jean in and told me I would have to park the car. They took Jean straight to delivery.

I parked the car and went back in the hospital and a clerk said come over here we have some paper work to fill out. He said, “What do you want to name your daughter?” I asked “How do you know it will be a girl?” He said, “She is already born”. I thought, “whoa, I hope I can keep up with this little girl all my life!” I told him we are going to name her Windy Jo but I meant Wendy Jo. But for the records her name is spelled wrong due to me. I caught a lot of lip over this so I was in trouble over her five minutes after she was born.

After the paper work I went up to the room Jean was already in. Wendy was already in the nursery. I checked on Jean and went to the nursery and looked at Wendy through the glass window and I knew she was the prettiest baby in there.

I had to call in and take a ten day leave so Jeff and I could take care of things. He was only five at this time and no problem and a lot of help for me. Jean was to stay in the hospital for three days. When I went in to pick them up they brought Wendy into the room. I dressed her. Jean was trying to get dressed and got desperately sick. I called in the nurse and she called the doctor. He decided she was having some kind of spinal attack or something and I had to leave her in bed for a while longer. She could not even move her head.

I asked what about the baby? Doc said you are going to have to take her home. She can’t go back to the nursery since you have touched her. I thought, “My god. If I have to Jeff and I can do it for a day or two but if Jean has to stay in the hospital for seven days I don’t know if we can!” Jeff and I brought Wendy home. I had to sterilize bottles and feed and bath her. I must have gone through two cans of baby powder. I kept her white as a ghost. Everything went just fine except that all of the women in the project just knew I was going to kill the baby, but we were doing fine. Wendy was happy and so were Jeff and I. The only way I could get any rest was to sleep when Wendy slept but the nosey ladies would keep ringing the doorbell so I made a sign and put on the door “Baby and father sleeping, do not disturb”.

By the time Jean got home I had Wendy sleeping all night and eating baby cereal. It was probably one of the happiest times of my life. I loved that baby so much. If anything had happened to her I think I would have died. I call her my special daughter. And she knows that because she could and still gets away with things. I am so proud of her.

Fairchild was a good assignment for me. I was at an age where I was taking my responsibilities in the military seriously. I wanted my family to have all the things they needed and worked after hours just about all the time. Of course we had our ups and downs. One time we needed a loaf of bread so Jean and I took the backseat of the car out looking for change. We found what we needed. I really don’t look at this period as hard times. It was a learning time for all of us. Things progressively got better.

By now I had got another stripe and was a Staff Sergeant. This put me among the senior airman and I was eligible for senior NCO quarters on base. We moved into a nice quarters right on base with a basement. This is the first time I had ever had a place with a basement.

There is a lot of snow in Washington. One morning there was about three inches of snow on the ground and I was at work. Jean was home with Wendy and Jeff, (early) Wendy was still wearing her slip-on pajamas. Jean looked around and could not find Wendy. She got panicked and called the Air Police. They came and started a search and followed the foot prints in the snow and found her in the corner of the yard playing in snow. She was just beginning to walk.

I had spent my four years here and was authorized for a transfer to a base of our choice. We decided to go to Florida this time and chose McCoy AFB Orlando, Florida. So my family of four now loaded up and drove the 3,000 miles. The government shipped our furniture.

We drove all the way across the country after dropping down to California to visit Jean’s sister Connie. We put the suitcases behind the front seats so the kids in back could have a flat area to lay down and play. We didn’t use seatbelts much back then.


The move to Florida was a short one, the person I worked for and I didn’t get along at all. He had his favorite pets and I did not work in very well. I did a little fishing and worked part time at the laundry on base and let Jeff find and keep all the change at the bottom of the dryers. He could then walk across the street and go to a 75 cent movie and I that would be his babysitter while I worked. Jean worked at the officer’s club and when she saw the other side of life with the officers, well, things started going downhill for us. We both did things we are not proud of. I could see it was falling back on the kids but I decided they were two small for me to leave Jean. I needed to be with them more than anything else.

The good things there were we bought a cute little 3 bedroom house in a new subdivision. Jeff and I built a rabbit cage and he had pets. Wendy had a little girl to play with next door.

One time I caught a catfish and when Jeff held it up it was as long as he was.
The only way I figured out I could get off McCoy AFB was to apply for AF Recruiting. I did and was accepted in to the program and went to Lakeland AFB Texas for training. I made it through the school and we all wound up in Louisville, Kentucky on recruiting duty.


Air Force recruiting probably was the most rewarding assignment I had as far as having good experiences and it seemed to work well for the family as well. We were living in town like civilians in a nice three bedroom brick house we had rented and were close to school and shopping.

My job was especially rewarding to me. I learned about sales, advertising, public relations and how to meet and talk with people. I was on production recruiting recruits for a short time and then went in to the advertising and publicity department. This was a lot of fun. I would take displays to all the county and state fairs and set up a display booth and talk to all the young guys that would listen. I would give speeches at career days to high school seniors, make radio spot announcements and talk to the DJ on air. I got there in 1964 so Jeff was about 9 and Wendy 4. They were big enough that I could do a lot of fun things with them. Jeff always had something going. He was in scouts, baseball, guitar music lessons and others things that I don’t even remember. Wendy was so cute and has such beautiful dark skin and real dark eyes like mine. She started school here and seemed all grown up.

I was taking a display to Bowling Green Kentucky for the county fair about 125 miles from Louisville. My brother had a farm down there. I took Jeff with me so he could visit my brother Trenton while I worked the display. My brother’s farm was way back on an old country road that was just gravel. I was not supposed to take the government vehicle there. We topped one of the hills and ran head on into a car but it did not do a lot of damage. But we had lots of broken glass.

The farmer got out and said, “you hit me. We need to call the police”. I knew I was in trouble if he did because I was not supposed to have the truck there.
I told him you can call the police if you want to but this is a government truck and there will be investigations about this and it is going to worry you to death because I am going to say that you ran in to me. He asked, “Well, what will we do?” I said you fix your car and I will fix the truck. I then thought about changing the scene of the accident. We all picked up the broken glass and put it in a paper bag. I took it with me to the display and parked the truck in a special place, poured the glass on the ground and called the police and had them make me a police report. I took it back with me, turned in the report, they fixed my truck and I guess the farmer was happy because I never heard from him again. It was wrong thing to do but I did not want to get busted for a simple thing as going to see my brother.

In 1965 my Dad died. He had a bad stroke and it made it hard for us to take care of him in his last days but it was worth it. I was glad to be around during this time because I had been away a lot in the past.

Jeff graduated from elementary school here, Wilkinson Elementary, and when we went to the graduation he was so big by now he was wearing my shoes. Jean and I were in the audience when they gave out the awards. When they called his name for the academic award I almost fell out of my seat. I did not know he was in the running for an award like that. This whole assignment was a good one for us. I put in for a Warrant Officer’s commission in the Army there just before our time was up in Kentucky. While waiting for it I got my orders for Howard AFB in Panama.

Jeff graduated from elementary school here, Wilkinson Elementary, and when we went to the graduation he was so big by now he was wearing my shoes. Jean and I were in the audience when they gave out the awards. When they called his name for the academic award I almost fell out of my seat. I did not know he was in the running for an award like that. This whole assignment was a good one for us. I put in for a Warrant Officer’s commission in the Army there just before our time was up in Kentucky. While waiting for it I got my orders for Howard AFB in Panama.

The move to Panama was a short move. I went ahead of the family and got things set up for them to come. We lived off base in Panama City. I was worried because the windows did not have any glass in them. They were completely open so the air could come in and you just had steel bars covering them. Big lizards would be everywhere and you could play behind the house in an area that was just like you lived in a jungle. There was some sort of factory behind us but it had dead trees along the fence line with huge ugly buzzards that would sit in them. Jeff used to go out and try and shoot them with a bow and arrow. We would get fresh banana stocks and hang them up in our house and eat bananas until we found out they were full of huge ugly spiders. We even had a maid’s apartment in our building and we had someone help with our wash and clean. It was so cheap. It was fun.

This is where I taught Jeff his first two words of Spanish, glass and milk (Vaso y leche). These were the only two words I knew. It was so hot that the heat seemed to come from the ground.

We only stayed in Panama three or four months before I got my orders commissioning me to Warrant Officer. One paragraph was my commission and the next sending me to Vietnam. I shipped my family back to Kentucky again to stay while I was gone for a year.


While in Panama I got my orders commissioning me as a Warrant Officer in the Army and then the next paragraph was sending me to Vietnam. I moved my family back to Louisville while I served the twelve month tour.

After getting all my Army issue of clothing, I was on my way. On my way over we went through Hawaii for a couple days and then on to Vietnam.

My first stop was in Cameroon Bay for further processing. There they checked your records and skills to see what type of unit to send you to. With all of my education in food service they assigned me to Mac V Headquarters at Long Bin. I was assigned to General Westmorland’s staff, the four star that was in command of the war. While there I asked why did I get the High Command assignment? They said it was my record and experience. I was a WO-1 and that was a WO-4 slot. I thought I will never handle this. I don’t know anything about the Army, I was an airman.
After getting cleared in and shown my office I looked at settling in. I had a clerk and a Sgt. Major as my assistants. Just think, it was a week earlier that I was calling Sgt Majors Sir! I said SM I don’t now how to tell you this but I have only been in the Army a couple of weeks and I don’t even now where to start. He said, “Well Chief, I have 8 months to go. If you let me I will teach you all you need to know. If you don’t I will sink your ship”. I said that was fine with me. Then came time to report to my commanding officer who was a full Colonel about 6 foot 6 inches tall. I went into his office and stood at attention. He had his back to me looking at a big map on the wall behind him with a bunch of stickers on it of the different hot spots of war. Another chart of his entire staff office was also on the wall, which I was added to later.

In about two minutes he wheeled around in his chair. I snapped to and shouted and said “Sir, Warrant Officer Wells reporting for duty!” He was a tough looking, tired dude and I could see the war was getting to him.

He returned my salute and said, “Chief, See my list of staff officer?” There was about 30 of them. I have a lot of officers and a problem with all of them except my Warrants and I don’t expect any different from you. I will give you two chances. The first one I will forgive you and second I will fire you (so he really wasn’t giving me but one chance!). Now get out of here and go to work I have a war to run”. All I could say was, “Yes sir!” (I sure didn’t want to tell him I had only been in the Army two weeks).

I had assigned to me a helicopter and pilot, jeep with driver, the Sgt Major and a clerk. I was heading up the entire food service program for the 3rd and 4th corp of Vietnam which is half of Vietnam. My quarters were an open, round metal building with sand bags all around it with about forty other Warrant Officers in the same area. Most of them were pilots except for about seven of us who were specialists in a different field.
I spent a good 60% of my time in the air over there. I got them to teach me how to fly a helicopter. I could land one and take off as well as the pilots, which was a lot of fun to me. I would fly combat missions with some of the other pilots. Some pretty hairy type missions where I did not need to be taking the chance. I created some seventy direct combat hours which earned me the Air Medal. As combat flights were not my job I just volunteered for them. It meant that another crew member could stay on the ground. So, to fly, all I had to do was ask. I flew door gunner, co- pilot and did it all.

Our duty hours were called three sevens--- 7 in the morning until 7 in the afternoon 7 days a week. It was so hot in that metal building you could not sleep at night. The sweat would fill your eyes if you lay on your back. We had a bunch of doors where you had a way into your own bed and one little window. I got to looking at this and got the idea to fix this. I went to the engineers and scrounged (stole) a bunch of lumber and ply wood and closed my room in and found me a little window air conditioner and put it in the window. I had a better room than the Colonel. I made me a sink and ran me a water hose from the water tank to it. Now I had running water. I would bring food in from the mess hall and eat in my room. A tomato plant came up where the water ran out on the sand but the sand was so fine it would not grow. I figured it needed some cow manure on a trip to black horse. I took a can and while my Sgt Major was driving through the countryside I was looking for some water buffalo droppings. I saw a big pile of it and stopped the jeep to get it. I was out scraping it in the bucket and all of a sudden the dust jumped up all around me and then I heard “Bang, Bang, Bang”. They were shooting at me! I looked at the Jeep and SM was taking off. I had to run and jump in the jeep from the back. I think he would have left me there.

Night was a hard time sleeping. “Charley” would drop mortar rounds in on us just to keep us awake I think. Outside of the quarters were sand bag bunkers. We would run in when the mortars came in. I got tired of running every night so I would grab my mattress and roll it over on me in the floor and pull it up over me. One morning I had an early flight and we got mortar rounds that came in. I had one of the alarm clocks with the button on top sitting by my bed. When I rolled out of the bunk I hit the alarm clock with my knee. It hurt like the dickens but I could not come out from under the mattress until it was clear. When I did, I had a cut on my knee. I thought I better go to first aid and get it taken care of. There were 4 or 5 there getting scrap wounds taken care of. The medic gave me a form to fill out. When I asked him what it was for he said the Purple Heart medal for wounded in action. I handed it back and told him I wasn’t wounded but that I fell out of bed and hit my knee. That would have been a cheap way to get a Purple Heart. It would have cheated the heroes that earned them.

On one of my inspection tours to Doing Tal the manager came to me and said, “ Chief come and go with me to the dump and watch this.” He had a truck with some cans of garbage from the mess hall on it and we went to the dump and dumped it. We pulled away and stopped and looked back and kids of all age from three years and up came out of the bushes and started wading and digging in the garbage for something to eat. This was very sad. I could remember when I had hard times. You could see there were some American children in the bunch because the war had been going on for several years and the GIs had babies they left over there.

Near Saigon there was an orphanage that had about a hundred or so kids living in an open building with three mamasons taking care of them. I would visit them when I had time and give the kids stuff. They had nothing to play with. I came up with the idea to get the GIs at the base with the commander permission to build them a playground. We put in a real nice one and the kids had a ball on it.

Since I was a Warrant Office and a specialist I had a different experience than one that a GI would have fighting in the jungles. My combat experience was from the air. I do not talk about my personal experience in combat because I don’t believe in killing or hurting anyone and it is nothing to be proud of. War is hell where no one wins and all loose. When I talk about it or think about it I get nightmares and can’t sleep for a week. That is why some of the returning war vets go off the bad end. They can’t forget. When I talk about it, it seems like I am talking about what happened to someone else.

However on one of our missions we received gun fire and they disabled our chopper and we were going down. I grabbed my M-16 and a handful of clips (ammo). As we were going down we could see “Charley” running for the spot we were headed for. I was not afraid of dying. I just did not want to leave Jeff and Wendy until they were grown up and had what they needed. But, just in case, I was going to protect myself but I decided to save one bullet for me in the last round. I was not going to let them take me alive because I had heard how they treated our POWs and that was not my idea of dying. Whether I would have used it or not I don’t know but my gut feelings say yes. When you fly combat missions like this there are several helicopters in the air. If one gets knocked down your buddy will dive down and get you out. That is what happened to us. I just wanted to explain about the bullet.

After being in Viet Nam six months I went on R&R to Australia. It was a fun trip. I got to relax for a week and lay in the sun which unfortunately I had had enough of in Vietnam.

Eight months had gone by now and my SGT Major was rotating. He was a great man and a lifesaver to me. I would have promoted him on the spot but he had all the stripes you could get. So I put him in for the highest medal I was authorized to give. I sure hope he is fine. SGT William Hudson.

About a month before I was to rotate I put my room up for sale to the highest bidder. A 2nd Lt. bought it for 300 bucks. I get a kick out of that when I think about it.

My orders were sending me to Fort Knox, Ky. When we (a plane full) returned to the United States at the airport we had to head for the bathroom and take off our combat uniforms as there were a lot of protesters there hollering and throwing things. My thoughts were we ought to be fighting here, not in Vietnam. I got harassed more than a lot of them because I was carrying an SK-47 rifle I had taken while there. I gave the gun to Jeff. I wonder if he knows how much trouble I had getting it home? This was June 1970.

Note from Jeff, September 19, 2006

Well, at this particular time this is all I could get my dad to sit down to write and share. His back aches him and he is not a good typer or speller now so I commend him for sitting down in front of his computer to do this. He would sit down and spend an afternoon thinking about some aspect of his life and then he would e mail it to me and I would paste it in to the growing story of his life. I also think that it was an exercise where he might have felt he was doing a bit too much reminiscing. He has told me recently that the older you get the more you look back to the past. He said that can be fun and sad at the same time.

I will be able to continue this story with more information at a later date but suffice to say that he continues to be my hero and is becoming a hero to his grandkids as they get to know him through this reading and things that I share about him.

Since 1970 he divorced and remarried Irene Quinn in 1973 and they have lived the whole time since at 4209 Blevins Gap Road in Louisville, Kentucky. They have quite a few acres and he has kept busy building outbuildings, putting in gardens each year, mowing ten acres every week and doing things in his shop. He always has a ton of personal projects going on and is not scared to take on new interests like painting, learning the computer, finding out how to surf the internet and he even recently bought a mechanical cross bow and arrow. He also has been having fun racing a toy speed boat on one of his ponds. His interest in life and learning is remarkable.

This story will continue and live on even beyond his years because his story is a good one. The people that he has touched love him and they will want to make sure that his heritage continues on inspiring all of us to walk out of the woods of despair and challenges and create our own opportunities and make something of ourselves. His life is an example of not letting your circumstances drag you down but actually causing you to reach for higher ground to improve and then to eventually contribute back to society, the world and most importantly our progeny.

This story has been about my hero, my Dad.
Warmly, Jeff Wells, son of Harry and father to daughters April, Marcie and Tara.