I was born in 1928 in Nebraska. We had been in the process of moving to Washington State, to escape the Dust Bowl, but we didn’t get far with each move. The “Great Depression” helped form me. I hid under the table in Wyoming when my friend and I listened to “The War of the Worlds”. That made more sense, though, than some, who left this world by jumping out of windows. During the World War II years, we made it all the way to Salt Lake City with the help of War Gas Coupons.
I began chasing dreams that would follow me. I took ROTC in high school, enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Married in Alaska, settled in Utah. I joined the Air National Guard and became a full time employee, because I liked the military, but I wanted to stay in one place. I would eventually retire with thirty-seven years service and, by remaining in one location, I was able to pursue other interests.
We would have seven children – the grandchildren and great grandchildren are too many for me to count.
I chased dreams. I started a private military theater for the purpose of recruiting and retention. It was the only one of its kind and was successful for a number of years. It began by costing the members $12.00 per year for two shows per week, thanks to concessions. I had thought, ever since moving to Salt Lake City, it would be a great thing to own a theater.
On the side, I sold travel trailers and mobile homes, which resulted in publishing a trade newspaper. I had always wanted to write and so I wrote shows for radio. The original one was about traveling with trailers and the advantages of living in a mobile home. Then, I wrote vignettes about small towns in the United States. The programs were broadcast on a number of stations.
I was involved in bringing a soft ball league to our town for the girls.
I had been interested in family history for a long time and Utah offered a perfect fit. The Mormon Church had the best private genealogy library in the world. Because, I wasn’t a member of their church, I did not pursue it until one day, probably about 1965, my Commander said, “You don’t have to be a member to use the library.” That evening, we visited the library and I began chasing another dream.
In addition to personal research, I researched for friends. Once in a while, someone would hire me to research their family. When I retired in 1984, since we have two artist sons, I thought we would combine research with historical art – oil paintings — for families, but, I was offered a chance to search for missing heirs, and it turned out to be very challenging. I still can’t quite give it up.
While researching, I found a historical magazine that would be a great asset for many genealogists. I purchased 232 issues of Hunter’s Frontier Times on Ebay. There didn’t appear to be an index available, and so, I hired some help and we extracted the information to create an all-name index.
In December, 1996, something unexpected happened to me. I had Stage IV colon cancer (see http://www.cancerstrategies.info) and I was given only a short time to live by several doctors. Early on, I began writing about strategies about how I was going to survive. It finally turned into a book.
The large oil historical art, with the story of the family, turned into an 11 x 17 inch montage using Photoshop.
The idea of a personal history on a bottle intrigues me. It seemed to me that it would be much more personal than a family crest.
There are still dreams out there to chase, even for someone born before the “Great Depression”.