I grew up on a dairy farm during the Depression, my father having returned to the farm to feed his growing family. We never actually went hungry, but one might be surprised to find out the number of things that are (marginally) edible. Between the ages of 16 and 44, I was a vagabond who traversed the United States as “the last of the tramp printers” — although I held many different jobs in between printing jobs. If any work seemed interesting I wanted to try it. I worked on cattle and horse ranches in the timber of the high Rockies. I have worked circuses and carnivals, driven trucks and sold baked goods, worked in the foundry and mine, and toiled in the “oil patch” of producing wells.
My first wife was a young lady from Fort Worth, Texas, who joined me in Climax, Colorado, in 1953. That was the first, and perhaps only, marriage performed in the mine chapel. When the first snowstorm hit a month later, she wanted to go home to Fort Worth. I sent her home.
In 1957, I married a young Indian woman from south of Fort Smith, Arkansas. We made our home in Marion, Ohio, near Richwood. A year later a son was born to us. He died as an infant, and we separated for a while. We got back together while I was working for a newspaper in Northern California, and eventually another son and two daughters were born. We lived in California, Ohio, Georgia and Texas. We divorced in 1969.
In 1974, a friend wrote me that our two younger children were being neglected. I got a job nearby, where I could keep an eye on them. Eventually I decided that I had to act. I “stole” the youngest two and brought them home to my mother. I spent a month in an Ector County jail before going to trial. When I convinced a crusty old Texas judge that I had acted in the kids’ best interest, he turned me loose and I returned to Ohio to raise my family. I have been here ever since. I went to work for a plastics manufacturing firm, from which I retired in 1990.
Joann and I were married in November of 1975 — but only after I had quit smoking and drinking (to qualify as good husband material). She was divorced with two sons and a daughter. Combining families, we then added three sons to the total. The youngest turned 17 on April 19. Joann returned to work as manager of a cafeteria at Honda of America.
As for the
kids, each is different. There are no drug addicts, no
criminals. Six of the nine have already gained or will in
the future gain bachelor’s degrees; there is already one
M.A. and I expect at least two Ph.D.s, maybe three. Each
fulfilling his or her own destiny. The focus now is on
grandson Alex, who recently
When I retired at age 62 in 1990, I was almost immediately appointed to the Board of Public Affairs that manages the village utilities. In 1992, I became a village council member, “sneaking in the back door” by registering as a “write-in” at the last moment to fill a vacancy. I was elected with 16 votes. I did the same thing in 1996. I got 13 votes that time. I have never spent a dime to get elected other than the $10 registration fee.
More or less as a hobby, I raise Sacred Tobacco — although I do not smoke. I intend to take some plants to powwows held in Ohio. This tobacco is not wimpy white man’s tobacco such as that found in commercial cigarettes; this is the real McCoy. I have several different tribal cultivars, but I will probably settle on the three cultivars that do best in this climate.Another “hobby” is running a paper route in the village, which allows me to keep in touch with my constituents. I am often stopped by my patrons to talk about village business — or to get chewed out for feeding the wild ducks and geese at the park lake. The council chews me out regularly for that, but I just laugh and go on doing it. My stock answer to such chewing is “Should I not feed a hungry animal, or a hungry child?!”