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"Hometown" - Where and Why.

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  • #16
    My Hometown Wetumpka, Alabama (about 5,000 then ,bout 9,000 now, is about 7 miles from where I live. I was born in a smaller town than my hometown about 8 miles from where I live. My community was a sawmill community. Several of the homes still here ( including the one I live in now) were built between 1938 and 1941, from wood cut at a sawmill that was in my back yard. Still a slight trace of the sawdust pile. My Dad worked at the sawmill when he met and married my Mother. She lived in a house that was on the property I now live on. My Dad ran a salvage yard from the time I was three years old until I took it in with my salvage yard in 1988. I grew up playing in an working on old cars. My first Studebaker was a 47 M-15, my Dad gave me at age nine. I can sit on my deck and see my parents old home, maybe 400 yards. I can sit on my front porch and see the house my Grandfather lived in when he passed at 94. I grew up here in Dexter Community. Attended grammer school at a rural school , 1-6, then went to Wetumpka, for 7-12. It was a cultural shock when I went to Wetumpka. It was a "City school". They wore shoes and didn't bring their lunch to school !!!! LOL Went to work at the local Ford dealer just before I turned 15, on a diversified occupations program. Started driving to school when I was 14. Lived in Dexter, in the same old sawmill house til I was 20. Married, and moved away, a full 7 miles to Wetumpka. Worked for a Buick dealership in Montgomery al. ,various auto parts stores (in my Hometown). And fast forward to 1969, and I drove the first Boss Mustang in this area, cause I went back to the same ford dealership I worked at in 1959. Moved to Montgomery, which is 20 miles away. Worked for Armco Steel for nearly 18 years. Moved back to Wetumpka, and have lived back in "Dexter" for 34 years. Now at age 75, I work full time and have worked for the City of Wetumpka for 22 years. My office is 8 minutes from my house.I am the Pastor at a church 3 miles from my home, which my 4th Great Grandfather, gave the land for and my 3rd Great grandfather preached at. My Family cemetery is at my Church. I have never lived over 25 miles from my place of birth. All y'all decide, would I be considered a "Hometown Boy"


    • #17
      Born in Mishawaka. Raised in rural South Bend. Left in '78 for Arizona. Stayed there 10 years. Moved back to South Bend. The rest is history.


      • #18
        I am living in the house my dad had built in 1948. Back then about 1/3 of our acreage was in the city limits. Now the town is much larger and most of our old place belongs to a Junior College. Traffic is a lot heavier, a lot of the new people don't remember the former notables and many things have changed, but it is still a good place to live. I was gone for about 30 years and have good friends in other places, but I like this place the best. Unlike many of my friends, my children and grandchildren also live nearby so I don't feel pulled to other places. We just had friends from South Dakota move here because their children had all settled in this area after college.
        "In the heart of Arkansas."
        Searcy, Arkansas
        1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
        1952 2R pickup


        • #19
          HOME(town)...sometimes I think a Basset Hound's attitude leads to absolute contentment. Ironically, such a sad face, but very content to be at HOME wherever it's nose leads.

          For all the turmoil, angst, and upset I caused in my youth...dire predictions of relatives, teachers, & friends...somehow, I emerged into adulthood pretty danged stable. Although I did graduate high school in N.C. 60 miles from the town of my birth, traveled to Vietnam, Philippines, Australia, Japan, etc., I returned and established residence in the county of my birth. I have not given it much thought (until this thread), but that was 51 years ago. Good Grief!...

          Before graduating from college, I moved a mobile home on the property where I now reside (1973), and three years later built my (only) house. The address changed when the post office went away from rural address numbers and began numbering the homes individually by street name (not rural route number) and house number.

          I often joke that if I won the lottery, I'd buy more rural land and move...but really...would I?
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975


          • #20
            Interesting thread. I think I'll jump in and really bore people. To set the scene I have to admit that I am old, turned 81 last month.

            Lived in Chanute Kansas, Thayer Kansas then Chanute again then college at Manhattan Kansas, Navy at Athens Georgia, Pettaquamscutt RI (shipboard at Quonsett Point), then Gardner Kansas (Naval Air Station Olathe), Makakilo Hawaii (assigned to COMSERVPAC/CINCPACFLT Pearl Harbor, family in Chanute while I'm in Danang Vietnam, Tan My Vietnam and further North, Castro Valley California while I'm at Naval Transportation School and Naval Supply Center Oakland, Burlington Massachusetts for advanced degree, Fairfax Virginia (three tours in DC area- Military Transportation Management Command, Naval Sea Systems Command and Joint Cruise Missiles Command). Retired to Harpers Ferry WV and finally Martinsburg WV.

            From here on it will really bore you.
            I was born in Chanute, Kansas, population about 10,000 (not close to Chanute Air Base). Now about 9,000. When I went back, the Santa Fe railway had left town, tore down the roundhouse and freight station and a lot of rails. Fortunately they left the beautiful big brick station. Chanute was the division headquarters for Santa Fe and the station was very elegant and had a Fred Harvey restaurant. The station is now the city library plus a Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum. Two refineries are gone as are all the oil well service companies (oil has dried up). The two lumber yards are gone, three of the four grocery stores are gone (Walmart arrived). Both lumber yards are gone, most of the small gas stations are gone, Wards, Sears and Penneys are gone as are the two dime stores and two drug stores. Most of the good parts stores are gone. The GM business is still there, but has consolidated Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. The Ford dealer is still around, but moved outside town for more room. The individual Dodge and Chrysler dealers are gone, but a larger consolidated Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer is just outside town. Needless to say, the Nash Dealer is gone as is the Willys dealer, and the Kaiser/Frazer/Packard dealer. The John Deere dealer is still there, much bigger, but the Allis-Chalmers, Case, Cockshutt and International dealers are gone. The old Monkey Island park attraction is gone as is the Class D baseball stadium and the old swimming pool. Several of the old grade schools have been torn down as has the high school and junior college. The schools are now consolidated in one location just outside town. But some of the industries are still there and doing well such as the huge cement plant.

            My family (3 people) moved to Thayer Kansas (500), about 16 miles from Chanute. My dad wanted to get back to farming so he bought a 160-acre farm about a mile out of town. Farm had no electricity or water (except for the cistern on the side porch) and the bathroom was an outhouse about 25 feet from the back door (had to watch for copperheads). Our telephone was hand-cranked on a party line. All calls were placed by the operator in town. When I was two I got a new brother. He turned out to be the hunter and I was the gatherer. Dad farmed 30 or so farmable acres, planted red raspberries to sell, carried trailer loads of watermelons to Chanute to sell. After several years one of the horses died so he switched to more modern equipment. The tractor was a 1924 Dodge doodlebug (cut down truck) which also served as a delivery vehicle (we had Jersey cows and sold milk and cream in town). I was helping with milking at age 6. We had a '35 Plymouth and it had a working radio so I used to sit in it to listen to as many series as I could. My dad decided to sell the Plymouth so he brush painted it and sold it. Our transport became an orange '39 Dodge pickup. When the family traveled, Mom and Dad were in the cab and my brother and I were in the truck bed. Thayer had a one-building school with grades one through 12 (never heard of kindergarten). I walked about a mile to school. Between 3rd and 4th grades the school building burned down so for my fourth grade was in an old one-room school house a few miles from town. Again no electric or water, just a wood stove and a cistern, two outhouses, one for boys and one for girls.

            In 1948 my grandfather died and my dad inherited his nice big house in Chanute and we moved there (using the '39 Dodge). After five years my dad sold the big house and we moved to the original family farm that my family got in 1865 as a land grant. There were no school buses in those days so my dad bought me a '39 Plymouth two-door for $100. I got a learner's permit at 14 and I drove to school in town. It was reliable, but so plain- floor shift and no vent windows. Later I got a '47 Dodge convertible, well worn, a slug with fluid drive, but neat. After graduation I went on to Kansas State College (later University) and after the first year I drove the convertible to college. Being frugal (poor) I went the cheapest way I could- four man room in a dormitory for $15 a month, served tables at a sorority for meals, did odd jobs in town for $.50 an hour and had a tuition-only scholarship ($99 a semester). ROTC was mandatory for the first two years, Air Force or Army. I went with Army and hated the WWII uniforms and especially the hard hats (hurt my head). A couple of my professors were Navy veterans and they got me in to the Naval Reserve Electronics Division on campus (met on weekends and I got paid). I got qualified for entry in to the Reserve Officer Training program, two summers at Newport RI with appointment as an ensign at KSU graduation. We reserves got the same date of rank as Naval Academy graduates (not popular with them). Economizing- got married Sunday morning June 5th in Chanute, flew to Manhattan with my bride and got commissioned by the Air Force ROTC head then got graduated then went on our brief honeymoon driving my beautiful, but poor quality '57 Plymouth Belvedere four-door hardtop. Went on active duty in July first for six months at Naval Supply Corps School at Athens, Georgia. While at Athens, one Saturday when wife and I were driving to Atlanta I saw a Studebaker dealer in one of the small towns we went through. Decided to look and the salesman just tossed me the keys to a beautiful 1961 Lark Cruiser. So, we took a drive and just couldn't believe how quiet and comfortable it was, doors shut so well and everything made sense.

            Upon graduating from NSCS Athens I was assigned to a radar picket ship based in Rhode Island. I had several weeks leave so we drove back to Chanute in the aggravating Plymouth (hard cold starting, upholstery coming apart, doors sticking shut, etc). After getting home we went on a Studebaker hunt. I wanted a red Regal 4-door, V8 with overdrive and split reclining seats. No one had one. Decided to check Don Schmidt Studebaker in Wichita. They had a big inventory, but no red Regal. Ended up buying a '61 Cruiser instead. Great discount, but wrong color (Autumn Haze), wrong transmission (automatic), wrong model (Cruiser, not Regal), but it had split reclining seats. Drove it away with almost no miles on it. Best car we ever had. Left Kansas in a snow storm and drove well past Missouri before it cleared. Stopped somewhere in Ohio and got the 1,000-mile service then went on to RI.

            Reported aboard USS Lookout, AGR-2. Our job was sailing out in the North Atlantic to watch for Russian bombers which we were to report to NORAD if we ever saw one (didn't). Next assignment was Naval Air Station, Olathe Kansas. Lots of fun so I decided to augment in to Regular Navy. Traded the Cruiser for the '64 Daytona Wagonaire which we still have. Drove to the West Coast and had it shipped it to Hawaii. Got assigned to Commander Service Force Pacific and Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet. Bought a '50 Champion ($50) to drive while waiting for the Wagonaire to arrive. Later in the tour I sold the Champion and bought my dream car, a '53 Commander Starliner ($295). Upon volunteering for Vietnam I had the Wagonaire sent back to California at Navy expense and got the Starliner sent back on a Navy ship to Oakland (no cost, just no insurance). Took the family back to Kansas in the Wagonaire and stored the Commander in San Diego. I then went through three weeks survival training at Camp Pendelton then got to Danang in early January '68. In March transferred to Tan My, down river from Hue- got to see the Tet Offensive up close and personal. Came home and gathered up the family to go to California (driving the faithful Wagonaire).

            I had been assigned to six months training at the Navy School of Transportation Management at Navy Supply Center, Oakland California. Was then assigned to Naval Supply Center, Oakland. Lived in Castro Valley (where I met Bob Peterson, joined the Sequoia Chapter SDC in '69). After two years at NSC Oakland I was selected for post graduate school in Boston. Had brought the '53 up from San Diego, bought a '64 (transition R-1 Avanti) and bought a '64 Champ long bed half ton, a former salvage yard truck. The truck was already somewhat modified ('63 Lark front panel, Powershift tranny complete with floor shifter). I did a LOT of work on it, straightened dents, replaced worn out 259 with a R-1 I got out of a wrecked Avanti and too much more. Anyhow, I towed the '53 back to Kansas behind the Wagonaire and stored the car and came back to Oakland. Upon leaving for Massachusetts we left the Wagonaire with a friend who then drove it with something like 110,000 miles on it to Kansas so we could get it later. Only problem was a broken speedometer cable. We had bought an 18-foot Shasta travel trailer and hooked that up to the Champ. We traveled up the West Coast to Seattle, visited relatives then started east through Yellowstone and Grand Tetons on to Kansas then on to Massachusetts. Totally problem free trip. After getting settled we flew back to Kansas and drove the Wagonaire to Massachusetts. Bought a '66 Avanti, an incredible car. I drove the Champ to school because it was a good intimidator- quick off the line and mean looking (necessary in Boston) while the wife drove the Avanti to the mall where she worked. Unfortunately we had to sell the Avanti for a house down payment in the DC/Virginia area.

            After settling in Virginia I started buying and selling Studebakers and parts. When I retired from the Navy we moved to WV and I continued buying an selling even more because I had a big barn. However, when we downsized from the Harpers Ferry farm I sold, gave away or threw away lots of parts and a big batch of parts that I sold to Stephen Cade. I even sold my '53 Starliner which I had to 49 years. Now I have the Wagonaire and a nice late '64 R-1 Avanti. But I'm getting too old and tired to keep doing this stuff.
            Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
            '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine


            • #21
              Hardly boring, Paul. Interesting and well written. Thanks.
              Dick Steinkamp
              Bellingham, WA


              • #22
                All the posts are appreciated; so many similar stories. Most of my childhood has been recorded elsewhere, having moved to Paris IL from Chicago suburb Elmwood Park in 1953, between the first and second grades, occasioned by Dad and his younger brother Milton buying the Packard dealership effective June 15, 1953. Moved away to Indianapolis at age 16 in the summer of 1962 after my sophomore year at Paris High School.

                So Paris is kinda my home town and I am included in the Paris High School Class of 1964 activities, even though I left two years before the balance of the class graduated. As a matter of fact, this Saturday (June 29, 2019), I'll be attending the 55th year Class Reunion of Paris High School Class of 1964.

                Jeff, a slight correction to your original post, if you don't mind: The car Uncle George Krem (cousin George Krem's father) ordered and bought new at Pabich Motors in Roselle was their 1960 Colonial Red Lark DeLuxe 2-door, V8 Power Kit with straight three speed. The famous Plain Brown Wrapper, George's 1964 Challenger 2-door, was located and purchased in Indianapolis at Snider Auto Service, a dealer trade from where we found it in stock at Studebaker Indianapolis in July 1964. The sale was made through Snider Auto Service because that's where our mutual Uncle Jerry Palma (Dad and Milton's youngest brother) was a salesman in the summer of 1964.

                'Too bad you and George never crossed paths at Pabich Motors in Roselle, Jeff, doubtlessly, you were both there many times during the late 50s and early 60s. BP
                We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                Ayn Rand:
                "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.


                • #23

                  I graduated from NSCS, Athens in the early '80s as a Naval Reservist. Did a couple of 2 week annual training at NSC, Oakland. I was a mustang (E6 to Ensign), served 35 years and ended up as a Commander. Makes for a nice retirement. Your story was very interesting.

                  Charlie D.