William E. Hodges, Sr.: Further Memories...
Cousin Bill has sent me the follow-up to the report by his father, William E. Hodges, Sr. -- whom I know as Uncle Bill -- on our Grandfather James Horace Hodges, and what follows will go on from that death to delve into family details that might not interest non-family, so be forewarned, my dear regular, non-family readers.
Cousin Bill begins with a few final remarks about the death of Grandpa Hodges, after which comes a polished report that obviously continues the report already noted, which I now assume was written for some official reason that Cousin Bill can perhaps specify in the comments section:
Today, Dec 21st, I visited Dad and asked a few questions regarding his father's accident and death. Following are Dad's words:I guess that I should note here that I've heard three versions of this accident. The first was told to me by Grandpa and Grandma Perryman when I was a child. I was told that Grandpa Hodges had been felling trees and that a log had rolled over on his leg, crushing it, and that he had died of blood poisoning. I imagined the tree falling upon him as he felled it, but that was my own, speculative contribution to the story. From Uncle Cran, I received a different version, as reported earlier on this blog:In early December of 1941, Dad [i.e., Grandpa James Horace Hodges] was 'skinning' logs (on the Gilmore place, straight east of the Flora farm on the old road toward Mitchell) for later transportation to the saw mill, when a log broke loose from the chain, swung around, and crushed Horace's leg. He was able to unhook the team of horses, climb aboard one and seek help. He was transported to the V. A. Hospital in Fayetteville, and on to the V.A. Hospital in N. Little Rock. Horace died there on December 30, of a blood clot at the age of 48. Funeral services were conducted at the Elizabeth school, with burial at the Elizabeth Cemetery on a cold snowy January day.
[T]o make extra money dad would haul logs from where they were being cut, dragging them to the sawmill. The sawmill owner told him it would save time if he would haul two logs at a time. On the first trip, as the team was dragging the two logs, one caught on a stump, the logs swung around, and ran over his leg, right where a large rock stuck out of the ground. It crushed his leg severely.Uncle Cran's version is rather different from the one that I had always imagined and close to the one related in Uncle Bill's version. I'm not sure, therefore, if Grandpa Hodges was already dragging the logs or if he was still skinning them. Perhaps this can be clarified by Uncle Cran or Uncle Bill. [Update: I've since learned that "skinning" is a colloquialism for "skidding" and therefore means that the logs were being dragged by the horses mentioned above, so all is now clear, and the two uncles' stories match.] Also, which of Grandpa's legs was injured?
For now, though, let's return to Cousin Bill's report:
I'll continue with Dad's story following a paragraph from today's visit with Dad and Mom.Rather different from how I met my wife, Sun-Ae -- on a train through Germany -- but as we'll see, Uncle Bill made it to Germany, too, and long before my time. Back to Cousin Bill:
First, Dad said he never dated another girl. The Hodges and DeWitt farms were only a mile apart, so Dad and Mom became acquainted being both neighbors and knowing each other through church and school. Mom said Dad was always trying to get her attention, finally accomplishing same when he bought her chocolate pie at a Flora Baptist Church Pie Sale (unknown to Dad, that pie was made by Mom's mother). Anyway, they started dating -- no dances, no movies, etc., just being together at family gatherings, church and school functions.
Dad's unedited story continues:I started dating Hazle DeWitt after buying her chocolate pie at a pie supper at the Flora Baptist Church for less than a dollar. These pies were auctioned off to the highest bidder, then the monies were used to pay the expense of a music teacher who tried to teach us kids music for a couple of weeks during the summer months after the crops were laid by. The year was 1937. She and I dated during our high school days. I graduated from high school in 1943 [which would have been about two years after the death of Grandpa Hodges], and was drafted into the Army on February 3 that same year at Camp Robinson, Little Rock, AR. From there I was transferred to Camp Crowder, Neosho, MO for three months of basic training. When basic training was over I was transferred top Camp Forrest, Tullahoma, TN. I was there some ten days, long enough to be assigned jobs. Mine was cook since I didn’t know how to drive jeeps or trucks. We were sent out on maneuvers in East Central Tennessee for about ten months to season us for service over seas.Dad never completed the rest of this written story, so I’ll continue with Mom's writing of their life as told just prior to their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
Hazle and I were married in Nashville, at the County Courthouse on September 7, 1943. She stayed nearby as much as she could so we could be together at nights and weekends.
After the maneuvers were over, our battalion was transferred to Camp Shelby, MS, so she came to Hattiesburg and I found a place for us to stay. All we had was one room, but we were together and that was all that mattered as far as we were concerned.
Our outfit received orders for England and left New York just before Christmas 1944 aboard the British Lines' Queen Elizabeth. After ninety days there, we received our orders to go to France, landing at Le Havre. Our outfit boarded trucks for Germany. We motored across the little countries of Belgium and Luxemburg, crossing the Rhine River at Cologne and drove through Aachen. Every town was in shambles caused by Allied bombings. Our battalion was stationed at Mülheim. We had pretty nice quarters, a German family home. The German Armies surrendered on May 7, 1945, and by August 3, 1945, our Army unit was on the way to Marseilles, the southern seaport on France's Mediterranean Sea. We boarded a troop transport ship for our long trip to the Pacific War Zone. We were fortunate we didn't have to go, because the Japs surrendered on August 10, and we were ordered to the states for our separation to various Army Camps for discharge.
I was ordered to Ft. Chaffee, AR, for my discharge. The Armed Services was discharging men on a point system, so many points for the amount of years in service, overseas duty, battle campaigns plus the fact I had a wife and a little baby boy born on March 2. 1945.
Bill, Jr. was born while I was in France, and was six months old before I had the privilege of meeting him. He and his Mom were staying with her parents, therefore, he and his Grandad were pretty close buddies. He and I had to get acquainted and it took awhile. I imagine he wondered who that new man was around there with his Mom.
After I was discharged from the Army, we lived with Hazle's folks for a couple of months, and then moved to Springfield, MO so I could go to Droughons Business College. I was in school for about nine months with $90.00 a month income to live on, buy groceries, pay rent, and buy our clothes. We didn’t have much, but we were happy.
The only place I could find for us to live was small one-room trailer on the far north side of the city. I walked about four blocks to a city bus stop, rode the bus back forth each morning and evening. The only heater we had for warmth was a small kerosene stove. The thing used a couple of gallons of kerosene everyday.
We grew tired of living so far out, so I started looking for another place to live closer to town. I finally found a large room over one of the downtown stores to live in. It wasn't the best in the world, but it was a roof over our heads for awhile. It was managed by an old lady who claimed we never told her we had a small child so she tried to pretend she was insane. She began screaming and beating on the walls to try to scare us into leaving. Finally, the lady’s stupidity got the best of Hazle, who was expecting another child.
We tried to find another place to live, but there just wasn't anything to rent. I finally found a small trailer house for sale. I had to go see my Mom and she helped me borrow $600.00 to buy it.
The man I purchased it from moved it to a lot next door to some friends. We thought everything was going along smoothly until somebody complained and we had to have it moved down the street to another location which was supposed to be a trailer court. There was no running water and we had to use a restroom in back of a real estate office.
We lived in this manner for about six months. We finally were fortunate to find a decent apartment above a tire shop.
At this point, Aunt Hazle's account begins to sound like one of those biblical genealogies with all those begats, so if you're still reading but aren't family, the next lines might be less than enthralling, but for family members like me, they are intensely fascinating:We had dated several years and after Bill was drafted in February 1943, decided to get married, and on September 7, 1943 became husband and wife in the Davidson County Courthouse, Nashville, TN. Bill began his Army stint in Europe and I continued living with my parents in Viola, AR. While Bill was in Germany, our son Bill, Jr. was born on March 2, 1945.
Bill was discharged from the Army in November 1945 and we moved to Springfield to start our first home. There, our first beautiful daughter, Judy, was born November 15, 1946.
Bill surrendered to the ministry at High Street Baptist Church in 1947 and in August 1948 we moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, so Bill could attend Baptist Bible College.
These years were lean for a young student, wife and children, and in 1950 we returned to Viola in hopes of saving money to allow continuation of schooling at Baptist Bible College in Springfield. Bill worked at Bull Shoals Dam, as I prepared for the birth of our second beautiful daughter, Barbara, born February 15, 1951 in West Plains, MO.
A few months later we moved to Springfield and after Bill graduated in 1952, assumed his first pastorate at Erie, Kansas in January 1953. We again moved in 1955 to a church in Syracuse, KS, staying only a year before moving to California. We returned to Kansas City, KS in December 1957.
We both worked in Kansas City until 1960 when Bill accepted the pastorate of Bible Baptist Church in Osage City, KS.
Our second son, Scott, was born July 24, 1964 in Topeka and I began working at Hallmarks.
We watched our children graduate from Osage City High School, Bill in 1963, Judy in 1964, Barbara in 1969, and Scott in 1982.
I'm not sure if the following also continues Aunt Hazle's report or if it presents only Cousin Bill's additions, but I'll format it as being from Cousin Bill, for Aunt Hazle refers above to 50 years of marriage, whereas what follows refers to 65 years of married life. Whether cousin or aunt, it continues the biblical begats:On May 28, 1965, Judy married Gary Lane, Osage City, and they presented us with grandchildren Michelle, born September 25, 1968, Kevin, born July 7, 1972, and Kristi, born March 22, 1978. Our first grandson-in-law, David Fiedler, married Michelle on November 17, 1990.
Bill Jr. married Marie Nordmeyer, Yates Center, on March 17, 1968, however, we were saddened by Marie’s death in November, 1984. Bill Jr. married Cheryl Johnson Newland, Topeka, on August 21, 1985, once again bringing smiles into our lives.
Barbara married LeRoy Spicer, Osage City, on June 27, 1970 and presented us with grandchildren Bryan, born October 12, 1971 and Sherri, born April 7, 1974.
Scott married Janet Sigler, Lawrence, on June 28, 1986, shortly after college graduation and gave us grandchildren Isaac, born July 14, 1989, Evan, born March 16, 1993 and Morgan, born June 5, 1996.
During all these years we traveled on summer vacations across the United States and enjoyed our expanding family. Probably the highlight of our trips was one made to Israel in 1977 with Barbara and LeRoy.
Finally, in 1988, after 35 years of having children in school we had an empty nest. We decided it was time to retire and have traveled extensively in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
We are very proud of our children and spouses, grandchildren family and the many friends we have made over the years, each bringing a special joy to our lives.
Both of us are thankful that God smiled on and blessed our marriage and has given us these fifty years together.
*Gary and Judy Lane's daughter Michelle and husband David Fiedler presented them with grandchildren:Well, there it is, the story from the time of Grandpa Hodges through Uncle Bill to Cousin Bill and beyond into the future. Other relatives will undoubtedly have learned a lot if still too little, and non-family members may have learned far too much, but at least everybody will be unsatisfied with what they know or don't know and can therefore share their sense of dissatisfaction in common, which is a good thing in a world where we are too often divided by our differences.Victoria Fiedler*Michelle and David divorced in 2007, and Michelle married Todd Henricks in September, 2008.
LeRoy and Barbara Spicer's daughter Sherri and husband Brian Hensyel presented them with grandchildren:Collin HensyelDad and Mom celebrated their 65th Wedding Anniversary on September 7th, 2008, with the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in attendance.
Kristi Lane (Gary and Judy's youngest daughter) married Drew Heintzelman on November 1, 2008.
Peace to all in this Christmas season.