Possum Hollar

Stories about my family

MIRACLES AND TRAGEDIES

THE MIRACLES AND TRAGEDIES OF JANUARY 20, 1967

This is about  a man I never met who sent me a letter which told a story that could have only happened because of a series of miracles.

Several months ago I posted three stories about the battle of January 20, 1967.  (See RECOLLECTIONS…. January 20) at www.possumhollar.com).   After reading these stories, Kevin Caldwell, son of Pace Caldwell, posted a letter of gratitude.

PFC George W McGhee is the hero we carried off the mountain that night.

 

Phyllis and I met Pace and his wife, Dot, in January of 2017 for the first time.  The four of us traced the names of three men killed, January 20, 1967, whose names were etched on the travelling Vietnam Memorial Wall, Ft Benning, GA.  Pace’s name was not on the Wall because he was evacuated from the battlefield under extraordinary circumstances 50 years earlier.

 

Jack, Pace and Dot. Phyllis is taking picture.

 

 

We met Pace and Dot to honor the three KIAs and to celebrate God’s Miracles on that day many years before, which continue to have rippling effects.  Kevin Caldwell’s letter explains.

 

 

Mr Burr:

I would like to thank you for your courage and dedication to upholding “No man left behind”.  I know it was more than a motto and that you and your men upheld it on more than one occasion.  It is the occasion of the time that you held to it in saving Pace Caldwell’s life ( more than once from what I have heard), that I would like to offer my deepest gratitude.  I am the son of Pace born just a little over a year later in 1968. Seeing his image on this page from back then was very moving.  I am also the spitting image of him. His photo looks just like the one of me in uniform many years later that hangs on his wall today. You not only saved his life that day but also made it possible for me to exist as his son. One moment in time that you found the courage and strength to do what was right and brave produced many repercussions that one could have never imagined in that time.  I know as a fellow soldier and human that our vision is very limited and that we can not see or have knowledge of the repercussions of our actions. I wanted to say thank you so that you might experience a sense of pride and gratitude on the deepest level possible.  Your actions not only saved Pace but also allowed all of us that he loves to know uncountable moments of a future that would not have existed without him.  No medal, no words can describe the treasure that is yours due to your actions.  May heaven bless you and those you love 1000 times over for what you have given my family. I live in the D.C. area and have been waiting to see the memorial wall with my father Pace.  I thank you that I will not see his name on that wall and that I am here to be able to see it at all.

Kevin Caldwell’s website adds the following comments:

…… I can never repay Lt Burr and his brave men for the gift of life they have given me. It is for them and their comrades both living and dead and for the 760,000 plus of my fellow citizens in the 6th C.D. In MD, that I offer my services as a representative in Congress.

Pace Caldwell, 3rd plt, A Co, 1/35 Inf Bn, Central Highlands, South Vietnam

I may not be able to repay them directly, but I can honor them by promising them I will never dishonor their service and sacrifice by becoming just another member of the corrupt, dishonest establishment that controls our system of Gov. I instead will fight to my last breath against those who deny us our liberties and subvert the founding principles of our country and the Constitution. In keeping with the great traditions, these men fought to preserve, I vow to do all I can to reflect great credit upon them and to deserve the great honor these men have bestowed upon me.

I never forget, Forever Grateful

/s/ Kevin Caldwell

NOTE:

I can see God’s hand in the above story at several points.

First, it was no small miracle, that any of us survived the battle of January 20, 1967 , because we were inserted five miles from the intended location which put us into an area occupied by a large enemy force.  We suffered 3 KIA and 4 WIA.  The tragedy of January 20,1967.

Next, several hours later as the battle took a turn for the worse a sister unit suddenly appeared on our flank.  I had no knowledge of the friendly unit or their location. Apparently, they didn’t either.

Further, We were fortunate not to have had casualties from friendly fire.  To our good fortune, in the confusion of the battle, the enemy withdrew.

The next miracle occurred when an artillery helicopter flying nearby was persuaded to pick up some of our casualities when higher headquarters denied our requested medivac to pickup our wounded (perhaps for valid reasons).  Without this partiular unexpected extraction of our wounded some would not have survived.  Pace was on this helicopter.

Lastly, the remnant of our platoon walked several miles to the valley below the mountain to the LZ.  We did so at night through enemy controlled area, carrying PFC George William McGhee, our deceased comrade.  Surely God’s Grace saw us through the night.

Fifty years later, Phyllis and I were happy to find out that our new friends Pace and Dot had a strong testimony of faith in God and continually give God the Glory for saving Pace’s life.  Pace and Dot are a wonderful couple who treated Phyllis and I like we were part of their family.

Lastly, Kevin Caldwell’s life and his current endeavors reflect great credit on himself, his family and is further evidence of God’s Grace.

We may never fully know how God’s purpose was furthered by the survivors of January 20, 1967.

However, for me and my house we will serve the Lord

DADS’ RAMBLINGS

This story is about my father, Alfred Daniel Burr, oldest child  of Frank Burr Sr. and Lydia (Stout) Burr of Webber Falls, Oklahoma.

MOM AND DAD, Early 40’s

 

 

I’d thought I’d talk about dad’s ramblings as he put on his philosophers cap from time time. Usually he would tell a story about something that happened to him or others in the past.

 

 

DAD AND ME, taken before he fought in WWII.

While he was a good story teller, he usually had a point to make.  At times his purpose was humor, at other times his point was instructional, sometimes it was both.I learned a lot from watching and listening to dad. He had several sayings he would repeat from time to time. I don’t remember his exact words but I remember his admonitions.  Here are a few:

Treat the other man with respect, you can’t have too many friends.

Smile and be friendly with others, it doesn’t cost you anything.

Find out what the other guy likes to talk about, talk about that.

Be fair in your dealings with others, they’ll come back to see you.

Don’t owe the other man anything, if you can help it.

In business you are competing, get up earlier and work harder than the other man.

When working for the other man give him a full days work or quit.

Be on time and ready to work, it’ll take you a long way.

DAD AND ME, 1968

During one of his ramblings he observed that habits are formed early and usually stay with us throughout life. He cited an example of early married life. If you sleep on one side of the bed the first night, you will probably sleep on the same side for the rest of your life. While the example was cited in jest, the larger point was to establish good habits early.

Dad did not finish the second grade.  I guess many would say he was an uneducated man.  Particularly, if you judge by the number of multi-syllable words in his speech or the number of diplomas he displays on his wall.

However, different criteria is used by many who judge such things.  A little research revealed the following attributes of an educated person: (1)

A person who understands human nature and has the ability to establish, maintain, and improve lasting relationships.

A person who knows how to establish rapport with others; they know how to get others to trust and respect them.

A person who knows how to cooperate and collaborate effectively with others.

A person who knows how to resolve conflicts with others.

A person who knows how to persuade others.

A person who has the ability to conceptualize and solve problems.

A person who knows how to make decisions.

A person who has the capacity to endure and persevere.

A person who has ethical values and has integrity.

A person who has the ability and the discipline to do what is right.

I guess by these standards dad would have a Masters Degree.  He  taught me the important things in life, because he was a teacher not only in word but in deeds as well.

I could go on but if I did, I would be rambling, just like my dad.

(1)  50 Characteristics Of An Educated Person…by Marelisa

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

What a day to be on the water.  Together with my family we had travel north out of Ft Benning on a Friday afternoon, in late spring, 1973.   We had made this trip many times before.  Davis Lake was our favorite campground when we were station at the Infantry School, Ft Benning, GA, where I taught classes.

In fact, Davis Lake was the family favorite of all the many places we camped.  After I unhooked the camper, leveled it, hooked up water and electricity. I got my rubber boat out and prepared it for the water.

After each of us finished our setup chores, the kids went to swim in the pool, Phyllis went to visit with the Davis’s and I pushed off with my tackle ready to catch the big one.

And I knew the big mouth was out there, I simply had to find him.  Well, it may not be all the simple.  Since I had been after it from the first day of fishing here over the past 3 months.  Early spring fishing had been good.  I had caught 6 bass over 5 lbs.

But Saturday had not been a good day.  This morning was a shut out and this afternoon was barely better with only one catch at about 2 lbs.  I had been from one end of the six acre lake to the other.

Now I was revisiting a few of the likely spots before going back to camp. Another 20 minutes and the sun would be setting and I was telling myself this was my last cast.  Just one more.

Live salamander was my favorite bait.  Phyllis was gracious enough to travel the 80 miles to Atlanta for a few dozen salamanders.  Usually she did this on Thursday in preparation for the weekend.

The line was a premium 8 lb test and the hook was a Eagle Claw offset shank.  I used a file to sharpen each hook so that I could set it with the slightest tug and put the drag at about 6 lbs.  Just one more cast.

I am glad that I did.  I could feel the slight line movement when the bait was picked up.  I waited and waited and almost pulled in the line when suddenly the fish made a decisive move and so did I.  I hooked him good and I knew it.

I started reeling and then it happened,  He took off and I held on, adrenaline, pumping.    From the bank he went to deep water.   And then it jumped.  It  jumped high out of the water trying to throw the hook,  The sun was setting on the horizon and perfectly framed the biggest fish I had ever seen.  A beautiful sight.

I get goose bumps just telling the story again.

I worked the fish for another 6-8 minutes before it wrapped the line around a submerged log.  I was unable to get it free and he broke the line and swim off.  I was devastated.  I motored to camp and told all who would listened about the one that got away.

Now the rest of this unbelievable story.

I knew I had about two hours Sunday morning before breaking camp.  My boat and most of the gear had been packed.  I took my open faced ABU Garcia and walked toward the deep end of the lake.

I cast my dead salamander a few times before I got to my place.  The next cast fell just short of the over flow gap and dropped to the bottom.  I left it there a minute or so. in no hurry because I knew it was futile. After all, I had lost the big one yesterday.

As I began to reel in my bait, something took it hard and my reaction was spontaneous.  The fish hardly fought at all but still took 3-4 minutes to get it on the bank.  You will not believe what was hanging from its bottom lip.

A short piece of line with my filed eagle claw hook, with an off set shank and a clinch knot tie in the line firmly embedded in the gill.

Unmistakably the one from yesterday!  It weighed 10 lbs, 8 ozs.

You may find this just another tall tail fish story.  I guess it is but this one is true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY FRIEND BERNARD

MY FRIEND BERNARD

My friend Specialist 4th Class Frank Bernard and I worked in the personnel office attached to an artillery battery stationed in Northern Germany.  Although I worked in the finance office and he worked in records, we were natural competitors. We competed in ping pong, pool and even for the next promotion.   The story I’m going to tell happened in Buren, Germany in 1963.

PHYLLIS AND RICK STANING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN BUREN, GRMANY 

 

 

But first I want to say, I will always be indebted to Sp4 Barnard for helping Phyllis get a port call to join me in Buren in the fall of 1962.  His actions were necessary because the officer charged with that responsibility failed to do so.

MARRIED HOUSING IN BUREN, GERMANY

See: ” When Things Don’t Go Right”  www.posssumhollar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Phyllis and I lived in the same housing unit as the Bernards which  was located about six miles from Camp Stuckerbush (real name), Frank and I  frequently shared rides.

 

 

RICK AND ME TAKEN IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN SPRING OF 1963

One day when it was my turn to drive, he challenged me to a race.  Frank had been “raggin” on me about driving a pile of junk.   Maybe it was but it was my pile of junk.  He would be on foot and I would be driving my ailing 1950 Volkswagen. The distance would be the space between two telephones.  Seeing a chance to win a bet, I agreed.

MY 1950 VOLKSWAGAN

 

Along  a deserted section of road on our way home that afternoon I stopped the car and Frank got out and took the runners starting position. He yelled “go” and took off.  I got a slow start but it didn’t matter because ten seconds later he started limping with a pulled hamstring.

I didn’t take his dollar.  Further, I think I would’ve lost because the old VW was slow on the take off.

Another quick story.  A few weeks later it was Bernard’s turn to drive on a morning when fog was so dense it was difficult to see the narrow road.  We were running late for work but Berdnard  said, I will get us there on time.

Suddenly, a truck appeared in front of us and Bernard steered his car into an orchard to miss the truck but he hit an apple tree.

The farmer who owned the tree was nearby and called the police.  We didn’t get to work on time.

There was a tradition in the farming area where we lived that if someone harmed the farmer’s livelihood, the aggrieved farmer was entitled to remedy.

For example, if someone accidentally ran over a chicken, the farmer would be entitled to compensation for all the eggs the chicken would have laid for the life of the chicken.

I suppose that the amount of compensation was based on an historical analysis of the average life span of a typical egg laying hen similar to the kind killed in the accident.

Since I know something about chickens and how finicky some laying hens can be and the multitude of things that can effect the health and life span of a chicken, it seems that if a case went to court, the defense attorney would have a field day with the assumptions about chickens.

I don’t know anything about apple trees.

Phyllis and I returned to the United States shortly after this incident and I don’t know if Specialist Bernard paid the farmer for the future crops of the damaged apple tree.  Like many families in military service, our paths never crossed again.

We hoped he escaped the farmer’s outrageous claim.

LIVING IN GERMANY

LIVING IN GERMANY

Buren was an agrarian community with multi-generational families residing on the same farm.  Based on the chilly reception we received,  I think our arrival was seen as an intrusion on their way of life.  Notwithstanding all  of these things, my family was back together and that was the important thing.

PHYLLIS STANDING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW, BUREN GERMANY

 

 

A month or so after her arrival, Phyllis experienced the animosity of an older gentleman while she was driving to the commissary in Kassel, about 80 kilometers South of Buren.  When she stopped at a stop sign in one of the small villages the old man hit the rear fender of the car with his cane.

 

 

Obviously, the sound scared her and as she turned to see what happened, the man waved his cane for  her to move on.  Phyllis continued to the commissary but she was wary whenever she was away from home.

On another occasion while she was driving, she found herself behind a large truck.  When the truck stopped, she stopped a safe distance behind the truck.  Suddenly the truck started backing and before Phyllis could respond, the truck hit her car.

I had the bright idea of buying an old VW with the intention of spray painting the dash and door panels. I made a MESS.

Neither driver could communicate with the other.   A  policeman was summoned.  The truck driver claimed Phyllis drove into the back of his vehicle.

Of course, that was not the case but the policeman gave her a summons to appear before a local judge who would adjudicate the matter.  The judge sided with the truck driver but did not issue a fine.

Although we were not accepted by the local community, we took sightseeing trips on Camp Stuckerbush.

We didn’t know at the time, but we would be leaving Germany in a couple of months so that I could attend Officers Candidate School, Ft Benning, Ga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINTER IN GERMANY

SNOW, SNOW AND MORE SNOW

I had been in Germany for 4 months when my wife, Phyllis, and our son, Rick, arrived in Buren in January of 1963.  Their arrival was punctuated by a brutal and prolonged winter.  The winter of 1962-1963 was statistically the coldest winter of the 20th Century in many parts of Europe.  Online library weather service called it the big freeze.

COLDEST WINTER OF THE 20TH CENTURY LEFT SNOW PILES ON THE GROUND FOR WEEKS

 

 

Heavy snowfalls stayed on the ground for weeks on end due to the fridged temperatures.

PHYLLIS STANDING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW, BUREN GERMANY

 

 

 

On our meager budget, Phyllis and I had to live on about $210. a month.  After paying bills we barely had sufficient funds left to eat and buy gas to drive to and from work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our son Rick Rick walking across the foot bridge linking the Bungalow to the parking lot during the spring of 1963.

 

 

 

 

Summer finally came and we were able to enjoy the outdoors with our son Rick

RICK STARTED WALKING WHEN HE WAS ABOUT A YEAR OLD.

 

As you might guess, our life centered around Rick.   One day after work, Phyllis and I were hugging when Rick came running up saying “hold me, hold me”.  We picked him up and held him between us.  He looked at both of us and said, “we family”.  And we were.

On November 22,1963, President Kennedy was killed and Camp Stockerbush was placed on high alert and remained so for several weeks.  There were rumors that the assassination  would start WW III and Germany would have been right in the middle of such an event.

A few weeks later, I was surprised when The Artillery Battery Commander called me to his office and informed me that he had recommended me for Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning GA.  I would report for duty in February, 1964, which was less than two months away.

TAKEN IN FRONT OF OCS BARACKS IN 1964

I hurried home to tell Phyllis.  We both were elated and ready to go back home. We left in early January, 1964.  Germany had not been a good experience for either of us.  We were anxious to go back to Oklahoma and the good old USA.

I was also looking forward to being promoted after OCS, particularly the increase in pay.  Unfortunately, 2nd Lieutenant pay was actually less than E-5 pay.  Oh well, that was for only two years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOING TO GERMANY

GOING TO GERMANY

Phyllis and I had been in Lawton, OK for about two years.   I was a Specialist 4th class, Finance Clerk, assigned to Ft Sill.  We had been married almost 4 years and Rick was now three months old.  We had settled into a family routine.  That was about to change.

The Commander called me to his office in August, 1962 and offered me a promotion if I would join the Advance Party for our unit which was relocating to Buren Germany,    He gave me four hours to make the decision.

Taken outside our apartment in Lawton, OK.  

 

 

I hurried home to discuss this decision with Phyllis.  The Advance Party would be leaving in a few weeks and the families would follow in about two months.  The main body was scheduled to arrive in January, 1963.

Phyllis left the decision to me and I decided to go.  We both realized this was a big step and would  probably lead to a to a twenty year commitment.

Phyllis and I loaded up our belongings and headed to Tulsa to settle Phyllis in with her folks.  Bill and Ellen graciously let Phyllis and Rick stay with them for the expected two months when she could join me in Germany.

BUREN IS LOCATED ABOUT 280 KILOMETERS NORTH OF FRANKFORT,JUST SOUTH OF PADERBORN (FIND FRANKFURT,  PADERBORN IS ABOUT THREE INCHES NORTH)

The mission of the Advance Party was to establish a base for an Artillery Unit in Germany and would be named Camp Stockerbusch.  The base would be a  NATO Corps Level nuc storage for the Nike Herc missile warhads to be used if needed by all NATO forces in North and Central Germany.   Remember that this time period was the height of the cold war and Russian intentions were taken seriously by military planers.

JOHN HARTWICK WAS A GOOD FRIEND TO MY FAMILY. JOHN LIVED IN PA AND DESPITE MANY ATTEMPTS TO LOCATE HIM DURING THE PAST 40 YEARS WE COULDN’T FIND HIM.

 

 

PFC John Hartwick and I were a two man Finance Team responsible for providing accurate and timely monthly pay and allowance to about two hundred enlisted and officers in the Artillery and Support units stationed at Camp Stuckerbusch.  In those days, pay and allowance calculations were done with pencil and paper using pay tables and regulations.  I enjoyed my job.

 

THE BUNGALOW ON THE RIGHT WAS ASSIGNED TO THE BURR’S

 

 

Phyllis did not arrive after two months as planned.  Unfortunately, it was over four months before they joined me because the Advance Party Commander neglected to provide quarters for my family.  Phyllis and Rick arrived in January instead.  (I wrote about our disappointment in the military command structure, “When Things Don’t Turn Out  Right”, published a few months ago.

PHYLLIS AND RICK STANDING IN FRONT OF OUR BUNGALOW IN BUREN, GRMANY

 

 

Phyllis and Rick arrived in early January and we moved into quarters leased for the military community.   The local community did not appear to welcome our arrival. In fact, the locals seemed to resent our presence. My initial impressions were reinforced  during the next several months living in Buren, Germany.

Although the local community resented the Americans, it had little affect of us because we spent most of social time at the NCO club at Camp Stuckerbush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROUTE 66

ROUTE 66

The year was 1952.  The four Burr kids were excited when their parents, Alfred and Addie, announced the family would be leaving for Stratford. CA in the morning.  That was usually the way it  happened.  All of a sudden we were loading up for the long drive.

I THINK THIS WAS TAKEN IN STRATFORD CA 1952   R FRONT BRENDA, ALFREDA, LEO, DAD. ME, MOM

I don’t know how many times my family went to California in the late 40’s and up until about 1955.  I would guess five.  It was during the time that my folks were trying to make a go of farming a small piece of land southeast of Warner,  OK.

  Of course we visited our friends, but the main reason for our trip to California was to make some money to pay for seed and other necessities to make the farm go one more year.

USED TO SEE THESE SIGNS EVERYWHERE

We always traveled Route 66.  As most kids do, we made a game of reading road signs and counting cars.   I’ve included some of those signs.

OLD HISTORIC SIGN IN SAPULPA, OK

LONG AND STRAIGHT STRETCH IN ARIZONIA

 

The Big Texan Steakhouse, home of the FREE  72 oz steak (if you can eat it all), first started in Amarillo,  TX.  (The Big Texan didn’t open until 1960, but I thought I’d included because of the iconic sign)

FILLING STATION ALONG ROUTE 66

Travelers had to plan fuel stops since gas stations were few and far between.

MOM AND DAD, PROBABLY 1951

The Sinclair Gas Station was a common stop.    Notice the gas price and the added value of Green Stamps.

The home of the original McDonald’s was opened in 1940, was sold and reopened with a museum.  The question of the location of the first DcDonald’s has been debated but the evidence points the the one below and is located in San Bernardino, CA on Route 66.  Picture taken in 1955.

THE BURR KIDS, 1949 OR 50

JACK, LEO, ALFREEDA, AND BRENDA, THE YOUNGEST

                                                            NINE BURR KIDS

Most times our first stop would the Homer Burr family.

  COTTON READY FOR PICKING 

After a few days of playing and visiting, dad found work for the family.  Usually cotton was ready to pick in early May.  Most of the time we got to the cotton patch by 6 AM while dew was still on the cotton.  I don’t know how much weight the dew added to a sack but every little bit helped.

The girls didn’t pull a sack but they contributed by putting cotton in piles in the row in front of one of the rest of us.  We would work hard and fast to meet our quota so we could go home.  Usually that was 2000 lbs.  At $4. a hundred lbs, we could make $1,600. in twenty days.  After that, we would pull bolls for a week or so, for a total of $2,000.

I’M THE DOCTOR, LEO IS GIVING UP, SONNY IS SERIOUSLY HURT.AND JOHNNY THINKS IT’S FUNNY

Next, we would cut grapes for 3 or 4 weeks which was not as productive as cotton.  It takes more strength to cut and carry grapes.  Usually only three of us worked the grape fields.  Making an additional $1,000. was the most we could expect.

Anyone who knew my folks would say they were persistent in trying to hold on to the farm but in the end they lost and had to start over.

And they did.

NOTE:  Some of  the above pictures were taken from other sources but all were along Route 66.

 

 

 

TAKING THE IN-LAWS ON VACATION

After I retired from military service in 1981, our family moved to Tulsa, minus our oldest son who stayed in Wichita, KS to be near his girlfriend whom he married a short time later.  We choose Tulsa above other places because we wanted to be near to our larger family.

We had traveled a lot while in the Army but now we wanted to travel for  different reasons.  We bought a GMC Motorhome before we left Kansas.

THIS WAS OUR FIRST  MOTORHOME, A 1973 GMC.

Phyllis and I wanted to reestablish a close relationship with those we loved, especially our parents.  What better way to do that than to have a joint vacation with both sets of parents.  But where to go?

JACK AND PHYLLIS BURR A FEW MONTHS AFTER WE RETIRED FROM ARMY LIFE .

We decided to go to California for two reasons.  First, a mountain in Northern California was named after one of Bill Lasson’s Ancestors.

ALFRED AND ADDIE BURR IN FRONT OF COWBOY HISTORICAL MUESUM IN OKLAHOMA CITY

Next, my parents had made several trips to Bakersfield , Stratford and the San Joaquin Valley in the early 50’s. Many of our friends still lived in the area.

BILL AND ELLEN LASSON IN FRONT OF THE COWBOY MUSEUM, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

We started with the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City which is home to 28,000 Western and Indian artworks and artifacts.  It also contains an extensive collection of American rodeo photographs, barbed wire, saddlery and early rodeo trophies.

ELLEN IN THE PASSENGER SEAT AS PHYLLIS DROVE THE MOTORHOME.

BILL LASSON WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO HELP

EVERYONE TAKING PICTURES

We traveled through the Oklahoma panhandle, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  Phyllis drove much of the time which included the precariously narrow mountainous road on our way to Old Tucson, Arizona.

A GUNFIGHT IN THE STREET OF OD TUCSON

Old Tucson is a movie studio and theme park just west of Tucson, Arizona.  Built in 1939 for the movie Arizona (1940), it has been used for the filming of several movies and television westerns since then, such as Gunfight at OK Corral (1957), El Dorado (1966), and Little House on the Prairie TV series in the 1970s-1980s.  It was opened to the public in 1960.

I THINK THIS WAS A REST STOP BEFORE WE GOT TO THE PAINTED DESERT.

ELLEN, BILL AND JACK TAKEN NEAR THE PAINTED DESERT

PAINTED DESERT

The Painted Desert is located in the four corners running from the east end of the Grand Canyon southeast into the Pertified Forest.  The Painted Desert is known for its brilliant and varied colors.  The Painted Desert continues north into the Navajo Nation where off-road travel is permitted

A stop at the Petrified Forest.

PHYLLIS AND ELLEN TAKING A BREAK WHILE AT THE PETRIFIED FOREST.

PETRIFIED FOREST

The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees.  The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful formations from which the painted desert gets its name.  In addition to petrified logs, fossils found in the park include many plants and fauna, giant reptile , amphibians and early dinosaurs.

MY JOB WAS TO CARRY THE SHOPPING BAG

Of course we had to stop at one of the many shopping venues along the way

HEARST CASTLE

ALFRED BURR ADMIRING THE HUGE SWIMIMG POOL AT HEARST CASTLE

The Hearst Castle was the residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst who died in 1951.  In 1954 it became a California State Park and opened to visitors in 1958. It was designated as a State Histoical Monument including its considerable collection of art and antiques.

FRONT VIEW OF HEARST CASTLE

Next Stop San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.  Phyllis drove across the bridge and back.

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

ME STANDING NEAR BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

After a brief stay in San Francisco we started north to Lasson Mountain; however we turned around and headed back to Oklahoma because of the bad weather.

GLAD TO BE HOME

Everyone had a great time but there is no place like home.  We plan to make this trip again without our parents.

NOTE:  Some of the above pictures were taken from other sources.

 

 

 

 

 

ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER

In 1989 Phyllis and I learned of the acute need for foster parents in our community.  Such a shame that so many innocent children are in need of parental love and supervision.  Because of Phyllis’ deep and abiding love for children, we decided to become foster parents.

Christa was a beautiful nine month old child.

Before we could become foster parents, Phyllis and I had to attend training sessions.  Because our foster child had sleep apnea and required a night time monitor, we were required to learn how to use the monitor to detect chest movement and heart rate.  Our daughter was living at home while attending Baptist Bible College also attended the sessions.

Christa came to us from dysfunctional family.  Her biological father was involved with drugs and was not around.  The mother, Mary, was having difficulty coping with all the responsibilities of parenthood.  As a result, Christa was removed from the home.

CHRISTA WAS A JOY TO BE AROUND AND  FIT RIGHT IN WITH OUR FAMILY

 

 

 

 

The first night we had Christa, we nervously hooked up the leads on her little body, fussed over her a bit and set the machine to alarm if something went wrong.  After everyone was asleep a loud  alarm caused the three of us to rush to Christa’s bedroom.

When the light was switched on we saw Christa sitting up in her crib with a monitor clip in her hand and a grin on her face.  Perhaps it was a triumphant smile.

After we determined that every thing was OK, we laughed with her.  Christa had a  wonderful personality.

Always smiling and eager to please others.

Ultimately, all of us wanted Christa to return to her biological mother.  But fist the home environment needed to improve.

The social worker admired Phyllis’s work as a foster mother and asked her if she would help Mary.  Of course, Phyllis agreed.

Mary loved Christa and wanted her back.  However, she saw the need for placing her child in a foster home in the first place.   In fact, she taught Christa to call us “Mama Phyllis and Daddy Jack” and was willing to share her daughter.

Mary was a willing learner.  She learned home making and child rearing skills over the next several weeks.  During the process, Mary became a good friend and a better parent.

When it was time, the social worker told us that Christa should be returned to Mary.  Mary invited us to visit Christa whenever we wished.

Mary was gracious with her daughter.  She let Christa stay with us on weekends and once we took her on vacation to Colorado.  Another time she visited us when we lived in Muskogee, Oklahoma several years later.

Still as a teenager, Christa continued to call us “Momma Phyllis and Daddy Jack”.   She grew up to be a responsible adult.  Christa is a wonderful person and loving parent.

A second foster child is another story.

 

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