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COPYRIGHT © 2023 by Peter Frederick Snyder III MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Our Nation Under Attack from Within All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, Peter F. Snyder III of Ringgold, GA, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including international, federal, state and local governing professional licensing, business practices, advertising, and all other aspects of doing business in the US, Canada or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader and consumer. Neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of the consumer or reader of this material. Any perceived slight of any individual or organization is purely unintentional. Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Cover Design by Cutting Edge Studio Library of Congress Control Number: 2022922887 ISBN: 979-8-9868194-0-2 for ebook ISBN: 979-8-9868194-1-9 for paperback ISBN: 979-8-9868194-2-6 for hardback CONTENTS VI Dedication Prologue 1 1. NORTH & SOUTH 3 2. Mississippi 12 3. Texas 17 4. Back to Jersey 21 5. Off to College 31 6. Dropout 45 7. Dad’s Military Experience 53 8. Meeting The Draft Board 58 9. Leaving Clemson 60 10. NORTH TO BOSTON 69 11. Alternative Service 73 12. Seduced By Popular Culture 76 13. A New Job 79 14. Flex-Wing Gliders 81 15. Icarus II Rigid Wing 97 16. Motorized Flight 104 17. Mount Washington Flight 110 18. Time To Move On 115 19. SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 118 20. Finding Treasure 131 21. Community Service 133 22. Career 135 23. Family History 145 24. Colonel Snyder 152 25. Battle of Shiloh 168 26. Battle of Chickamauga 173 27. Battle of Chattanooga 179 28. Battle of Ringgold Gap 181 29. CONVERGENCE 191 30. Celebration 204 31. HISTORY SPEAKS 206 32. Thomas Hooke McCallie 208 33. Benjamin Morgan Palmer 215 34. Jonathan Waverly Bachman 219 35. Benjamin Lloyd Goulding 222 36. Samuel Josiah Abner Frazier 225 37. Shaderick Searcy 228 38. One More Story 232 39. SMOOTH SAILING 234 40. Sailing Club 236 41. Northern Gulf Coast Cruising 239 42. What Matters 254 43. DARKEST JUST BEFORE DAWN 261 44. The Vultures Are Landing 267 45. Forgotten or Ignored 270 46. More Attacks 278 47. Darkness Deepens 283 48. Battle Hymn of The Kingdom 293 Epilogue 301 Can you help? 310 Acknowledgements 311 Dedication This book is dedicated to several people who came along my path and steered me in a good direction. John Acorn: sculptor and friend Harold “Bud” Cross: “boss” and friend Kay Arthur: teacher and guide Ben Haden: newspaperman, lawyer, pastor “Watch the path of your feet, And all your ways will be established.” Proverbs 4:26 POLGLUE “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3 Every day opens a new surprise package. Every life has unexpected surprises. Hardly anything turns out the way we thought it would. This story is my life journey through our country’s North and South, my experience of cultural tensions deepened by family ties, research and study, and a depiction of very concerning divisions in our country today. I’ve been a wanderer, but the Hound of Heaven never lost my scent.1 As I was exposed to cultural differences between the North and South, my curiosity grew. I wish I had learned earlier to discern the truths about them, to see the unseen from the beginning. We cannot see gravity, but we see the effects of it all around us. We cannot see the wind, but we can see the effects of it. We cannot see the Spirit, but we can see the 1. “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson (1859-1907) Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917. Also refer to: https://en 2 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE effects of it. I have a hunger for truth. We learn to identify the spirit of people by their fruits. “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”2 Please note that the full names of some contemporary individuals have been changed to protect their privacy. Also, the reader may have questions about my perspective on the military. My views have changed over time, as portrayed in this story. Ultimately, I have utmost respect for those who served in our military and will be eternally grateful for their faithful service and sacrifice. Peter F. Snyder III 2. Will and Ariel Durant, “Epilogue – Why Rome Fell,” Caesar and Christ: The Story of Civilization, Volume III 1 NORTH& SOUTH The Journey Begins I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall deliver children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” ~ Genesis 3:16 Giving birth around Thanksgiving Day, 1946, was painful enough, but she didn’t know what she was in for when she birthed me. The first of many disappointments came as Mom could not have her traditional turkey dinner. Seventh-day Adventist Hospitals serve no meat to patients. But a good friend smuggled in a turkey sandwich for her. That was a minor problem compared to how I turned out — a hard-to-manage kid, sometimes. Generally pliable, but I developed a stubborn streak, which must have come from the family tree because many of us were stubborn, including Mom. Dad’s father teased Mom because she was such a skinny lady. He would spot a hefty-looking woman, and he’d say to Mom, “Look, Ditty (that was her nickname), now there’s a woman made to be a mother of men.” And he would chuckle a bit. He wanted a grandson. When I came along, she had to tease him back a bit and say, “So now what do you say, Pop?” 4 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE (That was his nickname.) And he would reply, “I guess you, too, were made to be a mother of men!” Takoma Park, my birthplace, is below the Mason-Dixon Line, and Mom’s family origins were profoundly Southern. She was born and raised in Mississippi. But I lived most of my childhood up north. This geographic and cultural juxtaposition set up a curious lifelong intrigue. Dad’s family origins appeared to me as Northern because he was born and raised around Washington, D.C., and we moved to northern New Jersey when I was in second grade. About 1953, Dad picked out the Jersey apartment by himself because he didn’t want to carry the whole family around house hunting. My sister had joined the family by then. When Mom first saw the place, outside and in, tears welled up in her eyes, and she said to Dad, “You’ve brought me to a slum ….” It really wasn’t all that bad. Dad painted the whole inside, which helped a lot. It was a housing project with multiple apartments in each building. The duplicated buildings marched into rectangles around courts, or open areas, with a concrete walkway passing in front of the buildings in a big rectangle, with parking behind the buildings. When we were there, only spindly trees ineffectively graced the courtyards. It seemed barren of landscaping. I visited there many years later and saw the trees much taller and broadly spread as effective shade trees. What a difference! I used to play soldier with friends in the dirt outside our apartment. We set up boxes to hide behind and used our toy guns to shoot at imaginary enemies. One boy, however, was a bit older and picked a “real” fight with me. I can’t remember what it was about, probably just that we were in make-believe mode and he taunted us that we couldn’t really fight. Push came to shove and he got me down pretty quickly. But I got up as he was walking away, thinking I’d show him! Well, he showed me again that I wasn’t much of NORTH & SOUTH 5 a front yard brawler. I never was much for a physical contest, always a skinny kid with not much mass or muscle. I got put down another time, in another way, that I remember clearly. Dad took me sledding near the school I attended. We were walking along on a fairly level, snow packed road with our sled behind Dad. I was jabbering about something, probably inconsequential. Dad said, “You sure do talk a lot.” I thought about that for a while and asked, “Does that mean we’re only allowed so many words in our lifetime?” He responded with a simple, “Yes.” That shut me up for a while. He was not one to lose an argument, probably well trained by his lawyer father. I don’t think I ever won an argument with Dad. He became a professional negotiator in later years. We made some good friends in East Paterson, and got to know the area better. We discovered the urban sprawl stopped just over the hill west of Paterson. So, after about a year there, we moved to Wayne Township, just west of the “urban blight,” as I came to think of it, where the towns all ran together. You couldn’t tell where one town ended and the next began. We got west of all that and into the hills and trees and lakes, the pretty part of middle, north Jersey. We moved in 1954 or ’55 to a street named Terhune Drive after Albert Payson Terhune, author of some popular dog stories. I became fascinated by the history of that area. My sister and I both think it was the best place we ever lived as kids. She is three years younger than I. Little brother David was born while we lived there. He’s ten years younger than I, and he inherited the comedian gene. The house we rented was an older, Victorian-style wood-framed structure that had a half-round section like a turret with a cone-shaped roof. I always felt it had an air of mystery. The garage walls were made of stone and 6 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE had a stone arch on the front and back. The front arch was filled in with wood frame and clapboard. We found out that it had been the gateman’s house for the old Cecil B. DeMille mansion, which had burned down years earlier. Cars used to drive up through what became our garage. We had small, kid-sized closets upstairs under the eaves I could crawl into and explore what I thought of as secret passages. But I was too big to ever get through to wherever they went. The grounds had been landscaped like a park with a mix of large evergreens, leafy deciduous trees and boxwood hedges around a grassy side yard that was perfect for tossing balls. There was a large dog run in the back yard with a fence about 8 feet tall and narrow, concrete paving at its base on the inside so the dogs couldn’t dig their way out. House on Terhune Drive in snow, ca 1956. There was a forest to one side of our house, and I would go exploring. One place at the edge of it caught my curiosity. It had a good view, and I would go there and watch cars run up and down the hill. My perch was high above the road. Roadbuilders for Terhune Drive had cut deeply into NORTH & SOUTH 7 this hillside in order to build the road between that hill and Pompton Lake. That cut left a pretty high cliff on our side of the street, but it had a rounded top edge. I got too far out on that edge one time and felt myself slipping toward the drop-off. Lots of loose stones felt like odd-shaped marbles rolling under me. I was able to sit and spread out my hands and feet on the ground to stop sliding and ease myself back up the hill. I never did go back so close to that edge again. But it seems like this became the story of my life, precipice sitting. I did that kind of thing in disobeying Mom one day. Our landlord’s youngest son had a brand-new metal toy truck that was big enough and stout enough for a kid to lay flat on top of the trailer box to steer the cab. He let me try it, and I enjoyed riding it down the sidewalk from his house toward ours. He started hollering for me to give it back to him. The truck made a loud roar as the hard rubber wheels bounced down the walk and resonated in the walls of the truck trailer. Mom was hanging out laundry on the line, heard the ruckus and started shouting at me to give it back to him. I’d roll a bit farther down the walk and say, “What?” She would shout her command again, and I’d roll a bit farther and shout back, “What?” Meanwhile, the boy was in tears. I thought he was faking it. But Mom got very, very upset. She marched out and grabbed me, trundled me into the house, and gave me a whipping with a belt. That didn’t happen very often. I can remember only two other occasions. Mom developed a guilty conscience over her anger with me, and in later life repeatedly asked my forgiveness. Of course, I forgave her, but it still bothered her. And, I suppose it colored my behavior toward her for years afterward. She did have a scriptural reason for corporal punishment, as Proverbs 29:15 says: “The rod and a rebuke give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way 8 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE brings shame to his mother.” However, her anger was not always justified. On the other side of our house was a mansion sited on ten acres. At that time, it belonged to a family that started one of the first department stores. Pop would go into a store like that and say, “My goodness, look at all the things I don’t want, and I don’t need.” He really did have all he needed. I went exploring behind our house on my bicycle and found a place my friends and I called “The Glen,” down below the Pines Lake dam. The Glen was a deep, wooded ravine that started at the Pines Lake dam. The dam had been built back in the thirties and had only enough width at the top for a one-lane road that curved along one single, smooth and continuous arc from one bank to the other. The lake water came right up to beneath the roadway on one side, and it was usually very still and placid. People in canoes and rowboats would come up very close to the roadway and chain-link fence. There was no danger of anyone falling over the dam as the fence was very strong, and the roadway blocked boats entirely. Some of the guys would fish from the dam. Water from the lake slid about 65 feet down the dam wall into a stream that always flowed through the deep ravine. The ravine walls were very steep at the dam but gradually sloped gently enough that we could walk or ride our bikes right down to the stream. The mostly pine forest carpeted the ground with a soft bed of pine needles down to where the stream was quiet, wide, and shallow. The stream curved around to the right into some big pools with boulders and trees fallen across. We used to balance our way on those logs to cross the creek, occasionally falling in and spreading our socks out to dry on the rocks in the afternoon sun. It was just beautiful, with shaded areas under tall pines and a few deciduous trees. NORTH & SOUTH 9 The rocky cliffs had roots hugging the rocks so we could climb up and down with lots of handholds and foot perches. A couple of flat rocks jutted out from the cliffs, and we named them “Indian Ledge” and “Lookout Shelf.” Sunlight filtered down to the water and made it sparkle. We would watch frogs, tiny minnows, salamanders and small turtles lazing about or darting here and there. I just enjoyed spending time down there with my friends and our dogs. It was a natural playground and a safe place to hang out. Now it’s a bird sanctuary. The Pines Lake community started as a vacation spot with log cabins and small bungalows. Then it grew into a year-round community with several community beaches. There was an island across from our beach that we called Indian Island. It had lots of sassafras trees. The lake was about a half-mile behind our house, and we enjoyed swimming and fishing in the lake. I got to play sponge tag with small, dinghy sailboats where one player would take a big car wash-type sponge and heave it to hit another boat, then try to get away from him. We didn’t own a boat, but several of my schoolmates had them and let me aboard. I was fascinated by how those guys could make their boats go faster than I could. Every boat on the lake was powered by wind or paddle, except for one powerboat used only for emergency service. Television had been out just a few years, and there were fun shows for kids like Howdy Doody and Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Lassie was a favorite, too, as were Sky King and Sea Hunt. There were many cowboy shows, too, like The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Cisco Kid, and Roy Rogers. Movies were full of WWII Allies’ victories over the Axis. I loved to build plastic models of World War II airplanes and a few other military vehicles. Our country was proud of its role in the war, and rightly so. I even named our dog “Bomber.” He grew to have a free run of the countryside, and I got reports 10 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE about him exploring the other side of Pines Lake. But he always came home for supper. I also became fascinated with the Indian lore of that area. The Leni Lenape Indians had inhabited that part of the state as well as some of Pennsylvania and New York. I read a few interesting books about Indians, and I remember one in particular about Crazy Horse, a Sioux Indian from out west, and another, Sitting Bull by Shannon Garst. I also read a great one about Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. I took up shooting bows and arrows with friends, and some of us were pretty good shots! Another imaginative book from childhood I remember was The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, in which Dr. Dolittle learns to talk with animals and becomes a friend to animals worldwide. It’s been updated for the modern reader by Hugh Lofting’s son, and a movie was recently made from it. In the winter of 1955, I graduated from Cub Scouts and moved up into the Boy Scouts. I was excited about my first overnight campout. It was to be in the Ramapo Mountains of Northwest Jersey, not far from where we were living in Wayne. Snow, ten inches deep, was already on the ground when we got there. Drivers had to take us 2 miles back into the woods where we spent the night in small bunk-style cabins, four people to a cabin. Somebody tried to tell us George Washington slept in one of those cabins, but he didn’t have a gas heater like we did. This cold winter night would give those heaters something to roar about. The logs in the walls didn’t fit together tightly, the cracks loosely chinked with cement and straw. You could peek right through the walls in a bunch of places. Lots of initials were carved into the logs, too. I managed to pass my fire-building test with three matches on an ice crust that overlaid the snow. Somebody said we might get more snow. So that night, instead of having an outdoor campfire, we met in the mess hall with a great NORTH & SOUTH 11 roaring fire in the big stone fireplace. When we went off to our bunk-bed cabins, snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifted down through the night air. It’s a good thing we were sleeping in cabins because it snowed 4 feet that night! It’s also a good thing the cabin doors opened inward. Otherwise, we’d never get out by ourselves. Open the door, and there was a wall of snow! We dug tunnels to get to the outhouse and mess hall. The bigger boys could push through it, but we smaller boys thought it was kind of cool to tunnel our way. We had to pop up like Arctic prairie dogs to see where we were. The snow was up to the roofs of the cars, and back then, the cars were tall. We stayed a second night, which was not the original plan. The leaders made calls to parents to let them know we were okay. And they made plans to pick us up at the main road after plows cleared it. We had to hike out, and as I was the littlest scout, I got to follow at the tail end of the single-file march. We did have fun. 2 MISSISSIPPI During the summers, Dad would drive us down to Starkville, Mississippi, where Mom’s family lived. I remember traveling down the hilly, three-lane Jeff Davis highway. We had Fords in those days, and my favorite was the yellow ’56 station wagon with white around the windows. Mississippi was quite a contrast in culture. Upon arrival, my cousins would accuse me of being a Yankee. But I would pick up a slight accent down there and get accused of being a redneck or rebel when I returned home to New Jersey. This was my introduction to a complexity my mind and heart have been trying to untangle ever since. Mississippi was a different world. My Mississippi grandparents lived in a two-story brick Sears and Roebuck catalog house on Main Street with a screened porch that wrapped around the left front and left side, with a big porch swing inside near the back. You came in the front door of the house to the sitting room, which was like a living room. There was another sitting room they called a parlor to the left that looked out onto the screened porch. Then behind the parlor was a big dining room, and the kitchen was behind that. Straight ahead from the living room was a central stair that went up and to the right to a large landing with a big window that always had indoor plants on shelves. There were three bedrooms at the top of that stair with a whole-house fan above that pulled air MISSISSIPPI 13 from the living areas up into the attic, where it exhausted out the gable vents. Plus, there was a screened sleeping porch on the back of the house, adjacent to one of the bedrooms and above the kitchen, that had a huge fan in a 5-foot square housing that made a wonderful bass hum. There was a train siding behind the house that served a Borden Milk facility. I remember the train’s brakes hissing and cars jolting together and moving out. There was also a detached garage at the back of the property that used to be a stable. Watercolor with Pen & Ink by the author – East Main Street, Starkville, Miss. Mom’s mother, “Miss Patt,” had been a teacher at a girls’ school in Asheville, N.C. She married Dave on the condition that she wouldn’t have to cook in the kitchen. So, they always had African American women who worked in the kitchen and cleaned the house. As a kid, Mom loved to sit in the kitchen and listen to them talk. Some of them were real characters. Flora was good with us grandkids and often played with us. I called them “ladies” once, and Mom told me not to call them that. She lived to repent of that attitude. 14 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Mom told my sister she was taught that African American folks were not that bright, and all they could do was manual labor. It wasn’t until she married a “northerner” and moved away from Mississippi that she learned otherwise. She ultimately found she had to do everything around the house by herself as Dad could not afford to hire help for many years. As I look back on it now, stories of George Washington Carver and his genius in the laboratory were not commonly known, nor had most people even heard of Booker T. Washington. Thomas Sowell and Dr. Ben Carson had not appeared on the scene yet, nor had Clarence Thomas or Candace Owens. At the advent of the space age, we learned about the African American women at NASA who, as accomplished mathematicians, helped plot the safe return of our stranded astronauts in Apollo 13. Black folks have just as much potential as anybody — from athletics to scholastics to scientific research. Mom was cared for as an infant by a black “mammy.” And when she reached her final days at age 97, she was cared for by several black women, some of whose company she truly enjoyed. Sandra used to take her out to pick up lunch and drive to a pond where they fed the ducks. Their banter back and forth was a delight to both of them. Sandra and Cindy wept like part of our family when Mom passed. Next door to Mom’s childhood home lived Aunt Pony and Uncle Harry. He could wiggle his big ears so much I was certain I could feel a breeze. Millie Barr was a distant aunt who took my sister and me on road trips, showing us some of the Southern countryside. She had a wonderful 1949 silver Buick Roadmaster with a big sun visor over the windshield. It was a treat to ride in. One time Millie took us to an “Indian Cave” that promised to be particularly interesting. She told us there were Indian paintings on the walls inside. We stopped to meet a park ranger who showed us where the small entrance to the cave was. We would never have MISSISSIPPI 15 found it without him. But the opening was so small that we had to crawl through it. The grownups wouldn’t even try it. The ranger said there were plans to open up the entrance for public access. We had no flashlight, and the ranger told us there was water inside, so we shouldn’t go in too far. Millie gave us some matches to light our way. But there wasn’t enough oxygen in there to keep a flame going. We didn’t get to see the paintings. But we had fun doing what we did, and Millie Barr bought ice cream for us on the way home. Another little adventure I cherish was with friends of the family, an architect and his children, who took us swinging on birch trees like in Robert Frost’s poem, “Birches.” Although, I don’t think we were swinging on an actual specie of birch tree. Some smaller cousins could climb up, swing out, and be let gently down to earth. But when I tried it, I swung out and was let down partway until SNAP! And I hit the ground, landing on my feet. We had lots of fun with those kids swimming in the local pool and visiting in their home. Another favorite place I found outside of Starkville was my grandfather Dave’s farm, about 10 miles out in the country on the old Sessums Road. He had the farm in spite of Miss Patt’s objections. She wanted him to be a businessman, not a farmer. A century ago, he managed the Starkville Cotton Oil Mill and Ice Factory. But he loved that farm, a small dairy farm with a few pigs. The land wasn’t good for farming because there was too much limestone. Cedar trees abounded, which is why the Castles’ Christmas trees were always cedar. I don’t remember seeing livestock when I was there. Dave’s health had gone downhill by that time and he must have sold the cows and pigs. What I do remember were the fish ponds. Dad would take me fishing there. We would catch a few fish and bring them home for dinner. 16 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Dad reminded me repeatedly of one time we went fishing when I was quite small, telling the story to friends and family. I must have taken after Mom with my patience, waiting for the bobber to bounce. She was the only one of his three daughters who Dave would take fishing. He said her two sisters talked too much. But this time I waited patiently under that hot Mississippi sun, standing resolutely with my black canvas Keds sneakers firmly planted. Dad pulled in his line down the shore and came to check on me. Tears were slowly rolling down my cheeks. He said, “What’s the matter, Pedro?” “My feet are burnin’.” “Well, let’s go take a break and get some figs.” So, we did and went over by the old farmhouse and a fig tree laden with figs. They sure tasted good. The farm caretaker was an elderly woman, part American Indian and part African American, named Manassa, and she was always glad to see us. She lived in the farmhouse and kept an eye on things for grandpa Dave. She also tended a vegetable garden that helped feed the Castles’ household. You know, some may think it odd if they’d never lived down south, but I witnessed many more friendly relationships between white and black people down south than I ever saw up north. Yes, there was segregation and comments about people in their places, separate washrooms and drinking fountains. But the people were friendly. In New Jersey, the only black folks I got to be around were fellow workers on construction jobs when I was older. There were no black students in schools I attended. 3 TEXAS Toward the end of my sixth grade, Dad’s company transferred him and us down to Houston, Texas, where I soon began attending the Albert Sidney Johnston Junior High School. (The name has since been changed.) They had a half-year system where some kids were a half-year ahead or behind where they might have been in another system. I remember my first day in Texas history class. We had to take a quiz, and I knew nothing about Texas history. So, I didn’t even try to answer a single question. Texans are BIG on their history. The teacher called a meeting with Dad to tell him she thought I should be held back a half grade. Dad was adamantly opposed to that since he had been held back in school due to polio he suffered as a kid, not able to attend school for a while. So, I stayed where I was and learned Texas history, which I found very interesting. Houston was flat country. Our brand-new ranch-style house was at the edge of development when we moved there in 1958. You could stand on our roof and look out back as far as you could see. It was all prairie, old sugar cane fields with bayous to carry drainage. On the horizon, you could see lights of the Sugarland factory at night, and if the wind was right, you could smell the molasses. Once, we saw cowboys on horses drive a small herd of cattle behind our house. But when we moved away in 1960, you could stand on our roof 18 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE and as far as you could see there were houses. Construction was booming. I found out Houston was 50 feet above sea level. And Mount Houston was 55 feet above sea level. That’s flat! The streets sometimes flooded when we had a lot of rain. One time we neighborhood kids built a wooden raft out of scrap lumber and floated it down the road. Thankfully, the flood water didn’t rise enough to come into our houses. It was a great place to ride bikes, with no hills to climb. I rode my bike to school and used it for my paper route. I won a school fundraising competition selling magazines. I sold more magazines than anyone else in my class over the first weekend and for the whole week. I chose my prizes of two portable radios. One was a turquoise plastic pocket-sized transistor radio, and the other was maroon colored and the size of a hefty book. Several boys had Honda motorbikes or Cushman scooters. Dad wouldn’t let me get one because he thought I might tear myself up. I’d had a pretty good wipeout on my bicycle chasing Bomber through a Pines Lake neighborhood. I still have scars on my knee from that. But Dad had ridden a motorcycle during the war while he served in England. One day I would have one. I joined a Boy Scout troop in Houston and learned to march. We had three scoutmasters who had been drill sergeants in the Army, and they taught us close-order drill. We wore our regular Scout uniforms plus white spats, white gloves, and white neckerchiefs. We got pretty good at marching and managed to perform at the Houston Fat Stock Day Rodeo. We also developed a routine with our bicycles in synchronized patterns going in circles and figure eights. We decorated our bikes with crepe paper in the spokes and streamers on the handles. We also did a short spin with lit torches in the dark. That was fun. TEXAS 19 I attended a summer camp one year at El Rancho Cima on the El Blanco River, winding through the Devil’s Backbone hills near San Marcos, Texas. It was a 2,400-acre camp owned by the Sam Houston Area Council since 1954, but it was sold in 2016 and split into several tracts, some for development and some for preservation. What I remember most about that week was the heat! We Scouts were required to wear cowboy hats. We had to drink a certain amount of water every day. We were cautioned against leaving anything glass on our cots, like eye glasses or even a jelly jar, because with sunlight it could start a fire. Several boys came down with heat related illnesses and had to be taken to the infirmary. And, we were told to check our boots every morning because scorpions liked to crawl into dark places like that. But we did have fun hiking, swimming and learning Scout crafts. I remember we had an almost unlimited supply of very cold milk in pint cartons. Our troop had a couple of impromptu contests to see who could drink the most milk. Some of us got to laughing so hard that we had to lie flat on our backs on top of picnic tables in order to keep the milk down. In Houston, Mom wouldn’t let us go out in the heat of the day. She said an egg could fry on the sidewalks! She almost always fixed bacon and eggs with toast for breakfast, but not on the sidewalk. And, we always ate supper together as a family unless Dad was out of town on business, which wasn’t very often. Dad was always one for taking us to church on Sundays, and he built that habit into the family. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and helped get a new building for our Houston church. I remember visiting the workmen one afternoon when a mason showed me how to butter a brick with mortar, then he handed it to me, and I set it on the wall. Of course, he had to adjust it, but it made me feel like I had a part in the construction. That church had a multi-colored pyramid-shaped skylight that some members claimed was “hail-proof.” Ha! 20 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE I figured out years later that Dad was in the habit of going to church because his parents instilled that habit in him. His mother had survived a typhoid fever epidemic when she was 17 that killed her father and sister in 1910. It must have had a profound effect on her. Her mother could not reconcile the tragedy and had to be committed to an institution. But my grandmother turned to God for peace. I can remember her telling me that she felt she had a glimpse of heaven when she was very sick with typhoid. She said that there was an amazingly wonderful, warm, and glowing light, and there seemed to be some beautiful music associated with it. She became what I now know as a “prayer warrior.” During WWII, she volunteered to help at a Catholic hospital that cared for wounded GIs. The nuns used to come to her regularly because they believed she had a direct line to heaven. Her prayers brought answers. I know she prayed for me for years. Pop’s father died when Pop was in seventh grade. He couldn’t finish high school because he had to go to work to help his mom support the family. More about Pop’s story later. Suffice it to say that they went to church because they depended upon the LORD and had a close relationship with Him. Dad was more of a church-going cultural Christian back then, and so was Mom. 4 BACK TO JERSEY Dad got transferred back to northern New Jersey in time for me to start ninth grade in 1960 at Wayne High School. But we lived in a different part of Wayne called Packanack Lake. It was sort of odd as I got to be with some of my old friends from Pines Lake Elementary. We were all older. Some were just as friendly, but others seemed to have grown in different directions. I guess we had all aged a few years but had not done so together. Maybe I was considered different by some since I’d been a summer Mississippian and lived in Texas a few years. But I never really felt like an outsider in high school. Maybe it was because I worked with the student newspaper, “Smoke Signals,” doing cartoons, and many folks knew and accepted me. However, my sister felt some prejudice when she tried out and won a spot on the varsity cheerleading team. I didn’t know this until she told me years later that she was an outcast because most students were Italian Catholic or Jewish. She was neither. She was considered a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, a WASP. I never felt that, or maybe I was just oblivious to it. Speaking of being oblivious, I have to tell you about another disciplinary consequence I endured. My little brother and I were having fun chasing each other around the house. At one point, he was chasing me, and I shut a door behind me as I went through, and he ran right into it. He bounced off of it pretty well, but the problem was his forehead height was 22 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE even with the doorknob. And he was bleeding pretty good. Mom saw to it that I got a whippin’ for that, administered by Dad after he got home from work. Poor David not only had a bloody knot on his forehead, but he also felt guilty that I got into trouble. It was just an accident, and I didn’t think corporal punishment was necessary. But that scar is still on his forehead. David grew up to be quite a scrapper, much more so than I. He played hockey in high school and regularly got into scraps on the ice, and I think Dad enjoyed seeing him stand up for himself. In later years, David spent a week at some shooting range out west for instruction as he fired a few thousand rounds down range. I pity anybody who would mess with him. At least he’s plenty street smart, even-tempered, and doesn’t get into scraps anymore. One evening after supper, Dad called me and Mom into the dining room. He placed a holster on the table with a revolver in it. He said he wanted us to know where he was going, but that he didn’t want us to tell anyone about it. The pistol was for his self-defense, if he needed it. He was going to a distant city to help negotiate a labor contract for his company, and he would normally be the company negotiator at the table, but the union got the message to him that if he showed up at this particular negotiation, they would kill him. Dad drove a hard bargain. So, he was going to stay in a remote hotel and be in touch with the in-person negotiator after the daily sessions of negotiation so he could coach him. That trip went fine and Dad got home in good health. Dad could be contentious. I should mention that some of the best times I had with Dad were when he worked to fix things around the house. He was something of a “tool man.” When he was young, he was fascinated by tools. He would have had a good collection of them if his Mom and Pop had let him. Pop had an attitude that craftsmen, or tradesmen who worked with tools, were BACK TO JERSEY 23 of a class beneath the well-educated, like him. He was proud of the status he had achieved in spite the hard times he endured. Dad tried once to smuggle a small ball-peen hammer home from the hardware store, but his Mom discovered it and showed it to Pop. They made Dad take it back. That was a shame, because Dad did have a talent with mechanical things. I was his helper as we fixed things around the house and I grew to enjoy working with him. Little brother David was too young to be much help while I was in high school. He’d watch what we were doing and attempt to take things like his toys apart, but not be able to get them back together. He would leave small piles of disassembled whatevers behind. But he developed a talent with his hands and a mechanical mind. In later years he became a gifted locksmith and worked at installation of electronic security systems for large institutions and corporations. Dad recorded one good experience with Pop and a hardware store. It must have been 1921 or ’22 that Dad turned and said, “C’mon, Bud, let’s take a walk to the hardware store at the other end of Lincoln Park and look at a radio.”I wondered what a “radio” was when he quicky added, “They transmit sound – music, voices speaking, and singing. Seems as though they’re magic. Let’s see what they’re like.” I almost danced up North Carolina Avenue and through the park to the store. Inside, a pleasant young man already had a radio “hooked up.” It only took a grounding wire, a dry cell battery, a square of wood with a crystal and a “cat’s whisker” to locate a broadcast on the crystal, plus 24 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE a pair of ear phones. Pop plunked down the money and back again we went to the apartment to show Mom. We arrived full of marveling at our wondrous purchase. Of course, she couldn’t wait while we unwrapped and “hooked it up.” We connected the ground wire to a clamp which in turn was connected to the heat pipe below the valve on the radiator. I then donned the earphones and, having placed the wood square on a card table, proceeded to search for a station with the whisker and crystal. It took a while, but soon, amazingly, there it was – brass band music! The ear phones were passed around so each of us could listen. We discovered the phones could be separated, enabling two people to listen simultaneously, each with one ear phone. We experimented in finding different stations, and that evening learned many more stations could be heard than during the daylight hours. What a thrill! Later that night, in bed, my mind whirled recalling the events of the day, finding it almost impossible to go to sleep. We had many hours of enjoyment from our wire and crystal radio. I developed an interest in radios also, while in high school I became an amateur radio (ham) operator. High school counselors put me into advanced (A.P.) classes in English and history. It was a college-oriented program, and I did okay with not too much hard work, but there was no time for art or shop, two subjects I wish I’d taken in BACK TO JERSEY 25 high school. Biology and geometry were my best subjects. After doing so well in biology, they put me into advanced chemistry, but that subject was not my cup of tea. Physics was good, though. My physics teacher was a major in the Air Force Reserves. He lived just above me on the hill. Once, he buzzed the neighborhood in his jet and managed to break the sound barrier on the pull-out, rattled a bunch of windows and broke a few. He got in trouble for it, I’m sure. Right after that incident, one of the guys in our class had a background in chorus and set up a surprise for “the Maj” when he entered the room. The major usually came in after everybody else was already seated. The chorus guy instructed half the room to sing in lower, descending tones, “Boom Boom boom boom, Boom boom boom boom,” while the other half sang, “Off we go into the wild blue yonder, flying high into the sky …” The major thought that was pretty funny but got us right down to business as usual. Looking back, I realize that the prevailing culture at the time was essentially Christian. During morning homeroom, we had the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag read over the intercom with morning announcements. A Young Life group started up, and I participated in it. We would meet in members’ homes and pack as many as a hundred kids like sardines in a house at one time. Some sat on the steps or leaned through doors. It’s a wonder no floors caved in. But we heard the Gospel presented clearly by the leaders, and I took it to heart for the first time, even though I had attended church all my life. I was very excited about my salvation, accepting the sacrifice Jesus made to pay for my sins, but Dad poo-pooed my enthusiasm. He told me to “Cool it, get hold of yourself.” So, I shelved my excitement, even though I thought it was one of the happiest feelings I ever had. This also meant that I did not get in-depth exposure to the Bible. The churches we attended 26 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE were mostly liberal, and didn’t delve deeply into the Word. It was more of a social, or cultural Christianity. One of the Young Life leaders came by our house that weekend and wanted to talk. But Dad wouldn’t let me bring him into our home. He asked for a drink of water, which I got for him, but he had to wait outside the front door for it. Shameful. Dad must have assumed he was some kind of nut. I should mention that I had absolutely no confidence regarding girls. I just shied away from any “romantic” interaction with them, keeping things on a casual, friendly level. I can’t remember a single date I went on during high school. That’s not to say I wasn’t interested in girls. I still have memorized the list of ten girls I used to regularly pray for God to bless, but I never told them that. Some of them and others were good friends. I look back at what a few wrote in my senior yearbook and I have regrets that I didn’t spend more time with some of them. But that’s water under the bridge. There was one girl who flirted with me in French class. I thought she was really beautiful. She was an Honor Student and on the varsity cheerleading team. She used to catch my eye across the room and look long into my eyes. I did rather enjoy that. It must have been obvious what was happening as the teacher got after her once in front of the whole class and told her to stop it. But I never got up the nerve to ask her out. I never even spoke with her. She was going steady with the captain of the football team. I didn’t understand what it was about at the time, but one day at school I was in a restroom, and in came several members of the varsity football team. They just stood around until I finished washing and drying. Then one of them grabbed me by the shoulders and spun me face to face with him and shot a knee to my groin. Fortunately, I don’t remember much pain, which made me think he pulled his “punch” BACK TO JERSEY 27 only wanting to deliver a message. Not a word was said, but I figured out the message. One summer at home after I was in college, I met a high school friend down at the local tavern, and he pointed out to me the old captain of our high school football team. I recognized him. Then my friend told me that the old captain’s girlfriend, the same one from my French class, was getting married that very day to someone else. No guts, no glory. So, what did I do with my spare time? I had hobbies. Besides being on the school newspaper staff several years and trying to pole vault one season, I got my Amateur Radio license. First was the Novice class, which required passing a written test on rules and radio theory, plus a five word per minute Morse code send-and-receive test. Then I got my General class, which had a more demanding written test and the code requirement was thirteen words per minute. I built my own transmitter from plans in the American Radio Relay League Handbook while I was a Novice, then I doubled its power when I got my General. I really enjoyed going to the Army Navy Store in Paterson to buy parts for my projects. There were old WWII and Korean War parts that I could use. Back in those days you could hold a part in your hand and feel the weight of it. It was easy to solder wires to components that size. I also built a Heathkit AR-3 receiver, but used a National NC-88 receiver most of the time. Antennas were “home brew,” also, with a 40-meter wire dipole and a 10, 15, and 20-meter ground plane vertical on a tall pole bolted to the house. My “shack” was in my bedroom, which was an oversized laundry room on the floor beneath everybody else’s bedrooms. One evening Dad came home from work and smelled something odd coming from my room. I was testing out a modulator for voice communications I’d built from plans and 28 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE something wasn’t right. I lifted up the chassis and the white smoke was so thick I couldn’t see any of the wires. Dad was looking over my shoulder and said, “I think we’d better get a fire extinguisher for this room.” I never did get that modulator working right. But I regularly spoke with ham radio operators in the midwest by Morse code. Ham radio is so much different now. All the equipment is smaller and much more technically proficient. Another interest I had was in the Sea Scouts. Our ship had some adventurous adult leaders. They managed to get a wooden 40-foot U.S. Navy liberty boat donated to our ship. This was a craft meant to carry sailors from ship to shore for liberty (free time off duty). Our boat was set up on blocks on the side of a hill and we worked at pulling all the old caulking from between the planking that comprised the hull. Then we replaced it with new. Meanwhile, they had the diesel engine refitted and the transmission checked out. The engine had a wooden box cover in the middle of the boat, toward the stern. The coxswain stood behind the motor with tiller in hand to steer the boat. It had no cabin, only seats all around inside the gunnels, the top edges of the hull. The plan was to build a cabin, but I graduated high school before that was done. At least I had one ride on it just after it was launched in the Hackensack River before I left for college. I graduated in the top 10 percent of my class of 485, and we all sang The Star-Spangled Banner, The Lord’s Prayer and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Rogers and Hammerstein at graduation in the bleachers of the football field. Awesome sound. In my high school yearbook, one of my friends wrote about me, “God and Goldie, quoth he.” Goldie was Barry Goldwater’s nickname. I attended church regularly with my folks, and they were staunch Republicans. After graduation, I took a sightseeing ride with a good friend who had a nice Corvair. We drove it to Niagara Falls and BACK TO JERSEY 29 down through Canada through Detroit, then to Holland, Michigan, and to visit some of his relatives in Grand Rapids. We stopped in Holland at a stone chapel. Bob knew it had a decent organ, and he wanted to play it. He’d been taking lessons from Virgil Fox in New York City. Fox was known to walk into a cathedral anywhere in the world, find the key to the instrument, and crank it up. Bob did just that and turned up the volume with “The War March of the Priests!” It was heavy. I was trying to shrink out of sight in the front pew when an older gentleman came up behind Bob and tapped him on the shoulder. He said, “Have ya gotta key?” Bob pointed to the organ key. And the man said, “No, I mean to the church door. I’ll tell you what. I’ll leave the back door ajar, and you can just pull it to when you leave.” “Thank you,” said Bob. And the man left us alone. I was amazed, but I guess he figured Bob knew what he was doing and wouldn’t break anything. On the way home from Grand Rapids, we stopped off in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and bought tickets to the Frank Lloyd Wright house called “Fallingwater.” That is something I will never forget. What a masterpiece! We took a tour through every nook and cranny. Oh, how I wanted to be able to design something like that. Every time I picked up a book on Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, I was impressed. I later found out what a disaster his family life was. But he was a great architect. I’m going to toss in another story here, which is from Illinois, not Jersey. After I left college and was working in Boston, Mom and Dad moved to Clarendon Hills, Illinois, not far from Chicago. I drove out to visit them, and Mom thought it would be cool for us to visit some of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in nearby Oak Park. We went to the Unitarian Church and toured it. Then we went to Wright’s home and studio. We knocked on the door, and a lady opened it. She was a caretaker and tour guide. Mom asked if we 30 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE could get a tour. She said she had no tours scheduled for that day. But she was curious where Mom was from. Mom told her she was from Mississippi. The lady was so fascinated by Mom’s accent that she invited us in and gave us a tour! 5 OFF TO COLLEGE “Anyone who was not a liberal at 20 years of age had no heart, while anyone who was still a liberal at 40 had no head.” ~ Winston Churchill I applied to two architectural schools and was accepted by both Clemson University in South Carolina and Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in Virginia. So, since Dad now worked in the New York office, he went to the New York office of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and asked which one they would recommend I attend. The man Dad spoke with said, “Have him go to Clemson because Dean Harlan McClure is there.” I gathered all my baggage for a semester, figuring I could make it home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and Mom and Dad drove me to the Newark, N.J., train station. I learned years later that little brother, David, saw me board the train, watched the train disappear down the tracks, and wept all the way home. There went big brother. I met another Clemson student on the train, Mark, and we got off together at the Clemson station, a little podunk building for a little podunk town. There were 3,500 students enrolled at that time, and the town population was about 2000. Mark and I had a good mile walk with our luggage, 32 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE and he had a big ol’ trunk to haul. It was hot, and he tossed his cookies along the way. You’d think somebody would meet the train to greet new students and give them a lift. Not so. Clemson had been a military school, and the practice of hazing freshmen was still in style. We had our heads buzzed to within a sixteenth of an inch, and we had to wear orange beanies with a short, little brim. We were easily recognized that way as “Rats.” It was mandatory at that time that we put in two years of ROTC, which included a Thursday afternoon drill on Bowman Field out in front of Tillman Hall. We were subject to upperclassmen giving us orders for anything from shouting football cheers in the mess hall to running errands for them, like going to the burger shop downtown. I was okay with all that, but started developing an ulcer from the constant “Up RATS!” command in the Dining Hall and chanting at the top of our lungs while trying to digest dinner. The doc at the infirmary told me he could give me medicine to mask the symptoms, but there would still be that internal festering wound until I learned to control it. He was one wise doc, and I managed to get it under control. The ratio of male students to female at that time was forty to one. Even though women began attending Clemson as early as 1955, there were no dorms for women. They stayed on a floor or two of the Tiger Hotel up on top of the hill across from Bowman Field. While I was there, two coed dorms were finally built. I chose to be in the Air Force ROTC since I had long desired to fly. I used to jump off a ladder in Texas just to feel the rush of air, but the landings were hard. And I tried to learn pole vaulting in high school but was absolutely no good at it. One time I slipped off the pole and landed on my lower back in the wooden chute where the pole should have been planted. I broke the facets of the lowest vertebra that turns just above OFF TO COLLEGE 33 the pelvis. After it healed as much as it ever would, it didn’t bother me much while I was young, but it became a problem as I advanced in age. It’s called spondylolithesis. I took a pilot aptitude test and scored as high as anyone could. But they told me I wouldn’t be allowed near an airplane because I wore glasses. I was very nearsighted, about 20/400. I found out years later that the Moody Bible Institute had a Missionary Aviation wing that would train pilots even with glasses. If I’d known that, I may well have transferred there. But I didn’t. My life would have been so much different if I had. The drill field was a curious experience. I already knew how to march from that training in the Texas Boy Scout troop. So, it was easy. I discovered Clemson ROTC had a challenge system where you could challenge your commander at whatever level was directly above your rank if you thought you could command the troops better than he. So, I proceeded to work my way up the ranks and challenged my squadron commander. He must’ve gotten rattled that day and marched us into some trees. I beat him handily and found myself a captain in command of 64 men! The Air Force ROTC class time was another matter, however. The instructors acted like they were on vacation, really laid back. I got ticked off at their lackadaisical attitudes. There was a war going on, and they had little to teach. I couldn’t wait for those classes to let out. Architectural school was rough, and it was a 5-year program. My freshman year, I had class every hour of every weekday from 8 am until 5 pm, except for lunch each day and a total of only two other free morning hours. Plus, we had class from 8 am until noon on Saturday. The most challenging class was Design. It began at 1 pm every weekday and was supposed to get over at 5 pm, but they took roll at 6 to ensure we were still working. We had to sneak 34 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE in supper somewhere. Plus, they made a point of giving us weekend assignments that took us many hours to complete. The attrition rate was horrendous. We had about 100 in freshman design. Our sophomore year, we had 50, and so on. Only 16 of our class graduated on time. I felt like I had come there to learn, so teach me. But overall they treated our class time like it was only a test to find out who already knew enough to continue. The architectural school building was shaped like a square donut, with an open-air donut hole in the middle and a ground level breezeway access. The second-floor spaces were all labs full of rows of drawing boards for all years of students. The labs were separated by banks of large wooden locker cabinets where students kept their art supplies and other personal belongings. We also had small, rectangular metal carts with two wheels and wooden lids that could be locked. They were called “charettes,” after the old Parisian art school tradition, the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where the professors would use a wheeled cart to collect final art works. The French word also meant “chariot.” In architectural school a “charette” came to mean the final, intensive work session necessary to meet a project deadline. Once I went to visit a friend on charette in one of the upper-class labs and saw a student sound asleep on top of a level drawing board. I asked about him, and was told that nobody was able to wake him, no matter how they shook him or shouted. I said, “I’ll wake him,” and picked up a box fan from the floor, set it on a drawing board, and aimed the airstream at him. He gently roused from his deep sleep. I never had an art class before starting architecture, except when I was in grade school at an outside class Mom found for us in oil painting with an elderly lady who was quite talented. She taught us to copy an image from a postcard by making a grid of pencil lines on the postcard image, then draw a larger grid on a canvas board with the same OFF TO COLLEGE 35 proportions. My sister and I took the class together. I did a horse’s head, and she did a ballerina. We drew out the images in pencil, square by square. Then our teacher tried to teach us how to mix the colors and paint them square by square. She painted over practically everything we did to get the colors right. I still have that old horse. It turned out pretty good. But in architectural school, most of the professors seemed to have the attitude that we had to show what we knew, and they evaluated that. Our design projects were juried with professors as jurors. At least I learned my lesson in Texas to do what I could, rather than just not answer questions. The student at the top of our class had been trained by his father, a professional illustrator. This guy did some of the finest renderings in the shortest time. He was a really nice guy, too. So many of us fumbled and stumbled our way through. I remember one 90-hour period working on a project when I got only 10 hours of sleep. I’d walk out of the architecture building to get dinner at the mess hall, and the nearby married student housing units, built on stilts, looked like they were walking around the hillside. My summer jobs back home became interesting. My first job was at the Passaic County Golf Course. Dad was a golfer, and I had walked the course with him, stopping to look for lost balls in the rough as we went around the course. I tried caddying but didn’t like that kind of work. So, I applied for a job in the short-order restaurant at the golf course. The fellow who ran it was the cook as well as the boss. He’d been a Marine, and he ran a tight ship. I was broken in as a busboy for one dollar an hour and then got put out on the course selling and serving refreshments from a small shack. I soon decided I’d better get something that could help my architectural work. I got a job with a masonry crew that was mainly from Europe, including Russia, France, Poland, 36 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Germany, and a few from the U.S. It was like a little America. One of the masons was an American who had been in the Battle of the Bulge. He would not talk about it. And he did not want to be asked about it. I mixed a lot of mortar, tossed tons of gravel, and hauled a lot of block and brick. One day I was putting asphaltic waterproofing on a foundation, and Jake, one of the foremen, instructed me repeatedly: “Schmere up! Schmere down! Schmere up! Schmere down! What you gonna be when you grow up?” I told him I was “gonna be a painter!” I also worked one summer with a small general contractor. That summer, we remodeled part of a factory, built a private swimming pool, and erected a new contemporary building for the church my family attended. This was the most exciting project. We built it with trusses made from 2×12’s and split ring connectors, and the shape formed a high clerestory window. That building is still there. I bought my first car, a red MGA with a roll bar and a white racing stripe, from a fellow architectural student. It came with a black hard-top which I usually used, except in the heat of summer. It was an enjoyable car to drive. I drove it home to New Jersey and rebuilt the engine during the summer. First time I’d ever rebuilt one, but it seemed to go well. Dad came into the garage to watch me crank it up for the first time. He pulled out a fire extinguisher while I put the proper amount of oil in the engine. Dad had the good sense to look under the car as I climbed into the driver’s seat to crank it up. He said, “Looks like you’ve got a leak.” As it turned out, I had forgotten to put the plug in the oil pan. Easily fixed but messy and embarrassing. She cranked up nicely and ran well. One of the black laborers on the masonry crew with whom I worked loved to ride with me to job sites. He was so tall that his head extended almost entirely above the windshield. He couldn’t have fit in that car with the top attached. I drove it down to Clemson and OFF TO COLLEGE 37 used it for most of the following year. But it took cash to run, and I didn’t think I could manage a job on top of my classwork. When I realized it needed new brakes, I decided to sell the MGA. Now, I wish I still had that car. Not long after I sold the car, I found I missed being able to go places. Everything a student needed was within walking distance, but “there’s something about them hills.” You could see the mountains west of Clemson, and I missed being able to go there. Another architectural student was selling his 250 cc Ducati Scrambler, and I decided to buy it. That was a fun motorcycle to ride! I used to go with another biker or two from school every chance we could get away. We found logging roads off the main roads and had a lot of fun exploring. I remember going to Highlands, N.C., Brasstown Bald, and Sassafras Mountain. I managed to wear out that Ducati and paid a motorcycle shop to rebuild the engine. Then I sold it and went back to walking. On one of those mountains, near the top, was a cabin with a front porch that had many painted mountain scenes on boards hanging from the rafters and the front wall under the porch roof. The man who lived there was a park ranger, and he engaged us in conversation. He wanted to know what kind of work our dads did. I told him my Dad worked in the paper container division of a can company. That set him off on having me identify several species of trees. I didn’t do well at that, so he admonished me for not knowing more about my father’s business. He was right. I did tell him I envied him for his artwork. After I made it through the third year of architecture, I decided to change majors. One reason was that I hit a brick wall in calculus. I never was any good at memorizing things, and all those quadratic equations slammed me. A couple of years later, a math professor told me not to worry over it because they hadn’t learned how to teach it yet. Wonderful! 38 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Plus, I was opening my eyes to other opportunities around campus. I was captain of the fencing team one year while I was in architecture. Most of the team members were architectural students. One of our coaches had been an Olympic alternate. He was outstanding. He was also an excellent architectural history professor. He presented lessons in a very orderly and understandable way. He fenced sabre, and if an opponent ever showed his back to him, he would slap that blade across the poor sucker’s back, and it had to hurt. The sabre was a point and blade weapon. The target area for the sabre was the whole upper body, torso, front, and back. Of course, we had protective clothing, heavy gloves, and helmets. I fenced epee, which was the heaviest weapon, a point weapon. Blade strikes didn’t count; only point strikes. But the whole body was the target. The wrist just behind the bell was the primary target, as well as the head, kneecap, and foot. The foil was the lightest weapon and had the fastest action. The foil target area was only the front of the torso, not the arms, and only point hits counted. I should share a funny story about an away match we had, although I can’t remember where it was – Citadel, maybe. I told the coach I would be a bit late for the caravan leaving Clemson, but that I would be there. Maybe the coach wanted to teach me a lesson, because when I finally got there, everyone had already driven away. It kind of ticked me off. So I got in my MGA, gassed her up, and took off for the fencing match. Everyone on the team was quite surprised to see me. At least I got to compete. For the ride back, I asked if anyone wanted to ride with me, and Clark decided to come with me. It was chilly and we had the hardtop on and the sliding windows closed with newspaper folded and stuffed between the plastic panel edges to keep out the cold air. Eventually, I turned on the heat, which had not been used for a long time. As soon as OFF TO COLLEGE 39 I turned it on, out flew a cloud of dust. Clark reacted by covering his eyes. He felt irritation from one of his contacts, like dust had lodged in his eye. He took it out and washed it in his mouth, which is not the recommended way to clean them. Then, as he carefully removed it from his tongue to place it back in his eye, he coughed. And he coughed and coughed, feeling it stuck in his throat. He thought it came out, but now his throat itched. He looked all around the floor carpet but couldn’t find it. He tried coughing it up every so often with no results. When the infirmary opened, he went to have a doctor look for his contact. No luck. He just figured it would pass through. Later that summer, back in New Jersey, I was cleaning out my car and found Clark’s contact. I got a contact case from my sister and mailed it to Clark with a somewhat sarcastic question, “How’s the throat?” I got back from him a business sized envelope with a folded, single sheet of paper and two little words printed in red, inside parenthesis, “(thank you).” I never heard from him again. He was a great guy. I hope he survived Vietnam. An early student newspaper cartoon by the author. When I dropped architecture, I quit fencing. And I fell in with a somewhat controversial bunch of smart-aleck students who were intellectually oriented. Several of us worked on the student newspaper, The Tiger, and the student magazine, The Chronicle. One year, we put out a small literary volume through the Calhoun Society, the oldest organization on campus but dormant, so we took it over. John C. Calhoun’s homestead was right there on campus. I did 40 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE cartoons, some illustrations and wrote feature articles. I wrote one for The Chronicle called “Patterns” that was not controversial, but I thought it was pretty good. I also did a story on a nearby mill town, or factory town, where the black inhabitants were pitifully poor. A mill town is built up by a manufacturer who rents housing to the workers, sells them food and other essentials in the company store, and controls their lives for the sake of the company bottom line. Sometime after my article came out, a journalist from New York came down and did his version of it. That company was forced to change its ways or go out of business. We had a short story competition one year with English professors as judges. I managed to win that. But honestly, I didn’t think my story was all that great. I did a two-part article for the Tiger on “The Medieval University,” the origins of the university, and what a university should be, based on my historical research. We received a letter to the editor from the Dean of Graduate Studies, School of Business Administration, Georgia State College. He said, “Mr. Snyder did a very good job covering many of the key points of a very big subject within his space limits. He and the paper deserve congratulations for giving some publicity to a subject which I have felt for some time should be of interest and value to more university faculty and students than the few who have given it their attention in recent years. …” At that time, there were only six African American students on campus. All of a sudden, one day, every one of them disappeared. Evidently, some redneck students put the fear into them, and they all left campus without telling anyone where they went. Eventually, things got straightened out, and they returned. Our literary cadre was very sympathetic to them. Every chance we got on the student newspaper we did something to harass the school administration. We decided to do an absolute mockery of the school and administration OFF TO COLLEGE 41 and put out an alternate school newspaper edition called The Buzzard. I did a masthead drawing of a crazy buzzard with the caption “He rains over Clemson University.” Inside was a picture of students with open hands looking skyward, captioned “Waiting for the next issue of The Buzzard.” It was full of satire and tom-foolery. On the front cover was a picture of a cow standing in a stream with its tongue sticking out. The caption read, “Deadwords looks back at the university which he has served so well and gives it a farewell salute.” The name of our university president was Edwards. It was hilarious in the eyes of a lot of people. There were many crazy articles in this two-page rag, and we put it out in the bins at the time and place The Tiger was usually set, but it was dated April 1, 1968. Poor ol’ Edwards must’ve had a cow. I know he was upset. Buzzard masthead image It just so happened that The Buzzard hit the stands on the same day Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered. Our newspaper gang got together and decided we’d better set out the current copies of The Tiger right away, just to let folks know The Buzzard didn’t replace it. So, we did that but also decided there should be a memorial service in Tillman 42 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Hall Auditorium because it would show respect and that we cared. Tillman Hall was selected because Ben Tillman had been a prominent slave owner. The task of inviting President Edwards to attend and say a few words fell to me. I met with him, let him know when it would be, and asked if he would like to say a few words. He thought deeply about it and finally said, “I’ll be there, but I don’t know if I’ll speak or not.” Then he said, “You know, it’s a real shame that both these tragedies should occur on the same day.” He thought The Buzzard was as big a problem as the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I began to feel sorry for him, and this started my path of withdrawing from all the tomfoolery. Mr. Edwards came to the memorial service and sat in the front row. Not many students attended, and he didn’t speak. Caricature of Edwards “Twiddling Vetoes” At some point near the end of the spring semester, I did a caricature of an obese Edwards sitting on an overstuffed pillow with dreadlocks and a dark robe, knitting a “Speaker Bill” for the student government and reaching for a sweet morsel on a stand labeled “Apathetics’ Candy.” The title of it was “Twiddling Vetoes,” and in the foreground, the toes on his bare feet were twiddling. Later that summer, I saw him jogging around the campus. He was losing weight that he needed to lose. Maybe I did him a favor? At that point, he had my respect. That was near the end of my student newspaper career. I just got tired of all the negativity. I was much more appreciative of the reading I’d been doing in English literature, like OFF TO COLLEGE 43 T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men,” “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and “The Wasteland.” I got a few A’s in Colonel Ben Skardon’s English class. He was a good, positive influence on me, even though I never spent time with him outside of class. Back then, I didn’t know that he was a survivor of the Bataan death march during WWII. Not only that, but he survived the sinking of two Japanese transport ships loaded with prisoners of war being transported to the Japanese mainland. He never mentioned this in class—a very humble man who at the time of this writing is 104 years young. Dr. Mark Steadman was another English professor who encouraged me in my writing. He was a faculty advisor for the newspaper, the magazine, and the literary journal. He was so easy to work with, and I’m sad to see he’s not with us anymore. When I dropped out of architecture, I planned to major in English, and I asked John Acorn whether or not I could minor in art. There was no such curriculum available at that time. John stepped up to the plate, established an Art Department, and became administrator of it. Sometime after that, he showed me a piece of sculpture in his office: a giant wooden woodscrew sitting upright on a stand. The point of the screw was probably an eighth of an inch from the ceiling of his office. The meaning of it was obvious to me. All that paperwork he now had to do for the Art Department had screwed his time for doing sculpture. He used to tell us we could make sculptures out of anything around the house or out in the yard. One of his sculptures on campus was a giant paper airplane made of metal. He did a big wooden green bean, too. He is a very creative guy. Remember, the Vietnam war was raging in 1968. Some campuses around the country had to deal with demonstrations. We had hardly any of that. But the country was in turmoil. Bobby Kennedy was killed on June 5, 1968. And 44 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago erupted on August 28, 1968. The national mood was getting pretty tense. 6 DOPUPT Before the beginning of the spring semester, 1969, John Acorn asked me if I would help him build a piece of sculpture for the Greenville County Art Museum Courtyard. He was one of the few professors in the Architectural School who had encouraged me in my work. One of the reasons we hit it off so well was that he was from Paterson, N.J. The theme of the sculpture he wanted me to help with was “Freedom.” He didn’t want to do an eagle on a globe or Atlas holding up the world. He liked doing more abstract things. He wanted to do something with organic forms: animal, vegetable, and mineral. He made a model of what he had in mind: about 18 inches tall out of brass brazing rods. It was like a tree, with roots firmly anchoring it to the ground, a muscular trunk with a small ankle that widened into a firm muscle which narrowed down a little but then spread out into a larger knuckle shape with flat facets and angular edges, then narrowed down again as it went up into a larger muscular trunk and spread outward into eight arms that reached out like muscular limbs of a tree from the center, then bent skyward with faceted elbows and muscular forearms to hand-like leaf structures. He showed it to the museum group and told them it would be 10 or 12 feet tall and that it would all be made out of brass rods with textured 46 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE plates covering the spaces between the rods, except for the top leaf/hand structures. They accepted the idea. So, I had a job! I dropped out of school and didn’t have to worry about classes for a while. I let Mom and Dad know of my decision. They did not understand. I had not been a good correspondent with them. I hardly kept them apprised of my changing situations. This situation prompted a visit from Dad, who showed up unannounced and tracked me down. He met John and spoke with him. I don’t know what their conversation entailed. But Dad left peacefully after encouraging me to keep in touch with home. John shaped the skeleton of the piece in two sections, from the base to the top of the trunk and then the whole upper branch structure. I think he used 3/8” rods for the frame, except for probably quarter-inch rods for the leaf/hand structures. He made a steel core that provided structural support and brazed rod connections from it to the outer skeleton. My job was to make cardboard patterns for the brass sheets, then trace the patterns onto a large brass sheet that was about 1/16” thick. Then I would cut off enough of the sheet to be able to handle it with a big, bench-mounted cutter and cut out the shape. I would flatten out the brass and light up an oxy-acetylene torch, braze a repetitive pattern all over the whole piece, pick it up with pliers and dunk it into a water trough to cool it down. Then I would flatten it out with a hammer because the heat would have bent and curled it. Then I would bend and clamp it to the frame and tack it in place with spots of brazing. As I got better at brazing, I started running the continuous seams between the patterned sheets and the rod frame. I never got good enough to run the upside-down seams, so John had to do those. I remember a couple of times when some molten brass fell into his boot and cauterized a scar on his ankle. DROPOUT 47 The finished piece took us about six months to build. It was 11 feet tall and weighed around 600 pounds. We also built several other pieces of different materials. John took me down to the Anderson Foundry, and we cast some small aluminum pieces. I helped him build a small foundry in his backyard studio at home. We built laminated wood pieces. We went to the local junkyard and picked out pieces of junk with interesting shapes we could weld into something or other. “Freedom” brass sculpture by Acorn 48 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Here’s a photo of the finished piece I helped build in it’s original location outside of the old Greenville County Art Museum. It wasn’t long before a new museum building was constructed and the sculpture had to be moved. I understand that it was placed outside of the new City Hall, but then moved to the corner of North Main Street and West Stone Avenue in Greenville. Acorn has several sculptures located around Greenville. He kept a fine garden next to his house. Sometimes, he and his wife, Peggy, would have me stay for dinner. He filled their house with sculpture, some fully round and some bas-relief. They had started a family and had two small daughters while I was working with him. Theirs was a sweet family. While working with John, I bought another motorcycle, an old Korean War-era Harley 45. It originally had an attached sidecar, but not when I got it. It had a stick shift with an R for reverse, but someone had removed that gear. It also had what was known as a “suicide clutch.” It would stay in whatever position you left it, engaged or disengaged. The owner of the Harley shop where I bought it told me to come back to him if I ever needed parts. One day I did because the motor threw a rod on Main Street in downtown Clemson. Main Street was about the only street in downtown Clemson at that time. I borrowed John’s V.W. bus and went to the Harley shop owner’s home, as he directed, and I met him behind his house. It was like an outdoor sculpture garden with Harley frames of all different colors hanging from trees. There were three barns he said were filled with new and used parts. He helped me find some used cylinders and pistons that were just a little bigger than the original ones, cylinder heads to match, and some new rings and bearings. I must have picked up a little larger carburetor, too. I took it all home where I was living off-campus out by the railroad DROPOUT 49 tracks and proceeded to take that Harley apart. I took every part away from the next one, except for the transmission, cleaned and greased or painted it, and put it back together. I chopped the front fender because I thought it looked too country-western. I soon decided that was a mistake, but I kept it like that anyway. I also welded up a straight-through exhaust system — nothing fancy, but it worked. So, I had a newly rebuilt Harley! But there were a few missing parts I would need to pick up later. Yeah, more about that later. My old Harley 45 (cu. in.) I never had more fun at any job than I did working with John Acorn. He was so patient, easy-going, and encouraging. He even told me once that I had more talent than he. Now that’s some kind of encouragement! One time after supper, he was sitting on the sofa, making something with his hands, and I asked him what he was doing. He said he was making something for me. He had done so much for me that I felt like he didn’t need to give me anything beyond all the personal attention he had already lavished upon me. So, I said that was okay, he didn’t need to do that. And he put 50 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE it down. I’m afraid I hurt his feelings. I wish I hadn’t said that. I knew I would have to face my Draft Board, and I discussed this with John. He was a pacifist and had very strong feelings about the senselessness of the Vietnam War, and I shared those feelings. He suggested I get in touch with the American Friends Service Committee to see what might be involved in applying for conscientious objector status. I did so and got a bunch of information by mail. Immediately, I started to work on my application. The core of my feeling was that if I did not participate in the war effort, my presence on the side of peace would help tip the scale toward peace. “Battle Fatigue” watercolor w/ pen & ink by the author At that time, I didn’t see that war as a fight between good and evil. Knowing what I do now about the history of the conflict and the plight of Vietnamese refugees fleeing Communism, I understand the evil we were fighting. I’ve also learned that the peace symbol is nothing more than a flag of surrender and an anti-Christian emblem of a broken, inverted cross. Consider this quote from Will Durant: “There have been only 268 of the past 3,421 years free of war.” And this from Jesus: “Peace I leave with you: My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:26) DROPOUT 51 I typed almost eight full pages of my beliefs on a manual typewriter, single-spaced, answering all the questions, and got reference letters from John in March and in April from my Presbyterian pastor back home in Wayne. I think the request for my pastor to write a letter to the Draft Board challenged him to think about how he should handle it. He did due diligence by contacting several people in the denomination for direction and suggestions. He collected church documents relative to this and sent copies of all this to me. About my letter, he said, “Your eight-page paper to the Draft Board will probably not be read. It is too heavily intellectual and may even tend to be intimidating to the average Draft Board. Your request will probably be rejected by the Draft Board. …” You might notice that I haven’t said anything about church attendance or student youth group activity during my time at Clemson. I started out attending a Presbyterian Church in downtown Clemson, but that ended. Initially, I spent a fair amount of time at that church and with the church’s University Pastor. I really liked and admired this pastor. He used to read beautiful prayers in church that he had written. But he had something like a nervous breakdown and had to be institutionalized for a while. I felt badly for him. He had asked me why I wanted to “spend so much time with old men.” At that time he was probably in his late forties. Here is what I recall he told me: “You won’t find Jesus here, you’ll find him out in the world.” This was liberal theology, but at that time I didn’t understand. I know he had been reading a book by Harvey Cox titled The Secular City. As I was recalling this experience, I went to Amazon’s online page for that book and read about it. Harvey Cox is a professor of Divinity at Harvard University. In reading his Introduction to the updated version, it looks like he encourages readers to turn away from the concept of God as sovereign and find spirituality in the culture, with social 52 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE change as the goal. His method appears to me to be in the tradition of Genesis 3 — twist the word of God and reap the whirlwind. A Catholic priest I got to know a little at Clemson told me about a book called The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. St. John was a Spanish mystic who lived in the 1500s. I have not read it, but I figured my pastor friend went through some kind of dark night of his soul. I quit going to church, that one or any other. I went looking for answers in the world. I didn’t darken a church door for years. I identified with the idea that one could worship in the wilderness. But now I know that’s worshipping creation rather than the Creator. I also began considering other religious teachings, but only superficially. Now I know that what I needed was good, in-depth Bible training. Looking over that paper I wrote for conscientious objection, knowing what I now know about the Bible, I can see I had some confusion. My paper did make it very clear that I did not want to participate in military operations and undoubtedly gave the impression I would be nothing but a nuisance, if not plain trouble. But since I was willing to do alternative service, maybe they would accept my request. If ever there were a political war, the Vietnam War was one – young men fighting an old man’s war, and the politicians controlling the military. In June, I heard from my Paterson, New Jersey, Draft Board. They said to report to them in five days. I made a fast trip home by train, planning to come back to Clemson for all my stuff. 7 DAD’S MILITAYE XPRXNIXCX Dad was disappointed in my applying for conscientious objector status. He had been in the Army during WWII and had a very positive experience. He told me what he had to go through to get into the service because he’d had polio as a kid, which made one leg shorter than the other. The recruiter kept telling him, “No!” But Dad kept going back to see the recruiter. One day the recruiter commented, “You want to get in, don’t you?” “Yessir!” “So, what do you do for work?” asked the recruiter. “I walk to New Orleans and back twice a week.” “That’s impossible. What are you talking about?” I’m a passenger representative on the mainline of the Southern Railway.” “You really do want to get in!” concluded the recruiter. “You’re making a real mistake by not letting me in. Even though I couldn’t make it through basic training, I can still set up and administer a supply train.” Dad soon learned he was about to be drafted. He met an Army major who often rode the train and told him he’d be 54 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE saluting him soon because of his new status. The major gave Dad his card and said as soon as possible to give him a call. Dad did, and that started his Army experience. That was around September of 1942. The major arranged for him to be sent to Camp Lee near Petersburg, Va. He was there for almost a year. His next step was Officer Candidate School at Mississippi State College in Starkville. That’s where he met Mom. They first met in the auditorium, where Mom’s Chi Omega sorority assisted with Dad’s OCS class skit, welcoming the next class. Dad attended a church service where she was and noticed her walking home afterward. He told a buddy, “You see that girl over there? I’m going to marry her.” Dad told me she wore pinafore dresses and was cute as a button. He asked her for a dinner date, and she had him checked out at the Registrar’s Office to determine whether or not he was already married. After a half dozen double dates with actually four couples, she invited him to a spaghetti dinner at her home one Sunday evening. Dad had a little ’42 Ford Coupe by then, and they courted. She worked in the biggest cafeteria on campus during weekends when they had dances. They set up a Big Band in the center of the cafeteria, and the sorority group assigned their girls certain spots to hang around and dance with the soldiers. Dad loved to dance and kept dancing Mom out of her spot because he didn’t want anybody cutting in on them. She said she fussed at him about it but, “It was fun.” At the OCS graduation, she pinned on his first gold bar. The Army promptly sent him to Hattiesburg Army depot for a holding point. He spent a night or two there before going to New Orleans at Camp Harahan and was assigned to the 9th Transportation Group. Meanwhile, she got an invitation from his parents to visit them up in Silver Spring, Maryland. She couldn’t wait to meet them and be with Dad since he had some leave time to visit home. He gave her a DAD’S MILITARY EXPERIENCE 55 diamond, and she set the wedding date. He technically went AWOL, so he could go back to Starkville and get married. On January 24, 1944, they were married in the Starkville First Presbyterian Church and had a quick honeymoon in New Orleans. Then they drove to Fort Washington in Maryland for his first assignment. Mom would stay with her new in-laws in Silver Spring, Maryland. Dad became the Post Transportation Officer while he was at Fort Washington. They had only a few weeks together before Dad had to ship out in April of 1944. He was sent over to Southampton, England, and worked loading ships for the Normandy Invasion. He told me in the last days leading up to the invasion he went six days and nights with almost no sleep. He worked at loading the ships for Omaha and Utah beaches. A problem developed on vehicles with their bumpers marked with an “O” for Omaha and a “U” for Utah. The U’s often looked too much like O’s, and the shipments got mixed up. So, Dad told the men to change the “U” for Utah to an “X” and the confusion stopped. He got a bronze star for that work. Peter F. Snyder, Jr., during WWII While in Southampton, he rode an English bicycle around on the cobblestone streets. He said it was quite a jarring ride. So, he put in a requisition for a motorcycle. He got a Harley and rode it for a couple of months around town and country, putting 2,000 miles on the odometer. I have his hand-written letter to his Dad dated 5 December, 1944, describing this among other things. He visited Bull Durham in Winchester, not too far from London. He rode after dark when he got to know the road, using a cat’s eye headlight. 56 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE When it came time for him to cross the channel after the main invasion, he got with a couple of sailors assigned to the landing craft he was on and instructed each one to hold onto the motorcycle crash bars on opposite sides, and he would ride it down to the sand. It was dark, 4 in the morning. The waves would splash up the steep landing ramp and make it slippery. So, he told them that if one of them slipped and the cycle started to slide one way or another, the other should also let go. One of the sailors did slip and let go, but the other one didn’t. Dad landed on Normandy Beach “butt end fore.” He kept the motorcycle in France as long as possible but had to leave it behind when a colonel reassigned it to a courier. Dad railroaded through France and up into Liege, Belgium. He thought the French people were terrific and picked up several French phrases that he repeated with a smile decades after the war. Dad was perhaps fearless, or maybe a bit foolhardy. He tended to sleep through air raids. While in Southampton, he was billeted with a family named Prince. After a house down the street got hit, Mrs. Prince would come knocking on Dad’s door when the air raid sirens sounded, saying, “Peetah, Peetah, the boombs ah fawling! The boombs ah fawling!” Due to her persistence, he would get up and go to the shelter with them. After getting on the continent, he slept in his quarters within a boxcar. That is, until a buzz bomb hit the boxcar next door. That woke him up! Dad described in his letter the war he witnessed in France. “Such poverty, filth, destruction, violence as is contained on this continent is unbelievable. … But, too, there are evidences that once much was well, tho (sic) I think these folks are happier sans contentment than content with happiness.” He traveled to Bamburg, Germany, on the Regnitz River. And then the war in Europe was over, the army transferred him to the 7th M.P. in Scotland. He put in for Pacific duty, which disappointed Mom. But he boarded the Sea Bass and DAD’S MILITARY EXPERIENCE 57 sailed to Bristol, England. Then it was a 45-day voyage to Hollandia, New Guinea. They passed the equator and went on to Luzon. Then he sailed to the 7th Port Philippines. He got to see his brother Jack in Manila, who was on General MacArthur’s staff. But by then, the war in the Pacific was over. He returned to the U.S. by way of the Strait of Juan De Fuca to get to Fort Lewis in Seattle, Washington, where he was able to visit Pop’s sister, Jess, and her two sons. He finally made it home in May of 1945. Mom and Dad moved into their first residence at the Greenwood Avenue Apartments in Takoma Park, Maryland. Dad continued serving after the war in the National Guard, Coast Artillery Corps, from 1947 until 1952. 8 MEETING THE DRAFT BOARD I don’t remember a lot about my meeting with the Paterson, New Jersey, Draft Board. I do recall a relatively large waiting room filled with guys my age, and I recognized only one from my high school. Except for him and me, all the others were headed for active duty. Several had sorrowful tales of woe as to why they should not be drafted. One wanted to stay home to take care of his dying parents. Another had somehow lost his trigger finger. And every one of them got a negative answer from the Draft Board. They were all going into the army. I thought it would be worse for this one other fellow and me as we were both applying for conscientious objector status. But when I met with them, they treated me agreeably and with respect. The Board was willing to grant me conscientious objector status. They said I could work in a hospital in Paterson. But I pulled out a softcover book I had received from the American Friends Service Committee, which listed many approved alternative service workplaces. They asked to see the book and made notes on where to get a copy. So, with all the info I brought, they agreed that I could work in a hospital in Boston. Frankly, I cannot remember if I picked Beth Israel Hospital or if they assigned me there. But now I had to get back to Clemson, pack all my stuff, and head for Boston. I am genuinely grateful to our country for MEETING THE DRAFT BOARD 59 allowing me to have a different belief and opinion and not be punished for it. I got a message from the Army telling me I would be assigned a military physical exam appointment. But I never heard anything more about this. I guess they felt like they didn’t have to honor it since I wasn’t going into the military. If they did examine me, I might have flunked the physical because of the injury I had to my lower back. Years later I met an army chaplain, and we talked about my C.O. experience. He told me this must have been providential, because it doesn’t come easily and is usually not granted. 9 LEAVING CLEMSON I knew a coed at Clemson who lived not far from my home in New Jersey. I contacted her and asked if she had room in her car to take most of my belongings to my home in Wayne. She was very helpful and took everything I couldn’t carry on my motorcycle. I planned on riding up the Blue Ridge Parkway as far as I could. This was a dream I had been nurturing for years. I had just rebuilt that Harley 45 but not thoroughly tested it. The first time I’d had it on the open road, the brake cable shorted to the horn connection and welded itself there. I had to call a friend to borrow John’s VW bus to carry me and the bike back to my off-campus house. That was easy enough to fix, so I was back on the road in a day or two, fully loaded for bear, not going back to Clemson. Omar with friends. I had a dog that stayed with me, and it was hard to leave him. But another student agreed to take him in and feed him. One of my off-campus roommates had found him as a puppy on the drill field in front of Tillman Hall. He named him “Omar Ben Sufi of the Third Litter of Punjab.” We called him “Omar” LEAVING CLEMSON 61 for short. He had rickets as a puppy and couldn’t get his rear end up and walking. But, as we fed and cared for him, he gained strength and got to where he traveled around very well. I taught him to paw any closed door he wanted to go through, and somebody would let him through. He was the only dog allowed into the architectural school lecture room. Dr. Hodges would tell him to lie down and be quiet, and that’s just what he did. I think he just appreciated the air conditioning. We had an off-campus neighbor who had a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Omar would meet her downtown on her way back home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He wasn’t there the other days of the week. He was a smart dog. I packed up my gear, which was minimal, strapped a sleeping bag to the rear luggage rack and tied down a backpack. I still have to this day a big ol’ screwdriver I took along more as a weapon, just in case. I gave Omar a big hug and said goodbye. Off I went into the wild out yonder, headed for the Harley shop in Greenville. It was a cool September day, and I dressed for it with two pairs of jeans, a denim jacket, leather gloves, helmet, and some not-so-great desert boots. I needed to pick up a couple of parts that I either didn’t have or couldn’t find. One was a bracket that tied both cylinder heads to the frame right under the gas tank. The other was a special lock washer that I’d lost in the rebuilding process. I didn’t have the luxury of working in a garage, or even under a roof, just out in front of my off-campus house. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose more parts. The motor ran well. I had not properly broken it in or even tested it out much. About 15 miles out from Clemson, I was on a major highway when an 18-wheeler passed me. He must’ve been doing 70. I thought maybe I’d just pass him and see what this bike could do! So, I cranked her up and was almost to the rear of the truck when I heard a big BANG! 62 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE I looked down at the front wheel, and it wasn’t going around anymore. It was locked up and literally howling as the pavement peeled rubber off the tire. I figured I’d better disengage the clutch and put on the rear brake to balance it out and try to ride this thing down. It’s incredible how fast your mind reacts in such a situation. But then there was another mighty BANG! And I got dumped onto the pavement, tumbling head over heels and thinking, “I’m going to lose an elbow or knee cap if I don’t stop tumbling.” I spread out my arms and legs and found myself spinning down the road like a grounded frisbee, but face down. So, I tucked my arms and legs in and stuck ’em out again to find myself on my back, still spinning like a frisbee. The motor was going down the road on its side, crash bar holding it off the pavement, sounding like “Krrrutter, kpop. Krutter kpop pop pop.” I thought, “I will hit one of those raised asphalt seams in the concrete highway and mess up my back.” So, I arched up on my helmet and boots with some stabilizing influence from my gloved hands. One boot got ripped off, and my wallet flipped out of my back pocket. But the spinning slowed down, and I thought, “I’m gonna get run over by traffic if I don’t get off this road!” So, I jumped up onto my feet before I stopped spinning and ran off the road. There I was, standing beside the road with a silent motorcycle on its side in the right lane with a desert boot and my wallet lying nearby. The windshield had been broken off right above the frame. Cars passed by in the left lane. Nobody stopped. I grabbed my boot and wallet, pulled up the bike, rolled it over to the shoulder, lowered the kickstand, and leaned her down to rest. Now, what was I going to do? After my racing heart slowed, I thought, “If it starts, I’ll try to ride it. If not, I’ll leave it for junk and hitchhike.” She started right up. Now, I was LEAVING CLEMSON 63 out in the middle of nowhere. A small cabin across a big field about two hundred yards from the road was the only sign of human life. Thankfully, I wasn’t badly hurt—just some ripped-up clothes and road rash here and there. I had to figure out what happened and began to examine the front end. The tie-down arm for the front brake drum was hanging loose at one end. It had a missing bolt that was supposed to tie it to a bracket on one of the front forks. I never thought that bolt could vibrate out because it had a flat side, and the hole it went through had a matching flat side. One of the parts I’d not been able to find was a special lock washer that had four metal leaves. Two opposite leaves were supposed to bend down around the frame, and the other two were supposed to bend up around the nut. All I had put in there was a regular split ring lock washer. When the nut vibrated off, the tie down arm fell away, and the brake drum locked up with the pads, spun around, yanked the cable to the hand caliper, which was pulled up to the handlebar windshield mount, all in a split second. The cable broke a few seconds later and freed the brake drum to spin and hit the back of the fork. That kicked the front wheel off to one side and dumped me off. The missing bracket that tied the cylinder heads to the frame under the gas tank undoubtedly was supposed to minimize vibration, so that was a likely co-conspirator to my dilemma. I had no extra bolt, so I looked around on the ground and found some coat hanger wire that I used to tie the pieces together in place of the missing bolt. I slid the broken windshield between my backpack and sleeping bag on the luggage rack and sat on the seat, wondering how far I’d get. I had no operable front brake. Again, she cranked right up. I slipped her into gear and eased out the clutch. Moving, yes, but with an accompanying ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching. Slowly, I proceeded to the first exit and headed for the only gas station in sight. Two older 64 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE fellas were sitting in rocking chairs out front. And when I parked the bike and shut down the motor, one said, “C’mon over and set a spell. Tell us how far ya come.” “Ha! Only about 15 miles. I had a bit of a problem, and I need a nut and bolt and a couple of tools.” “Well, my son is out with the pickup and all the tools. But we got Cokes and such.” “Have you got any first-aid supplies?” “Naw, that’s all in the pickup, too. But they’s a bigger station up the road at the next exit, and they can probly hep ya.” So, I headed back to the highway and the next exit. A helpful cashier lady pointed me in the right directions for some first-aid spray, band-aids, tools, and hardware. I got myself and the bike in somewhat decent working order and rode off to the Harley shop for the parts I needed. Still no operable front brake. I arrived mid-afternoon, and the people there were very sympathetic to my plight. I had to buy a new/used front fork because the spinning brake drum tie-down post hit so hard that it bent the frame. It was one of the popular springer front ends with a double fork design, and I was glad used parts were available. I took apart the front end, reassembled it with the used parts, and got the brake working again. I also put a new plastic windshield on the frame. But closing time came, and I would have to come back the next day to mount the bracket between the cylinder heads and frame. I left the Harley shop and scouted out a place for me to lay down my sleeping bag. At least I was out from town in a fairly rural area. I found an orchard beside the road and thought it might be a good place to bed down. I pulled into it and went about a hundred yards from the road to a spot near the top of a rise, under a tree. As I shut off the motor LEAVING CLEMSON 65 and began to unpack my bag, I heard a persistent hound dog not far away. He wouldn’t hush. The movie Easy Rider had just come out, and people were suspicious of traveling motorcyclists. That’s probably why nobody stopped where I had my wreck. So, I had to find someplace else. I packed up my gear and left the orchard. I stopped at what looked like a fairly inexpensive motel and went inside the office. “Have y’all got a room for the night?” The clerk behind the counter said, “No sir, I’m sorry, but we’re all booked up. In fact, I’d guess all the motels are full. There’s a big convention in town, and as far as I know, every place is filled up.” “Oh, great,” I said. “Now, what am I going to do? I tried to find a place under a tree to spread out my sleeping bag, but a hound dog must’ve heard me and would not quit howling. And I don’t want to end up somebody’s shotgun fodder.” “He could stay at my place,” came a voice from the shadows by the wall behind the counter. I looked and realized a man was back there, but I had to wonder about him. The clerk looked at me and said, “He’s okay. He’s a friend of mine.” Then he turned and asked his friend, “How much for the night?” “How’s $20 sound?” came from the shadow. The clerk turned to me and said, “Sounds good to me.” Then quietly, “He’s really okay, just had a little more than he shoulda.” I said, “Okay, where’s your car? I’ll follow you.” Still talking for his friend, the clerk said, “He’s not driving. You’ll have to give him a lift home.” 66 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE I asked the shadow man if he could ride behind me on my motorcycle. He said, “Sure!” and stood up like he was ready to go. We exchanged names and walked outside. I rearranged my luggage to give him a place to sit. All I had was an extra-large seat for myself that I’d have to share. The bike had a springer front end and a spring under the seat but no rear suspension. It was a rigid rear end. This was going to be fun. He could stand steadily enough, but he did weave a bit. I cranked her up and swung up the kickstand. He took his place on the seat behind me, and I told him to hold on. You can imagine what it was like when we came to a stoplight, having to stop on an uphill slope with a toe-heel clutch and a gear-shift lever for the other foot, needing to balance without moving backward to get into gear and start rolling forward. He was swaying side to side a little, making it a bit more challenging. I sure was glad I had that front brake working properly. We made it to his apartment in good order. He had a clean and orderly place. It turns out he was a Bob Jones graduate and normally would have a friend rooming with him, but that fella was out of town. It seems my host was separated from his family, whose pictures I saw. I asked him where I was to sleep, and he showed me his roommate’s room. “May I take a bath? I’d like to soak a bit.” “Sure, bathroom is right there.” Then he laid down on the sofa and conked out. I soaked in that tub for a while and pondered how I used to let Bob Jones students into my dorm room and close the door behind them, standing between them and the door. They were just trying to be friendly and share the Gospel. But I had taken the attitude that they were invaders who didn’t know what they were doing. I’m afraid I was probably a bit LEAVING CLEMSON 67 intimidating. They kept opening their Bibles and trying to read passages to me. I told them to put the books down and just talk to me straight from their own experience. I didn’t want to hear a memorized speech. I was a real pain to them, I’m sure. I should have just let them practice on me. Maybe I challenged them to learn their arguments better. This man who let me stay at his place made a lot better impression on me than those dorm door knockers, even though he was snockered and had the weight of separation from his family weighing heavily on him. But I was no help to him. I slept very well that night. I got up early and thanked my host, left to get something to eat, and returned to the Harley shop. I finished working on the bike and took off for the Blue Ridge Parkway. It sure was nice to finally be cruising up the Parkway, going up and over those picturesque mountains. It was the closest thing to flying without leaving the ground, coasting down the slopes, accelerating and leaning into the turns, wind in my face, sound of the motor chugging along. It seemed even close to heaven. I stopped at several places just to take in the views. That sure is a pretty part of our country. The closest thing to flying – without leaving the ground. I made it as far as Blowing Rock, N.C., and got a motel room there. I did not sleep well because I’d developed a case of whiplash. Funny how it took a day to let me know it was there. Then the next day I rode as far as Salem, Virginia, where my sister was in school at Roanoke College. She arranged for me to stay with her boyfriend, John, in his frat house. She later married him, and they’ve been together 50 years now. 68 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE John saw me in the gang shower and noticed how scraped up I was. He asked me why I didn’t let him sell the bike for me and take the train the rest of the way. I didn’t want to part with that bike but was beginning to see it might be a problem in Boston. I didn’t have a good ignition lock on it, and it would probably get stolen even if I had. I had lived my dream of riding up the Blue Ridge. And, as I thought about it, I decided that maybe I should let John sell it for me. That’s another vehicle I wish I still had. I’ve had dreams of a garage with my old MGA and that Harley side by side, just waiting for a ride. Sweet dreams. … Springer frond end, stick shift, suicide clutch, rigid rear end. So, I took the train up to Newark, and Dad picked me up. I think he was disappointed not to see the motorcycle, but not terribly so. He was glad I was okay, and Mom and David were, too. My coed friend from Clemson had dropped off all my stuff from Clemson. I sure was grateful for her help. Now I had to pack up for the trip to Boston. It was the train, again. 10 NORTHTO BOSTON For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us. ~ Psalm 103:11-12 I had plans to stay with an old high school friend who had lived behind us at Packanack Lake but now lived in a group house in Arlington, near Cambridge. Marty was a super-intelligent guy who had just graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude. But he was super humble. He did his thesis on the impact of the elevated railway on a community called Charleston in Boston. His first job out of Harvard was driving a cab. No matter, though. He had other plans that developed well. I stayed temporarily in that Arlington house, where Marty lived with several other people, some married couples and some single. It was an interesting group. I used to wake up in the mornings to the sound of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. One married couple often baked bread which sent the aroma of freshly baked bread throughout the house. She would open the oven and have fresh bread with butter and honey for whoever was around. It was wonderful! 70 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Boston and Cambridge were the places to be. There were over 90 colleges and universities in the Boston Metro area, and young people were all over the place. It was very open and friendly. Strangers greeted others on the sidewalks. “Free love” was the “in thing.” Some were even experimenting with “open marriage,” which I thought was insanity. Hippies had free, spontaneous concerts in the parks on weekends, primarily acoustic but some electric. Hundreds of young people gathered there, enjoying the music and friendly atmosphere. The Cambridge and Boston commons saw jugglers, street musicians, and lots of colorful costumes. The “Age of Aquarius” was popular on the radio. Homeless young people, called “street people,” could get a free meal at some restaurants in Cambridge, around all those enlightened, Ivy League students. Everybody seemed to have such a feeling of freedom in the academic world. I found an apartment at Boylston and Tremont Streets, a corner of the Boston Commons, in the old Hotel Touraine, converted into apartments. My place was an efficiency on the fifth floor. It was an easy commute to my hospital job on the subway. But I soon realized it was at the edge of a rough neighborhood, commonly known as the “combat zone.” I often kept my window open that overlooked the alley behind the building. Once, I heard a crash in the alley and a young child screaming for help. I looked out and saw him run away from the car toward the street. But by the time I got down there, he was gone. Evidently, he had been left alone in a car parked on a slope in the alley, and he managed to release the brake or shift it into neutral. Other incidents around there made me uncomfortable. I left there one month before my lease was up and moved to a two-bedroom ground floor apartment in a three-story walk-up one block off Central Square in Cambridge. I stayed there for a couple of years. NORTH TO BOSTON 71 Marty roomed with me there for a while and would take me on Sunday afternoon tours, visiting his friends. One place we went had about 25 people in the apartment. I didn’t know anyone there but Marty. He was friendly with several. After we left, he asked me if I recognized that guy in the middle of the sofa, and I didn’t. He told me that was James Taylor. I have always admired his singing, even though I didn’t recognize him. I had some other really special friends living in Cambridge, including a couple who had graduated from Clemson. He had been in architecture also, but a year or two ahead of me. And, he had been on the fencing team. She had finished in the fine arts minor program that I started. We spent a fair amount of time together, and I miss them. They got me together with a man that had a fine art lithography shop who wanted to get into a larger place. I spent many hours helping him clear out a space in an old building downtown on Bromfield Street where several artists had developed lofts. We refitted his area with the walls and such that he needed. He printed lithographs for some famous artists who exhibited in New York, Chicago, and Boston galleries. We did his studio, and then I helped him carve out an etching studio for a new and upcoming artist. I might have done more with him, but occasionally he would get overstressed and get very angry. This bothered me, plus I didn’t see much of a future in my working for him. I looked for an apprenticeship and met with another artist whose work I admired. But he did not need any help. I gave up looking for an artist to work beside. There were some spiritual influences that I ran into up in Boston. One was a commune called the Fort Hill Community. I don’t remember how I learned of it, but I did visit a couple of times. The people who lived in it were ruled by a tightly knit group who required everyone there to look up to one person as an Avatar, even deify him. That person was 72 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE the harmonica player of a popular band at the time. His picture was hung throughout their homes like Chairman Mao over in China. They ruled according to astrological signs, but they wrote their own book of astrological meanings and interpretations. All the members who had outside jobs turned over their paychecks to the commune management, and the commune fed their people, bought and renovated several three-story walk-up apartment buildings. The work was done with remarkably good craftmanship, and they managed to amass a small fortune in real estate. But I bristled at the controlled management. There was no freedom inside. 11 ALTERNATIVE SECVIE I was able to get a real job early on at Beth Israel Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts, working in the Maintenance and Engineering Department. My boss was a very likable older man who retired while I served my two-year term of alternative service. He put me in a newly renovated basement office with four large drawing flat files that came up to desk height. He said, “This is a ‘guzzinta’ file.” I had to ask, “What does that mean?” He smiled and said, “I take a drawing, and it guzzinta the file, and when it comes out, nobody knows.” “Oh.” “There are eleven buildings in this hospital, built over seventy years, with 52 different floors, if you count each floor of each building separately. And there are architectural drawings, mechanical drawings, electrical drawings and plumbing drawings of the original buildings plus some plans of remodeling done at different times.” He paused a moment while that sank in, then said, “I want you to straighten all this out so I can find what I need without a lot of wasted time.” I did that and accompanied him and the shop boss on inspection tours as needed, which gave me a chance to see 74 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE what everything looked like in person. I drafted plans for minor renovations and helped write some hospital policy documents. I even got to write the hospital Security Manual after my boss persuaded the hospital administrator that I was not a security risk. I also sat in on meetings for the Harvard Medical School complex, which used facilities in several Boston hospitals. It was quite an education. I learned a lot of medical terminologies and explored that hospital from top to bottom. Not only did it have basements and sub-basements, but it even had sub-sub-basements in some buildings. Now, remember, the Vietnam War was still raging. Now and then, there would be a peace rally, and a lot of the doctors and nurses from the many Boston area hospitals would march together in their white lab coats before the anti-war demonstrations. I marched with them. We would march to a rallying point where there would be a speaker or two and sometimes a band, and then everyone would go home. That is, except for what we thought of as out-of-town trashers who showed up at the rallies to break windows and dump trash cans after the demonstrations. Police would come, and the trashers would scatter like roaches running from the light. Over time, tensions increased, and the police got tougher. I went to a concert or two at Harvard Stadium, not far from Harvard Square. I attended one that was either Janice Joplin’s last concert or Tom Rush and Melanie’s concert, where they expected an audience of 10,000, but 40,000 showed up. The police presence was strong before the concert. There was some difficulty with the sound system, but they finally got it going. You could see and smell clouds of marijuana smoke drift through the stadium. The crowd was very excited to be there. When the concert let out, there were far more police around than had been there initially. Most people rode the sub- ALTERNATIVE SERVICE 75 ways and trollies all over Boston and Cambridge. Frankly, I didn’t know how to get around above ground. The closest station was in Harvard Square, and as the large throng of people made its way to the Square, the number of police increased until they were shoulder to shoulder on both sides of the road. Then they had tall, clear plastic riot shields and five-foot riot staves and helmets. As we got closer to Harvard Square, police dogs on leashes lined up side by side, facing the crowded road, pink tongues hanging out. When we got into the Square, we saw three police officers in the center, one had a shotgun on his hip with a tear gas grenade mounted, and they had helmets that looked like Flash Gordon with radios built into the Mohawk-looking ridge running front to back. They were not fooling around. It was the first appearance I knew of SWAT in this area. They separated the crowd at the subway station, sending “straight” people down the steps and apparent hippies away above ground. Some of the hippies just walked to Central Square and got on the subway there. The police tracked down the trashers and rounded them up. But the effect of all the police action was to shut down the city. It was not the warm, inviting place it had been. People didn’t smile at each other much, and sidewalk greetings evaporated. Weekend concerts were no more. Winter descended on us without the freezing temperatures. Remember I said I didn’t know how to get around above ground? A college friend called me and said he was coming to town to visit, but his father was driving and needed directions. I was no help at all. But I finally bought some wheels to get around above ground, a Volkswagen Squareback. I had to park it on the street as there was no off-street parking where I was living. It was sideswiped, and nobody knew whodunnit. I found a left rear fender in a junkyard and replaced the smashed one, but I never did get it painted to match. I kept that car until I could afford a better one. 12 SEDUCED BY POPULAT CULRUE While I was working at the hospital, Marty introduced me to a young lady who absolutely captured my attention. I must admit that I succumbed to the popular culture values, and I lived with her for a year down in Dorchester. She was quite pretty and smart as a whip, but I learned that this was something I should never have done. We married and moved to a better neighborhood in Medford, but the marriage lasted only six months. I have since realized that anything physical has a spiritual consequence. She had a young son about a year old when we met. Looking back, I feel I related to him better than her, but he was so young I doubted he would even remember me. And when she left, he was gone, too. That divorce was one of the most miserable things I ever endured. I did want a family, but this did not resemble what I knew of family. She sued me for the divorce, and my lawyer told me to be at the hearing but not say a word. According to her complaint, it was all my fault. We were both to blame for our failures. After several years passed, I reclaimed my Christian faith and sent her a Bible with encouragement to read it. She sent it back and said she felt like having it in her apartment aggravated the devil, and he was punishing her because of it. Years later, she called me and said she was ready to settle down. But by then, she had a second son, and I had remarried. I never heard from her again. I hope she got SEDUCED BY POPULAR CULTURE 77 another Bible, read it, and told the devil to get lost. I wish I’d known enough to say to her what James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” As I was writing this so many years later, I got curious and decided to look her up on the internet to see if she had any footprint there. What I found shocked me – her obituary. She died in 2009 at age 60. It listed her son’s name with his town of residence. I found his address on the internet and sent him a card with a few pictures. One showed him with his first birthday cake. Another showed him riding on my shoulders with a big smile and another sitting on top of my car with me pointing at something in the distance. There were a couple of photos of our wedding day and one nice shot of his mom peacefully leaning on a pier piling with boats in the background. I told him I would like to have a conversation with him if he didn’t mind. He got back to me, and we talked for a good while one evening. He told me she got hooked on drugs and had an accident in the kitchen. She fell and hit her head. He saw blood coming from her ear. She was never the same again. She was paralyzed from the waist down and could barely use her hands. She could play cards and joke around when he visited her on weekends. But she couldn’t remember from one visit to the next. She lived the rest of her life in a hospital or nursing home. So incredibly tragic. I had trouble hearing this. He reminded me that she had run away from home in Massachusetts when she was 15, landing in Hawaii. She had to call home, and her father came to get her. She was a free spirit but made a lot of bad choices. He and his little brother counted twenty-one places they’d lived in until the time of her accident. I congratulated him for coming from such an unstable background and yet graduating from college and having a stable family with his wife and two sons. He should be proud. 78 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE I need to note something here. Our word “pharmacy” comes to us from the Greek word “pharmakeia,” used in the Bible, which can be interpreted in certain ways. One is “drugs,” which can be medicinal or poisonous. Another is the “healing arts,” which can seem magical. And the third meaning is “sorcery” or “witchcraft.” The proper interpretation comes by way of how the word is used in context. This Greek word is used three times in the New Testament, and each time it is used as “sorcery” or “witchcraft.” This means that Satan can use drugs to make things appear magical, yet he intends to destroy and kill people. He is a liar and a murderer. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. ~ John 8:44 13 A NEW JOB I finished my two-year alternative service at the hospital and looked for another job. I found one near Concord, Mass., at a prefab housing company. It was an awesome outfit. They had started up right after WWII and tried some pretty inventive structures with honeycomb insulated panels and complete pre-fabrication. But all that experimentation told them that 2×4 wall panels with plywood sheathing attached, pre-cut joists, and rafters would be the most cost-effective way to go. We shipped single and multi-family houses from Maine to Georgia, and a whole house could ship on one flatbed truck — or more for a bigger house. While I worked with the company, most of the management people were from Ivy League schools, and I was from Clemson, a comparatively small, podunk school way down south. My boss, Harold “Bud” Cross, may have been an Ivy Leaguer, but he never came across that way to me. He became my friend and an encourager. Something that fascinated me about the Concord area was its history. I would regularly pick up a submarine sandwich for lunch and take it over to the Old North Bridge, where they fired the “shot heard ’round the world,” bask in the fresh air and the historic setting. Concord and Lexington are great places to visit. I learned their prefab system of panelized construction and drafted single and multi-family houses. They had worked 80 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE out so many construction details quite well. We sent many multi-family units to ski areas as well as some shore locations for condominiums. They put me in charge of developing a multi-family catalog to show potential customers, then supply the drawings necessary to build. I even made business trips to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, down south to Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. Every time I flew in and out of Washington, D.C., I would stay with old college friends in what had been the old Belgian Embassy, and visit my grandmother, Dad’s mom, at the Presbyterian Home. She was so glad to see me, and I her! 14 FLEX-WING GLIDERS First, in this chapter, I quote John Gillespie Magee, an American who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force just before the United States entered WWII but died in 1941 at 19. I never reached the heights he did, but I sure can identify with his poem, “HighFlight.” Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air… Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew – And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. 82 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE After my divorce and after the city of Boston grew cold, I saw something on TV that ignited my imagination. Some guy attached to a dacron kite ran off a cliff, and from the camera’s point of view, he went down out of sight. But then he came up higher than his takeoff and began to soar above the cliff. This I had to learn about! It was called hang gliding. Skyhook 3A 1970’s Standard Rogallo I found three hang glider pilots who had a business giving lessons and selling gliders. Another pilot I met, Jon, who was not part of that business, gave me some instruction with his glider, one of the early, standard Rogallo designs with a 90-degree nose angle between the leading edges and four to five degrees of billow in the sail. It had a glide ratio of four to one – horizontal gliding distance four times the altitude before touching down. These early designs were fraught with danger. If one stalled, either in a turn or in straight-ahead flight, it would nose down into a full luff dive and could take 300 to 900 feet to recover from the stall. This was the early 1970s when many pilots were poorly trained, and there was a lot of experimentation. As many as eighty pilots died in the United States each year back then. I learned to fly on a standard Rogallo. The first thing to learn was takeoff and landing, then came turns. I got my feet off the ground but was not interested in buying one of these gliders. Someone finally came up with a better design, widening the nose angle between the leading edges, adding a second surface to the sail to make it more like a bird’s wing airfoil in section, and introducing some washout at the wingtips that would help pull the glider out of a stall. Some of these FLEX-WING GLIDERS 83 much improved, double-surface wings would pull out of a stall in as little as 25 feet! And the glide ratio improved to about six to one. I started hanging out with the guys in the business and learned a lot from them. They introduced me to a surfer kind of subculture, looking for the best mountain to fly from every weekend. One of the guys was working toward his Master’s of Aeronautical Engineering at MIT, and we got to be good friends. He was busy building an aluminum rigid wing monoplane for a school project. He never did get that one off the ground, but he learned a lot, and it was an imposing structure. He told me that his professor recommended this project, but later showed him the structure was not safe to fly. He said his attitude toward aerospace engineering dramatically changed after that project. He started to mature about what he was doing with aerospace projects after that. He was becoming an engineer. He said that some people studying engineering never become engineers, but at that point he was finally making the transition to thoroughly thinking through something. When he chose to sell his flex wing, I was able to buy his Sky Sports Kestrel, one of the first double surface flex-wing gliders. Author flying his Kestrel. I took the Kestrel up to Blanchard Hill near Dunstable, Massachusetts, the best small hill near Boston to practice takeoffs and landings. As I recall, it was only about a 150-foot descent from launch to landing. The wind conditions, speed, and direction varied daily and helped us learn about micro-meteorology, which is vital in hang gliding. How the winds swirl around trees and ground shapes is essential to understand. Blanchard Hill was used for small-scale skiing in the winter, but 84 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE the owner let us use it for hang gliding in the summer. I’m not sure how many times I carried my Kestrel up that hill, but it could have been 150 times. I wish I still had that kind of energy. My first flight from a mountain with the Kestrel was at Bald Knob in New Hampshire. John, a good friend with a standard glider, went with me for his first mountain flight, also. We parked at the bottom of the mountain and met two other pilots, Pete and Dean, who arrived just before us. They had already unloaded their gliders and were about to walk to the summit as we pulled up. They said they would wait for us to land before leaving the site to make sure we landed okay. We had a little trouble getting to the top because we were unfamiliar with the trail, and it had snowed recently. White paint blazes on trees and rocks marked the trail, but the snow obscured some of them. Consequently, we lost the trail and decided to just make a bee line for the top. We had to thread our rolled-up gliders and gear between trees and saplings, which slowed us down. I can still see the steep snow-covered slope we had to sit on as we pulled or pushed our gliders between trees. As we neared the summit, we found ourselves at the base of a rock bluff that must have been at least 80 feet high. We just picked a direction and went that way to get around and up on top. We saw Pete and Dean pass overhead in majestic silence, but we couldn’t see where they landed because of the forest. When we finally reached the summit, we enjoyed a great view and the beginning of a painted sky. The apparent landing field seemed like an easy target, but I suggested John go first so I could know where he landed. I was very confident of landing the Kestrel with no problems. He had a fine takeoff and flight but managed to get hung up in a couple of trees on landing, suspended just a few feet above the ground. Snow on the ground obscured what was underneath. He FLEX-WING GLIDERS 85 dropped out of his harness and broke through a thin layer of ice into about a foot of water, cold water. Thankfully, the landowner had a son and daughter who saw this and went to help him get his glider down. I landed shortly after that and discovered we had landed in a maple syrup farm. The owner invited us to sit in his sugar shack and use the fire under the evaporation pan to dry our feet and boots. They also handed us a tin cup to scoop some syrup being clarified in the evaporation pan. I will never forget that. I flew my Kestrel off Mount Kearsarge near Concord, NH, a lot. It was almost the perfect place to fly. It had a rounded, bare rock summit and one landing area that was plenty large enough. Here’s an account of my first flight there with the Kestrel on Easter Sunday, 1976. New Hampshire seemed to be the place to be that day. There were twenty gliders in the air at different times that day, and there would be three of us up for one simultaneous hour. I arrived at the small gravel parking lot on the backside of Kearsarge about one in the afternoon. Two kites sat idle on top of a car and van, and I saw no one in the air. People coming down the path said there were kites set up and waiting and that a couple had flown but didn’t stay up long. Now I had to decide whether or not to carry the 65 pounds of glider and gear a half-mile up the hill right away or walk up to check out the wind and maybe come back for it. I decided to run up and take a look. Another Kestrel sat ready at the takeoff, which would yield a fair indication of how mine would do. And then I realized someone was in the air. It was a Kestrel, too! But he hadn’t been doing well and was losing altitude. Then he started doing some steep, tight turns to approach the lower State Park parking area – not a very good or forgiving place to land. It is small, maybe 200 feet long by 100 feet wide, with half of its width paved, and it usually has a couple of cars parked in it. The unpaved part is pretty steep. Tall trees surround the area, some 80 86 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE feet tall. And electrical wires cut off the access road as a landing stretcher. This guy was standing his Kestrel on end, really tight turns! But he got it in there, all right. Then he just sat there for a long time, perched under his white Kestrel sunshade. It was hot that day. The car radio had said it was 91 degrees in the valley. And it wasn’t much cooler on the mountaintop, 1400 feet higher. At least the wind was blowing. And boy was it blowing! The conditions seemed good for soaring flight – 10 to 20 mph and from a decent direction. The guys at the top were trying to figure out why this guy had not stayed up. Perhaps the wind was coming too much from the south? Maybe it varied too much in speed? He may have even hit some bad sink down near the bottom, which would explain why he chose the parking lot. He knew the parking lot was frowned upon by the Forest Service as a landing area. And especially with a Kestrel, that landing area seems absurd and dangerous. It’s so close that a Kestrel usually flies over it and beyond for a good distance. The juniper patch is much more inviting, and it’s just past the parking lot and even downhill from it. Some theories came up concerning mountain winds and the shaded lower slope. Maybe it would be better to wait until the sun came around more and warmed up the lower slope. Perhaps penetration became a problem after he got away from the ridge? We finally decided to wait until the sun came around a little farther, and possibly the wind would smooth out in speed and direction. But there was one guy who was anxious to go off in a standard kite. He shouldn’t have any penetration problem. He probably wouldn’t soar, but he should have a good flight down. So, they moved his glider up, and he got set for takeoff. This would be his first flight from a mountain, and there FLEX-WING GLIDERS 87 was someone to vouch for his flying ability. I don’t know who vouched for him, but I soon felt he shouldn’t have. Just after his feet left the ground, all the pilots at takeoff hollered, “Pull in! Pull in!” He was going sooo slow, and a stall seemed imminent. But he made it into the lift and started moving further out, and out and out … At first, he didn’t lose much altitude, but then he got too far out, lost lift, started doing some very inefficient diving turns, alternating with some rather frightening stalls and side slips. Everybody was yelling at him to “Speed up! Level out! Slow down! Speed up! Take it easy!” And he must have been on the verge of shock. Of course, he couldn’t hear us, being so far away and the wind buffeting his ears. He had flown way out from the mountain, in the opposite direction from the landing area, and was getting too low, too fast, too soon. He finally got his act together enough to head for the parking lot and the juniper patch. But everybody on top got alarmed when they realized he was headed for the lot. The fellow with the white Kestrel got very alarmed, too, for he was still sitting in the lot under his cool white sail when he saw this kid approaching. I’ve seldom seen such rapid ground handling in hot weather. He got that white Kestrel out of there so fast it was funny! But the kid in the standard was closing in on some serious business. He obviously did not know how to handle his kite well at high altitudes. Maybe when he got lower, he would regain his sense of speed and direction and park it in there. Maybe not. Trees, wires, hard asphalt, a building near the edge of the trees, a couple of cars, a steeply sloping grassy area, and not much free airspace once inside the limits of the treetops. Some thought he might end up in a tree. But that was always risky. Just then, he did put it on top of a very tall pine tree. It looked like the treetop hooked the control bar and grabbed the kite 88 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE right out of the air. Immediately the kite nosed down, and very quickly, he was hooked, but good! He would have gotten some points if he’d been playing horseshoes, for this one was an absolute ringer. I’ll bet his head was ringing, too! Other pilots would scramble to climb up to him and help him get down safely. By this time, I was convinced that the mountain was soarable or would be a little later on. The standard kite had stayed up well when in the lift, and all his dipping and swooping was obviously pilot induced. The air looked to be rather clean. Besides, the sun was coming around. It was 2 o’clock, and I decided to go back down for my glider. I ran down the rocky path about as quickly as possible without wasting too much energy. I met Pete and Dean coming up as I rushed down. They had flown Bald Knob right before John and me just a couple of weeks earlier. They told me they had waited for us at the Maple Sugar Farm before leaving, but they had to get back on the road and left just as I landed. When I got to the car, that water jug sure was refreshing. I had a candy bar, too. I should have eaten a better breakfast and should have brought some lunch. … Next time. When I was almost up to the top with my glider, I saw Pete and Dean horsing around the sky like a couple of crows playing in the wind – dipping and darting and slowing up and turning 360-degree turns, losing altitude for sure, but having one fun time. Other guys were setting up their gliders for takeoff, and I joined in the excitement of a great afternoon of flying. Ben was nearly set up when I arrived. He took off maybe 25 minutes before I did and had a fair flight but tried to work the lift too far out and away from the mountain. He stayed aloft perhaps 20 minutes. Terry Sweeney showed up with his glider only to realize that a friend had borrowed one of his wing bolts. He was grounded until his friend showed up to fly also, as promised. FLEX-WING GLIDERS 89 Terry is such a character. He spent probably four days a week climbing mountains and flying. I’d believe that a better weatherman didn’t exist, and no one had flown more New England hills. He wasn’t even puffing from his 15-minute climb. I finally got set up, and Terry helped me maneuver my glider over to the takeoff. Not any other anxious pilots left around, but quite a few spectators. A young dog chased around with a playful German shepherd. Somebody kept calling him, “Wing-nut, over here Wing-nut.” They should commission that dog to carry around a small bag of spare parts. Terry could have used a wing-bolt from Wing-nut. I got my glider in place, and sat by it to watch the wind for a couple of minutes, sip a little water, and calm my inner excitement. A friendly lady came nearby and asked if it was okay for her to take some pictures. I said, “Sure, by all means, but would you send me some copies? I’ll reimburse you for them.” She said she would, and I gave her my name and address. But I never saw those pictures. Then she asked if I was frightened at all. Frankly, I felt great! Just a bit tired from climbing that trail and all the excitement. How long would I stay up? “As long as I could.” As long as I could. I hooked into my harness, and Terry exclaimed from in front of my kite, “There’s a bird, Pete! There’s a bird!” “What kind?” I hollered as the wind was making a fair amount of noise. He said, “I don’t know, but it’s going up! Wow! Look at that! It’s a hawk, and he’s going up! Look at that!” I hollered back that I was hooking in and couldn’t see for the kite, but where was the hawk? “Off to the left, and he’s up there!” 90 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Then Terry turned and lifted the glider’s nose as I’d asked so that I could feel the wind better. It seemed really good. Straight into the slope at about 10 to 15, smooth and averaging about 12 mph. It had mellowed out nicely from what it was earlier. “Time? What time is it?” “Five o’clock already!” Time flies, too. I told Terry to lift the nose higher. He did, and I steadied for takeoff. Everybody on the mountaintop was quiet and watching — a great spectator-sport. Terry said it felt perfect and that I could take off anytime, whenever I felt like it. I said, “Okay,” but I was still hesitant. I wanted the best takeoff wind I could get. The small tree stumps just in front of takeoff wait for any stallers. He said, “Look, Pete, I’m barely holding onto your wires,” and there he had his thumb and forefinger encircling one wire with the other fingers outstretched in an “OK” sign. The positive, go-ahead feeling comes before every takeoff. If it doesn’t, one shouldn’t take off. It came, and I said, “Okay,” to Terry, who was holding the nose of my glider. That told him it was okay to let go, that I had it, I was going to take off. He ducked out of the way, and I charged into the wind that was just tickling the tops of pine trees out in front and below me. There was a rush of air around my ears, the kite wanting to lift, my holding it down for speed, then liftoff! Keeping the nose down and holding as much speed as possible, I let out the bar and climbed up and over the stumps to meet the lift. It comes in a real whoosh of airspeed, grabbing the nose and pulling you skyward. Then you proceed to penetrate away from the hill a little, about 150 feet, ease a slow left turn and proceed to let out the control bar as much as possible without stalling, keeping a safe margin of FLEX-WING GLIDERS 91 airspeed for any burbles of still air or sink that come with the mountain air. I let that bar way out, as long as the speed seemed healthy until it could go no further without a stall. What a rush of excitement and confidence when I turned my head to see that I was above takeoff! Not only that, I was a good 500 or 600 feet above the ground and about 200 feet away from the ridge. I drifted closer to the ridge and gained more over takeoff. Terry was standing there, waiting, watching, grounded for now until his friend brought that critical piece of hardware. I passed almost directly over takeoff, rising higher over it, drifting up over the ridge, directly over it. Flying slowly, but very surely. I turned slowly back and gained my best altitude until then on the upwind leg. I was so high and so centered over the ridge to the left of takeoff that I could see the whole parking lot on the backside of the mountain, my car sitting there, hot in the spring sun. I realized I had forgotten about my new stirrup hanging to one side. I freed it, put my feet in it, and stretched out to cruise. I cruised around, back and forth, whooping it up a little, pulled my first, true 360-degree turn, hollered back and forth with Terry a little, and just revelled in all the incredible, natural excitement and beauty of that New Hampshire air space and landscape. The lift band extended out one-half to three-quarters of a mile from takeoff on some days, and you can fly about a mile or more over to the left and almost a mile over to the right. With thermal activity, those limits get extended. More than one man has gained 1,500 feet above takeoff with thermal lift. I didn’t try chasing thermals that day. The cumulus clouds were not out. Too dry. Besides, I was well content with 200 to 300 feet above takeoff. And I was comfortable, very 92 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE comfortable with a supine harness to lean back on and my feet slung up lazily in the foot stirrup. Minimal effort was necessary to fly this day at this time. But I wasn’t about to fall asleep – not hardly! After about 45 minutes of cruising around, thinking about where the lift was strongest, exploring the left-to-right limits of the lift, casting my moving shadow on the spectators at takeoff, Terry’s friend showed up with his glider and Terry’s wing-bolt. They commenced to set up and prepare for launch. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this from the air. When they took off, I had been up for an hour, exploring the lift and feeling very lucky. They both swooped right up and past me, further out from takeoff and about 50 or 60 feet higher. I stayed behind and below them to watch more experienced flyers hang in the sky together, almost motionless. These guys were more experienced pilots, and they knew this hill inside out and showed it. We cruised together for about 40 minutes, each settling into our own grooves for working the lift, which was, quite frankly, very easy work. I wondered why no one else had stayed up for so long this day. At one point, Terry’s friend, whom I didn’t recognize as someone I knew, flew directly over me. I panicked a little and proceeded to dive down and away from him. He hollered a friendly “Hello down there” or something as he passed over. I couldn’t hear for sure what he said, but it was a gas to be in such a circumstance. The sun was slowly but too quickly settling down beyond the western horizon, bright orange amidst a few distant, lazy clouds. It had been getting cooler, and I had been shivering a little since before Terry lifted off. Now it was starting to get downright cold for a thin guy like me, not warmly dressed. It had been over 90 degrees in the valley earlier in the day. I guess I was really high. FLEX-WING GLIDERS 93 I shouted to Terry to lead the way into the landing area and that I would follow. It was getting dark. The sun had fully set, and Terry was still into cruising around. We had talked about another landing area, and I surely needed a ride back to my car. I figured I would stay up so long as I could still see Terry and the juniper patch, the usual landing area. A few lights in the valley lit up. The red, flashing beacon atop the mountain tower had come on. That tower is certainly something to avoid. I had once come within an easy100 feet of it and decided it best to stay much farther away. At last, Terry seemed to be getting farther away from the mountain and heading for a landing area. He was really high. I decided to slow up and go for as much altitude as possible, as I’d need it if we were going very far. Someone told me later that I managed better altitude as I moved away from the mountain than Terry and his friend. I didn’t know how to take that, as fact or a little fiction for encouragement. But I do know that as the three of us moved away from the mountain, Terry stretched out in front, was lowest, his friend a bit higher, and myself bringing up the rear, higher still. Of course, Terry had left the lift first. He escaped my vision before he landed, so I watched his friend make his approach, and I figured on doing exactly what he did. It took a long time getting there, about 15 or 20 minutes. The air was smooth as silk, and the temperature changes we went through were curious and refreshing. Atop the mountain, it was cold for sure. As we moved further away from it, out over the valley, the temperature rose nicely. It was like coming out of a dry, refrigerated space into a warming, moist steam bath – although not that hot, of course. Then, as we neared the ground and our landing area, it turned cool again. 94 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE All the way there, I told myself to resist any temptation to pull in the bar for more speed. That would get me down too soon, and I’d never make it far enough. Another thing was the wind drift. We all had to aim upwind of the landing area to arrive there properly. Too much turning would give up too much altitude. Soaring flight became just plain flying. When I had just cleared the lift, I looked down at the lower parking area. There was a full-sized station wagon down there, and looking at it with my arm outstretched, its length was about three-eighths of an inch. I figure I was at least 1,600 feet high. I passed over a couple of houses at about 1,000 feet and 600 feet. The landing area came up as I was at about 200 or 300 feet of altitude. It was “Four Corners,” a crossroads with a house and barn and several outbuildings. Wires ran along the roads, but the fields were big and grassy. It is more than two miles from takeoff, about a seven and a half to one glide, and we’d done it with a ten mph or so headwind. The mountain loomed behind like a huge earth mother in the distance, having given life to this memorable flight. It was too far back to return to, but it was just about dark anyway, and precious altitude let me over the landing area with some height to burn off. I pulled in the bar, picked up speed, turned a bit downwind, imitating Terry’s friend a bit, and swung around upwind to clear the trees by maybe 25 feet, pulled in the bar some more for safety’s sake, and realized my feet were still in the stirrup. I popped them out and got the stirrup out of the way with little time to spare before touchdown. Running is a very strange experience after soaring for two hours. But of course, your legs resume their natural mode as soon as they touch. You run if you have to, as I did, and slowed to a stop. Then I carried the glider over to the FLEX-WING GLIDERS 95 side of the road. My eyes must have looked weird to other earthlings. They were watering and about as big as silver dollars with the amazement of the whole experience. Cars were there already, waiting for us to land, pack up, and ride back to our separate vehicles. People were ecstatic for the trio just landed. I mentioned to someone that my longest flight before this had been 10 minutes, and word quickly passed with all kinds of exclamations and excitement coming back to me. I didn’t come down, in my mind, for days afterward. I had been on many short flights lasting just seconds, with some maybe up to a minute long. I had encountered turbulence and sink at small hills far worse than I had experienced this day. I had carried my glider up small hills more than 150 times. I had stalled violently on another day only 15 feet from the ground and gone in straight down, much to my surprise. I had never landed in a tree. I had flown rigid and flexible wings. I had read everything I could get my hands on about flying and flying conditions. I had thought about and dreamed about staying up for an extended time. And I had waited, actively and patiently, for almost a year and a half since I first started hang gliding. And now I had finally begun to experience what hang gliding was all about — staying up there — getting some real air time in. And I loved it! I went back the next day, a holiday, for more. But the wind was much too strong. Now to wait for the next good day. Where would it be? Perhaps in New Hampshire, or Massachusetts, maybe Maine or Vermont? Wherever the wind was blowing at the right speed and in the right direction for that mountain. In 1976, I became president of the New England Hang Gliding Association. We put together a booklet of all the best flying sites in New England with descriptions of the sites, 96 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE giving preferred wind direction, distance to landing areas, where to park, etc. I’m sure that gave a lot of flyers a head start in their flying experience. 15 ICAUS RII GIDIWRNID My boss at the prefab housing company, Bud Cross, was very enthused about my flying. He had been the youngest licensed pilot in Massachusetts when he obtained his flying license years before. He told me about always looking for a field large enough to land in if ever the engine cut out. We did some research and found a rigid wing glider kit that would be fun to build in his barn, and we asked around to see if there might be more guys interested in buying into the idea. We found four others who pitched in, and we purchased an Icarus II kit from Taras Kiceniuk of Cupertino, California. This was a biplane with high dihedral, swept wings, and tip drag rudders to put the glider into a fully coordinated turn. It had a glide ratio of eight to one, twice that of the early rogallos. And, you could deploy both tip rudders to slow the glider and reduce the glide ratio to four to one and drop down into a landing field under good, positive control. We built the ribs out of styrofoam and wood strips. The frame was all one-inch aluminum tubing. We covered the wings with dacron and sealed them. It was beautiful. It was reminiscent of the Wright brothers’ biplanes, but much more maturely designed. The pilot had to hang from his armpits on what were called hang tubes, with his elbows down and his hands on aluminum sleeve twist grips that controlled rudder deflections. He had to rest the glider’s weight on his lower back 98 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE for takeoff, leaning forward and aiming the bird directly into the wind. We wrapped the lower rear spar connection with foam rubber and a towel to protect our backs. The pilot had to get the wing flying for takeoff by bringing it into the airstream, running to leave the launch platform, and diving it slightly to gain airspeed. Then if the flight was going to be long enough, he had to swing his feet up onto the lower front spar to take the weight off his armpits and slide a sling seat under his butt. I hung a little stirrup about a foot wide under the lower leading edge to make it easier to get my feet onto something. The barn we built it in was a grand old New England structure with red painted walls outside and a cupola on top. We carried the completed glider across the street to a hayfield that belonged to the president of the prefab company. There was just enough slope to get our feet off the ground, and the hay made for soft landings. As it turned out, only two of us could get it off the ground, Danny and I. I thought Danny would make a good pilot, but he dragged a wingtip in the hayfield, made a ground loop, and broke a rib – one of his own, not the bird’s. He hung it up. Bud and I built a trailer out of quarter-inch plywood with a rounded top that gave it rigidity. We glued and nailed it together. The wings came apart in the middle by removing four bolts that joined the leading and trailing edges. We made a track to slide the second wing on a little sled that plugged into a small, secure structure at the front and tied it down at the rear. It was a neat setup. We painted it white and used some RV roofing paint on the top, and it worked well. By this time, I had bought a German Opel that I got brand new, and I liked that little car. It was the closest thing I could afford to a BMW, and it handled like one. It pulled that trailer all over New England. ICARUS II RIGID WING 99 Author in Icarus II takeoff. The first place I took the Icarus II was Blanchard Hill that had about 150 feet from takeoff to landing. We had to carry the glider up, and I would fly it down, practicing to get my feet in the front stirrup, over and over again. Another friend, Greg, brought his Icarus II from his hometown out in the Midwest, and we practiced together. Feet up! My first attempt from Blanchard Hill was embarrassing. We took the Icarus up to a small plateau on the hill, which would afford me about a thirty-foot descent. I wouldn’t even try to get my feet up, just practice takeoff and landing. The slope was steeper than the hayfield, and I got off the ground quickly. I eased my weight back a little and looked forward to a nice, smooth glide. Only, the sound of air passing over and around the wings, posts, and wires got strangely quiet. Then all of a sudden, the Icarus nosed straight down, and I saw the ground rush up mighty quickly. Boom! It was like a big bass drum when it hit. I had my first stall in the bird. Thankfully, I was only about fifteen feet up in the air when I entered the stall, so I didn’t have far to fall—no damage to the bird or me. But I learned my lesson. Listen to the sounds of flight, wind singing in the wires! 100 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Cruising for distance. We practiced from that lower plateau several times until we felt we had nailed the takeoffs and landings. Then we carried our gliders up to the top and flew from there numerous times. I got to where I could get my feet up quickly and cruise out farther than any of the flex wings. Soon the hankering for a mountain flight grew into a reality. I took it up to my favorite hang-gliding mountain, Mount Kearsarge in New Hampshire. The day I towed it up there, many other pilots also thought it was the place to be. I arrived at the small gravel parking lot on the back side of the mountain. Several cars and flyers were in the parking lot. I could see several gliders in the air already. I had to recruit some help to carry the Icarus up the rocky, half-mile path, about 1,400 feet elevation change to the top. There was no way I could do it myself. Each pair of wings was 15 feet long. I found several helpers enthused about this new and different kind of glider. They wanted to see it fly almost as much as I did! We carried the wings up the path that follows a small, wet weather brook that flows across and down the trail at several places. New Hampshire is known as good ankle-straining country. There are nice rock outcroppings to walk over, with smooth projections of ledge to sit on, rest, and appreciate the view, as well as cool off a little in the breeze. When you come upon that final expanse of bare rock that caps the mountain, you come from behind with little or no wind, up and over the hump with a fantastic view and wind! What great wind! I’ve been there on days when it blows so hard you have trouble staying on the ground with no glider. ICARUS II RIGID WING 101 My helpers were good to stay with me as I assembled the glider, hooked up the seat and safety harness I’d made from a car seatbelt, and maneuvered the Icarus into position for takeoff. I strapped on my helmet, climbed into the hang cage, and hooked into the safety harness that went around my chest, under my arms. Poised for Mt. Kearsarge takeoff. As I found myself in a good position for takeoff with the nose pointed straight into the wind, I still had several people holding the wing steady. I needed a moment to concentrate on what I was doing: look over the wing; test the rudder controls, and rehearse in my mind the steps I would take to launch. I asked the guys on the wingtips and the nose to hold on as I moved slowly forward. Everyone else had to clear out of my way. I didn’t want to start my run and bump into someone who might deflect a wing and leave me very vulnerable to a ground loop. I asked my three remaining helpers to assist me in moving forward into the stronger wind stream. I instructed my wingtip men to carefully release the wings so I could be sure the wings were aligned with the wind. I didn’t want one side lifting higher than the other. The high dihedral angle was good at that. She seemed to want to fly, lifting herself off my back and under my armpits. So, I said to my nose man, “When you release the nose, duck under the wing so I can pass by you with no contact.” He nodded an okay, and I said, “Now, release!” And I took just a few steps forward and was AIRBORNE! Shooting over the stumps and then the treetops. Whoosh! Into the lift and gaining altitude. 102 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Airborne!! I shifted my weight slightly forward to increase airspeed and ensure the wing was flying properly. I tested the tip rudders. All was good. I must have been 100 feet above ground already, good clearance to get my feet up into the stirrup and slide the seat under me. I did that and looked over to my left to be sure I could turn and not collide with anyone. There were three or four flex-wing gliders already in the air. It was clear, so I eased a turn to the left and proceeded to gain altitude. I noticed a sailplane much higher than we were. I would not be able to approach his altitude. He probably had a 23-to-1 glide ratio and a much lower sink rate but a higher speed than I. But this was cool, way cool. The glider felt so stable and reliable. I felt privileged to have this adventure. Cruisin’! I flew over to the left end of the ridge and eased a 180 back toward the landing area. When I flew by, I noticed a friend taking pictures, so I got into position to make eye contact and waved at him. Believe it or not, I thought this would make a great picture to send to Mom. It did, and I sent it to her. Several good pictures came from that day. Tony was a good hang glider pilot and a good photographer. ICARUS II RIGID WING 103 After being up for over an hour, all the other pilots started heading for the landing fields. I had spoken with one guy about going to a field farther out than the juniper patch. It was larger, and I felt I could make the distance without a problem. He had been to that field himself and thought he could make it today as well. So, when I saw him heading out, I followed at a reasonable distance. I did not want to make a tree landing. We passed beyond the juniper patch, and he set up his landing. I followed him down but overshot him by quite a bit. Now I faced a certain dilemma. The converging tree line at the edge of the field quickly narrowed, and there was a clump of saplings in the middle of the approach toward that end. I was flying pretty hot, purposely going fast to ensure no stall and have plenty of control. The faster air moves over the control surfaces, the more control you have. I didn’t want to put out both tip-drag rudders because I was so low, and I had not practiced a high angle flare with the rudders out. It seemed like that would introduce a last-second stall too high off the ground. I did ease them out a bit, but not enough to slow me down before my left wingtip hit the saplings. That spun me around to the left and flipped the wing up, dumping me out of the hang tubes, but still connected by my harness. Thankfully, I had slowed enough that it didn’t damage the wing or me upon impact. I was low enough, and the weeds were high enough to cushion my fall. Not the most graceful landing. My buddy watched this, ran over, and shouted, “You all right, Pete?” “Yeah, I’m fine!” And I started checking the wing for damage. No problems. Another good day at Kearsarge! Now I just needed to get the bird moved over to the roadside and fetch the trailer. 16 MOTORIZED FLIGHT I got to know some fellows in a local hang gliding club, and one member named Bob Albright happened to have a McCulloch go-cart motor that was the same model John Moody built into a motor mount design with a propeller for his Icarus II. Bob and I became partners in the endeavor to join motor and wings. Moody demonstrated his invention at an Experimental Aircraft Association gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In fact, he “over demonstrated” it. Motor mount on Icarus II. It was a somewhat weighty addition to the Icarus II and added about 50 pounds to the glider that already weighed 55 pounds. So, with a full tank of gas, it weighed about 108 pounds. That was a hefty bit to hold and control. It worked best with the motor going full speed, which we could monitor via the exhaust temperature gauge. When that read 400 degrees, we knew we had enough power to take off. We had to get it cranked up and running while it sat on the ground, supported higher in the back by a MOTORIZED FLIGHT 105 strut bracket attached to the rear end of the hang cage. As you can imagine, we had to wear earplugs. The two-cycle engine wide open was louder than a chain saw. We had a throttle control, one of those twist and push-pull, then twist again types. But once it tuned for full speed, we didn’t touch it. The only active control we had of the motor was a hand-made switch the pilot held in his mouth. If the pilot opened his mouth enough to break the electrical contact, it would spring open and cut off the motor. But if you didn’t spit it out or hold your mouth open long enough and bit back down on it, the motor would catch and continue to run – at full speed. This was our crude throttle and cut-off switch. Once we got the motor running, the pilot had to climb into the hang cage, get some help standing up with the rig and place the padded rear lower spar on his lower back, balancing the rig’s weight. Again, the bird had to be pointed directly into the wind due to the lifting action of the upwind high dihedral. Then it was a matter of starting to walk, then run with the motor spinning the propeller tips at about 0.8 mach, the speed where aerodynamic efficiency begins to fall off. Later designs used a geared-down system to slow the prop and make it more efficient. The pilot’s steps start small, then get longer, then longer, and then really long. And he’s off the ground! The motor made flying much more efficient than driving to a mountain, hauling it up to the top, and fetching a trailer to get it home. The only thing we could have done better would have been to add some wheels, but the thrust generated by the direct-drive prop would be borderline to overcome the additional weight and drag. Now I was not there, but this is what I remember of the news releases. John Moody took off in his bird and flew 106 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE out in front of the Experimental Aviation Oshkosh crowd bleachers, doing long passes left to right. Then he started doing wingovers in his turns, swooping down and up, lower and higher. He kept increasing the height of his turns until finally, his bird inverted! It’s supposed to be a HANG glider. But he found himself flying UPSIDE DOWN! He must have braced himself into a stable position. He was concerned about shifting his weight too far forward, as he believed this would cause the wing to tumble, like when you flip loose a long, thin piece of paper or even a business card, it will tumble all the way to the ground. He didn’t want to deflect one or both of the rudders. So, he did what he thought best and spit out the mouth switch. His Icarus II simply righted itself and settled into its normal gliding mode. It is a very stable platform. Thank you, Taras! Of course, the officials grounded him after that demonstration. But as far as I know, he never flew inverted again. My first experience with powered flight left something to be desired. I never had any experience flying a powered bird. And nobody gave me any such instruction. I probably should have read Stick and Rudder or some standard reference. But I didn’t. I was a glider pilot. Nothing more. Bob and I took the Icarus out to a piece of rural property that had been a golf course on slightly rolling ground. A sky diving club used it for a landing zone, and other groups also used it. We thought it would be a good place to fly from and land. We got the bird assembled and cranked the motor. I was the first to fly it since Bob had never flown it before, even as a glider. I got situated in the hang cage, and we lifted the bird to balance it on my lower back. Head nodding and eye glances were all we had for communication because of the extremely loud motor and earplugs. I was pointed directly into the wind as usual. The first step was tiny. The next one was bigger. Then bigger and MOTORIZED FLIGHT 107 bigger and much bigger. Pretty soon, my steps were about 10 feet apart. Not knowing what I was supposed to do, I just held down the nose to build speed. I figured if I went fast enough, the wings would generate enough lift to pull me off the ground. Faster and faster and faster! My feet stopped touching the ground, and I thought, “Oh, good, I’m lifting off!” But then my toes started to touch the turf again. “Oh, nooo.” I wasn’t going up, and I thought I couldn’t take off. So, I spit out the mouth switch, and the nose went down and hit a glancing blow on the grassy ground, dragging me with it. Bob ran over to see if I was okay, and I was. I was just stunned. He said, “Pete, you were going so fast that you would have shot 90 feet into the sky if you’d just pointed the nose up!” I must have flown over a shallow depression in the turf, but the ground rose again, and my feet began to drag. So dumb… It’s a shame we have to learn by experience. I walked away from that crash. But the bird had compression fractures in the leading edges where they joined at milled aluminum fittings held together by one stainless steel bolt at each leading edge. We had to cut off the bulging ends of the leading-edge tubes and splice on new ends with the fittings in place. This repair worked fine. After this, I was able to take off and fly the Icarus with almost no problem. The usual problem was in landing. The weight of the bird with the motor mounted was too much to hold up when landing. We once had a newspaper reporter with a camera who did an article for the local paper, and I asked him not to mention the fumbled landing. He was good to us. 108 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE We made ourselves an instrument package with a CB radio and an altimeter. I didn’t use the radio much, but the altimeter was nice to have. I once had that bird up one mile above takeoff. In hang gliding jargon, that was called “specking out.” You became so small in the eyes of those on the ground that your bird was a mere speck in the sky. The one instrument we really should have had was a variometer. That device would make a warbling sound that went up in pitch as you gained altitude and down in pitch if you lost altitude. Very helpful for a glider pilot. Bob had a flight later on with a vario and caught a strong thermal. He said there were oak leaves and bumblebees in it with him at an altitude over 12,000 feet! The Federal Aviation Administration got in touch with us and required us to register as experimental pilots and have N numbers displayed on the bird for identification. We had to set up the glider with the entire motor mount assembly inside a building so they could inspect it. That was interesting. But not long afterward, they got back in touch with us and asked us to remove the N numbers because the FAA decided they could not keep up with the vast proliferation of motorized hang gliders. Once in a rare while, I read a passage that describes the wonder of flight. The following is one I find particularly brilliant. I feel the description transcends the physical to an expression of the spiritual. It is from Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine De Saint-Exupery1 (translated from the French by Lewis Galantiere and originally published in English in 1939 by Reynal and Hitchcock). 1. Antoine De Saint-Exupery was also the author of “The Little Prince.” MOTORIZED FLIGHT 109 Thus, when Mermoz first crossed the South Atlantic in a hydroplane, as day was dying he ran foul of the Black Hole region, off Africa. Straight ahead of him were the tails of tornadoes rising minute by minute gradually higher, rising as a wall is built; and then the night came down upon these preliminaries and swallowed them up; and when, an hour later, he slipped under the clouds, he came out into a fantastic kingdom. Great black waterspouts had reared themselves seemingly in the immobility of temple pillars. Swollen at their tops, they were supporting the squat and lowering arch of the tempest, but through the rifts in the arch there fell slabs of light and the full moon sent her radiant beams between the pillars down upon the frozen tiles of the sea. Through these uninhabited ruins Mermoz made his way, gliding slantwise from one channel of light to the next, circling round those giant pillars in which there must have rumbled the upsurge of the sea, flying for four hours through these corridors of moonlight toward the exit from the temple. And this spectacle was so overwhelming that only after he had got through the Black Hole did Mermoz awaken to the fact that he had not been afraid. 17 MOUNT WASHINGTON FLIGHT I went on to fly the Kestrel at different mountains. One of my most memorable flights was from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Three of us flew that day: Ed, Al, and myself. I drove us up there with the flex-wing gliders on top of my car. Ira came with us to drive my car down and pick us up after the flight. We picked a Saturday in the fall of 1976 that had no wind forecast. There’s a plaque on top of Mt. Washington that reads: THE HIGHEST WIND EVER OBSERVED BY MAN WAS RECORDED HERE. From 1932 to 1937 the Mt. Washington observatory was operated in the summit stage office then occupying this site. In a great storm April 12, 1934, the crew’s instruments measured a wind velocity of 231 MILES PER HOUR We got there early in the morning, drove up the auto road to the building by the Tip Top House, and went inside to see what we could see. There were historical displays of interest like photos of a huge ship’s anchor chain lying over the roof of a shack on top of the mountain, holding it down, and MOUNT WASHINGTON FLIGHT 111 wind-blown ice crystal formations extending horizontally from the structures. And there was a wind direction indicator lazily swinging from one direction to another, then another, and then another. Clearly, there was no prevailing wind direction. We decided to fly the northeast slope, thinking the sun would warm that slope and cause some gentle convective wind that might present good takeoff conditions. As far as we knew, nobody had ever flown the northeast slope before. Tom Peghiny had flown over the Cog Railway on the other side of the mountain and managed to core the heat rising from the smokestack as if it were a thermal. I wish I could have seen that. We left the Tip Top House area and looked for a good place to take off. We settled on a spot near the seven-mile marker of the auto road. The auto road climbs 4,618 feet over a distance of 7.6 miles. The last section from where we were to the Tip Top House was relatively flat and used years ago as a cow pasture to provide fresh milk to overnight customers of the Tip Top House. We figured the total descent somewhere around 4,600 feet. Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern United States at 6,288 feet above sea level and the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River. Ed suggested that he go first, and when he landed in the big field down by the auto road entrance, he would borrow the phone at the toll house to call up to the Tip Top house and let us know how he did. If we didn’t hear from him, we wouldn’t fly. We’d be too busy looking for him! Ed was a Marine and an experienced pilot, so we thought it was a good idea for him to be the “wind dummy.” Our takeoff wind was shaping up nicely. We all agreed not to try soaring the mountain because if anything happened, the terrain was so remote and rugged that it would take a long time to get to a downed pilot. We were above the tree line: nothing but rocks and gravel on the ground. The vegetation nearing the top became shorter and shorter as 112 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE the elevation increased because the wind and cold arctic temperatures kept it trimmed back. Down where vegetation was beginning to rise from the terrain, the trees were so thickly grown together that if one of us crashed into that, he’d never hit the ground because it would act like a safety net. But hiking out would be quite the challenge. We understood there was only one trail leading through the Great Gulf. There would be no striking out cross country! Our flight path would take us near Spaulding Lake in the Great Gulf. We would follow the ravine to the northeast and east, down to the beginning of the Auto Road. Ed assembled his glider and promptly took off. We watched him fly out of sight and went up to the Tip Top House to wait for his call. It seemed like it took forever. But finally, he called. “I just made it – squeaked in just over the treetops at the edge of the field by the Toll House. Don’t fly up into a bunch of canyons on the way down. I went exploring and burned off too much altitude. You should do fine if you make a simple descent and don’t vary your path too much.” Good news! Now for Big Al and me to get airborne! We drove back down to the takeoff by milepost seven. We unloaded our gliders from the roof of my car and began to get them assembled. A crowd began to gather and watch us. One man started to taunt us, “You guys are crazy. Do you hear me? You’re CRAZY! You’re gonna die. YOU’RE GONNA DIE!” He kept it up, and Al was getting steamed. He wasn’t called “Big Al” for nothing. Finally, Al broke his silence and shouted, “Mister, if you don’t shut up, I’m gonna take this glider and make it a part of your anatomy!” The heckler shut up. Al was ready to go, and I was almost ready. I got strapped in, but I’d laid my gloves down out of reach from where my glider was positioned nose down into the wind. I asked a bystander to hand me my gloves, which he did. Another bystander said he would take some pictures with his polaroid MOUNT WASHINGTON FLIGHT 113 and give them to us at the bottom. I still have one polaroid, but it’s more like a silhouette than a full-color photo. Ira had an 8 mm movie camera and shot our takeoffs. The only problem with that was the flash of sun glare came through too much footage. He gave me the film afterward. I picked up my glider, resting the apex of the control bar on my neck and shoulders. The breeze felt like 8 mph or better. It was almost a two-step takeoff as the ground dropped out from under me. Talk about smooth! It was a perfect launch, and I began to feel so small next to such a large mountain. Big Al didn’t look so big, either. The Presidential Range stretched out to our left, Mounts Jefferson, Adams, and Madison. We had about a 6 or 7-mile flight, which probably took 20 minutes at our slow flight speed. I never felt more like a bird than I did on this flight – a small bird. Polaroid of the author flying from Mt. Washington 114 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE We came out over the landing field with about 1500 feet of altitude. I didn’t have an altimeter, but the cars looked like they were 3/8” long at arm’s length. What a view! No problem clearing treetops! We just lazed around the sky until gravity had its way. Talk about a swelled head! Wow! We were pumped. Later in the story, I will tell of another flight I landed after dark. 18 TIME TO MOVE ON After the divorce, I needed another diversion, especially in the winter, and I was not into dating. I happened to pick up an old student fiddle in a flea market. It was to be only a wall hanging. But I got curious about how it might sound. So, I took it to a used music store and bought some strings, a bridge, a tailpiece, and a bow. I picked out a bow I liked because it seemed more robust than most I saw. It turned out to be a cello bow. I didn’t have a case for a long time. I carried it around in a paper bag for a while. Finally, I found an old coffin-style wooden violin case that was all black on the outside. I sanded off all the paint and varnished it with clear varnish. The inside I covered with a purple felt after making a small box inside to hold spare parts and extra strings. I could not teach myself how to play it. But I found an adult education class in Cambridge for Old Irish Fiddle. The instructor taught us to play by ear and using a notation system called tablature, which was not like reading music. That was a way old-timey fiddle players learned. My flying friend, Danny, was a superb musician. He could play anything with strings and probably more. He would sit with his fiddle on his lap, watching TV. And when an ad came on, he would pick up his fiddle and play along with the ad music. I was never an outstanding fiddler, but it was fun to 116 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE play with it. I love the sound of that instrument. And I did learn about 30 fiddle tunes. I found the Yankee winters to be a bit oppressive. I had lived up there almost eight years. It was all but impossible to fly in the winter. I was not a skier, and I didn’t relish driving all over the wintry roads to get to snow-covered trails accessing the tops of mountains where I probably couldn’t fly anyway because of all the skiers. I thought it would be better to fly somewhere down south. Besides, I was missing the south. There was such great pride in the students of Ivy League schools, and I was only Clemson educated. Plus, I had not graduated. I did attend the Boston Architectural Center over in Back Bay for a year and a half. That was an interesting place. It was a night school. Everyone who studied or taught there had to have a full-time job. I had teachers who taught at MIT and other Ivy League schools. But it was hard to keep up with work and family and school. So, I didn’t graduate from there, either. While working at the prefab place, I did get to head up their multifamily design section for a while, but an MIT grad eventually pushed me aside, and I decided it was time to leave. I was in the doldrums and realized it. I came across a small book on time management and set some priorities. One was to get out of New England. I had been at the prefab place five and a half years, so I had three weeks of vacation. I took it all at once and headed south, looking for mountain country where I could work and fly. The fact of the matter is that I was tired of New England. I asked God to help me find a better place to live. Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul. ~ Psalm 143:8b TIME TO MOVE ON 117 I looked in Brevard, N.C., Knoxville, Tenn., and Chattanooga, Tenn. I found a job on the side of Signal Mountain in Chattanooga, the “Hang-Gliding Capital of the Southeast.” I went back to Massachusetts, gave my two-week notice, and packed up all my stuff. The one person I would miss the most was my old boss at the prefab place. I sold my interest in the Icarus II to Bob and took my Kestrel south. I would not get to see my old boss again. He lived only a few years after I moved south. I have been so bad at keeping in touch with those whom I really care about, even with my parents. 19 SOUTHTO CHATTANOOGA “The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, …” ~ Psalm 84:3a I didn’t realize it, but I’d been wandering. I was a prodigal son just short of the pigpen. And I was about to find out how close I was to losing everything. It wasn’t hard in 1977 to find hang-gliding activity in Chattanooga. The mountains were more like plateaued ridges than singular mountains, all about 1,500 feet above the valley floor, and they stretched for many miles. Roads went right to the takeoffs, so there was no need to hike trails with 65 pounds of glider and gear. Gliders on cartops were pretty easy to follow. Plus, the National Hang-Gliding Association newsletter was published here. Something interesting about that is it was initially called “Ground Skimmer.” Then it was called “Low and Slow,” and then “Glider Rider.” The sport was metamorphizing from bamboo and plastic to high-tech materials. The editor ultimately left hang gliding behind, and his magazine became “Ultralight,” which meant powered lightweight flight. I quickly found a place to stay called the Crystal Air Sport Motel. There was a bunkhouse there for single pilots, and SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 119 it was a pretty cheap place to stay. The proprietor, Chuck, and his wife were great with hang-glider pilots. I got to fly Lookout Mountain right away. Lookout was often soarable, and I had many flights there. My goal was to fly from the launch at McCarty’s Bluff to Point Park, where there’s a tall Civil War monument, circle around it, and then fly back. But I never did complete that trip. I got to fly off of Signal Mountain once. I picked my launch and landed where there was a cleared field. Now there’s a school where I landed. And I got to make a 2-1/2 hour flight off Whitwell Mountain. The locals call it “Whi-woo.” I found a duplex apartment up on Signal Mountain. The town of Signal Mountain is on top of Walden’s Ridge, usually eight to ten degrees cooler than down in the valley. The community was design-conscious, and the municipality sought to make the town look and work better. My job was with a custom home designer and builder known for unique designs. I felt right at home, able to be creative and appreciated. I did one unique design I called the House on the Rocks because it was built on and around several large boulders with a couple of them partly inside the house, one just inside the entry, and another in a bunkroom that served as a stepping stone up to a bunk bed. House on the Rocks 120 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE A friend of that client asked for another unusual design. My boss suggested I do one with a roof shaped like a hang glider. I did that, but it never got built. I found out later that my boss had an interview with the Chattanooga Magazine and took all credit for designing the House on the Rocks that I had done while he was on vacation. I left there to open my own drafting shop, working out of my apartment. Meanwhile, I had been hearing of hang-gliding friends and acquaintances who had fatal accidents. A young man who worked at the Blanchard Hill flight park died in a small airplane crash in bad weather. My friend, Jon, who first taught me to fly, was testing a motorcycle on a country road and crested a rise only to find himself headed straight for a car doing an illegal U-turn. He swerved off the road to avoid the car and hit a stone wall. He was usually too wise and too careful to be caught so much by surprise. Bert had done such a magnificent job building an Icarus V, also a Taras Kiceniuk design, that his work hung in a museum. He took off from a 700-foot cliff in Connecticut but neglected to clip into the glider. He had one arm in a partial cast from a recent crash and wasn’t able to climb up into the triangular control bar for adequate control. He held on until his speeding glider hit a tree, knocking him off. He fell from such a height that he didn’t survive. Sal, who had traveled Europe with his hang glider, was developing an experimental flex wing design with a hang-cage. He was soaring it above a 300-foot ridge in New England and turning flat turns to maintain altitude. It stalled and pitched down in one turn, sending him into a terminal dive that he could not correct. I heard he was shouting “Noooo!” on the way down. George was flying Lookout with several others, including myself when the wind shifted to an angle oblique to the ridge. I was probably a half-mile north of him when I got SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 121 some turbulence. My sail deflated and inflated so quickly it sounded like someone shaking out a beach towel. My Kestrel took it in stride, but I figured it was time to head over to the landing field. I saw two other gliders flying out from the takeoff area toward the landing field, and then I heard the siren of an emergency vehicle, and I thought, “Oh no, someone’s hurt.” The two others landed before I got there. When I arrived, one of the pilots was sitting on the ground under his glider with tears streaming down his face. Someone figured out later what happened. George had been bothered by his trailing edges flapping (motorboating) and tightened up the leading-edge wires supported by short kingposts to tighten the trailing edge of his sails. But he made them so tight that the leading-edge D cell deflated when he hit the turbulence. His wing flipped upside down, and one of his boots must have hit a structural spar, causing the glider to fold up around him. He fell 300 feet into the parking lot behind the launch. Kip was the United States Hang Gliding Regional Director for this region. I’d heard that he had an Easy Riser, an upgraded version of the Icarus II. I heard he was going to bring it to Chattanooga to fly. I called him and told him to let me know when he brought it up because I had a safety harness made for my Icarus II that I would loan him. He never called. I learned that he took off from Lookout and got an elevator ride up high. He had trouble getting his feet up and on the front spar. He had never done that before and had a back issue that made it hard to do. He flew around in the ridge lift, trying to swing his feet up, but couldn’t do it. Finally, he headed for the landing field. As he approached, he banked a steep turn. You know what happens when you make a sharp turn in a car, and centrifugal force sends you toward the outside of the turn. He had been hanging by his armpits for so long that his hands and arms must have been getting numb. And this high banked turn generated so much 122 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE force that it pulled him out of the glider 600 feet above the ground. His wife was filming it all on a movie camera. This was getting so incredibly sad. It all happened over a year and a half. I began to wonder if I would be next. These guys were some of the most experienced pilots of that day. We had a saying that I memorized, “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.” (Captain Alfred Gilmer Lamplugh, British Aviation Insurance Group, London.) Then there was Johnny, one of the hottest pilots in Chattanooga. One day his wife was packing her bags, leaving him because of fear he would die on some mountain. He couldn’t give up flying. He loved it so much. He couldn’t stand to watch her packing, so he went for a drive. He promised her he wouldn’t fly that day. But as he drove up to the Lookout takeoff, he saw it was an elevator ride that day. He just couldn’t resist, pulled his glider off the car and set it up. When he took off, he went almost straight up ninety feet, started into a flat turn to parallel the ridge, but his glider kept turning to where he was pointed behind the ridge and in a stall. The nose pitched down, and he fought to get the wing flying again, tried to thread the needle between the road and the power line, but the rotor slammed him down onto the road, landing on his chest. He was kept alive on life support for a few days, but a brain scan showed the only part of his brain still working was what kept his heart going. We buried him on the mountain he flew into. I bought a parachute just in case. But it was a new, unproven design. It was carried in a sack strapped to my chest but had a nylon strap anchoring it to the glider. I would have to rip open the cover, throw the chute clear of my flying wires, and hope it opened before I hit the ground. I found out later that it was a faulty design and would inflate, deflate, reinflate, and deflate repeatedly. I made only one short hop off a low SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 123 hill to be sure I could fly with it on my chest. And then I just didn’t have the desire to fly. I had some questions and went looking for answers. I found a Presbyterian church on Signal Mountain and started attending. Then I met two young ladies who lived next door to me, and they invited me to their Sunday school class at First Presbyterian Church downtown. A lady named Kay Arthur was the teacher. I never heard the Bible taught as she did. She called her system “Inductive Bible Study.” It was powerful and fascinating, involving observation, interpretation, and application. I bought a Bible and started reading and studying it as I had never done before. I “studied” under Kay’s teaching for about four years, both in her Sunday School class and by attending her teaching at Reach Out. Kay and her husband, Jack, had bought a local farm and called it “Reach Out Ranch.” They were reaching out to mostly young people, but their audience quickly grew. They soon renamed the ministry “Precept Ministries,” and it has since grown with outreaches on six continents and their literature has been printed in eighty languages. When I first dug into the Bible, I wondered, “What am I doing with my life?” I was chasing after wind, and what did I have to show for it? I found myself one night weeping with regret, doubt, and fear. I was looking through my Bible, looking for some kind of answer, reading at random, asking the Lord if I was to live or die. I came across a passage I’d never seen before — in Isaiah chapter 38. It’s the story of Isaiah telling King Hezekiah, who was sick and at the point of death: “In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your house in order, for you are going to die 124 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE and not live.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Please, Lord, just remember how I have walked before You wholeheartedly and in truth, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept profusely. (Isaiah 38:1-3) Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.” (Isaiah 38:4-5) This passage hit me as incredibly meaningful, and I wondered if it might apply to me as well as to Hezekiah. I knew I had not been living rightly as Hezekiah had, but the passage seemed so strong to me. God gave Hezekiah a sign that he would live. Isaiah told him what it would be. “And this shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will perform this word that He has spoken: Behold, I will make the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, go back ten steps.” So the sun’s shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.” (Isaiah 38:7-8) I became emboldened and asked the Lord for “a sign that would let me know I would live.” I didn’t expect him to turn back the earth’s rotation for me, but, “Please give me some kind of sign that I can identify.” I went to bed that night exhausted. I woke up the next morning with an expectant spirit. I got up and looked around my half-duplex apartment, inside SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 125 and out. Outside the back window were two bushes on either side of the small deck covered with flowers. I had never before noticed flowers on these bushes. I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures, hoping to find someone to identify them. Weeks later, I was with family on vacation, and my sister said, “That’s a Rose of Sharon.” I was stunned. Jesus is referred to as the “Rose of Sharon” in several old hymns. That was enough confirmation for me. I felt a huge burden lifted. I had a new lease on life. The date I saw the flowers was June 27, 1978. I felt I would have at least 15 years – until 1993. That seemed like a long time until 1993 rolled around, and I made it through May. But I lived past June, and that anniversary has passed by again. It will pass again soon if the LORD has more for me to do here. The pastor at First Pres would start his sermons with a one-line statement he called a “hooker” because it was supposed to hook your attention. One Sunday morning, he got my attention with this: “Have you ever been up in the air, looking for a place to land?” Yes, I had, and it was after dark. I wrote him a letter about it, and he got back to me, said I should get that letter published somewhere, that it was one of the best letters he’d ever received, and he got a lot of mail. I sat on that for about ten years, and he asked me if I’d ever had it published, and I had to confess I had not. He again urged me to publish it, telling me he would rank it up with the top three best letters he’d ever received. I think he must have exaggerated, but he got me motivated to do something with it. It was published in Billy Graham’s September 1994 Decision Magazine. Following is the gist of the story. We stood on a big rock shelf near the summit of Mt. Ascutney, in southeastern Vermont, perched a half-mile above the valley floor late one cold autumn afternoon in 1976. Three hang gliders had just launched, but because the takeoff area allowed only enough space for three, another pilot and I 126 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE had to finish assembling our gliders before we could fly. We worked on our gliders as the sun eased behind the mountains. And the subtle darkness of twilight soon obscured our friends’ gliders from view. We couldn’t be sure where they had landed, but a tremendous patchwork quilt of fields stretched out from the base of the mountain to the little town of Brownsville a few miles away. We weren’t worried about limited options. It was cold up there, and our numbed fingers urged us on to fly. At that time of day, the high rim of mountains quickly cuts off the sun’s direct rays from the valley floor, and the warmed air nearest the ground breaks loose to rise upward, yielding lift and warming any late — settling hang glider pilots. We had driven a long way from Boston for this one flight, and we were anxious to fly. Also, the thought of that mile walk down the backside of the mountain with 65 pounds of glider and gear on that rocky, ankle-twisting path in the dark urged us on to fly. We knew it would be fairly dark when we landed, but with all those big fields below beckoning us on – and a “two-step” takeoff breeze blowing straight into our takeoff rock — we hurried to finish setting up our gliders. That “two-step” breeze sure was smooth, and its smoothness mixed with the warm air rising from the valley floor made some strong lift. In fact, I flew straight out from the mountain top about a mile before I finally started to lose altitude. Jim had taken off just before me, and as I cleared the rock, I realized that Jim was already hard to see. I headed out more to the left than Jim had – so that we wouldn’t run the risk of turning into each other in the darkness. I couldn’t see him anywhere. Then it hit me. Even with all those beautiful fields down there, something else was there that I couldn’t see. The town’s lights had started coming on, street lights and car lights were coming on. It was a beautiful sight, but I realized SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 127 there were power lines strung from telephone poles and barbed wire on fence posts down there in those fields. I remembered very clearly seeing the ski lift as we drove up the mountain. I could still see the towers that supported the lift cables, but I couldn’t see the cables or the smaller, equally dangerous power poles and fence posts, or the high-tension lines, or the fencing wire with its little barbs. Death was so much on my mind. What did our lives amount to? I wondered where all my dead friends were — with God, or what? I had been a churchgoer when I was younger but had gotten away from it. I also knew that I wanted to be a part of God’s kingdom when I died, but I didn’t know if I would be or not. I didn’t know about any of my dead friends’ relationships with God, either. I never talked with them about it, but we all thought about dying whenever we had a close call. Up in the air that evening, I remembered something I’d heard about sailplane pilots choosing a landing field. They look for a plowed field because the plow smooths the terrain, evens it out, makes the high places lower, and raises the low spots. I saw several plowed fields — I hoped the farmer had harvested his crops. There was one huge plowed field up ahead, and it had a road along one edge with a few street lights. This road went to the main road, which ran between the town and the ski area. I knew that I could find my friends if I hiked out to the main road. Whoever got to one of the cars first would be driving up and down the main road looking for us and trying occasional side roads. When soaring, I always flew seated, or “supine,” with my feet up in a stirrup hung out in front and my head back in a sling-like headrest. This position was very comfortable and showed less area to the air stream, decreasing drag, increasing the glide ratio, and extending the flight. Hard- 128 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE ly anyone flies seated nowadays — almost everyone flies prone, like “superman.” I liked altitude, and I had plenty of it, but it was getting darker every minute. There comes a time when you have to decide before time runs out, and I had to commit to a field. As I drew closer, I saw the plow had made very smooth, regular sweeps back and forth across this field, with evenly rounded turns at opposite ends. Surely the farmer didn’t have to dodge power poles or fence posts. I pulled in the control bar and headed down at a faster rate. I let my feet out of the stirrup and dangled them down under me to increase the drag and further speed my descent. Similarly, I had to commit to something in Chattanooga, but I wasn’t sure what. I started going to church again, but frankly, I was afraid of the self-righteousness I had heard about in Southern American churches — the piousness, the strict rules, the holier-than-thou-looking-down-the-nose routines. I had a heavy load on my whole being and felt like a hairy gorilla wandering into a barbershop or a bull in a china shop — only I was as fragile as teacups. I felt like that while I was up in the air, looking for a place to land, and there they were: high tension wires strung through all the churches – fences with barbed wire and poles like huge bungee stakes just waiting to trip me up, prove me wrong, dash me into the rocks or twirl me out of the sky to be crushed by my weight because I was so fallen. But I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to let people get in the way of my reunion with God. I stepped lightly around the edges of only a couple of churches — like I circled that plowed field, inspecting the smooth furrows for deviating plow tracks around power poles or fences. What I found amazed me. That was when I heard that preacher pose the question, “Have you ever been up in the air looking for a place to land?” SOUTH TO CHATTANOOGA 129 I flew just past the big, plowed field in the dark air and then turned back downwind along its edge to double-check before setting up my landing. Then I turned across the middle of the huge field toward the road and made a final turn into the wind. The last 50 feet of descent is the hardest in a night landing. The dark earth and the dark air seem to merge, and judgments of distance and height are challenging — you just have to keep up your speed and be instantly ready to level off and flare. Starting one’s feet running after such a gentle, floating flight is always something of a rude awakening. Your feet get lazy and have to be coaxed into action. I dropped out of the more buoyant warm air and into the colder, denser air near the ground and noticed just before landing that the farmer had harvested his crop. My feet touched the soft earth, and I ran a few steps before coming to a stop. Oh, what a good flight it had been, but how thankful I was for that plowed field. In the church where I landed, I found people who loved God, people who studied the Bible like I had never seen or done before, people who prayed openly for each other, people who opened their arms and homes to each other, and people who showed me that it was safe where they were and showed me how to be where they were. I found some of God’s Kingdom on earth — where no man is king but Jesus Christ. I trusted Him for my life — and death. And God began doing things in my life. He has been blessing me in ways I had never thought probable. I should have been dead. I learned what the parable of the sower is really about. The Word had been sown in my life many years before, but the soil of my life had evidently been very rocky. Where Christian life had sprouted up very quickly back then, it had not found the depth of soil needed to sustain it. It died out as I started a long process of backsliding — and didn’t even know it. I had been on a journey from which many 130 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE people never return. I had been lost like the prodigal son, and my heavenly father let me come back, welcoming me with warmth and showering me with blessings. The words of “Amazing Grace” have so much more meaning now. God forbid that I should ever wander like that again. Another hymn has struck a chord with me, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” written by Robert Robinson in 1758. It has these words: Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.” I thank God for that preacher who sees to it that his church field is regularly plowed by the Word of God, with its “blade sharper than any two-edged sword.” I had never known a church like this before. The crop is a marvelous one. I am still amazed at the missionary program. I frankly had never seen such real dedication to God’s Word and His purpose.1 One who watches the wind will not sow and one who looks at the clouds will not harvest. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:4 1. “This excerpt was taken from Decision magazine, September 1994; ©1994 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; used by permission, all rights reserved.” 20 FINDING TREASURE Another thing that drew my attention at the church was the Singles Group. It was a pretty diverse crowd of several age brackets. And I was quite frankly getting lonesome. I met one young lady named Barbara who was athletic and had an adventurous spirit. She loved the sound of rustling leaves and babbling brooks. And she was a Christian! Barbara & Pete on a hike. We enjoyed hiking local trails together. She had a young son and a younger daughter, and I seemed to get along well with them. We dated for a while and broke up for a short time. But being apart made me realize how much I appreciated her. She was also a wonderful mother to her children. And, a real bonus was her thriftiness! We got married in the chapel at First Presbyterian in December of 1980 and honeymooned at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. Barbara had heard me introduce myself to the group as a motorcyclist and hang glider pilot. She didn’t understand that those things were in my past, and after we were married she was disappointed to find that out. Two years later, we had a little girl, Sarah, who turned out to be so talented and kind. She joined the adult choir as 132 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE its youngest member, aged 13. Later, she traveled with our choir director, singing with his groups on three Mediterranean cruises. She went to England four times to sing with his chorus, and I don’t know how many times she sang at the White House. She traveled by invitation to sing Mass with a Catholic choir in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. She married Will, a fine young man who has a doctoral degree. They spent two years on the mission field near Madrid, Spain, teaching at the Evangelical Christian Academy. Now he employs his talents building manufacturing equipment, from conveyor belts to robotics. Sarah is currently the choral director of a small church and teaches music to younger elementary students in a Christian school. Barbara & Pete in 2008. Barbara’s son, David, chose to work with disadvantaged children, and he’s remarkably good with them. Plus, he is an outstanding table tennis player. He met Marcie in graduate school, and they married and are raising two fine young daughters and a younger son. David and Marcie both make it a point to spend individual time with their kids, even taking out-of-state trips with them. Barbara’s first daughter, Kathy, turned out to be a natural athlete, but she hasn’t pursued that beyond her school years except to compete in a few marathons. 21 COMMUNITY SEVICE I wanted my life to count for something. I heard about a local organization called the Jaycees. It was the Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCC), oriented toward serving the community and was very well-organized. But it was also political. I found out there were a lot of cliques and inner circles. The higher up in rank, the tighter they were. But I didn’t know that going in, and I’ve always been somewhat oblivious to such things. It seemed like an excellent place to get to know the community and meet people. I heard about a Jaycee committee that sounded interesting. This committee was looking into the possibility of a world-class zoo for Chattanooga. One of the committee members was a local engineer who was also a zoo buff and sketched a potential zoo on a place known as Moccasin Bend. I was so new to town that I didn’t even know where Moccasin Bend was. But I sat in on the meetings, and we talked about possibilities and suggested things to do with the preliminary sketch. I don’t remember how long I had been sitting in the committee meetings when the chairman announced his employer was transferring him to Nashville. They needed another chairman. And since I had attended more meetings than anyone else, I was asked to be the chairman. I thought this might be fun, so I accepted. Not too long after this, we left the zoo sketch on an easel in the Jaycee 134 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE front office. A Chattanooga Times reporter happened to see it and took a picture of it. The story hit the front page with a billing placement higher than the election of the new Pope! People got all excited. It was all the buzz around town. One of the local foundations called the Jaycee president and said they would be interested in funding a feasibility study. Some of the bigwigs in the Jaycees got excited and wanted in on the action. After a little internal “pushmi-pullyu” tug of war, I ended up chairing what turned out to be a $30,000 feasibility study. That was more money in 1979 than it is today. We hired a firm out of Illinois to do the study, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with them. They looked at sites all over town and decided Moccasin Bend was an excellent place to put a zoo that could be as large as 600 acres. Little did I know how much Moccasin Bend meant to the local populace. As it turned out, there’s evidence of thousands of years of human occupation there, which includes Native American villages plus remains of Civil War cannon emplacements and trenches. I was not aware of any of this, and it took some time for all of it to come to light. One thing the zoo planners noticed about Chattanooga was that the riverfront was an undeveloped asset that could add a lot of life to the town. What came out of the zoo feasibility study was another study group called The Moccasin Bend Task Force. This Task Force brought all these things front and center. Consequently, Chattanooga now has a world-class aquarium, a well-developed riverfront, and a 750-acre Moccasin Bend National Park that is a national archaeological district and may someday develop into another world-class attraction. Plus the existing zoo, which was tucked away near downtown, has been upgraded into quite a decent little zoo. 22 CAREE  I worked out of my apartment until Barbara and I were married. I moved into her house with the two children. Her first husband had left it to her, but we still had to pay off the mortgage. My drafting work had been going along quite well, and I had three jobs lined up after I finished what I was working on when the economy tanked. All my prospective jobs evaporated. I had to find a new place to work, especially now that I had a family to support. I was very fortunate to get on with the Franklin Design Group. This was one of the more prominent architectural offices in town. Several firms were supplying drafters to work on the new Tennessee Valley Authority building that would be built in Chattanooga. The original construction design was too expensive, so the architects and engineers found ways to reduce that cost. Ultimately, it required changing the primary structural system, which had a domino effect that affected nearly all other portions of the work. I was one of a crew of a half dozen redrawing reflected ceiling plans in ink on mylar. We worked on that for about six months. It’s a large building. Then I moved into the regular work of The Franklin Group. Most of the people working there were young architects and draftsmen. It was an enlightening place to be, with means and methods of getting the work done often scrutinized to make us more efficient and effective. We had meetings 136 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE about meetings which I’m not sure was very efficient, but we all learned a lot about how to get the work done effectively. One of the most interesting things we did was called an “intensive design studio” where several of us would go to a client’s office or invite his people over to ours to nail down the architectural program for their project. We used pads of large newsprint sheets and magic markers, writing down their requirements, facts about their existing facility, listing needs, and all ideas produced by brainstorming. It was a fun and freewheeling process that took us to the point of sketching some very preliminary plans and elevations. Then we would go back to our desks and do some serious design and drafting. It often produced some excellent results. Since I had worked at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston for two years, they put me on projects at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. I got to be the project manager for a couple of pretty interesting projects. One was a radiation therapy unit half underground using earth to shield the outside areas because it was more cost-effective than solid concrete. I had to work with a nuclear physicist to get the proper sizes, shapes, and locations of the shielding elements. I’m glad he could do all the math on that! Another project that I felt a degree of ownership of was the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I got to work with the lead physician, who was highly detail-oriented and very demanding for precisely what he wanted. I enjoyed working with him because he knew what he wanted but not how to build it, so he would look at what I drew or a model I made and react with experience and reason. It turned out to be the best PICU in the southeast for quite some time. One small project that was fun was a section of building that had to connect with three other buildings built at different times and with different materials. It turned out to be the hospital gift shop on one level and a separate entrance CAREER 137 below. It took some quality research, good measuring, and some thinking inside and outside the box. Other projects were not quite so unusual, but good learning experiences, like a remodel of a patient floor and a pedestrian bridge. All in all, it was an excellent place to get to know more people in the architectural community and learn more about the business. I learned that the architectural business is not a very stable thing, and workloads go up and down and often cause surprising changes. I found that out after I had worked there four and a half years but was laid off right before Christmas. I found work soon after at one of the more prestigious offices downtown, but only for the duration of one project, which lasted about six months. During that time, Dad had a massive stroke. He was in the hospital for 77 days, and most of that was in intensive care. I had to take time off, a week or more, to be with Mom and spend what time I could with Dad. I think my absence from work soured relations with my employer. But I found another job right away with a general contractor who was also a structural engineer. He had men and machines that could build different kinds of buildings, but they constructed mainly projects that involved prefabricated metal buildings. This was primarily Design-Build construction. I learned how metal buildings went together and figured out the most cost-effective solutions for customers. Then the boss got me into doing estimating. More numbers! I guess I just have an aversion against working with numbers unless it’s something geometric. While working there in 1985, I found that an opportunity I had signed up for a couple of years earlier came open. The usual way someone gets to take the architectural exam is to graduate from architectural school and work for a couple of years in an architect’s office. I had no degree, but I was given credit for three years of architectural college 138 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE and partial credits for the years I worked for architects and that contractor. This means of gaining access to the exam was called the “Grandfather Clause.” Through this, I could take the Architectural Exam to be licensed as a Registered Architect. This exam was something I had worried about and dreaded ever since I had been in architectural college. But I figured I should at least give it a try, take it and see what it was like. Then I could study hard and go back to retake the sections I didn’t pass. I knew some guys who had gone back to retake some sections as many as six times, and they had all graduated from architectural schools! There were nine sections. Eight of them required three days, and the Design Section was on the fourth day, but it was twelve hours long. It would take 32-1/2 hours, total. I studied some material offered by the AIA and sat in on a few study classes offered by a volunteer architect who became one of my best architectural friends. I still really felt like I didn’t know what I was getting into. But I drove down to Georgia Tech and sat for the exam. Afterward, I didn’t know how well or poorly I had done on the eight technical sections, but I knew I had blown the design section. That was the section I felt I would do the best. But I was exhausted by the time I got to it and managed to get confused. We had to design a two-story municipal building with certain size rooms, oriented on the site a certain way, with parking and proper means of egress, plus make it have an attractive appearance. I don’t remember much of the program now, but by mid-afternoon, I realized I had messed up. We were supposed to be working at 1/16″ per foot scale. I didn’t have that scale in my tool kit, but I did have a 1/8″ scale, and I figured any idiot could multiply or divide by two! Well, mid-afternoon I discovered I had drawn some eight-foot cantilevers, and some of the rooms were four times the size they should be, or quarter size. I tried to fix it, CAREER 139 but it was too far gone for the time I had left. So, I chalked it up to experience and figured I would wait for my results on the other sections and decide what to do after that. I couldn’t believe it, but I passed all eight other sections! I recalled as I was taking those eight sections, I would remember which offices I had learned the answers to specific questions. Practical experience pays off! So, the following year I went back to retake the design section. As I was rolling up my drawing sheets at the end of our allotted time, the guy next to me was watching and commented, “Looks like you nailed it, Pete!” I guess I did because I passed and became a Registered Architect in Georgia in 1986. As soon as I could, I applied for reciprocity to Tennessee. That came through fairly quickly, but I didn’t try to register in any other states. I figured Georgia and Tennessee would provide enough work to keep me busy. I later looked at the NCARB (National College of Architectural Registration Boards) requirements and found the necessary paperwork for national reciprocity was enormous. Most architects with college degrees get registered in one state and can readily gain reciprocity with other states. Without a degree, it’s almost impossible, and now the Grandfather Clause has even been dropped. While I was working with the design-build engineer, our youngest daughter was getting too big to sleep in a baby bed in our master bedroom, so we had to add another bedroom to the house. I measured our whole house and designed an addition that included filling in the carport and adding a wing off the front of the house for a two-car garage and shop, set apart from the front door by 12 feet of breezeway. We developed a brick patio outside the breezeway and the four large living room windows. I built a low brick wall with a cedar fence around the patio for privacy. A water garden with a pumped waterfall in the patio finished the addition. This allowed us to have a family room, turn the 140 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE old shop adjacent to the carport into a fourth bedroom, and enlarge the laundry room. I continued working for the engineer/contractor for a while longer. But he was approaching retirement, so I got another job with an architect who needed help on the first phase of the Tennessee Riverpark. It was already designed, but he needed someone to inspect the construction and keep a paper record of everything. This was a very interesting project but also a tough one for the contractor. I don’t remember the exact dates, but I do remember that it took about three times longer than expected. Unforeseen complications popped up relentlessly all over the place. The weather was an enormous factor. The project was on the south bank of the river, not far below the Chickamauga Dam, and the river level varied 11 feet during the course of the project. The plan was to build several fishing piers on steel-encased structural concrete piers pinned to underwater bedrock. These had square, low pyramid-shaped roofs above the piers and provided shade for the fishermen. These roofs nearly went underwater a few times. When the weather was dry, it was so dry they brought in water tank trucks to spray down the dust. When it was hot, it was very hot. When it was cold, it was very cold. The river environment just seemed to amplify whatever the conditions were. They ran into not only very deep deposits of topsoil that had to be removed in order to build a building, but also some Indian burial sites. Delay after delay after delay. I was not responsible for tracking the landscape portion of the job. A Knoxville landscape architecture firm did that. But, as far as the hardscape and buildings were concerned, that’s what I tracked. I believe I collected sixteen three-inch three-ring binders of paperwork. My boss was very thankful I kept such voluminous records. There were lawsuits at the end of it, but my boss was not included in any. Yet, when CAREER 141 the economy took another nosedive, I was the last hired, and the first let go. I found another job pretty readily with another firm that was cranking out work like crazy. It was work, but it wasn’t near as much fun as other jobs I’d had. I considered it a job shop. It was a very tightly run ship. I have to give them credit. They knew how to run a business. But it was not my cup of tea. And again, when the economy took a nosedive, I was the last hired, so the first to go. I had been moonlighting some houses, so I just started daylighting them. I claimed our family room for my office space. And I set up a website and have managed to run my own firm by myself for thirty years. I never had the ambition to hire full-time help and only rarely hired independent drafters to help me get the work done. New home patterned after Miles Brewton House, Charleston, SC Most of my work was on smaller projects, residential and some commercial. Repeat customers are the best! I had one really large job that I was brought into by a contractor who had done a fair amount of work for the African American 142 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE community in Chattanooga. It started small but grew by leaps and bounds. It got to be larger than his contractor license limits would allow. It would have to be bid and was too large for this contractor. He was a fine man, and I was sorry to see him pull out. This job grew into one of the largest African American Baptist Churches in Chattanooga. I was still drawing in pencil on paper, but I teamed up with an engineering group that took my pencil drawings and generated CADD (Computer Assisted Design & Drafting) files to do their work. The building encompassed a 900-seat sanctuary plus an administration and Sunday school wing. But when the foundation was already laid and the block walls were coming out of the ground, the pastor called me and asked if we could make the sanctuary larger. He now wanted to be able to seat 1,500 people! The church’s building committee wanted to see what could be done. This stopped construction on the sanctuary, but the Sunday school and administration wing continued. Sanctuary viewed from baptistry. CAREER 143 Sanctuary viewed from balcony. My brain was spinning with this challenge. Ultimately, all I could figure to do was imagine a giant straw inserted into the sanctuary and blowing into it as if it were a balloon – just make it bigger in nearly all dimensions, but be able to plug into the Sunday school and administration wing the same way. So, I got to work and turned it over to the engineers, and they made it work for their disciplines. It turned out to be a 28,000 square foot building, all in all. CADD had begun to show its presence toward the end of my term with Franklin. Frankly, I much prefer to work in pencil on paper. But I eventually learned how to use CADD to some degree. Computer drafting felt slow and tedious to me. But once I have the basic building plan drawn, I can get the other necessary drawings done more quickly. And changes are much quicker than the old electric eraser and re-drawing by pencil. My biggest gripe with CADD is that it is what I call cookie-cutter architecture. Everything in it is derived from something someone else has done and broken into pieces. It reminds me of my wife’s large glass canister full of cookie cutters, she picks the shape and size she wants and bakes away. I’ve had difficulty making buildings I designed look like I wanted. I would start with the elevations generated from my floor plan by the program, convert the elevation drawings to two dimensions and draw every necessary line one at a time to make it look like it should. Rooflines were particularly troublesome. 144 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE And every year, the software gets updated with new bells and whistles that impact how I’m accustomed to doing things. Instead of a program I can work intuitively, figuratively speaking, I feel like I have to go out in the back yard and ask the nearest rabbit where the rabbit trail starts. It seems the programmers are so proud of their bells and whistles that they provide secret garden passageways for the major functions inside their new features. I would go as far as I could, then I had to find another rabbit, or tech support guy, to show me the next rabbit path. I told them several times that the program should work like a superhighway, or the interstate system, with signage so clear that a user could find his way through to where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears. 23 FAMILY HISTOY After Dad had his stroke in April of ’85 and regained some strength, I felt like I could finally sit down and talk with him. He had always been so busy that I couldn’t catch him for much of a quiet moment just to talk. Now he was seated and not going anywhere. He did volunteer with the Stroke Club and wanted to continue helping as a volunteer in the cancer ward of the local hospital, but that was now beyond his capabilities. He used to wheel patients around in their wheelchairs, and now he was in one. I told him I knew he had lived an interesting life and I was sure people would love to hear about it. He had an interesting work history and he had traveled a lot, especially with the military during WWII. I suggested he get some paper and start writing down his experiences. He could also make voice recordings. When I came to visit next, I would collect what he’d written and recorded, take it home and enter it into my computer. I would send it back to him for review and corrections. He worked on this for some time, but became frustrated with it. As the effects of the stroke grew on him, he became feeble and had difficulty working the boom box tape recorder. He filled multiple pads of paper of differing sizes and didn’t identify sections according to date. He finally gave up and asked Mom to put it on the shelf for me to pick up the next time I came to visit. I picked up all his 146 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE work and took it home. I listened to his recordings in my car on the way home with tears in my eyes as he would start to record, get confused and start over again and again. When I got home, I had to sort things out and arrange it all chronologically. At least I could call him and ask questions. When I got it all typed up on 8-1/2×11” pages, single spaced, it was about forty pages, divided into twelve chapters. I put it in a three-ring binder with divider tabs and some extra pages for each section so he could make notes. I made a Table of Contents and a cover page with big lettering that said, “75 ALIVE – HAPPY BIRTHDAY – HAVE A GREAT ONE – THIS IS YOUR LIFE – ENJOY!! And I signed it “With love, Pedro,” which he used to call me sometimes. He got a kick out of it, and I believe he enjoyed reading through it and marked up many pages with small comments in pencil. He sent it home with me to update. That was at the end of August, 1992. I sent him a handwritten letter on September 9, asking for some clarifications. I also posed this question to him: “One thing I missed in your story was when you made your relationship to God a personal one and asked Him to put the Spirit of His Son, Jesus, in your heart and life. You do know Jesus, don’t you? Please answer this question for me.” He wrote on that letter “appr. 1988,” which would have been three years after the stroke hit him. He had Mom save that letter for me. My sister tells me she used to challenge Dad about his salvation whenever she had the opportunity. She told him she knew she was going to heaven and she wanted to be sure he would be there, too. He sidestepped her questions and avoided answering. But two days before he died, he must have sensed the end was near and called Tricia. He told her that she didn’t have to worry about him anymore. He had made his peace with God, and he was all right. Malachi 4:6 says, “And He will turn the hearts of fathers to their FAMILY HISTORY 147 children and the hearts of children to their fathers….” He passed on February 23, 1993. On an earlier visit to Mom and Dad, he gave me an oddly styled antique box with a bunch of papers in it. Many of the documents were typed by my grandfather, Pop, Peter Frederick Snyder, Sr. Some were copies of official documents, some news clippings, and some original letters, but many were Pop’s copies he typed for a record. I brought it home and made a photocopy of many of the pages. Then I sorted them chronologically and put the copies in a three-ring binder with tabs between sections. Pop was quite a record keeper, but I didn’t know much about him until I read all these papers. One of the earliest pieces was a handwritten note on a small, lined paper structured as a letter to his teacher when Pop was about 9 years old. His assignment was to tell the teacher in letter form what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he would like to be a lawyer because he thought he had “good powers of argument.” John Henry Snyder, 1852-1902 Pop was born December 5, 1889, in Clayton County, St. Louis, Missouri. Pop’s dad, John Henry Snyder, was a newspaper printer for the Clayton Argus and became an editor for the St. Louis County Watchman. John Henry enjoyed his beer and had a 55-inch belt to prove it. Even though he was not an alcoholic, it cost him dearly as he died in 1902 at age 50 when Pop was 12. Pop had to drop out of school in the seventh grade to help his mom put bread on the table. His mother moved her family of two sons and one daughter to Kelso, Washington, where she had a half-brother who was a lumberjack with a stand of timber. Her thought was that he would help raise her family. He got Pop a job packing cedar shingles, but Pop didn’t like that kind of work. He 148 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE wanted to read and write like his father. So, he quit the shingle business and took a job as office boy at the local twice-weekly newspaper, the Kelsonian. Pop learned the printing business using a linotype machine from 1904 until 1908 and worked his way up through reporting news, writing articles and editorials to become editor of the paper. Pop at linotype machine in 1912. Pop’s uncle tried to convince Pop that the future lay in socialism. Pop did his own research and decided that was not the way to go. He wrote some editorials about it. Congressman Albert Johnson in Washington, D.C., got copies of his hometown paper, the Kelsonian, and read some of Pop’s work. He sent Pop an invitation to come to Washington, D.C., and work as his personal secretary. Pop moved to Washington and started work in April of 1914. He signed up for shorthand and typing courses in 1914. Plus, he met his future bride, Ruth Henshaw Freeman, who had a very similar childhood experience to his, orphaned as a child. On October 4, 1916, they married. Pop applied to Georgetown Law School and was accepted with his seventh-grade education. He attended from 1916 until 1919 and was popularly elected president of his senior class. In April of 1919, he was appointed Clerk of the House FAMILY HISTORY 149 Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, where he served continuously until March 31, 1929. Then Pop was appointed Assistant to the Secretary of Labor under President Herbert Hoover and served there until 1933. He was also the Assistant to the Directors, Republican National Committee Speaker’s Bureau, campaigns of 1923, 1926, 1928, 1930 and 1932. And he was a speaker for the 1936 campaign. Pop’s appointment as Assistant to the Secretary of Labor. He was an accomplished orator. I quote a letter dated May 17, 1932, from Charles Johnson of Botany Mills, Passaic, N.J., to The Honorable William N. Doak, Secretary of Labor, Washington, D.C., about Pop’s speaking ability: “If you can imagine any more difficult time for a speaker to tackle a job than late, after many tiring talks from various local candidates, then 150 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE a good talk by the Congressman (who arrived after his 10 pm appointed time), you have a picture of just what confronted the young man who represented your Department, and I think it will interest you to know that in spite of all these condition(s) he held his crowd who not only sat and listened to him but were interested in what he had to say and were with him every minute. I don’t know any higher tribute that a crowd can pay to a speaker.” Pop gave me a personal tour of the United States Capitol Building in 1962 when I was a rising junior in high school. I couldn’t have had a better, more personalized tour. He took me to both houses of Congress, then to statuary hall, where he showed me the places where sound bounces off the half-dome and focuses in two places. In those specific places, you could listen in on a normal conversation from the other side of the crowded hall better than you could hear a person much closer. Also, he took me to the office of Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois. “Ev,” as he called him, was in, and we got to speak with him briefly. He had a masterful, booming baritone voice. I now understand why Pop used to tell us grandchildren that we were wasting our lives watching Saturday morning cartoons. Another thing he used to say to encourage us to speak more clearly was, “Enunciate! Speak clearly with the sound stepping trippingly over the tongue.” And when waiting for an opening in traffic, he would say, “Wait patiently, for if you wait long enough, there will always be an opening.” And one of his funny statements I’ll never forget was, “My face, I don’t mind it, for I am behind it. ‘Tis the man out front gets the shock!” FAMILY HISTORY 151 Pop in later years. 24 COLONEL SNYDER “The Lord is a warrior;The Lord is His name.” ~ Exodus 15:3 A mong the papers in that antique box were copies of letters from 1952 to 1960 that Pop exchanged with gentlemen on the Subversive Activities Control Board in Washington, D.C., The Arkansas History Commission, the North Carolina Mutual Burial Association, and the North Carolina State Confederate Centennial Commission. Pop was trying to find the grave of his grandfather who fought in the Civil War. I had seen a photo of my great-great-grandfather, and his uniform looked dark, so I thought he was on the Union side. But these letters indicated that he fought for the Confederacy, ultimately becoming a colonel. In April 1861, he enlisted in Pocahontas, Arkansas, with the Seventh Arkansas Infantry and fought through the whole war until the time of the surrender in 1865. This truly fascinated me. I heard of a speaker coming to the Chattanooga Bicentennial Library from Knoxville to speak on “Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor.” So, I went to hear the gentleman speak about the “Official Army Record of the War of the Rebellion,” a 128-volume set compiled after the war from all COLONEL SNYDER 153 the field and headquarters records that were sent to one building after the war and cataloged by date, engagement, military unit, and commanders. The Chattanooga library had a complete set, so I went upstairs and looked up Colonel Snyder in the general index after the lecture. There were seven references to him! I also found three references in the old Confederate Veteran Magazine and another in the newly reprinted Southern Historical Society Papers. Colonel Snyder, 6th & 7th Arkansas Infantry. One of the references in the Official Record was a report he had written about his regiment in the Battle of Chickamauga and another for the Battle of Ringgold Gap. I lived in Ringgold and didn’t know there had been a battle here. I was so ignorant. I told Sarah about it, and we brought our bicycles out to the Chickamauga Battlefield. It’s a great place 154 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE to bicycle, walk or jog. We first went to the Visitor Center, and I asked a ranger if there was any evidence of him having been there. He looked up Colonel Snyder’s name on a wall chart and said, “Yes, his name is on four plaques out here.” And he told us where they were. Whoa! My curiosity galvanized. We got on our bicycles, rode out the Visitor Center driveway, turned right on Lafayette Road, the main road through the Battlefield, and there on the right, just short of a cannon emplacement turnoff was the first plaque. I scanned over it and found: “6TH AND 7TH ARKANSAS – LIEUT. COL. PETER SNYDER.” I was named after my grandfather, and he was named after his grandfather. So, my name1 had been out there on this National Battlefield Park since the 1890s. And I had lived here for 13 years and did not know it! Amazing! I remember asking God when I wanted to leave Boston to find me a better place to live. I didn’t know I’d had any family in this area. And here I find my great-great-grandfather helped “settle the place!” Some say that coincidence is the signature of God. There was a listing of the regiments on this plaque with a description of the troop movements at the particular day and time during the three-day battle. I took a picture of it, and we rode over to the next nearest plaque, down Lafayette Road toward Lafayette, at the edge of the big clearing, near the road. There was his name again! I took another picture. I would have to learn more about these troop movements, 1. My middle name, Frederick, comes from my grandfather’s other grandfather (his mother’s side), Dr. Frederick Henry Joseph Von Kranenburgh, who emigrated from Holland and enlisted in the Union army with the 52nd New York Volunteers. He became a homeopathic physician in St. Louis, Mo. COLONEL SNYDER 155 the history of this battle, as well as gain an understanding of why these men fought this war. I learned later that military colleges regularly send students to Chickamauga Battlefield to study for a week at a time. Students of this battle learn principles of warfare that still apply today, even with such different technology and weapons. We took off on our bicycles again, this time back toward the Visitor Center, and hung a right on Alexander’s Bridge Road, which took us down past the Battleline Road to another plaque with Colonel Snyder’s name on the left. Then we went farther down to Brotherton Road, where we took a left. We passed through Winfrey Field, where I found out later that General Patrick Cleburne made a night attack. Back in the woods again, we found a double plaque on the left with Colonel Snyder’s name on one. I pulled off the road and was leaning closer and closer to read the troop movement description better as my front wheel hung up in a slight depression, and I leaned farther and farther over the handlebars.The rear wheel slowly came up off the ground, and I fell over with the bike. Sarah laughed at her silly dad as he picked himself up off the ground. But this was all so amazing to me. I was so ignorant! I had to learn more about him, what he went through, and the real reasons for this war. So many sources say it was all about slavery. But was that really what it was all about? I didn’t think so. Colonel Snyder didn’t own any slaves. I looked into his history as best I could, beyond the “Official Record.” I asked the park ranger at the Visitor Center how I could find out more about Colonel Snyder. He recommended I join the Sons of Confederate Veterans and contact a local dentist, Dr. Anthony Hodges, a local Civil War buff associated with the Friends of the (Military) Park. I did join the SCV, and Anthony Hodges became my dentist. 156 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Some in our family had passed down records about Colonel Snyder and his family. I found that he was born in November of 1829 in Bavaria. Some documents say in Saarbrucken, but I understand that it is not in Bavaria. His family came over to this country around 1830 when he was just an infant. They listed their birthplace on U.S. Census records as Bayern, or Bavaria. Peter’s father, Theobald, “had participated in a rebellion in Bavaria against unjust oppression and pernicious laws. In 1815, after the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte, Bavaria was a principality or kingdom of which the Saar Valley was an important part. Theobald fled the country to save his life. He came across the ocean with his father, Jacob, his wife, Louisa Klein Snyder, and his two sons, John and Peter.” They all settled in Shepherdstown, Virginia (which became West Virginia). He and his sons became tailors and succeeded in that business for a number of years. 2 Jacob Schneider, Americanized to “Snyder,” was born in 1764. He emigrated from Saarbrucken (according to one record), Germany, to Shepherdstown, W.Va., with his son, Theobald, around 1830. Jacob was a weaver by trade and lived to be 90 years old. His wife died previous to the time he departed his native land. He was “a pious, consistent Christian and was greatly beloved by his family.” He used to wear a “skull cap.” Jacob is buried in the Reformed Church cemetery, a stone’s throw from Tricia’s house in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Her husband was from Shepherdstown, and that’s where they settled. Small world. Here is a synopsis of what I’ve gleaned about Colonel Snyder. According to family tradition, Peter grew up in Shepherdstown and married Marietta Ayers when she was only 15 years old. She was a native of northern Maryland or 2. History of West Virginia and Its Peoples, Vol II, Thomas Condit, Miller & Hu Maxwell, 1913 COLONEL SNYDER 157 southern Pennsylvania, born into a family that had emigrated from France. Her mother’s maiden name was Armentrout. She came to Shepherdstown with him in such short, girlish skirts that her female in-laws felt compelled to lengthen them for her. About the year 1855, they moved to Pocahontas, Randolph County, Arkansas, where he opened a tailor shop. When the War Between the States broke out, he joined Company A of the Seventh Arkansas Infantry, later consolidated with the Sixth Arkansas. When his unit was first organized, he was elected lieutenant and rose to command the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Infantry as colonel. He served under the commands of Generals Liddell, Govan, and Cleburne. He fought in most, if not all, of the significant battles of the American Civil War’s western campaign with the Army of Tennessee in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina, including the battles of Perryville, Shiloh, Stones River, Liberty Gap, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Pickett’s Mill, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville and Bentonville. He died April 19, 1865, of typhoid fever after Lee surrendered and after Lincoln’s death, but before his army under General Joseph Johnston surrendered to Sherman. He was only 35 years old. I applied to the National Archives for Colonel Snyder’s military record and received 49 pages of records. They came as photocopies of printed cards filled out by copyists in their handwriting that cross-referenced his name with certain documents like rosters, company muster rolls, field and staff muster rolls, appointments to rank, promotions, and a Roll of Prisoners of War as he was captured along with General Govan and about 900 other Confederates at the Battle of Jonesboro, Ga., near Atlanta. Also, there were photocopies of requisitions for horses, feed, and tools, and 158 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE records of a month’s pay. What really touched me was seeing his signature on several papers. Following is a transcript of an original letter I have in my file from Dr. John H. Hunter to Peter’s niece, who had written to Dr. Hunter’s wife, inquiring of what had happened to her uncle. (Original letter received by Peter F. Snyder Sr. (born Dec. 5, 1889, died Mar. 16, 1963) from a cousin (Rachel Snyder, born Aug. 31, 1894, who mailed the letter to PFS Sr. Oct. 9, 1960. She was the daughter of the original recipient of the letter, Rachel Louise Snyder, born March 1, 1848, daughter of John Snyder, the brother of Colonel Peter Snyder.) Dr. Hunter wrote this letter in 1865: Martinsburg [Va.] June 20 Miss Snyder, When reaching home a day or two ago, I found a letter from you to my wife inquiring about your Uncle Col. Snyder. I regret to say that he died on the 19th of April [1865] of Typhoid Fever in a Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. I was in charge of the Hospital and attended him during his illness. He had been sick for several days and left the Hospital too soon for camp, returned with Typhoid of a very malignant form, and died in four days. The last three days of his illness he was unconscious. I had him buried in a grave COLONEL SNYDER 159 yard in Raleigh & was promised by a gentleman upon whom I could rely, that his grave should be marked with a head board bearing his name, title, etc. You may be rest assured that every attention was paid him during the last days of his life. I knew him & his family very intimately in Arkansas and fully appreciated his good qualities. He was lamented by his Regiment and by the officers who knew him as a brave man and a most excellent soldier. It is very grievous to think that after undergoing the hardships & dangers of a four years war, he should at the close of it die in a Hospital. I have written to Mrs. Snyder and given all the particulars of her husband’s death and the disposition of the few things he left at the Hospital. Yours[?] by ??ft, John H. Hunter PS:I expect you can hardly read this, but being just recovered from a protracted spell of Typhoid Fever, I am yet too nervous to write a legible hand. We do not know with certainty which graveyard holds his bones but think it is Raleigh’s Confederate Cemetery. William Hunter Edwards, historian of the SCV Col. Leonidas Polk Camp No. 1468, researched the identities of those buried at the cemetery and was helpful in determining where Colonel Snyder may have been buried. The lo- 160 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE cal SCV camp placed a memorial marker for him in the summer of 1995, 130 years after Colonel Snyder’s death, at the north center edge of the Oakwood Confederate Cemetery in Raleigh. “He was to have been put in command of all the remaining infantry units from Govan’s Brigade right at the end of the war but died before he could assume command. This would have included all of the Arkansas regiments of infantry except those that were placed under the command of Col. H.G. Bunn, who later became Chief Justice of Arkansas.”3 This last reorganization may have occurred at Greensboro, N.C., as noted by John T. Rowe in the Confederate Veteran, Volume 16, page 348. Commander Byron Brady of the North Carolina Division, SCV, informed me that Confederates’ bones interred at the Pettigrew Hospital Cemetery in Raleigh were not allowed to rest quietly. After the Union occupied Raleigh, that cemetery was confiscated and eventually became a North Carolina National Cemetery. In 1866, the occupation authorities of Raleigh ordered all the Confederate dead to be removed from this cemetery and gave the citizenry two days to move them, or the Confederate dead would be dug up and thrown onto the streets. Raleigh citizens mobilized every wagon and person they could and began removing the dead to the Oakwood Cemetery. Edwards states that a few scattered graves in other cemeteries around the city were likewise dug up and brought to Oakwood. Colonel Snyder’s body may have been buried closer to Smithfield, as the last reference to him in the Official Record of the War of the Rebellion was with the Command near Smithfield, N.C. It may rest near there, but I find this unlikely because of research uncovered about Dr. John 3. Confederate Veteran, Volume 9, p 264, and Volume 16, p 348. COLONEL SNYDER 161 Harrison Hunter in the Special Collections, University of Virginia: The John H. Hunter Papers 1842-1888. Dr. John H. Hunter was born in 1830 in Martinsburg [present-day West Virginia] to an upper-middle-class family. This was about 10 miles from Shepherdstown, where Colonel Snyder’s immigrant German family settled. At some point in the 1850s, Hunter moved to Arkansas and settled in the town of Pocahontas in Randolph County. This is precisely where Peter Snyder settled with his young family. But Hunter moved his family back east, and he entered the war as a Confederate combatant, fighting in the first Battle of Manassas. He soon realized he could do more good as a medical practitioner. He applied to join the Physicians Corps and was commissioned as an assistant surgeon at the end of July 1861. His work carried him around Virginia and he was finally transferred to Bristol, Tennessee, which was captured December 14, 1864, by Union General Stoneman.4 Hunter was paroled along with all the other officers, but the practice of parole ended about that time, and he was sent, in early February of 1865, to chair the Medical Examining Board in Montgomery, Alabama. On February 14, he boarded a train for Alabama. However, his journey was cut short by General Sherman’s march across South Carolina, and Hunter remained where he had been halted in North Carolina and was placed in charge of the Officer’s Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, in late March. At the end of April, the Union authorities now in command placed him in charge of the Confederate sick in Greensboro, N.C. On May 11, Hunter was at last relieved from duty; he immediately fell ill and did not leave for home until June 6. Hunter’s war 4. A Guide to the John H. Hunter Papers, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library. 162 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE ended on June 16, when he took the new oath of allegiance in Richmond and returned to private life.5 Pettigrew Hospital was also called the State Fairgrounds Hospital, and during the war, Confederate General Hospital No. 13, Raleigh. It was on the corner of New Bern Avenue and Tarboro Road. In the folder of Hunter’s Special Collections for January – June 1865 are invoices and receipts listing medical supplies; military orders and travel passes for Surgeon Hunter and other officers; Hunter’s correspondence with the military about seeking transfers; and the release of his parole from capture in Bristol, Tenn. 6 The receipts state that Surgeon Hunter was in charge of the Officers’ Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., in April 1865. One receipt also names it as Way Hospital No. 7, Tarboro, N.C., but this is crossed out and replaced in pencil with Raleigh, N.C. There was a Wayside Hospital No. 7 in Tarboro, but since that was crossed out and Raleigh penciled in, I am led to believe that it was the Pettigrew. Pettigrew Hospital was on Tarboro Road in Raleigh. It was named for General James J. Pettigrew, who had been killed at Gettysburg in July 1863. The hospital had grown to accommodate 400 soldiers. The Union army used it for barracks after the close of the war. It became known as Camp Russell. Then, in 1890, it became a Confederate Old Soldiers’ Home until it closed in 1938. The buildings were then used by the National Youth Administration and the Raleigh Recreation Commission until 1940, when most of the buildings were torn down.7 The chapel was the last building standing when in 1948, 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. State Auditors Papers, Au-Com, North Carolina Archives COLONEL SNYDER 163 permission was given to the State Highway Commission to open an automobile inspection station on the site. There are still automobile service buildings on the site. In Pocahontas, Ark., Peter left behind a wife 30 years young with three sons: John Henry, age 13; Samuel Ayers, almost 12; and Jacob Rendles, age 9. Samuel died nearly four years later at age 15 on Feb. 14, 1869, after his mother had married William H. Carpenter on April 11, 1866, and had twins, named Florence and Blanche, born on Feb. 5, 1867. Marietta Ayers Snyder remarried less than a year after Colonel Snyder died. Who knows the hardships she suffered while Peter was at war for four years? The home front was another front in the war where casualties were suffered. She was about to have another son, Charles Clarence, born Mar. 31, 1869, when Samuel died. She also gave birth to William Doane on May 30, 1871, and Hattie Elva on Dec. 4, 1875. Marietta Ayers Snyder Carpenter died at almost 42 on April 16, 1876, having borne 11 children. Colonel Snyder had three brothers, one who also joined the Confederate army, one who joined the Union army, and one who did not join the military. During the war, John Snyder, Peter’s older brother (born Feb. 19, 1823, in Bavaria, Germany), joined Company B of the Second Virginia Infantry Regiment, Stonewall Brigade. This was the same company and regiment in which Henry Kyd Douglas started the war. Douglas wrote that famous biography of Stonewall Jackson, I Rode with Stonewall. John was wounded twice. The second time was very serious in his groin during the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse on May 12, 1864. Union troops transported him to Alexandria, Va., where he died in a hospital on June 1, 1864. There is a powerful story there of his wife, Rachel, trying to reach him before he died. He was re-interred on May 7, 1855, along with three of his children who died in infancy, in Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, W.Va., as is Henry 164 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Kyd Douglas. Some of John Snyder’s descendants still live in the Shepherdstown area. Two of his sons became editors of the Shepherdstown Register, the local newspaper. John Snyder, Peter’s older brother. Artist unknown. A great-grandson of John Snyder, Harry Lambright Snyder, III, wrote an excellent book about John Snyder and his family published in 1999 by HBP, Inc., 952 Frederick St., Hagerstown, Md., titled John Snyder, 1823-1864, A Soldier and His Family. (It has no ISBN number.) When my father, Peter F. Snyder, Jr., learned that Colonel Snyder’s brother and family members are interred in Elmwood Cemetery, he decided that this was where he wanted to be buried. So, now he and Mom are both resting there. Elmwood Cemetery is just a few miles from my sister’s COLONEL SNYDER 165 home in Shepherdstown, and she visits their graves with fresh flowers when she is able. Captain Jacob Snyder, 12th Ohio Cavalry Jacob Snyder was born March 5, 1832, in Shepherdstown, W.Va. He moved to Ohio and married there. Jacob joined the Union army during the War Between the States and served as captain of the Twelfth Ohio Cavalry. After the war, he returned to Shepherdstown with his Yankee wife and two daughters. He was so snubbed by the family and made so unhappy in Shepherdstown that he took his little family to a place called Richwood in Union County, Ohio. His mother and youngest brother accompanied him there. Shepherdstown was ardently Confederate throughout the war. Nearby Winchester changed sides, or control, some 70 times during the course of the war. Jacob died after the 166 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE war on April 30, 1869, and his wife, Ella, survived with five children. The children’s names were Katie (b. 1859), Lulu (b. 1861), Charles (b. 1866), James (b. 1868), and Oliver (b. 1869).8 George Washington Snyder9 was born February 22, 1835, in Shepherdstown, WV. He worked as a day laborer, according to the census of 1870 in Richwood, Ohio. His wife, Sarah O’Brian McFerson Snyder, survived him with seven children. Their names were Edward (b. 1867), Ella L. (b. April 1870), Charles (b. 1872), Ina Rose (b. 25 Sept 1874), Iva (b. 1875), Ida (b. 1875), and Homer (b. 6 June 1879). George was buried in Claibourne Cemetery, Richwood, Union County, Ohio, alongside his brother Jacob, and his mother, Louisa (or Lowesa). As far as I can determine, Theobald, or Theodore, Snyder was buried in Harpers Ferry, Va. But I have not found out where he is interred or when he died. I was learning more and more about my family history. I had researched and placed nearly 900 ancestors in my family history file. I was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and had learned so much about the war. I served as chaplain for the camp, lt. commander, and then commander for a couple of years in the late 1990s. I had been to some re-enactments and even met some men from Arkansas portraying Colonel Snyder’s regiment. We had a 8. 1870 Probate Court Estate Settlement #1544, Marysville, Union County, Ohio, for Jacob Snyder lists family names. 9. 2/17/1883 Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Register, lists George Snyder, 48, having died in Richwood, Ohio, native of Shepherdstown, and Uncle of the editors of this newspaper. COLONEL SNYDER 167 good talk and exchanged a few files of information about the regiment and Colonel Snyder. The author in his reenactor uniform. I decided to learn more about what it was like in the infantry and fell in with a group of historically minded re-enactors portraying a Confederate Infantry unit, the 37th Tennessee. I assembled a second-hand wool butternut and grey uniform, got some brogans, a gray wool blanket and a slouch hat. I hand-sewed my own historically correct shirt, buttonholes and all. I bought a reproduction black powder percussion cap Enfield rifle, and some other accoutrements. 25 BATTLE OF SHILOH One of the first re-enactments I participated in was Shiloh. The federal government made it unlawful to do re-enactments on the actual battlefields, so we were a few miles from the real battlefield. I don’t remember how many troops we had there, but I do remember there were between 40 and 60 cannons. I slept with two other guys in a tent made from two tent halves, and we dug a trench around its perimeter because the forecast was for rain. And that’s what happened before the actual battle. It poured and overran our trench. We got wet. But we got up before dawn like the Confederates did in history and mounted an attack on the Union camp. I was up in the front line of march and started trying to miss the puddles, but decided that was a wasted effort. We marched through the woods and came upon the Yankee camp. We skeered them out of camp, and they ran the other direction across a big field. We headed straight for them but found ourselves looking down the barrel of a cannon near their new position. We were about 60 yards away when that cannon let loose: Kawhoom! Pieces of aluminum foil rained down over us, and we hit the dirt. A Yankee officer came galloping up on his horse and pulled up just short of us, saying, “How’d you guys like that!” He said, “We usually play Confederate, but they told us we had to do Union today.” Then he turned and galloped away. We lay there for a while, BATTLE OF SHILOH 169 then got up and marched on. Some re-enactments are so well organized that they pass out written instructions to the men on how they are to behave during the battle, whether or not they get wounded or killed or aren’t hit at all. We didn’t have that at this one. That night it poured even more, and we got soaked to the bone. The next day every field was a soggy mess. Teams of horses hauled some of the cannons, but most of them got around behind a pickup. At the end of the day before, they had lined up about 40 cannons along the edge of a field that was to be a battlefield the next day. It was too soggy to move the cannons, so the re-enactment was called off. There were tractors pulling cars and four-wheel pickup trucks out of the mud. Four-wheel drive just wasn’t enough in some cases. I went with a few other guys and toured the actual battlefield. Seeing it in person after having re-enacted it gives you a different eye for the actual battlefield, and you see it more like it was back then. As we were driving around to different sections of the battlefield, we heard cannons roaring. As it turned out, they didn’t want to waste the opportunity to fire all those cannons and loaded them up with powder and fired them in different sequences. We had no trouble hearing them where we were at the real battlefield. Here’s some of the true history of the Battle of Shiloh and Colonel Snyder’s regiment. During the first few months of the war, other units in the army dubbed the regiment “The Ragged Seventh” because of their ragged civilian clothing and rough appearance. But it was after the April 6-7, 1862, Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, General Hardee nicknamed the 7th Arkansas “The Bloody 170 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Seventh.”1 This was the name the regiment was known as throughout the war. Colonel Shaver commanded a brigade that included the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Arkansas regiments, and this brigade struck the first blow in the battle before sunrise on Sunday morning, April 6th. The Arkansas troops initially rushed into a Yankee camp, consisting of two regiments of German troops from St. Louis, Mo., and regiments from Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, all commanded by a Colonel Peabody. With the fire of the pickets, Peabody’s men had taken a position on the edge of their camp and delivered a “galling fire” as Shaver’s Brigade rushed at them with a wild yell that has since become known as the “rebel yell.” The Union troops stood until the Arkansas troops were within 30 feet of them, then broke and fled for their lives. The company streets in the Yankee camps were very narrow, and the men in flight bunched up so much that their retreat was slowed considerably. The Confederates rushed in amongst them, and fierce hand-to-hand combat ensued. More than 200 Yankee troops were bayoneted and killed, including Colonel Peabody. Shaver’s Brigade had rushed forward so fast that General Hardee halted them there until the rest of the Confederate line of battle could catch up to them.2 The men of the 7th Arkansas, like so many of the Arkansas troops in this battle, were armed with mostly flintlock muskets, shotguns, and various outdated smoothbore weapons they had brought from home. But in Colonel Peabody’s camp, they found 2,000 brand new M1853 Enfield Rifled Muskets, still in their wooden crates, complete with ammunition. So, the men of the 7th tossed aside their outdated 1. Units of the Confederate States Army, Joseph H. Crute, Jr., 1987, p 47. 2. History of Arkansas, by Walter Scott McNutt, Ph.D., 1932 BATTLE OF SHILOH 171 weapons and took up the new Enfields that day. Later in this first day of fighting, Shaver’s Brigade made a terrific charge against the Union 24th Mo. Infantry. During the Battle of Shiloh, every officer on Shaver’s staff was either killed or wounded. Colonel Shaver had four horses shot out from under him before he was critically wounded by an artillery shell on the second day of fighting.3 Lt. Snyder must have distinguished himself at Shiloh because on April 14, 1862, he was elected Major, Co. A, 7th Regiment Arkansas Infantry.4 Then just a month later, on May 14, 1862, the 7th Arkansas Infantry was reorganized, and Peter Snyder was promoted to lieutenant colonel, 7th Regiment Arkansas Infantry, by election.5 May 16th through June 30, 1862, his military record shows Lt. Col. Peter Snyder on the Field and Staff Muster Roll of 7 th Regiment Arkansas Infantry in Corinth, Miss. In June of 1862, two privates of the Seventh Arkansas stole mules and deserted, only to be captured and returned. They were sentenced to three months’ hard labor and forfeiture of pay for a similar time.6 Deserters from other units were being shot. Another soldier from the Seventh was shot at Tupelo. “He refused to do duty of any kind in defiance to military 3. ibid 4. Military record as obtained from the Arkansas Historical Commission. 5. ibid. 6. Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee, Larry J. Daniel, The University of North Carolina Press, 1991, p 107 172 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE power.”7 This was surely one of the most difficult aspects of military discipline a commander had to deal with. 7. Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee, Larry J. Daniel, 1991, p 110 26 BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA Another big re-enactment I participated in was the Battle of Chickamauga held at the National Guard Armory in Ringgold. Over 5,000 re-enactors were present. (There were close to 125,000 combined Union and Confederate forces in the actual battle, and 36,624 estimated combined casualties.) Some reenactors had come from as far away as England and even Australia. It’s incredible how much interest there is in the War Between the States. The sutler village was quite large with many period shops set up in tent rows, everything imaginable for sale from that era. This weekend the weather was incredibly dry. Just standing in formation on bare ground, I couldn’t see my shoes for all the dust clouded just above the ground. And when we marched into line position opposite the boys in blue, loaded and fired repeatedly, we could not hear the officers’ orders. I had earplugs in, but had to take them out to hear the orders! Cannons were going off along with rows and rows of rifles. I’m a bit hard of hearing now, probably because of all that noise. Sometimes re-enactment cannons would set off security alarms of cars in the nearest parking areas. When I was at a Resaca, Ga., re-enactment, a cannon crew neglected to remove a ramrod, and it went sailing across the battlefield. Fortunately, it didn’t hit anyone. For that reason, infantry re-enactors weren’t allowed to use ramrods in their rifles 174 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE when loading. So, all we used were paper packets of black powder, ripping them open with our teeth and pouring them down the barrels. The most realistic moment I had at this re-enactment was just before dawn on Sunday. I was awake before dawn and remembering a period song Dad used to sing. He was quite a crooner and would come out with snippets of songs he used to sing. This one was “Just Before the Battle Mother:” Just before the battle, Mother, I am thinking most of you. While upon the field we’re watching, with the enemy in view. Comrades brave are ’round me lying, filled with thoughts of home and God; For well they know that on the morrow, some will sleep beneath the sod. Farewell, Mother, you may never press me to your breast again; But, oh, you’ll not forget me, Mother, if I’m numbered with the slain. 1 That was about all of it he ever sang, and I don’t think he knew whether it had Union or Confederate roots. The period songs have a lot of heart and soul, and I collected several CDs of mostly Southern renditions and still enjoy listening to them. The organizers had hired professional buglers, and they awakened us with bugles near and far. It was like we were transported back to 1863. Somebody kept our campfire going all night long, and sparks were floating upward in the darkness as a few men stood around the fire, some wrapped in blankets. There was not an electric light in sight. I got up to join the men around the fire. And there stood the colonel BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA 175 with a blanket curled about him, eating a Poptart. Aaarrgh! That killed it. Time-travel over. Zonked back to modern convenience. Chickamauga Reenactment – photo by author with disposable camera At this point, let me present Colonel Snyder’s report on the battle, Recorded in the Official Record of the Rebellion Serial 051, Pages 0266-0267, dated October 5, 1863: Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Regiments (consolidated), Col. D. A. Gillespie commanding, in the battle of the 19th and 20th instant: 176 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE On the morning of the 19th, at 11 o’clock, the command was ordered to advance, and moving forward in the line of battle (with skirmishers deployed in front of and on the left flank of the regiment, this being the left regiment of the brigade) about 1 mile, when we found the enemy in line lying down awaiting our attack. He did not reply to the fire of our skirmishers, but awaited until the line came up, when he poured in a very heavy fire, which was returned by the regiment and immediately followed by a charge which drove the enemy in confusion, leaving his artillery in position in front of the regiment, when a desperate fight ensued with their second line, which lasted for some twenty minutes, when their cavalry and infantry flanked us on the left and compelled us to fall back to a point about half a mile in rear of the position, where the brigade was reformed and moved on the extreme right of the line occupied by our forces. At about 2 pm we again advanced. While moving to the front, the regiment was thrown somewhat in confusion by a section of artillery, which had been unlimbered in ranks, but recovered from this readily; moved on about 100 paces to the front, where it was halted and received a very heavy fire from the enemy’s artillery and infantry from the left oblique, where the enemy was in position (as was afterward ascertained) behind log breastworks, the troops on our left having been compelled to fall back on account of the murderous fire poured into them by the enemy. We were charged by him, coming almost directly down upon the left flank of the regiment, BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA 177 when it gave way and took position in rear of the hill over which we had advanced, where we lay all night, and next morning were moved to the left near the point at which we met the enemy the preceding morning, and immediately moved back to the right. At about 12 pm engaged the enemy for the third time, when we drove him back to his breastworks, but, owing to the heavy loss sustained and the want of support to our left, we were unable to drive him any farther. While in front of and about 100 yards distant from his breastworks, the enemy threw a very heavy column of infantry upon our left flank and compelled us to retire. About 3:30 pm we again advanced, with Jackson’s Brigade on our left, which felt the enemy first and halted to fire upon him; continued to [move] forward until we reached the Will’s Valley and Chattanooga Road (Lafayette Road) where we found two batteries of the enemy in position on our left, supported by a heavy infantry force, which poured a most murderous fire of canister and grape down our line, and soon as I saw the regiment thus exposed to an enfilading fire of artillery and infantry, and entirely without support on the left, I withdrew my command to a point about 400 yards to the rear and afterward moved forward to the road, where we remained until we left the field.” Note: It has been conjectured that if Colonel Snyder and his men had reached that most advanced place in the battlefield one hour later in time, they would have met with General Longstreet’s men who would have just broken through the 178 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Union line and been in the process of carrying the battle to Horseshoe Ridge. That would have left many Union soldiers, including General George Thomas, surrounded on the eastern side of the Lafayette Road, and many may well have surrendered. On October 25, 1863, Lt. Col. Snyder was appointed colonel upon the death of Colonel Gillespie, who was wounded at Chickamauga and died shortly thereafter. This is from Colonel Snyder’s military record. 27 BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA Records show there used to be a plaque up on Missionary Ridge with Colonel Snyder’s name on it, but it was evidently vandalized or stolen and never replaced. It was located either on Crest Extension Road or Lightfoot Mill Road, probably the latter. On Nov. 23-25, 1863, the Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was fought. The Sixth and Seventh Arkansas had been ordered with the rest of Cleburne’s Brigade to Knoxville in support of Confederate troops there, but were called back to Missionary Ridge from the railhead at Chickamauga Station (near where the Chattanooga Airport is now). They arrived just as the battle was beginning to take shape. Braxton Bragg ordered Cleburne to defend the army’s right flank at the northern end of the ridge. General Sherman was en route to flank the Confederates at this end of the ridge. Cleburne quickly surveyed that end of the ridge and set his men in a series of zig-zags across the end of the ridge, establishing an impenetrable series of overlapping zones of deadly cross-fire ranges. Cleburne’s brigade dug in and turned back Sherman, assault after assault. Sherman finally told General Grant he couldn’t flank them. That’s when Thomas’s Union troops began their frontal assault of the ridge that snowballed all the way to the top. 180 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE At the end of the day, on November 25, 1863, Cleburne’s men let out a rousing cheer realizing that they had held their ground and their foe was withdrawing. But shortly they got orders to work a rear-guard action covering the Confederate retreat. This they did from Missionary Ridge down Shallowford Road and over to Ringgold Road, where Highway 41 now winds its way into Ringgold, Georgia. This was the old Federal Road, as present-day historical markers testify. (He went right past the hill our house now sits upon.) 28 BATTLE OF RINGGOLD GAP The bulk of the Confederate troops passed through Ringgold Gap, and General Braxton Bragg ordered General Cleburne to hold the gap at all costs. The federals, under Major General Joseph Hooker, were in close pursuit. General Cleburne set up his defense quickly, with men at the top of Taylor’s Ridge on his left and part of the 6th and 7th covering the left slope of the gap, with other men on top of White Oak Mountain on the right, and then four ranks deep of Colonel Govan’s Brigade right in the narrow valley. The 5th and 13th Arkansas made the front rank in the gap with artillery camouflaged at the very front. Behind them were the 8th and 19th; then the rest of the 6th and 7th, with the 2nd, 15th, and 24th behind them. Hooker had 40,814 men at his disposal, and Cleburne had 4,117. The reports say that there were so many Union soldiers in the little town of Graysville on their way to Ringgold that the roads could not hold them.1Union forces in this battle lost 500 men and Confederate lost 200 men. Colonel Snyder was one of the last Confederates to withdraw from the engagement at Ringgold Gap. Following is his report of December 2, 1863, describing his actions in the Battle of Ringgold Gap. 1. A History of Catoosa County, by Wm. H. Clark, “Battle of Ringgold”, p 231. 182 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE November 27th Battle of Ringgold Gap War of the Rebellion: Serial 055 Page 0766-7 Sir: I respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Regiments (consolidated), under my command, in the engagement at Ringgold on November 27: At about 6 am I forded the creek west of Ringgold, marched through the town to an old field near the depot, where I remained with the other regiments of the brigade for near an hour, when the bugle sounded the call to arms. We moved down the Western and Atlantic Railroad to the gorge in the mountain, about a half mile east of the depot, when the following dispositions were made of my regiment: I sent out my three right companies in charge of Lieutenant Dulin, of General Liddell’s staff, to the hill on the left flank of the brigade. They were deployed as skirmishers, their right communicating with the main line of skirmishers, the creek only intervening. At about 11 am I was ordered by Colonel Govan to send forward two companies to support the skirmishers of the Fifth and Thirteenth Arkansas Regiments. I immediately ordered forward Companies D and K, in charge of Captain Todd. They behaved with coolness and bravery. When they had about exhausted their ammunition, I sent forward my two left companies to re- BATTLE OF RINGGOLD GAP 183 port to Captain Todd and give him their support if he needed them. At about 2 pm I was ordered by Colonel Govan to deploy the remainder of my regiment and move forward on the line to relieve all the skirmishers of the brigade. I moved forward with my three companies, while Captain Griggs, acting major of my regiment, went forward and withdrew the old skirmishers and conducted them to the rear. I held my position with my line of skirmishers under a very heavy fire of artillery and small-arms until all of General Cleburne’s division had crossed the first bridge on the Western and Atlantic Railroad below Ringgold, when I commenced retiring, the enemy not following. When I reached the bridge, I found it on fire. I waded the creek with my command and moved down the railroad a short distance below the Catoosa house and joined the other regiments of the brigade. Both officers and men behaved in a manner to meet my warmest commendation. Very respectfully, your obedient servant. Peter Snyder 184 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Another member of the Seventh Arkansas, William W. Gibson, was one of only five men in the original Seventh Regiment to live through the whole war and surrender at Greensboro, N.C. He had enlisted to fight when he was only 14. He recounted his experience at the battle of Ringgold Gap2 , and I include it here because of the detailed and entertaining way he has recorded it: “Who of Cleburne’s division does not retain a vivid remembrance of the trying ordeal through which we passed about daybreak on the morning of November 27, 1863, when we were ordered to ford the Chickamauga River just west of the little town of Ringgold. The morning was dreadfully cold, and thin sheets and crystals of ice were dancing over the water. Many of the boys sailed in like horses with their harness on, while others, more thoughtful of their future comfort, disrobed themselves of their nether garments. The writer was among the latter, but had the misfortune, when about mid-stream, to stumble over a bowlder and drop his pants in the water… Crossing over, we were marched rapidly up through the town to a narrow gorge where the river had cut its way through the mountain, and through which ran the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Here we formed a line of battle, facing the town. To our right extended a long, high ridge; to the left, between the railway and the river, was a little narrow strip of wooded valley widening out in the direction of the town. 2. Confederate Veteran, Volume 22, p 526 BATTLE OF RINGGOLD GAP 185 The ridge above mentioned was selected by Gen. Cleburne as his line of defense, and on which the division was at once formed. Company D, to which I belonged, and Company K, of the 6th and 7th Arkansas Regiment, were posted in the little valley to the left of the railroad; which Company E was sent across to the south side of the river, where they took position on a high bluff. A skirmish line was thrown forward about one hundred and fifty yards to the edge of the timber, while our two companies were ordered to lie down in line of battle. A blue cloud of Federals could be seen advancing through the town, preceded by a heavy skirmish line; they were soon engaged with our skirmishers, and were driven to take shelter behind barns, houses, fences, etc., where they began a galling fire on our position. About this time, Generals Cleburne and Breckenridge came along our line on foot, observing the disposition of the enemy’s forces in our front. They stopped just at the right of our company, where they remained a few minutes, sheltered behind a large tree. I saw a line of battle moving across our front to the left, and not exceeding 300 yards from us. As their left wing reached the enfilading point a masked battery [four cannons], just across the railroad on the spur of the ridge, caught them with double-shotted canister from all of the guns at once. Every man fell to the ground, and, from the way their hats, caps, guns, and accouterments went flying in the air, I had not a doubt that the entire line was annihilated, and exclaimed: “By Jove, boys, it killed them 186 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE all.” Gen. Breckenridge and “Old Pat” smiled at my boyish credulity, while the latter said to me good-naturedly: “If you don’t lie down, young man, you are liable to find that there are enough left for you to get the top of your head shot off.” In a little while our two companies were ordered forward to our skirmish line, each man taking such shelter as came his way. A good-sized white oak tree fell to my lot, and did me good service for a couple of hours or longer, during which time I verily believe it was struck by a thousand balls, and only once was I touched — a mere scratch. While behind that tree I witnessed an incident never seen by me before or afterwards on any battlefield. Hearing frequent reports near me, resembling the discharge of a small pistol, I listened and watched to tell from whence it came, and was not long in seeing small puffs of smoke in mid-air near me, from which the reports came, and I knew at once that the enemy were shooting explosive bullets. I am sure there can be no mistake about this matter, for I saw and heard more than a dozen. All this while there was “music in the air,” and the earth was fairly trembling under the shock of battle up on the right. The boys afterwards told us that the enemy first came at them in a “rollicking” sort of way. In their first advance they came through the woods, whooping and yelling in imitation of driving cattle. They found the “cattle” all right, but somehow there was a hitch in the dri- BATTLE OF RINGGOLD GAP 187 ving. Gen. Cleburne had formed the division in double line of battle, one immediately behind the other. As the enemy advanced to close range the front line would fire and lie down and load, the rear line firing over their heads. Time after time, line after line of Federals charged up that ridge against Cleburne’s lines, only to be shattered and hurled back in the valley. Things were “distressingly interesting” behind my tree, the bare exposure of my hat brim or end of my gun barrel was greeted with a shower of balls. It was only a few yards on my left to the river, so I made a break in that direction, and landed safely behind its protecting bank. Passing down the bank thirty or forty yards, I found my chum, Phil Turner, enjoying one of the softest snaps to be found on that battlefield. In a small washout near the top of the bank Phil had ensconced himself, with plenty of room to load and fire. Joining him, we had a picnic firing at short range for some time, when I happened to notice that all firing had ceased along our line, and, what was more significant, there was not a “Reb” in sight. We learned afterwards that the order had been given for the command to draw off quietly, a few at a time, and our failure to get this word was the cause of our being left. I called Phil’s attention to the fact that our people were all gone, and that we two, for the moment, were enjoying the distinction of fighting the greater portion 188 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE of Grant’s army. Realizing the inequality of the contest, Phil suggested that we must get out of there, and get out at once. In order that we might not draw too heavy a fire, he proposed that we go one at a time, at the same time telling me to make the break. This I did, and after running some 75 or 100 yards I felt like nothing but the swiftest of the bullets could catch me; but about this time one did catch me on the thigh, and I thought myself a “goner,” but looked around in time to see the bullet fall at my heel, proving conclusively that my movement up that gorge was so near in unison with the speed of that ball, coupled with the fact that it had first struck a tree and glanced to my leg, that the hurt amounted to a severe bruise only, and in nowise retarded my speed. Another run of 200 yards or so took me to the railroad bridge over which the command had crossed, with Phil close at my heels. This bridge was one of those old-style structures, having a shingle roof over it and weatherboard sides. To our dismay, however, we found that our people had set it afire after crossing, and it was then burning fiercely. Gens. Breckenridge and Cleburne were sitting on their horses on the opposite bank, watching it burn; they called and told us that there was a ford down to our right a hundred yards or so. Remembering our experience of the early morning, Phil said he could not wade that river again. I remonstrated, seized him by the arm, and tried to pull him with me in the direction of the ford; but, jerking loose, he hastily wound his blanket around his head and dashed into the burning bridge, leaving not a BATTLE OF RINGGOLD GAP 189 doubt in my mind that he had gone to an instant and horrible death. Running down to the ford, I waded over; the bullets splashing the water like hailstones around me as I did so. Once over, my route led me near the point where the generals were still standing. As I passed Gen. Cleburne I said: “General, that battery didn’t kill quite all of them this morning, but what was left have been taught a lesson in good manners.” He instantly recalled the incident of the morning, and smilingly replied: “You are quite right, young man. I am proud of what you boys have done today, and I don’t think they will bother us anymore this evening.” With such a compliment as this I felt that if I only had Turner out of that burning bridge I could go back and fight them again. By this time the bruise on my leg, caused by the glancing ball, was paining me so that I could not help limping, seeing which he very kindly inquired as to the nature of my hurt and congratulated me on my escape. On going down the railroad Turner was one of the first men I came up with; and what a sight he was, to be sure! His blanket, of course, went up in the flames at the bridge, his hair below his hat was all singed off, his eyelashes, eyebrows, and mustache were all gone, while his clothes were scorched and charred all over. 190 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Jack Williams, his bunk mate, said of him that night that he “looked like a cat that might have been pulled through Hades by the tail;” that he could interpose no valid objection to Phil’s being sacrificed as a burnt offering upon the altar of his country, if the exigencies of the case demanded it; but did hate like blazes to lose that blanket, and thought that a detail should be appointed to “keep Phil out of the fire, as he did not seem to have sense enough to keep out himself.” The check of the enemy for a day gave Bragg’s army ample time to reach a place of safety, taught the Federals that “marching through Georgia” was not all smooth sailing, and gained for Cleburne’s Division the thanks of the Confederate Congress. 29 CONVERGENCE We don’t know what we have until we’ve lost it. “Delight yourself in the LORD And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 Several threads of my life seemed to be coming together around the turn of the millennium. But they seemed to have grown into something more like ropes, pulling me this way and that. These were all mostly good things, but I felt like I was being drawn and quartered emotionally, yet it was mostly my own doing. I am too easily distracted, going in different directions all at the same time. And I try to please. Have you ever had a hard time saying “No” to someone’s request? And still, there are things you want to do for yourself. Spread too thin is one way of describing it. And it was hurting those closest to me—so many things were coming to bear at the same time. My work was going well. The largest architectural job I had ever done as a sole practitioner was underway, that downtown Baptist Church. The drawings were done, and it was under construction. Then the program changed to make more room in the sanctuary. I was glad to do it and happy that it came out so well. 192 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE At least I had faded out of the Jaycees. The Moccasin Bend Task Force helped take the Zoo project out of my hands. And Barbara was glad to have more of my time at home. I had become a deacon at our church and taught fourth-grade boys in Sunday school. I always wanted a son I could name after my dad and grandfathers. When I realized that wasn’t going to be a reality, I felt like having boys in the family of Christ was an even better legacy. It was one of the best things I have done. I would take them hiking and white water rafting each year, but getting them immersed in the Bible and hungry to learn more was my primary goal. My teaching style was to be an adult who sought to raise the maturity of the children, not to be another kid trying to meet them on their level. My focus stayed on bringing them to God’s Word and developing the discipline of reading it regularly. I kept this up for over 34 years, virtually non-stop, and could write a small book about my teaching experiences. My observation, and frustration, from that experience was how our culture targets children in its marketing ploys. The marketplace pumps out so many messages through so many kinds of media that kids are captured by the things of this world and haven’t a moment or a desire to know God. Today’s children and their parents are at risk. Maintaining a disciplined and Christ-centered focus is essential in remaining grounded in the faith, and it bears eternal rewards. One day in the summer of 2000, I was riding down Lafayette Road through Chickamauga Battlefield with Donald, the chairman of the Building Committee of that African American church, to go see sample pews in a church in the town of Chickamauga. I had told him about Colonel Snyder, so I pulled over beside one of the plaques with Colonel Snyder’s name. He acknowledged that he saw it, and we drove on. He said, “You must be proud of your ancestor.” I said I was, but that I found he had signed a proposal to free the slaves in CONVERGENCE 193 January of 1864, written by General Patrick Cleburne while the western army was wintering in Dalton, GA.1 There were only 14 officers who signed it. General Cleburne knew the South was losing too much manpower, and he had the sense that if the slaves were freed, they would want to help protect their homeland. He presented the proposal to General Joseph E. Johnston, the Corps, Division, Brigade, and Regimental Commanders of the Army of Tennessee. The house where that meeting took place is now the home of the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, The Huff House.2 Johnston forwarded the proposal to President Jefferson Davis, who said that at that time, it wasn’t feasible. He did free them later in the war, but by then, it was too late. In his proposal, General Cleburne stated, “It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.” This made sense to me, as well as to my great-great-grandfather. I wish everyone could appreciate what those fourteen officers tried to do, what their stand was on the slavery issue, and how they stood against not only the whole Union army in the field but against certain belligerence behind their own lines. Donald later showed me a video of a young black man entering a clothing store and being watched suspiciously by the clerk or owner of the store, following his every move. Donald told me I probably had no idea what being a black 1. s/patrick-cleburnes-proposal-arm-slaves 2. storicproperties/huffhouse.html 194 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE man was like in our culture. Unfortunately, he was right. But at least I am sympathetic to their plight. And I try to see things from their perspective. I can only begin to imagine how bad it must have been for some during the Jim Crow years. I felt like a prism through which vectors of our culture split into different lights. Meanwhile, our kids were growing up. I wanted the best for them. David graduated from the University of Georgia and obtained a Master’s degree from Pennsylvania’s Eastern College in counseling. He also met Marcie in graduate school, and they were married. Kathy graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) in psychology and was trying to find her way in the business world. Sarah graduated from Ringgold High School and planned to attend UTC in Music Education. But Barbara had been missing my presence with her. I was overextended in too many directions and needed to pull back and spend more time with her. She was trying to tell me how serious it was, but I simply didn’t understand. She told me we would be looking at the end of our marriage if things didn’t change. I was shocked and taken totally by surprise. As I look back on it, I now know that I was focused too much on my own selfish interests. This is the same thing we tend to do in our relationship with God, even after we accept his wonderful gift of forgiveness. There are so many distractions in this world. We attended counseling sessions in a nearby town. But it felt it wasn’t helping either of us, so we quit that counselor. However, we eventually met as a whole family, with our kids and two of our associate pastors. And it was then that I realized how wrong I had been to be chasing after so many things that simply did not interest her. CONVERGENCE 195 All this was taking its toll on Barbara. She began to feel like something was wrong with her physically. She is normally a perpetual athlete in training, always wanting to walk, hike, or ride her bike. I would do some of that with her, but not enough. Yet now, her body was not cooperating. She felt bloated and had trouble digesting food. She reached the point where she couldn’t hold anything down – not even water. She was not one for going to a doctor, but now she had to go and was referred to one of the best OB-GYN oncologists in town. We went to see him on a Friday. He examined her and then called us into his office. He said, “There’s something in there that needs to come out as soon as possible, and I won’t know what it is until I examine it. You may need radiation or chemotherapy after surgery, but I won’t know that until we find out what it is.” I asked him, “How soon does it need to come out?” He said, “Monday.” Wow! We had to get her checked into the hospital Sunday night for a very early surgery on Monday morning. I was waiting in her hospital room during the surgery with some family and friends when her doctor came from the operating room (a couple of hours later than he’d said to expect him) to tell us what he found. He said he had good news and bad news, and asked which we wanted first? I asked for the good news first, and he told us the good news was that it wasn’t cancer, but the bad news was that they don’t know what it was. Several of his associates had come into the operating room to examine her, and nobody could identify what was happening to her. He took out all the inflammation he could. And he thought since that was removed, the inflammation might recede. 196 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE I asked him what he was going to do about it. He said he was going to send slides of her pathology to the National Institute of Health in Maryland, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and a doctor over in Italy who had done a book on similar kinds of pathology. Hopefully, one of them would be able to identify it. In the meantime, they would be feeding her intravenously and treating her for the pain. I asked how long will this would take. He didn’t know. It would depend on how quickly the doctors responded to his inquiry, maybe a week or two or three. So, I dropped everything and focused nearly all my attention on her and her needs. This meant sitting in her hospital room and helping her with whatever came up. She was hooked to the wall for monitoring, and just getting up to visit the restroom meant unplugging from the wall and wheeling her IV stand around behind her. She was on morphine a lot of the time and consequently unaware of all that was happening around her. I was so thankful for church friends who came to relieve me and often sat with her. I started sending email updates almost daily to family and friends to let them know what was happening and asking for prayer. The doctors wanted to test her digestive system to determine how far some luminescent dye would travel through and how quickly it would move. This was particularly troublesome for her as she was already in pain, and this meant that she had to lie still on a cold exam table while they did the X-rays. I can remember standing beside the table, trying to comfort her and softly singing something to her, hoping to distract her a little. Right now, I cannot remember what I was singing. It may have been “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” which I used to sing to Sarah when she was sick, as I rocked her in our indoor swing. The dye never would pass through Barbara, and it only came back out. One of the doctors told me the x-rays showed her small intestines in what looked like a cocoon of scar tissue. CONVERGENCE 197 About two weeks after the surgery, her doctor heard from the Italian doctor. He said it was called Sclerosing Peritonitis. It was a very rare condition in which everything inside the peritoneum, the sack that holds the intestines, could get inflamed. I started asking doctors and nurses if they knew anything about it, and nobody was familiar with it. After she had been in the hospital for over three weeks, her doctor pulled me aside in a hallway and told me she might not make it. I was taken aback. The whole family was expecting she would reach a point where she would take a turn for the better and begin to get well. So, I asked him, “What should I tell the family?” He suggested I not tell them anything just yet. He wanted to call Mayo and see what they said. That was on a Thursday. Mayo said to send Barbara up to their Rochester, Minn., clinic on Sunday. The most exciting day of the big church construction was just around the corner. They would be erecting the huge laminated wood frames that would be the structural skeleton of the sanctuary. I had been looking forward to seeing this take place. And I should be available if any questions came up, but Barbara was more important. I called my architect friend, Ross, and asked him to cover for me while I was gone. I said I would pay him for his time. I don’t know how often he came down to monitor the progress, but he never sent me a bill. Sunday afternoon we rode an ambulance to the airport. They put us on the Air Ambulance, a small, executive-size jet equipped like an ambulance. I had a chance to speak with medical staff that would accompany us up there, and one of them gave me an article about Sclerosing Peritonitis. The article was about six women on an island in the South Pacific who had precisely what Barbara had. And I later 198 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE had a doctor tell me there were probably not more than thirty cases of this in the medical literature worldwide. We had an excellent patient representative help us with our Blue Cross insurance. She persuaded them to pay for the air ambulance, which was almost 8 thousand dollars. I was so thankful! That bird flew higher than commercial aircraft. I could look down on regular jets passing underneath us. It was 60 degrees when we left Chattanooga in February and 39 below zero in Rochester. The landscape beneath us went from winter brown to winter white, with the valleys showing up like veins in leaves. It was snowing in Rochester. When we finally got to her room, I tried to interest her in seeing the snow out her window. But she was ambivalent. I assumed they had drugged her up for a peaceful transport. I asked for and received a portable cot for me to sleep on in her room so that I could stay with her constantly. There was a flexible plastic pad hanging on the back of the door between the hall and her room used for transferring patients from gurney to hospital bed and back, and I used that to cover the springs in the cot. I learned where the cafeteria was and the Patient Visitor Library. The library had computers available to patients and family, and I used them for research and sending e-mail updates to friends and family. The list of recipients kept growing as people heard of it and asked to be added, and it ultimately grew to 72 recipients. The doctors at Mayo travel in flocks or small herds. The lead doctors are practicing physicians who leave their practice for two or three weeks to work exclusively at Mayo. Usually, a group comes into the room, and one does all the talking. They ask and answer questions, then go out in the hall to confer on any questions or issues that have come up, then return to the room to let the patient know what they’ve decided to do. And this was the first time I had seen computer stations out in the hall where they had access to CONVERGENCE 199 the Mayo mainframe and all the patient records, including X-rays and any reports for that patient. They studied Barbara’s chart and all the records that came with her. They examined her and reported that the diagnosis was correct, and the Chattanooga surgeon did precisely what they would have done. Then they told us they wanted to put her on an experimental program with a new drug called Tamoxifen that one of their doctors was conducting, but that he was in India on vacation and would be back on Monday. This was a Wednesday. I told them, “You can’t wait that long. I can see she is slipping away, fading quickly. You’ve got to do something before then. Isn’t there some kind of steroid I read about that might help her?” The next day they put her on 40 mg of methylprednisolone, which I understand is a potent steroid that halts the action of one’s adrenal gland. I had learned that sclerosing peritonitis is an auto-immune disease that attacks a part of the body it thinks is an enemy. This attack seemed to be on her digestive tract. She started to show some signs of improvement but was restless and having trouble sleeping. I thought some calming music might help, so I went to the Patient Visitor Library and borrowed a CD player and several CDs. It didn’t do much for her, but I discovered Appalachian Journey and bought a copy when I got home. Her Mom and two brothers came from Champaign, Illinois, to visit her, which lifted her spirits. Shortly after that visit, they took Barbara to a procedure room where a doctor attempted to insert a PICC line behind her collar bone. The only trouble was that the doc wasn’t using a scope to navigate the hidden area behind the clavicle and punctured her lung. 200 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE “Oh, NO!” I thought, what worse thing could happen to her. They brought in another doctor with a scope, and he got the PICC line in place. But they had to put a hole in her back, over to one side, to insert a tube connected to a pump that would draw off fluid from around her lungs. One of the reasons she had been having trouble breathing was that the fluid build-up around her lungs put pressure on her lungs and resisted movement for breathing. I went to the library computer and emailed, asking for specific prayer that her lung would reinflate, and she would be able to breathe more easily. As it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise. The pump drawing off the fluid had a water filter that gurgled softly, and she found that to be soothing. Plus, the decrease of fluid around her lungs enabled her lung to re-inflate and made it easier to breathe. There were other complications and difficulties we encountered that I won’t elucidate. Believe me, I’m not telling you the whole story. But I will tell you of a wonderful blessing that came one afternoon. We were up in her room, and I was thinking we were hundreds of miles away from anyone we knew. Then came a knock on the door. And in walked Ben Haden, our pastor from Chattanooga. I couldn’t believe it! I was stunned. He had come up to see us and another member of our church who was there for lung cancer surgery. Ben told me his name, but I didn’t know who he was. Our church at that time had close to 3,000 members. Ben didn’t stay long, but it was a comforting visit, and he prayed for us. The next day I thought it would be nice for me to visit this other member of our church. Who wouldn’t like a visit by someone from their hometown?So, I found out his room number and went to visit. He could not speak very well as he had suffered throat cancer and the surgery necessary to remove it. He asked about Barbara, and I told him about her case. He asked how we were getting home, and I told him I CONVERGENCE 201 didn’t know. She was too weak to negotiate a commercial airport, and our insurance wouldn’t pay for another air ambulance flight. He said, “Well, you’ll have to get a ride home on one of my airplanes.” “One of your airplanes? How come you have airplanes?” “Have you ever heard of K’s Aviation? I said, “Yes, I’ve done architectural work for them on one of their waiting rooms.” Then he told me he was the founder of a Chattanooga restaurant chain. I was incredulous. I can’t believe how ignorant I can be. I said, “That would be wonderful! When will there be a flight going back to Chattanooga?” He said that there was usually one flight per week or close to it. He had his daughter coming up to check on him and a nurse who would be taking care of him when he got home. We missed the first flight opportunity because Barbara wasn’t quite ready to travel. She was getting stronger, though. Meanwhile, the staff at Mayo taught me how to feed her intravenously. I have to tell you that is not French cooking. It’s called Total Parenteral Nutrition, or TPN. They would ship the IV food in a bag inside an insulated box with reusable ice packs to keep it chilled. I would hook her up to it every evening, and it would enter her system overnight. That way, she wouldn’t have to carry a bag around with her during the day. She was on TPN from January until June. Now she can eat anything she likes, just not too much of it. Barbara got my attention one evening. She wanted to tell me something. She said, “You have been there for me, and I am going to be there for you.” I think this experience showed each of us just how precious the other is. Reconciliation is sweet. 202 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE We got a flight home on one of Mr. D’s planes. It was the nicest airplane I had ever seen. As I recall, there were only six people on board: two pilots; Mr. D’s daughter and a nurse; then Barbara and I. After landing, the pilot taxied up to a big gate in the fence near the hangar, our son drove his car right inside the fence, and Barbara walked the short distance to his car. It sure was nice to get home, even if it was under such unusual circumstances with all the newfangled procedures we had to follow. The next day, she wanted to go for a walk. She did, but only to the end of our short driveway. She just didn’t have the strength to go any farther. But every day, she got a little stronger. She was soon walking up the street and back, a little farther each time. Since then, she’s climbed Mount LeConte in the Smokies twice. That’s a 5-mile hike with 2,929 feet elevation gain. The first time it was drizzling rain when we started. That turned to light snow. Then it was really snowing. By the following day, seven inches of snow covered the ground. Walking down wasn’t so bad because the snow wasn’t that slick. It sure was quiet. But we missed seeing the view because we were in the clouds most of the way down. About a month after we got home from Mayo, we went to take some chocolate chip cookies to the nurses’ station on the floor where Barbara was at Memorial Hospital. She promised to do that when she was their patient. Those nurses froze at first and turned white as a sheet, like she was a ghost. Then they jumped out of their chairs and were so happy to see her alive and up and about! They told us they didn’t expect her to live. She was designated as terminally ill on her chart. And now, once in a while downtown, we run into her doctor, who has since retired, and he lights up with a huge smile and calls her his “medical enigma.” He says, “You’re not supposed to be here.” CONVERGENCE 203 Barbara says, “You saved my life!” And he says, “No, it wasn’t me. It was all those prayers.” And we say, “Thank you, Jesus.” 30 CELEBRATION The large African American church construction gradually reached completion in August 2001, and the people wanted a celebration. They had been meeting at Memorial Auditorium and were excited about moving into the new building. The new facility is an easy walk from Memorial Auditorium, so they made plans to have a parade march from the Auditorium to the new church building. They asked me to join them, and I was most happy to do so. It reminded me of the marches I did in Boston with doctors and nurses protesting the Vietnam War and the freedom marches others had done in earlier days. We marched from Memorial Auditorium down the hill to Martin Luther King Boulevard and then up that street to the church property. The contractor gave me a 30-inch plywood “key” painted gold made for this opening ceremony, which I handed over to the pastor. Everybody was jubilant! The front doors swung open, and we went inside for the very first service—nearly all the seats filled with excited members and visitors. I was amazed at how active and loud the congregation became at times. Afterward, I talked with Donald, the Building Committee chairman, about the service. I said, “I don’t think y’all will ever wear out the pew seat cushions because they hardly ever sit down.” And I said, “I couldn’t hear the speaker a lot of the time.” CELEBRATION 205 Donald said something I’ll never forget, “Peter, that’s worship!” Rendering of the church exterior by the author. 31 HISTORYSPEAKS “Remember the days of old; consider the years of all generations; ask your father, and he will inform you your elders, and they will tell you.” Deuteronomy 32:7 If we only knew what our forebears went through, we would appreciate so much more what we have. By the time 2007 rolled around, I had given up re-enacting and significantly dropped my participation in the SCV. However, I was still interested in better understanding the reasons why the War Between the States was fought. I continued to collect books on the conflict and read whatever I came across that had to do with causes. And, I kept seeing parallels with what is going on in our country today. Stories of individuals who lived through those times interested me, but the big picture begged attention. I found stories of veterans who worked at reconciliation after the war especially appealing. There were Confederates who managed to come out of the war with constructive attitudes, and they sought to comfort the suffering and bind up wounds. Stories about people living now who are still affected by what took place more than 150 years ago also interest me. HISTORY SPEAKS 207 While I was active in the SCV, I organized several walking tours of the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. There lie several Confederate veterans who sought to rebuild Chattanooga and bind up the wounds of both sides. They were reconcilers. Also, I found the stories of several men, Confederate veterans, who had been connected with our church. Confederate Memorial Day at the Cemetery. Author on the left. Following are short sketches of five of these men. I presented this information to 100 people at a gathering of First Presbyterian’s “It’s a Wonderful Life!” seniors’ group on September 6, 2007. 32 THOMAS HOOKE MCCALLIE First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga was the earliest organization founded in Chattanooga, on June 21, 1840. The first offering collected was for mission work. Shortly after the war broke out, Thomas Hooke McCallie received an invitation to take charge of the church, which he began on January 1, 1862. Reverend McCallie ministered to men in grey and blue. Here is his attitude about the war, as recorded in his 1902 memoir: My judgment was that the whole movement for a separate and independent government here in the South was a blunder and a mistake. My sympathies were with the South. They were my people. This was my home. I loved my state and the Southern people. I felt that their leader had made a most woeful mistake… For this reason, through the whole four years of dreadful strife, I was not an active participant in the struggle. I endeavored to persuade my relatives at the farm [Birchwood] not to go into the strife on the Union THOMAS HOOKE MCCALLIE 209 side and here in Chattanooga my relatives not to go into the Southern Army. 1 During the year 1863, the times grew more appalling. Soldiers were in the city more plentiful than ever. After the [New Year’s] Battle of Murfreesboro, this city became a veritable storm center. Bragg fell back and had his headquarters here. Our house soon became almost a hotel. It was filled with boarders and friends. At one time we had from six to nine ministers stopping with us, among whom was Dr. B.M. Palmer, of New Orleans, who stayed with us for about two months.2 Reverend McCallie traveled to Cleveland, TN, and Benjamin Morgan Palmer stood in at the church for him. On August 21, 1863, civilians, citizens, and soldiers crowded the church. Dr. Palmer rose to pray, the audience rising with him and standing. Scarcely had he begun to pray till the scream of a shell flying over the church was heard and the distant boom of a cannon from the opposite side of the Tennessee River. In a moment, another shell screaming and another cannon booming. The soldiers began to withdraw quietly, then the citizens, until the church was empty, and still, the 1. From a copy of the manuscript of Thomas Hooke McCallie’s 1902 Memoir, supplied by T. Hooke McCallie, III. Later published as THM A Memoir edited by David P. McCallie in 2011 2. Ibid. 210 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE preacher prayed. When he closed his eyes, the church was full of people; when he opened them, it was on empty pews.3 The following is from T.H. McCallie’s 1902 memoir: On Sunday morning, Sept. 12, 1863, we went to church down on Market Street at 7th, where the old brick edifice stood and had a house full, but what a house. The Sunday before, citizens and Confederate soldiers filled it, but on this day, beautiful and full of sunshine, hardly a citizen but the house full of blue coats. The house was full. They were orderly and reverent. They had come at the sound of the old church bell which hung in the belfry, and which sounded out every Sunday the call to gospel services. I must confess I went into the pulpit with trepidation. I knew that a good many and most of this audience would expect me to pray for the President of the United States and for the success of the Union Army. Just as I stood up to open my services I asked if there were any ministers of the gospel in the audience that they would come and sit with me in the pulpit. One man, a Methodist, came, introduced himself as named Bryant and took his seat with me. I took my text, “Who is on the Lord’s Side.” The audience pricked up their ears, but there was no politics in it. It was on purely spiritual lines. The services passed off without anything to mar the worship. After the benediction quite a number 3. ibid THOMAS HOOKE MCCALLIE 211 of the men came forward and shook hands with me and showed a kindly interest. The first ordeal was over and I went home rejoicing that no evil had befallen us. 4 On Saturday morning, Sept. 19, the sound of cannon booming south of us could be distinctly heard in the city. We knew nothing of army movements, but it was the opening of the awful struggle on the Chickamauga. All day long the distant detonation of cannon could be heard. On Sunday morning, Sept. 20, 1863, we went down to church. We had a good congregation. The day was beautiful. Just after the service looking up Market Street to Ninth I saw evidences of excitement and movement of a long line of ambulances. I gave my Bible to my wife and told her she could go on home and that I would be there presently. I had scarcely reached Ninth Street when a soldier stepped up to me with a note in his hand that read thus: “Please come here.” Signed “S. J.A. Frazier.” I asked the soldier where was the man that gave him this note. He pointed me out an ambulance. I went up to it. It was standing still, for the ambulances, filled with wounded men, Federal and Confederate, were filling and congesting the streets from College Hill on the west, out on Ninth Street back on Market Street south for a great distance. In the ambulance sat my old friend and schoolmate, Captain S.J.A. 4. ibid 212 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Frazier, shot through the throat and unable to speak above a whisper. I at once said to him, “I will stay right by you and if possible take you to my house.” I followed the ambulance to College Hill, went at once to the Medical Director’s Office, and not finding him in, but finding his little son, a lad about 12 taking his father’s place, I made known my business when the young fellow at once said I could take the Confederate soldier home and wrote out an order to that effect, signing his father’s name to it. This order served as good a purpose as if it had been issued by the doctor himself. I at once had the ambulance drive the Captain across town to my home, stopping by the way to summon Dr. Milo Smith and Dr. P .D. Sims. These kind physicians both came, took charge of the case and did all they could for his relief. They both said that if the Captain had gone to the hospital and been neglected amidst the thousands of other wounded ones, he would have died that night. During that terrible Monday when everything was in confusion our church on Market Street was taken for a hospital, the pews were torn out, cots were placed on the inside and soon filled with wounded soldiers from the Chickamauga battlefield. The walls were soon as black with smoke as any old smoke-house, and it was not till THOMAS HOOKE MCCALLIE 213 the summer of 1865 after the close of the war that we again resumed worship in the main edifice. 5 This was the building at Seventh and Market Streets. While that building was thus occupied, Reverend McCallie later began to hold services in his home at the corner of what is now Lindsay and McCallie, where First Centenary Methodist Church now stands. A few months after the November Confederate defeat on Missionary Ridge, “in February we resolved to open services in our own home on Sunday morning. We so announced it. On the very first Sunday morning in February, we had a house full. Using the Sunday School organ, my wife playing and Cousin Lizzie Hooke assisting in the singing. The few old citizens that were left came to these services with a sprinkling of soldiers and army officers. The citizens were glad once more to have a place to worship. At this time there was no place of worship in the city. Shortly after this the army people took charge of the Baptist Church, and began holding services there. But outside of this during this year 1864, I was the only pastor in the city and my house the only place where services were held. 6 Our church edifice on corner of Market Street and Seventh was used for a little more than one 5. ibid 6. ibid 214 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE year by the government for a hospital. When they got through with it, it was in a deplorable condition, seats torn out and gone, carpet destroyed, furnace of no value, walls blackened with smoke, choir-stand gone, pulpit destroyed, roof leaking and the marks of war on it. It was a pitiable sight. My membership of 150 was reduced down to 15 or 20. The people were scattered, some of them never to return. Those that were left and those that did return were poor, and unable to build. At this juncture I set to work to get the government to put the church back in as good repair as they found it. Mrs. William Crutchfield had the ear of the army officials, from the fact that her husband was a Union man. She at length induced Gen. Thomas to take into consideration the amount of damages inflicted by its occupancy by the government, and to order an estimate made. After many trials and much waiting the government agreed to pay us $4,600, and did pay the same to our trustees.” The building was restored. 7 7. ibid 33 BENJAMIN MOGPAN LAMEG The following came from a videotape produced by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in The Great Men of Faith Series. In that video, Palmer’s story was presented by Carl Robbins, Pastor of the Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C. Additional information came from the The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer by Thomas Cary Johnson, 1906, Presbyterian committee of publication. Benjamin Morgan Palmer was born in 1818 in Charleston, SC, to a ministerial family. His mother homeschooled him with three texts: the Bible, Shakespeare’s plays, and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Palmer went to the University of Georgia, graduated first in his class. He went to Columbia Seminary in SC. Served first as a pastor in Anderson, SC, then in Savannah First Presbyterian, then back in First Presbyterian, Columbia. Some considered Palmer one of the finest preachers in nineteen centuries of church history. He was a doctrinal preacher, preaching theology. He preached three sermons every Sunday, each 60 to 90 minutes long. He preached to the leaders of South Carolina, including members of the state legislature and the supreme court. He was also a great shepherd to his flock. 216 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE In 1856, he started at First Presbyterian in New Orleans. 1,500 regularly attended with 500 guests. They had to use a system of free tickets to be sure of seating. Palmer was “short and homely” and had to stand on a box behind the pulpit at First Pres New Orleans. His future father-in-law first rejected him because “he seemed to have no prospects, and he was singularly unattractive.” But people learned that he had the strength of conviction with grace and humility. B.M. Palmer was very conservative theologically, a strong Calvinist who called evolution heresy. Alarmed by the news that Lincoln was calling up the military to stop the Southern States from seceding, he preached a two-hour sermon on Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, 1860, which sounded a call for the Southern States’ rights. He described Northern aggression as “much more tyrannical than the rule of King George III.” A New Orleans newspaper circulated 300,000 copies of his sermon across the country, which led to a price placed on his head of $10,000, dead or alive. Palmer saw the war as “no more holy a war in all history, as a war of defense against cruel aggression, of civilization against barbarism, and a war of Trinitarianism against Unitarianism.” In April 1862, New Orleans fell to Farragut’s Fleet, and Palmer had to flee New Orleans. Palmer served as chaplain in the Army of Tennessee and traveled east with the army. A great revival took place in the Confederate Army as it moved through this region. Some say Palmer’s preaching and ministry saved 100,000 souls. I believe that those Southern soldiers who survived the war carried their faith home with them, and that’s why the Bible Belt is where it is today. Palmer went on to be the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C. In February 1865, Sherman’s army invaded Columbia and set fires. Sherman’s men knew that Palmer was in Columbia. They knew Sherman BENJAMIN MORGAN PALMER 217 wanted him. They asked Sherman how he would prefer Palmer’s capture, dead or alive? Sherman said, “dead.” The Union army did not capture Palmer but burned his 7,000-volume library, including all of his sermon notes. After the war, Palmer spoke of clinging to the South “in her tears as I never did in the days of her laughter and pride.”1 His pre-eminent work was healing sorrows with the balm of Christian sympathy and through the proclamation of the blessings of the eternal inheritance of God’s children. A year after the war, he was invited to speak in a New York City church. One thousand people listened, people knew who he was and started hissing, but soon they were silenced by his powerful preaching. Later, one man commented that “the arch rebel … preached like an archangel!”2 Yellow fever hit for the third time that century in 1878. By the end of the year, more than 5,000 were confirmed dead in Memphis. The New Orleans health board listed “not less than 4,600″ dead. New Orleans had been hit by yellow fever from 1853 to 1855 when 12,849 people died, and again in 1857-58 when another 5,058 died. Palmer became pastor of New Orleans First Presbyterian in 1856 and seemed to have no fear of the disease, ministering to all who had a need, no matter what their religious persuasion. He would enter the sick room, utter a prayer, share the hope of the gospel, do whatever service he could, and then quietly leave. He constantly entered fever-stricken homes, and in the words of one Jewish rabbi, Palmer “got the heart as well as the ear of New Orleans. 1. The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer by Thomas Cary Johnson, 1906, page 372 2. ibid, page 295 218 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Men could not resist one who gave himself to such a ministry as this.”3 During the 1878 epidemic, BM Palmer spent a three-month period in which he paid each day from 30 to 50 visits, praying at the bedside of the sick, comforting the bereaved, and burying the dead; and that too, without interrupting worship on the Sabbath or even the prayer meeting in [the middle of] the week. Palmer was a minister of comfort. He wrote a book on The Broken Home about homes broken by death. He had lost a young son, then had four daughters, his father and his wife all die within a few years of each other. He buried one daughter in her wedding dress. Palmer said, “Learning is not what makes a great minister, but sorrow does.” When Palmer turned 80 in 1898, the mayor of New Orleans declared all stores closed to celebrate Palmer’s birthday. Ten thousand people visited the manse that day. Four years later, Palmer died from a streetcar accident, and the city shut down again. Ten thousand attended his funeral, including many Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. 3. ibid, page 188 34 JONATHAN WAVERLY BACHMAN The following is from Soldier of the Cross: Reverend Jonathan Waverly Bachman, the Lost Cause and Rebirth of Chattanooga by Jonathan Jellis Rawlings for his Senior Thesis at Princeton University, 2004. Jonathan Bachman was the great-great-grandfather of Jonathan Rawlings. First Presbyterian Church called Jonathan Waverly Bachman at age 36. Over his 50 years as pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, he presided over 1,600 weddings, 2,000 funerals, baptized 884 infants and 390 adults, preached more than 3,000 full sermons, and led over 2,500 prayer meetings. Chattanooga flooded in March of 1875. The floodwaters were so high that a full-sized riverboat could be floated up Market Street to about 5th Street. Bachman heard that one of his congregation was sick and in one of the buildings affected by the flood down on Chestnut Street. He went down to the edge of the floodwaters and found a skiff, rowed over the raging torrent to the man’s home, tied the boat up to the porch railing, and went in the second floor to minister to the man. In 1878, Yellow Fever hit Chattanooga. Eight thousand people fled Chattanooga. Only about 1800 stayed in town, and they were all either sick or taking care of the sick. About 400 220 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE died in Chattanooga. Bachman sent his family out of town to his brother in Sweetwater, Tenn. He wrote to his wife: “I feel safe here because it is the path of duty, and I feel that I am discharging it most fully when I am doing God’s will. If it be his will to take me, I know He will care for you and the children. …” “I wish you could know how fully I feel in regard to the souls of these perishing ones, and how many of them have in their dying hours given thanks to God that I am with them to instruct them and comfort them.” A witness to his work in the city remembered: “He gathered his little flock about him, and at prayer every morning read the 91st Psalm (KJV)”: Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. Thou shall not be afraid for the terrors by night, for the pestilence that walketh in the darkness, nor for the destruction that walketh at noonday. (from verses 3, 5 & 6) Bachman took an active role in tending to those stricken by the disease, “He never hesitated to go to sick patients of every race and color,” the Chattanooga Times wrote decades later, “and he nursed them himself… always careful to keep himself between the sick person and the open door…, and during the black vomit, he was careful to bathe and fumigate as soon as he reached home.” He lost his daughter, Carrie Van Dyke Bachman, to the disease in August 1878. The Times wrote of the little girl, “her father’s pet, who used to sit by him and sing vigorously with the book upside down.” Bachman also ministered greatly to the Confederate veterans, giving them hope from an eternal perspective. Through JONATHAN WAVERLY BACHMAN 221 his ministry, many learned to look to God for peace and grace in defeat and find the will to go on in Christian service. He was one of the founders of the original Confederate Veterans Camp in Chattanooga, and he served for years as chaplain of the national United Confederate Veterans organization. According to memoirs written by Bachman’s daughter, Anne Bachman Hyde, her father kept a small piece of paper in his vest pocket, and before each sermon, carefully transferred it to the pocket of his pulpit suit. After his death in 1924, she removed that paper from his jacket pocket, and it fell apart at the creases. When she put the pieces together, she realized the paper was his oath of allegiance taken at the war’s end. It began, “I, Captain Jonathan Waverly Bachman, C.S.A., do solemnly swear to uphold the Government of the United States. …” 35 BENJAMIN LLOYD GOULDING The following was gathered by re-enactor Scott Whitter, mostly from a newspaper obituary in The Chattanooga Daily Times, March 21, 1934, page 3, and Goulding’s form of Application to the United Confederate Veterans, N. B. Forrest Camp #3. In 1878, B. L. Goulding settled in Chattanooga. His first employment here was as head of the U.S. Weather Bureau in Chattanooga. He did that for seven years. In 1880, with Reverend Bachman and Allan Burns, he organized for Chattanooga the first Flood Warning System in the U.S. This became a regular feature of the Weather Bureau in 1883. In 1862, Union forces captured Goulding while on leave near Fort McAllister, in the vicinity of Charleston, S.C. They placed him in federal prison at Port Royal Island (Hilton Head area). In the meantime, U.S. Major General John G. Foster had positions on the coast near Charleston, S.C. Controversy arose over Union prisoners moved to hospitals and prisons within Charleston. Foster sent for 600 Confederate prisoners, primarily junior officers, and placed them in stockades directly in front of Union positions as human shields against Confederate bombardment. For 45 days, Confederate batteries at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie did not slacken their fire. Eighteen shells exploded over Goulding’s stockade. Dud shells fell into the stockade. But BENJAMIN LLOYD GOULDING 223 no Confederates were killed or injured due to the bombardment. At the end of the 45 days, the Union moved their prisoners to Columbia, but the “Immortal 600” (as they became known) were detained for two more weeks while Foster reinforced his batteries. Goulding was 5’-10” tall. While he was in prison, they did not feed him much, and upon release at the end of the war, he weighed 81 pounds. He was the only member of his original company to survive the war. Goulding became an organizer for the growing city of Chattanooga. He organized Chattanooga’s original Chamber of Commerce and served as secretary for 16 years. He also organized: the Chattanooga Real Estate Exchange; the Chattanooga Land, Coal, Iron and Railway Company; the Chattanooga Library Association; the Chattanooga Art Association; the Chattanooga Historical Association; and founded the Essex and Smith Engine Company, which manufactured the first engines in Chattanooga. He was vice president of the Howard Hydraulic Cement Company from 1892 until 1913. He was on the Board of the first Chattanooga Cotton Factory and was VP of the Southern Brownstone Company from 1892 until 1910. He helped organize the Georgia Society in 1895. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church. He served as an officer in several positions for the Chattanooga United Confederate Veterans. He was president of the Board of Trustees of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Auditorium in 1925. He never married. (I don’t think he would have had time for a family.) His habit was to rise at 5 am and go to bed at 10 pm. He took a long walk daily and a nap for one hour each day at noon. He was seriously injured in May of 1929 as a pedestrian, spun around by an automobile, clothing caught 224 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE on a door handle. He died five years later on March 20, 1934, at age 90. 36 SAMUEL JOSIAH ABNEF RZAIEF The following was gleaned from Chattanooga newspaper articles, the old Confederate Veteran Magazine bound in Volume 30, May, 1922, and some from T.H. McCallie’s memoir. Captain Samuel Frazier had been wounded in an open field during the Battle of Chickamauga. Two of his men tried to carry him off the field, but they were wounded. Frazier received two more wounds as he lay there, but they were not as severe as the one to his neck. When he arrived at the McCallie household, the doctors unwrapped the Union bandage and cleaned the wound. They threaded a silk cloth through the wound and drew out pieces of shattered windpipe and clotted blood. Frazier got a breath of air and a new lease on life. While he was staying with the McCallies, Union General Rousseau spotted the house in Chattanooga and sent a messenger asking to stay there. Most Union generals would have thrown the family out and taken over the house. The McCallies welcomed him and set him up in an upper bedroom. He didn’t know there was a Confederate prisoner of war downstairs. But, when he found out, he called for a guard. The guard’s name was McNutt, and he became friends with the McCallies and with his prisoner, Captain Frazier. He protected the family and their house from the looting Union soldiers and even kept a fine oak tree in the 226 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE yard from being felled for firewood. Later, he was wounded in the hand during the Battle of Missionary Ridge. He found his way back to the McCallie house, was cared for by the McCallies, and was nursed back to health by Captain Frazier, his “prisoner.” Frazier at one point asked Rousseau to be allowed to return to his mother’s home in Rhea County until his health returned. Rousseau denied this request and told him he would go to a federal war prison. While Samuel Frazier was in the federal prison at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, during 1864-65, he found he could make a little money carving rings out of Gutta Percha wood for visitors to the prison. He used that money to rent, for 50 cents a day, an old volume of Blackstone’s Law. Thus, he was able to continue his study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866. He practiced law for twelve years, including eight years as Attorney General of Rhea County. He was regarded by the bar and local people as one of the most painstaking, honest, and efficient attorneys general that the state ever had. In 1878 he abandoned the profession for health and personal business reasons, and in 1882 moved to Chattanooga. He purchased a tract of land north of the river, laid out a suburb quite successfully, and called it Hill City. The neighborhood developed to where they needed access to Chattanooga, so engineers developed plans for a handsome bridge over the river. Frazier donated $10,000 toward the bridge, and Hill City was connected with Chattanooga. That bridge still spans the river from Walnut Street in Chattanooga to Frazier Avenue in Hill City, presently North Chattanooga. He lived to see Hill City grow to six or eight thousand residents. Samuel Frazier was gifted with a brilliant mind, proficient in both Latin and Greek; he was a versatile writer, a magnetic and eloquent speaker, a fair and impartial lawyer, and popular with all classes of people, most thoughtful of SAMUEL JOSIAH ABNER FRAZIER 227 the poor, so at his death, they said: “We have lost our best friend.” A good number of Union colored troops settled along the north shore after the war, and Frazier developed a good relationship with many of them. Samuel Frazier, his wife and daughter are buried in the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. 37 SHADERICK SEAYC Following is an account of Shaderick Searcy’s service, with some assumptions made based on the 46th Georgia regimental history, as I could find no complete biography. This was not part of the talk I gave to the “It’s a Wonderful Life!” group, but I find it very interesting. Shaderick Searcy was born a slave on March 1, 1845, in Dr. John Searcy’s house. Two sons of his master, William and James Searcy, went to war in 1862. They joined the 46th Georgia Infantry on May 4th of ’62, and so did Shaderick. He was their body servant. He probably started his service gathering food for the regiment and helping Doc Baxter with the wounded. In ’62, they began on the Georgia coast, then were transferred to Charleston, S.C. In ’63, they got shipped off by train to Mississippi as part of General Gist’s Brigade. They rode through Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma and finally got to Jackson. Federals were holding the rails between Jackson and Vicksburg. They marched over to Raymond, Miss., and nearly got driven off the field by Yankees. Their next big fight was Chickamauga. They marched all night from Catoosa to cross Alexander’s Bridge by morning. Colonel Colquitt marched them straight up against some log works of the enemy. They held their ground until about one-third of their boys had fallen wounded or dead and then SHADERICK SEARCY 229 fell back. Reinforcements came up to help, and the boys were so fired up they crashed back through the woods, driving away and capturing about 40 federals. Colonel Colquitt fell wounded that day and died. They were up on Missionary Ridge and helped hold a rear-guard action over to Ringgold. William Searcy was killed on June 20th, 1864, at Kennesaw Mountain. We don’t know if Shaderick picked up a rifle at that point or not, but he could have – to take William’s place. He may have used his pocketknife one night in Jonesboro, below Atlanta. The federals were massing out in front in terrible numbers. There was a thick undergrowth with small trees between the lines. Somebody got the idea of climbing up the small trees that night and bending them down, cut across the trunks with pocket knives and interlaced. They did it in only a half-hour or so. Along with fence rails and some timbers found nearby, they had a first-rate barricade. They held the right flank—some others didn’t do so well. That day General Govan was captured with about 900 of his men. However, most of them were traded back after two or three weeks. Their worst fight ever came at Franklin, Tennessee. On the way to Franklin the regiment had marched over 500 miles. They suffered much during November from bad weather and want of clothing, shoes, and blankets. Once, the men received a ration of only three ears of corn each and often got just cornmeal. The Union troops dug in at the edge of Franklin. The Confederates came up from the south and crested over some hills to see a two-mile open stretch between them and the federals — hardly a tree between them. They had artillery, but the big rebel guns had not yet arrived. 230 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE General Hood was spittin’ mad about the Yanks getting past his men at Spring Hill. He ordered a full, frontal assault. Some of the other generals fussed about it, but they formed up lines, duty-bound. There were over 20,000 Confederates spread out a mile wide, with a hundred battle flags flying. It was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon when they were ordered to advance. Every able man was in line — even the bands were marching forward, playing. You can imagine the sounds heard by the men, sounds they would like to forget, cannonballs crashing into their ranks, the buzzin’ whine of minie balls. But the whine wasn’t near as bad as the sounds they made when they hit — wood, metal, or the men all around. It was like walking into a hailstorm of buzzin’ lead bees. Screams of horses. The shouts of angry men, the wailing of the wounded. There were 17 organized charges made that afternoon and night. The fight went ’til nearly midnight. Six Confederate generals died, including Generals Gist and Cleburne. Men never saw such horror as was sprawled over the ground that next morning. Against the federal works, dead Confederate men and horses still stood, lifelike, because they died so close together, they could not fall. James Searcy got hit that day, too. Shaderick probably lay on the field next to him until a lull in the firing, then carried him to low ground for protection. James would have been so very thirsty — right up until he died. Shaderick had a choice to make then, go home, or stay with the men he had grown to know and trust. He chose to stay. He stayed with them all through Nashville and that awful frozen retreat — so many men walking barefoot on knife-sharp frozen ruts all the way back down to Mississippi. Their blood all the same color red on the snow. SHADERICK SEARCY 231 In the spring, they got shipped off again by train to North Carolina, but the fighting was nearly over. At the Battle of Bentonville, so many Southern regiments were put together to form one normal-sized regiment, and they got cut up even thinner. Shaderick stayed with what was left of the 46th when General Johnson surrendered them at Greensboro, N.C., in April of ’65. After the war, Shaderick went home to Talbotton and worked for Central of Georgia Railroad, later in Macon. Then he moved to Chattanooga in 1903 to work for the railroad and lived near Pine Street with his wife and daughter. He heard about the United Confederate Veterans meetings and inquired about attending. The UCV welcomed him with open arms. W.M. Nixon, adjutant of the local N.B. Forrest United Confederate Veterans, helped him get a uniform for the reunions. Shaderick applied for and received a Tennessee Confederate Pension in 1928. Nixon wrote letters for him when his pension payments were late. Shaderick was promised a place in this cemetery whenever he needed it. So, there he rests. For years the exact location of his grave was lost, so there was a memorial stone randomly placed within the cemetery, and the year of his death shown on it was off by one year. Then in 2016, during some restoration work on the front wall, his actual resting place was found. 38 ONE MORE STOY I recently viewed a documentary, The Civil War (Or Who Do We Think We Are), done by Rachel Boynton. Near the end of the video, she interviews a black man from Chattanooga who tells her about a cemetery where slaves from the war era are buried. She asked him to take her and the camera crew to see it. He told her she might not be able to see it because it was so overgrown. But when the cameras got there in North Chattanooga, the man was shocked to see heavy equipment bulldozing, scraping, dumping and spreading dirt right to the edge of several grave markers. The viewer is left with the impression that either some of the burials had been lost or at least the development was awfully close. The gentleman did not know the answer to these questions. It was a powerful image of a lone black man looking emptily into the brush from the edge of disturbed earth. Everybody’s heritage should be preserved. I called a friend of mine in Chattanooga who has a Facebook page titled “The Cemetery Detective.” He loves to visit cemeteries and explore their histories. I asked him if that cemetery was preserved or was some or all of it lost? He said the city was very careful to not disturb any of those graves. Also, some volunteers came and cleaned up brush around the stones so that now you can visit and see the markers. The name of it is the Beck Knob Cemetery and it has been approved by the Tennessee Historical Commission as an ONE MORE STORY 233 historic landmark. The next step is to put it on the historic register. We need to be careful with the images we project. Again, I say, everybody’s heritage should be preserved, especially if we are interested in reconciliation. The only exceptions are thoroughly and callously evil cultures, like voodoo, with little or no redeeming values. But even then, the history of those cultures needs to be preserved so people can understand and not retrace the steps of those so deceived. 39 SMOOTHSAILING We should know the past and learn from it. But we need to live in the present. “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of your futile life which He has given you under the sun, for this is your reward in life and in your work which you have labored under the sun.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:9 I heard that it does a couple good to share a recreational pastime. Back in the mid-eighties, I bought a 15-1/2 ft. sailboat called a Snipe. It was an older model with a wooden mast and boom but a fiberglass hull. It was designed to be a racing boat with a crew of two. It came with a good mainsail and jib. I got a real deal on it because it had been damaged. The owner of the Snipe was out of town when his neighbor’s house caught fire, and intense heat from it was blown right over the boat as it sat in the driveway. It burned the cover and splashboard off and scorched the top of the deck, causing it to leak when it rained. The mast and boom were stored inside the owner’s porch, along with the sails and daggerboard, so they were all fine. But the owner was heartbroken when he saw it and just left the boat to sit out in the weather. He purchased a replacement splashboard but did nothing else to restore it. SMOOTH SAILING 235 I took the boat home and proceeded to rebuild the top deck using a couple of different methods to replace the rotted inner core of balsa wood. And I covered the whole top deck with a new layer of fiberglass and painted it. It was plenty strong, but not a beauty contest winner, and it was probably heavier than it should have been. But it made a good boat for me to brush up on my sailing skills. I remember taking all five of our family out in the Snipe one time on Chickamauga Lake. Little Sarah was apprehensive when the wind would tip us over a little. It takes some time to get used to the action of a sailboat. I could single-hand the boat, but I preferred to have someone handle the jib and help balance the load of the wind. A few guys would go with me one at a time, but not usually Barbara. I also picked up a Snark, an eleven-foot foam-cored ABS plastic boat with a sail like you see on a Sunfish, with an unsupported mast. It was very lightweight and easy to put on the car roof rack. We used to take it over to a small lake on TVA property called Lake Junior, where I would take David or Kathy out on it and show them the basics of sailing. David picked it up pretty quickly. When I thought he could handle it by himself, I got him on the tiller while I was amidship, and out a good way from shore I just rolled off the little boat. David was surprised and exclaimed, “Dad!?!” “Sail it, David. You can do it!” And he did. 40 SAILING CLUB I don’t know why it took me so long, but about 2005, I discovered the sailing club on Chickamauga Lake. An older couple from our church, Bob and Frankie Ditto, were members of the Privateer Yacht Club, and they discovered I had an interest in sailing. So, they invited us over for a sail one afternoon, Barbara, Sarah and me. They had a larger boat, a 26 ft. Jeanneau. We went for a leisurely sail, basked in the sun, swam a little, and had a wonderful time. I must confess that the club’s name put me off for a while, “Yacht” club. I had the feeling it was composed of chicken eaters in blazers bumping steins. But it wasn’t like that at all. I was pleasantly surprised. I even found I knew a couple of the members. And the membership costs were not so great! One of the members I already knew was a fellow for whom I had done architectural work, Eddie Graham. I called him to inquire about the club, and he invited me to join him on his boat with another guy during a regatta at the club. It seemed odd that he would want the extra weight on his boat in a race, as that would slow him down. I asked about that, and he said he wasn’t in it to win, just to have fun, and that I was welcome to join them. I did join them, and we didn’t place in the race. But it was fun, and I learned about the Catalina 22 fleet at the club. There were quite a number of these boats, probably more than any other kind of boat. Eddie took me over to E Dock SAILING CLUB 237 and showed me a Catalina 22 for sale with a galvanized trailer. I checked on prices for such boats, and it sounded like a decent deal. It would be a good size boat to take the whole family out sailing, and I could trailer it to different waterways. So, I bought it. It needed a lot of minor things done to make it easier to sail, and I dove into it. The Catalina 22 National Association had a Tech Manual that was particularly helpful. There was an article on nearly everything mechanical on the boat. And, the family began to enjoy sailing it. The club was active in the summer, with social raft-ups that Barbara and I joined on weekends. We even took David on one overnighter with us. His six-foot frame fitted in the vee berth up forward while Barbara and I slept on the side cushions in the middle of the boat. There were opportunities for racing and cruising with the boat, and we got into them, more cruising than racing. I did manage one third place in a Catalina 22 Regatta Silver Fleet. Gold Fleet is for the top racers, and Silver is for the second rank. I decided I was not much of a racing skipper, so I crewed regularly for racing skippers in their Catalina 22’s. That was a lot of fun, especially when we won races. I travelled with a couple of skippers to distant regattas, mostly in Georgia. But one year I got to go to a National Catalina 22 Regatta on Lake Erie. That was big water with big waves, lots bigger than Chickamauga. After we were members of the club for a couple of years, I volunteered to be secretary on the board and served in that position for four years. I took on the newsletter for the club in 2007. It was something of an artistic outlet for me. I enjoyed doing the writing, some photography, setting up the pages, and keeping up with all the club news. In 2011 I also took over management of the club website, www.priv, and stayed with that for 10 years. The newsletter, The Private Ear, kept me occupied for twelve 238 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE years. All those years, I was a regular visitor to the board meetings. I thoroughly enjoyed the sailing, and we made a lot of friends there. Author single handing his Catalina 22. 41 NOTHER NGULFCGAOSIHGATLINU Barbara and I started to think about going on the Northern Gulf Coast Cruise, organized through the Catalina 22 National Association, which occurred annually on the Intracoastal Waterway on the Florida panhandle. It would mean spending a week on the boat, every other night on an island, and the others at a marina. There would be as many as 25 boats on a cruise from all over the southeast. We would travel by sail or motor, or a combination, motor-sailing. And we would cover 150 to 170 miles on the water. The Northern Gulf Coast Cruise was something that Barbara and I didn’t know we were capable of until we arrived in Fort Walton Beach, Florida — and even then, we weren’t too sure. Barbara had been apprehensive about taking our little boat out on such big water. And, so many things had to be done to our boat and trailer to make them trip-ready. I did several things at the very last, and we left home without having tested them. Most of all, the skipper and first mate had not been tested, at least not at sea. The following partial account was published in an issue of the Catalina 22 National Association 2008 publication MainBrace, and is included in the Catalina 22 National Association website in a collection of stories about the annual cruises. It is used here by permission. 240 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE A year earlier, I had done a lot of maintenance items and upgrades that made Windabout a better boat to sail, like leading all the sail control lines aft to the cockpit, refinishing the 450-pound swing keel, and about 30 other “small” projects. But we still didn’t have a bimini1 , bug screens, a pop-top cover2 , and other amenities for living onboard. Plus, our trailer had an undersized axle that sagged under load, and it had no brakes! The fall before this trip, I put together a cheap bimini from an old aluminum frame a friend gave us. I bought a vinyl pop-top cover that gave us more daylight and room inside the cabin with the pop-top raised. Then during the winter, I ordered trailer parts to change out the axle and bearings and add brakes. That was a new experience for me. I didn’t know if it would run ok or not — until we were on our way to Florida. I also had to change the outboard’s water pump impeller3 , another new experience. The final push to get the boat ready taught me that there is practically no way to measure plumb, level, or square on a boat. Thankfully, the drive down on Friday was incredibly uneventful, passing the first test. We drove down in caravan with two other boats from our home Fleet 95 at Privateer 1. Bimini – a vinyl or canvas cover on a stainless or aluminum tubing frame designed to shade the cockpit and shed rain. 2. Pop-top cover – a vinyl cover with flexible side windows used to cover the cabin top which could be mechanically “popped up” to provide another 14” of headroom, keep out wind and rain, but let in light. 3. Impeller – flexible rubber “waterwheel” inside the water pump, turned by the engine, to circulate cooling water from the sea, or lake, to cool the engine. NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 241 Yacht Club in Chattanooga, Tenn. We spent that night at a campground on Blackwater Creek and rolled into Fort Walton Beach Yacht Club, our host Fleet 77’s home base, mid-morning on Saturday, May 10th. Most of the 25 other boats going on the Cruise had already launched. I think our boat was the last, even with great help from a couple of other sailors. Like so much of this first-time experience, starting our outboard was a leap of faith. I didn’t know if I’d put it back together correctly. But it started and ran fine after warming up — second test passed! The procedure seemed to be to start the day’s cruise with the motor running, get out a way and put up the jib4 , see how that goes and decide whether or not to raise the main5 , reefed or not. The motor could be shut off or left running, depending upon conditions. Our first day under sail was short and took us through the western edge of Choctawatchee Bay, then westward on the Intracoastal Waterway to the first anchorage, a place called Spooky Island, originally named Spectre Island after a military group. It was a nice anchorage with a crescent-shaped beaching area. All the flags flying from the 4. Jib – smaller foresail, area 110% of foretriangle, the space between deck, mast and forestay (forward mast support cable) 4. Jib – smaller foresail, area 110% of foretriangle, the space between deck, mast and forestay (forward mast support cable) 5. Main – mainsail, stored wrapped to the boom (horizontal aluminum tube) and raised with the leading edge (luff) attached to the main. Controlled by the skipper with the mainsheet, or line fed through two or more blocks (pulleys) to give a mechanical advantage. 242 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE beach-anchored boats snapped with a fresh, festive air over the multi-colored boats. They made a great picture with the white sands and blue-green water. The beach-anchored boats had their sterns anchored on the beach and a bow anchor line stretched out in front. This arrangement allowed each boat to move away from shore by pulling in some of the bow anchor line and playing out some stern line. Tides in this area run only about 18 inches once a day. I learned that the farther one goes from the equator, the more variation in tidal elevation. We anchored out from shore that first night. Barbara and I were extremely tired. So, when Kent Overbeck came up in his Zodiac dinghy6 to ferry us to shore, we asked forgiveness from the group if we could just stay on our boat to rest and meet folks at the next opportunity. After the bonfire, Kent brought a nice packet of information with our cruise Tee-shirts and told us that he offered our apologies to the group, and all was cool. I had been up ’til 2:30 am the morning before we left home, trying to put the outboard back together, and then got up at 5:30 to hit the road early. Several other nights, I had been working on the boat until almost that late. I had over-extended myself. We slept well that night at the Spooky Island anchorage. Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, we listened to the weather channel on our VHF radio, and it was a bit disconcerting. Quite a blow was forecast with rain. So, the cruise organizers decided it would be better not to travel that day and called a layover day. This was the first time the organizers had called a layover day in the 11-year history of the NGC Cruise. It was a welcome day of rest for Barbara and me. We just took it easy and began to learn our way around our little 22 x 8-foot “island.” It’s incredible how many times you 6. Zodiac dinghy – inflatable small boat with a small outboard that carries one to four people NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 243 have to move things to find one thing on a boat this size. A few well-wishers in our group called out “Happy Mother’s Day” on the VHF radio for the mothers on the cruise. One even visited us after the storm, bearing a little Mother’s Day surprise for Barbara. Eddie Graham had given us his old anchor riding sail. What a blessing that was! Without it, we were blown to and fro by the wind, hunting for equilibrium like a wild coon dog with more instinct than good sense. After I put it up, we settled down to a more tranquil motion. The wind blew, and the rain fell, but we were fine. Monday morning brought calm air and mirror clear water. As long as the wind blows, the boats stay lined up and don’t touch. But with the wind calm, we wandered and gently bumped our closest neighbor, Ameline. I went up on the bow and pulled in some anchor rode (line) so we would stay clear. At daybreak, we quickly brewed some coffee and tea, cooked oatmeal, and got underway. I thought Kent had taken off early, and went looking for him under motor. We passed about three boats and asked Ameline where he might be. Mickey said he thought Kent was behind us. Not sure about it, we went a little farther ahead and finally shut off the motor and put up our sails. The wind was just starting to fill in, and it turned out to be a glorious day for sailing. As I recall, the winds became steady at 10-15 mph out of the northeast. It was a little cool that morning, too, which was nice. A few folks stopped nearby the Navarre bridge for supplies. We were told it would take about 8 hours of sailing to make the 28 miles, so we kept going. But we drew near the Pensacola Beach bridge by noon! When we first spotted it, the bridge seemed to be hovering over the water with something like a mirage separating it from the water. We were bookin’ it and having fun. Texas fireman David Williams, single-handing on Extreme, was out front with 244 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE us, flying a 135 hank-on genoa7 with a full main. He finally pulled up next to us and congratulated us on our speed with the 110 jib. We got to talk with him more at the bonfires and found him to be a lot of fun. We both turned back and sailed into the midst of the scattered fleet and turned forward again with them. After all, I didn’t know exactly where we were going and needed to follow someone into port. Barbara had fun at the tiller, too. About eight boats stayed on Quietwater Beach, and a few with dinghies out at anchor. Kent had arranged for a few of us to stay dockside at the Pensacola Beach Yacht Club in Little Sabine Bay. That was a real help since we didn’t have a dinghy. The Yacht Club opened their restrooms and showers for us, which was warmly welcomed. Barbara and I found supper at a local Surf Burger place and walked around a bit. We started to walk across the Pensacola bridge, but Barbara decided to go back to the boat and rest while I walked over to the Ace Hardware near the other end of the bridge. It was about a three-mile walk, over and back. We needed some denatured alcohol for our stove. I enjoyed having the fuel more than the walk, having to walk next to swiftly moving traffic with no defined sidewalk made me uneasy. Tuesday morning brought an opportunity to have a different breakfast at a nearby boaters’ eatery. The coffee and grand portions of food were wonderful. The conversation with others from the fleet at nearby tables was fun. Then we got underway for the sail to the Big Lagoon by Fort McRee on Perdido Key. It was another great day to sail, and we passed by a cut in the barrier islands that opened up 7. 135 hank-on genoa – foresail with 135% of the foretriangle area, attached to the forestay with clips that slide up the forestay when the sail is raised. NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 245 to the Gulf of Mexico. This could have been an opportunity to go out into the Gulf and experience the long swells of big water, but we decided to pass it by. The blue-green waters around the island sure were purty. We covered the distance to Pensacola Beach so quickly the day before that we could have gone on to Wolf Bay, but that leg of the trip had been canceled because of our layover day. We understood that we missed a great meal at the Wolf Bay Lodge and some fine sailing waters on the way. But that was something new to look forward to, if we made it back for another cruise. A couple of boats did go on as far as Pirates’ Cove, where there’s a great place to get lunch. We were not aware of that adventure since we had to follow others into the Big Lagoon anchorage, where there was a very narrow channel and wide shoals8 . Here we were surprised to see our first dolphins on the trip. Military veterans Mickey La Garde and Paul Gallant had arranged for those interested to take a free tour of the Naval Air Museum. Paul reminded us of one of Barbara’s favorite cousins. As soon as we anchored Windabout, Paul picked me up in Hooligan for transit to a dock where others awaited a shuttle ride with Bob to the museum. What a spectacular museum! Upon returning to Windabout, we tried to beach anchor in the Big Lagoon. Eddie, who “never” makes mistakes, came aboard and worked the bow to set our anchor away from shore. We tried four times to set that anchor, but it would not hold. Finally, we just anchored out, and Kent taxied us in for the beach bonfire. We learned that our good-looking vinyl-covered Danforth is not so great an anchor. I guess we flunked that test! I don’t know how it held through that 8. Shoals – shallow areas where a boat might run aground depending upon underwater clearance to the bottom of the boat. 246 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE layover day. Eddie recommended a Fortress9 type. Kent loaned us a galvanized Danforth, which I changed to the bow, and it was a good thing I did. More on that later. The bonfire that evening was a fun time for us, where we got to meet and talk with folks we had seen mainly from a distance. The scenery was picture perfect, like a true paradise, and the people were quite a mix. I have to mention George Yerger, from Heber Springs, Arkansas. He told us his little hometown was between Toad Suck and Possum Grape, just up the road from Romance. HA! I get a chuckle out of that every time I think about it. I just wish we had more time to sit and talk with more folks. They were all an interesting bunch. Bob Endicott and Greg Haymore led the annual performance of the “Ballad of the Northern Gulf Coast Cruise” on guitars. This tradition gains additional verses each year, based on something funny that a certain cruiser has done along the way. Generally, one does not have a verse written about him until the third time he makes the cruise. They figure by then one can handle being made fun of and will come back again. Eddie had a verse added for him this year, and they noted that this was especially difficult because Eddie never makes a mistake. Bob heard of the mishap within five minutes of it happening, thanks to a cell phone call to land where Bob was preparing the performance. He was not cruising with us this year. We taxied back to Windabout after the bonfire, thanks to Kent, and had another good night’s sleep. Boat sleeping just kind of rocks you to sleep. By now, we were learning to get up early and go. It seemed like we were always behind the 9. Fortress – lightweight, but strong, aluminum-magnesium alloy anchor. NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 247 times and needed to get out ahead of weather that would be building through the day. This day, Wednesday, was not strong in that regard, but the next would be. The wind had clocked around to the south, and the fetch coming in from the Gulf pushed up some pretty good waves. We plowed through that with just the motor. Then I raised the jib. Barbara was a little apprehensive about raising the main, but we finally did with a reef10 and pulled up the motor. We made good time, as usual, once we got our sails set. I don’t know how he did it, but the word was that Mickey LeGarde (Ameline) arranged an air show for our group. The Blue Angels swooped over and around us, all around Pensacola Bay. What a show they put on! Thanks, Mickey!! (Just kidding. It was their regular practice time.) Tied up at the dock again near the Pensacola Beach Yacht Club, Barbara and I found lunch at the Surf Burger and enjoyed the company of Robert and Bonnie Donehoo (Shady Deal). Later, we gathered at the clamshell on the boardwalk for a group picture with all of us wearing our cruise Tee-shirts. Then the PBYC members had arranged a potluck supper in our honor. What a great spread it was!This was another opportunity to meet and talk with folks over supper. Barbara met Donna Plaisance here and appreciated her friendliness. I can also see why her husband, Louis, signs his emails with “Man, I love that little boat.” Saint Benedict is a beauty. We enjoyed hearing how they came up with that name. 10. Reef – lowering of the mainsail to a point where some of it is lashed to the boom in order to catch less wind. 248 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Thursday had an ominous forecast, and it sounded like we would have to motor into the eye of the wind11 for most or all of the 28 miles back to Spooky Island. Thunderstorms were forecast to build through the course of the day. We decided to leave as early as possible. Barbara got to where she could quickly throw together some great oatmeal with raisins and apples underway before we raised the sails. Kent and Jane Overbeck suggested we wear our foul weather gear because we would likely have rain. Fortunately, the wind was quartering instead of hitting us on the nose, and we were able to sail close-hauled12 with the 110 jib and a reefed main. Barb and Pete on the ICW, 2008. Photo by Jane Overbeck 11. Eye of the wind – wind coming at the boat from straight ahead. 12. Close hauled – sailing with the sheets pulled tight to bring the sails as close to the boat centerline as possible. NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 249 I thought we were one of the last in the parade because I could see no boats behind us. We put on our best speed for the conditions and passed a few boats. I tried to keep the angle of heel most efficient around 15 degrees by playing the mainsheet. Barbara helped by sitting on the coaming by the upwind rail. I heard a few “Yee Haa’s” from her, and she wasn’t calling Eddie by his boat name. We were having fun. Later she made the comment: “Ocean, here we come!” I think she said it in jest, but as Shakespeare said, “The truth is oft’ spoke in jest.” We finally pulled into the crescent cove at Spooky Island, and I couldn’t believe we were the tenth boat to arrive. We heard thunder in the distance and later learned a tornado watch had been issued just north of us. We set our anchor and put up the pop-top and cover. I set the riding sail and got inside the cabin. About that time, the bottom dropped out, rain flew, and the wind blew. Eddie told us later he had never been at anchor in a wind that strong before and had dragged an anchor in less. It reminded me of that great gospel hymn, “Will Your Anchor Hold?” Our borrowed galvanized Danforth anchor held. Thank you, Kent! We passed another test! The storm caught several boats in our fleet out on the Intracoastal Waterway. Most just pulled off the main channel and set their anchors until the storm blew through. At least one, Lady in Red, kept on motoring right through it. But finally, the storm subsided, and the skies cleared. The rest of the fleet came in, none the worse for wear. Eddie rowed over for a visit, and we invited him to have some rice and black beans with us. Then it was time for the last bonfire and the last gathering of the entire fleet. The Poker Crawl played out this night. At Pensacola Beach, there were three commercial establishments that helped sponsor the Cruise. Each of them had sealed envelopes with NGCC identification on the outside and a random playing 250 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE card on the inside, which fleet members picked up. We each got two more cards at this last bonfire since we could not pick up our cards at Wolf Bay. The big winner got to take home an original watercolor by Beattie Purcell. Some door-prize type gifts were donated by sponsors and distributed according to numbers and drawn tickets we were given. Another good night’s sleep aboard Windabout, and we were ready to sail at the earliest. I think we were the fourth boat to leave the anchorage. The Friday forecast was for certain thundershowers, and I felt the wind would be unpredictable. It was a short hop back to the Fort Walton Beach Yacht Club, so I decided not to set a sail, just keep the main under wraps and motor back. We did just that and got back to the club without getting wet, but thunder and lightning were booming out of dark clouds over the mainland the whole way. We got ashore quickly with help from Robert and proceeded to drop the mast. I hurried as best I could to beat the impending storm but got drenched as I put the boom inside the cabin for transport. It was very nice to take a refreshing shower in the club afterward, even though the floor was gently swaying, or at least it felt that way. We got ready for the road so early that we decided to skip the planned overnight back at the Blackwater Creek campground and drive to Chattanooga right away. Leap Frog assumed the lead, and Windabout and Yee Haa trailed. We had to fight sleepiness but made it all right with several rest stops. It was a long-awaited and looked-forward-to trip. It took a lot to get ready for it. But the other cruisers were most helpful — Kent and Jane and Eddie from our home fleet, especially. I guess as skipper and first mate we passed our tests. If we do it again, we will take less stuff, worry less, walk the beaches more, swim in the clear water, spend more time with other sailors, and have more fun. I was NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 251 wondering if Barbara would want to go again. Maybe the fact that she took over 340 pictures indicated her interest. Barbara and Pete on Windabout in the ICW near Pensacola, Florida, on a later cruise. Photo by Ted McGee. After returning to Privateer and Chickamauga Lake, we took our “kids,” David and Sarah, sailing with us. Barbara had become so accustomed to the motion of the sailboat that she lounged comfortably on the downwind side of the cockpit, nearest the water, with her feet and legs out straight on the seat. We took a puff of wind and water rolled in over the coaming and onto her seat. She didn’t jump or squeal or nuthin’. David and Sarah were shocked. Was this their mother? The one who was scared of the water, or at least what was under it? She became so comfortable on the water that she wanted her own small boat. I hunted around and found a used C-Lark 14. I had to do a fair amount of work on it to make it seaworthy. The plywood floor was rotten, but the rest of the boat was sound. I took apart the floor, cleaned inside the hull, and replaced the floor. The space between the floor and the hull was an 252 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE air compartment for floatation. Barbara named it Checkabout because the transom was painted in a checkerboard pattern. She enjoyed sailing it around with her girlfriends from the club. She even raced it a few times. We had more adventures in the Catalina 22. We sailed in six more Northern Gulf Coast Cruises and enjoyed ourselves every time. And I built a wooden dinghy that we could row ashore. But the small Catalina cabin began to wear on my bad back, and Windabout sat in our driveway until we decided to let someone else enjoy her. We have another boat, a Pearson 27, that we keep in a slip at the club. It’s our cabin on the lake. We like to go boat camping with it. Barbara named it Get Lost because she found a plaque that reads, “I’d rather be lost at the lake than found at home.” We hung that plaque inside the cabin. The fact that wind powers a sailboat or sustains a glider fascinates me. We can’t see the wind, but we can see the effects of the wind. The sailor watches the water to see ripples stirred up by the wind, sometimes called “cat’s paws,” because the water looks like an invisible cat has barely scratched the water’s surface. Or, he watches for which side of a wave the whitecaps break to anticipate the direction of an oncoming gust. The hang glider pilot looks for the evidence of wind in the leaves of trees, the micro-climate of his launch or landing. There’s a verse in scripture that makes me think of this. It’s II Peter 1:21: NORTHERN GULF COAST CRUISING 253 “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” That word moved in the Greek is the same word used for how the wind carries along a sail. The Spirit cannot be seen, but the effect of it can. Also, the Greek word for “Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” is “pneuma,” from which we get our words pneumatic and pneumonia. “Pneuma” has to do with air. Consider the air we breathe in this world. We live in this world by breathing its air. When we stop breathing it, we die. But there’s another “air” which is what is breathed into God’s Word by the Spirit. If we spend time “breathing” that “air” of the Word, we breathe an air that is eternal. And if we accept the free gift of forgiveness of our sins through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for our sins, then our life is extended beyond that of this world to life eternal. The plan of Satan and this world’s system of values is to keep us distracted and focused solely on the “air” of this world. “Breathe” deeply of scripture, with prayer, and live. God is more interested in reconciliation that we can see with a superficial glance. 42 WHAT MATTERS I n 2009, my architectural business was going along as usual. It was nothing really big or exciting, but it put bread on the table. The yearning to do something creative came calling again. Architectural work doesn’t always require creativity. Sometimes it’s just drafting, often drawing what a client wants even though the architect tries to show him a better way. In talking about it with our daughter, she suggested I start painting again. I had not done much artwork since college, and it was something more than just an item for the bucket list. I’d had more fun working with John Acorn in a creative environment back in the ’60s, and I wished I could recapture some of that joy. I signed up for a general art class that met weekly in the local Hobby Lobby classroom. The teacher was good, and she revived something I’d been missing. We worked in colored pencil, ink, and watercolor. I got prints made at the local Staples store, gave away some, and sold a couple. She thought I might be able to substitute teach for her, and I tried teaching one class. That didn’t work out. But I kept doing artwork on my own. I found that I didn’t get much accomplished if I didn’t have a specific time to work on it. My painting schedule tended to be too irregular and infrequent. I met weekly with several guys for breakfast, Bible Study and prayer. One of them, nicknamed “Coach,” also met with a group of like-minded painters at Hobby Lobby every WHAT MATTERS 255 week. I thought about joining them but was always too busy. Coach came down with pancreatic cancer and sooner rather than later passed away. He was a great Christian witness, and we all miss him. “Islandia” – opportunity of a lifetime. About that time, I had an opportunity of a lifetime, at least for me, to make a couple of passages on a magnificent sailing vessel. One passage was from Bermuda to Jamaica and another from Charleston, S.C., to Newport, R.I. The owner of the 138-foot two-masted vessel was a long-time member of our local sailing club who made a lot of money in the carpet industry with his chemistry background. He kept his boat in New England during the summer and transported it to the Caribbean for the winter. On those long trips, he had only his crew of four or five, himself and a couple of personal friends. But he needed more people on board to keep watch throughout the day and night along with his crew. I think it was mostly to keep the regular crew awake, but he wanted experienced sailors who understood what was happening with the radar and the functioning of the boat. So, he usually brought along a few members of Privateer Yacht Club. 256 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE I could write a chapter or two about those trips, but I bring them up now because on the second passage I met an outstanding painter, Russ Kramer (https://www.russkram He had a book on board that showed several of his paintings. It was a joy to talk with him about his art, his background, and techniques. I showed him pictures of my work on my cell phone. He suggested I join the American Society of Marine Artists. He had served as president and was very active in the Society. I told him I had never considered myself a “marine artist.” He said, “Well, a lot of your subject matter is sailboats, and that’s marine art.” So, when I got home, I did join. And I began to meet with Coach’s group at Hobby Lobby. Russ had recommended I work in oils, about which I was very ignorant. Fortunately, several of the artists in Coach’s group worked in oil, and gladly would they learn and gladly teach. (That phrase is from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.) “Dragonfly” 18×24″ Acrylic on canvas by the author WHAT MATTERS 257 Just meeting weekly kept some continuity and achievement happening. When Covid 19 hit, Hobby Lobby closed its classrooms. I thought I would get a lot of painting done at home. But the habit was not there, and so many distractions came up around the house. Since then, I started meeting weekly with anyone interested at the sailing club for plein air painting or sketching. When it rains or is too cold, we meet inside the clubhouse. We started with just a couple of us, but the group has grown to 20 on the mailing list and 5 to 10 meeting each week. Four prints of my work hang on the clubhouse walls, plus I did a requested line drawing mural on the Ladies’ Room wall. Every year at the Privateer Christmas Party, I give away a print in the Chinese Christmas Exchange. A few other artists have done that as well. “Maine Rocks” 12×24″ Oil on canvas by the author. Someday I will set up a website and market my paintings. Doing the art is more meaningful to me than marketing it. I understand other artists who have that same weakness. Barbara has been very encouraging with my artwork. And we’ve found ways to enjoy art together. We visit galleries and museums together and watch documentaries about artists. 258 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE “Sunset Sail” 24×20″ Oil on canvas by the author. She’s discovered a form of art she enjoys – altered books. She finds a book, usually at a used bookstore or thrift store, with a catchy title and possibly interesting pictures inside. She chooses what pages she will keep and tears out what’s not needed. Then she prints photos she’s taken on regular paper that fit the theme she’s decided to develop and glues them onto the remaining pages. I often print them for her according to the size image she needs. She studies YouTube videos on how to get different effects. She’s done several books this way. And I think she’s done quite well with it. She also does custom greeting cards for friends and family. Drawing and painting require some discipline, especially in the areas of proportion, composition, tone, and color. The artist is required to see subjects with an artist’s eye. A WHAT MATTERS 259 change in one corner of the canvas can affect the rest of the painting. “Pristine” 12×16″ Oil on canvas board by the author I tend to turn the painting upside down, or sideways, in order to see it a different way. I even use a mirror in order to make my eyes see the work in a different way. Our brain tends to hold in memory the image we’ve been working on. It gets used to having it recorded that way. That actually keeps us from understanding the image as well as we could. And after a session of drawing or painting, I go out for a walk and all the colors I see are more vivid. It’s wonderful! Yet, I’ve come to realize that it’s not the job or the type of work that’s most important, or the membership in an organization. Although being in a creative environment is pleasantly stimulating, it’s the relationship with the people that’s most important. A high office held in an organization isn’t even as important as the relationships with the people. Even membership in any particular church is not what 260 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE counts. It’s the relationships with the people that counts, but most of all it’s the personal relationship with Christ that’s important. Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. The whole Bible is about relationships with people and with God, the Creator of all creators, and the Great Reconciler. Pencil Portrait of a sailor friend by the author. 43 DARKESTJUSTBEFORE DAWN And I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the level… Isaiah 28:17a As I look upon our world, our country, knowing what I now know, I cannot help but be concerned about what is taking place. This next section reveals my concerns and suggests that men and money cannot solve the problems that are facing us. We must look beyond our own feeble resources. I once heard an American Christian missionary say that as he flew home in a commercial airliner from his fieldwork, it seemed as though dark clouds evaporated as the plane approached American airspace. He was not speaking of physical storm clouds but dark, spiritual clouds that hovered over the land where he was ministering. American skies were clear at that time, the latter part of the 1900s. What is it about America that has always made people feel like this missionary? America has always been seen as a land of boundless opportunity, a place where the metaphorical clouds dissolve in the clear light of freedom and prosperity. 262 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE That missionary’s story brought to mind a visit I enjoyed recently with my old friend, John Acorn, widely recognized as a gifted sculptor. I was privileged to work with him in 1969. We had been out of touch for 40 years. It was terrific to see him again. He was still the same person, just 40 years older, still kind and steady and patient, just as he was when I worked alongside him decades before. But his sweet wife had died five years earlier, and he had a hard time coping. He took me around his studio to show me his recent works. One that caught my attention was a bas-relief wall hanging with big, black birds circling the center. In the middle of the circling birds was a tiny, three-dimensional image of a house. The meaning of it didn’t strike me until after I left. His wife lived her last days in their house, under hospice care. She lived much longer at home than expected. I’m sure his loving care and attention to her prolonged her life. Oh, what they must have endured together during those dark days of her illness. Yet, for all of that hardship, he was still creating and loving and being the man that I knew and respected. That sculpture makes me think of our country today. A storm seems to be brewing, one that has been a long time in the making. Like the missionary’s metaphor I mentioned, it’s not a physical storm. It is a cultural storm, expressed in polarizing words and a pervasive spirit of division in our country. However, a deeper, more sinister force than just political strife or changing cultural norms lies behind our particular moment. Similar to the physical vultures circling the house in Acorn’s sculpture, this is demonic activity driving the tempest threatening America today. Most people reading this book probably don’t believe in demons. I understand that. The supernatural seems unthinkable in today’s world. But, after the horrors of the 20th century — where more people perished under tyranny DARKEST JUST BEFORE DAWN 263 than the previous nineteen centuries combined — how else can we explain all of the evil, all of the division, all of the social ills that plague our society? Something more than just human weakness is at work. It seems we have never been more divided. We witness this in how we treat each other. People in our land tend to assume a high moral stance to vilify a targeted person, a people group, or even America itself. There’s a lot of name-calling. It’s called “argumentum ad hominem,” which is Latin for an argument against a man rather than a discussion of ideas. This feeds an awful hunger in the gut of angry people. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It feels good to be an angry person for a while, but that bitterness is like an acid that will eat a person up. There is so much anger in America that it has become epidemic. It is plaguing our very existence with so many antagonistic elements. The United States have become the Disunited States. The unity that carried us through two world wars is not here now. Even during the Civil War, there were more points of agreement across battle lines than we see in our culture today. In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln noted that Northerners and Southerners “read the same Bible and pray to the same God. …” And this is key to understanding the strength of America then and the weakness of America today. He went on to say, “But let us judge not, that we be not judged,” which is a paraphrase of Jesus’s words from the Sermon on the Mount. To judge another is to place oneself above another, creating a problem worse than the problem targeted. Every pillar supporting our civilization has been judged and compromised. Every firm structural component has become wobbly or has fallen – hence the cover design of this book. 264 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Morality has become a whim of preference, but moral superiority is a lie unless God is recognized as the only One who is superior. And God is the only one who has the right to be superior because He simply is. But His business is reconciliation. He sent His only Son to give Himself up to save us from ourselves and from His eternal judgment. We are each complicit in each other’s guilt. The answer is not in condemning each other but in recognizing that each of us needs forgiveness as much as the other guy. This dilemma can be seen in the thickening cloud of circling vultures. But these are not vultures seeking dead carrion. These are predators looking to kill. While some are circling, others have landed and are ripping, tearing, pecking the eyes out of our American way of life — our history, our institutions, our families — our heritage. And we are all being blinded by this onslaught. It’s hard to understand what’s happening because this destruction is all around. The ever-present imagery of this destruction as presented by the popular media is designed to generate anxiety, worry, and fear to bring ultimate submission. This has been going on ever since the founding of our country. But the intensity of attacks has come in waves. Americans have responded to every wave with unity and managed to keep the country intact. But this is a more threatening situation than we’ve ever faced, bar none, because we are now a nation divided, more than ever before – more than during the Civil War. What made our country strong had been its close bond to truth, and thus our citizens to each other. Our culture was founded upon recognition and honor of truth. We still go through our daily lives trusting our fellow citizens to be honest and live according to the laws. But now, the system is breaking down. “Truth is on the scaffold, and wrong is on the throne.” (“The Present Crisis,” 1845, by James Russell Lowell). Some of those who make the laws have decided DARKEST JUST BEFORE DAWN 265 they don’t have to live by them. The lust for power and fortune has caused them to seize the reins of government and run roughshod over the people. They have built a giant armor-clad machine they think gives them the right and the ability to go where they want, no matter who it hurts. Driving a two-lane highway, we trust the oncoming driver to stay on his side of the line. Not so with these megalomaniacs. They have overtaken our national capitol and built a razor-wire fence around it, clearly expressing their guilt and paranoia. President John Adams recognized that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The Bible used to be the gold standard of belief in America. But the further our people get away from it, the deeper the dark clouds thicken. The idea that truth is relative, that each individual can pick and choose what is true, simply divides our culture, our country – and blocks the light of God’s blessing. People tend to take blessings for granted, like they will always be there. We don’t see the connection between truth and blessing. Consider gravity. We cannot see gravity, but the effects of it are all around us. Remember, “Whatever goes up must come down.” It’s the same with all of God’s design. If we ignore it, we will only fall. Engineers and builders create structures and airplanes that seem to defy gravity. The 108 foot tall Colossus of Rhodes is not standing anymore. Neither is the 100 meter tall Lighthouse of Alexandria. The twin towers came down, as will the replacement One World Trade Center, hopefully from old age and deterioration of building materials or to make way for a better structure. Those structures are one thing, but men create ungodly systems of belief and behavior because they can get away with it. They can, for a while, because God is patient. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward 266 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” This is a spiritual battle that could turn very physical. Satan is becoming more active. Consider John 8:44: “ You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” Look at our history – and what’s going on now. 44 THE VULTURES ARE LANDING The wave was bad back in the 1960s, but it was far worse back in the 1860s. There are strong parallels between then and now. So many divisive issues back then set brother against brother — families split apart. Today the modern popular culture would have us believe the War Between the States was all about slavery, which certainly was a part of it. But today, to blame the Confederacy alone for the conflict is strong evidence of an insidious ignorance. This is only one flight of vultures that has landed. But it serves as a good illustration. Slavery in America ended due to the war, but it was not the only spark that ignited the war. The Confederate States of America existed for only four years. The first slaves landed in Massachusetts 240 years before the war. Our founding fathers did a lot that was right and good in forming our country, but they were wrong to not banish slavery from the beginning. With the increase of industry, slavery should have been on its way out. Slavery was abolished in the entire British Empire without firing a shot through conscientious political action by men like William Wilberforce and the faithful witness of repentant men like John Bunyan and John Newton nearly 30 years before our civil war. Unfortunately, the godlessness that was working in America back then is working now. Take a look at Virginia today. Virginia 268 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE hosted more battles during the 1860s than any other state, with Tennessee not far behind. Virginia’s recent Democrat government was dismantling all statues and memorials of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other Confederates – as if they were among the most responsible for slavery and the war. Tennessee is not far behind in assaults on Confederates. The federal government is moving toward renaming military bases and ships that carry the names of famous Confederates. And this is supposed to reduce feelings of racial antagonism? It only increases them. Modern politicians appear to not know the history of their own states, their country, or the character of those men. They choose to incite division through accusation and character assassination instead of recognizing the many worthy contributions these men made to the strength of our country before and after the war. George Santayana wrote in The Life of Reason, 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” All men have failings, but exceptional leaders stand out above the crowd. Today the mob defaces and destroys monuments made to honor these men. They defended their country when it was invaded, and they laid the groundwork for reconciliation after the war. Now the mob has gone beyond the low-lying fruit of Confederate monuments and is ripping down monuments of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and even Christopher Columbus. This is what “cancel culture” is all about. These quotes from famous tyrants explain the motives well. “If you can cut the people off from their history, then they can be easily persuaded.” Karl Marx THE VULTURES ARE LANDING 269 “An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.” Mao Zedong “If we can effectively kill the national pride and patriotism of just one generation, we will have won that country.” attributed to Vladimir Lenin 45 FOGTOEEN IOGIRT ODNI Aquick look reveals the forgotten fact that Robert E. Lee decided to surrender at Appomattox rather than continue in a guerrilla war, which would have prolonged the conflict for many more agonizing years. Forgotten is the respect and honor shown to Confederate soldiers by Union troops at the Appomattox surrender of arms. Robert E. Lee said, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know where it is today.” And “A nation without memories is a nation without liberty.” He also said after the war, “We poor sinners need to come back from our wanderings to seek pardon through the all-sufficient merits of our Redeemer. And we need to pray earnestly for the power of the Holy Spirit to give us a precious revival in our hearts and among the unconverted.” 1 Forgotten is the fact that in the 1850s, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson taught a Sunday school class for the children of slaves, even going against the law by teaching them to read. “In their religious instruction, he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind… He was emphatically the black man’s friend… He is considered by many to be a civil rights leader.” (Goran Blazes1. 7.php FORGOTTEN OR IGNORED 271 ki, rate-general-stonewall-jackson/). War brings out the best and the worst in men. It also humbles men and convinces them of their need to call upon their Maker. Modern American popular culture has forgotten the closing words of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Forgotten is that Lincoln directed Grant to let the surrendering Confederates off easy, let them return to their farms and shops, even with the horses and mules they claimed to own. There’s an excellent book, The Bait of Satan (January 7, 2014, 20th Anniversary Edition) by John Bevere, about the deadly trap of offense. This refers to the spiritual war in which we are engaged. If people feel offended, they get angry, and Satan has them in his snare. “ BE ANGRY AND YET DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. ” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Anger is one letter away from Danger. Satan is known as the “accuser” (Revelation 12:10-11). Too many think it is good to blame someone for the trouble we are in. Blaming and shaming is divisive. Today, the vociferous wag of fingers and tongues point at the Confederacy as if it still needs to be punished. Have we forgotten the price paid 155 years ago? 600,000 dead and countless wounded! The dead were 2-1/2 percent of the national population. If that same percentage were applied today, it would be seven million. Arms in those days were almost exclusively single shot. They had very few multi-round magazines. Have we forgotten the work of those 272 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE veterans, North and South, who sought to bind up wounds, to remember the good and forgive the bad? They attended each other’s veteran reunions. They worked to establish the National Military Park system so that the history would not be forgotten. When the National Military Park at Gettysburg was founded, a reunion was held for the veterans of that battle. They “re-enacted” Pickett’s charge with unarmed Confederate veterans slowly climbing up the hill to the rock wall, behind which unarmed Union veterans stood in wait. By the time the lines met, most were in tears. And, white-haired veterans leaned across or climbed over the wall to embrace each other. There were tearful hugs all up and down the line. It was captured on film. You can Google it. But now, the National Military Park system picks and chooses politicized narratives about the war and promotes antagonistic racism rather than understanding. You’ll find no mention of the overwhelming tariffs leveraged against southern states by the Northern-dominated Congress. Lincoln’s original intent to “save the Union” was to fund the federal government, which could not be done without the resources of the South. At that time, 70 to 90 percent of the federal government’s revenue came from taxes imposed upon Southern trade. It is a lie of omission. Confederate General Patrick Cleburne wrote in his Jauary 2, 1864, proposal to arm the Southern slaves: “Surrender means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War; will be impressed by all the influences of history and to regard our gallant dead as trai- FORGOTTEN OR IGNORED 273 tors,and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision.”2 George Orwell said in his book, 1984, “Those who control the past control the future, and those who control the present control the past.”3 Or, what about Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s statement: “To destroy a people, you must first sever their r oots.”4 George Orwell wrote in 1984: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process continues day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”5 That conflict killed so many Americans, a terrible tragedy for nearly every American family. The struggle shaped our country for many years to come. Through reconciliation, a lot of good resulted. Many good men were recognized on and by both sides. Those men have been memorialized in monuments and statues all across this country, in towns and National Military Park battlefields. Their stories need to be told and retold. They expended great energies to reconcile the divided country. And the healed country became much stronger than it was before. But, this modern crusade to remove monuments promotes division and hatred, weakening us all, feeding anger on both sides, those who would tear them down as well as those whose homeland was invaded by marauding armies. The Park Service isn’t tearing down 2. Official Record of the War of the Rebellion, published by the U.S. War Dept., 1902, Serial 110, page 0587 3. 1984 by George Orwell, published June 8, 1949, page 162 4. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (n.d.). Web site: https://ww 5. 1984 by George Orwell, published June 8, 1949, page 155 274 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Confederate monuments yet, but they are sowing seeds for such acts by not representing the whole truth about the war. Booker T. Washington made a wise statement: “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs.”6 But it’s not just certain black people who are profiting from this today. Many political organizations are profiting — at the expense of all Americans. The federal government has even invested in this narrative as it has been “contextualizing” all the Civil War battlefields with “interpretations” that now focus almost entirely on slavery and little else. To credit slavery as the sole reason for the war is continuing Lincoln’s use of it to provide a high moral ground and focus for his war effort. It is an easy move to make, to draw support through sympathy for the oppressed. Neither he nor the contemporary parrots mention that slavery was not the only issue that caused the war or that slavery was an issue for many nations, both then and now. Equating all things Confederate with only slavery falls far short of 6. Booker T. Washington. (n.d.). Web site: https://www FORGOTTEN OR IGNORED 275 a true understanding of those times or today’s concerns. Not only that, but it reignites the conflict of 160 years ago and again divides a nation that has struggled to reconcile the differences of that conflict ever since. It promotes not unity but only division. To assign all the blame for the war to Southern slavery alone is to do a great disservice to the true history of that time and rob us of a complete understanding. Politically, there was power shifting in Congress from the Southern states to the Northern states as population centers were shifting northward with immigrants arriving from Europe. Economically, the South had a great deal of agricultural wealth coveted by some in the North as the North began to grow in industrial strength. That Northern taste of wealth brought unbridled greed. This brought on trade conflicts over tariffs. The growth of the federal government began to challenge the rights and responsibilities of States. The rural agrarian culture of the South was challenged by the ascending industrial might of the North. Animosities rose, and tempers grew short. Publications promoted one side over the other. Society fostered mass movements to encourage opposing causes. Armies assembled and armed. And then, brutal armies in blue invaded the South. God in His wisdom allowed the nation to plunge into war. As preachers would say, “We have turned away from God, and He has let His judgment fall.” If only our people would recognize how true that was then and is true now. Today’s citizens are woefully ignorant of our national history. Random, on-the-street interviews show this all too clearly. The mainstream media has become the sole source of information for most citizens, and the media programs the thoughts and opinions of the populace according to the popular narrative. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is patently corrupt, offering not factual reportage but biased or prejudiced commentary on events with skillfully edited 276 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE video clips designed to portray a view far left of center. And, any challenge of this misuse of power is met with accusations of depriving freedom of speech, which is precisely what they are doing. Division through the promotion of guilt, accusations of racism, and promotion of Black victimhood are incredibly destructive, sowing seeds of dissension, discord, hatred, and even rage at all levels of our culture. And, there are numerous other fronts in our country where chaos is cultivated. Some seek to profit from all this chaos. How often do you see the popular media encouraging forgiveness, even when someone has been horribly wronged? News media seems to be more interested in the drama of terror and tragedy than in the health of goodness. Sensationalism at all costs is disgusting. The people of Charleston’s (South Carolina) Emanuel AME church endured a horrible tragedy when a young racist killed nine of their members. But the victims’ relatives showed far more grace and wisdom than the popular culture. They forgave the murderer, even though he was unrepentant. Despite that, the popular culture jumped at the opportunity to accuse the symbol of the Confederate flag as instilling the perpetrator’s hatred. Hatred is the spiritual product of an evil heart. Popular culture also blamed the gun for the tragedy. The problem was not the flag or the gun. The problem was the evil in the heart of the perpetrator and the people who sowed those seeds. The popular culture sees to it that blame and shame are promoted all around. Again, remember that Satan is known in scripture as “the Accuser.” The issue we focus upon should not be the blame for slavery but resolving racism – and reverse racism. The cancel culture focuses on the Southern Confederacy, a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Today, those who pile blame and shame on the South condemn their contemporaries FORGOTTEN OR IGNORED 277 through a narrative that is not right, but wrong, not Godly, but Satanic. They are like cultural lepers who cannot feel the pain their words inflict on others. If they were productive, there would be a conviction of sin, repentance, and turning away from evil. It would bring about reconciliation, redemption, freedom, and love. But no, condemnation brings about anger, fear, and defensive belligerence. They are mouthing words of the “accuser of the brethren,” Satan. Revelation 12:10 – “…the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before our God day and night.” 46 MORE ATTACKS So many of the same people who are adamant about tearing down Confederate monuments are equally adamant for the so-called “right” to tear limb from limb a living child from its mother’s womb or chemically burn the unborn child to death. The 600,000 civil war deaths pale compared to the 62 MILLION children killed by abortion. And what about the children whom they would have birthed? What talent has been lost, what productivity, what enriching of our nation? Accusing the Confederacy of horrific crimes absolutely pales compared to the travesty of abortion. Virginia’s recent Democratic governor was supposedly a pediatric physician but also a very venal politician who would agree to kill a child even after it is born! This is a second flight of vultures with insidious ignorance. This one chooses to turn a blind eye to the truth. No wonder Jesus challenged each Pharisee to throw the first stone if he were without sin. “Planned Parenthood” is a name that disguises its greed for riches and its theft of America’s progeny at the expense of troubled parents. And the United States Government is complicit. Some of those vultures circling at altitude dream of greater profits from greater chaos. Very wealthy individuals fund organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood, all of which seek to tear apart the MORE ATTACKS 279 life and institutions of American liberty through twisted words with duplicitous meanings, while devouring enormous sums of money. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was convinced that “Eugenics is …the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”1 The popular culture media mocks the Christian. It mocks the nuclear family. It mocks all forms of authority – condemning all, from police to president (depending upon his party), indulging in its own form of hate speech. It mocks the Ten Commandments. It repeatedly broadcasts any error of a first responder, the more egregious the better, and glorifies lawbreakers and hoodlums, fanning fires of discontent. It too often promotes evil and ridicules righteousness. It promotes anger, hatred, and jealousy while giving only token recognition of kindness, patience, and self-control. It’s so political. The vultures have stolen God’s Word from our public institutions, schools, courts, and so many legislatures. If this continues, we shall reap the whirlwind! Read Galatians chapter 5, especially verses 19-23: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 1. h-nutrition/eugenic-value-birth-control-propaganda/ 280 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The Civil War brought this nation to its knees. Judgment was strong and powerful. Who could stand that today? But a tremendous revival swept through the ranks of both armies. So many felt helpless in the face of that onslaught. But those who knelt before the throne of God and accepted His provision of grace and forgiveness took their faith home after the war. And America was reborn into “one nation, under God, indivisible – with liberty and justice for all.” America was strong enough to add effectiveness to allied forces and win two world wars plus survive a devastating economic depression. Unfortunately, we have fallen from that height. What sort of judgment awaits this country now? There is division and deceit on too many fronts. Talk about who should own guilt? It used to be that news media reported facts. Now opinions are presented with twisted “facts” supporting agendas. Media news has become political propaganda. Biblical morality is smothered by lack of air time. What will it take to see the truth honored and respected? But it’s not just the politicians and denizens of media. It’s also the general public that laps it up without challenging it. The Church slept through the removal of prayer from the schools in the 1960s and Roe v. Wade in the 1970s. Will it sleep through the current governmental power grabs, including HR 1, the supposed “Equality Act?” How long shall we bow before the Johnson amendment? Our collective guilt raises a stench to the third heaven. What hope is there? Listen to what General Douglas MacArthur said: “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either MORE ATTACKS 281 a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national dis aster.”2 We need not look far for someone responsible for the disharmony and discord. We need to look first in the mirror. And, we should all be meditating on verses in God’s Word such as II Chronicles 7:13, 14 – “ If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” He’s talking to His people, the supposed faithful. Prayer changes things – and people. If there were more people standing up for what is right and true, the lies and deceit would not succeed. I don’t believe there is one political leader, or one political party, that can lead us out of the mess we are in. It will take political leaders and organizations, but more importantly, it will take great numbers of people who can discern truth and communicate it between each other and their representatives. Government is dangerous when driven by deceit and greed. It will take God’s hand at work through the Holy Spirit to move men and women to draw closer to Him. Will our prayers ascend to the throne of heaven or mire in the muck of mammon? We have choices to make in all this social upheaval. There are far too many angry interactions, accusations, and in-your-face confrontations. We don’t have to do that. In our own homes, we can practice the “peace that passes all 2. General Douglas MacArthur’s December, 1951, speech as recorded on page 121 of “In God We Still Trust” by Richard Lee, published in 2011. 282 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE understanding,” which comes only through a right relationship with our Creator. And then we can carry it to our places of work, share it in our clubs and teach it to our children. And when we fail, as we all do, we need to return to practice peace, asking forgiveness of God and man. The question is, will we do it? Our churches are overwrought with divisive issues of preference. Will the Church be divided over differences in musical style? Or décor? We need to stop promoting temporal differences, cultural or even racial preferences, and rejoice in those eternal things we have in common! Promoting exclusive diversity is killing us. We need UNITY along with complementary, Godly diversity! We must reflect on Jesus’ statement of the most important commandments. “’AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31 47 DARKNESS DEEPENS Robert Frost wrote a poem about a road that forks, “I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” Will we take the road to the right? Or will we take the road to the left with community organizers (or “dis-organizers”), like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who follow Saul Alinsky? Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community “organizer” and writer. He is generally considered the founder of modern community organizing. He is often noted for his book Rules for Radicals. 1 On the 4th fly-leaf page, after a dedication to Alinsky’s wife Irene and quotes from Rabbi Hillel and Thomas Paine, is the following text: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins— or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.” 1. “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, originally published 1971 by Random House. 284 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Alinsky presents a list of tactics to “community organize.” 1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. 2. Never go outside the experience of your people. 3. Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. 4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. 5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. 6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. 7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. 8. Keep the pressure on. 9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. 10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. 11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside. 12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. 13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. The following list presents a curious story. The source of it is not known. I ran across it on line, presented as coming DARKNESS DEEPENS 285 from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. But it is not in that book. Another story claims a similar list was found in May of 1919 in Dusseldorf, Germany, by Allied forces and its title was “Communist Rules for Revolution.” Several reports as to its origin have surfaced through the years. When The New York Times ran an article on this piece back in 1970, it had already been circulating for about twenty-five years. The Times reported that neither the National Archives, the Library of Congress, nor university libraries had a copy of any such document. The earliest known publication of these rules dates from February 1946, and it’s significant to note that publication coincided with events such as Winston Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech, in which he issued a warning to citizens of the United States that “Communist parties constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.” The timing suggests it’s far more likely this list was compiled by Americans in 1946 than by Russians in 1919. And yet, we can see all items of this list in action today. Does its source matter? 1. Healthcare – Control healthcare, and you control the people. 2. Poverty – Increase the Poverty level as high as possible. Poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live. 3. Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty. 4. Gun Control – Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state. 286 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE 5. Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing and Income). 6. Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school. 7. Religion – Remove the belief in God from the Government and schools. 8. Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent, and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor. If you don’t see every one of these happening, you are in denial. Every one of these is a flock of culture vultures. But add to them one more: Gender dysphoria. No, add still another — humanly responsible climate change. And what about our national debt? Erasing our borders? Corrupted election integrity? Anything to instill doubt, fear and apprehension, seize power, and make people believe a socialist government can save us from the chaos. The skies over our land are darkening with clouds of evil spreading. Where shall our children and grandchildren find security? The Bible provides hope if we just open it, read it, digest it and pray! Our country at its founding was bound by a common language. And more than that, it was bound by a common understanding, a shared world view, and an agreement on what was right and wrong, good and evil. The reason for that commonality was that the Bible was the most read book in the colonies. It was taught in homes, in schools, from one-room country cabins to the early universities. The earliest public schoolbook was the New England Primer which taught reading and the Bible side by side. It was the most common textbook from the late 1700s until well into the DARKNESS DEEPENS 287 1800s. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton began as Christian Institutions. Man tends to go his own way, leaving the God of his fathers. This is well illustrated in the Old Testament through God’s own chosen people. Man tends to become proud and shape for himself other gods. It was pride that got Lucifer cast out of heaven. Mark Twain and others have said, “God created man in his own image, and man returned the favor.” That can explain why there are so many false religions and a good reason why there is so much conflict on this earth. If we look at the blessings Moses recorded for the faithful, we find it a long and satisfying list. You can find it in Deuteronomy, chapter 28. But you can also find there the list of troubles that befall the unfaithful and disobedient. Read it, the whole chapter. In April of 1861, I doubt anyone had any idea how terrible that tragedy would become. We need to realize how close we may be to such a conflict today. There are state governments now discussing secession. It wouldn’t necessarily take a “civil” war. God uses wars to punish and reward nations. But He can also use natural disasters to get people’s attention. Lately, there’s been no shortage of hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, and even a pandemic. Could God be giving us more opportunities to realize our need for Him? It seems to me that the Church largely sat back and slept while generations of children who survived the fatal feminist option have been brainwashed by the world system that stands in total opposition to God’s ways on so many fronts, just like Jonah sat back and slept in the hold of a storm-tossed ship. The attacks of September 11, 2001, captured the attention of every American. Church doors saw more congregants than in a long time. Those who had already been darkening those doors came with more resolve than usual. But the fervor waned. When will we learn? When will we be recognized 288 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE for our love of God and for each other? Those are the two great commandments according to Jesus. When will we be convicted of our negligence and lackluster challenges to the corruption of our country, especially in the media, education, and politics? When will we turn away from this world’s mindless, distracting entertainments? When will we see genuine repentance, turning away from evil? When will we know people are continually in prayer? When will we see appreciation for the law, as well as justice and mercy? When will we see a genuine hunger for God’s Word? When will we see another “Great Awakening?” Natural disasters do not seem to have convinced us. Pray that it will not take a terrible war. Pray that we shall see this sentiment all over America: “We the People REPENT.” Only through our humility before God will He transform us and our countrymen from victims to victors. If we want to solve the problem, we need to stop assigning blame to others and begin looking in the mirror. Like Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” If each of us would look in a mirror and see our inner spiritual self rather than our outward appearance, it would be eventful. (1 Samuel 16:7 – “…God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”) Reconciliation is needed between men and between man and God, not division. The gospel provides that reconciliation. If we could have churches in prayer about all of this, I believe we would see the dawn of a new day breaking. It always seems the “darkest hour is just before the dawn.” (Thomas Fuller) “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.” ~Isaiah 60:2 DARKNESS DEEPENS 289 There are numerous historical accounts of spiritual revival changing the lives of people in rural areas, in cities and even in whole nations. Places that had endured dark and dangerous turmoil, rampant crime, drug traffic, and human misery have seen a new dawn arising. Once a well of revival is tapped, abundant soothing water of refreshing life flows, cleaning the dirt and filth out of lives and towns and cities. Peace enters where fear and tension ruled. Law enforcement is left with little to do because crime is reduced so much that jails are emptied. Hunger is satisfied as agriculture blossoms and business booms to bless all inhabitants. Our people have wandered far from the LORD. We have been captivated by the attractions and distractions of this world. We are meant to enjoy God’s creation, but not to the exclusion of His instruction and leading. Our people have moved away from the Spirit of God who breathed His message into his WORD. We have traded our time with Him in His WORD for the things of this world, this world’s culture, values, and idols. It has been said that this life on earth is the only heaven some people will ever know. And for others, it is the only hell they will ever know. You can probably imagine a babe in the womb who knows nothing outside of the womb, who doesn’t want to leave his comfortable home, who believes there is nothing beyond that life. It’s a strong parallel to the concept many people have in this life, void of spiritual understanding. “The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation’s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government 290 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE structure or by any industrial development. A tree with a rotten core cannot stand.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn2 Until our people return to Him through time spent in His Word, we and our countrymen will endure the chastisement of God. I pray for many to return to Him through His Spirit in the WORD, reading the Bible daily, staying in touch with Him on a regular, ongoing basis. The Guinness Book of World Records estimates that more than 5 billion copies of the Bible have been printed since Johannes Gutenberg printed one in 1455. The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible. It is impossible to know exactly how many copies have been printed since its contents were standardized, but research conducted by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 2021 suggests that the total number probably lies between 5 and 7 billion copies since Gutenberg printed one in 1454. There may be many collecting dust, but secular Google reports that the world’s largest religion, Christianity, is practiced by about 2.4 billion people. The country with the highest number of practicing Christians is the United States, with a Christian population of 253 million. Just imagine the answered prayers of so many people turning away from the distractions of this world to the unbounded wisdom and glory and power of God and imploring Him to send Holy Spirit to awaken our country and our world! Visit YouTube videos of revival preaching by Vance Havner, J. Edwin Orr, Leonard Ravenhill and others including Billy Graham. J. Edwin Orr has written much about revival, including in America. It is fascinating to see how prayer connects with God, and He changes everything! 2. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (n.d.). Web site: andr_Solzhenitsyn DARKNESS DEEPENS 291 The Great Welsh revival of 1904 was sparked through a young man named Evan Roberts speaking to small gatherings. He would say, “God will pour out the fires of revival only when four things happen: 1) Public confession of Jesus Christ as Savior; 2) Confession of every known sin; 3) Forsaking of every doubtful activity; and 4) Prompt, complete obedience to the Spirit. There was such a profound change in the culture that crime was so diminished in Wales that they gave white gloves to judges with nothing to do. The police had so little to do that they took up singing and provided quartets upon request. Even mules in the mines were affected as their handlers had dropped cursing from their commands and the mules didn’t understand the change in language. That revival spread like wildfire through Wales to other countries and even jumped the oceans to other islands and continents. Read about it in this article: pdf. Read Deuteronomy 28 to see what blessings obedience brings and what curses disobedience brings. Read an accurate description of our culture today in 2 Timothy 3:1-7: But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather 292 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such people as these. For among them are those who slip into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Then consider the prophecy in Psalm 22:27-28: All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For kingship belongs to the LORD, and He rules over the nations. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” ~ Jeremiah 33:3 48 BATTLE HYMN OF THE KINGDOM Public expression of our faith is a good thing, but “civil religion” is a blending of popular culture and religion and may or may not be tied to the truths of Scripture. On the surface, it may appear to be so, but we must always be on guard against false teaching. Referring to false prophets, Moses said in Deuteronomy 13:3 – “ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” The popular culture today is trying to erase the name of God, especially “Jesus” from the accepted vocabulary. That name was not only accepted but exalted by the founders of our country. How far we have gone. … The Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1 – “But false prophets also appeared among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” In the 19th century, songs were often used to change public opinion on social and political issues. The lyrics of any song could be changed and published as a new song. This was called a “Contrafactum” when the lyrics of a religious song were re-written as a secular song (or vice-versa). A rendition started around 1856 as a Methodist Camp Meeting song written by William Steffe (1830-1890) enti- 294 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE tled Oh Brothers, Will You Meet Us on Canaan’s Happy Shore? It was designed to be sung by the leader and answered by the people, most of whom could not read. The song first gained popularity around Charleston, South Carolina, particularly in churches belonging to free blacks. The lyrics to the song were as follows: Say, brothers, will you meet us? Say, brothers, will you meet us? Say, brothers, will you meet us? On Canaan’s happy shore? The chorus you will recognize: Glory, glory hallelujah! Glory, glory hallelujah! Glory, glory hallelujah! Forever, evermore! Then the music leader would substitute brothers with sisters, or children, mothers, fathers, and so on, asking to meet on Canaan’s happy shore. This tune was picked up on army posts and found its way into a Massachusetts infantry unit around 1860 where a Vermont man, Thomas Bishop, wrote some lyrics mocking an accident-prone sergeant named John Brown, a Scotsman of the 12th Massachusetts Infantry. Several sets of lyrics have been hung on the same tune since then. There is a lengthy and detailed discussion of the history of this tune and the many versions of lyrics in Wikipedia.1 Today we recognize the tune as the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and many believe it is a “patriotic hymn.” 1. dy BATTLE HYMN OF THE KINGDOM 295 A little analysis shows it to be anything but patriotic or even a hymn. The Battle Hymn words were written by Julia Ward Howe, a New England Unitarian whose husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, was one of “The Secret Six”2 who funded John Brown’s terrorist activities. You need to know what Unitarians believe to understand how misleading this so-called “hymn” really is. Now, I have some friends who are very good people, very intelligent and very well-intentioned, but who attend a Unitarian Church. I like them a lot, but I do not like how the Unitarian Church promotes social justice. It is what we call today an ultra-liberal denomination. It postulates that external government forces can control the evil in men’s hearts. It is not a Christian denomination at all. It supposedly encourages “respect” and tolerance for all beliefs in the name of “unity” but commonly provides adversity for Christians. They judge according to the strength and intelligence of man, where man is the measure of all things, not God. If you think Julia Ward Howe is talking about Christ in her “Battle Hymn,” you should consider this last verse of another of her poems, “The Dead Christ.” It goes like this (emphasis mine): I dream not thou art living, I love and prize thee dead. That salutary deadness I seek, through want and pain, From which God’s own high power can bid Our virtue rise again. 2. The Secret Six, John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement by Otto Scott, 1979 296 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE Julia Ward Howe and her husband were both abolitionists. They were also very much in favor of empowering the government to enforce “good.”3 &4 This is key to understanding the true meaning of the words of her “Battle Hymn.” It is an unfortunate form of what today we call “social engineering.” Today, most people have become so accustomed to the tune and the words that they are not even aware of what it means. It is so well accepted that it has become an idol. For a better understanding, it’s essential to know how the Bible uses the word “Glory.” There are basically three uses of the word “glory”: 1) the Glory of God (Ezekiel 44:4 – “and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord, and I fell on my face.”); 2) the Glory of God in man (Exodus 34:34-35 – “But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone…); and 3) a counterfeit glory of God in man which can be called the “glory of man” (Romans 1:22-23 – “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.) In the first verse of the “Battle Hymn,” Mrs. Howe claims to have seen the “glory of the coming of the Lord.” But what she’s referring to is a counterfeit glory of the Lord, Union troops marching on the South to crush the “grapes of 3. Battle Hymn of the Republic, Examined, Or Should Christians Sing What They Don’t Believe Just Because It Is An Old Hymn? By Pastor J. O. Hosler, Th.D. – Section II. A. 1 4. mn%20refuted.pdf BATTLE HYMN OF THE KINGDOM 297 wrath.” She paints a vivid picture of the power of military might, with lightning and supposedly “His” terrible swift sword. For one who is familiar with the Bible, the sword of the Lord is His Word, the Bible itself. Consider Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Again, in the second verse, she paints a vivid picture of military might, claiming to see God in the “watch-fires of a hundred circling camps.” She claims they have built God altars and are worshipping Him, and she claims to read “His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.” Those campfires were often far from holy places, probably more resembling the altars to false gods built by ancient peoples on the high places around Israel, especially when you consider the women who were allowed to follow Hooker’s camps. If anything, J.W. Howe glorifies the union army and projects her own sense of judgment and sentence on the South. The third verse is particularly offensive as she uses God’s grace as a threatening force: “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal.” And again, the military imagery in “a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel.” Rows of bayonets is not an image of a saving gospel – or grace. Christ did say that he did not come to bring peace but a sword. (Matthew 10:34 – Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.) But this word for sword is the same one used for the “Word of God” in Hebrews. The fourth verse is meant to encourage recruits in the Union army: “He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat, Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!” Since when does membership in an army bring salvation? I’ve heard that Islam makes that claim. 298 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE The words of the fifth verse have touched many through deception, and one word has been changed from her original. “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea.” Now, that’s pretty, but Christ was born in a stable with smelly animals, not in a lovely garden. And, I have to agree that He has “a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.” But the following line has been changed. It said originally, “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, not live to make men free.” She sounds a bit bloodthirsty. It is interesting to note that she became something of a pacifist later in life. Her last verse is never used, so I don’t include it here, but it’s one verse I might sing if the language were not so archaic. The problem is that people sing the so-called “hymn” today, not realizing it is so totally wrapped up in secularism, how much it promotes federalism, big government, and behavioral control by violent force. It promotes the idea that social change can righteously be affected by the government through violent means. It deifies the union army. A “hymn” is supposed to be an instrument of praise for God. This is an anthem for a false religion and is nothing short of blasphemy. Howe’s words should never be sung in a Christian church. That’s why I get up and leave, or refuse to stand, or turn my back whenever it’s performed. However, since a Christian song leader may have conceived the original tune and it is so musically appealing, there must be some way to redeem it. After all, Christ is the great redeemer! This tune’s strident rhythm has been captured and further enlivened by numerous musical arrangements. The echoing call of its measures provides a stirring, even haunting, reverberation that hangs in the air and memory. Why not use the same devices to glorify God and His Kingdom? Besides, many different sets of lyrics have been set to the tune. So, I wrote a set of verses that use the same melody but change the focus of the words from the military and BATTLE HYMN OF THE KINGDOM 299 government and rightly put it on our Savior, Jesus Christ. I call it the “BATTLE HYMN OF THE KINGDOM.” 1.Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the LORD. He loosed the living lightning of his double-edged sword. He sent His Spirit through the Church to liberate this world. His Truth is marching on. CHORUS (sung after first and last verses, only): Glory, glory, Hallelujah. Glory, glory, Hallelujah. Glory, glory, Hallelujah. His Truth is marching on. 2.We share the gospel truth that Jesus died upon a tree He paid the deadly penalty of sin for you and me. Three days within a borrowed tomb, He rose to set us free! His truth is marching on! 3.His story’s in creation’s multi-faceted decree, From starry hosts above down to the flow’ring dogwood tree, He kindles our dark hearts aflame and gives us pow’r to see When His Truth comes marching in! 4.I’ve seen Him in the tender gaze of trusting children’s eyes. Who strayed afar from heaven, drawn by counterfeiter’s lies. I’ve seen their spirits quicken, and I’ve heard their joyous cries When His Truth comes marching in! 5.I know the Bible hist’ry of so many saints who died With tyrants on their thrones and Truth so craftily denied. 300 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE But someday all will know just how God’s enemies have lied When His Truth comes marching in! 6.When nations turn from God, and evil rises from the pit, The good must stand and arm and pray and vow to never quit. For throughout hist’ry war can rage as only God permits And His Truth comes marching in! 7.Our founding fathers built this nation on His Holy Word, And it’s carried on as generations faithfully have served. May ours be judged as faithful when this history is heard, And His Truth comes marching in! 8.The Church will be transformed with every tribe and race as one. And then the power of His Spirit will not be undone, And signs and wonders will appear to show the battle’s won When His Truth comes marching in! 9.The saints on humble, bended knees are calling on the LORD. They’re empowering the struggle ‘gainst the devil’s demon horde, ‘Til every knee shall bow, and tongue confess our Jesus LORD And He returns as King! CHORUS (sung after first and last verse, only): Glory, glory, Hallelujah. Glory, glory, Hallelujah. Glory, glory, Hallelujah. And He returns as King! Lyrics by Peter F. Snyder III © 2023 EPILOGUE “In Him we live and move and exist; …” Acts 17:28 I had not seen Mom in over a year because of Covid. We were eight hours apart by car. I would call her at least once a week at random times to keep in touch. I could tell she really enjoyed my calls. For 21 years, she lived in that second-floor, one-bedroom apartment in an independent living section of this nice retirement village. She liked her apartment but was getting tired of being cooped up and told me she was just hanging on until she could see her family one more time. I was coming to celebrate Mother’s Day with her. Her 98th birthday would be in August. The facility had started to loosen its restrictions, and we cleared my visit for Mother’s Day weekend with the residential administration. I was about an hour away from her place when my cell phone rang. My sister told me Mom had fallen the night before and was not able to get back into bed by herself, so she just curled up on the floor and slept there until her helper came around 9 am. She had a helper come in every day for eight hours to help her with chores she could 302 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE not do by herself. She had fallen a couple of years earlier and spent time in the hospital before she was able to come home. She needed help around the clock at that time as she could not fully care for herself. She had come a long way, and I was looking forward to a good visit with her over the Mother’s Day weekend. But this Thursday evening, Tricia told me Mom was not doing well. She had suffered a three-day bout with a stomach bug, was dehydrated, and quite weak. Tricia was six hours away and couldn’t travel because of an immune deficiency due to treatments for her psoriatic arthritis. She had not seen Mom in a long time, either. At least our brother had sneaked in back in September to tell Mom in person that our cousin, Ginger, had died. Ginger was a favorite of all of us, but especially close to Mom. As soon as I arrived, I ran up to Mom’s apartment and let myself in. She was half asleep in her bed. She was glad I was there, but she wasn’t able to sit up and visit. I found a note from the helper that instructed me to have her drink Pedialyte or water as often as possible. So, after bringing my baggage from the car, I tried to sit her up to drink a half glass of Pedialyte. She wasn’t very thrilled with the idea and only sipped a little. I laid her back down and pulled up her covers. I couldn’t believe how weak she was. We had just spoken over the phone last weekend, and she sounded fine! She was really looking forward to my visit, as was I. I chided her a little and said, “Mom, I was looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day with you. I hadn’t planned on being a nurse.” She smiled with her eyes half shut and said, “Oh, I know. I’m sorry.” “Well, it’s okay. I’m glad I’m here to help you. But I want you to get your strength back so we can have some fun.” EPILOGUE 303 A bit later, I tried to get her to drink some more, which she did a little. After I laid her back down, she said, “I don’t think we can go visit David.” On the phone, we had talked about taking my new (to me) car to visit David and his wife, Bonnie. I saw that wasn’t going to be possible and said, “I know, Mom. That’s okay.” I left the bedroom door open to hear if she called and opened up the sofa bed, fetched some sheets, and got it ready for the night. I set my alarm to wake up four hours later and managed to sleep through it. But when I did awaken at four am, I tried to get her to drink some more. Not much success. She was just plain weak. I got up at my usual 6 am and readied myself for the day. The helper assigned for this day had never been to this facility before. She didn’t know Mom, and it was her first day on the job with this company. She called to say she was running late and to get directions. I told her not to worry and gave her directions. After I finished my breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen, Cindy arrived. We talked a little and went in to get Mom up for the day. This was not an easy task. There was no way Cindy could move Mom around the bed by herself to change her clothes and sheets. I helped as best I could. Mom was just like dead weight. She finally got Mom freshened up, and I went into the bedroom to sit with them. She was rubbing lotion into Mom’s hands, commenting how soft her hands were. She asked me if these hands had ever taken a switch to me. I said, “Oh yeah, lots. But Mom asked me many times to forgive her for all the whippins she gave me.” Cindy smiled as she rubbed lotion into Mom’s hands. “I bet you turned out all right, though? 304 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE “Yes, I guess so. Could’ve been a lot worse.” Mom looked me straight in the eye. After we got the morning chores done, I went shopping for things that would have some taste, like popsicles and liquids Mom would be more likely to drink and gain help nutritionally, including prepared beef and chicken broth. When I returned, I found Mom had not taken her medications, spitting them out. Cindy was discouraged and told me that Mom needed to go to the hospital, that we should call EMS. She needed IV hydration. I called my sister and brother. They both told me in no uncertain terms that Mom did not want to go to a hospital ever again. She had been stuck with too many needles and poked and prodded for the last time. I started looking into Hospice and made an appointment for a supervisor to come in for an evaluation Monday morning. Mom heard this discussion. She said nothing, but she frowned a lot. Cindy left for the evening, and I kept trying to get Mom to drink. She wasn’t interested in broth or even popsicles. Mom was tossing and turning with little strength, unable to turn over, just moving her arms and legs. I could not get her CPAP mask on because the chin strap was so tight. She was moaning and groaning with every other breath. She was restless and agitated. I called Barbara, Sarah, Tricia, and David, asking for suggestions. The best suggestions I got were to play some calming, comforting music, read her some scripture, and pray aloud for her. So that’s what I did. David had installed an Alexa speaker. I told Alexa to play some Ferdinand Ortega. She did. That technology is amazing. I had given Mom a 70 CD set of Bible readings, but she had not been able to play them on her CD player or her computer. David even brought her some special headphones EPILOGUE 305 to plug into her laptop. But she couldn’t use them. After about 20 minutes of Ferdinand Ortega, I told Alexa to be quiet. I decided I would go in there and read scripture to her. I grabbed a flashlight to read by because I didn’t want to turn on bright lights. I set up a folding chair beside her bed, sat down, and took her hand as I read about six Psalms to her. Then I stood up and prayed over her, asking the LORD, “Please give her some rest, real rest, and peace. She’s so agitated by something.” Then I took up the folding chair, went into the living room, and unfolded the sofa for my bed. Mom was still tossing her hands and feet, moaning with every other breath. I woke up at four am and heard no noise from Mom’s room. I got up and went to check on her. I touched her hand, and it was warm, so I figured all was well and went back into the living room to bed. As soon as I laid down, I heard, “Peter, I’m thirsty. Want some water!” “Okay, Mom! I’m coming!” I jumped up and scooted into the kitchen, grabbed a coffee mug because it had a handle I could hold onto, and filled it with cool, filtered water from the fridge. I rushed into her bedroom and pulled down the covers to swing her feet over the edge so I could sit her up and hold the cup to her lips. She grabbed that cup with both hands and swilled that water down so fast she had to stop a couple of times to catch her breath. She got down to the bottom, and I asked her if she wanted more. “No, … Thank you.” So, I laid her back down and pulled up the covers for her. And then I went around to the other side of her bed, took her hand, and said, “I love you, Mom.” She said, “Oh, Peter, I love you, too. And I just don’t know what I’d do without you.” 306 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE That was the best communication we’d had since I arrived. And I felt like she was on the road to recovery. When I got up early that morning, I texted Tricia and David, telling them what had happened and that I thought we would see her rebounding this day before Mother’s Day. Cindy came in on time this morning, and I told her what had happened. She was overjoyed, “Praise God, that’s wonderful. Thank you, Jesus.” And then, “Let’s go in and get her ready for the day.” That sounded good to me, so in we went to get Mom up and ready. Mom said quietly, “Water, I want some water.” I was about to get her some when Cindy suggested we get her dressed and then have breakfast for her. So, I thought that sounded like a good idea. I went into the living room to give Mom some privacy. Cindy got busy preparing her for the day. Then I heard Cindy calling me urgently, “Peter, Peter, come in here. Come here quick!” So, I quickly stepped into the bedroom, and Cindy had Mom in her arms, rocking her back and forth, hugging her and saying, “No, please God. No, not now.” And I could see Mom had stopped breathing. I sat on the edge of the bed and said, “Let me have her.” And I took Mom in my arms, arched her back with her head laid back, saying, “Take a breath, Mom. Take a deep breath. Take a breath.” But there was no response. And I said, “She’s gone.” Cindy, standing, was in tears, saying, “I’m so sorry, so sorry.” I said, “It’s okay, Cindy. It’s okay.” I went over and wrapped my arms around her in a hug. “It’s okay,” I said, “It’s okay.” EPILOGUE 307 And it was okay. I know Mom’s in heaven with the King of kings and all her family who preceded her. I have her personal Bibles and Bible study workbooks. She knew Jesus from the time she gave it all to Him after Dad had his stroke. Her life changed at that point. She became a happier, more content person. She was a blessing to many of her family, friends, and neighbors. What more could we ask for? I spoke at Mom’s funeral and related this story of her passing and that she had been a changed person from her younger years. I related how she used to be a perfectionist housekeeper, and every housekeeping matter had to be done to her high standards. She collected some fine china and some decent furniture. She didn’t like cooking, but she was a great cook. When we lived in Houston, I got in trouble once for wrestling with my cousin Johnny in the living room. I felt like there was a large enough open area with a soft carpet to wrestle on and do no harm. Mom didn’t think so. At least I didn’t get a whippin’ for that. She used to get after me for not keeping in touch when I was in college. Dad came looking for me twice because they hadn’t heard from me in so long. I wonder if they hadn’t been so close-hauled on me while I was growing up, would I have felt closer to them, even when far away? But after Dad had his stroke in 1985 and came home in a wheelchair, he never walked well again. He practiced walking up and down the bedroom hallway until he fell and broke his hip. The doctors pinned it back together, but he spent hardly any time on his feet after that. Mom was 308 MY AMERICAN HERITAGE his primary caretaker, which kept her very busy. People visited him frequently, including physical therapists, home nurses, and lots of friends. He joined the stroke club and worked with caretakers and victims. Mom had to drive him around, load and unload his wheelchair, and keep the house straight for all the people coming and going. She was overwhelmed. Her natural obsessive-compulsive housekeeping got the better of her. She told me one day she found herself alone, face down on the floor, in tears and slapping the floor, complaining that she just couldn’t do it all. She begged God to help her.She was at her wit’s end and begged Him for help, ultimately turning her life over to Him. She told me she had gone to a Billy Graham crusade in New York City with a girlfriend years before and had an inner urge to go forward but chickened out. When this situation piled up on her, she wondered how her life might have been different had she gone forward then and built a stronger relationship with Jesus. He did come to her when she opened her heart to Him, and He lifted a great burden from her. She told Tricia that if she’d gone down the aisle back then, it could have saved her 20 years of anger. She began to experience a peace she had never known before. She became a happier person, got serious with a Community Bible Study, and worked with her church’s Prayer Group. I know she’s in a much better place now. But I still miss her. EPILOGUE 309 The End of this book but not of history, because it’s “His Story” CAN YOU HELP? Thank you for reading my book! I really appreciate all of your feedback, and I love hearing what readers have to say. I need your input to make the next version of this book and any future books better. Please leave me an honest review on Amazon letting me know what you thought of the book. Thank you so much! — And, if you feel that you have a book in you, just egging to get out, Consider SelfPublishing School which helped me. Here’s a free resource to begin outlining your book! Follow the steps on that page for a free resource to get going on your book and unlock a discount to get started with Self-Publishing School. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Several friends and family spent hours reading my manuscript and giving much needed criticism and encouragement. I list them alphabetically, not according to how much help they were, or how well qualified they were. Every single one was a help. Their ages range from twenties to late seventies. Not all have college degrees, but neither do I. Some have advanced degrees, including PhDs. Several have been educators. One is another author and also a copy editor. A couple are engineers, and one is a retired attorney. Several taught Sunday school for many years. Eight of the eleven read the entire manuscript. I treasure each one and am humbly grateful for all their input. Harriett and Robert Berman David Cooper Bill Figueiredo Don Holwerda John McBride Will Nichols Chuck Puglisi Barbara Snyder David Snyder Jerry Stauffer