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GRANDPA WAKE AND THE ATOMIC BOMB, A
By Brian D. Wake
Douglas LeVern Wake graduated from Royal Oak
High School in 1935, at age 17, during the Great Depression.
I don't know how good a student he was in high school but I know
that when I attended the same school a quarter-century later
there were teachers who remembered who he was and, in fact,
sometimes accidentally called me "Doug",
a sign that he cut a wide
Doug was ambitious. He wanted to become a
physician and because he "wanted to get it done fast"
he applied to the University of Michigan undergraduate school which
offered a "combined program".
This program allowed a student to enter an accredited medical school
after only three years of study and obtain a Bachelor of Science
degree after successfully completing the freshman year of medical
school. I am sure Dad was an excellent pre-med student.
His main memory of the undergraduate years
is that he was poor. He paid for most of his schooling by
working for his Dad (my Grandpa Wake) as a carpenter. His father,
Lewis Wake ("Lew"), built houses for a
living and Dad worked for him during school vacations and the summer
By the time he was in medical school, he was able to earn at least
$600 during the summer
and by the time he was an intern he was earning $5 an hour ("very
During the summer and Christmas vacation, he routinely worked six or
seven days a week as did his father.
On his first day as an undergraduate, he felt very fortunate to
"land" a job washing dishes in the basement of a church fellowship
where his pay consisted entirely of free meals. He also obtained a
job doing experimental work in a laboratory for the federal
This paid the princely sum of twenty five cents an hour. During our
conversation, he contrasted his experience with that of
Howard Penney, a good friend from high school. Howard was also a
poor but talented young man.
He could not afford college but was able to arrange to take the
competitive examination for West Point.
He was accepted to the Academy and subsequently obtained three star
status as a General Officer before retiring.
Tuition for Doug's first term was $54. His rental room cost $2 per
week and the quarters were quite Spartan,
including a desk, chair, bed and towels. He mailed his clothes home
to his mother for washing.
She, on occasion, would mail him $5 in cash to help him meet
expenses. Evidently, she was a woman of few written words
because often there was no letter or note with the money. Lew sent
him only one note during his school years
(I remember receiving only one from my Dad as well). Dad remembers
his academic schedule being "heavy"
and weighted disproportionately with science courses, similar to my
experience a generation later.
Doug applied to McGill University (in
Montreal) where his mother went to school, the University of Iowa
and the University of Michigan for his medical education. He was
quickly accepted at McGill and the University of Iowa
but there was no word from U. of M. He preferred Michigan because
tuition was less and it was closer to home.
Dad has always been a man of action and his approach to this problem
He dropped by Professor Furstenberg's office and asked his secretary
if he could see the dean (of the medical school).
He was ushered right in. Dean Furstenberg reviewed Dad's file on the
spot and he then explained
that he couldn't speak for the acceptance committee but intimated
that admittance into the medical school shouldn't be a problem
and that he should "just hang around Ann Arbor for a few more weeks"
until the committee acted.
Tuition, the first semester at Michigan
Medical School, was $125. Doug didn't have to work during the school
because his skill as a carpenter had improved to the point that he
was able to earn $600 per summer working for his father.
He also sold blood for $25 a pint (the same remuneration as when
Joan and I were in medical school there many years later).
He was "rushed" by Kappa Beta Phi medical fraternity. The fraternity
was conveniently located near the medical school
and was a very cheap place to live. He slept in a twenty man
dormitory with bunk beds.
There were also two-man rooms for studying. Dad kept tropical fish
in his room.
There were 127 students in his medical
school class, including five females, three blacks,
two Japanese from Japan and one Japanese from Hawaii.
Doug loved medical school and was an excellent, indeed, a brilliant
student. He graduated third in his class, "behind two Jewish guys".
He was something like three hundredths of a point out of first.
Steve Fajans, who went on to become
Chief of Endocrinology at the school, was his good friend and first
in the class.
The three top students in the class were inducted into the AOA
honorary society as juniors
and were excused from oral examinations senior year.
Most of the women in his class had earned doctorate degrees before
entering medical school.
One was nicknamed "two ton Tilly". There were 107 graduates in the
class. Dad was not just a bookworm.
Junior year, he and Mom built a twenty-four foot wooden sailboat
from scratch in their "spare time". They built her from plans in
Doug and Maggie (Dad and Mom) met in
November 1938 when Doug was a freshman in medical school.
time he was dating Howard Penney's younger sister, Ruth. My Grandma
Wake (Mary Alice Pratt Wake, "Allie")
encouraged Dad to bring
friends home during school breaks. One of Doug's good friends, Mike
was a "prompter" in the Spanish play at Michigan. Maggie was
the lead actress in the play
and Mike and Maggie therefore met each
other. They were not dating. Doug invited Mike home for
Since Maggie's home was 600 miles away, in the
Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan, he brought her along with him.
Thanksgiving weekend included the biggest football game of the year
in Royal Oak, pitting the Acorns against their main rivals
nearby Birmingham. Mom and Dad danced at the homecoming dance. There
was a mutual attraction
and they were married at the end of Dad's
sophomore year, August 18, 1940. Maggie worked at the Ypsilanti
State Mental Hospital
as a clinical psychologist. Before her
marriage, Mother took the State of Michigan Civil Service Department
Institutional Psychologist examination.
She did well, placing second
in the state. They rented a room on Huron Street in Ann Arbor. Mom
mentioned that they
"shared a bathroom with a beer drinker". Their
second apartment was on Packard in Ann Arbor.
Doug was in ROTC early in college but he
quit after one year. Politically he was an isolationist
and he did
not foresee a war at the time. He believes that if he had remained
he never would have made it to medical school. He received a
(he remembers it as coming before the Japanese strike on
Pearl Harbor) while he was in medical school
asking him to volunteer
for the Army so he joined-up when he was a junior. He became a 2nd
Lieutenant on inactive duty
with orders to remain in Ann Arbor and
finish school. By the time Pearl Harbor came along Doug had come to
that Japan was an aggressive and dangerous country to be
feared. He claims that he personally was not surprised by
surprise attack on the USA but that it was still a shocking event.
When Dad was a senior, two U. S. Army General Hospital units were
drawn from the school faculty which left
the staff short of
physicians but presented an opportunity for Doug. Three or four top
students, including him,
were assigned duties such that they acted
essentially as unpaid interns. Senior year,
Dad felt he looked too
young so he grew a mustache.
Mom worked at the Lapeer State Home and
Training Center, also as a clinical psychologist.
The University of Michigan wanted Doug to
stay on in Ann Arbor for his internship. They offered him $15 a
food and a cot on the upper floor of University
Hospital. By word of mouth, Dad heard that Henry Ford Hospital,
built by Henry Ford in downtown Detroit, was offering interns $125
per month, with laundry (but no uniforms)
and food. Prior to this he
had not heard of the hospital. This internship was popular with
medical graduates from schools on the East Coast,
such as Yale and
Princeton. It was popular with Doug because of the large salary! A
four-day competitive examination
was required to winnow the field.
He had orders from the Army to go ahead and take an internship
graduated from Michigan on May 2, 1942, and began his internship at
Ford on May 3rd.
He was the first intern ever accepted from
the U. of M.
Ford also provided the Army with a general hospital
unit so Dad was obliged to work a seven day week
because of the
staff physician shortage. Some nights he slept in a junior bed in
the pediatric ward keeping him close to the action.
Mom and Dad
rented an apartment at the corner of Seward and Twelfth Street near
It was located on the fourth floor of the building
which presented a problem when I arrived on the scene.
remembered hauling the perambulator and me, with difficulty, up and
down the stairs. There was one bedroom,
a bathroom, kitchen and a
living room with a Murphy bed. When I came home from the hospital as
I slept in the bedroom and Doug and Maggie used the Murphy
bed. Until my arrival,
Mother worked in social services for the City
of Detroit Children's Aid Society. When the city hired her they
matched Dad's salary,
a fact that Mother related with pride.
As Dad remembers it, both his internship
and pediatric residency were cut a little short due to the war. In
he was in training for about thirty-two months, four months
short of the usual thirty-six. In particular,
about this time in his
life, he remembers he loved his pediatric residency and found it
Initially, as he began his training, they lost about
a child a day from infectious diseases
despite the availability of
sulfanilamide which was useful for treating urinary tract infections
but not much else. Dr. Johnny Johnson,
the chief of the pediatrics
service, had been exposed to many infectious diseases and was a
universal blood donor (O negative).
As a "last ditch" effort he
would donate 50 cc. of his blood to a child dying from infection and
sometimes it helped and the patient survived.
While Doug was a
pediatric resident, Princeton and Henry Ford Hospital became the
first two facilities in the country to receive penicillin
London, United Kingdom. Penicillin was truly a "wonder drug", saving
At the end of his residency, Dad was
ordered to Carlyle Barracks in Eastern Pennsylvania
for six weeks of
basic training for doctors and dentists. He left Ford in early
January of 1945.
I had been born in May 1943 and Mom was foil-term
with Patty Jo.
Mom and I moved in with Grandma and Grandpa Wake
(Allie and Lew).
It took several days for Doug to receive a message
about Patty's birth later in January.
While at the Barracks, he was
called out of class one day to speak to a mysterious Major who
without explaining his purpose,
asked him questions about his
education. Dad's Colonel thought "something was up";
Army was searching for German-speaking physicians to assign to the
European Theater of Operations.
Shortly afterwards, he received
unusual orders to report to the Knoxville, Tennessee, train station.
After he arrived, he was "standing around the station wondering why
he was there" when a Sergeant showed up with a car.
He was taken to
the 59,000 acre Site X of the Manhattan Project (or Manhattan
Engineering District as the Army called it)
which he had never heard
of. Site X (Dad refers to it as Oak Ridge) was a highly secret
compound located along the Clinch River,
a tributary of the
Tennessee, about twenty miles west of Knoxville in eastern
It was near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which
Mom and Dad visited some months later.
On the trip to the Army base,
through isolated semi-wilderness, he noted that they passed an
enormous amount of mud and forded several streams. They passed many
shacks with appliances on their porches and junk in their yards.
The Army base was appropriately nicknamed
"Dog Patch" by some, after the "Li'l Abner" comic strip.
arrived at their destination at eight or nine P.M. and the
mysterious Major briefly reappeared to identify Doug
and he was then
taken to the emergency room where he spent his first night in
He was assigned to his billet in the morning. His
main professional responsibility was to practice pediatrics in the
250 bed hospital
but he also worked in the V. D. clinic every tenth
night. This clinic was for the laborers, mostly black, who worked on
Although he didn't mention it on this occasion, I remember
Dad telling me that he resented using precious penicillin
venereal disease when he had sick kids who needed it and I recall
him telling me he stole penicillin
to use on the pediatric ward.
Most of the physicians, including Dad,
quickly surmised that something "big" was going on and were soon
The engineer who oversaw the building of the
Pentagon, General Groves, was on the base supervising some
No one was directly answering questions but
within 24 hours of his arrival,
"one of the guys" suggested that
Doug re-read the last chapter of his college physics text
dealt with the theoretical splitting of the atom. According to Dad,
at its peak, the population at Oak Ridge was 125,000.
three main groups of people living there: Builders,
physicians/allied health professionals and scientists.
scientists were predominantly associated with the University of
Chicago but he mentioned that there were a few Canadians.
great concern within the physician community that the bomb would be
very devastating for the world
by poisoning the atmosphere with
At this point in our interview Dad segued
into a story about his father. It seems that two senators visited
in an effort to determine what secret project President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was spending so much money on.
were to be questioned by the senators had been instructed to keep
their answers short and vague so as to keep
the men in the dark
about the goings-on there. One of the senators, Harry Truman, was
of the Senate Committee to Investigate the National Defense
Program. Students of history know that when
Mr. Truman became
president he had no knowledge of the atomic bomb, so obviously a
good job of obfuscation was done that day.
At any rate, Dad can't
remember the name of the other senator who "was someone from
This senator's father had been the chief of surgery at
the Mayo Clinic. Some years earlier when
Grandpa Wake (Lew) was a
young man he became very ill from hyperthyroidism.
dropped from 190 to 110 pounds and he was close to death.
six months at the Mayo Clinic under the care of the senator's
His disease was treated first by ligation (tying off) of the
superior pole arteries of the thyroid gland and then,
after a few
weeks of rest, by ligation of the inferior pole arteries. He went on
to a complete recovery.
At this point in the story Maggie, Brian
and Patty Jo were living in Royal Oak, Michigan, at 302 S. Maple,
with Lew and Allie.
Dad was living in a "hutment", a building with
lots of rooms, two men to a room. He wished to have his family join
him at Oak Ridge
so he needed to arrange for accommodations for them
all. At the time, he was not considered particularly important to
the war effort.
Higher ranking career officers and important
civilians were qualified for renting homes built along the Clinch
He worked with a civilian nurse, whose husband was stationed
who was eligible to rent a house and was willing to
sublet it. Thus, the way was paved to bring the family to Tennessee.
Doug probably took the train to the Detroit area to fetch the
(During the interview he stated that Uncle Jack drove them
to Tennessee but Jack says "no".)
At any rate, the family took up
residence in a small house along the River.
It was the usual wet
Tennessee spring and there was red mud everywhere and Brian liked to
get into it.
Sometimes, he would return home with no shoes—they were
lost in the quagmire somewhere.
Maggie, who was caring for an infant as
well, became exasperated with Brian on occasion and
abandoned him to the sticky stuff and it was left to a neighbor to
but only after asking permission to do so (if you know
Mom and Dad well, you know why permission was asked for).
flies in the house and Brian earned spending money by killing them
with a fly swatter for a penny a piece.
This lucrative arrangement
lasted until it was discovered that he, no dummy as a toddler,
killing flies outside of the house and collecting them for payment.
Other members of the family assumed new duties in Oak Ridge as well.
As they forded streams in the countryside near the base,
would wade across ahead of the car to test the depth of the water.
Despite the frequent rains,
the county was "dry" in one important
aspect and Dad sometimes made a "booze run"
to the next county over
for he and his fellow officers. Dad also recalled that many of the
"natives" were "packing" guns.
He was in the barbershop one day and
discovered that everyone but him was "carrying".
By the spring of 1945, Dad had become more
aware of the specifics of what was going on at Oak Ridge.
magnet had been built and was being used to separate uranium
isotopes and if you wore a watch nearby,
it would become permanently
magnetized and cease functioning.
He mentioned that a large amount
of silver had been used for the magnet.
Site X was administered by
Brigadier General Leslie Richard Groves who had been Deputy Chief of
construction for the U. S. Army.
He had just finished the building
of the Pentagon when he was placed in complete charge of the
Manhattan Project and promoted from Colonel.
Under his command,
fifty-five miles of rail roadbed and three hundred miles of paved
roads and streets were built at Oak Ridge.
separation plants and gaseous-diffusion plants were built as well as
a good deal of housing and other facilities.
The overall purpose of
the facility was to separate U235 from U238 in sufficient quantity
to make an atomic bomb.
Doug spent several weeks traveling around
the country in the spring and summer of 1945.
He was sent to the
Philadelphia Naval Yard for a short period of time where uranium
isotope was also being separated.
His role was to learn physics. He
went to Rochester, New York where "German Jews" (scientists) were
studying the effects of radiation
on fruit flies and extrapolating
the data to humans. He attended lectures at the University of
Chicago, on the south side of Chicago,
where the first nuclear
reaction had been observed (under the stadium). He tells the story
of a brilliant, very young, physicist
delivering a lecture to a
group of physicians, including Dad, believing they were fellow
It was unintelligible, with numerous equations and other
symbols being written on a blackboard and it was left to Dad to
the lecturer and rectify the embarrassing situation. He
informed the young prodigy that they were physicians who were
the medical effects of radiation. Later, he traveled to the
University of California, Berkeley,
where he met the premier
experimental physicist of his generation, Ernest Orlando Lawrence,
whose forte was big machine physics and who was largely responsible
for the design of the process for electromagnetic separation
uranium isotopes to liberate U235 from U238.
Still later on he went to Los Alamos (Site
Y) about seventy miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico,
was introduced to the Geiger-Mueller counter which was used to
He described the "screaming" of the counter
when there was a large amount of radiation detected in one area and
as an aside,
he mentioned that Geiger counters went along with the
troops to France after D-Day because it was feared that
had the atomic bomb and would use it in Europe. Critical mass
experiments were being performed at Los Alamos and,
while he was
there, he heard of a critical mass explosion with a large whole body
dose of radiation delivered to three men.
They were taken to the
hospital and the dose was calculated. The physicists thought the
victims would be fine but
the physicians disagreed. The man closest
to the accident died in about a week of renal failure, as expected.
A second died years later of possible side effects and Dad never
learned the fate of the third.
Doug met a young woman scientist who
was conducting implosion experiments which were designed to use
to set off an atomic bomb. According to him,
physicists were often quite casual about handling radioactive
For example, one time he found a few grams of mislaid
radium in a bag in the bottom drawer of a physicist's desk and,
another occasion, he discovered cast-off radioactive uranium in a
machining waste pile.
Dad visited Alamogordo soon after the
first bomb test. The Trinity atomic bomb test took place on July 16,
1945, in the desert,
sixty miles northwest of Alamogordo. He flew
over the saucer-shaped crater in a DC-3 and later from a jeep
took radioactivity measurements, reaching his maximum daily dose in
about ten minutes.
He "liberated" a few pieces of greenish glass
(Trinitite) from the crater created by the incredible heat from the
(100 million degrees C) which had fused the sand of the
desert into glass.
Some years later he buried the fragments in the
backyard of our home at 1406 Woodsboro in Royal Oak.
"mildly" radioactive (as a radiologist I was struck throughout the
interview that Dad was quite blase about radiation exposure).
mentioned that the bomb was exploded from a high tower and that the
radioactivity measurements in the area were relatively low
much of the material went into the atmosphere and traveled downwind.
Dad related a fascinating and poignant
experience from his time in Oak Ridge.
He made a house call to a
home in the community. Hanging on one of the walls of the home was a
black-banded photo of a man
who Dad recognized as Francis Flaherty,
a good friend of his from college.
They had been in ROTC together
and both hoped to someday attend medical school as classmates.
Francis had stayed with ROTC and never made it to medical school.
The photograph was, upon closer inspection,
found to be the cover of
either Look or Life magazine (Dad couldn't remember which).
Congressional Medal of Honor hung on the wall nearby. It seems that
Francis had served as a Lieutenant in the Navy
and was on the
battleship Arizona when she was sunk at Pearl Harbor.
(His job on
the ship had something to do with the ventilation system so he knew
the duct system through and through.)
He had saved many men who had
been trapped in air pockets in the sunken vessel by finding his way
to them through the ventilation system
and leading them to safety.
He didn't return from his last trip. The woman of the house was
By August of 1945, Doug had to move to Los
Alamos and the family needed to move elsewhere.
Uncle Jack (John
Hextel Leroy Wake) drove Maggie, Brian and Patty Jo to Royal Oak in
a Chevrolet Business Coupe.
They would stay with Lew and Allie. Jack
was recently discharged from the Army Air Corps He had earned his
wings as a navigator,
then as a bombardier and finally as a
He finished his tour of duty as an instructor in
radar-navigation and never flew a mission in combat.
At some point,
the family moved to the Keweenaw Peninsula to live with Grandma
(Laura Mae Kahl Bryant) and Grandpa Bryant
(Frederick William Bryant Sr., DDS) at their home at 110 Woodland
Avenue in Laurium, Michigan.
Dad had been a "shutterbug" for some
time and he tells a story about seeing a mock-up of one of the first
Fat Boy atomic bombs while at Los Alamos. He took photographs of it
even though he knew
this would be frowned upon by the security
people and he developed the film surreptitiously
and possessed the
photos for a few weeks. Eventually, when security got really tight,
he decided to destroy the photos and negatives so as to avoid
trouble with the authorities.
The atomic bombs had been dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
The war was over for many
people but not for Doug who was assigned to the Navy to participate
in Project Crossroads,
and sent to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall
Islands where two more bombs were to be tested.
He departed the
United States, from Oakland, California, on a hospital ship, named
the USS Haven
which was a converted, Kaiser-built, oil tanker.
first bomb detonated at Bikini was exploded in the air like the
bombs dropped on Japan. For that test, on July 1, 1946,
Dad was on
the hospital ship about five miles away upwind of the explosion.
According to him the first explosion did little damage to the fleet
of boats, many of them Japanese,
assembled at the Pacific atoll but
the goats tethered on the ships were singed by the heat.
relatively little radiation at the site as with the test at
The second bomb detonated underwater did a great deal of
damage to the ships, sinking many.
Dad was on a seagoing tug ten
miles away. A lot of radiation was left behind.
explosions, Doug was involved in the initial boarding of most of the
Three men carrying instruments boarded from Landing
Craft Personnel via rope ladders. With the wind and waves,
maneuver could be quite dangerous, especially for those who were not
experienced sailors as Doug was.
He, of course, had no difficulty
timing the rise and fall of the boarding craft and often stepped
directly onto the deck of the ship
to be inspected. One unfortunate
person fractured his leg boarding one of the ships. Dad, more or
took over command of the boarding parties. He often received
his maximum permissible daily dose of radiation within a few minutes
because of the contamination, he was sprayed with a fire hose
and issued a new uniform every day.
Doug really enjoyed sailing on the 120
foot tug—it was "good living". He hit it off well with the captain
who was smart
and had worked his way up from a deck hand and was
therefore referred to as a "Mustang".
Dad was still interested in
tropical fish and managed to wangle the Admiral's (William Henry
Purnell, Admiral USN)
gig to travel to shore to collect fish in the
shallows near the beach which he then put in radioactive water
placed on photographic film to obtain an auto-radiograph. He
remembers some of the photographs may have been
National Geographic or Look magazine. While living on the tug, a
typhoon blew through the area.
For safety's sake, the ship moved
well away from the islands in the area and steamed a square course,
ten miles on a side, until the storm subsided. The wind blew to
50-60 knots at its height.
The conditions were rough and on two of
the four legs of the box they sailed, the tug rolled on her
Dad bunked with the skipper and they were the only two
sailors on board the craft who didn't suffer from seasickness.
about seven months at Bikini, Doug became bored with the routine.
finagled an assignment to Japan to study the effects of the bombs on
He was dispatched from Bikini in August of 1946 with
"orders to go anywhere in the world"
signed by the "top guy" in the
Navy (Secretary of the Navy?). He had "top secret" security
and his orders made it clear to others that his mission
was high priority and he traveled well,
sometimes bumping others
from planes. He flew to Yokohama, Japan, part of the way by flying
with multiple stops along the way (Quadulan, Guam, and Iwo
Jima). While in Japan, he traveled with an interpreter,
photographer and a Japanese physician.
spent several weeks in the country, collecting data. He recalls that
many people suffered from eosinophilia in their blood.
thought this was related to radiation exposure but later he came to
understand that it was caused
by chronic parasitic infestation which
was very common in Japan. Eventually, articles were written and
published in the medical literature.
His name was left off the
articles. (His body language and tone of voice suggested that this
did not please him).
He related some interesting experiences. At
Nagasaki Children's Hospital he discovered and liberated two
patellae (knee caps)
which he believes he still possesses somewhere.
Stomach cancer is common in Japan and while he was in the country
observed gastrostomies being performed successfully under local
Doug lived in a hotel in Tokyo, sharing a
room with another officer who worked for
General Douglas MacArthur
who administered Japan.
MacArthur was the Supreme Commander of
Allied Forces in the Pacific
and after the Japanese surrender in
August 1945, he became the head of the occupation forces in Japan.
He was responsible for a great deal of the rebuilding of Japan and
he habitually worked ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week.
General was bigger than life and very much into pomp and
circumstance. For example,
there was a parade which Dad observed one
year after the bombing of Japan which MacArthur led in his Packard
followed by 5,000 Japanese, many riding white horses. The
participating U. S. jeeps were freshly painted and varnished. Dad
obviously much admired MacArthur (the same self-assurance and
In November of 1946 Dad returned to the
United States. He still feels fortunate not to have spent
five years in Japan as many servicemen did. He was placed on leave
in Detroit and bought a brand new Ford for $900.
His discharge from
the service was pending and to cut through the red tape and move
things along faster,
he drove to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, in the
new car, where with his usual self-assurance and confidence
filled out his own discharge papers and convinced a Lieutenant to
He returned to Royal Oak to practice pediatrics as a
civilian, opening an office at 735 South Washington Avenue,
patients had a challenging walk up twenty steps to reach the waiting
While Dad was on the road, Lew had built two wooden examining
tables for him and the practice began the day after
he returned home
from Georgia. Many patients were immediately referred to him by
other physicians in the community
who knew of him from his Ford
Hospital days, so he was busy from day one despite the slog up the
steps to the waiting room.
Office visits were $3 and house calls $5.
But that’s a story for another day.
This memoir is based upon several hours of
interviews in March and July, 2006 when Dad was 88.
present much of the time as well and made some contributions to the
story. I also spoke to Uncle Jack for a few minutes
to clarify his
role in the memoir. Dad was unfocused and disorganized some of the
time when we spoke
but the stories are wonderful. I tried to verify
names, places and dates when feasible,
especially when Mom and Dad’s
memories were particularly hazy. I hope readers find the end product
interesting and enjoyable.
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