January 25, 1955 William Shepard To Parents

25 January 1955

Dear Dick & Dad:

Really dont have any news. Lois will keep you informed when I know the exact time Ill be home, and were my next assignment is. What Im writing about is to see if you know any people in Parkersburg named Criner.

Major H. S. Criner is at Taegu [Air Base], where I am visiting. This evening we started talking and It seemed that he knew a lot of people that we should know. In fact his grandmothers name was Smith – wasnt there a Smith in our family? [Yes] He knows Shepards – Buchanans – [did a quick check on Lt. Col. Harold Smith Criner, not related via Smiths.]

There are a lot of Davis & Smiths in his family.

Well it has been warmer the past few days. Perhaps the last few weeks of my stay here will be more pleasant. Anyhow it doesnt matter very much, just so I get to come home around 1 March.

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I suppose you will be getting ready to go to Canada soon. Wish I could make it, but it seems that I just wont ever get a vacation in the summer. Maybe when I reture?

Hope you are all well. Give my regards to Aunt Doshie & Uncle Burch. Ill see you soon
Bill

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December 26, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

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26 December 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

It is the lull between holidays. We had a cold christmas day with no snow. The package arrived OK and the presents were just fine. Thanks ever so much for the P.J’s as they were needed.

Work here at K-55 in Korea is much different than I have been doing. Im back to communications work and it isnt nearly as interesting as fighter aircraft operations. But it will get me home sooner. If I would have remained in Okinawa I’d come home in April. This way Ill make it in March. In fact I expect to leave Korea sometime during the last two weeks in February. There isnt much news from

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here. I just wanted you to know that I was still kicking. I should be getting my new assignment stateside in a few days of a few weeks at the most. When I know where Im going Ill sent another letter.

Try not to let the cold weather get you down. It is bothering me! No colds or runny nose but I just cant seem to keep warm.

Well, goodbye for now Ill write later.

Your Son
Bill

November 19, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

19 November 54

Dear Mother:

Have been moving about quite a bit so I havent been able to write much. Letters to Lois have been rather light. As you probably know I was supposed to be in Korea, but have been sent for a period of temporary duty to Okinawa – Pen is not too good so excuse the scratches.

The way things are going, I should be back in Korea about 10 December. And I hope to get my christmas boxes there. It is medium warm here on Okinawa – about 50º to 70º with the wind blowing constantly. It was beginning to get cold in Korea – down to freezing quite a bit.

As you mentioned in your last letter, the boys are growing up and I will probably notice a big change in them. Sure miss the little rascals. [apparently his daughter is of no interest]

Im very sorry to hear that Bess is having so much trouble. I hope that she is finished with it now. She certainly has enough trouble as it is.

We are on maneuvers here in Okinawa and I’ve been living in a tent & sleeping bag

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for the past week. There is about two more weeks to go.

So much work to do that I dont have much time to get homesick. But once in a while I do.

Flying is about normal. I finished my 2000th hour last month. I am assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron now and it is quite some outfit. The squadron insignia is a rooster with a pair of boxing gloves.

We almost caught the last typhoon but it died out just before getting here. Would have been rough on the equipment out in the open like we are.

Dont know just when I’ll get to write agian. But Ill try not to make it too long.

Take care of yourself & tell Dad hello for me
Bill

October 31, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

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31 Oct 1954

Dear Dick & Dad:

Just after writing you a letter, I received yours of the 15th. In fact Im not sure if I received yours before or after I wrote last. Anyhow this letter will bring you up to date.

I am now at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa for several weeks, after which I shall return to K-55 at Osan Korea.

The outfit moved here to Kadena, and I was transferred out just prior to their leaving. I will be as Headquarters 5th Air Force at K-55 when I return, about 12 November.

The cool weather had just started when I left K55. Here at Hadena it is windy, but not cold. About 60º-65º.

Sorry to hear about Bess. Hope that she is alright by now.

Give Doshi & Burch my regards, and dont work so hard.

Looks like Ill be home early in March. So Ill try to write a few more times before then. But remember that I was behind the door when the pens were passed out. — Bill

October 24, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

 

24 Oct 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

I havent forgotten you. Havent been writing anyone very much lately. Work has been real heavy the past month. 14 to 16 hours a day. Altho there hasnt been much flying.

It is cool here now. Frost in the evenings. Clear blue skies. The days are warm. Typical October weather at home I guess.

I quit work today (Sunday) at 1200 noon. A party of us went hunting pheasants. I shot one. Only had one shot. We saw a lot of them, but they would get up just out of gunshot. They are ringnecks like the ones at home. The Koreans dont hunt, so there are lots of them here. A lot of ducks and geese too.

If I stay here this fall I will probably get to do a lot of hunting. I heard from Ruth yesterday, and she says that everything is going O.K. Havent heard from you folks lately, but I imagine everything is alright too.

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Lois writes every few days that one of the kids is spending a night with you. I know that they enjoy it. And Im happy that I brought the family back to Westerville while I am overseas.

According to the calenday, it is 128 days to go. That is, if I stay in Korea. If I should move elsewhere it would be about 180 days. In any event Ill be home before school is out.

Take good card of yourselves & write when you have the time.

Your son
Bill

August 21, 1954 William Shepard To Parents

 

21 August 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

Its a good thing that you dont hold your breath until I write! But I do try to get in a few. By the time I write Lois & the kids I’m usually written out.

I have been flying a lot during the last few weeks. Nearly all in jets. Dont fly the C-47 much anymore.

It has been unbearably hot since the 1st of August. I cooled off a little yesterday, but it is back at it again today. We had a hurricane called “Grace” that tore up southern Japan several days ago. It just barely reached here with light winds, so may be it will change the weather.

Lois wrote that she and the kids had a fine time in Canada and a good trip home. I want to thank you again for giving them a vacation.

When do you plan to come back to Westerville? You may have told me, but I forget. Really, I guess the best time of the year is in the fall. I would enjoy it the most. Hunting

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and fishing would certainly be better then.

Is everything going all right? I wonder if it is. I mean if you & Dad are both OK?

I dont have any real news, but I wanted to write a line. Havent had a letter from you for a while, but guess I owe you one.

Take care of yourselves

Love
Bill

August 5, 1954 William Shepard to Parents

5 August 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

Lois & the kids are undoubtedly on their way home by now. I just want to thank you for having them up. From what they wrote, I know they all enjoyed it.

Work has been pretty heavy again. I let up on the office work for the last part of July and did nothing but fly. When my jet training was finished & had to go back to the office. So Im about caught up now. Ill be flying part the time & pushing a pencil the rest. Id rather fly now.

By the news, Canada is the place to spend summer. The heat has certainly been terrific hasn’t it?

We have had it cool – only the last month it has been raining very heavy. – 6 inches in 5 hours several times.

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There isnt very much news. I just wanted to write to let you know I was around. –

Its only about 6 months until I start home. Cant get finished soon enough to suit me, but I cant complain – I picked this business.

Take care of yourselves

Love
Bill

July 10, [1954] William Shepard to Parents and Son Kenny

10 July

Dear Dad & Dick & Kenny

You wouldnt know a week ended. We are working right on, as it looks as if the weather would be good. Good flying weather is scarce in Korea during July & August, so we must make the best of it.

Lois writes me that she expects to start up about the 25th of this month. I hope they all have a good time.

Wish I could taste some of the lake trout now. Perhaps next year I can.

Getting a lot of flying time now. Will get about 25 jet hours & 10 conventional this month. Like the jets best. They sure fly easy.

Down to weight now and have stopped dieting — Im at 180# now and so help me Ill try not to get any heavier. Feel so much better when Im not fat.

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Kenny — have you been catching any fish? And how about wild game? Is there any around? It has been so long since Ive been up there I have forgotten how it looks. Why dont you take some pictures?

You know I bought a .35mm projector the other day. It is a TDC with automatic slide changing – a beauty. So we dont have to borrow any more.

No real news so Ill close the letter. Wish you all good health and good fishing.

Bill

Canada, oh Canada!

That’s a song–right? Nevermind.

The ‘never seems to be ending’ project of scanning my Shepard grandparent’s old family pictures has been fun and interesting, although admittedly sometimes a bit tedious*. But, I am really getting a chance to look them over and put together a picture timeline of their life, and even get ideas for future blog posts. Or, just remember the places that they lived and my own visits there. Some of the pictures are also triggering my research itch, because of questions I have about the time, or place, or who is in them.

I recently scanned more Canada pics from Dick and Dad’s part of the collection, a couple of them, thankfully, have been labeled ‘Cummings Lake.’ If I had the grandparents around to ask, I could find out exactly where this cottage was, (although I do enjoy putting the clues together, and solving the mystery myself). So the location has been narrowed down to Cummings Lake in Thessalon, Canada. Now the question is– where on the lake, exactly. Having the photograph below helps to narrow it down some more:

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Dick and Dad’s view of the dock below the cottage. Taken in 1954. This, by the way is a great picture.

I can narrow the location down because I found the following picture at the Grand Falls Camp website when searching online for information on Cummings Lake:

Grand Falls Camp Cummings Lake Thessalon

The cliff face in the background matches exactly the cliff in the first picture. This location is stated by the website as being between Lakes Tunnel and Cummings. When using Google map’s street view, I find this exact spot on Hwy 129 going North. It is facing Lake Cummings. Which means that the cottage was in the area on the topographic map below. It is difficult to tell where exactly, or even generally, from this view though.

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Google street view from highway.
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The arrow is pointing to the cliff area we see in all the pictures.

Looking at a larger overview of the area, I’m thinking that the cottage was, or is, if it is still there, on the big bump out of land above the falls area.

We have lots of photos of the cottage and the area around the lake, so I created an album of just those pictures at my flickr site (well I hope they are all from the cottage and lake area). Seeing the pictures and writing about this topic has given me an urge to drive up there next summer and visit. It is only a 7-8 hour drive, and I have my passport now!

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My grandfather, Bill Shepard, wrote lots of letters mentioning his parents cottage. They usually talked about how envious he was, because he never got to go up and enjoy all that fishing everyone was always going on about. I know an uncle went there at one point when he was a kid. Other than Herman and Ruth, who else made the trip?

 

*I won’t complain too much about all that scanning, as we are fortunate to have so many family pictures that that been passed down. Some folks aren’t so lucky.

July 5, 1954 William Shepard to His Parents

6 July 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

Very happy to hear from you. and also happy to hear that you are all well and having a good time.

Yes-I received the box of candy and thank you very much. It was sure tasty. [Hey Gramps aren’t you on a diet?]

By the time you get this – I will have about 7 more months to go. That isnt so long is it? Time is going by so fast now that I’m busy. I have all this office work I can do and I am learning jet fighters in my spare  ? time. Should get 20 hours flying time in jets this month. Still instructing in the C-47 too so it keeps me humping.

You tell Kenny that he had better take time out to write me a good letter because Im his old man and I said for him to do it!

That cartoon of the boat reminds me of our little 12 footer & the 25

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horsepower Johnson. The time has come to go to bed so Ill have to close. Have fun.

Bill