Letter June 25, 1951 William Shepard to parents

 

June 25, 1951

Dear Dad,

Better late than never. Happy “Fathers Day” I was going to get a present but didnt find anything suitable, so perhaps you can get what you need with the check.

Dick has written that you are recovering very well from your sickness. We are happy for that. She also mentioned you would be going to Canada for the summer. Be sure to take it easy and dont try any work. I know you will enjoy being up there and wish my family could go too.

Kenny and Sue are having a good time on their vacation. It would be better if we lived more in town as they dont have many other children to play with, but I do like living in the country.

David has grown a lot since you last

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saw him. He is going to be the largest one of my boys. Starting to talk now. Alan is coming out of it now, and is about average for his age. That is remarkable considering the slow start that he had. He is a very good baby, doesnt cry much or isnt much bother.

We have a new addition to the family now. Just bought a female collie pup. She is black, white and a little tan. Very quiet and intelligent. She should be fairly large by the time you folks come out for the winter.

We are planning on you and Dick spending the winter with us. I think you both would enjoy this country. When it gets time for you to come out, perhaps I can come back to help drive. Well thats about all except Happy Fathers Day again

Your Son Bill

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Early 1951 William Shepard to parents

 

Electronics Station
Headquarters 15th Air Force
March Air Force Base, Cal

Dear Dick & Dad:

Here is my quarterly letter. Everyone here is fine Alan is gaining weight and very soon will be 4#. He reminds us so much of you Dad. He has the same configuration. Dave is growing so fast now. He is talking a little and runs us all ragged. I believe that he has almost doubled his weight in the last five months. Sue us doing very well in school and is also growing up. She and Kenny do the evening dishes all the time now. Kenny is the same as usual. His latest obsession is to be tied up with a rope and then to see how quick he can get loose. I cant tie him up any more, he seems to wiggle out every time.

Lois recuperated quickly from having Alan. I guess he was so small that it wasnt so complicated as usual, although Margaret Johnston,

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says that Lois had a serious trouble & we are sure lucky to have Alan.

I have been traveling quite a bit lately, but hope to start staying at home next month. In spare time I work with the radio station, ride with the kids, and shoot a little.

The weather has been fine so I wont bore you with details. I think that you would be much better off here in the south west Dad. It never gets cold and is dry all the time.

I hope that we can stay here long enough for you to visit us. As soon as you can travel let us know and we can have everything ready. I expect to stay here for a while. We have some new pricutes to send you in a few days.

Goodby for now.

You Son
Bill.

Someone call the doctor!

Farming has always been known as a dangerous job, even more so when complicated machinery started being invented to make farming faster and more efficient, as the machinery was built with very little to no thought of operator safety at the time.

That being said, the following farm accident which occured about 1811 was caused by a scythe, a very old timey, uncomplicated and simple tool, although, apparently, still extremely dangerous:

     “When [(Dr.) John George Rogers] the doctor was a lad only fourteen years old, William Goble, a farmer living near Bethel [Clermont County, Ohio], was severly and it was thought fatally cut by a scythe upon his back and shoulder, and a messenger came for his father to come and dress Mr. Goble’s wounds; but the father being miles away on his professional duties, his wife persuaded her son, John, to go and attend the wounded man. The boy went, examined and dressed the wounds, and sewed them, putting in eleven stitches an inch and a half apart, and such was his success that his father on examining him the next day, declared it to be a perfect surgical job.”1

          Dr. John George Rogers was one of the most noted of the physicians and surgeons of the pioneer days of Clermont County, who practiced at a time when it was necessary for great sacrifice of personal comfort for the taking of long, arduous rides over poor roads in sparsely settled districts.
After having acquired the knowledge usually taught in the schools of his day, John was placed under the instruction of his father at home…His father, having a large practice, was often away from home and many of the duties were placed on his son, who in boyhood acquired great dexterity in extracting teeth, bleeding and many of the operations of minor surgery, as well as dispensing medicine in the absence of his father. When fourteen years of age, William Goble, a farmer near Bethel, was severely and thought to be fatally wounded by a cut from a scythe upon the back and shoulder, which in the absence of his father, the boy was compelled to attend. He took eleven stitches into the wound, with such success that the next day, upon examination, his father pronounced a perfect surgical job.2

The William Goble of this story was my 4x great grandfather. He managed to survive the accident, and surgery, and went on to live another 40 years, still farming. No doubt due to the loving care administered by his wife Ruth, and of course the ‘perfect surgical job’ of his young doctor.

HW1875P772042
The scythe mentioned regarding the accident isn’t specified as being the type in this picture, it could have been a smaller hand scythe. Either way…ouch!

Sources:
1. The History of Clermont County 1795-1880, by Louis H. Everts. p414
2. History of Clermont and Brown Counties 1913, by Byron Williams p

October 1, 1950 William Shepard to parents

1 October 1950

Dear Mother, Herman, Ruth & Ed:

Did I include everyone? well I promised to write so here goes. In case you havent heard, I will give you all the news I know.

Arrived here early Wednesday morning after a fine trip. I just received my assignment as Wire Officer for the 15th Air Force. The 15th has the Strategic Air Command fields in the western U. S. Pacific, Japan etc., also some in England. It looks as if I will be traveling some but not too much as my job is a staff job. General “Rosy” McDonnel is my commanding general. By the way please do not at any time release any information of my duties etc, to any newspaper as SAC is very strict about it.

The base is situated very much like Tuscon, desert with mountains around it. The Sierra’s are in the back yard here. The climate is warm by day cold by night. It hasnt rained for some time here,

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and as I understand it, it does not rain too often. Irrigation seems to supply water and when you buy property you get so many water shares with it.

I am going to have Lois try to sell our house and move out in about a month. In case we have to loose too much on the place we will keep it and rent it.

Housing seems to be plentiful here. About a hundred homes for rent in areas near March field. We wont have any trouble finding a home.

It is hard to say how permanent my job will be, but it looks as steady as any in the Air Force today so I guess the family will be better off out here.

How about some news from Canada?

Bill

May 29, 1948 Lois and Bill to Shepards

 

May 29, 1948

Dear Folks –

Guess I shouldn’t have sent that last letter to Canada. But I thot you’d still be there. So if the letter missed you all together – yes we got the package & thanks loads. Here’s $3 to cover cost of the items. If it isn’t enough let me know.

Just got the children to bed & not anything going on tonite so we’ll spend a quiet evening at home. Bill got back from Trinidad last nite. He’d been there since Wednesday.

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It so hard to find much to write about. We just do the same things over & over.

The kids will finish school next week & our trunks have finally arrived. Tho they haven’t been delivered yet. Hope to get them Tuesday. I’ve forgotten what I do have.

We are well into the rainy season now & it rains & rains – everyday. We do manage a few hours of sunshine but things in the house are getting musty. I’ll endeaver to get Bill to write a little in here.

Love Lois

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Hello Dick & Dad:

Not much news as Lois had mentioned. Did she tell you that I took her up in an AT-6 last week? We were up about 1 1/2 hours and covered about half the island. Lois liked it very much and I think that she will make a junior birdman.

The kids have stayed in some lately. The rains have arrived. Ill try go get off a better letter next week.

Love
Bill

December 28, 1947 Bill Shepard to parents

This is a set of two letters. One written to each of his parents on the same day. Very poor spelling of places, and a just a little bit of that condescending white attitude toward the Puerto Ricans.

 

December 28, 1947

Dear Dick:

I am happy to hear that you will be with Lois & the kids until they leave. I know that it will help so much.

I hope that all of you had a fine Christmas. We were unorganized by the moving around but I think you will all understand. The main thing I guess is how you feel anyhow, and I want to tell you that I think the world and all, of my family.

I received your & dads package in time for Xmas and I want

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to thank you for the presents.

I am living in our quarters now. I am trying to fix them up a bit. The goverment furnishes stove, refrigerator, table & chairs for kitchen. For bedrooms they furnish beds  chests of drawers. In the living room-dining room they furnish a large table (seats 12) chairs, desk, and a type of bed that makes into a sofa. (We have 2 of them). So with a bit of arranging and some sewing of slip covers, we will make out O.K.

I hope you enjoy the trip. Be sure to see New Orleans if you go there. Take good care of yourself.

Love
Bill

December 28, 1947

Dear Dad.

Everything is settled down now. Lois will soon be here, with the children. I am sure happy that Dick is going with them to New Orleans. It is a big help to Lois.

I have quarters here, and they are very fine. Although we have only 2 bedrooms the place is large. The goverment furnishes adequate furniture including 2 beds that make into sofas in the living room.

The climate here is ideal, 75° to 80° all the time. Palm trees & jungle. I guess that we will be here

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until about June 1950, unless something unforseen occurs.

Right now I want to go on record as inviting you down in 1948. I think that the trip and the sights here about would be interesting. It is a very quick trip by air, and if you want to come by boat, it takes only two or three days. Perhaps we can all be together next Christmas?

Dad, I want you to take my gun to the gunsmith and have him put a poly-choke on it, then ship it to me. We have skeet club here, and I could use it, if It wouldnt be too much bother for you to have it fixed & shipped.

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The houses here are built for the climate. They are low-bungalows, built of steel reinforced concrete with tile floors. The windows have slot type shutters, like a venetian blind, only they are very heavy. All windows are screened with no glass in them. We have a utility room in the rear, with a 66 gal. hot water heater (electric) and double wash tubs. In front we have a large screened in porch.

They just finished repainting all the woodwork before I moved in, I have built 4 lawn chairs and now Im banging together some bookshelves and a few other odds

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and ends.

The school-house is a large one and is 1/2 block away, as is the shopping district. There is a shoe repair, barber shop, restaurant, post exchange, theatre and even an ice-cream factory less than a block away.

The children have a playground — almost in the back yard, and everyone here has children.

I am working as the telephone construction & maintenance officer for the Caribbean area. It is work I know, so I enjoy it. I have several line gangs and cable splicing crews working and I get to travel quite a bit, keeping them going.

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I have been in Jamica and Trinidad already, and I will be off to Antiqua and British Guina soon for a few days.

You know we got all these bases for 99 years from the British in exchange for those 50 old destroyers during the beginning of the war.

We have telephone systems on all of them and my crews maintain them from this headquarters. Bounquin field is the headquarters for the Antilles Dept.

The hardest thing I have to deal with is the Spanish language. I hope to pick it up in a few months. I can make myself understood only with a lot of hand motions.

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These natives are exasparating. You explain what you want done to them, assuming they know some english They dont want to let you know how little they understand so they say “Si Si!” which means yes. So when you get back the work is done wrong and they are standing there grinning like chesecats* thinking they have it right.

Well. It will all work out OK. They have been getting along OK before I arrived so they will do OK when I leave.

I think that we will enjoy it here. I’ll write again later

Take good care of yourself

Your son
Bill

*maybe he meant Cheshire cats

December 13, 1947 William Shepard to parents

24th Composite Wing Hq.
APO #845 c/o Postmaster
Miami, Florida

Hello Dick & Dad:

Perhaps I can write a letter now that things have settled down a little.

I was sure suprised to be assigned to Borinquen Field, especially after being told that I would go to Trinidad. It is a beautiful base with the best climate of any US base.

There is a large school here just a hop from our house. It is much near[?] than Hilliards Schools.

Our house is a 2 bedroom one with a large living room & modern kichen. Electric range

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and refrigerator. All time floors and plenty of closets. It is a beautiful place to live. Coconut trees all around. We will send pictures of the place as soon as Lois comes down w/the camera.

The grocery, barber shop, shoe repair, PX, beauty parlor, officers club and beach are about two blocks away. Everything is handy.

The quarters have the stove refrigerator, kitchen table & chairs furnished in the kitchen. The beds, sheets pillows & blankets and dressers are furnished in the bedrooms & in the living

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room a table & chairs and desk are funished. All we have to do is furnish linens, silver cooking utensils & curtains & drapes. Of course we will want to get a few chairs and some small things but we wont have to ship furniture down. Veneer comes apart here upholstered furniture moulds so I decided that Lois shouldnt bring ours. Rather than have it broken up or deteriorate I would rather sell it.

I have a good job here. I am directing the telephone system in the Island. Trinidad, Puerto Rico & the other

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Islands. Just what I have always done with the Bell company.

Dont have much flying to do here. Everyone takes it easy.

Ill write another letter in a few days. By the way my Xmas presents to the family will be a little late this year. I got here to late to get them off in time for Xmas so just hold on & celebrate about January 25th or so.

Write me the news.

Your son
Bill

P.S. Excuse the last letter, I was in a hurry to mail it!

November 11, 1947 William Shepard to parents

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1947_11_11

Nov 11, 1947

Hello Folks:

This will be a short letter for I am packing for New Orleans. We leave by train tomorrow to the New Orleans Port of Embarkation. We ship out on 21 Nov. by boat. The next time that I write Ill be in New Orleans. It has been pleasant here at F. Kilmer but Im ready to move on & get settled down. I found out that air force personnel are allowed the maximum of 2 1/2 years foreign duty now, so that places us back in June 1950.

Ill write you all the news when it happens. Until then remember candys dandy, but liquors quicker!!

Bill

November 7, 1947 William Shepard to parents

November 7, 1947

Dear Folks,

Ill give you what information that I have, and it may be incorrect.

I should leave here within a week, go to new orleans & ten by boat to Panama. Where to then is anyones guess. it will be somewhere in the carribean my address to write to is:
APO #825
c/o Postmaster, New Orleans, LA

I went in to New York yesterday. What a time! I really didnt care too much

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for it. Its all right, but not what its cracked up to be.

There are too damned many people living in each others backyard in this part of the country.

Ill write you a letter when I leave here. No news so Ill close.
Love
Bill

October 18, 1947 Letter to Dick & Dad

Trenton, Ill.
October 18, 1947

Dear Mother & Father:

I am happy to hear that you all had asuch a good time in Canada, and that the fishing was so good.

I had planned on going up next year, but now I guess it is all off. I received instructions today to be prepared to move to the Carribean area very soon. I will leave Nov 1. for Camp Kilmer and go on from there to either the Panama Canal Zone or Puerto Rico, (I think).

Lois & the kids will stay here until I get the house all ready, wherever that is. She will probably come down about Christmas time. Everyone says that I am lucky to get foreign service so close to the U.S. and it is supposed to be nicest place to live in the Air Force.

I think that It would be a good idea for you folks to drop out before I go. If you can make it next week end (the 25th) it would be fine. Anytime between now and the 1st of Nov.

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I wont be able to make it home. If H.O. & Ruth can come we can make room for them also.

Dad. we owe you $1700.00 and I am enclosing a check for $1600.00 Perhaps we can send the $100.00 next month. Thanks so much for letting us use the money. It helped out very much.

Dont worry about the kids as the climate and surroundings are very nice in the Carribean. It isnt like going to Japan or Germany.

Well Ill close and I hope you can get out to see us.

Love
Bill

Dear Folks–

I think perhaps if you can arrange it; it would be better to come the week-end of the 25-26th. I’ll probably still come home for over Thanksgiving–
Love
Lois