James Wood 1
- Born: 3 Sep 1916, Marion, Grant County, Indiana, USA
Jim Wood Says:
"I'm just an ordinary guy that happened to have been born to extraordinary parents, Dad and mom Wood --Charlie and Sallie-- they were the best. So whatever I am, good or bad, I give them credit. I was born in Marion, Indiana, September 3, 1916. Mom said I was a good baby. Sat in the middle of the room and smiled all the time. Still do.
Dad was a school teacher, industrial arts at the high school. He was the most interesting fellow I've ever been around. He knew about everything and knew it well. I'd rather write about my mom and dad than about myself.
I have many childhood memories I could go on forever. Ask Tom--he knows them all.
Gardening, raising ducks and turkeys, playing around the railroad tracks--on and on.
Probably one of the most fascinating things I remember happened between dad and me. Mom dragged us to church and Sunday School, the works. Dad didn't go. We always had a nice dinner on Sunday and then, after dinner I would run and jump on Dad's lap or thereabouts and he would tell me stories. They were usually "to be continued" stories and they ran week after week, just like soap operas nowadays. And he'd always stop at the most interesting time or when he got tired and then we'd take up the next Sunday. I could hardly wait. Dad was a good story teller. He made them all up. I could never understand why I couldn't tell good stories. Still can't. Well, I just kept growing and growing all the time hoping I would be real tall so I could play basketball but as you know I never made the NCAA teams. Oh, well.
Dad lost his teaching job at Marion after they won the state basketball tourney 1926 Stretch Murphy 6-6. Big in those days. Depression set in, both mentally and nationally. We had a rough time. At least dad and mom did. I never knew anything about it.
Candy bars a nickel, gum a penny. Wasn't hard for me to earn a nickel or dime by being real nice to mom. I knew how to work her and I think she knew also.
Hey! I got up to talk at one of our Nut Growers meetings a year or so ago and after I was there somebody said next time make it short and sweet. So.....
Moved from Marion to Goodland to Michigan City to Franklin to Seymour. The life of a school teacher back in the '30's depression. Dad never got his college degree in teaching. They jerked him out of college during World War I and gave him a position at Marion. Dad never did get his degree and it made it extremely difficult for him to hang on.
I graduated form Seymour High School in 1934. Tried College a couple of years thanks to mom and dad. Tried factory work, piece-work making brushes during the big flood of 1937- 40 hour week at $5.00. Machines broke down. I learned how important unions could be to the working man. I wanted to work so bad back in those after high school days. I was so frustrated. I wanted to buy so many things. No money. Year after year it seemed so long. Then I got a break. I saw a tiny ad in Popular Mechanics Magazine. Join the Air Force and learn a trade. Machinist, Mechanic, everything about airplanes. I loved anything mechanical. Boy, that was for me. At last I had been given a chance. Mom didn't think I should go. But I knew I had to. Drew my last $5.00 out of the bank and hiked to Chanute Field to enlist. Twenty-two years later, after World War II and several overseas assignments I retired. I loved every minute of the service. It was the most interesting and fascinating work I had ever done. It was just like all the things I had done when I was working with dad. After retiring from the Air Force in 1961 I bounced around three of four years trying to find where I belonged in this man's civilian working environment and finally settled for Cummins Eng. Co. in Columbus, Indiana.
Hey, did I forget to tell you that I got married in 1946 to a beautiful Tennessee girl named Gladys Mathes. In time we had three boys Robert, Richard, and Randy and one girl, Terrianne. I think we moved 19 times during my Air Force and civilian working career. I thought dad moved a lot but I guess I had him beat. Dad used to say, three moves are the same as a fire. I found out what he meant.
After settling in a Cummins Eng. Co. research machine shop I found I was at home in work I loved. I came up with two inventions and two patents. One I still get royalties form the other one I never tried to promote.
I found another love after coming back to Indiana. Our old home place on the Ohio River. Dad bought it after he retired. My brother Tom sparked an interest in grafting. So between the two I wound up with an enjoyable hobby, grafting and working with nut trees and now I can hardly wait to get out to work!" Jim
James married Living