Dad gave me this many years ago and it has always meant a lot to me. 
I pass this on to my children both sons and daughters and hope it 
guides you and your children as it has me.

As Remembered and told by Lewis L. Orcutt

Charles And Myrtle Orcutt About 1940


Charles Francis Orcutt was Born April 15, 1910. His birth was premature and he weighed 2lbs 8oz. Grandma Matilida had to feed him with an eye dropper and he had a shoebox as his cradle for the first part of his life. The top of his head was open and he needed a special cap for protection. The story goes that when my brother Thomas Francis Orcutt was born, mom tried to put a pair of overalls on him that dad wore when he was a year old, but they were to small and one side tore. I have seen the ripped overalls, the shoebox, along with the baby spoon used to feed him and the newspaper article of his premature birth but they have disappeared over the years. Wish they were still around. As I was growing up I also remember dad writing in a journal almost daily and at least weekly and I sure would like to read that but that also has disappeared. I remember he kept this journal on or in his desk but no one was allowed to touch anything on or in his desk. Maybe if I record some of these memories they won't be lost to my children.

As a very little child I can remember helping with the threshing and dad working with his team of horses. There names were Buster and Barney. He very seldom used the reins as he would talk to them and they did what he wanted. What a wonder that was. Sometime when I was very young, dad was working in the field with the horses and a storm came up and on his way back from the field they were struck by lightening and both horses were killed and dad left laying in the field for about two hours before mom found him. Some greater force than we understand must have always been looking out for dad.

Charles Francis Orcutt with some horses and mules in 1934

This is before my time but may be on the Murphy farm in Redpath township, Wheaton, Minnesota where I was born.

Charles Francis Orcutt with his very first tractor

I am told that dad had the Horses that I remember, Buster And Barney, the ones killed by the lightening when he got this tractor. At this time he put the horses out to pasture and began using the tractor, which was a Fordson. Many days dad would go to the field in the morning to work, with the tractor, and sometime around noon or so come walking home carrying a tractor part to be fixed as he had broken down. This went on for some time and finally the the tractor was put to pasture and the horses brought back. This is where I remember some of the work with the horses and the fun times so must have been around 1945 or so..

                    Brother Tom and I 1943                       

Here is my brother Tom and I on the Murphy farm in 1943. As you can see in the background Dad has purchased another tractor and has better luck here. I believe this to be an "G" Allis Chalmers. Dad still used the horses along with the tractor as I remember until the horses were killed by lightening. Now he had a whole new set of problems as he could not talk to the tractor and have it help and listen like the horses did. All the equipment was designed for horses and a single person could operate them from a seat on the equipment. Now it would take one on the tractor and one on the seat. My brother filled in here as he was the oldest and dad would get the tractor going and put Tom on the seat to steer. He could not reach any of the other controls as he was to little. I remember doing this same thing when I was old enough to do it also. However dad did not always have us there so he added a long rod from the steering wheel on the tractor to the Binder, if you know what that is, so he could steer from the equipment seat and since the tractor was run by hand clutches and brakes he used ropes and pulleys to control the forward and stop movements. This worked very well on most equipment until he could update to the newer tractor equipment. My remembrances at the Murphy farm are very slim at best and it was here my sisters, They were twins, were born. Ellen Mary and Elaine Marie. I remember having to be quiet and we couldn't go to moms room for some time but did not know why. Finally we could go in and there were my two sisters. Grandma and Grandpa Orcutt were there to help along with friends and neighbors. This was during World war II and very hard times I am told. Dad worked very hard and had to use ration stamps for food and the grocer helped some with extra things for the twins. Dad had to wrap rubber tires with seed and flour sacks to help make them last as there was no rubber to be had. I can remember helping feed the chickens and ducks and watching dad work with horses. After the war things seemed to get better and dad sold the Murphy farm and started working for another farmer with rights to buy the farm. This was a very elegant house. It had an upstairs and was painted on the outside.

Andy Ahrens Farm Wheaton Minnesota 1946

As you can see from the picture it also had a nice barn painted red. Dad said here we could grow and someday add electricity and running water. What a marvel that was then. We did have a well pump just outside the back door and a spring fed well by the barn that we could store cold things in year around as the temperature remained at around 40 degrees always. We would listen to Grandpas radio, run on batteries, on Friday nights when the week was ending and all the chores were done. The radio was pure magic then. I started school here at the school house about 1 mile up the road, and yes I walked, and it was a one room school house. The teachers would come from away and stay at parents homes through the school year. My first teacher was Delmar Voss and he stayed at our house some.

Delmar Voss 1948

But this is getting a little ahead of the story. Here was the first Christmas I can really remember and I got a tin wind up motorcycle policeman that ran in circles. It sure was a marvel. I also had a part in the school play and my line was, " What are you looking at me for, I don't have anything to say, I'll just bow and get out of your way."  Dad had made some toys also and mom some clothes. Life was truly good.

Mom Tom & I 1948

Dad worked very hard but was still able to have time for us. There were the Saturday night trips to town for groceries, The Sunday church and family gatherings after, the noon naps, the stories at supper time and many more excellent times. There were family reunions at Leech lake and cousins and friends coming over to visit. At this time dad was still driving and old model A ford but now he was able to get a 1939 Plymouth touring car. It had a marble gear shift knob and was sure fancy.

Twins Saturday night bath

I forgot to mention the Saturday night baths. They were always great till my sisters showed up and then they got to use the water first and it was always cold for my brother and I. We went through a flood here as the picture above shows and Northern were swimming in the fields and ditches. The cattle were all bunched up around the hay stacks to keep out of the water and dad would use a boat to get to the barn and feed and milk the cows. We could walk to the river before and after the flood an pick wild asparagus and things. There was always a large garden and we always ate very well. Mom canned and prepared things all summer to last us through the winter and the things we didn't have we acquired by trading things we had for them. There was always chores to help the neighbors and many at home. Finally dad put in the electricity all by himself and it sure was magic to turn on a switch and have light. Didn't have to fill the lanterns and light them anymore. What a truly mystical world we lived in. Then one day that I really don't know why we had an auction and all the farm machinery etc. was sold and all we had left was loaded on a truck and we moved in with Uncle John and Aunt Dorothy. Dad found work out of state building steel grain bins but this was not to last long as mom and dad didn't like the separation and in a short time we loaded our stuff up again and headed to Montour Iowa. Here my last sister was born. DeEtta Blanche.

Montour Iowa 1951

We moved here in 1949 and dad worked for Buss Ames on this 80 acre farm for about three years. When DeEtta was born I had enough of sisters and asked mom to take her back where she got her but mom didn't and Am glad for that. What a crew we made. I got my first real job here. It was a paper route and I had 13 yes thirteen customers. My route was in the evening and weekends so I would walk about 3 yes three miles home after school and my route and then in and out on Saturday's for route and collections. Sure was good money. Brother Tom had the morning paper and about 30 customers. We helped the neighbors with chores and crops and dad would take us to town on Saturday night to see a movie for 10 yes ten cents. He would give us each a nickel or dime to spend. We sure were rich. We got our first new bike here and dad finally put in the new plumbing so we now had indoor facilities. Mom & Grandma still were not happy. He had to run a water line from ¼ mile away at the well so now there would be no more cistern for water. Boy is that great. If you ever cleaned out a cistern you know what I mean. However this still didn't get us hot baths as the girls were first and on my turn the water was cold. Probably be grown up with kids gone before I get a hot shower. I helped a neighbor with chores and hay etc. and sometimes would make $12.00 for a couple days work. I caught a baby squirrel here and made it a pet. It was named squeaky as that was the noise it made when I caught it. I left it run free and it would come whenever I called him. One cold fall night I brought him inside cause I thought he might get cold and my sisters put a wet bath towel in his box on the porch to keep him warm. This is where dad had put in the bathroom and that night it froze and squeaky died, I should have just left him out, I can see that now. I was very sad and this was my first experience with death. Then we got a dog named trixie and this helped some. She was a cocker spaniel and she was like a shadow. She followed us kids everywhere. Was my best friend for a long time. Dad got a 1947 dodge car and sure was fancy. Even had a radio but dad didn't like the noise so didn't get to turn it on much. Mom helped at the Wagon Wheel Inn café some to help out. I joined scouts here and also the Church choir and really enjoyed both. Went on camping trips and got to sing every Sunday morning. We played with old buggy tire rims as hula hoops, Broken skates made skate boards, and coffee can lids made Frisbee's. If we only would have known. Grandma Matilda  passed away here and I didn't go to the funeral. I decided I didn't like death and preferred to remember the good things and pass on the bad. We lived through a tornado that knocked over a huge oak tree and destroyed the bath room dad had added but all were well and safe. The neighbor lost his barn. This three years passed quickly and dad wanted more pay so now we would move again, This time to Dunbar Iowa.

Mom Dad & Uncle John

Did not remain here long and not sure why. Helped dad with chores and learned to milk cows. Dad always had the hard ones that required hobbles etc. Learned to hunt for rabbit etc. for food. The polio scare came while here I and remember getting a machine to pasteurize milk and getting the shots. Was introduced to Iowa public television and had visits from friends and Relatives. Once Uncle Carl and aunt Ella came with our cousins and I remember a time when we dammed up the creek to make a swimming hole. After several days the neighbor came to talk to dad as his cattle were not getting any water. Uncle Carl and dad came down and caught us and dad gave us a spanking. Funny the spanking didn't hurt much and dad sounded mad but you could see the knowing smile and twinkle in his eyes like I've been here myself. Well it was a good swimming hole while it lasted. Seems like there was a lot of this when the relatives got together. I remember some rotten egg fights, don't even go there, and some tree houses with pine cone fights, and forts in the barn. Here we would swing from side to side on binder twine and when it broke and my brother broke his arm that also ended. It's a wonder we made it to adulthood. Dad added and electric motor to the milk separator so we did not have to crank any more. About here is where I became interested in radios and mechanical things. I took apart some old clocks to see how they worked, and our bicycle to see how the brakes worked, and even built my first crystal radio. What a marvel that was. No batteries, no power, and you could listen to the stations. Although we didn't have a television, I seen some of the first programs at school on Iowa public television. Again I was really impressed. This lasted about one year as I remember and then on to Toledo Iowa.


What a crew headed for Toledo 
Dad moved here and started work for the Gray Brothers on one of there farms. They had several and had many ponds scattered around on them. Fishing was good. Here we met Spud and Wanda Thede and there children and generated friendships that are still there. I turned 12 here and dad got me my first rifle to use hunting. Although I do not hunt anymore we did a lot then but only for things to eat. The house was huge and had running water but were back to an outdoor toilet. We had about ¾ of a mile to walk down our lane to catch the bus and that was always a fun trip. One rainy summer day I caught a baby snapping turtle about the size of a 50 cent piece. I kept him in a fish bowl for a long time till he got out somehow and when we finally found him he was very dehydrated so I put him back in the creek. I don't know if he lived or not. I caught and tried to train some baby pigeons but was not very successful. Sometimes on a real hot summer day we would sit in the water tank for cattle to cool off. I helped with some chores, gathered wood, helped with farm work, continued scouts and even worked at the county fair. I was able to get the cream money for going to the fair and with that and what I made helping the workers set up and tear down could afford some rides and food. There were many marvelous things to see. At one fair dad took us to see a one man band and I forget how many instruments he had but there were a lot and dad knew him from Minnesota. He played them all at once and it sounded really good and it was a mechanical marvel. It was mounted on a hay rake and he used almost every part of his body to do it using compressed air, wire, cables, and controls of all sorts. There was always the Saturday night band in the town square and popcorn for a dime from a small stand. The popcorn always had a surprise in it. I was still very interested in radios and electronics and learned more from schoolmates that had the same interests. We got our first TV here and I was really amazed. We watched Howdy Doody, Pinky Lee and other shows. One summer dad got us a horse from the neighbors and I learned how to ride. We also got a Jig Saw and made many gifts and toys etc. I caught a small barn owl and kept it for awhile but turned it loose as it didn't eat. I helped dad with cattle feeding and chores and trapped pocket gophers and muskrat for spending money. Brother Tom got a job as typesetter at the Toledo newspaper and got his first car. It was a 1947 chevy two door. I saw my first 1956 dodge cornet lancer two door hardtop and this was to be my all time favorite car although I didn't know it then. To this point I have owned two of them and a 1956 Plymouth Belvedere two door hard top. They are still my favorite auto. Time here passed quickly and dad wanted more for us so we now would move to Bay City Texas by Aunt Ella.

This would be a short lived stay but many things to remember. But I get ahead of myself. All we have is packed in two cars, dads 1947 dodge, and Toms 1947 Chevy, and a two wheel trailer and off to Texas. Dad put a special vent in the trunk for our Dog Trixie and Tommy was pulling the trailer. Dad purchased a camp stove from Coast to Coast in Toledo and off to Texas we Sped. 35 yes thirty five miles per hour all the way to Bay City, 1,300 miles to go. Dad and mom would stop to cook meals and late at night to rest and sleep in the car. Occasionally we got to eat in a restaurant. At one place we were able to get 25 cent hamburgers but we just started to eat and mom found a Band-Aid in hers. We all tried very hard to finish them but could not so back to the camp stove. Dad and Tom were competing on whose car would be the best etc. Its a guy thing. Well not to far into the trip Tommy's clutch went bad and he didn't want to tell dad so he drove all the rest of the way with no clutch. Somewhere in Oklahoma I think we lost Tom and had to backtrack about 50 miles and found some one had run him off the road and the trailer had turned over. No damage to him, car, or trailer. We managed to right the trailer and kept on going. There were many marvelous things to see along the way and finally we arrived in Bay City. Aunt Ella had a job lined up for dad with a large ranch there so dad had work. Mom could tell very shortly that dad didn't like it though, It was way to hot and nothing was green. Dad would have to drive many miles a day to work and he didn't like the rattlesnakes. I tried very hard to fit in. One time I decided to go barefoot to school as everyone else did, but there feet was like shoe leather and mine like a baby's butt, what a mistake. Didn't try that again. I got another paper route and had 135 customers. What a change from 13. Bought my first power mower for $10.00 and used it mow lawns. It was a great mower and would cut anything, if you could just get it started. During the summer got a job at the local fair and sold Popcorn, Peanuts, Candy get it here. Also worked some of the concessions. I think it was here in Texas that I first noticed that something with girls was different, in a nice way, but wasn't sure what. Our cousins taught us to hunt snipe and if you like I can show you how sometime. Also went night hunting for Jack rabbit but not sure that was legal and didn't last anyhow as they could mostly not be eaten so I didn't go anymore. Went swimming in the rivers and had my first raw clams at the beach. They were really good. Dad didn't like the farm work here so got a job with the oil fields and had many miles drive for work again. Tom told dad about the clutch in his car so they traded it off for a 1948 Willis pickup. It had a 1953 mercury engine and was quite a truck. Dad used it to go to oil fields. I had to get a bicycle for my paper route and rebuilt and old one for the special bags etc. Uncle Carl was very sick with something and passed away while here so Aunt Ella was alone again. She had a 1948 Chrysler woodie car that she would take us to the beach in. We lived in a housing development that seemed to crowded after the farm life up north and the grass really wasn't and was full of sand burs. Time here passed quickly and dad and mom didn't much care for Texas so we headed back to Iowa and another farm Job at Garwin. Can't remember much of the trip back to Iowa so must have been uneventful and went much faster as dad now went to 45 miles per hour.

YUK !!!
What is this Yuk. Please help me with other pictures. Here we are at Kenny Pemberton's farm in Garwin, Iowa. This seemed to be a step back in time as the house was very old and one of the bedrooms had a dirt floor and the only water was a hand pump on the kitchen sink. It did have electric. One big old wood stove in the kitchen and one old warm morning stove in living room to heat the whole house. Toilet was outdoors again. Water froze on the night stand and snow blew in the cracks in the winter. Many winter nights spent on the floor in front of the warm morning. The new adventure begins. Dad and mom were not real happy with the conditions but glad to be back in Iowa so we all settled in. School was in town about 4 miles away and we rode the bus. There wasn't much for work here so helped with chores and farm work at home and the neighbors. Got interested in shop classes and built some bookends, tables etc. Mr Casey was the teacher and was one of the favorites I can remember. We were able to do drafting and many new things. Dad and tom traded off the Willis truck and tommy got a 1949 ford. He got a job at Clifton's supermarket in Tama where he would meet his wife to be Fern. The old 1947 dodge dad had finally gave out and he got a 1952 plymouth. I still worked with my old lawnmower but was getting harder to start. Still run well so I mounted and electric motor dad had on the shop wall and used and old V belt from it to the mower to start it. Just slip it on both pull back on the mower and turn on the motor switch. Worked real well as long as you didn't kill the mower a long ways from the shop. Mr Casey gave me some odd jobs at his place in Gladbrook and the old mower finally gave up so dad got a new Power Products 2 cycle mower. It cost $39.95. It was very light and could sure mow the grass. And it always started with one or two pulls, what a marvel. I joined the Evangelical United Brethren church and rode my bike in on Sundays to attend. The town had a town square in the center and on Wednesday nights would have dances for kids etc. Would go to some of them but didn't dance so just enjoyed the company. Discovered early on that I had no musical or dance talent as I must have heard a different tune than others. I had tried out for band with not much success and never could hear the right beat. Mom went to work at pilgrim heights campground and did mail-order sewing for a catalog company. They furnished the machine and products cut out, and mom would sew them and mail them back. I finally made it to the eight grade and my teacher was Mrs. Heiberger, and another of my favorites. She was very firm but fair and would read us stories after lunch for rest period. I tried out for some sports but found my best area was track so stayed with that. It was sort of like the music and dance I guess I just didn't have the right coordination for team sports etc.  Finally made the ninth grade and got through all the freshman initiations etc. Took drivers ed. and finally got my drivers license. Tommy joined the TamaHawks car club and between school, work, club, and late nights fell asleep one night driving home and wrecked his car. He wasn't hurt but car was done. He got a 1951 Plymouth coupe and some Saturdays we would go with the car club to Ames or Des Moines to the NHRA ¼ mile track and race. Placed many times and won some. Dad's 52 Plymouth gave out and he got a 1953 Plymouth Belvedere. Some time in this era Tom Met Fern his future wife and his Plymouth gave up and He got a 1951 Ford Crown Victoria 2 door hardtop. What a car that was. Between all his work and activities he wrecked this car also from lack of sleep, and got a 1948 Pontiac straight eight convertible. He moved to Tama to be closer to work and more than likely Fern. At any rate no more wrecks and he finished High school and went on to mechanics school in Missouri. Dad was working way two hard for the pay he got so was looking for another job. Mr. Casey got me a job as Lifeguard and maintenance man at the Toledo swimming pool so I started there in the summer. I would get up early and drive mom to pilgrim heights campground and then back to school and after school to the pool for some work and then back to campground for mom and then home. It was good when summer came as then we dropped the school and was just campground, pool, campground, and then home. One day when I was hauling things to the garbage for dad I found an old radio that was all broken and I took it home. I played with it for a long time and finally got it to work. This started my real interest in electronics and radios etc. Dad finally found a job with Witwer farms in Marion Iowa. Since I had the job at the pool I wanted to finish I got a room at the hotel in Tama for the rest of the summer and Mom, Dad and girls moved to Marion. It was a long walk to work now so used my Bike some but that got old so bought my first car. It was a 1947 Ford business coupe with a 1953 Mercury flathead engine and ¾ cam. Gave $ 75.00 for it. What a car. Also bought a small TV for $30.00 and a radio to use at work. Finished out the summer and then on to Marion which would start a whole new chapter in my life.

Marion 1958

Here we are in Marion 1958 and My new life is getting ready to start, and unknown to me what a great life it will be. After I finished the summer and loaded all my things in my car I headed home. About half way to Marion I met Dad and mom on the road coming to meet me. Guess I forgot to tell them about the car. Maybe they were just anxious to see me. We had lunch at the half way point and finally arrived home. I enrolled in school, signed up for track and cross country and was able to get weekend and after school work on the farm. Here dad was working in a milk barn and it was an amazing process. The cows rotated through 24 hrs a day and had all automated milkers etc. By the time you milked them once and cleaned the barn and fed them it all started again. Dad got to bring home fresh milk and cream and it sure was good. During the summer I would help make hay, do field work, help move chickens and hogs, work with the turkeys and any other odd job needed. Weekends I would haul grain to town, clean chicken barns, haul junk and many other odd jobs. As it turns out the school system here needed more room to handle the student population and the farm community and townspeople could not agree on the location of the buildings. The farm community then built a rural community school and this is where I went. There was a contest for a school name and one of the students in our class won. It was named Linn-Mar for Linn county and Marion town. For some time there was heavy conflict and rivalry. Mr. Parkins was the principal and would meet us daily at the start of school to check our dress and appearance. No Jeans or tee shirts allowed. Mr Stephens was my track coach and he was instrumental in many things for me. He would always say Lew try your very best and no matter where you finish you are a winner. He never had any benchwarmers, as he would play everyone and let them decide if they were good for the team or wanted to play. This practice gave him some grief with the sports minded and school board but they learned when we always went to state and placed or won for our conference in track and cross-country. On practice days I would drive to school in my old 47 ford. One day the water Pump broke and the fan went through the radiator and broke the distributor cap. I managed to solder the radiator-closed loosing about half of it and glue the distributor cap back together. Sometime back the fuel pump went bad so had an electric one on it. The generator went bad every few months and the brakes were always fading. I had a 39 ford floor shift transmission in it and one day on the way to school the brakes quit behind a stopped bus and all I could do was down shift and then use reverse. I got stopped okay with no one hurt but the transmission lost low and reverse. I drove it this way for some time until I found the gears I needed and rebuilt it. About this time dad decided the old ford was no longer safe and we went to Erke ??? Motors in Cedar Rapids and got an 1953 Rambler town and country. This was probably my second favorite car. It was a two-door hardtop with continental kit and really a class car.  Tommy finished school and came home and got a job at Allen motors in Cedar Rapids and Married his high school sweetheart Fern. I continued with track and work and school. I cruised 1st Ave. some went night fishing and was pretty much a loner. One night a neighbor friend and I went out for what I don't remember but he picked up his girl friend and not wanting to be along asked them to drop me at Armar Ballroom for a Sock Hop. Why here I do not know as I couldn't dance. Anyhow I had some pop and watched people as they danced and did puppy love and crush things. Yes I have had an infatuation on Mrs. French my English teacher, and a puppy love with a neighbor, and even a crush on an older girl who liked horses. But as I sat there that night and this angelic vision in the yellow mohair sweater and black skirt and the prettiest red hair left the dance floor I finally understood what LOVE really was.


I'm not sure when I started to breath again. Maybe it was right after I knew we would get married some day. At any rate she didn't even know I existed. What a dufus. My friend had dropped off his girl and stopped out and I asked him to go see if they wanted to set with us, or some lame thing. I found out later her friend was coming to see if we could meet and my friend and her friend went off dancing, leaving us setting in our own booths. You probably know by now, I was very shy, and to be caught looking at a girl was very embarrassing. To talk to one was next to impossible and would probably take and act of God and since he seen fit to send me an Angel I should probably do something. I'm not sure where or when I got the courage but finally went to meet her and through the course of probably some very stupid conversation I asked If I could take her home after the dance. I was turned down and that was all very well as I did not have a car and would have been to embarrassed to ever see her again. I found out later this was her birthday. It would be many weeks before I would see her again and could find out where she lived and her phone #. What a SAP!!!!. I didn't even get that. The eternity finally ended and I seen her there again and was allowed to come over some time to meet her parents. They said we could not date but would let me meet them at the bowling alley some time. Car had a flat tire was late wonderful start. Was invited to there cabin for a Saturday picnic. Boy are they rich. Got stuck in mud late again. Oh bother. Frame on the car broke and not fixable so now sit at home and write letters. Used dads car some for date at her house. Oh Her name is Carol. Was tiring of the farm work and went to work in town at Als car wash. We got me another car, a 1952 Plymouth but very shortly the engine had a bad rod. Bought another engine from the neighbor for $25.00 and put that in. Went to the cabin several times and was allowed to drive Carol to the corner for Ice cream. Second engine didn't last long either so we got a 1955 Plymouth belvedere. Was a pretty nice car. Carol broke up with me and was devastated but knew we would get back together. Continued work and graduation was drawing near. Went to the cabin fishing on occasions and ended up buying an old Harley for $75.00. Carol and I got back and dated some and she broke up again. Had to keep the motorcycle at Tom's as dad would not allow it. Graduation came and as Carol had already promised to go with me we went together. The car wash wasn't going any where so quit and started some odd jobs but that wasn't much fun. Always wanted to do electronics but didn't see how without some schooling. The summer went fast and decided to join the Air Force in the electronics field. This would give me the schooling I wanted. I signed up and was to be called when there was an opening in the electronics field. Rode the motorcycle to the cabin for a visit and one of Carols friends was there. We visited some and then asked her if she would like to go far a ride. Her friend said no way and that did it for them. She went for the ride and they were done. SHAME ON ME. Decided to sell the motorcycle before leaving for the service as I needed the money. The day finally came for the call for the service and I left for a whole new life to begin. Got on the bus and headed for San Antonio Texas. Upon our arrival there the drill instructor met us and greeted us with, Looks like another bunch of mama's boys and there will be about 1/2 of you that will not make it. It made me so mad that I decided I would not be part of that half. I wasn't but it was very hard at first. Not much sleep and always running from here to there for drills and training. 12 weeks of this and then another 4 weeks at tech school. First was uniforms and haircuts, where they asked your size but didn't listen and how do you want your haircut and didn't listen there either all the time yelling things at you. Then for some chow. After that since it was three in the morning to bed. The bugle sounded at four o'clock to get up and get started. I can see this was going to be fun. Went to assignments first to get career field assigned. I had been guaranteed electronics so the first thing was to try and make me a cook, or security police or mechanic or administration or such. It was very scary but told them my field was electronics and if that was not there I would go home. Ya Right. Well it worked I guess as I got 303X2 Early warning radar. This turned out to be a very great career field. From then on it was night marches, drills, classroom, drills, marches, P.T., classroom etc,etc, and once in a while some sleep and some food. Most of the guys didn't like the food but I found it very good. I really liked S.O.S. chipped beef on toast. It was about 2 weeks before we could get a 15 minute break and at this time the drill instructor gave us at ease and said, If you smoke light them up and if you don't pick them up. Needless to say this is where I started smoking. Wrong move as I can tell now but was young and dumb then. The twelve weeks passed quickly and was excited to head for Biloxi, Mississippi for the technical school. On another bus and off we went. Our arrival there was totally different. Were met and assigned quarters and then left alone after being given the rules of order. Now What. We were almost free. Four weeks of almost casual training after basic and school work and had evenings and weekends free after studies.

Kept in touch with home and Carol and sure missed her. As she was still my one and only I was always Off Limits. She still didn't know about us for sure. Purchased a 1948 ford and went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and some side trips but couldn't afford the Insurance and things so let it go back to the owner for a loss. Spent time on the beach and studying and that filled up the whole year. Went out to Ship Island once and was that ever a gorgeous place. Crystal clear blue water. About half way through school took some leave and went home to see all and Carol and then back to school. After this trip Carol thought more of us and shortly promised to Marry me when school was over. WOW. Now time would really drag. As I was only 20 and she only 17 we needed our parents permission and the Base Commanders permission. I had to attend classes and counseling before they would approve it. Finally all was finished and was time to head home. Had an assignment for the 634th Radar Squadron, Burns Oregon. This would be the best assignment ever. We had the wedding day set and most things taken care of and I got on the train and headed home. This chapter of my life is drawing to a close and a new life is ready to begin for the two of us.

Just Before marriage 1961

Things were very hectic when I arrived home and a lot of it remains a blur. One thing stood out though and she was more gorgeous than ever. We got the blood tests and license and the dress and all things required. Our moms did most of the work and preparations. One thing we didn't count on was the waiting period and almost didn't get married. It turns out we didn't count the days right as full work days and had to meet the judge on Saturday morning just before the ceremony to pick up the license. Were we ever worried. Any way we were planning on the trip to Oregon and didn't have a lot of money $150.00 and we still needed a car. We got an old 1953 ford station wagon for $75.00 and that left us $75.00 for the trip. 2,000 miles to go. We made do with most of the things we had and the wedding day arrived. I was so nervous I can't remember much of it. I was in my Air Force blues and Carol in her white satin dress and our song was please love me forever. The rest is a blur. We spent our honeymoon night in the sunset motel in Iowa City and then a few days at the cabin in Alburnett. Then it was time to head to Oregon. Some minor glitches as Carol's sister Kay was going to spend some Time with their dad in Vancouver Washington so she would make the trip with us. So Much for the rest of the honeymoon. Would you look at the car. AND would you LOOK at the BRIDE. How did I deserve this. Thank you God !!!




That's it, Carol, her sister Kay, and myself with everything we have in the world in the back of the 1953 Ford Station wagon and $75.00 in our pocket with some lunch our mom's packed stuck in a corner on the floorboard.




The Lewis L Orcutt Family