Scrapbook Two Hundred…

scrapbook

APRIL, 2019

 

Today I read a most wonderful book. It’s called My Childhood in Montana, by Irene Estella Stephens (1920-2015). It is published in paperback, on demand, and can be purchased on AbeBooks.com for under $10. It was compiled by Pamela Gehn Stephens, and copiously illustrated by William Shumway.coverThe book came to me in the mail from Brent, with a note that said, “Forrest, I hope you enjoy my grandma-in-law’s stories. She was a great storyteller and really would have liked to have read your memoir I’m sure.” 

On the back cover of the book are these words, “Irene was my mother-in-law until her passing at age 95 in 2015. She was an exceptional person of many talents, and I especially loved reading her straight-forward vivid description of growing up on a remote dryland wheat farm on the central plains of Montana during the Great Depression. This memoir evokes her close family and neighbors, and the constant hard work to survive in this harsh environment where the winters were long and bitter, and the growing season was, at most, four months.” Pamela G. Stephens

Chapter 13 is titled Teacherage

“In late fall, when the Montana winters dug in, it became too difficult to ride our horses to school, so our folks would take us to the schoolhouse Monday morning, and we would live there with the teacher until Friday afternoon. The school building was heated with a coal furnace in the basement, and the teacher had to shovel coal into the furnace or see that it was done by one of the older boys. She also had to cook our meals and get us to bed at night. Before school started in fall, the parents would bring a load of coal out from Roy, along with school supplies and food staples. Of course, the toilet was an outhouse, same as at our house.

“One year our teacher was Mrs. Stephens, and I remember giggling with the other girls when we saw her son Webb wearing his long red nightgown. That boy grew up and became my husband. We were married for 55 years.” (A cutout from Chapter 6. “There were at most 14 students, and sometimes as few as 9 or 10, from 4 or 5 families in grades 1-8, all taught by 1 teacher).

The 40, one-page chapters were drawn to a time, just 10 years before mine, when the promise of an easy life seemed distant. But they held sway so potent that I longed to harken back and live it all again with them. Tough times make memories stronger, and longer lasting. I love Irene and her sister, and their father with his rigid expectations. Please read this book and tell me what you think. f

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Nine…

scrapbook

APRIL, 2019

 

Slush Cup Competition

According to the Santa Fe paper more than 280 inches of snow fell on our ski hill this winter. Now it’s melting all up and down the Rockies and the rivers are filling with run-off. Soon it will be time to start searching for the treasure, but not yet. 

IMG 6935

Sunday the 14th was the last day of skiing for this year and there were several hundred people on hand to watch the Slush Cup competition, or as some call it, the “The Annual Dunk.” Doug Preston, and his wife Christine, were there taking pictures. About 100 men, women and children registered to compete in the juried event.

Shiloh made it – no, wait. He almost made it.

Tradition suggests that competitors wear costumes, and many did. A mystery man wearing a banana suit with a cape drew the most laughs, especially when he splashed soon after he reached the 2 feet deep pond. Superman soon followed with the matching results. Many participants made multiple runs and they didn’t seem to mind getting soaked in the 32-degree weather.  Some were topless and others wore swim suits or skivvies. About 25 skiers and snow boarders made it safely across the 65-foot pond. Shiloh and his friend Nick (who is one of the geniuses at Los Alamos National Laboratory) made multiple runs during the 3-hour event, and both were able to skim across. They also crashed a couple of times.

Shiloh and the partially nude Nick.

Contestants were judged on style and results. Shiloh and Nick didn’t win anything, but they were smart enough to take a change of clothing. The top prize went to a 23-year-old woman who received tickets to the Ten Thousand Waves Spa, where the water is warmer. Maybe I’ll enter the competition next year, it looks like fun. f 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Eight…

scrapbook

MARCH, 2019

 

Hey Forrest,

Here are some documents I dug up related to your 12/21/1968 rescue:
1) Handwritten log from the Joint Search and Rescue Center (JSARC). 
2) Mission Narrative Report 2-3-79 written by Lt. Eagan, USCG.

Also, I found some records related to the first time you were shot down on 8/24/1968
1) Handwritten log from the Joint Search and Rescue Center (JSARC).
2) Electronic records list the aircraft as F-100 D with serial # 563019.

Note, TACAN ch-89 is Nakhon Phanom and TACAN ch-115 is Binh Thuy. Positions in logs are often given as TACAN coordinates: heading / distance (NM) / TACAN channel. The heading is from the tower to the current position.

Some other notes:
– Your chute beeper never activated (phantom beeper picked up 35mi south of your position).
– Swisher ran a MISTY thru your flt path to figure out where to search for you.
– PJ King (high bird) was MIA/KIA 4 days later (on xmas, about 25mi NW of your pickup). He was awarded the AFC.

Best,
Chris L


Chris L.,
Thank you so much for finding those documents for me. I had not seen them before. They explain a few things that I had wondered about, especially that my parachute beeper had not worked. My chute is probably still hanging in the tree. Anything else you can find for me will be greatly appreciated. I received a Silver Star for that mission, But I have never seen the narrative that was written that convinced the brass in the Pentagon to give the medal to me. I would like to read that document. It must be somewhere in my personnel records. Where do you live Chris? If you are ever in Santa Fe I would like to show you my combat scrapbook. I have a photo of me being pulled up on the
Cable, taken by someone in the high chopper. f