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My World War II Hero

Updated on November 30, 2015
ArtByLinda profile image

The author is an amateur artist and photographer that loves to travel with her husband of 35 years.

In Memory of my Father, Harold Leo Means (March 26, 1918 - Sept 17th, 1999)

A dedication to my father; Harold Leo Means.

It will include, memos and pictures from his diary during World War II, some of the memories of his life, these are the stories he told, that live only in the memories of his wife and daughters.

I will include his legacy, He was married to my mother, Kathleen Joan Means and took her son into his heart and then had five daughters.

I'm also including his handwritten auto-biography about his life.

Though some of his words may be offensive to some, I will not change or edit them as they are part of his history and life. You should know that my father was an extremely kind and caring man.

I am sharing his words on this site, mainly for my family, and friends. So that his words and stories never fade into history, but stay strong and live on.

I also write this to share with the world a little history on the life of a soldier in World War II, and the life of a teenager and man during the great depression.

He was a great golfer, caddying as a young child. Offered a sponser to go Pro, but turned it down to stay with his family and not travel away from them. He shot his age more times than many will ever dream of.

Mostly he taught me, that inside everyone there is good. Sometimes it is harder to find in some than in others, but he would make it his goal when he met someone that just wasn't acting very kind. To find that kindness within their soul, and leave them with a smile.

That man, was my Father!

diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II
diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

1. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

(Editors note: I will do my best to type this as written, as it is a historical document)

Islands I have been on in the South Pacific;

Adak-Aleutians

Amchitka-Aleutians

Kiska-Aleutians

Oahu-Hawaiian Islands

Maui-Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii-Hawaiian Islands

Eniwetok-Marshalls

Manue-Admiralties

Leyte-Philippines

Ships I have sailed on

SS George Julian L.C.1. 80 +81

SS Chirquiarf

SS Franklin Bell

L.S.T. #633

USHS Marigold

SS Extavia

This book if the property of P.F.C. Harold L. Means 39687080 U. S. Army.

It was found on Kiska, in the Aleutians Islands On Aug. 17th, 1943.

If lost, or if anything happens to me please send it to

Mrs. Harold Means

79 N. Central

Campbell, Calif. Box 301

Sept. 27, 1943

I will try to put down in this book where I've been when, and what I did (overseas).

2. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II (2)

We boarded the George Julian at Frisco on July 12th. After a couple weeks we landed on the island of Adak in the Aleutians. What an island! Not a tree or even a bush on the whole island! And rain! I thought it rained in Oregon, but that was just a slight dew compared to this! The wind blew about 100 m.p.h. They are called Williwaw's. (I guess that's how it's spelled.)

We spent three miserable weeks in the mud. By then we knew we were going to attack Kiska. We were also told that the expected it to be one of the bloodiest battles of the war, so we really were going to get a taste of real fighting. (we thought)

Finally the day came, Aug. and orders came thru to move out. We were all feeling pretty good, our morale was high. I guess because we had heard that we might return to the States, when our mission was completed. (It was only a rumor).

By this time everyone was close together, there were no fights, no one had any enemies, and everyone had a buddy or two that they knew they could count on, who you ate with, slept with & even told your troubles to, if you had any.

Well, we got on another ship and L.C.1 on the morning of Aug. and sailed for the island of Amehitka, about 70 miles from Kiska. We stayed there about four days, then took off for Kiska.

We were all pretty nervous the morning we landed. We didn't know that the japs had taken a powder. It was hell as we advanced. The silence was weighing on our nerves! We expected to be fired on at any time. It was a good thing they weren't there or I might not be here writing this. They had some beautiful positions & could have really put up a battle. They left plenty of booby traps *mines. In some barb wire we went thru (my co.) they found 150 mines. Many man were killed by booby traps as everything had one attached.

Page 3 photo

World War II photo - Patrol taking a break
World War II photo - Patrol taking a break

3. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Dads diary during world war II
Dads diary during world war II

We stayed there until September 1st, then sailed for Hawaii.

4. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Dad in the hospital during world war II
Dad in the hospital during world war II

Me in the hospital '43

5. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 2, 1944

It has been a long time since I have written in this book, but I have a lot to write about now.

First we left the Hawaiin Islands on the 16th of Sept. and sailed west to Eniwetok in the Marshalls. We stayed two days and drank beer and rested. Then we sailed SW to Manues Is in the Admiralties, we were there a few days.

6. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

What we do in the Army
What we do in the Army

What we do in the army, Yeah!

7. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

We sailed to the Island of Leyte, in the Philippines, and landed there on the 20th of Oct. 10 am.

8. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

World War II photo
World War II photo

It was a thrilling sight to see our Battleships & airplanes bomb and shell the beach before we landed. We were under the Jap fire all the way in to the beach. We landed and killed the few japs that were alive around there. Joe Portillo was killed a few minutes after we hit the beach. That hurt me a lot, as he was my buddie.

9. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Loosing Joe Portillo
Loosing Joe Portillo

(1. Joe Portillo, (KIA Leyte) 2. Hal Means, 3. Paul Roper, 4. Jim Koss, 5.?, 6.?, 7. Eugene Smith) Oahu 1944

10. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

2nd Plattoon, K Co. 184th Infantry, 7th Division, Oahu T.H. 1944
2nd Plattoon, K Co. 184th Infantry, 7th Division, Oahu T.H. 1944

The first day we advanced and took and secured an airport without much opposition (thank god!) It was K Co (my company) who captured it. We dug in & spent the night there with our artillery landing just twenty yds in front of us. It kept the japs back and I believe it saved our lives. Incidentally, jap artillery & mortar fire was also falling in our area. I had to go out & put up barb wire after dark and I'll admit, I didn't like it a damned bit!

(2nd Plattoon, K Co. 184th Infantry, 7th Division, Oahu T.H. 1944)

11. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

For three days & nights we were on the front lines, but luckily we only met scattered resistance & a few snipers. But the nights, were a hell of a strain on a guy. We were relieved for a couple days, then went back on the front lines, but most of the Japs had fled to the hills.

We were sitting on the side of the road, resting one morning. When out of nowhere, came a Jap plane. He was about 25 feet high & coming straight at me. I sure thought I was a goner as there was no cover to get into. I laid flat and hugged the ground. He opened fire & the slugs kicked up dirt all around, but god must have been with me for I wasn't hit.

We had had Jap planes over every day & night. They bombed the hell out of the beach & only a few fell in our area. For a few days the Japs flew over the Island freely, as all our planes were being used in the big navel battle. Finally we got a few P38's & now the Japs only come out at night.

Oh yes, we shot at a few Jap planes that were low and we shot down two for sure! That was with rifle fire.

Last night, the 1st there were many Jap planes over, three bombs fell about 200 yds from my hole. It really shook up things.

12. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

So far we have had very few casualties, 1 dead and about 10 wounded. L Co was ambushed down the road the other day. Two officers, one Lt Guager a swell guy, and 30 men were killed and wounded. I believe there were 10 dead. About 65 Japs were killed. I've really seen everything on this operation.

There is a rumor going around that we are going home after this. I hope it is true. I'd be the happiest guy in the world to get home. I will try to write something in here everyday now.

13. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

I've never saw such hot weather.
I've never saw such hot weather.

Nov. 3

Rained like hell last nite. Had to bail water from our holes. The 'milkman' (Jap planes) were over last night & this morning. Don't think they did much damage.

Took a bath in the river. The third bath since we landed. Also washed clothes. The natives are always bothering us for clothes. They bring chickens and bananas.

I've never saw such hot weather.

Rumor that there is two platoons of Japs in our area. I'd like to get a crack at them.

14. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 4th

The 'milkman' was over last night & this morning. Ack, ack, firing all night. Heard noises in front of our hole last night. Threw two grenades. No japs were found.

Native just told me that were 300 Japs in the foothills.

Traded the natives clothes for eggs and bananas today. Eggs are a luxury.

(Natives meeting with servicemen)

Page 14 photo

Natives meeting with servicemen during World War II
Natives meeting with servicemen during World War II

15. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Patrol taking a break during World War II
Patrol taking a break during World War II

Nov. 5.

Went on patrol this morning to try to locate the 300 japs. No luck. Ran into natives who gave us 'Tuba', a native drink. (like wine) very good.

(Patrol taking a break)

Milkman was over last night & destroyed about 40 of our planes on ground. They say that 15,000 japs have landed on north of Island. Maybe the battle isn't over yet. P-40's arrived yesterday.

Had bacon and eggs for breakfast-What a treat!

We are going on two day patrol tomorrow.

16. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

World War II
World War II

Nov. 9th

Got back last nite from 3 day patrol up thru the mountains. Rained all the time. REally miserable. We went into hills 10 miles. Saw no Japs. Radio went out.

Glad to hear FDR was elected.

Native women at the creek wash your clothes while you bathe. They don't seem to mind being among a bunch of naked men.

Was sick last nite. Don't feel so hot today.

Native killed Jap 2 miles from here. Brought back head.

Went to medics. Had temp 99.2. May go to hosp. Think I have got dysentery.

17. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 10th.

Don't feel any better today. Was sick all last night.

Milkman was over last night. Heavy ack ack firing all night.

Got mail yesterday but none from Bettye.

May get paid today.

18. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 12th

Manual went to hosp. Lots of guys sick.

Milkman over all last night & this morn. Ack ack really busy.

Nov. 12-Was supposed to go on 5 day patrol in hills. But was sent to Hosp. Fever 99.6

Evening-Thought I'd get some rest here at the beach. What a laugh! About 4 p.m. on Jap bomber came over, was shot down in the water just off shore. Then suddenly above us three P38's on tail of Jap. He went down quick! There were Japs everywhere. One after another they were shot down. I saw 16 go down. One burst in flames, high in the air. A beautiful sight! Four crashed in water, just off beach and exploded. Our P38's really on ball.

One L.S.T. was strofed & bombed. Lot of men hurt and killed. Wounded were here in hosp. In 10 minutes being treated. Liberty ship also hit. Jap dove into it. Is burning bad. Many casualties. We expect many Jap planes tonight.

Japs landed 35,000 men on north part of Island. Our Navy sand Jap convoy in Leyte Bay. The nips are really trying to hold this Island.

19. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 13

Was raining and cloudy all night. Kept Japs away. One bomber over this morning. They say Japs have reinforced this island with 70,000 troops. But they have landed right into a trap. Navy sank another ten Jap transports in bay.

20. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 14

A Betty (Jap bomber) was just now over. Didn't drop any bombs. Pretty quiet all day.

Nov. 15

Hot cakes for breakfast. What a delicacy.

Two alerts this morning. I didn't see planes.

Nov. 16

Nothing of interest to write about this morning.

Tokio Rose announced on radio, that if we weren't off Leyte in 72 hours, they would use poison gas. (and me without a gas mask)

Gen MacAurthur sent word to the Emperor that if they gassed this island, or any other island with American troops on. He would wipe out Tokio with gas in 12 hours.

Nov. 17

All quiet here. Had word that my Co. has encountered 200 Japs in hills. Hope they don't run into any ambush like L Co. did.

Nov. 18

Air show this morning. Saw one Jap plane go down. Many were shot down that I didn't see. (My morale goes up whenever a jap plane goes down!)

Rumor is strong that the 7th Div. is going home

21. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War I

Working at the hospital
Working at the hospital

Nov. 24

Was released from hosp. the 18th. Returned to Co. area. But they had moved out. I stayed with fellows guarding barask bags. Six of us all alone away out here away from everyone. Nothing between us and the Japs. Road so muddy is impassable. That's reason we are here so long.

Last nite about 10 P.M. heard jap plane overhead. Then we heard a bomb coming down. It seemed to be going to land right on us. It made the most terrifying sound. We had no time to get cover. It his about 50 yards away. Thre rocks & dirt all over us. Funny thing, it had hardly finished exploding and we were all laughing like it was a big joke!

22. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 27-

Well here I am back in the hosp. I've got dysentery. About half of our Co. is here. Wonder if it will be like the last time. I was in hosp. on Oahu 76 days with it.

Jap planes were just around. Didn't see them, but they were putting up a terrific barrage at them down the coast a ways.

Nov. 28-

Three of our men were evacuated by C47 to Saipan. Danny goes tomorrow.

Jap dropped a phosporous bomb on beach last night.

Also landed some paratroopers. A couple made crash landings on beach, filled with Japs.

It is good to see the P38's come in. If they have shot down any japs they do a victory roll over the airfield. Almost everyone that came in today did victory rolls.

23. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Nov. 30-

Navy sunk another Jap convoy in Leyte bay. We could hear the sound of it.

My outfit is in battling with the Japs again.

Three more guys from K Co evacuated. Four more go tomorrow. I'm sure I've got it too.

Heard Radio Toyko according to them we are really taking a beating. What liars they are. We get a big laugh out of their programs.

"A few of the boys from Co. K in the hospital 11/43"

World War II
World War II

"A few of the boys from Co. K in the hospital 11/43"

24. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Dec. 7th-

Last nite at dusk there were many Jap planes over. Don't know how many were shot down. I saw one burst in flames. They were pretty low. Heard bullets whistling overhead, at same time plane came over. Figured he was stafing.

My outfit in up fighting on front lines again at Ormah.

This morning saw one Jap plane high. I guess he got away.

So far there has been 15 men of my Co. evacuated on C47's for Amiada Dysentery. I'm sure I've got it too. Dick Price left this morning.

Dec. 10th-

Just had word of casualties in my Co.

Drich wounded, is in hosp. here.

Shorty Crawfor was killed. Also Keath, Blackburn, Harlics and Lt. Prizer all dead.

There are probably more, but this is all Duck knew about. It sure hurts to be here in hosp. while my outfit is fighting. I'd rather be with them.

Navy sank another Jap Convoy. At Ormak. 13 ships. Japs landed paratroopers the other day, just a little way from here. Most of them were killed.

My Co. was also shot. Lt. Morris went nuts. Lt. Fairbent shot in face. We have but two officers left in our Co. MCo. hit bad.

Dec. 12th-

Haven't heard any more about my outfit. The battle should be over soon.

Jap paratroopers took one of our airfields the night they landed, but it was retaken the next day.

I haven't mentioned any thing about our rain here. It rains everyday and hard!

25. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Dec. 14th-

There hasn't been a day go by, since we hit the island, that Jap planes haven't been over the island. Navy sank another Jap convoy last night.

Had several alerts last night.

Dec. 25th-

Christmas Day. And still contacting Japs everyday.

The day before yesterday was out on a small recon patrol a couple miles in front of lines. Ran into hornets nest. Had to pull out in a hurry. They had us between them. Had to run thru an open field thru their fire. It was a miracle that no one was hit. We killed a couple of them.

Yesterday the 24th, was on a small patrol way out sitting down resting. About 15 or 20 Japs walked right into us. We opened up with everything we had. We killed three for sure, and must have wounded a lot, for there was blood everywhere. We didn't have enough men to chase them. No one was hurt on our side.

26. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Feb. 11th- (1944)

I was evacuated to Hollandia, New Guinea Dec. 27 for dysentery, about 25 in all from my company.

(1945-Hal Means in Hospital at Hollandia, New Guinea)

Today Sawyer arrived, he said there were more casualties in the Co. They took three small islands off coast of Leyte. How can they push an outfit as the have ours! Toland & Brayant were killed, about 20 wounded. Rosario had an arm shot off. They ran into ambushes. We've got but two officers left. I don't imagine there is more than 20 men of our original Company left. Sawyer says they are going to hit another Island the 15th of this month. It seems as if they won't stop till they kill the whole outfit off.

(1945-Hal Means in Hospital at Hollandia, New Guinea)

(1945-Hal Means in Hospital at Hollandia, New Guinea)
(1945-Hal Means in Hospital at Hollandia, New Guinea)

(1945-Hal Means in Hospital at Hollandia, New Guinea)

27. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

April 3rd-

Well that happy day has come at last! I am going home! I have been here in the hosp. all this time. I was boarded Mar 28th for the USA.

I've waited so long for this. Now it won't be long till I hold Bettys in my arms again. I imagine she will be happy too. Poor kid, it must have been hard for her, and lonely. I've got the best wife in the world. She will never regret waiting for me.

My outfit are in another invasion, about 325 miles from Japan. Am I glad I'm not there! It is going to be plenty hot there.

Well that happy day has come at last! I am going home!

Well that happy day has come at last! I am going home!
Well that happy day has come at last! I am going home!

Well that happy day has come at last! I am going home!

28. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

March 13- (at sea)

Just received word of President Roosevelts death. It was quite a blow! He was a great man. A real American. Hope Truman can do his job half as well.

Just received word of President Roosevelts death. It was quite a blow!

Just received word of President Roosevelts death. It was quite a blow!
Just received word of President Roosevelts death. It was quite a blow!

Just received word of President Roosevelts death. It was quite a blow!

29. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Mar. 19th-

We have been at sea fourteen days. It won't be long now! I can hardly wait to see that Golden Gate!

The weather has been getting cooler the last few days. Feels good.

I don't understand how the Germans can go on fighting. It can't last much longer over there.

March 21st-

Expect to dock tomorrow. I can hardly wait to get there!

Got out my overcoat today. It has been really cold. But it feels good.

Aug-1945

(The Jap plane approaches the landing strip on Okinowa)

Page 29 Photo

Buddies during the War
Buddies during the War

Page 29 photo

30. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

(The Japs disembark from the Army plane after flight from Japan)

Page 30 photo

World War II plane
World War II plane

PAGE 30

31. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

(M.P.'s escort the Japs to the waiting official escort)
(M.P.'s escort the Japs to the waiting official escort)

(M.P.'s escort the Japs to the waiting official escort)

32. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

The receiving official, in turn escorts the Japs to the formal reception of envoys
The receiving official, in turn escorts the Japs to the formal reception of envoys

(The receiving official, in turn escorts the Japs to the formal reception of envoys)

The Japanese envoys bring the first surrender papers the arrow (at the bottom) indicates chief negotiator
The Japanese envoys bring the first surrender papers the arrow (at the bottom) indicates chief negotiator

33. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

(The Japanese envoys bring the first surrender papers the arrow (at the bottom) indicates chief negotiator)

34. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Ed Kane- Kwajelien Co. K
Ed Kane- Kwajelien Co. K

~Friends of mine killed in Battle~

1. Ed Kane- Kwajelien Co. K

35. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Ford Kitts- Kwajellien Co. K
Ford Kitts- Kwajellien Co. K

2- Ford Kitts- Kwajellien Co. K

36. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

Joe Portillo- Leyte Oct. 20th Co. K
Joe Portillo- Leyte Oct. 20th Co. K

Joe Portillo- Leyte Oct. 20th Co. K

(Hal Means, Joe Portillo)

37. The diary of Harold Leo Means during World War II

4- Keath- Leyte Dec. Co. K

5- Blackburn- Leyte Dec. Co. K

6- Harliss- Leyte Dec. Co. K

7- Shorty Crawford- Leyte Dec. Co. K

8- Lt. Gariger- Leyte Oct. Co. L

9- Lt. Prizer- Leyte Dec. Co. K

10- Carbonne- Leyte Oct. 20th Co. I

11- Toland- Leyte Jan. Co. K

12- Breyante Leyte Jan. Co. K

13- Sgt. Fout- Leyte Dec. Co. K

14- Lester Johnson- Leyte Dec. Co. K

(editor's note: He also had a list of wounded, but it was written with a red felt tipped pen, and had gotten wet, the ink ran...the only name that was legible was "Campbell" that was written in pencil)

Bobbie Smith and Me at Santa Cruz, Calif. 1946

Bobbie Smith and Me at Santa Cruz, Calif. 1946
Bobbie Smith and Me at Santa Cruz, Calif. 1946

Bobbie Smith and Me at Santa Cruz, Calif. 1946

Santa Cruz 1946

Nov 12, 1948

Nov 18th, 1948

Diana Shore

Diana Shore
Diana Shore

My Dad

Palomar Mt., Ca July 1942

My Father

Harold Leo Means - What a handsome Man my father was

Harold Leo Means
Harold Leo Means

"Red, White and Blue" by Linda Hoxie

in loving memory of her father and the victims of the bombings, September 11th, 2001

2001-11-19

Dearest Daddy

how I never knew

just what the red, the white and the blue

meant to you

when I stood close to your feet

lifting my admiring eyes to you,

a child doing my part

I placed my right hand like yours

reciting the words I soon knew by heart

why Daddy why

did it take such a jolt

to truly know why that tear trailed down your sweet cheek

awakening us with such a big bolt

oh Daddy

I never had a clue

how special those colors

red, white and blue

when I think back

watching your chest swell with pride

as your voice joined with others

keeping OUR national anthem truly alive

blinded before

now I truly see

for I feel in my heart

what that flag means to me

Daddy I will stand proud

my voice I will raise loud

while the tears stream down my face

that wondrous feeling, it I will embrace

as I feel my heart

swelling with pride

I know you are with me

never far from my side

Dearest Daddy

how I never knew

just what the red, the white and the blue

meant to you

written by Linda Hoxie

in loving memory of her father

and the victims of the bombings, September 11th, 2001

The Means Family
The Means Family

His Legacy

Our family Tree

Eugene Elmer Means (Harriet Ann Balch , John Quincy Adams Balch , Lydia Shepard , Silas Shepard , Elizabeth Sacket , Benoni Sacket , Samuel Sacket , John , Simon , Thomas , Thomas ) was born on 21 Apr 1887 in St. Louis, MO. He died on 15 Nov 1937 in St. Louis, MO.

Eugene married Florence Ann Redfern. Florence was born in Oct 1887 in St. Louis, MO. She died in 1934 in St. Louis, MO.

They had the following children:

Eugene Charles Means was born on 18 Mar 1910 in St. Louis, MO. He died in Sep 1967 in Oakland, CA.

Mary Harriet Means was born on 3 Jun 1914 in St. Louis, MO. She died in 1979 in San Diego, CA.

Mary married (1) Mac Dreyfus.

Mary married (2) George Pohlman.

Lester Monroe Means was born on 15 Oct 1915 in St. Louis, MO. He died in Jul 1980 in Chula Vista, CA.

Redfern John Means

Redfern married Mabel I. Waidelich.

Harold Leo Means

Harold married (1) Bettye Tatum.

Harold married (2) Kathleen Joan Kimball.

Kathleen had two children previously

(Kathleen/married to Fred Horn-Children: Jeff Horn

John Horn)

(Douglas Roche - Children: Brook Roche, Sean Roche, Steven Roche)

They had the following children together:

Joy Rene Means

Joy married Edwin Vincent Gray Jr..

Their Children:

-----Daughter, Christina Gray/Schiller married Valentine Schiller;

----------Children: Valentine and Angelina

-----Son; Vincent Gray married to Rene

----------Children Ryan, Tony, Nicole

-----Daughter; Michelle Gray/ Yanko married to Jason Yanko

-----Son; Jesse Gray; married to Keri McGreal Gray,

---------Children Gabriella and Emmett

Starleen Means

-----Child: Jeremiah Means married to Sharla Thomas/Means

----------Children Lauren and Logan

Marlene Carol Means

-----Children:

-----Daughter: Celeste Hunt,

---------her son is Kylan Leo Hunt

-----Son; Joshua Hunt

Linda Lee Means

Linda married Michael William Hoxie.

-----Children:

-----Son: Brandon Michael Hoxie, married to Aubrey Woodcock

-----Daughter; Katie Lee Hoxie/Jordan married to Russell Jordan

---------Child, Dallas Michael Jordan

Vicki Lynn Means

-----Children:

-----Son: Cody Peers,

-----Daughter; Alyssa Peers,

--------Children Adam and Aubriana Peers

-----Daughter, Mykenzi Peers,

--------Child, Braydon Michael

-----Daughter Ashli Peers

Boy going fishing
Boy going fishing

Stories from the Life of Harold Leo Means

These are some of the stories he told:

Stories from the Life of my father:

My father and his brothers grew up very poor. Their father was not around, he just knew he had "a father". His mother was very sickly and died when he was only 15 years old, from then on he and his three brothers, Redfern, Eugene and Les were on their own.

The following are some of the stories he told of his life growing up during the depression.

These are not in chronological order but just as he told them.

Links to my Father telling stories about growing up during the Great Depression

This links to my Father telling stories about growing up during the Great Depression.

Movie theater clip art
Movie theater clip art

How they got into shows (movie theatre's)

How they got into the Movie theatre

The used to walk in backwards. When all the people were coming out, the show was getting out. The usher would be over there, and we would watch him and walk in backwards. If he looked our way we would walk the other way, then when he looked the other way, in we went backwards. they wouldn't even look.

Another way we use to get into the show is one guy would pay his way in, and the others would wait by the side door and then everybody would get in.

warmer bros advanced film crew
warmer bros advanced film crew

He and his "real good friend" Bill Plummer and some of their escapades

"Advanced film crew - Warner (1938)

One of the wildest things we ever did...

Bill Plummer and myself, we were real good friends, it was back in 1938. We used to...at that time there wasn't any television, so back then the movies were a big thing. So everyone that was connected with the movies, they were like little gods. So anyway Bill had a '36 Ford. A blue Ford, I remember I can see it. One day he came over to my house and he says come here I want to show you something, and went out and he had went to a professional sign painter and he had painted on the side of the car "Warner Brothers, Pictures incorporated, Hollywood, California, Advance Service"

So we had been thinking about making a trip back east, so we made the trip east. The first night we stopped in Provo, Utah and we stopped at an Auto port. A place where we could get a shower for .50 cents. We came out after taking our showers and there were 16 gals standing around our car. Pretty girls too, they were all. They wondered who was from California, who was from Hollywood. Especially those studios. Of course we fed them full of bull...baloney. And it went that way everywhere we went. We would pull into a restaurant and of course it was always facing the store, the sign was. And people would see that sign and they would rush out there and they would start asking questions about Hollywood, and everything. And we really felt like big shots.

One time in Denver, we stayed there for a week, we painted curb numbers that is how we made our way across the country. So in Denver, we had told a couple gals that we had taken out that we was gonna make a movie there in Denver and it was going to have Bing Crosby and Olivia Dehavalin and it was going to be called "Rhythm in the clouds" We only told two gals, and the following Monday we were going to leave town. So we had told these gals it was going to be shot in the park.

Oh I forgot the Friday before we left, why there was a Main street right there at the park, you know two main streets. And this crazy Bill he stops the car, we had the two girls in the car, he stops the car and he says I got to check some camera angles, he stops the car right in the middle of the intersection and he gets out and he is going around like this (his hands, thumbs together and fingers up like he is checking camera angles). Traffic was all stopped and everything. He was really full of baloney. So the Monday when we left there was quite a lot of people over by that park waiting for the movie people to come in.

So then we went on and we went to St. Louis. We slept out in the park in St. Louis, and the cops used to come by and wake us up in the morning and they would be talking about Hollywood, ya know and how they were coming out there on vacation and we were going to give them a pass to get in the studios and everything.

We pulled up to St. Louis, there was a Warner Brothers theatre and we pulled right up in front of it with this sign as big as life. "Warner Brothers pictures incorporated and everything". The manager came rushing out and introduced himself and we got to talking about movies and everything and he told us that we could come into the show and be his guest and everything.

And all across the country it was like that we would go out into the some place in the distance and paint curbs numbers and then come back and shoot the breeze with everyone about Hollywood.

Really they thought if you worked in the studios you were really a special person. We went up to Milwaukee, and Chicago, and back out through Denver and back to California. That was quite a trip, quite a trip. You know no one every expected that we weren't with Warner Brothers, we were the advance service, we told them we were. That we would go out ahead of them, when they were going to make a motion picture, we would go out and select the sites that they were going to shoot the pictures and stuff like that.

We went quite a lot of miles around, on a paint brush, painting curbs. When we came to a city where we needed some money and they didn't have curbs, we would paint them on rocks, we would paint them on fences, paint them on poles, paint them on porches, we would paint them on anything, but we would always pick up a few bucks for gas and we had quite a time.

1982 My year in golf
1982 My year in golf

1982 My Year of Golf

My Dad's handwritten Golf Record

1982 My Year of Golf

1. Won the Long Driving Championship

2. Made the 'First' hole in one" at Council Golf Course (practice shot) Witness-Wes, the Barber)

3. Established a new course record-69 (in tournament)

4. Shot a 33 for nine holes (record?)

5. Won the club championship again.

6. Won 2 man best ball with Ed Ludwig

1998

Shot my age for the 15th time at Scotchpines

riding the rail cars
riding the rail cars

A letter Hal Means wrote about the depression times

Dear Sir

Dear Sir:

I read in Modern Maturity magazine that you wanted to hear stories from people who 'rode the rails' in depression times. I was one who did.

I rode freight trains from St. Louis, Mo to Las Angeles Calif, at that time it was common for every freight train that pulled out had 200 or 300 people riding on it, going elsewhere to find work.

We would go to the division yards & there was always someone who could tell you which train was going where and what time it pulled out.

We would then hunt for an empty boxcar & climb in. The train always gave to toots of the whistle "the highball" and we were off. Many people rode the tops of the box cars if they couldn't find an empty one.

The authorities seemed to look the other way & many rail workers such as breakman would tell us where the empty cars were. There were two bad 'railroad Bulls' that I knew of "Bill Moore" of Hosington Kansas & "Texas Slim" of Texas.

I was among those who ran into Jim Moore at I think it was Lawrence, Kansas. We came into town on a train that had no empty box cars so we rode on the oil cars sitting on platforms on the side, it was a dangerous ride & we could not afford to fall asleep.

Jim Moore & his men were waiting and corralled about 50 of us & herded us down the highway to the next town about 10 mi away. He drove behind us & made us walk all the way, some people were walking in their sleep. But they wouldn't let us stop to sleep. He was a very mean man!

The U.S. Govt. had transcient camps in many cities where you could get hot meals & a bed to sleep on.

I'll never forget the transcient camp in Salt lake City. The had a P.A. system & would broadcast times and destinations of the freight trains & where to board them.

We rode the D & R.G.W. (Denver & Rio Grande Western) from there to California. We were told that they were stopping people at the State line & turning them back.

So at San Bernadino, a devision, we got off & hitchhiked to Los Angeles. We stayed at a Transcient camp that was located in Griffith Park in San Fernando Valley. After a couple weeks we decided to return to St. Louis by hitchhiking.

I had many experiences on that trip. One time I got a ride with a guy in Oklahoma & he let me off outside of a town. I thumbed all day long with no one stopping. I finally walked back to the town to get something to eat and noticed a big billboard that said in large letters "Don't pick up Hitchhikers - they may be escaping convicts".

I was right by the State Prison. No one would stop to give me a ride so I went to a railroad crossing and hopped the back of a Greyhound bus.

After thoughts.

We also rode trains, passenger trains in what was called "The Blinds" that was in front of the mail car, just behind the coal car.

Also we rode the top of box cars when there wasn't any empties. We would lay down & tie our belt around board & our leg so we wouldn't fall off when we slept.

We also rode in empty reefer cars at each end of a refridgerated car was pits where they put ice -propped open lid.

My Autobiography
My Autobiography

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 1

This is a handwritten account of his life written by my father

My name is Harold Leo Means. I was born in St Louis Mo. on March 26th, 1918.

My mother's name was Florence Anne Redfern and my fathers name was Elmer E. Means. I don't remember him as he left my mother when I was four years old. The only thing I remember about him, is that he was a drunk.

My fist home was 5737 Rosevelt Pl. in St Louis. I went to a catholic school at first. (St Edwards)

When I received my first communion I received the confirmation name of Joseph.

I changed schools about the 3rd grade to 'Pierre Laclade' school. I attended Ben Blewett High School.

My friends were Bud Deppe, Virgil Meyer, Cliff Harder, George McClelland, Larry O'Rando. We all used to hang out at Fabers Drug Store on Goodfellow Ave.

I was one of five children of which I was the youngest. Eugene was the eldest, then Mary Harriet, and the twins Redfern & Lester. I was known as "Cutie Means".

When I was about nine yr. old, I started caddying at Belerive Country Club, then, Normandy Country Club.

All the bunch I was raised up with were sport conscience. We played soccer, softball, golf every waking moment.

When I was fifteen my mother died. I stayed with my older brother Gene for awhile.

I hitchhiked to New York & tried to get a job on a ship to no avail. Returning home I was restless & thought of hitchhiking to California. A guy I knew 'Lefty' came up to me one day & said "Lets go." We went, riding frieght trains all the way. This was in 33 just after the 'depression' and every train that pulled out had a couple hundred people riding it, looking for jobs elsewhere.

We arrived in Los Angeles & fell in love with it.

My Father

My Father
My Father

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 2

We stayed at a transiant camp in Griffith Park.

We stayed at a transiant camp in Griffith Park. This was run by the Govt, who furnished food & lodgeing.

We returned to St. Louis after a couple of weeks.

I didn't stay there long, as California had made a deep impression on me. So, with my brother Les, I then hitch hiked back to California landing in Glendale. I started caddying at Oakmont Country Club.

It was there that I met Bill Plummer. We became good friends & we were together constantly.

My brother Les & I lived together in Glendale we had a room for 2.00 per week. Our meals cost 25c & 35c.

Les got a job working as a helper for a tile setter. A short time later I also went to work for the same company.

Around 1937 Bill & I started painting house numbers on curbs, we charged 15c.

In 1938 We drove back to the St. Louis, painting curb no. all the way there & back.

Nov. 1942 I entered the Army. My basic training was at Camp White at Medford Oregon.

I volunteered for overseas duty. I was transferred to Fort Ord in California. We were preparing to go to the Aleution Islands.

Three days before I left the States I married Bettye Tatum in Campbell Calif.

We sailed aboard a 'Liberty Ship' to Adak. We were told that if we fell overboard in those northern waters we could only survive four minutes.

After a couple of weeks we sailed to Anchitka on L.C.I. a flat bottom boat that held 200 infantry. Everyone got sea sick but the Captain, my first Sgt. & me. We cooked, fed and took care of everyone.

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 3

We stayed there for two days & then left for Kiska, where the Japanese were. We landed on Kiska I was the first scout so I led the way. I was scared to death & expected to be shot at any minute.

We encountered no Japs. as they had fled in the middle of the night. It was no picnic, because everything was booby trapped. (150 landsmines where we landed)

After a miserable few weeks we loaded up and sailed to Hawaii - arriving on Sept 9 1943.

We stayed in Hawaii for one year, during which my outfit (the 184th infantry regiment of the Seventh Division) took the island of Kwagilein in five days.

On Sept 9, 1944 we sailed from Pearl Harbor. We were aboard a L.S.T. We were on it for forty days stopping at Eniwetok & Manus Island in the Admiralties. then on to the Leyte in the Fillipines. I was in the first wave to land at the city of Dulaz. After 135 days I got Dysentery & was evacuatied to Holander New Guenia. I spent some time there & came home to the U.S.A - aboard a hospital ship to Letterman Hosp in S.F. I was robbed of my wallet the first night there. I went from there to Mitchells Convalesent Hosp down by the Mexican border then to Birmingham Hospital in Van Nuys they to Fort Sam Huston in San Antonia Texas Where I received my discharge from the service. (Nov 1945)

Was home for a while then was separated and finally divorced from Bettye.

My Dad, Mom and Sister in 1990

My Dad, Mom and Sister in 1990
My Dad, Mom and Sister in 1990

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 4

1948

1948

Sailed for Richfield Oil Co. thru panama canal to N.Y. then back to Houston Texas (was discharged by Coast Guard)

I went into the dry cleaning business. I bought a panel truck & by soliciting door to door, I built up a route under the name of Means Cleaners.

I went back back to St Louis to visit. On the way back to California. I stopped in Omaha for a few days, where I met Kathleen Kimball at a dance. We fell in love. I returned to Calif and shortly after Kathleen came to Calif. We were married in Las Vegas, Nevada 3 Jan

Kathleen had one child, Douglas E. Roche-4 mo. We later had Joy Rene - Starleen, Marlene Carol, Linda Lee & Vicki Lynn.

We lived in Portland Ore. for three and a half years. Bill & Gladys Plummer were our best friends. We just had three children then, Doug, Joy & Star (1 mo. in air Force reserve)

We went back to So. Calif. I went into the rug & upholstery cleaning business.

We bought a home in Simi Valley - worked at Rocketdyne on Space Shuttles turbo pumps - Quit smoking after 46 years.

May 1977

Had open heart surgery in Thousand Oaks Calif at Los Robles Hosp.

1977

Bought 5 acres in Council Idaho

1978

Moved to Idaho & built log home, was pioneers in area, well 478 ft deep 3 B.R. 2 storys

1982 was baptized in the Morman Church - quit drinking after 50 years

1984 Became 1st counselor in Elders Quorum

Sept 1985 Was asked today to run for Mayor of Council, Idaho. It seems a lot of people think I would make a good Mayor for the city. I don't see the position but if I am elected, I will do my best. (I didn't get elected)

13 Oct 1985 Today was Stake Conference at Weiser. Brother Martenson spoke to us. This afternoon Nello Jenkins Jr. came over and said that the Bishop & the High Council had picked me to be the Ward Clerk (A job that I wanted every since I joined the Church)

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 5

1985

20 Oct 1985

Was set apart as Ward Clerk today.

22 Oct 1985

First snow of the season. Ground is covered at 9 am.

9 Nov. 1986

We had our first snow Fri the 7th Nov. I haven't written in this for over a year. I'll try to do better in the future.

My golf this year has not gotten any worse. I'm a 10 handicap & still hit the ball as far as before.

I enjoy my new job as clerk at the church.

Kathleen & I went to Boise Temple thru out year on Thursdays due to a calling from the church.

Aunt Helen Meister passed away on 8 Oct 1986. So far, I have lost to death my brother Lester Monroe Means & sister Mary Harriet Means. I don't know what happened to my older brother Eugene Charles Means he disappeared around 1948. My brother Redfern John Means is living in St. Louis Mo. Joy and Ed Gray moved back east to Maryland.

30 Nov 86 This morning our family did all the speaking at the church. Jeremiah started, then Vicki, Kathleen and Myself. I was scared to death & sweated it out all week. Everyone congratulated me afterward & said I did a good job. I would like to learn to do public speaking. Maybe I could practice with the tape recorder.

My Father in 1991

My Father in 1991
My Father in 1991

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 6

1986

9 Dec 1986

This is the first month that Kathleens Social Security Check was missing & the 500 Dollars from Ed Sr. That is quite a loss, over 50% of our income. We still paid a full tithe, trusting in the Lord.

Today we received a christmas card from Ed Sr. It contained a check for $250. Thank you Lord! also Thank you Ed.

5 Jan 1987

Today Frances Bess Had a heart attack & a stroke. It happened in the Grubsteak. They took her by helicoptor to St. Lukes Hosp. in Boise.

It sure made me think. You don't know when it may happen to you. I am not afraid of death, the only thing I hate about it is, the effect on my family. I hate to think of them grieving for me.

Frances died the next morning.

4 Feb 87

Am sure looking forward to Spring. We haven't had a bad winter, but I don't like any of it. I would rather spend my winters in Arizona or somewhere down south.

I have been working on a spa for Star, we built a little room onto her bedroom. It is just about finished.

6 Feb 1987

We have a new granddaughter Katie Lee Hoxie 10 lb 9 oz

9 Mar 87

Played golf today & yesterday at Council Golf Golf course, snow is all gone.

14 Mar 87

Stake Conference Heard George P. Lee of the Quorum of 70s He was great!

4 June 1987 Aids is a big topic on T.V. I am convinced that Aids is the wrath of God. Because of the way mankind is acting - Queers & dope addicts spread it in the Country. There is a sure way to keep from getting aids - Total abstinance. Are we getting close to the End?

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 7

1987

10 June 87

Spent the day in our Genealogy library in Weiser. Found John Balch, the first of the 'Balch' to come to America. (My Ancestor)

3 Aug 1987

Traced the Means name back to when it was MacMeans.

Today we had our first Family Home Evening in a long time. I sure enjoy it, as it brings our family close together. Last night & this morning we had our first Family Prayer (that wasn't at the dinner table) We all held hands & it was a beautiful feeling. I wish that Joy, Marlene & Linda could belong to the L.D.S. Church. It is such a wonderful church, a teaching church. If they would just sit in on Sundays for one month & observe, the would see - No one would try to prostilize them.

28th Sep 87

Had some real good golf games last week. One nine of 34 two under par & a round of 35.

I started on Stars barn today I wish I had some help as it is a big job. Weather is cooling, 70's today.

11 Oct 1987

Today I won the club Championship again. I still can hit the golf ball as far as all the rest, and farther than most at 69 1/2 years old. It was a two day tournament and I won by seven strokes.

Another photo of my father in 1991

Another photo of my father in 1991
Another photo of my father in 1991

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 8

1987

22 Nov 1987

We went to the Boise Temple yesterday. It was cold today (about 40 o) I think we will get snow tonight.

23 Nov 87

I played 18 holes of golf today it was a beautiful day. Had a 80, It may be the last time this year.

24 Nov 87

It is snowing pretty good now.

27 May 88

We had an early spring. I have played a lot of golf so far this year. I can still hit a long ball. Average drive about 265 yds. Not bad for a 70 yr old.

You know I can remember when I was a child. We had gas lamps that lit up the street. I had a friend who was our lamp lighter.

I remember the day that Charles Lindberg flew the ocean. the first time.

I remember when television arrived.

I worked on the engines that powered the first Space Shuttle.

Jan 1989

I also remember sitting and watching a road being built with horse & wagons, the wagons floor opened & dumped the dirt. The driver cranked it open and shut-also fire engines were pulled by horses then.

We have the most snow I have ever saw here. We have over 4 feet on the ground.

It seems to me that the reason that God allows all the pain & suffering to go on. To let good young people to die is because, it is so much a better world after death, that it can't even compare with this life.

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 9

1989

8 July 1989

Today being 71 yrs old I shot a 73 at the golf course. I thought I could shoot my age - Maybe soon.

24 Sept 1989

Today I won the Club Championship again.

15 Dec 1989

I haven't written anthing for a long time, but today I must write. I just finished playing 9 holes of golf. Here in Council, Idaho. It is unheard of to be able to play in Dec. because we are usually up to our fannies in snow - But today it was almost 60 (degrees)

15 Dec 1989

Some information about myself. All my life I have rarely been sick. I believe in God;s healing power & whenever I feel something coming on I say to myself. "God heals within me whatever needs to be healed and I give thanks for that." The only bad thing that ever happened to me was open heart surgery in 1977.

18 July 1990

Weather has been very hot for the last 2 weeks. We are seriously thinking of moving to Maryland, where Joy & Ed live so we can be close to our grand kids and to enjoy milder winters. Star & Jeremiah will move there also.

My Mother and Father in 1991 in Maryland

My Mother and Father in 1991 in Maryland
My Mother and Father in 1991 in Maryland

The Auto-biography of Harold Leo Means-Page 10

1992

1 Feb 1992

We moved to Maryland in Oct 1990. When I arrived there I had a persistent backache, so I went to a chiropractor. He took a x-ray & discovered that I had a big aneurism of the Aorta. I went to the V.A. Hosp was operated on to correct it. After I was released from hospital I had trouble with high blood pressure & was back in the hospital with a heart attack & was put in the Hosp. in Prince Frederick, 10 more days.

So we decided to return to Idaho in March 1991 where I recuperated nicely and played a lot of golf.

It is now the 11 Feb 92. Last week I had a 'Stroke" in my left eye - the top half of my eyesight is gone.

17 May 1994

Since I last wrote in here I had 2 more surgeries. Had my Gall Bladder out then had my carotid artery cleaned out. Am fine now, and playing golf everyday, Am living in Payette Idaho now.

24 Dec 1994 Am home on Christmas eve alone. Kathleen is at Vicki's. We will have early Christmas here with Mike & Linda and Brandon & Katie, then we will go to Vicki's with Cody & Allyssa, Star & Jeremiah will join us, and Jeri & Joe & Johnathan.

We have had snow covering the ground for over a month now, so no golf lately. I should mention that I shot my age on the golf course last month (a 76)

Aug 21 1997 Today we received a check from Frank & Mary for $20,000 That makes 50,000 he gave us in the last couple years. It sure came at a good time as we were pretty broke. We gave our kids 10% of it.

Dad and sister's husband Ed having fun

Dad and sister's husband Ed having fun
Dad and sister's husband Ed having fun
Man and woman talking
Man and woman talking

A conversation between My Mom and Dad

About his Best Friend Bill Plummer

(Mom) Didn't you say Bill used to sing for supper sometimes too?

(Dad) No, he didn't sing for his supper. He said he didn't sing for his supper, he was a, he had a pretty good voice, a pretty good singing voice, "I remember one time in Salt Lake City he used to work up there, as an announcer. And we went back by there and of course he knew everybody there, so he picked out some recording ...and he had a voice that sounded almost identical to this guy that was famous ya know. So he took this recording and he went in and recorded his own voice as an introduction on this record and he was saying that he was making it for some gal he was going to meet that night, he was making this recording, then he gave her the recording.

(Mom) He would always sing in your ear when he danced with you.

(Dad, laughing) Did he? He didn't sing in my ear, but he had a good voice...them were the days...we had a lot of fun...we were just a couple of nuts.

I remember one time, we got about 16 miles to the gallon average...and there was one time, we left Salt Lake City and we went 52 miles and then for some reason we decided to, I don't know why we decided to get some gas but we decided to get some gas, and it only took two gallons I remember we averaged 26 miles to the gallon.

(Mom): must have had a tail wind

My Father and His Grandson Vincent

My Father and His Grandson Vincent
My Father and His Grandson Vincent

Growing up Poor during the Depression

Some of the ways they got money to go to the show

To get money, oh yeah we used to we lived right next to a Jewish Neighborhood and they all had these apartment houses, well they called them flats. Four families lived in them, two upstairs and two downstairs. They were brick, and then they all had basements. So we used to go in and sneak down into their basement, and we go down some stairs and they used to have all their pop bottles sitting there, so we would pick up 5 or six pop bottles and take them into the store and turn them in to go to the show.

(There were very poor)

My Dad August of 1998

My Dad August of 1998
My Dad August of 1998

Growing up Poor during the Depression

The Street Cars...Buying and selling passes to go to the show

On Sunday, the used to have in St. Louis. You paid a dollar and you got a pass and you could ride the Streetcar all day long for a dollar, anywhere. So Sunday evening, well lets see now, I forget what the fare was. I think this was a weekly pass, it was a weekly pass, for a week and on Sunday night it was over. So we used to go down on Friday night and say, you got a pass you don't want, got a pass you don't want. And they would give us their passes they weren't gonna need them anymore and we would go back out and sell them, to people, we would say do you need a pass, and we would sell them to them for a quarter, it was easy to sell them ya know, people would buy them in a minute...we used to get money like that to go to the show.

Another photo of my Mom and Dad in 91 While staying at my Sisters

Another photo of my Mom and Dad in 91 While staying at my Sisters
Another photo of my Mom and Dad in 91 While staying at my Sisters

Growing up Poor during the Depression

The Potatoes

They used to put potatoes out at the grocery store, you know on stands out in front of the store and we used to sneak up on our hands and knees and reach up and grab a potato every now and then.

We would have a campfire out in the pasture out there, and everyone would bring a potato, some guys would bring a sweet potato. We'd put in the fire and cook 'em. And they would turn as black as can be, but it didn't make any difference we would eat them.

My Dad being silly after visiting the FDR Memorial at my sisters

My Dad being silly after visiting the FDR Memorial at my sisters
My Dad being silly after visiting the FDR Memorial at my sisters

Growing up Poor during the Depression

How they golfed...

When asked how in the world they got money for golf clubs and golf balls to golf when they were kids?

(After much laughter)

Well there was one time my brother Les was walking by the highway next to the golf course and this guy was out there playing golf...the poor son of a...he made a bad shot and he got real mad so he just threw his golf club, but he threw in the direction of my brother. But it was closer to my brother, so my brother grabbed it and ran like heck with the guy behind him, but of course he couldn't catch my brother. He never did get his golf club back...

But ah, we used to make holes out in this pasture, we had three holes out there. We graded it off with shovels and make it level and we would hit back and forth out there.

Golf balls...

We used to go out to the lake at the golf course at nighttime and take off all our clothes and go out and dive for these golf balls. Every once in while the watchman would catch us out there, and we would run like the dickens, we'd carry our clothes and run...naked as a Jay Bird. (Laughs)

Then we used to re-paint them. We would get a bucket of lye water and put them in there and get all the paint off of 'em, you know. Then we would a bunch of nails in a board, three of them sticking up like that, and you could take a...then we would get some white enamel and you put it on your hand and roll the golf ball in your hands and then roll it down and stick it right on that nail and it would repaint it. The lye would even take the paint out of the name, and all you had to do was to take a little red paint or blue paint and rub it across there and wipe it off after the ball was dry and it was just like a brand new ball and then we would go out and sell them on the golf course.

We had a lot of things we used to make money on...but that was a legitimate project, you know getting the golf balls, we used to hunt them outside, alongside of the golf course but we could never find very many, in the lake you could get hundreds of them.

(Mom) Remember, They had an old empty lot they used for a golf course, and Red set it on fire because he wanted to make a golf course out of it.

(Dad)It was a big pasture, it was about a square mile...(laughs) had to get rid of the weeds...

My sister Joy, my Dad and my niece MyKenzi

My sister Joy, my Dad and my niece MyKenzi
My sister Joy, my Dad and my niece MyKenzi

Growing up Poor during the Depression

The Swimming Hole...

Then we had a swimming hole and it kind of dried up wasn't much water in it...so they had a fireplug about a mile away...

So us kids...went and figured out how to make all these little ditches that would divert this water...then we went up and turned on the fire plug and it all came down this long way into our pool, our swimming hole and it was on for quite a few hours and then finally the cops came out there and everything...they never figured it out...they watched it pretty close after that, but we got a lot of water in it...

My Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad
My Mom and Dad

Growing up Poor during the Depression-Catching Rides

How we caught rides

Well we used to ride on the back of the street car. The Street car run, it was kind of a rural area no homes and we used to ride on the back of it, it had back steps and we used to ride all the way back to this lake to go swimming...

Of course we hitch hiked everywhere too...

I came out to California on a freight train...well it was right after my mother died in 1933 I guess, I had nothing to do back there I had left school and everything and I was 15 years old. At that time it was the height of the depression and everyone was riding the freight trains to different parts of the country looking for work.

Well the gang, we used to hang around a drugstore, and of course and this guy I knew named Lefty, he had a voice just like Bing Crosby he would sound exactly like him and so he was always talk about going to Hollywood, and I told him that I would go with him some time. He said he had a family there and he says he would sure like to go. I remember one day he come up and he showed me something in his pocket, what was it...it was a toothbrush and I says oh your ready to go, I knew immediately that he was ready to do and he said yep I'm ready...he had a fight with his family or something.

So we went down the next morning and hopped a freight train and there was always 5 or 4 hundred people riding the trains. It really wasn't against the law, well it was but they didn't mind, except 3 or 4 spots in the Country and there they had tough railroad Bulls. But we rode all the way to California from St. Louis.

We didn't have much money, so when the train would stop why we'd go out and ask people if they had something we could do for something to eat, and they would always give us something to eat. And everybody was asking for food at that time....you know people that were on the road...

In fact at that time they had what they called transient camps, they were run by the government. You could go there and you could get a bed and you could spend the night and get a bath and everything.

In fact in Salt Lake City they had one that even would actually call the trains out, it would tell you what track and what time...this was freight trains now and this was run by the United States Government...and they had a PA system...that would tell you what time the train was leaving and where the best place to catch it was...it was amazing...a lot of people wouldn't believe it...I remember...but that was really something...and it was a real clean place.

And then when we got to California we stayed right in the middle of Griffith Park, they had a transcient park there....and we stayed there, in fact there was one kid there he was a genius, he was a young kid and he was always talking about how he had been to several colleges...he was only about sixteen years old or so. We thought he was a nut, and a liar so...one day we picked up the newspaper and there was his picture on the front page of the Los Angeles paper...and they found this guy and he was a genius, they had picked him up and he told them the story ..the got a couple professors from USC and they started talking to him and giving him different problems...and he would solve him...he really was a genius....and he had been to all these colleges and he was only sixteen years old, it was really something...

Thank you for stopping by to honor our fathers memory.

Memories you want to share...stories? - All comments are welcome!

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    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 4 years ago

      I truly enjoyed reading about your Father. It was great that he wrote a diary during the war my Father was also in the war but he didn't write a diary and he didn't talk about it. You're lucky to have had a Father who enjoyed telling his stories. Thanks for a great first hand account of life in the 1930s and 40's.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Fascinating, personal look at history and a wonderful tribute to your father. Congratulations on your purple star.

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 4 years ago

      Very heartwarming tribute to your father. I enjoyed reading it and it brought back a few world history lessons. Terrific lens.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      What a treasure trove of life memories you have shared here, Linda! Your father's service to our country chronicled in his diary is just amazing to read. What a legacy of love this project must be for you.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 4 years ago from Michigan

      What a great tribute to your dad! It's not often I read every word of a lens, but this one kept pulling me along. Your dad lived a lot of history and had a great way of imparting what he'd lived through...whether it was his youth in St Louis, or surviving the Depression and the war, or the years following. You're right; your dad was a goodlooking guy. Looked like a movie star in that one pic. Easy to see how proud you were of him...as well you should be. And I know he'd be very pleased with your poetic tribute, too. Thanks for a great read...and Congratulations on your Purple Star!

    • ArtByLinda profile image
      Author

      Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

      @anonymous: If I remember right I believe I didn't see that post for a long time after he wrote it and tried to email him with no response. But please try again, it would be so cool to contact him. My email may have hit his junk filter or something. Thank you! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Itis so neat that this was read by a relative of Daddy's friend and possible grandson o Th f Eugene, I am going to try to get in touch with him.Thank you for all your loving hard work!!! mom

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Linda my phone went to this page all on it's own,crazy! Great work!

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      You are a good kid this is perfect

    • lynnasafriend profile image

      lynnasafriend 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this information, I think it is very important we know what has happened and who our heroes are. I love the Lord, He's my hero, I pray for families who have to go into war. Take care and thank you for sharing :)

    • SaintFrantic profile image

      SaintFrantic 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this nice story.I realize few years ago that I never had the chance to be with my grandfathers and to hear their stories about this incredible moment of human history.One which name I bear had died just a month or so after I was born.The other I can vaguely remember he died when I was about 5.

    • profile image

      JoyGray 6 years ago

      Thank you again Linda for all your hard work sharing all these stories about Daddy! He was such a special, loving person! I think it's great to be able to share these stories of his life especially to the younger generations so they can get a glimpse of what life was like in those days. Love you!!!

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 6 years ago

      My grandfather was in the SeaBees during WWII and would tell me stories about what he remembered seeing over there. I loved him dearly. Thank you for sharing your memories. It reminded me of mine.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      Love the comment your Mom made about gas mileage! What a hoot.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      You've done a wonderful job sharing this on Squidoo!

      I'm lensrolling it to Saving World War II Letters. You might think about putting this into a self-published book for family members to have a copy to keep. I recommend Blurb, as I've made several family books with them and they turn out very nice.

    • jp1978 profile image

      jp1978 6 years ago

      A big thank you to all Filipino and American veterans who fought against the Japanese in WWII.

    • purplelady profile image

      purplelady 7 years ago

      While surfing and searching today, I happened across your lens. What a wonderful tribute to your father. My father was also a WWII vet and in honor of him serving as State Commander for the DAV, I created one of my lenses featuring the DAV. Visiting your lens has prompted me to get some updates done on mine. So I thank you for that and for letting me get to know your father.

      5 Stars and a lens roll to my DAV lens.

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 8 years ago from Pueblo West

      What a beautiful tribute to your father. I enjoyed reading about his life and reminds me of how fleeting it is. The most important thing we have is each other. 5* Favorite

    • Janusz LM profile image

      Janusz LM 8 years ago

      Wow! I loved this lens, Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • Lori Lee-Ray profile image

      Lori Lee-Ray 8 years ago

      This has to be the most amazing piece of history that I've ever read in my 45 years! School history books should be written like this! Thank you so much for sharing! I lost a great uncle in WWII and found his name in your dad's diary of all places!!! Shorty Crawford. How absolutely wonderful! I showed it to my mom (she remembered him and his unit because she wrote to him) and she just cried and wished she could've seen him again. Thank you so much for this! I'm lensrolling you to my two veteran lenses. https://hubpages.com/politics/travelingwall and http://www.squidoo.com/honorourheroes and trying my best to give you 100 stars!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I believe I am the Grandchild of Eugene Charles Means, my father was Eugene John Means, if you would like, please contact me at stevenameans@yahoo.com

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 8 years ago from PA

      This is a wonderful lens. This is by far one of the best lenses I have seen on squidoo.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      What a beautiful tribute. Very inspirational; glad you have shared it with the world as well as your family.

    • ArtByLinda profile image
      Author

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      [in reply to Katie]

      Thank you sis, me too. I miss him! Love you! Mom

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Mom this is great! It made me remember grandpa's voice and brought tears to my eyes!

    • profile image

      Mazzer 8 years ago

      This is a beautiful tribute to your father. I hope you are proud of yourself! 5* (and footed!)

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 8 years ago

      This is very touching. Thank you for sharing with us. :)

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      You are justifiably proud of your dad :) Great lens.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      This is really an outstanding lens! It's wonderful that you have his own words and impressions at the time.

    • VBright profile image

      VBright 9 years ago

      What a loving and wonderful tribute. It makes me miss my own Dad too!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 9 years ago

      What an intense lens. Really touched my heart. My Hero of WWII was my Dad, Major Ellis Craft Ratcliffe. I have a lot of his old war/military papers still. Really remarkable lens.

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 9 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Beautiful, heartfelt lens. Enjoyed reading and thank you for sharing your father's life and legacy. 5*s.

    • aquariann profile image

      aquariann 9 years ago

      What a wonderful and heartfelt tribute to your father. Reading his diary and auto-biography was fascinating.

    • profile image

      Knowles 9 years ago

      your so sweet :) I am inspired.

      5 stars for you

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 9 years ago from Croatia

      This one is made by daughter that really loved her father! Wonderful and touching!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      A phenomenal tribute to your father!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This is an incredible lens and great tribute. I wish there was a number higher than 5 to give you but I will have to settle for 5*.

    • profile image

      Maxximus 9 years ago

      How nice of you to share your dad’s history with us. It is truly touching and worth sharing with others to know about poverty, joy of life, love and so many other things we take for granted these days. I lost my dad 12 years ago, and still it’s like yesterday.

      Take Care. Maxximus

    • DividingLine profile image

      DividingLine 9 years ago

      A wonderful tribute. It makes my think of my grandfather, a paratrooper killed during the D-Day landings.

    • James20 profile image

      James20 9 years ago

      Well put together lens. It makes me think of my Dad.

      James

    • Robyco profile image

      Robyco 9 years ago

      What a fantastic lens. Truly a great tribute and a compelling read. Well done.

    • profile image

      dandepp 9 years ago

      Absolutely huge lens - totally maxed. I really enjoyed reading the diary entries. My grandfather fought the Japanese also and had many stories to tell. Well done! 5 stars!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      A wonderful loving tribute.

    • MatCauthon profile image

      MatCauthon 9 years ago

      I hate wars. This brings forth the legacy the left us. 5*

    • AslanBooks profile image

      AslanBooks 9 years ago

      Very nice lens...I've thought of doing something like this for my mother and father.

    • Haveagood1 profile image

      Haveagood1 9 years ago

      A beautiful tribute and a gift for the rest of your family.

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 9 years ago from Edinburgh

      Beautiful lens :)

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 9 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Fascinating story of your father. 5*

    • sanukmak profile image

      sanukmak 9 years ago

      Lovely chronicle of a WWII vet - Now that what history is all about. 5* Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      CubicleJoe 9 years ago

      Touching and a beautiful tribute to your Dad. 10*

    • profile image

      ChristiannaGarrett-Martin 9 years ago

      A wonderful tribute and a very moving poem to your Father. Beautifully done :)

      Christianna

    • YourCover Mama profile image

      YourCover Mama 9 years ago

      WOW! It's amazing to see what he a life he lead. Thank you for sharing :O)

    • profile image

      TerriLorah 9 years ago

      This is an amazing lens. You have made something here that will always be remembered. Thank you for sharing.

    • ArtByLinda profile image
      Author

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      streak,

      Thank you, he was a very special man! I appreciate you taking the time to visit this lens! Linda

    • ryanstephens profile image

      ryanstephens 9 years ago

      Linda,

      Thanks for the comment with respect to the lens I made about my grandpa! As a result I felt compelled to check out this lens about your Father, and what a treat! That's so cool that you were able to get a keepsake like his diary! Thanks for sharing this lens!!

    • ArtByLinda profile image
      Author

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      Amanda Blue,

      Thank you so much, you put a smile on my face! Yes he was a lovely and handsome man, and he taught me so much. Much of what he taught was in watching the Man that he was, his honor and dedication to my mother and his family was so incredible. It is so rare I think! Thanks for stopping by, take care. Linda

    • ArtByLinda profile image
      Author

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      PatinKC,

      Your very sweet, and your lens is also wonderful, I can recommend it for any that stop here, please take a look at hers too! Thank you for interest too! Linda

    • ArtByLinda profile image
      Author

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      wenfri, Thank you so much, I appreciate you!

      Linda

    • Amanda Blue profile image

      Amanda Blue 9 years ago

      To write that this lens is beautiful hardly describes it; it is magnificent. I shall come back to it. What a lovely man (and handsome too!)

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 9 years ago from Midwest

      This is an amazing lens. I see that you are very proud of your father. Thanks for your very nice comment on my World War 2 US Navy lens. Yes, it is very special to me. I hope you were able to check out the stories on the blog.

      I am lensrolling you to my lens and I am adding you to my favorites. Please let me know when you update this lens or create your next lens so I can visit.

      Pat

    • profile image

      wenfri 9 years ago

      I commend for your Legacy. Thank you for stopping by lens and your insight.

      I truly need to get mine finished but somehow life has been interferring with my online business and this lens.

      Great labour of love and I too will be back to read some more

      Wendy

      PS shined up your stars