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You are here: Davis of Iowa > Jim Davis's Biography > Part VIII                    Click HERE to go to Part XIX




My Ashland Oil Years

Cindie and Kim At OSU and beyond



Cindie enrolls at Ohio State University -


Cindie began her freshman year at OSU.  We moved her into a relatively new high rise dormitory in the middle of the OSU campus.  The dormitory was coed with alternate floors occupied exclusively by men or women.    Cindie enrolled in animal science as there was no “pre-veterinarian” major.  She selected courses required of all veterinarian applicants to be accepted into the OSU Veterinarian College.  These courses were mainly science courses including  chemistry, biology and math courses.  She met her roommates for the first time as we moved her into her dorm room.  Her mother and Cindie had shopped for her collegiate clothing needs earlier in the summer, although Cindie was very much a casual dresser, i.e.. jeans and sweatshirts. We had visited Best Buy and acquired the necessary desk accessories, including a small refrigerator.


Kim entered her senior year at New Albany High School.  She was thinking about majoring in chemical engineering and selected high school subjects for her senior year which would best prepare her for that major at college.  She was also thinking of attending OSU.  Interestingly, neither Kim or Cindie considered attending any college other than OSU.  I guess we saved considerably on college preview trip costs and subsequently tuition with both of them.  We now hear of juniors and seniors in high school visiting numerous – upwards of 20 for some - campuses to help determine where they might want to attend college.  Kim and Karen grew even closer as Cindie was pretty much out of the nest.  Kim  helped me in caring for the horses and ponies which when she was home was Cindie’s job.  Cindie did not take the car to OSU and Kim was soon licensed to drive and therefore had the car to herself except for the few weekends/holidays that Cindie was home..  Later that fall, Kim decided to earn spending money.  She applied for a job at a relatively nearby McDonalds and was accepted.   Her shift leader was a young man, by the name of David Holmberg who was also a senior in high school.  (Fast forward 48 years and they have been married for 41 years, have two sons, a grandson and a granddaughter!) 


My responsibility as Group Vice President, was to provide guidance, help and direction for the three divisions that reported to me and to help guide the long range planning for these businesses.  I travelled less on business in this role however Scotty Patrick asked me to continue to represent the Coatings Division on the SPI Board of Directors, in view of my senior standing in that organization.  This required modest traveling.  All three divisions continued to make satisfactory progress in increasing their business volume, market share, and profitability.  I continued serving on the board of Melamine Chemicals Inc.


The United States economy and especially inflation, continued to be a top concern for many Americans. The 1970s was an era of rising prices and rising unemployment; the periods of poor economic growth could all be explained as the result of the cost-push inflation of high oil prices.  President Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976 and was inaugurated in January 1977.  He was an ineffective president and did little to combat the high inflation. The 1970s saw some of the highest rates of inflation in the United States in recent history, with interest rates rising to nearly 20%. Central bank policy, the abandonment of the gold window, Keynesian economic policy and market psychology all contributed to this decade of high inflation.  The Federal Reserve increased interest to an all-time high of 20 percent in March 1980.  It was a difficult period of “stagflation”.  Also, the Iranians had captured and held hostage some 52 American embassy workers in November 1979.  They were released on the day that Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.  Those are the reasons that Jimmy Carter was a one term president.


Cindie, finished her first semester at OSU and did very well academically.  She became active socially and was asked to join the Kappa Delta sorority.  She accepted the offer and made numerous new friends in the sorority.  She also, learned that there was no agricultural professional sorority for women so with some other “freshwomen” students she organized Sigma Alpha*.   It was a busy semester for her.   She had settled right into college life.  Her one complaint was OSU’s use of graduate students as teachers/lecturers for her first year classes.  Many of these graduate students were international students with a heavy/strong accent which made it difficult for their students to fully comprehend the teachers messages. 


*From Wikipedia - (the author of this autobiography thinks the date should 1/26/76):  On January 26, 1978, five students, Ann Huling Mathews, Cindie Davis, Marilyn Burns, Jennifer McMillan and Amy Mathews, founded Sigma Alpha at the Ohio State University. Since that time, Sigma Alpha has become a national organization consisting of 60 collegiate chapters and 32 alumni chapters. Today, more than 11,000 members have been initiated into Sigma Alpha Sorority. The sorority was named Sigma Alpha for "Sisters in Agriculture." The sorority's official colors are emerald and maize, the mascot is the baby bull, the official flower is the yellow chrysanthemum, and the symbolic jewel is the emerald. The mission is Cultivating Professional Women in Agriculture.  The objective of Sigma Alpha shall be to promote its members in all facets of agriculture and to strengthen the bonds of friendship among them. It is the purpose of the members to strive for achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service, and to further the development of excellence in women pursuing careers in agriculture.[1]

Karen continued to work hard to make The Needleworks a retail success but the store traffic was insufficient to generate the needed sales.  She began informally exploring alternative locations with better retail prospects.  However, she decided to complete her first year at the New Albany location.  She had a part-time employee who would look after the shop while we were in Iowa for Christmas.


Christmas 1975, we travelled to Marshalltown for our annual Iowa Family Christmas.  Our parent’s house became fuller with each get together.  Bob, Vieve and family did not stay overnight as they lived relatively nearby.  Also, Janie, Jerry and their children normally stayed the entire time with Jerry’s folks who also lived not too far away.  Aunt Bea and occasionally Ethel attended much of the time, with Bea occasionally staying with us and Ethel returning to their home in Des Moines.  Every time we gathered in Marshalltown there was always a run or two to enjoy Maid-Rites.  That important part of the gathering never got old.  Indeed, in our more recent years we have ordered six dozen or more of Maid-Rites shipped to reunions of our immediate family.  Maid-Rite Federal Expresses the Styrofoam boxes with the frozen Maid-Rites with a guaranteed two day delivery anywhere within the lower 48 states.


Cindie moved into the Kappa Delta sorority house for the spring semester.  She was so busy on campus that she seldom came to see her family or her beloved horses even on weekends.  She thoroughly enjoyed living in and belonging to her sorority.  It was a group of outstanding young ladies who generally excelled at their academic endeavors.  The sorority activities led to Cindie become even more active in the student affairs at OSU.


Kim excelled in her senior year.  She graduated from New Albany with honors in May 1976.  She applied to OSU for enrollment in the Engineering College and was accepted.   She pre-selected chemical engineering for which she generally had the math and science high school courses..  Mom and dad attended the fourth of their thirteen grandchildren’s high school commencements.  We again rented rooms at the Halidome and the younger cousins enjoyed the pool and comradery.  Kim worked for McDonalds that summer.    


Kimberly Diane Davis, 1976


Cindie lived at home and worked for Dr. Cindy DeNiro that summer.  She  enjoyed her horses and ponies and continued working with Keepsake who would soon be three years old.  She rode him around our pastures and on Clouse Road. Sometimes I would join her by riding Leo. She continued riding Cracker Jack for her 4-H horse shows.  At the end of the summer, she found a buyer for Cracker Jack and parted company with him.  Cindie and Kim  also found homes for Prince and Buttermilk.


In the summer of 1976, our family  returned to the Knotty Pine Resort, for what turned out to be our last time at that resort.  The family decided that the Knotty Pine Resort was not as welcoming as we would like. As I remember it, the previous owners with whom we  were very friendly, had sold the resort and the new owners were not as hospitable as the previous owners.  Never-the-less we had a wonderful summer reunion with lots of water skiing, card playing and enjoying the sun and water.


Kim enrolls at Ohio State University –


In early September, we moved Kim into a companion dorm to the one which Cindie occupied to begin her OSU studies a year previously.  Kim met her first year dorm-mates.  She adapted to the dorm life  easily but soon visited her sister at the Kappa Delta sorority and a bit later pledged to join the Kappa Delta ladies.  When she was activated Kim and Cindie were double sisters!  With both girls in college and Karen spending full time plus as a retailer, we decided to sell the acreage and downsize into a condominium about five miles west of New Albany, closer to Ashland Chemical’s offices and to an expected new location of The Needleworks in the Columbus suburb of Westerville.


Cindie, returned to OSU, living in the sorority house.  She had responsibility for recruiting  for Kappa Delta, was active in the newly formed Sigma Alpha and  since she had done so well in her first year studies, she signed up for 24 credit hours of courses, including calculus and organic chemistry.  When I learned that she had signed up for that heavy of a course load, we talked very early in the semester about the  issues that this might cause her.  She was convinced that she could handle everything and stuck to her plans.   As the midpoint of the semester approached she recognized the difficulty she was in with her grades.  She carefully thought through her situation and her options.  She made the decision to drop out of school before any of the course grades were locked in.  She called her mother and me and asked us to come and get her, after she had told us that she had dropped out of school.  She advised us that none of her grades would be on her record.  She returned home and resumed working for Dr. Cindy.


Cindie arranged Keepsake’s boarding at the barn where we bought Keepsake’s mother.   We sold Leo back to her previous owner who continued to run a small boarding stable, to  hold riding school for wantabe equestrians and to breed, raise and sell quarter horses. Several neighbors who lived on small acreages and had younger children were very happy to adopt Prince and Buttermilk.  We put the acreage on the market and began the process of selling one house and buying another.  A young family very much wanted to purchase the acreage and they would be great custodians of our little place in heaven.  They were stretching to  reach our price, but eventually we agreed on the price and set closing as  January 31, 1977.  The contract was signed, we received a $10,000 non-refundable  (unless there was a problem with the title or some such) deposit and the paperwork for the sale began. The buyer’s brother was a local realtor who was not involved in the original process leading to the agreements.  As Thanksgiving approached, the buyers, who had five young children, wanted occupancy in time to celebrate Christmas in their new house.  They asked for a meeting and brought along their real estate broker and the buyer’s brother.  The buyer’s brother started making a big fuss and trying to throw around his weight to get us to move up the closing date to early December.  Both realtors sat back somewhat amused and amazed.  Finally, I looked at the buyer’s brother and responded somewhat along the line “Look we have a valid contract which requires us to close January 31.  I don’t care what you say or do, we are not agreeing to a change that you are requesting.  I really like your brother and his family and, I want to see them in this house.  And I would like for them to be able to enjoy this Christmas in the house.   But I don’t care for you or your attitude so, if you want us to cooperate with our buyers, you should just butt out.”  He did not say another word.  We were able to close on our new/used condo in early December and advanced the closing of the New Albany property and our move out  to about December 10th.  The buyers and particularly their children were very happy and we remained good friends for several years.


Karen rented a vacant Westerville store as a new home for The Needleworks and began remodeling it from the clothing store it was to The Needleworks it was to be.  She and I spent many evenings in the store taking out inappropriate fixtures, building shelves and display cabinets, painting and otherwise sprucing up the new The Needleworks venue.  The move from the New Albany store to the Westerville store was not onerous, as she had purposely reduced her inventory.  She was able to make the move in late October.  She hired a neat widow lady, Marge Clayton, who was a Westerville  resident and knew quite a bit about needle art as a lead sales clerk.  This significantly helped  reduce Karen’s workload.  They had the store up and running for the Christmas 1976 shoppers.  Additionally, we moved  into our new home in a condominium golf community named Little Turtle, located on the southern edge of Westerville.  Karen had a very short commute to her store and my commute to work was shortened by several miles.  Our Iowa Family Christmas was again enjoyed by all.  Each year we took Astro along to our Iowa Christmases.  He loved the farm and was a wonderful house dog.  Our entire extended family loved Astro. 


That January, our family plus Kim’s friend, David (who also was attending OSU) drove to northern Michigan to engage in family skiing for the first time.  We stayed at a wonderful large ski lodge, the Boyne Highlands  which enjoyed some of the best skiing between New England and the Rockies.  It was the first time for us to snow ski, although I had skied with vendor groups to the Ashland Chemical company operations for which I had responsibility.  Those trips were to Stowe, VT and Jackson, WY, both great skiing venues.  The Boyne, MI trip was a fun family vacation and was only a moderate days drive from Columbus.  We were on the American Lodge Meal Plan, which David particularly liked. The waiter told David he could have anything on the menu for desert.  David chose another cheeseburger and fries.  Just a growing boy!  That spring, Kim decided that she did not really know what chemical engineers did, so she switched  her major to fashion merchandising.  She was certainly more familiar with fashion merchandising and always had a good eye for fashion, clothing and merchandising.  I was modestly disappointed but knew that she would be happier in the newly chosen field. 


Cindie continued living at home and working for Dr. Cindy.  She wrestled continually with what she wanted to do.  She enjoyed veterinary medicine but I think that she was concerned that she might not make the grades, especially in organic chemistry, to  be accepted in to vet school.   All of the veterinary medicine colleges in the U. S. were over-subscribed.  It was a challenge to gain admission to any of the approximate 30 United States Universities’ Veterinary Medicine Colleges.  She considered several alternative careers and gradually through the summer decided that she would study acting/drama and that she would attend California State Fullerton College.  She was planning to stay with Karen’s parents in their Brea, CA home.   Neither her mother or I knew how or why Cindie chose acting.  She did not participate in the New Albany High School’s plays or  drama activities and had done nothing at OSU in this field.  Regardless, she made her decision.  That summer we had our Davis Family Reunion at the Sportsman Resort on the Lake Of The Ozarks. It was a step above the Knotty Pine and the accommodations were a bit better.  The reunion was again well attended, except Janie, Jerry and Justin were not able to attend as Jill was born on July 1, 1977. Kim attended OSU summer school to take some desired courses and worked part time at the McDonalds where she previously worked. 


As Cindie was planning to attend college in California,  Kim decided that she wanted to do a driving trip  with Cindie to California to see her grandparents, cousins Toyel and Lynn, their mother, Kim’s aunt Lee.   Kim  planned to  stay about a week and return to OSU for her second year.  Cindie would stay in California, enroll at Cal State Fullerton  majoring in acting/drama and live with her grandparents.  Cindie attended  an  orientation session on the Cal State campus as part of the University enrollment process on the day proceeding Kim’s planned return to Ohio.  Cindie then realized that she did not want to abandon her goal of becoming a veterinarian and had no business in following through with her idea of studying acting at Cal State Fullerton.  That night she telephoned her mother and me.  She said she had changed her mind and that she was returning with Kim and re-enrolling at OSU to resume her pre-vet studies.  Her mother and I were elated as we did not see her being happy studying acting let alone working in that field.  Their return trip was uneventful and soon they were back in OSU and their sorority, pursuing their studies.  Cindie had lost an entire year so they were both taking second year courses. 


Karen’s father Edward dies -


Karen’s dad unexpectedly died of cardiac issues on December 18, 1977 a Sunday morning.  Her mom and dad were on the phone with Karen that morning.  They were  in different rooms of their Brea, CA home.   He collapsed to the floor during the conversation. Both Karen and her mom heard him drop the phone and fall, but by the time her mom got to him, he was gone.  The EMTs arrived promptly after she called them but  they were unable to revive him.  I arrived home shortly afterwards from where, I don’t remember.  Karen and I left the next day for Brea,  CA.  Dad Swanson was eulogized extensively by members of the church’s congregation as he had dedicated a great many hours to their new church building and especially to the landscaping.  Additionally, he was very active on various civic groups, particularly presenting slide shows of his travels and knowledge of the history associated with the slides.   He was buried in a cemetery plot that he and mom Swanson had purchased a number of years previously, located in Memory Garden Memorial Park, in Brea.  Mom Swanson was a strong, self-sufficient lady – she had handled the family finances from day one in their marriage. Her daughter-in-law and granddaughters lived near-by and she had numerous friends from the church and community.  She however did not travel much, instead she invited family and others to come and visit her.  (On one of my visits to California, a number of years ago, our sister-in-law, Lee Swanson and I visited dad and mom Swanson’s graves.)   Karen and I returned to Westerville, in time to pack the car, organize the staff at The Needleworks for the final Christmas shopping rush, gather up our family and drive to Iowa for 1977 Christmas.  It had been a hectic time, buying the condo,  selling and moving from the acreage, moving The Needleworks and traveling to dad Swanson’s funeral.  Regardless, the Iowa Family Christmas was thoroughly enjoyed and again well attended.


As we entered 1978, Ashland Chemical’s business continued to expand and prosper.  A number of chemical acquisitions were made, including the specialty unsaturated polyester resin division of a major chemical company which wanted to exit the business.  Scotty Patrick handled most of the negotiations and transaction and did an admirable job.  These products were a nice addition to the Coatings Division’s business. The AOI annual shareholder’s meeting was traditionally held in Ashland, KY – it was the highlight of the social calendar for Ashland – on the last Friday of January.  This year, the Ashland Chemical Management Team was attending as a group.  We flew to Ashland on a company plane, the Wednesday before the annual shareholder’s meeting to be at the AOI board meeting held the prior day.  On Wednesday it began to snow in Kentucky and throughout Ohio.  The weather predictions were for a serious snow event.  The result was a monster storm with hurricane-force winds in Northeast Ohio and really heavy snow throughout the state. It was such a big storm that it virtually shut down the entire state.  The cold weather was proceeded by heavy rains, which drenched the coal stored outside the coal burning power plants.  The bitterly cold weather created a sold ice-coal frozen block which the power plants were unable to utilize.  The result was a significant electrical power shortage throughout Ohio.  We were unable to fly back to Columbus until Sunday morning when the storm finally moved east and the airport crew was able to clear the runway. Most of the non-interstate highways in Ohio were closed for several days.  Ashland Chemical opened its headquarters building which had back-up electrical generators, to almost 200 neighbors who had no heat or power in their homes and provided what food and shelter they  could to those neighbors.  Several Ashland Chemical  employees staffed the kitchen to feed the hungry using what food was on site  and to otherwise make them as comfortable as possible.  The barometric pressure reached an all-time low for Ohio with that storm. It has been called the Ohio Storm of the Century.  We also had terrible phone service as many lines were down, so we were not able to communicate effectively with our families.


We Ashland Chemical managers arrived back in Columbus and checked the conditions at the office housing the displaced neighbors  I dug my car out of the parking lot and drove home. When I arrived, Karen told me that Kim was in the OSU Hospital with a bad cold and she had coughed up blood.   We needed to leave promptly to  see her.  Despite the snow, the accident and snow packed roadways and traveler alerts to avoid all unnecessary driving, we made it to the hospital.  Kim was resting reasonably well.   Her sorority sisters had taken charge and called the EMTs who treated her and dispatched her to the hospital.  Prior to that her sorority sisters had called Kim’s friend David Holmberg’s mother, who was a nurse, asking her what they should do.  Kim was released the day after we saw her.  Fortunately, she had no reoccurrences or after effects.


Kim continued to make good progress in her studies and really enjoyed the Fashion Merchandising major.  Cindie applied herself admirably picking up her college studies where she left off 15 months previously, although she limited herself to about 18 credit hours.  She made good grades in her studies, including organic chemistry.  They both enjoyed living in the Kappa Delta house, however, Cindie carefully monitored her time commitments to activities other than studying.  Karen and I were very proud of both girl’s dedication  and of their accomplishments.  Cindie, very much enjoyed working at Ashland Chemical’s Research in Dublin the next  summer.  It was her first experience working in a corporate environment.   Kim worked at The Needleworks that summer. Our family returned to the Sportsman Resort at Lake of the Ozarks for the second consecutive year.  Kim invited David to attend the reunion with us.  He blended right in with the family.  Judy Davis still credits David for teaching Judy and Dick’s older son, Richie, to water ski.  Kindra, Bob’s older daughter was married to Barry Jones on July 21, 1978.  We were fortunately able to make a quick trip to Iowa for their wedding.  We enjoyed the Little Turtle Condominium Development and joined the country club with a golf membership.  It was our first experience with a country club.  The dining facilities were limited to just a casual bar and grill, unless there were big events at which  the meals were catered.  The eighteen hole golf course was a bit challenging but not that busy so it was easy to get on the course.


Kim continued dating David who lived at home but had dropped out of college for financial reasons.  He was working at  a nearby Sears Department Store selling carpets.  David was an extremely likeable, industrious young man.  Karen and I thought highly of him.  This confidence in him was ratified when he attempted to help his mother with a defective purchase she had made at a jewelry store in the mall where he worked.   His mother was not able to get satisfaction on the purchase, so David offered to visit the jewelry store during his lunch break to address her problem.  He not only was able to convince the jewelry store manager to make the purchase “right”, received a job offer on the spot with better compensation than he was earning at Sears.  That August 1978 move launched David into an amazing career in retailing and executive management.  He currently is CEO of Highmark, Inc a $20 billion dollar revenue, healthcare and health insurance company  with some 45,000 employees based in Pittsburgh, PA.


The girls were back in OSU that fall, Kim living in the Kappa Delta chapter house and Cindie in a nearby apartment.  Cindie’s schedule included all of the remaining courses she would need for the OSU Veterinary Medicine College, so she applied later that fall for admittance, even though she would be completing only her third year of college.  David worked for several months at the J B Robinson mall store which gave him his initial job with the company.  However,  someone with David’s skills was needed in the Erie, PA J B Robinson store, so David was transferred there as Assistant Store Manager in March of 1979.  Within months he was promoted to store manager as the previous manager was terminated for cause.  In 1978, we enjoyed the first of three Christmases in Kaysville, UT at Nancy, Neal and Colin’s home.   They had moved back to the states where Neal was Range Officer at the U.S. Air Force’s Hill Base. Nancy was again teaching primary school.  They hosted our Christmas reunion, with the enticement of skiing a few days at the nearby Salt Lake City area resorts.  Many of us were just beginning to learn to ski.   Our folks did not ski, but nearly everyone else older than about 3 years attempted it.  We all piled into Nancy and Neal’s wonderful two story walkout ranch home sleeping on the floor and where ever else one could lie down. It was a wonderful Christmas. 


My parents were living in the house on the farm, that mom’s parents had purchased in 1901 and  expanded in 1910.  It had more than served our family well, but it was no longer even moderately acceptable living quarters, let alone a home.  They engaged a local builder, agreed on house plans – a two story, split entry with a two car garage under a portion of the house - and agreed on a price.   The house had three moderate sized bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a decent sized family kitchen/dining/living area on the main level and a decent sized family gathering area, a small bedroom and a three quarters bath on the lower level.  They built the new house about 75 yards south of the existing house and  continued living in the existing house while the new house was being built.  They began construction in 1978 and moved in in 1979.  We enjoyed the Iowa Family Christmas in the new house for the first time in 1981, as we had celebrated Christmas in Kaysville for 1978, 1979 and 1980..  The new house was a very nice improvement on the old house which was burned down, in the fall of 1979, in a controlled burn by the local fire department who used the event as a training exercise.


A new assignment at Ashland Chemical -


Early in 1979, I was asked to assume the responsibility for Ashland Chemical’s administrative functions, which was a lateral transfer with the company, but offered new challenges and opportunities.  The responsibility, included the accounting, legal, human resource, office services and coordination with all corporate provided services, e.g., computer services, finance and public relations.  I was Group Vice President Administration.  I had worked with all of these departments for several years and it was an easy transition.


Cindie received a letter from OSU Veterinary Medicine College that spring advising her that she was admitted to OSU Veterinary Medicine College beginning with the 1979 fall term.  She was over the moon in joy.  Promptly after receiving the letter, she and her mother drove to our offices, found me and shared the wonderful news with me.   It was not only wonderful news, it was a bit unsuspected as she had not yet finished her third year of classes and had not satisfactorily completed those spring classes, some of which were a requirement for vet school.  Regardless, we were all elated.


Cindie worked a second summer at the Ashland Chemical research center. There was no Davis family reunion that summer, as we planned to return to Kaysville the coming Christmas for another family Christmas and skiing.  Karen’s business was considerably better than what she didn’t enjoy in New Albany, however the business barely broke even, not counting any compensation for all of her time and effort.  She had several part-time instructors and clerks, but scheduled them efficiently and only when their schedule was justified by the business or teaching.   When Karen first started the business now some three years previously, she thought that she should hire an accountant to keep her books – that of course was considerably prior to computers and retail software.  I suggested that I could keep the books, so we spent Sunday mornings nearly every week, beginning with her first store in New Albany, adding up hand written sales receipts, adding up the inventory purchases (we expensed all inventory) and other expenses for the prior period.  Hence we had a weekly P & L as well as a monthly P & L and annual P & L  I added the sales receipts in my head – no need for an adding machine!  We continued this practice throughout her ownership of The Needleworks.  I frequently visited the Westerville store on Saturday afternoons “to do the books”. 


Cindie entered OSU Veterinary Medicine College that September.  Kim returned to OSU for her final year of under-graduate work.  Kim lived in the Kappa Delta sorority that year and Cindie in a conveniently located apartment.  Cindie was so excited about her next four years and so happy that she had the wisdom to return to veterinary medicine just two years previously.  Both girls continued to excel with their studies.  Kim was thoroughly enjoying her fashion merchandising major.  David returned to Columbus on occasion to visit Kim and his parents who still lived in north Columbus.  Karen’s The Needleworks continued at basically a break-even sales level, but she continued work hard to make it a success and found considerable enjoyment with the customer contact and the other Westerville retail owners.


Cindie met a young man who also was a first year veterinarian student, by the name of Brian Holub early in their first year.  They were attracted to each other.  Brian had graduated from the University of Cincinnati the previous June.   He had worked in a Cincinnati animal hospital during the summers and part time while attending college, so he too was a fairly experienced first year student.  They began dating.  One of our family highlights was hosting Cindie, Brian, Kim and  David for Sunday evening suppers in our Little Turtle Condo.  Frequently, the conversation was detailed animal medicine, of which I was a bit familiar having been on a farm for most of my first sixteen years, but Karen, Kim and David were playing catch up in that field.  We continued these dinners as long as any of the four of them were able to attend.  David of course was in Erie and not able to attend as much as the other three.  We had another Family Christmas in Kaysville, UT which was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Both David and Brian were invited to attend this the first of their many Christmases with our family.  Brian and David both took to skiing quickly. 


In early 1980, I was asked to assume responsibility for the AOI corporate functions of Safety, Security and General Office Services,  as a Corporate Vice-President reporting to Bill Seaton one of two vice-chairmen of AOI.  Bill had responsibility for all of AOI’s financial and most of its administrative functions.  It meant another transfer to Ashland, KY, however, my boss told me since the job involved all of AOI, including operations in some fifteen or more states and one-half dozen countries, I could continue to reside in Columbus, OH but my principal office would be in Ashland, KY.  The corporation leased several apartments that were nearby the  AOI corporate headquarters for temporary residence of visiting and temporary AOI personnel.  I was able to use one of these apartments whenever I was overnighting in Ashland.


Another promotion -


Ashland’s Safety Department had staff responsibility for providing the various  safety services to AOI operating businesses.  Each operating unit manager had responsibility for all aspects of that business, including safety.  However, the four person group for which I had responsibility, provided AOI oversight and representation of senior management to the operating groups, in addition to training and consulting on safety issues.  Ashland had a decent but not stellar performance record on safety measures and AOI’s chairman wanted that performance improved.   Ashland’s Security Department had staff responsibility for providing AOI corporate and operational units security services, including executive protection, potential criminal investigations, building and property protection and security consulting services to the corporate group and the  operating businesses.  This three person group, included two highly experienced investigators.  Ashland’s General Office Services operated a publishing business, coordinated purchases of office supplies and equipment, excluding computer equipment, throughout AOI,  provided and reconfigured office space to satisfy changing office needs and oversaw the construction of major AOI office buildings, including a  150,000 square-feet corporate headquarters building in Ashland which was under construction. Additionally, two 100,000 square-feet corporate services office buildings were in the planning phase for construction in Lexington, KY. One of these was the corporate computer and systems department building which included a 40,000 square feet corporate data center.  Two of IBM’s latest main frame 1401 computers were to be installed in this new corporate data center.  Also, a 100,000 square-feet Ashland Coal headquarters building in Huntington, WV was being designed.  All four buildings were designed by a New Your City architect, who was a friend of the AOI Chairman Orin Atkins and were being or to be built by a large construction firm headquartered in St. Louis.  Ashland Oil Corporation was the largest employer and largest business in Kentucky for many years.  Ashland wanted to keep this presence in Kentucky, as AOI had access to and significant receptibility with the state’s top government officials.  I am not aware of any significant unearned favors from the state, but it was convenient to have that access.


I spent full time becoming more familiar with each of these three departments for the first several months.  Bill Seaton was a hands off manager and not one to get into the details.  I had never worked with him other than coordinating some of the long range planning with him when I was working in that department.  It was a pleasure working with him.  The chairman followed very closely the construction of the new buildings, particularly the new corporate headquarters building in Ashland. Most of my time for the first several months was spent in Ashland, KY getting up to speed with my new responsibilities.  I returned to Westerville each weekend.  There was very little travel outside of Ohio and Kentucky in my new job.  The economy was beginning to recover a bit from the stagflation the country was suffering under President Carter.  My work at AOI was challenging as we were working hard to help AOI improve its safety performance and we had the continual expected tensions between operations which had the primary responsibility for their unit’s safety performance and the corporate safety department which corporate management looked to for improved safety performance.  Regardless the corporation’s safety performance did improve, as the operating units knew it was an area of performance which affected their personal performance evaluation. The office services department continued to be challenged to find additional office space in the Ashland, KY area for a growing  AOI administrative group.  Bill Seaton assigned me some additional responsibilities for special studies and reports on various corporate possible acquisitions. 


I was assigned to be a member of Ashland Coal Company’s (ACC) board, a company wholly owned by AOI and headquartered in Huntington, WV. It was my introduction to surface coal mining, which of course was a major West Virginia industry and ACC’s only coal business-ACC did not do deep coal mining.  AOI also had organized a major surface mining company, with operations primarily in Wyoming and Illinois, with third parties which was named Arch Mineral.  The Arch Mineral’s business was entirely separate from ACC’s business.  The new buildings we had under construction when I assumed this new job were completed, those personnel who were asked to move to Lexington were in the process of moving.  The new computers were leased and scheduled for installation.  Construction of the ACC headquarters building was just beginning.


Kim graduated a quarter  early, at the end of winter quarter in 1980.  Commencements of non-Spring are not significant  events.  Some of those graduates choose to participate in the spring commencement to enjoy the ceremonies associated with that commencement. Kim did not.  She accepted  a job with Lazarus Department Store in downtown Columbus where she was a buyer of womens sporting clothes.   She decided to live at home with Karen and me.  She paid us modest rent as she knew she would save money compared to living in an apartment and cooking or eating out.  David was doing an exceptional job managing the Erie, PA J B Robinson store so in July 1980 he was promoted to manage a much larger  J B Robinson store  in Washington, D.C.  David’s skills as a very effective sales executive were noticed by the company management very early on.


Cindie and Brian really enjoyed their first year of veterinarian medicine school and did very well in the practical aspects of the studies.  As the end of their first year approached, Cindie and Brian decided to spend about one-half of their summer hiking the Rockies.  We had a family gathering in Marshalltown early in the summer, in which Nancey, Neal and Colin attended.  When they learned that Cindie and Brian were headed to Colorado to begin several weeks of hiking, they offered transportation for them to Denver, as Nancy, Neal and Colin were planning to go home via Denver.  Cindie and Brian had a wonderful time hiking before returning to Ohio and preparing for their next year of veterinarian medicine school.  They worked for their respective prior employers for the balance of the summer.


Our niece, Toyel Swanson was married on July 6, 1980 to David Niekerk who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned in the U.S. Army in June.   David was an outstanding student, however he had a very stocky body style and achieving the Army physical fitness requirements for its officers was exceptionally difficult for him. Despite an outstanding career of some dozen years in the Army, he resigned from the Army and entered into a career of corporate human resources. He worked for several major petroleum companies until he was hired by Amazon to play a key role in Amazon’s human resources department. He completed his outstanding career and retired from Amazon.


In August 1980 our Tom Davis Extended Family all gathered at the Friends Church in New Providence, Iowa.  My grandparents, all of my dad’s and his sibling’s families attended.  Every one of my generation, some 33 cousins attended with their collective 73 children and one grandchild, Tom and Mary’s grandchildren and great grandchildren.  In total some 156 family, including spouses attended this wonderful event.  Note: We lost one cousin in my generation at age 3 to an unknown disease, otherwise all of us survived into 2007, when unbelievably only the second cousin to die left us.  He was the twin brother of the cousin who died in 1942 – some 65 years earlier.  When the second cousin died there were 32 surviving first cousins the oldest of which was 73 years old.  A remarkable  generation of 33 first cousins (including my siblings and me) survived until the oldest of us was 73 years old.  Amazingly, no deaths resulting from accidents, disease or military during this period among our group.


Cindie and Brian began their second year of vet med school that fall.  They each had separate apartments. Kim continued working for Lazarus and living at home.  Karen continued working her store, introducing new products,  offering new classes and participating in Westerville community events.  There was no summer reunion in 1980 as we were again planning to celebrate our Davis Family Reunion in Kaysville, UT and to enjoy skiing at Christmas.  As it turned out it was our last such Christmas celebration as  Kim and David were planning their wedding for late summer 1981 and it was hoped that most of the family could attend it as our 1981 reunion and Neal accepted a promotion requiring him to return  to Kwajalein in 1982. However,  this last Utah Christmas reunion with nearly full attendance was a blast as at least some of us were more skilled at skiing after three successive Utah Christmases. Both David and Brian again joined us for this Davis Family Christmas.


The national economy continued to struggle.  President Carter was not popular.  On November 4, 1979 armed militant Iranian students occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 hostages.  The Carter government was unable to get them released thereby resulting a major election issue in the 1980 presidential race.  The national election featured Ronald Reagan running against President Carter.  


Ronald Reagan was a storied individual.  He was born in Illinois, graduated from Eureka College in Eureka, IL in 1932, having majored in economics.  He was an indifferent student but excelled in sports, particularly football, basketball and swimming.  He was an accomplished swimmer and served as a life guard in a local park located on the Rock River.  He is credited with saving 77 persons from drowning in the six years he served as a life guard.  He became a radio sportscaster, after two years he was employed by WHO a flagship radio station in Des Moines, IA.  There he made a name for himself recreating play-by-play broadcasts of  Chicago Cubs baseball games and Big Ten College football games by narrating a play-by-play announcement of the progress of the games as they were continually reported by a person located at the game via a teletype.  This talent and his clear strong voice along with his good looks launched him into a movie career.  However, before that, while in Des Moines he became relatively good friends with two of my senior Acacia Fraternity brothers – who I got to know through a 2015-2020 campaign, which I chaired to build a new ISU Acacia fraternity house.  These two brothers continued their relationship with the Reagans when these brothers, who were not physically eligible for the military draft, went to work for aviation companies in southern California during WWII at the time Reagan was beginning his movie career.  An interesting side story.


Reagan made 52 movies, became the President of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 and served in that role for 7 years.  (He resumed that presidency in 1959.)  His acting career was not going well but in 1954, when General Electric (GE) offered him a position as a narrator for their Sunday night television program The General Electric Theater.  This employer required him to also speak publicly promoting GE and its products as well as to visit GE plants to talk with GE employees.  Reagan a lifelong Democrat and the president of a union, began moving into the conservative political ranks.  He supported Eisenhower for president, as a member of “Democrats for Eisenhower” and supported Richard Nixon for a California Senator seat, and for president in 1960 when Nixon lost to Kennedy.   As Reagan traveled  to the various GE plants he honed his conservative messages and became a recognized national political figure. He became a Republican in 1962.  He was elected governor of California in 1966 and served for two terms.  He was now running for President of the United States in 1980.  He swept the November election, winning 49 of the 50 states.  Immediately after President Reagan was inaugurated, the Iranian mullahs released the 52 American hostages.   Nine weeks after being inaugurated, President Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981.  Fortunately, he recovered quickly and served a full eight years.  The 1980’s, particularly the latter two-thirds of the decade was quite good for the country, economically.


Another promotion and now a corporate officer –


In 1981 AOI decided to address its increasing administrative costs by placing most of the corporate service departments into a separately organized Ashland Services Company (ASC).  All corporate departments except legal, finance, accounting and corporate planning were organized within  this company in four divisions:  (1) Management Information Services, (2) Human Resources, (3) Office Services and (4) Corporate Support, e.g., the aviation department, insurance department, safety department and security department.  I was asked to lead this new company as President of Ashland Services Company and as a corporate officer.   We were tasked with not only selling our services within AOI we were chartered to solicit customers from other companies and to develop “outside sales”.  This organizational concept was pushed by Chairman & CEO Atkins.  He had a keen interest in seeing that this approach reduced AOI’s administrative costs.


My office would be in both the corporate headquarters in Ashland, KY and in the large ASC installation in the new Lexington, KY offices.  I was able to continue to reside in Ohio and commute via a company provided auto, from Westerville, OH to both Ashland and Lexington, KY.  The concept of an internal services company selling its services to the individual corporate operating companies and also soliciting business from outside customers was novel and involved considerable work in initial organization and selling the services internally, prior to soliciting business from outside companies.  I was not able to spend very much time in Westerville.


Organizing ASC and getting it up to speed was a significant management challenge.  In that we had no one within the computer science group that I thought had the necessary skills to manage the AOI computer science function, we did an outside executive search which resulted in the hiring of a senior computer science executive from outside AOI.   He relocated his family to Lexington, where his primary responsibility was officed with in the computer center office.  The other three departments were headed by internal executives who had leadership roles in various support services from which we organized our company.  Two of other three group executives, Human Resources and Corporate Support were officed in Lexington.  The fourth along with me was officed in the AOI  headquarters in Ashland. 


I chaired the management committee of ASC, which consisted of the four group executives and me.   We held bi-weekly meetings for the first year during our initial organizing.  We met in  the Lexington offices as three of our group were permanently located there.  Most of the groups were unchanged from their previous corporate role, but some were modified as some of the managers of within these groups chose to stay with or move to one of the operating groups.  Each department was directed to not only reinforce their relationship with each of those AOI operating businesses they served but to discuss how offering that department’s services to outside, i.e.. non-AOI businesses, would not diminish the quality of service that ASC would provide AOI business, but would ultimately enable  ASC to offer these services spread over a larger customer population.  At least that was Chairman Atkins view.


Kim and David marry –


Kim enjoyed her work with Lazarus and, with her mother’s help, planned for her and David’s wedding which was scheduled for September 19, 1981.  There was no family reunion that summer as we were hoping that  our immediate family members would attend the wedding.   In the spring of 1981, David was promoted again to a regional supervisor with JB Robinson Jewelers, with responsibility for the Washington D.C. area, some six stores.  He relocated to the D.C. area prior to the wedding.   Kim resigned  her  position at Lazarus later in the summer.  David excelled at his job of supervising six Washington, D.C. J B Robinson stores.  There was only modest travel involved as all six of the stores were relatively near-by.  Occasionally, there would be business trips to the corporation’s headquarters in Cleveland or other corporate business locations.  Karen continued working her store and making modest progress.  Kim and David’s wedding was held in the Presbyterian Church in Westerville, where Kim  had previously attended some Sunday services.   The wedding banquet was held at Little Turtle.  Most of my immediate family was able to attend.  It was a great wedding.  After the wedding Kim and David departed for Washington  D.C.  Kim settled into their new apartment and began working almost immediately at Casual Corners as a merchandise buyer.  Less than a year later David was promoted to be the Southern District Director based in Houston, TX.  He and Kim relocated to Houston, TX where they purchased their first home in Katy, TX a Houston Suburb.  Kim began employment at Lord and Taylor - a national department store chain - in a local mall store where she served as manager of the women’s sports clothing.  She later changed employers to join Saks – also a national department store chain – in a new store which opened nearby their home where she was manager of the woman’s sports clothing.


Cindie and Brian toured Europe, especially visiting his dad’s home country of Austria.  They carefully considered their itinerary and planned to cover most of continental Europe.  Just prior to their leaving on a commercial flight, I learned that the AOI chairman and several of the Ashland Petroleum Company executives were traveling on the AOI Gulfstream 2 corporate jet from Ashland to Geneva, Switzerland on the same day that Cindie and Brian were scheduled to fly to Europe.  I checked with our aviation department to see if the plane was full and learned that it wasn’t.  I checked with Chairman Atkins to see if it was “OK” for Cindie and Brian to fly with them.  The chairman said that he would welcome them.  They really enjoyed flying private jet on that trip.  From Geneva they traveled by train to Vienna where they had a used car to use for the summer which Brian’s dad had arranged for them.  They had a great trip, but had to fly back commercial – a real let down.  Cindie and Brian  began their third year of vet school. 


Christmas 1981 we resumed the Davis Family Christmas in Iowa.  We were in the folks new home for the first time.  It was a wonderful event, a much better venue than their old house and a great Christmas.  Everyone was looking forward to 1982.  Kim and David were not able to attend, however, Brian and Cindie attended.  This Christmas Brian and Cindie demonstrated their veterinarian expertise by spaying and neutering mom’s outdoor cats to curtail the growing population.  They used mom’s ironing board as an operating table.  Astro again made the trip with us and as usual really enjoyed his time


We made steady progress in ASC with our mission to provide great service to the various AOI operating businesses, however, achieving outside sales was a difficult slog.  Most prospects, knowing that we were a unit of AOI viewed ASC as a possible less than committed vendor for them.  Convincing most prospects to commit to ASC for their requirements was a difficult sales pitch.  We made little progress in our effort to develop external sales, as prospective customers all believed that should limited services be available for whatever reason, that ASC would favor its internal customers over its external customers.


Cindie and Brian marry –


Cindie and Brian decided that they would get married between their 3rd and 4th year of veterinary school. Cindie and her mother began planning the wedding early in the year as we wanted as many from our family as possible to attend.  Cindie converted to Judaism, although she practiced it very little.  The wedding was on June 12, 1982.   Justin Aiken, their eight year old cousin was ring bearer (although he thought that he should be in a “bear suit”), his five year old sister Jill was flower girl.  Cindie’s cousins Richard and Jason Davis, Justin, Colin McLemore and Justin Aiken,  were candle lighters The wedding was held in a nearby synagogue and the  reception in the Columbus Museum of Art.  Cindie and Brian as fourth year Vet Med students were required to work six weeks each during the summer as part of their degree requirements.


President Reagan was successful in enacting a significant Economic Recovery Tax Act  of 1981, which included significant income tax reductions that helped ignite the domestic economy.  The 1980s would be a quite good decade.  President Reagan was upbeat, engaging and a quite good politician.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives, was a veteran Boston Democrat, Tip O’Neil.  The Speaker served from 1977 to 1987.  President Reagan was able to relate well with the Speaker and to work together for the good of the country.


Ashland Services Company continued to make progress in improving the service to the various AOI business units but we were not making significant progress in winning third party business despite a number of efforts, particularly in the area of MIS, as we had significant excess computer capacity, including backup facilities and our own emergency electrical power generation capability.  In addition, we also offered expertise in property and liability insurance, as AOI was significantly self-insured with several layers of umbrella insurance.  We offered professional expertise in the fields of security, safety, human resources and locally in the Ashland and Lexington, KY and Columbus, OH markets we had significant leverage in purchasing office equipment and supplies, plus the publishing capabilities in Ashland, KY. 


Christmas 1982 was again celebrated in Iowa in my folks new house.  As I recall the entire family, were there except for Nancy, Neal and Colin who were in Kwajalein.  Astro who was now 15 years old was having significant difficulty, getting around, especially going up stairs.  His quality of life was not good.  However, we took him to Iowa once again as he so much loved the farm.  Cindie and Brian visited my first cousin, Tom Davis who was a veterinarian in Marshalltown and acquired the necessary pharmaceutical to put Astro down.  Brother Dick and brother-in-law Allan built a wooden box large enough to comfortably accommodate  Astro’s body.  We buried him our parent’s beloved farm.   All of us who were present at the farm that morning, gathered in the garage of the folks new house  and watched as Cindie and Brian gently put Astro out of his pain.  Dick and Allan then buried Astro near the Evergreen Tree windbreak on the farm that Astro so loved.  It was a very sad time for all of us.  Astro was a wonderful member of our family and was loved by us.


The new year held a lot of promise as the national economy was improving, Cindie and Brian would finish their Veterinarian Medicine education and begin their careers, Kim and David were both doing well in their careers in Houston, Texas, Karen was optimistic that The Needleworks would be successful in Westerville and ASC was making good progress in improving the quality and cost of its services.


Brian knew that he wanted to work in a small animal hospital while Cindie wanted to do equine medicine.  They also wanted to have a family and knew that Brian’s employment was more important than Cindie’s.  Brian began researching employment opportunities in earnest as we began 1983.  The demand for veterinarians was increasing with the improving economy.  He considered opportunities throughout the U.S.  He had some phone interviews, some local interview trips and one trip to Hudson, NH to visit  the Hudson Animal Hospital. Cindie and he considered several offers and accepted the one from Hudson.   Cindie, then decided that she would start an ambulatory equine veterinary practice from their home and from the back of their

SUV.  Cindie planned to move Keepsake to Nashua as well. 


Kim and David were experiencing the joys of home ownership.  The first winter they were in Texas was one of the coldest in recent memory.  Several days of below freezing temperatures which resulted in several  of the water pipes in their house  freezing and bursting.  But the worst was to come a couple of years later when they were transferred and had to sell the house – it was the worst of the crude oil crisis, employment in Texas was under pressure, home mortgages were being foreclosed and home prices were under considerable pressure.  They ended up selling the house for some $10,000 less than they had paid for it in 1982!


In May, I was attending an ISU Chemical Engineering meeting on campus, while staying with  my brother Bob and also catching up with his family.  On Saturday of that weekend Bob’s older daughter Kindra was in an auto accident in which she permanently lost the use of her legs.  It was a traumatic time for her, her husband, Barry, and their daughters Amber and Ashley, who were not quite 2 years and 1 year old respectively.  Kindra has persevered with dignity, energy and grace living life as a paraplegic.  (More in Bob’s chapter in Appendix  Three of this autobiography.)


Cindie and Brian graduated  on June 10, 1983.  The OSU commencement was held in the famous OSU Horseshoe Football Stadium.  Guests were limited as there were some 10,000 graduates.  Each college within OSU had its own ceremonies separate from the main commencement, where the graduates received more recognition, awards and attention.  Vice President George H. W. Bush gave the commencement address. 


The next day Cindie and Brian packed their belongings into their new Ford Bronco, purchased for their next adventure, loaded Keepsake in the horse trailer that we had purchased with the New Albany, OH house and stored for the last three years at the stable where Keepsake was boarded.  Cindie and Brian made the drive from Ohio to New Hampshire in one very long day.  They arrived in Nashua and promptly began looking for a house to rent, hopefully one with a place for Keepsake.  Fortunately, they found what turned out to be an ideal place, a two story, split entry 2500 square feet of space and a fairly large back yard with a fenced coral and small shed for Keepsake.  All of this at a rental that they could afford.  They leased the property with an option to purchase it at the end of the first year – which they did as the property values had improved significantly, and their locked in purchase option price was favorable to the then market.


Brian began his career Hudson Animal Hospital and was assigned as part of his responsibility to provide the veterinarian care for a number of wild animals housed in a local zoo.  He very much enjoyed this one day a week responsibility as he cared for elephants, tigers, lions and a number of other large species, along with the smaller species, including fowls.   All of this experience provided Brian with a great start in his field.  Cindie outfitted the Bronco with a built in storage cabinet for her veterinarian equipment, supplies and medicines accessible via the tailgate and began spreading the word that she was the “new ambulatory equine veterinarian practice”.  She slowly gained a clientele.  Their house had electrical baseboard heat which was an expensive means of keeping warm, so Brian purchased a small coal stove a placed it in the lower level of the house.  He cut a portion of the ceiling and the main level floor immediately above the stove.  He kept a relatively big fire going in the stove and let the warmed air around the stove rise into the second level.  Doing so he saved significantly on his electrical bill.


Kim and David continued to excel in their careers.  The jewelry stores for which David had responsibility  continued to do well and the company added stores in the faster growing cities in his Southern Region.  His job required him to travel quite a bit through-out his region and occasionally to national jewelry shows, as well as for corporate meetings.  Kim enjoyed her work, however their frequent relocations interrupted to a significant degree  any real career progress, as

she was not able to stay with the same employer for a significant period of time. 


Karen was enjoying pursuing her passion of needlework  however,  she was beginning to realize the difficulty of profiting from it.  The sales volume and profit margins just weren’t sufficient for her compensate her for her time.  The new location experienced reasonable traffic and she built up a good client base, but it was not sufficient to generate the needed profits.  Regardless, she enjoyed the interaction with her customers and her Westerville business associates.  We continued to enjoy living in Little Turtle, and playing a bit of golf in the season. One unnerving occurrence was a large fire one Saturday night when fire destroyed four of the Little Turtle homes.  The development consisted of about twenty five identical buildings each containing four two or three story living units.  Unfortunately, the units were  constructed of wood and any fire could spread quickly from one living unit within the building to another.  Even more concerning was the buildings themselves were fairly close together.  Fortunately, the fire department was able to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings and the  loss was limited to four living units.


Karen and I made a quick trip to Iowa on the weekend of July 17th to attend the Hartland Friends Quasquicentennial (125 years) celebration of the church.  Mother and three of her close friends who were also members of the church were photographed at the celebration dressed in clothing worn by women 125 years ago.  It was a fine celebration and fitting for our small country church which helped shape so many of our neighbors lives.  Our family, including all four of my grandsons who participated in several of the church’s Christmas programs, will always remember our country church, which unfortunately, is no more.


Nationally, 1983 was a turbulent time with the rise in tensions surrounding nuclear weaponry, the Cold War was on everybody’s minds. Nuclear cruise missiles owned by America and Russia began arriving in Europe, and the Irish Republican Army was terrorizing the UK. There were frequent space missions launched by NASA and the Soviet Space program.  Space science took a massive leap forward in 1983.

Christmas 1983 was well attended however; I believe that neither Cindie and Brian nor Kim and David were able to travel to Iowa for this family gathering.  We enjoyed the usual Hartland Christmas program, the family meals, the gift exchange and the pheasant and rabbit hunting.  We were anxiously looking forward to 1984. 


One of the highlights in my 1984 was my trip to visit Dick, Judy, Rich and Jason in Norfolk, VA and to accompany them on a “Dependent Day Cruise” on the USS America on of the latest and best equipped  aircraft carriers.  Dick was serving as the Air Boss on this fantastic ship.  The Air Boss is the third ranking officer of an aircraft carrier and has complete control of the ship during launching and recovering of aircraft.  As such his station at these times is in the control tower. 


We left the Port of Norfolk  at “zero dark thirty”, to use an expression of early AM time advocated by our brother-in-law, Neal McLemore and sailed into the Atlantic Ocean for the exercises of launching and recovering aircraft.  Prior to the aircraft activities, Dick gave me a limited tour of this massive ship which had a crew of some 4200 sailors and Marines and an on board Air Wing with staffing of some 1350 pilots and support personnel.  The Air Wing typically had seven squadrons and five different aircraft.


When the time came for the aircraft launching Dick invited me to go with him to the control tower and to watch my little brother do his job.  If was a fascinating experience.  They launched some dozen aircraft to do various maneuvers nearby the ship to the delight of the family guests on the ship.  They recovered the aircraft all prior to lunch.  Lunch was in the Captain’s mess (dining room) with the Captain of the ship, the Executive Officer, Dick and several other senior officers.  Returning to port and docking was also a fascinating experience.  All in all, it was a delightful day and one I will always remember. 


There was no summer family reunion in 1984, as that summer nearly all of the family attended a celebration of mom and dad’s fiftieth wedding anniversary in nearby State Center.  About one-hundred of their family, friends and neighbors attended.  Both Cindie and Kim flew into Iowa for the event, however, Brian and David were not able to get away.  Both mom and dad were doing relatively well health wise although mom continued to be challenged with cardiac problems, primarily high blood pressure.  Brother Bob was  the master of ceremonies and did an admirable job. Dad discontinued farming and rented his now 360 acres to a couple of young brothers who were just entering the business of farming.  Our parents continued living in their new house on the farmstead.  They rented their land on an annual cash basis, as opposed to receiving one-half of the crops.  However, dad kept his farming equipment for several years in case renting the farmland did not work out.   When he was satisfied that he was finished farming he held a farm equipment sale. He  continued keeping his herd of horses/ponies as he and mom loved to see them running in the pastures.  Throughout his farming career, dad made a practice of purchasing old buildings to salvage the useable lumber from them.  He used this salvaged lumber advantageously to build new or to repair old buildings on the farm.  Our parents were frugal but generous.  Dad never discarded used equipment, tools, salvaged hardware or other supplies if they might be a source of spare parts or other materials to repair, replace or build a needed piece of farm equipment or building.


The year 1984 was about to get very interesting and to provide Karen and me with new adventures.


Click HERE to go to Part XIX