Clarence Chicks says he was born in the days when the mail came by horse and buggy and by sleigh as needed in the winter months. He told how the cab had a little stove in it to keep the mailman warm.
He grew up on a farm on what is now Big Lake Road. He attended Lakeview School through the 6th grade. He remembers thinking this "school thing" wasn't such a good idea but once he got to school and learned what it was, he ended up loving it and has always enjoyed learning. Clarence then attended and graduated from the Mission School. Two of his children also attended the Mission School for a time. He said he liked the Mission School and received an adequate education there. The discipline was tough, not like today. Clarence said back then if a teacher hit you in school you were reluctant to tell your parents because you would more than likely just to receive another one at home. Clarence especially enjoyed the reunion he attended there, reliving some of those memories and visiting with those friends from the past.
He remembers how the Church was the social center and all news of each other and the community could be had there.
After graduating from the Mission School he went on to Haskell Institute. For him, it seemed a very nice but large place with an enrollment of around 900 students. He enjoyed the many facilities at Haskell and says it was a very good school. He was involved in athletics and was on the track team while there.
He attended Haskell during the Depression and with money being scarce his only contact with home was through the mail. He remembers one trip home at 15 years old on a freight train. Coming all the way from Kansas with up to 500 others catching a free ride, it was quite an adventure for a 15 year old boy. He graduated from Haskell and got a job with the BIA in St. Louis, MS. He worked there for 5 years until he enlisted in the Navy.
When asked about his favorite memories he said: first, the birth of his children. The other was the day he came back to the USA at the end of WW2. Clarence will never forget his riding in the aircraft carrier into San Francisco, being greeted by thousands of people cheering for their return. The bands playing, people cheering and all of them lined the streets and the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, to actually step on US ground again and finally to get all the way home again. It was so incredibly good to be HOME! After the war, Clarence again worked for the BIA in their Chicago office for one year then to the Green Bay office. After the BIA, Clarence moved on to the Milwaukee area where he worked at a Lumber Company, Globe Union then to General Motors.
His job at General Motors was always interesting to him. They had many interesting contracts including missile guidance systems. He worked there for 20 years and took early retirement where he continues to stay busy.
He has been retired for 26 years at present. He began building projects in including his own beautiful home and his sister’s house. He has been involved in Habitat for Humanity and has enjoyed that work also. He also bought refurbished and resold homes for a time.
He is proud of all his children: Bob, who is the Tribe's current Leader, Sue who resides in Milwaukee and is the Director of Student Development at MATC, and Terry who is involved in electronics in the Milwaukee area also. He is equally very proud of his grandson, Nathan, who graduated from UW Madison with a degree in anthropology.
He likes to keep busy and active. He misses his annual summer bike ride where he would begin in Milwaukee and ride his bike all the way home. His last ride was 5 years ago when Steve Putnam accompanied him for what became his last annual adventurous trip. He has also participated in Al’s Run in Milwaukee for many years.