I was born in Shawano County and raised on a 300 acre (mostly timber) farm just 6 miles North of Gresham on Little Road. We had 25 head of cows and 25 horses. I have a number of memory’s with the horses and the riding academy Dad had. I really enjoyed being raised on a farm with a lot of work to do like helping put in a big garden, that’s why I enjoy a big garden now. For a couple of years, when I was only 13 years old, my brother and I did most of the farming while my Dad and other brother would do the logging. I remember going fishing and swimming almost everyday in the summer and hunting in the fall and winter after our chores were done. Later on I helped with the logging, running the power saw, peeling poplar driving a team of horses, driving logging truck, and etc. I remember going many times with my Dad to Oconto Falls with a load of logs. My Dad would always stop and pick up a loaf of bread and a ring of liver sausage to eat for dinner. Nowadays I can’t stand liver sausage. We did get a lot of family time in when Mom would pack a lunch and we headed off to Pendleton Dam off Highway 47 near the Menominee Reservation.
Dad would catch a lot of bass and some brook trout while the six of us kids would fish for a while, eat berries and go swimming the rest of the day. Somebody would end up with a bloodsucker on him or her so we would have to pull it off. I think the hard work and lots of family time is missing in today’s family. We always had our chores to do before we could play or had free.
I attended the Lutheran Mission School up until the third grade. After that Mom and Dad transferred me to the school in Gresham. It is funny because I remember more about my days at the Mission than I do at Gresham. We were all in one classroom from the first grade to the eight grades. I would color on the saddle shoes of the girl (RM) behind me when she would stick her shoes up on the seat of my desk. On recesses we would go to the attic and fight bats while walking on a lot of broken glass. In the winter we played games on the ice and swung from the tall trees that bent from the top of the shoreline hill all the way down to the lake. I remember staying along time after dark in the winter until Mom would pick me up. Maybe it wasn’t that long but when you’re a kid and all alone it seems like a long time.
I’ve had a lot of accomplishments in my life but the thing I cherish most, next to my family, is going back to college. I received an Associates Degree in Supervisory Management from NWTC and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Silver Lake after dropping out of Marathon University Extension in Wausau to join the service. I finished my schooling while working 56 hours a week and attended college at night. It is very important for our youth to get an education and to go as far as they can in school, you will never regret it.
I have to mention my time in the United States Marine Corps because of the weird thing that happened when I left Vietnam. I received orders to see the Chaplain. He explained to me that my mother had died and my father needed me. This happened near the end of my tour or year in Vietnam. We were getting hit with rocket attacks that whole year I was over there since it was the year of the TET. After my mother’s funeral I received a letter from the Marine Corps that I would not be receiving the rest of my gear because the night after I left, my hut area had been hit by a rocket and wiped out everyone I knew. Because of my mothers’ death my life was spared. Things happen for a reason, which I’m still trying to figure out.
The greatest experience was shooting the "Little Buck" which was actually a "huge buck." Of all the deer I shot since I was ten, this was the biggest. I received several trophies attending Deer Classics and the kill ended up in the Boone and Crocket Record Book of Big Game Awards.
I am married to my lovely wife Bonnie and we have seven kids. We have 16 grandchildren and two more on the way this year. We even have two great grandchildren. We have a hard time keeping up with all the birthdays, baptisms, and baby showers. Thank God Bonnie knit’s a lot, it saves on shopping. You guessed it; we do a lot of traveling between the kids and Powwows and other events.
One of these events stands out in my mind. I was on a trip to New York for Repatriations. I had the Commemorative Eagle Staff along as Commander of the Mohican Veterans. I was in lower Manhattan when a group of us left the big museum to head for the Native American Community House on Seventh Avenue. The others took taxis and I decided to walk since I had the Eagle Staff. I thought Seventh Ave. was only seven blocks. I was treated like a celebrity because I stood out in the crowd wearing the Mohican Vets uniform and carrying the staff. I had lots of comments on the beautiful Eagle Staff, where I was from, what veteran group I represented and etc. One person, on his way from work, walked several blocks with me asking questions. Along the way I recognized Regis Philbin. He nodded and said hi. The person with me said "this is New York and you see celebrities all the time." I ended up walking over an hour for those seven blocks. When I arrived at the Community House and told the group what had happened somebody said I should embellish the story and say that Regis asked me to be on his show.
I had a few funny things happen but the funniest story for everyone but me was when I fell into a grave at the Stockbridge Burial Grounds. I was going to help out as usual when I got to close to the edge and the ground gave way. The snowy dug grave was covered with Styrofoam. I fell in with the dirt and sand coming in on top of me. It all happened so fast and I just wanted to get right back out. I said "Lord I’m not ready to go yet." The funeral director called down for me to clean out the grave, which had become cluttered with pieces of Styrofoam. That was the last thing I wanted to do at the moment. Finally I had it picked up and someone reached down and pulled me out. Never realized a grave was that deep. I would have never made it out by myself. The Color Guard that I was part of were all snickering. It started out a very sad funeral like the several funerals I’ve been to, but this one had become a little lighter because of my falling into the grave. A lot of people still get a good laugh (and some can not stop laughing, TM) when they bring that incident up again.