My Moment in the Web of Time

by
Owen Picton

July 2016

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Owen Picton
(picture taken 2016)

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Life Growing Up

This is my moment in the web of time. The flow of life in my web of time has things done one way, then change, or are replaced, or go away or require a do over of life. I have lived a life of contrasts as life evolved. It is hard for me to believe that things have changed this much in my lifetime as my web of time progresses.

I was born 71 years after the end of the Civil War. Would you believe that as I grew up, other boys in town actually knew old towns people who were alive when Jessie James was alive . These old people personally knew Jessie James the outlaw and would relate Jessie James tales of the area to these boys. Regretfully, I did not pay much attention to the stories and now it is so long ago that I can not remember the tales. I was too young to get drafted for the Korean War and was done serving in the military before the Vietnam War started. I was lucky and fell into a crack of time where no war existed.

I was born at Falls City, Nebraska about 60 miles from St Joseph, Missouri in 1936 but we lived across the Nebraska Kansas state line in Kansas. My Dad had four flat tires while taking my Mother to the hospital for me to be born (one carried your own tire fixing kit along with you). Tires were not long lasting like they are now. My sister Mary was born in Nebraska in 1941. We lived on my Grandmother Picton's farm in Kansas and moved across the state line to a Nebraska farm two months after my sister Mary was born. My Grandmother continued to live on her farm until the early 1960's. Now there are only corn fields where the farm was. My sister Dorothy was born in 1942. Since I was born, the great depression and the dust bowl ended, World War II occurred, many small wars and recessions have occurred but life continues to flow and is good.

I experienced life from kerosene lamps to electricity, pots and outhouses to modern bathrooms, hand pumps and windmills with large diameter hand dug wells for running water to modern city water, wood stoves to modern electric or gas ranges, large pot belly stoves to modern furnaces, hand cranked phones (our ring was two longs and a short) to smart cell phones, Maytag washer with a gas motor and hand cranked wringer to a modern washer and dryer, Jack and Jill school books to electronic books, post cards and letters to E-mail, doing my school home work by kerosene light on a kitchen table to now on a conputer, typewriters to electric typewriters to computer word processors with printer, ink pens with blotters to ball point pens, ink eraser to white out to reprint, road maps to modern GPS or GPS on a smart phone, radios running off a wind chargers to modern color TV, going to a library to look things up to now asking my smart phone verbally for the answer, and antenna to satellite reception. We used wood to heat the house and corn cobs with kerosene to start the fire. Food was sold in glass, tin cans, paper and card board but I do not remember it available in plastic. We had to wind all clocks, men all had pocket watches and no one had an electric clock. Clock radios did not exist. My Dad picked corn by hand, threw it into a wagon and yelled at the horses to pull the wagon forward a few steps as he went down the corn row. Farm houses had a fence around it to keep the chickens and cows out, but I do not remember anyone watering there lawn or having a lawn mower to mow the lawn. The farm yard was just tall grass, weeds and flowers. People made lie soap and used that in there laundry. The first hand soap I remember was named Lifeboy and I think it first was black but for most of my childhood, it was dark red. It seemed that everyone used Lifeboy and I do not remember any other kind of soap except maybe Lava and home made lie soap.

Cars had running boards, hand cranked windows, the older cars even had a crank to start the engine, headlight dimmer with a button on the floor, stick shift only, before seat belts, before turning signals, before baby car seats, before air bags, before a button on your key chain to lock and unlock the car, before air conditioning, before GPS, and before smart cell phones. Sometimes one drove the car with bald tires once in a while without brakes. As I remember it, most cars were only in the color black. People would purchase a little round ball, attaching it to the steering wheel. One would hold onto the ball to turn the steering wheel. The ball came in different design colors. All you had to do was step on the gas and let the steering wheel spin in your hand when one wanted to straighten a cars steering wheel after rounding a corner. It is a joy to drive a stick shift car. Driving with the windows down, a stick shift, engine noise and wind in your face gives a since of power and joy. Highways had about a 5 inch high cement rain gutter on each side which would throw you into on coming traffic if you hit the side.

Toys and spending ones time as a child was a lot different. We did not have TV, computer games, rubric cubes or even hula hoops. We had such games as Pickup Sticks, Andy Andy Over, wood tag, pea shooter battles(large plastic straws to blow peas through), cap guns (can you buy caps for cap guns now?), water gun battles but not the large water guns now, went sledding, listened to the radio, played Monopoly, played Sorry, had a BB gun, circuses that came to town with all there animals and tents (circuses came on the train), and I played a lot of different card games. I shot off a lot of firecrackers as a boy. I read and traded a lot of comic books. We built forts and had snow ball fights. We went hunting, fishing and swimming. We had no childproof caps on medicine bottles, no locks on cabinets, and we rode one speed bikes without head helmets, Every Sunday after church we went to my Grandparents house, eat candy, played with my cousins and listened to what my Aunts and Uncles were discussing.

We did not have recycling but most people returned glass milk bottles, glass soda bottles and glass beer bottles to the store to be returned to the plant, to be washed, sterilized and refilled again so that the same bottles were used over and over. I do not remember bottled water being sold and we sometimes drank water from a garden hose but only after we moved to town. We walked up stairs in most stores because they did not have elevators. To send fragile packages through the mail, we used wadded up old newspaper as padding and we did not have Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. The first mower my parents had was a push mower without an engine. We replaced the razor blade in the razor when the razor blade got dull because they did not make throw away razors. Egg crates were made of wood and reused over and over, now they are made of cardboard and used only once.

Each town had a store that purchased cream, milk, eggs, and chickens. I think it was called a creamery. It had a smell all its own like spoiled milk. There was always a lot of milk cans and egg crates setting around. Another neat place was the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith had a fire going and was always hammering on iron. We would visit the locker plant often because that was where we kept our frozen meat in a locker. The locker also sold large blocks of ice. The locker plant was always very cold and you would wear your winter coat when you went inside even in the summer. Our town had two large lumber yards were we went to buy lumber. There was a sale barn where they sold livestock such as cattle, hogs and sheep. I went with my Dad to all these places. People in town had milk delivered to there door every day in glass bottles which were reused over and over. People in town heated there homes with a coal furnace which changed to heating oil and now has changed to natural gas or electric furnaces. So each town had someone who delivered coal and then heating oil.

All these things happen to me as a boy. I got pneumonia when I was about 10 year old and spent a week in a hospital. These were the days before antibiotics. They treated me by putting sulfur with wine in a shot glass and having this nun in a black habit force me to drink it. I stepped on a rusty nail. I had red lines running up my leg. The doctor cured it by having me soak by foot in hot water with epson salts. I remember the day my Dad went to the dentist to have all his teeth pulled. His dentist would be killed in WWII. A mother cow with a calf charged after me but my Dad jumped between me and the cow, I was able to escape through the fence but the cow broke my Dads ribs. One time after a heavy rain the fish were floating on top of the muddy river water. My Dad went hand fishing and I was standing on the edge of the bank. The bank gave way and I slipped under the water. My Dad had to wait until I bobbed to the surface before pulling me out. He saved my life.

I went to a country school called Five Point School. The school teacher taught grades kindergarten to the eight grade. Each student class took there turn at her desk and on the chalkboards. It had outhouses for bath rooms, no running water, just a hand pump outdoors, a bucket of water in school with a ladle for one to put the water into ones own cup (mine was a tin measuring cup), no electricity, a barn for those children who rode a horse to school (my cousin Donald was one of those who rode a horse to school). We would all bring our own lunch in a lunch pale. No one drank pop or milk but just water. All boys wore bib overalls to school. The school floors were polished by putting colored saw dust (red or green) down that had been soaked in some type of oil on the floor and we children would slide on the floor to polish it. Chalk was the only thing used on chalkboards. I lived a mile and a half from school and I had to walk. The school additionally was a place for Christmas Programs, Community and Social Events. A plane flew over the school once and all of us students run outside to look at the plane. We lived near the Kansas Nebraska state line. Kansas schools required each student to buy his own books and only went 8 months a year. Nebraska schools provided the books free to the students and went 9 months. Thanksgiving was celebrated on different days in Kansas and Nebraska. I lived in Nebraska and went to school in Nebraska. There was a cement swimming pool in the countryside in Kansas about 6 miles from the school. My Dad sometimes would stop at school and take us three children swimming. Towns in our area at the time did not have swimming pools.

Our school helped the WWII war effort by going around the countryside gathering milk week pads plus we gathered card board. Everything was in short supply and was rationed during WWII. I was lucky to live on a farm, so my family had access to food. One needed coupons to buy gas, tires, meat, sugar, shoes and everything else. One of the town parks had an old antique civil war canon that I would play on. The town sold the old civil war canon for scrap iron to provide iron to help the WWII effort. During WWII letters sent overseas (called V-mail) were electronically copied, sent electronically overseas, printed on reduced size paper and delivered. I would listen to the radio a lot. Some radio stories were adventure war stories. Two of my mothers brothers were in the war. One uncle was captured and a prisoner of war. The other uncle was in the invasion of Africa, then worked his way up through Sicily and Italy. My mother mailed packages overseas to her two brothers and I think it took about 2 or 3 months for them to receive the packages. I feel that the longer the war lasted the more that the black market grew. I would hear stories during and after the war about people I knew who may have done thinks not quite right. No government can prevent a black market. The day WWII was over was the greatest celebration I have ever experienced. There was in my home town a special signal by firing a cannon to signal the war was over. My Dad heard the canon shot on our farm. Everyone came to town. People were driving up and down main street, standing on top of cars and yelling. The streets were packed.

My Dad farmed, milked and feed cattle. He never worked on Sunday and most people did not work on Sunday. Every year he would ship cattle to market. They would be shipped to live stock yards in either St. Joseph, Kansas City or Omaha. It varied. Large trucks would arrive in the evening and the fatten cattle would be loaded. The next morning, we would skip school and leave early to go to the live stock yard where the cattle were sold. I was never sure how all this worked but there would be men bidding on the cattle. After this we would shop down town and sometimes have our picture taken at a photo place. They would even manually paint color on the pictures. The cities of St. Joseph and Kansas City had a sales tax based on a tenth of a penny times the amount you buy. Both St. Joseph and Kansas City had coins worth a tenth of a penny to handle the fractions of a penny sales tax. I was impressed by the tall buildings, and how windy and cold it was. One time I saw what I believe was a WWII veteran begging without a jaw on the street. He still had his tongue. After every war, I am surprised how many wounded war veterans I see.

All our milk was fresh from cows and not pasteurized. Our milk was checked to make sure it was clean and did not carry a disease by the Coop where we sold the milk too. We had a large garden and my Mother canned the food. We planted a lot of potatoes. My Dad would use an antique single plow to plow the potatoes out in the fall. We would all follow him and pick up the potatoes. Different extended family members had fruit trees such as apple and pear that we would go pick. The neighbors would come and help us butcher. I remember we once butchered a steer and a hog. After the animals were killed they were hung in the corn crib and dressed that day. They scraped the hog skin with a scraper that was round disk with a handle in the center. The neighbors help cut up the meat. We had a big kettle with a fire under it to render the fat. My Dad smoked some of the meat. We raised chickens. During the summer we would kill the roasters and eat them. We had a hen house for the hens to live in and a place to lay eggs in the hen house.. I think my Mother gathered the eggs. We had a special place to put the hens who where setters to stop them from setting on the nest after laying the egg. This was all still before the days of electricity and we did not have a freezer. We kept our butter, eggs and milk in the cellar to be cool and kept our frozen meat at the locker plant in town.

We were suppose to get electricity in the early 1940's so my parents bought a used refrigerator. WWII war came and everything stopped. The electric refrigerator just set unused in the kitchen. My parents used kerosene lights in kitchen in the evenings. I do not remember this being a problem, it was just the way it was. My parents had more than one kerosene light. I do not remember the lack of electric lights at school ever being a problem. After the war, maybe 1947 or 1948 the government made electricity available to us. Our house, barn and all the buildings had to be wired for electricity. I remember watching the electrician do this. My Dad purchased a new freezer, toaster and radio as a gift on there September 11 wedding anniversary.

My Dad also purchased an electric milk machine. He had an electric cream separator to separate the cream and then it had to be carefully cleaned every time used. He sold his cream to a Coop in Kansas and a truck would come on a scheduled basis to pick it up. My Dad would use the milk he had skimmed from the cream, mix it with ground corn, called it slop and feed it to the hogs.  I remember being with my Dad when he castrated pigs.  He used a specific kind of disinfected and I still remember him castrating pigs when I smell that smell today.  I do not remember how we sold our eggs, maybe we sold them at the creamery in town. The Watkins Man would visit every farm ever so often, selling spices and cooking items. He had a truck with many compartments which would open and contain cooking items for sale.

Farming has changed a lot since I was a child. A farm was a complete system. Manure would be used to fertilize the crops, the crops would be sold or used to feed the animals, the animals would eat the crops, produce products such meat, milk and eggs to be sold, and produce more manure. The cycle would continue every year. Every farm had a garden and fruit trees. There were greater variety of crops planted. Every farm had animals such as chickens, cattle, hogs horses, cats and dogs. These animals required all fields to be fenced, all farms had pastures, all farms had barns and silo’s. There was no weed killer or insecticide to kill insects. One had to cultivate the corn with a tractor and manually cut the weeds with large corn knives. Seeds were not hybrids and one would grow your own seed.  Most of the barns and farm buildings are no longer needed, have been left to rot and no longer exist.

I was there and experienced this. One thing I enjoyed doing was watching dug beetles working. In the barn the dug beetles would form balls of manure a little larger than a nickel. They would roll these balls around with one dug beetle pulling in front with his hind legs and the other pushing in back with his front legs. There were big horse flies that looked like our house flies but were about an inch long and sucked blood. I think modern insecticides have eliminated the big horse flies, dug beetles and killed insects eaten by barn swallows. Our barn was full of barn swallows which I enjoyed watching. I was told the barn swallows were good birds because they ate the insects. I liked to go to the field with my Dad but then I could not be on the equipment and had to play in the field. I would eat wild onions. I would lay by the hour and watch the leaves of large cotton wood trees along the edge of the field as they would flicker in the sun light. For want of something to do when my Dad combined grain, I would catch grass hoppers, tear off there heads and line the heads up on the grain wagon running board at fifty heads at a time. A child had to create his own entertainment.

I remember one dust storm maybe about 1940. The sky got dark, a lot of wind and then the dust came and there was no way from keeping it from getting into your eyes. My cousin Janie says they put wet dish towels over the windows to keep the dust out. My duties as a child was running across a small pasture, then crossing a small stream and going to the windmill often to turn it either on or off. I was always afraid of the snakes I saw in the small stream. I had to daily go out to the pasture to find the cows and bring them home to be milked. I once was caught in a hail storm in the pasture and another time saw a snake eating a fish in the a stream while looking for the cows. I was the one who went out to the cob house to gather a basket of cobs for daily use in the stove. It sometimes became dark in the evening before I went to the cob house and I was always afraid that I would pick up a mouse, rat or snake when picking up cobs. I filled the wood box. I was the one who went down to the cellar for the butter and milk because that is where we kept it cool (we had no electricity or refrigerator). When I got older, I had to run the tractor to mow, plow the fields, and cultivate the corn. I would be paid by the neighbors to help put up hay. I would pull the hay into the barn with the tractor hooked to a rope hug from the hay loft, the hay attached to a hay fork on the other end would go up into the hay loft, travel along the length of the barn, they would pull a trip rope to dump the hay where they wanted it, they would then yell, I would stop the tractor, unhook the rope and back up the tractor while they pulled the hay rope back and start over.

Farming back then was more dangerous. I saw my sister riding on the back of a large farm tractor as my Dad was pulling a manure spreader. She fell off and the front steel wheel rolled over her head. The ground was soft and her head ended up only black and blue. One time I was at the neighbors while my Dad help put up hay. For some reason I saw my Dad grabbed the hay rope in the hay loft and slide down the rope to the hay pile. A pitch fork handle was sticking up out of the hay and his nose hit the handle and his nose was broken. Farm equipment did not have shields to protect the farmer. When I was about four year old my Dads clothes were caught in an unshielded pulley on a combine and it pulled all his cloths off, but he hung on and was not hurt. Again, when I was about 10 my Dads pants leg was caught in an unshielded PTO from the tractor (the combine power take off which run the combine) as he was checking the grain in the grain bin on a combine. He hung onto the grain bin, lost all his cloths including his shirt but did not lose his hat, pipe, or shoes and soaks. He was unhurt. He was naked in a field not near any road. So he got back onto the tractor and continued combining. When the hired man arrived with an empty grain wagon, the man saw my Dad driving around the field with no cloths and with only a hat, pipe, shoes and socks. The man did not know if my Dad was crazy, what was going on or if he should just drive away.

Now the only crop planted is corn or the crop alternated between corn and soy beans every other year. The barns and silo's are gone or fallen into disrepair, the fences are gone and the pastures plowed up for crop land. Other crops such as wheat, oats and milo are no longer grown. Expensive seed corn is purchased each year, the land is fertilized, the crops spayed with weed killers and insecticides, and no cultivation required. Often the farmer is able to irrigate his crop. Many farmers do not have gardens or fruit trees just as people living in towns and cities do not. Large equipment is used that is able to cover many rows of crops at one time. I am not saying this is bad because it does enable a fantastic amount of food to be produced. The world would be starving without this agriculture change. Our food would cost a lot more if we would go back to the old way of doing things plus no one would want to put in the long hours required to do the farming. The farmer does not have any animals to worry about, so he is free to take off and go anytime he wishes.

Stores like JC Penny and Sears in the 1940s had a clerk who took the money who would sit on the second floor. The clerk on the main floor would take your money, put it into a little box, pull a string that would send it on a cord flying to the clerk on the second floor, who make change and send it back the same way to ones clerk. The only places that had air conditioning were movie theaters and maybe some stores in the 1950s. Schools, cars, office buildings and homes did not have air conditioning. Churches were not air conditioned but they all had hand fans in every pew provided by the local mortuary with a religious picture on one side and an advertisement on the other. The hand fans were used a lot during the hot summer. Church women canned food which was sent to and used by the different religious church institutions. I never heard of a problem but the government has outlawed this practice of canned food for such purposes. Saturday night was a big night and everyone would come to town and shop. How one dresses for church has changed a lot. All adults wore hats to church, both men and women. One would always wear a suit, white shirt and tie with dress shoes but now it is any type of shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. All adults wore hats to any event when they dressed up.

Many occupations existing when I was young, are now only a memory. Some of these occupations were the iceman delivering ice to your house, the milkman delivering milk to your door every morning, the paper boy with his cloth paper bag and bicycle delivering the daily newspaper, the telephone switchboard operator who helped you made each phone call and the gasoline attended who always would fill you car with gas, check the oil and wash the windows. Pay phone booths using coins for making phone calls have almost all disappeared. Many types of businesses have come and gone because of new ways of doing things. Every town had a lumberyard, now houses are built with the walls already made and the local lumberyard does not get the business. Every town had a movie theater, then came TV, then stores renting movies on DVD's and now you can select directly from your TV or internet on the computer. The music industry has changed just as much. A lot of traveling was done by trains and buses, every town had  a train station and bus station, now most public long distant traveling is done by airplane.

Every town had a Dime Store but our town had two. A Dime Store sold many items children liked such a s bulk candy, comic books and small cheap toys. There were also a lot of things for adults. My Mother would often buy a small sack of her and my favorite chocolate candy for us children. One would ask for a dimes worth of candy which would be sold by weight and placed in a small paper sack. Most local shoe stores in every town had a type of x-ray machine to look at your feet. Everyone including all of us children would stand and stick our feet in, see how the shoes fit and see the bones in your feet. We children always wanted to look at the bones in your feet. Now we realize how dangerous this is. All stores were closed on Sunday except eating places. The only exception was a grocery store that was closed on Saturday instead of Sunday. We often stopped at this grocery store after church and my Mother would go in and buy a few items while we waited in the car. Our town had a stationary store to sell paper and ink, another store had a soda fountain, several clothing stores, hardware stores, several drug stores, two jewellery stores, a number of grocery stores plus other types of stores with all this often being replaced by one big store such as Walmart open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which you drive too in a larger nearby town. Additionally, our town had two movie theaters, a roller skating place, two pool halls, some bars, several implement dealers plus a number of car businesses, and eating places. Many of these businesses have consolidated into fewer larger businesses at a greater distance.

Banks are a lot different. Check blanks did not have a magnetic strip on the bottom. Many stores had generic blank checks for everyone to use. I and my sisters had savings banks in the shape of a book for us to put our pennies in. Every so often, these were taken to the bank and a special key would open the bank and they would put the money into our saving account. There was an account book that went along with the savings account for us to keep track of our money. One could not trust the bank to do an accurate job of keeping tract of the money in ones checking and savings accounts because everything was manual (no computer). The banks always were making errors so one had to monthly check the statement for errors. Over the years, I found many errors until the age of computers. Even the big banks in Omaha made errors. Banks always returned ones actual physical canceled checks until this century.

Once one Sunday after church, I was at home standing in an open outside doorway looking outside. Lighting stuck the sidewalk at my feet, formed a red fire ball about 18 inches in diameter and rolled down the sidewalk. It scared me to death. My Mother said I was white as a ghost the rest of the afternoon. I was only 10 to 12 years old at the time.

A life changing event occurred one day in June after I had helped a neighbors put up hay all day. That evening before it got dark, my Dad saw a storm coming up while milking the cows. He stopped and came to the house. We were standing in the dining room looking out. All at once the wind blew a big tree out of the ground, the tree hit the porch and took it off. Before my Dad could get the family together to go to the cellar the tornado was past. The tornado had destroyed some neighbors houses, destroyed the barn that I had help put up hay in, destroyed the barn that my Dad was milking cows in, took off the roof of another barn where we lived, and damage the house we lived in. It stormed all night, with a lot of rain, thunder and lighting. The thunder and lighting was so bad that I was afraid this was the end of the world. I ask my Mother if this was the end of the world, she was just as afraid as I was, could not answer and said she did not know. The land lord would not make adequate repairs so may parents decided to quit farming even though my Dad had just purchased a new John Deer tractor a short time before. I think another consideration was that my parents felt we children would receive a better education if we lived in town. I kind of remember my parents having a lot of long discussions about this time. We had to prepare for and have a big farm sale. Then from the money from the farm sale, my parents purchased a house in town.

My parents on the farm first heated the kitchen with the kitchen wood stove. That was about all the heat we had in the house. In the winter we would move to the bedroom on the first floor because I think it was warmer. In the summer we would all sleep upstairs because we could open the windows and it was cooler. Sometime my parents got a furnace that ran off of oil and placed it in the dining room. The kitchen wood stove had a water reservoir on the back that heated the water and ran to a faucet on the wall. The water reservoir could not be allowed to freeze at night so one had to add enough stove wood to keep the water in the stove from freezing until morning. My parents sold the kitchen wood stove to the family moving into the house when we moved off the farm. My parents warned the couple the need to keep the fire going to prevent the water from freezing. The couple did not listen and let the water freeze. The couple started the fire burning in the morning and the steam trapped by the frozen water caused the kitchen wood stove to explode leaving circles in the ceiling from the round steel circle disks of the kitchen wood stove.

Life After Moving to Town

We moved to town and I started school in the seventh grade Junior High. There were a lot of little grocery stores scattered around town. The store across the street from Junior High sold three used comic books for a dime. I forget how much they paid for a used comic book. I would also trade comic books with friends. Many streets in town were not paved and our was not. The city used cinders from burned coal by the railroad to gravel the streets. Cinders are sharp when you fall on them. A daily task was bicycling to the edge of town to obtain raw milk from a farm. I played in the High School Band and one day the band went down to the train station to play when President Eisenhower came to town on a whistle stop train tour campaigning for president. The train stopped at each town and the person campaigning for president stood at the end of the last train car and give a speech. This was how presidents campaigned for president before the age of TV. My wife Lila saw the same thing happen with President Truman at Broken Bow, Nebraska when as a little girl, there family went to the train depot, The train with President Truman stopped, President Truman stood on the end of the last train car with his daughter and gave a speech.

The greatest fear as a child was not the atomic bomb but polio. A lot of people caught polio and died. Expensive iron lung machines were used to help people with polio to breath. This is a thing of the past. Polio has been nearly eliminated and iron lungs have not been needed for 50 years. No one knew how polio was transmitted or what is the carrier. For me a big surprise in my lifetime is that no one still knows how polio was transmitted or what was the carrier. There was a belief that there is an association between polio, swimming and other public events. Still, no one knows. In the late 50's, a polio vaccine cure was developed to prevented polio. I do not remember if it was first a polio shot or we drank it. We all took it. Then in the early 60's a different type of polio vaccine was developed and then we all took that also. I wish they would totally eliminate this disease from the world but this has not yet been done. The first world wide flue epidemic that I remember was the Hong Kong flue while I was in college in the late 50's. Everyone was sick from this.

I saw my first TV at the Kansas State Fair in about 1948. The TV was black and white, small and close circuit. We purchased our first black and white TV when I was about a Junior in high school in about 1954. Initially about the only shows were local wrestling shows. Then came such TV shows as “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke”. Now the closest TV station (St Joe) with the change in TV signal to HD may not be available to anyone in my home town(even not available with an antenna) because of government changes. Initially, TV stations had little or no restrictions on what one can watch but now the US government has some rules which restrict what is available on cable or satellite. The TV station would broadcast every football game that our states university played (now only a select few are allowed). They did not have remote control for the TV so we always had to physically get up to turn the TV on, off or change channels. We watched the landing on the moon on a black and white TV at my sister Dorothy's home. First they landed, then we went to the park for my son David to play on the play ground equipment and tried to kill time, then we went back to my sisters and after a wait we watch man take the first footsteps on the moon. We purchased our first color TV I think in the early seventies.

There was a big flood on the Missouri River in 1952 and all boys were let out of school to fill sand bags to fight the flood. It was for a dike owned by the federal government so they would pay me if I had a social security number. I had to go to the post office to apply for my social security number. This was a time before ball point pens and they required that I fill the social security application out in ink. The only thing you could write with using ink was a straight pen or a fountain pen. Fountain pens would be refilled with ink when they went dry. The post office had only a straight pen and ink and that was what I used. My social security application is an ink blot mess but OK. You used an ink blotter when writing with ink so that it did not smear. A lot of ink blotters were given away free with advertisements on them at that time. I did some computer testing at the Social Security Administration in Washington DC in about 1963 for the company I worked for. At that time, I asked to see my original social security application and they were able to physically show it to me with all its ink blots.

Foods we eat have changed a lot in my lifetime. Our basic foods growing up was red meat, potatoes and vegetables. We had seasonal foods such as corn on the cob (summer) and fried chicken when the roasters got big enough to eat (late spring). Butchering cattle and hogs was done in the fall and winter. We ate a lot of vegetables in the spring, summer and fall from our garden. We ate fruit when ripe on the trees. Children had to help weed the garden and pick fruit. Now a grocery store has most of these foods available all times of the year. We did not eat a lot of bread or drink a lot of milk or pop. The only rice I ate was rice pudding. Italian food was not a food we were aware of as a child. I had not even heard of other foods until I was in college. I did not have access to much pop as a child and still do not drink or like much pop. Pop came only in glass bottles and many more pop flavors were available. I ate my first pizza in college. McDonald showed up just before I graduated from college and a McDonald hamburger cost 15 cents. I discovered Mexican food after my parents visited my sister in California in the 1960s. I then started eating Chinese, Greek, Italian and other ethnic foods. Food was cheap where I worked and I would eat at my company cafeteria for less than 50 cents per noon lunch. I can not believe this.

I graduated from high school in 1955. Most people my age, in my school and my grade did not realize or understand how people who where African American and American Indian were being discriminant against. The racial term “black” or "African American" did not exist then and if you had used it, no one would have known the meaning. The word gay had a different meaning.

Life Leaving Home, Starting My Working Life and Marriage to Dianne
Early Life After High School and with Dianne

All males had to join the military or get drafted. I joined the Naval Reserve in 1955 but lucked out without any active duty. Each town had a draft board and at the time I wondered how ethical, fair and honest the draft board was. A man who I know, was on the draft board and his son kept asking me when I was going to start my active duty. I did not trust him and wondered what business it was of his. Draft boards managing people are another example of government breaking down over time and becoming dishonest (look at the Vietnam War). The Naval Reserve paid me money for attending meetings all the while I was in college. This money helped me go through college. I made some trips to Chicago by train for the yearly two week Naval Reserve duty and once sailed the Great Lakes for two weeks.

I started college in 1955 and it cost less than $500 total for tuition, for board and room a semester. In Falls City, one summer I worked at the Hinky Dinky grocery store and another summer at a trailer factory. Two different summers while I was in college, I took a train to Idaho and worked on a survey crew in the Forest Service in Idaho. This was on the Lolo Trail that Lewis And Clark used to crossed the mountains. We stayed in old CCC Camps used during the 1930's. I made enough money in a summer in Idaho to go to college for most of the next year. My parents worked and additionally provided money to help me through college. They also helped my two sisters go through school. I graduated from college in 1960 and only looked for computer programing jobs. That occupation did not exist when I started college.

I started programming on the IBM 705 computer for an insurance company in 1960. The computer had 40,000 positions of memory, all tube, produced enough heat to heat five houses, I guess it was about 40 feet by 40 feet in size, data was stored on magnetic tape at about 120 characters per inch, it had no multiplication or division instruction so one had to add or subtract to accomplish the same thing, one used an assembler language to program, you had to place a number in a register to work on it, and no operating system so you had to do you own write to tape and tape error check. The company I worked for, had me do some cooperation with the post office researching how to develop zip codes into our company address field. I suggested a 5 digit zip code number equaling a 13 position city name and a two position state name because we had a total 20 position city and state field. I do not know if what I suggested had any effect but this is what the post office developed for zip codes. I wrote the first computer program to handle Medicare Claims in the world (It would audit the claim, calculate the payment and print the check). I understand that now a similar computer program is being written to handle a recently past national health care government system.

I started dating Dianne Schrader the spring of 1960 at college. Dianne for a summer job worked at a church camp just outside of New York City for children from the slums of New York City. Dianne started Immanuel School of Nursing in Omaha that fall and students would be kicked out of school if they got married before the last few months before graduation. So we waited and I married Dianne Schrader May 26, 1963. She graduated from Immanuel School of Nursing and then from the University of Omaha. As a nurse she wore a cap and a white dress. A nurse does not dress this way now or wear a nurse cap. Dianne worked as a nursing instructor at Children's Hospital in Omaha.

One time at work, someone told me that President Kennedy had been shoot and I thought it was just a sick joke. The phones were so busy that day that they would not work. Dianne and I lived in an apartment, she was finishing up on college and she had just got home from a college class when I was able to contact her. Everything closed down so we went to my wife Dianne's parents at Bloomfield, Nebraska. Nebraska was scheduled to play football that weekend, so they still played the football game and won which I was glad for. Then on Sunday, we went to church and arrived at her Grandmothers house for lunch. Her Grandmother was all shook up because she had just witnessed Oswald being shot live on TV before we arrived. President Kennedy being shoot was one of the major events in my life.

In 1964, we went by train from Omaha to the Worlds Fair in New York City. Then for about $300 each for a complete Europe Tour, which included flying from New York City to London and took a three week tour of Europe by bus. Dianne was expecting David during this trip and she had morning sickness when in Paris. People on the trip were afraid of catching what Dianne had. Everyone else on the trip was older than Dianne and I, so I would bet that I am now the only one living person who took this trip. I purchased about 40 acres of land near Blair, Nebraska to use to build a house on for about $250 an acre in 1965 (we made the decision to buy instantly as we talked to the real estate agent). When the real estate agent got home there was someone else waiting to buy it but we were first. My parents loaned the money to me to buy the 40 acres. I could not have done this without my parents help. I built a new house in 1966 for $17,500 which I borrowed from the US government at about 4% interest. I paid my parents back as soon as I could.

Dianne and I raised two sons David and Stephen. They did not sell disposable diapers so for David the first month we contacted with a diaper service. After that Dianne always washed the baby's diapers. Disposable diapers were available when Stephen was born but we only used disposable diapers when we visited Grandma and Grandpa. Dianne had to mix, stir and blend many food things by hand because she was limited to what only a hand held mixer would do. Most of the electric machines we now have for processing food did not exist. We moved with David in December 1966 into our new home on a 40 acre acreage at Blair, Nebraska and I drove back and forth to work in Omaha. Dianne planted the first pine trees by hand in a corn field with David crawling along behind her because my back had gone out. David could not yet walk outside. Stephen was born in January 1970. This is the home our boys grew up in. We had woods and fields where they could run and play. Dianne planted large gardens. Life was good. The boys would ride the school bus to school and attend the Blair school system.

My first car was a used brown Rambler with tail fins I purchased in 1960 for about $800. It was about two to four years old. It was stick shift and had front seats that would lay down. It did not have seat belts, air bags or air conditioning. Children of any age could sit any place in the car without child car seats. Most cars were stick shift and I do not remember when turning signals came in. The high and low beam headlight control was on the floor to be pressed by ones foot. Gas first cost 23 cents a gallon but by the mid 1970s it rose to about 33 cents a gallon. By the late 1970s the price of gas went to over a dollar a gallon. We did not purchase a car with seat belts until about the early 1980s. We did not have remote controls in cars to open and close the garage door. We did not have remote controls to lock or unlock the car. We did not have buzzers in the car to warn about a light or something left on when you open the car door. David built such a buzzer for his car in 1987 because they did not sell such a thing for a car at that time. I purchased a brand new car in about 1968 for about $1,800. I slid on ice, wrecked the car, broke my hip and cut the ligament that controlled my left eye about 10 months before Stephen was born.

The phones in the 1960s were black and we paid extra to have a color phone. The phones had a circular dial and were not push button. We had to call long distance to call Omaha. So, I never phoned Dianne from work. If I did call, I would have to use a pay phone which I never did. As I remember, 800 phone numbers became available in the 1970s. The 911 emergency number started to be used in about the mid 1980s. Cordless phone on a land line became available in the 1980s. We purchased a cordless phone on a land line for the parsonage in 1994. Internet use became available while Dianne was a pastor. Common cell phone usage was just coming in about the time Dianne died. The last year that Dianne was alive in 2001, the church did provide Dianne with a very large, bulky cell phone with only 15 minutes on it for emergency use in case she had car trouble. I did not have a cell phone until after Dianne died and that was on Davids phone contract. Phones with unlimited nation wide dialing did not became available until this century. The first cell phones did not have cameras, play games, be an ebook, be a computer, or have the internet available.

A lot of inflation has occurred in my life time. As and example, my parents purchased a $1000 life insurance policy on me in 1939. That $1,000 was a lot of money in 1939 and they had to skimp and save for the premium over the next 20 years. I still have that life insurance policy worth about 3 or 4 thousand now, but not near the value it was in 1939 and think of the effort it took for my parents to pay the premium.

I can not believe that I did this. About 1972, I and another individual purchased a 160 acre farm for $100,000. At this time, there was a rapid rise in farm product prices such as corn produced on the farm. We both knew that with this rise in farm product prices that we could pay for it. We did not feel it was a gamble. An insurance company loaned us $80,000; the farmer selling the ground loaned us $10,000 and I with the other individual had to come up with $5,000 each. Then two years later we sold the farm for $160,000 with each of us making $30,000 each. The increase in corn prices caused the value of land to go up. Inflation did this. I have only done this once and still can not believe it. Another thing to consider is that same farm today would be worth a million dollars but I had the use of this money all that time. Anything you buy today, I would guess costs 5 to 10 times as much as it did in 1972.

Our nation experienced a fuel shortage during the late 1970s, so Congress did such things as restricted the use of air conditioning in businesses (result was I experienced 85 degrees days at my desk where I worked), the national speed limit was lowered to 55 miles an hour, gas prices went over a dollar and my salary was frozen. Congress decided at that time that our nation should be energy independent. I am still waiting. My son David says the speed limit was still set at 55 miles an hour when he started college in 1983.

Life Starting in the 1980's

I purchased my first personal computer in 1980 (It was a Radio Schack Color Computer). I think it had only 4K of memory and I upgraded it to 16K. A TV set was used as the monitor. It had no hard disk drive. A cassette player was used as source of input and disk storage. The printer was not initially available and then did not have lower case. We did have a form of the Pack-man game for this computer. Initially we had very little software and no report writer. My two sons David and Stephen took to this computer like fish to water. One of the boys wanted to know why he always got a better grade on his home work if printed on the computer compared to a messy paper requiring more time written by hand. An IBM style personal computer was not available until about 1983. I would estimate that I have owned at least 10 different personal computers over time including two that I built (I sometimes wonder how much money I have spent on new computers). All my computers except for the first one has been an IBM style personal computer . Each computer is more powerful and has more bells and whistles. In 1983, David started college with a Radio Schack Color Computer, his printer did not have upper or lower case and he had only a very limited word processors system. Spreadsheet software were a great invention that occurred at this time. In 1990, only a some what limited word processors system was available when Dianne started seminary. A good word processors system finally existed when Dianne graduated from seminary in 1994 but it kept changing.

I have seen the internet come into being and grow. The internet was just becoming available in a limited fashion when Dianne graduated from seminary in 1994. The computer operating system continued to be limited until the late 1990's. We have gone through a number of operating system upgrades since then. As old computers went out of date or bad, switching operating systems and word processors was difficult for Dianne because she would say why do I need to learn a new system if I am dying and only need to know it for a short period of time. Now cell phones with computers and the internet are replacing land line phones. Now smart cell phones are replacing computers.

I have had three back surgery’s for a slipped disk. The first disk surgery about 1960 and the last in the early 1970's. I think the hospital room bill was about $20 a day in 1960. My first heart attack was in 1983. David was a senior in high school at the time. Then I had heart balloon surgery on my heart (angioplasty) in 1983. I now have had 7 heart attacks, 11 angioplasties, a triple heart bypass in 1990, seven cardiologists retire on me and I am still kicking. In 1987, I was mowing weeds along the road with my Ford farm tractor and rolled the tractor. The back wheel landed on the middle of my chest and the tractor kept on rolling off me. I was able to crawl to the road and wait for help. A helicopter landed in the middle of the road and took me to the hospital. I had two collapsed lungs, ribs broken in 15 places and a ruptured spleen. They stabbed me under each arm to inflate my lungs at the hospital. I had surgery to remove my spleen. I was in the hospital three days, went home and recovered on a rented hospital bed. My son Stephen was the one who took care of me as I recovered. I am blessed to be alive.

My wife Dianne decided to become a Lutheran pastor and started Seminary. My triple heart bypass surgery was the same time as Dianne found she had breast cancer. Just as the Doctor came and dismissed me from the hospital, Dianne was seeing a doctor telling her she had cancer. I was all excited about going home as she returned crying about having cancer. She had a breast removed and we were both home recovering and not allowed to drive. The cancer surgery delayed her Seminary start by a month in 1990. The end of 1991 I quit my job and I started being with her while she attended seminary. In 1992, I went along with her as she did her one year of internship on the Texas Mexican border. We had a good experience in Texas. One January interim, Dianne and I went to Jamaica and she attended a few weeks at the Seminary which is part of the University of the West Indies. Dianne graduated from Wartburg Seminary June 1994.

On July 3, 1994 Stephen and Kelly were married at the First Presbyterian Church, La Granage, Illinois. In November 1994, Dianne was ordained and I went with her as she serve a congregation in rural Scribner and Uehling, Nebraska. Her breast cancer returned in 1997. I then slid on the ice, wrecked the car, Stephen and his wife Kelly were thrown from the car and Dianne was pinned in the car. This was the “Worst Experience of My Life” because I looked out and saw Stephen and Kelly laying in the middle of the highway not moving. Stephen had a concussion, Kelly a torn liver and Dianne all bruised up.

This cancer had returned to Dianne's bones and on the outside of her lungs. The initial round of chemo caused her hair to fall out, killed the cancer on the outside of her lungs but did not stop the cancer in her bones. From 1998 to the middle of 2002 she took chemo weekly at a hospital in Omaha. We weekly made the drive from the parsonage in rural Scribner to Omaha and back. On July 27, 2001 our first Grandson Zachary Picton was born. On April 14, 2002 Dianne baptized her Grandson Zachary Picton at First Presbyterian Church, La Granage, Illinois.

On September 11, 2001 we had stayed the night before at our house on the acreage in Blair. As we left for chemo in Omaha, we noticed two big passenger planes flying very low and wondered why. On the way in, we stopped at a store to do a little shopping, saw everyone staring at the TV and watching 911 unfold. I did not know what was happening but saw the World Trade Center collapsing and the fire at the Pentagon so asked the question “If anything else bad was happening?”

The first of July, 2002 Dianne took a leave of absents as pastor of her congregations because of cancer as she was having difficulty standing up and walking. In September the Doctor said there was nothing else he could do. Dianne with great sadness had to write a letter to each of her congregations giving her resignation as pastor. David and Cindy were married November 23, 2002 at Dianne's church in rural Scribner. Dianne died of breast cancer November 30, 2002.

I have taken a lot of vacations. Dianne and I have taken many trips to different places in the United States over the years including a couple of trips that included Canada. We took the whole family to Cancun, Mexico in 1976 before there was an airport at Cancun. The airfare from Omaha was $100 round trip each for myself and Dianne and $50 round trip each for David and Stephen. Cancun had only 3 hotels at the resort. Cancun was a village of about 5,000 with hogs heads hanging in an open butcher market. We spent three weeks driving around the Mayan Empire. We saw cockroaches covered with sparkles tied to a pin on a wooden block for sale for women to pin to a dress and wear. One had to take care when driving Maya Mexico because of all the large numbers of slow moving turkey vultures who could fly up from the middle of the road and strike the wind shield. These turkey vultures have disappeared. They were still using donkeys to pull rail cars hauling material that they made sisal twine from. No community had a water system. Dianne and I went to Hawaii in 1977. I have taken a lot of vacations to Mexico since. My son David and I in about 1992 drove from Blair, Nebraska, to Cancun and met Dianne who flew in for a week. After she left, we went to Belize plus Guatemala and stayed on an island off the coast of Belize and then drove back to Blair. Dianne and I took a Wartburg Semminary trip to Egypt (saw the pyramids) and Israel in 1994. Dianne and I have gone to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands each place several times. One time Dianne and I went to the Virgin Islands to help rebuild homes damaged in a bad hurricane. During the week around Labor Day 1997 myself, David, my sister Mary and her husband Dud took sailing lessens in the ocean off the coast of California. We lived on a sailboat for a week taking lessens. David and I took a mission trip to Tanzania in 2001. Dianne and I came back from a weeks vacation at Cancun just a week before 911 occurred. I told Dianne on the way home from Cancun, that I felt the feeling in the world was such that something bad was going to happen but I never expected it to happen within the United States.

After Dianne died over the next two years, I went to Argentina on a Mission trip, visited Slovakia on a church trip including a short visit to Poland, visited Budapest, and visited Vienna.  I spent a month on the Texas border, spent a month in Mexico, spent two months in Costa Rica, spent over a month in Wales and England including a week in London with David and Cindy.

Life with Lila

I married Lila Taylor Slater in 2004. She was a United Methodist pastor at Mullen, Nebraska and I moved to Mullen. She retired in 2007 and we purchased a home at Ashland, Nebraska. I was in a short movie "Vipers in the Grass" in about 2009 or 2010. In June 2010, Lila had a partial knee replacement, lower lobe of her lung removed, lung cancer cured and she took a part time call at the United Methodist Churches at Amelia and Chambers, Nebraska. In July 2011, Lila found that she had a small cancerous condition contained within a duct in her breast. Lila had a partial mastectomy and went through 33 sessions of radiation treatments. Lila quit her position as pastor at Amelia and Chambers churches after a water line bust and flooded the parsonage while she was taking radiation treatments. Then we had to go through moving everything in the parsonage back to our house.

Lila and I have visited the Cancun area of Mexico along with Belize, Ireland and Wales, spent over almost two months in Hawaii, a trip to the Texas border, a trip to South Carolina and Florida, a trip to the Black Hills and trips to Colorado. The most recent vacation was a month long trip to Costa Rica after Lila quit her position as pastor.

The last part of 2012, I was having problems with pain in my back and legs. It was so bad, I could not walk across the room. I went to several doctors who were sure I needed back surgery. They did an MRI and saw how bad my back was. No one could see any evidence of my back surgery 50 years ago except the scars on my back. They said the bone had healed. I then went to a back surgeon who felt that I first should try this pill which reduces nerve inflammation. I started taking this pill and this worked. I think that I must have had something like the shingles causing this. This was before Lila had her problems. By the end of the year my pain was almost gone. Now I am pain free, I feel great and am able to walk without a problem. My goal continues to be to walk 2 miles every day.

Lila on the afternoon of December 7, 2012 stood up and almost past out, she felt sick, she was sweaty, her pulse was skipping beats, and she could not walk. I rushed her to the hospital, where her blood pressure went over 180. After many tests and an MRI, they found a mass deep in her brain about the size of a golf ball. The mass was too deep to removed by surgery and was a fast growing cancer tumor.

Lila started radiation and chemo treatments the first few days of January 2013 and continued 5 days a week until February 13, 2013. She was still able to walk to the car. She kept getting weaker, was not able to stand on her own or walk without a walker, was sick to her stomach and I took her to the hospital emergency room on Feb 23. By March 1, 2013 she was bed ridden and I took her to the hospital emergency room again. They said she had pneumonia in both lungs, a blood clod on her right lung and her oxygen level was only about 85%. She had a short stay at the Ashland Care Center and returned to the hospital because Lila had internal bleeding in the lower part of her back near her kidney. It caused a glob of blood about the size of ones fist near her kidney. They put a filter into Lila near the middle of her body to catch the large blood clots but not the small ones. This can remain there for ever. She then returned to the Ashland Care Center until the middle of April and returned home. Lila had a bad fall with stroke like conditions about the middle of July and had to return to the Ashland Care Center.

Lila was at the Ashland Care Center, Ashland, NE for 7 weeks. Then for her daughter Suzanne's birthday, we took Lila, Suzanne, myself and her Granddaughter Kirsten to visit the Lincoln Zoo. We had a nice visit at Zoo and then went to the car. We had her seated in the car when we realized that she was not conscious. The rescue squad could not revive her.

Lila Ann Picton died on Friday, August 9, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. We were blessed that Lila was able to carry on a good conversation with humor until the end. I am blessed having her as my wife for the short time we were married.

Myself, my son David and my Granddaughters Martha and Kathryn Picton attended a Picton Reunion in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 2015.  The Picton Reunion was for various Picton branches  who originated from Pembrokeshire, Wales and had there YDNA match. We took a plane to Dublin, Ireland, toured Dublin, took a bus to Rosslare, Ireland, took a Ferry Boat across the Irish Sea to Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales and joined other Picton branches for the Picton Reunion which lasted a week. After the Picton Reunion, we toured Pembrokeshire, Wales, visited a nearby 3,000 year old Welsh Gold Mine, visited a 2,500 year old Iron Age Fort, visited farms and churches connected to my Picton ancestors and finally took a boat ride around a island off the West Coast of Wales.

Whats Next?

Reflecting back on life, I wonder how I survived all that I have experienced in life. I blame environmental causes for both the death of Dianne and Lila. Consider the lack of safety equipment growing up and during much of my lifetime. A lot of safety changes have been made to our cars, airplane travel and things around the house. One wonders how we all survived. The summers were hot and humid. Everyone my age grew up without air conditioning as a child and young adult except for movie theaters.

I have a concern for the future of this nation because I have experienced the following in our current medical health care system with Lila's illness. Many doctors will not admit to anything wrong because they are afraid that it will indicate they were possibly incorrect and be sued. They will lie to you before saying anything different. They will not admit what another doctor says may not be correct. Most will always agree on a second opinion with the first doctor (a doctor told me they must do this to protect themselves in the future by what the other doctor may testify too in a court of law). I found that if someone makes a miss diagnosis (maybe only a clerk), the doctors keep repeating it because under the new Obama health care bill there is only one record on a person used by all doctors. So everyone sees the same health record and even if someone points out that the diagnosis is not possible, no one will read the vast amount of records on Lila to obtain this correction. I had a very difficult time correcting her health record. The worst time was when Lila was in the hospital. A doctor and four of the medical staff argued with Lila and me until we gave in to what they wanted. The hospital did not allow one to choose, only to accept their plan to get us out of the hospital. It was not a good experience.

Still, I say life has been good but there has been a loss of freedom. Things that one could do legally when I was young are now against the law or limited by the law. The government has become more restrictive, more control, and less dependable. One could fly and travel anywhere in the United States without an ID. Most men would carry a pocket knife everyplace they went. Office buildings did not have guards or did not limit access to the building to just one or two entrances. One could carry a gun into an office building without anyone questioning you. One did not lock your house. You could leave your key in your car. One did not need a fire permit to burn something on a farm. One could buy apple cider which was not pasteurized. I think that pasteurized apple cider does not taste as good. I have to be more careful what I say because words now have a different meaning and might be considered hate speech. I could make this government control list a lot larger. I do not think they should have as many controls on what foods I eat or controls on a lot of other things with controls. Every government control I know of over time seems to break down and becomes bad. I can not buy the large size firecrackers that I purchased as a child. I would now be arrested for building a bomb if I built what I build as a boy. I can not say some of this loss of freedom is bad. I think some of it is needed in this age for our own safety. Still it was good to be more free. I see all the scientific discoveries and medical advances that have been made in my life time. The speed of scientific discoveries and medical advances will most likely increase as time goes by. Great change has occurred yet it is surprising how things still remain the same. As I get older, I have concern about government control of health care and treatment of older people. I am concerned of possible drone planes spying on me and cameras in public places monitoring me. Man landed on the Moon in 1969 and space exploration has almost stopped. I am surprised that computers are not driving our cars and that I must still manually drive mine. I have great hope and trust for the future.

The world has changed a lot since even the start of the year 2000 both in technology and in governmental well being. It seems more people are living longer and better off each year. I am at the point with Lila's death, that I must redefine what I want to do for the rest of my life. I am too old to work at a regular job but I must reevaluate my purpose in life. I am spending parts of January and February each year at South Padre Island, Texas and where I am attending church at Dianne's first congregation at what is now Love of Christ Lutheran Church, Weslaco, Texas where Dianne serve her year of internship. I want to do more traveling and leave the world a better place.

I have two sons and five Grandchildren. My son David has three children: Martha, Kathryn and Paul. My son Stephen has two children: Zachary and Anna. I am blessed with two wonderful Daughters-In-Laws. They are all my future. They are the most joyful and the important thing in my life. My greatest desire for my family is for them all to live a happy free Godly life. Life is Good.


If you like this autobiography, would you consider making a donation to Space Exploration through a Foundation or other non profit institution (initially for Moon Exploration) in the memory of my wife Dianne Picton.

Owen Picton
2121 Clay St.
Ashland, Nebraska 68003
USA
ospicton@yahoo.com
(402) 944-2456 / Cell: (402) 658-7808 / (402) 426-5876>

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