My brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg has been my brother-in-law for so long that he is really more my brother that brother-in-law. Ron was just 6 years old when Bob and I started dating. We used to take him places with us when most people he knew made him feel like he was in the way. He was too little to do much in the way of chores, and he couldn’t really help his dad work on a car. Everybody just kept telling him to, “Go play.” That is a big bummer for a little guy who just wants to be a part of what he sees as “the fun.”
While Ron gets to “play” with the big kids these days, his idea of “fun” hasn’t changed one bit. He still wants to play with the big toys. These days, as a mechanic, Ron can work on anything from a car to heavy equipment. He probably knows more about the equipment he works on that his dad ever did. His dad was an excellent mechanic too, but so much has changed over the years, and mechanics is no different. Computers have changed everything about how we work on things, In fact, some things won’t even tell us what is wrong without a computer. As these technological changes come into play, mechanics have to change with them. The problem for the older mechanics is that they are used to the old ways, or they have retired, and don’t have access to new technology. Then their own car needs work, and the don’t have the technology. Enter the younger guys.
Suddenly, it’s Ron who knows how to work on the new stuff. I suppose he could have told his dad and big brother to “go play,” but that wouldn’t be his style. Maybe because he knew how it felt, or more likely because he understands that there is a time to play with the big boys, and a time to wait your turn. For Ron I’m sure he knew that the time would come when he would be the one with the much needed knowledge. The other men would need to come to him for help. Yes, he could rub it in, but he didn’t. He is the go-to guy, and he is ready to help when he is asked. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Not all of us can say that we knew a US President, before or during their presidency, but my uncle, Jim Wolfe could say that. Uncle Jim was in the army during World War II, and was on his way to England on a ship. Being the kind of guy who liked to see how things worked, Uncle Jim was laying on the back end of the ship watching the propeller go in and out of the water. Ike came up behind him and asked him if he was sick. Uncle Jim said, “No, I was just watching the prop.” Ike said, “Lord, man I would be so sick it would kill me and I’m on ships all the time.” He told Uncle Jim to come with him and they were going to go to Officers Mess and have coffee. Dad said “I can’t go there I will get in trouble.” Ike informed Uncle Jim that as long as he was with him, they wouldn’t say anything to him.
In the Officers Mess, Uncle Jim and Ike talked for a long time and then went their separate ways on the ship. When they got to England, Uncle Jim saw him a few times and then on D-Day, they found themselves on the same ship again. When they disembarked, they were under heavy fire, and my cousin Shirley Cameron tells me that Ike got a hold of her dad, my Uncle Jim and asked him how his shooting was. Uncle Jim said that it was good. Ike said, “See that guy in that tree way up there.” Uncle Jim said that he did, and Ike asked if he could hit him. Uncle Jim shot, hit, and killed the man. Ike said for Uncle Jim to stay with him. They were together for quite a while before they got separated. At that point, Uncle Jim was sent to another area.
Uncle Jim ended up opening up some of the concentration camps. That was probably the worst part of his service. He said the men were like the walking dead. They were sick, weak, and skinny. All they could do was grab hold of him and thank him over and over for getting them out of that horrible place. Shirley tells me that he saw little wooden sheds that had bodies stacked from bottom to top, There were also pits that had bodies stacked in them ready for the heavy equipment to push the dirt over the top. She told me that experience gave him nightmares for years. He used to have pictures of all of that and the people that they helped out of the camps, but unfortunately they were lost in the fire that destroyed his home a number of years ago. After his time there, Uncle Jim was sent to France to help with the Liberation there. I’m sure he came home with many stories of the war, but as far as I know, that was the last time he ever saw the man who would later become our 34th US President, Dwight D Eisenhower…aka Ike.