Tag Archives: 1944

Betty Receives Jesus

Aldan Union Church, courtesy of Colin DuncanIt was January 1, 1944. We were invited by friends of Grandma and Grandpa, the Caleys—they’d known each other before the war—to a youth rally, for a day, with her children. I was twelve.

There was a very dynamic speaker. I don’t remember what he said, but I knew the Lord was speaking to me.

Mrs. Caley saw that I was beginning to cry. She leaned over and said, “Would you like me to go with you up front?” We went together.

She led in prayer, “Lord, I’m sorry. . . . Child of yours. . . . Forgive my sins. Lord, take my life. I will give it to you.”

I know it was evening when Wally went forward. I wasn’t there when Lee accepted the Lord. It was Lee, Wally, right down in age, but all in different places. Bob accepted the Lord just about the same time as I did. He and Wally were close. They always had fun together.

story as recalled by Betty in a conversation with Dawn Harrell (Steve’s daughter), November 13, 2013

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Do you remember Aunt Betty telling other aspects of her conversion? Please share the details you remember.
  • Do you remember anything else about this speaker? His name, for example, or his topic?
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Tad’s Rubber, Steve’s Glue

He [Tad] was very ingenious and as we have heard, his ingenuity has come to bear and often he has used it to glorify God: with the truck, with relations with some of you and with other people, a helpful hand, but an ingenious hand also.

Two other little stories.

1944 Roosevelt Campaign PinSome of you will remember. There’s some of you have white hair or a skin-colored head as my age tells itself. During the Second World War, there was a vote for a new president. Actually, [Franklin D.] Roosevelt was running for the fourth time [1944]. Does that ring a bell with some of you? There was a man who was running against him. Does anybody remember, do you remember who was running against him?

[Someone in Crowd]: Dewey?

1944 Dewey Campaign PinDewey! Tad mentioned that he was for Roosevelt and I was for ooey-gooey Dewey [Thomas E., Republican]. That was stuck on me and so I was the underdog for this whole thing. Of course when Roosevelt again won, I was the loser. I was the young one.

A story that we have often recounted is that Tad, I don’t know where he got this saying, but it was a way of putting me in my lower echelon place. That was: “I’m rubber and you’re glue and glue doesn’t bounce.” Well, I don’t know where that came from but it was an insult to me the whole way.

Let me just tell you that, you know, it was Tad who taught me how to use the buzz saw. Of course, I cut the wire, but I learned how to use the buzz saw because of his teaching me with his buzz saw.

He also helped me get one of my first jobs as a landscaping assistant or a helper in doing landscaping and working for an immigrant who was working in the area. I learned how to do landscaping because he taught me.

Through the years there were a lot of things that you just pick up, but it’s that spirit that’s down below that says, you know, I’m here. I’m to help. I’m your big brother. I know I hassle you once in a while, but I’m your big brother. And I learned a lot from him.

Tad has used that expertise, that ingenuity, that willingness to serve, that willingness to help throughout his life. If one were to say anything about Tad, he was there when it was necessary. He was there to make the sacrifice, to do the work when it was called upon to be done.

Again, yes, we don’t know that he ever gave any sermons. In fact I was told, he was asked to be choir director here one time. He told me about it. I said, “You?! Have been asked to be choir director?” Anyway, he was. I don’t know how long he lasted, perhaps one week, but he stepped in where it was needed.

transcription of Steve Duncan, speaking at Tad’s memorial service, Wildwood Baptist Church (950 County Line Church Road, Griffin, GA 30223), June 22, 2012, audio provided by Gloria Boyer (Tad’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Can you tell other stories about Tad and singing or choir?
  • What years would you guess these stories took place? Dad, how old were you when you learned to use a buzz saw? Got your first job?
  • Is “ooey-gooey Dewey” a chant, button, something else from the campaign? I see references to “ooey-gooey Dewey Decimal System” and “ooey-gooey-dewey dope,” with regard to methadone, and the ooey-gooey worm poem on the same page of a 1944 newspaper as local Republican meeting which referenced Dewey, but not to the two together during the 1944 campaign.
  • Tad seems to have mangled the actual saying, which is, “I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” Did he have a habit of misquoting or was this just the way a seven-year-old boy hurls half-remembered insults?

Wally Gets His ’28 Ford Running and Gets Arrested

My [Wendell Caley’s] father was driving a 1936 Packard eight-passenger with fold-down seats behind the front seat. We had five kids so we needed a big car.

When I was 16, I started driving and I was driving a 1933 Chevy for not much money. He gave it to my brother Paul and me when we were just 12 and 13 years old. We took the car apart and then rebuilt the engine. We were living at 100 Fairview, Yeadon, Pennsylvania (19050) and we had a big yard, so we’d drive the car around it. I eventually registered the car.

Camp Sankanac ca. 2012Our family had been sent to Camp Sankanac [68 Bertolet School Road, Spring City, PA 19475], near Pughtown, Pennsylvania. One of the men, Vaughn Smith, at Aldan Union Church was director of the boys’ camp. I think I was 16 when Wally and I were both counselors there.

1928 Ford Closed-Cab They had an old, maybe 1928 or 1930, Ford truck that had been sitting there for years. It had no registration on it. Wally saw this old Ford truck and wanted it. And I don’t remember whether he paid for it or just took it.

I towed that car from Sankanac to the Duncans’ home with my ‘33 Chevy. I can remember driving along those narrow Pennsylvania roads, with a creek on the left side and a gully on the right, and looking in the rearview mirror to see Wally’s terrified face. I was going too fast. Thankfully, there was no mishap.

1930 Ford RoadsterWally got the car home to Riverview [325 Riverview Cove, Drexel Hill, PA 19026] and he drove it around Drexel Hill with no registration. He had to get it running first. After he got it running, he was arrested by the police. As I recall, he was not yet 16.* The truck was brought back to the Duncan home and he was reprimanded severely by the police and by his father.

I did help him work on it, but I don’t think he repainted it. Painting in those days was very tedious: paint brush and paint can.

Wally came over to my house in Yeadon and he was helping me work on the ’33 Chevy. He was using an old-fashioned pump. He was pumping the tire up on my car or my bicycle. His hand came down quickly and the tube cut his hand. It was a pretty bad cut, but I don’t remember if we took him to the local hospital, which was Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, near where I lived.

He could bike over to our house. And I would bike to his house, too. It was quite a trip. We lived 6, 7, 8 miles apart. We took busses also. 

*NB: Wendell Caley was born in January of 1928. If he was 16 in this story, then it was 1944. Wally was born in May of 1929, so he would have been 15.

excerpt from a Skype conversation between Wendell Caley (longtime friend of the Duncan family) and Dawn Harrell (Steve’s daughter), January 29, 2013

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Do you remember this story? What other details can you add?
  • Does anyone have a photo of the actual car?
  • Is there a photo of Wally around 1944 that we could use?
  • Do you have stories about your own or your parent’s time at Camp Sankanac as a camper or counselor?
  • Can you contribute any pictures of Sankanac that are period of close to it?
  • Dad, can you tell the story of Wally spray-painting the car by attaching the vacuum hose to the opposite end of the vacuum?