(Part 6 is here.)
Early in the summer of 1940, I was offered the job of operating the power plant for the town of Lodge Grass. It was one of the highest paid jobs in the area, $142.50 per month. It was a 12 hour, seven day week job. I was responsible for operating the generating plant and maintaining the distribution system, reading meters, billing customers, as well as purchasing needed supplies and fuel for the engines. After a few months I had saved enough money to buy a used 1938 Chevrolet coupe, so I gave my 1929 Ford roadster to my brother.
During the summer of 1938, I had worked on a wheat farm a few miles southwest of Lodge Grass, operated by Bill Formanack of Miles City. His son Bob was working there while his dad ran a tire shop in Miles City. Bob played the piano and we organized a band, playing for local dances. A couple of years after that Bob married Ileta Stovall.
After acquiring my "new" car, I decided to drive up to Formanacks' farm to show Bob my car. There were a mother and daughter visiting there that afternoon from Sheridan, Wyoming, the daughter having gone to school in Sheridan with Ileta earlier. This daughter later became the love of my life and the mother of our two boys.
A few months later she accepted my gift of an engagement ring. Then on the seventh of December 1941, war was declared against Japan. It was quite apparent that I would soon be involved, being physically fit and 23 years old. We agonized over whether or not we should marry, her father thought not but let us make our own minds up. Meanwhile I went to Los Angeles to complete schooling that I had previously started. Upon my return, we set the date of 14 April 1942 and were married.