I’m gonna give it a try

And this is what Dad said.  Dad was 17 or 18 years old.  I think he had ideas of wanting to go places and do things. He told his Dad one day “Pop, I’m not going to stay on the farm.”  

[His pop] said, “Tom, you might as well stay on the farm.  You’re gonna leave the farm and … you’re going to become hungry.” 

He said, “I might, but I’m gonna give it a try.”

Tom Miles in a Model T Ford, circa 1918  courtesy of the Miles family

Tom Miles in a Model T Ford, circa 1918 (courtesy of the Miles family)

He started working for A.W. Short & Supply Co. – by the highway … nearby the railroad.  He went to work for them.  And he was 17, and that man Messick had a daughter … well, they saw the beauty in each other, and they were married.  

Dad had some good things that happened and some not-so-good things that happened to him financially.  … The depression.  The depression hit.  They had built a store by that time and done well with it and made good money. He and Hank Lewis.

… this is the important thing.  My father didn’t go into bankruptcy but Hank Lewis didn’t either, but he paid his off in cash, what he owed, and Dad couldn’t, so he borrowed money from Mae Mason, it was.  And he worked that out $5, $15 at a time until it was paid off by working in Washington, D.C., at Hecht & Company.

He knew the old man – Hecht of Hecht & Company – big man, you know? …

… we had a rough time of it … Twenty dollars a week he made up there.  He tried to see to the three of us – my mother, my sister, and me – all of it practically … That was during the depression … yeah, it was a bad time, a bad time.

from an interview with Bill Miles, winter/spring 2009


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