Willard

THE REASON WE CALL OUR NEWSLETTER “WILLARD”

I would like you to meet my grandfather, Willard Smith. When I was around eleven, and in full letter-writing mode, I sent a letter to his house in Sioux City, Iowa. I had fallen in love with “the olden days” and so I wrote to ask him for pictures of when he was young. He sent me lots of photos including this one of him in his pilot goggles.

As far back as I can remember, my grandfather wrote long newsy letters at Christmas and sent them to everyone he knew; a year in his life more or less. My mom would bring the letter to the dinner table and read it to all of us. He was the first person our family ever saw do this. We thought he invented it.

One day, someone else sent us this same kind of letter, my mom brought it to the table to read; my brother Stephen, who was then about twelve, put two and two together, piped up and said, “Oh! It’s a Willard!” Of course this sent all of us into hysteria, we thought he was so brilliant and brave. Brave because we didn’t usually call Grandpa by his first name for one thing, it was normally frowned on. But my parents were laughing too, this was a good one. So when it was time to give my newsletter a name, my choice was obvious. “It’s a Willard!” I thought you’d like to see a picture of “Our Founder.” He also sent me this photo of his smoking dog Jack. (Don’t think for a moment I agree with this, I cringe a little when I see it now, but it was of its time.) Of course we kids loved it. Willard was our hero, he was the bee’s knees. Liked pork chop gravy on his chocolate cake. A legend in his own time.

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