FC: Our Dad at 90
1: This memory book is created for our dad, Charles Thompson in celebration of his 90th birthday, March 10, 2013. Cindy Kelsey & Larry Thompson
2: Charles Cornelius Thompson Born: March 10, 1923 at home Dallas County, Texas to Clelia May and Charlie Lilburn Thompson
3: CHARLES (5), JOHNNY (2), MARY (4) | The Early Years
4: CLELIA & CHARLIE THOMPSON 1922 just before their first child, Charles, was born
5: If Charles had any trouble with his mom growing up, it was in this area: "I was rebellious of going to school because I wanted to stay home and play. Half way walkin' to school, I'd turn around and go home. Mother would put me in the car and I would fight and kick. She was several months pregnant. Finally, she took me into the house where I was put in bed and had to stay. My mom contracted pneumonia while she was carrying a 5th child. Both my mom and the baby died." | Charles admired this about his mother: "My thoughts and memories vary. I was a pretty spoiled kid. But I really did love my mother. My Dad worked nights after I was about 5 or 6 years old. My mother hung to her parents very closely. Due to this fact, it created come conflict with mother and dad at times. Grandparents loved to dance, and mother would go to the dance and take us kids. I admired her because she always took care of us."
6: Charles' Paternal Great-Grandmother Studor: "Her family was from Bern, Switzerland. She was religious and would read religious books to all us kids. She was a good cook. She lived with us for about 2 years after mother died. She had a big long chest that they brought their belongings in. Her father had a flour mill, and during the war, I know that I drove right by the mill." | Charles' Paternal Great-Grandfather Studor: "His family was from Ireland. He was tall, big man and a hard worker. He never talked very much. They had not acquired much wealth. He probably farmed some and they had several children. He loved to have us kids sit on his lap."
7: Charles' Maternal Great-Grand Grandmother Castevens: "She expected Daddy to help support them--at least contribute somewhat. She was half Indian. She adored all of us kids. She thought Daddy spoiled me. " | Charles' Maternal Great-Grandfather Castevens: "His family came from England and had been in America for some time. He was a disciplinarian. He always cut my hair- it took 2 hours to cut my hair while I was sitting on a box and he cut with clippers. He got religion and wanted to preach all the time. This often made it hard to be around him. He was college educated. His father splurged on cotton gins and he tried to help move this business forward. They lost it in the depression."
8: This person in Charles' family was funnier than the rest: "My dad was the funniest when we were young. Johnny too. We didn't have much money. They bought Johnny a pair of pants. He wanted blue surge pants (nice weave), but they bought him blue jeans. One day he came into the room with his jeans cut all to pieces. He claimed that he'd thrown a tin can up in the air and it came down on his legs and cut his pants. They sewed up the pants and made him wear them."
9: Charles remembers this about his family's first radios: "We had a radio, Quartz crystal (not electric) with a speaker. It was a homemade thing (circa 1930 ). Daddy let a guy bring a big radio into the house for us to try it out for a month. Then Daddy got laid off, and we didn't get to keep it."
10: In the afternoons after school, Charles used to: "Us kids would play in the yard: hide & seek; cops and robbers with homemade guns (wooden w/rubber bands); cowboys and Indians. When I got old enough to do anything, I sold newspapers - 'The Denver Post.' I walked all over town trying to sell 5 papers, 5 cents each, and I would realize 2 cents."
11: One of Charles' most memorable toys was: "A toy that I remember is a pair of skates a girl left at our house. They were old metal skates that you screwed on to your shoes. I'd take them down to the neighbors who had a side walk and that's how I learned to roller skate. I found some leather straps to tie them on."
12: Charles' most memorable Christmas present was: "When I was really small, about 4 years old, a Christmas Eve present I got was a red wagon with wooden sides on it. A 'Radio Flyer'. I got that on Christmas Eve, and Dorothy, my sister, was born the next morning."
13: Charles has these memories about school: "I never did enjoy any classes in school! One class I enjoyed was in middle school. Mr. White was the math teacher. I really enjoyed this class because he could explain math so I could enjoy it. That was the only class I really enjoyed. Oh, yes. I also enjoyed shop class--wood working. In high school, I took vocation classes, trade school. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter--He was the principal and she taught geometry. We all though we hated them. He caught me and Johnny at the park eating and smoking, and he spanked us and preached to us. This was in junior high."
14: Charles, Mary, Johnny, Dorothy
15: What Charles liked about his siblings was: "We were all very close. We really loved each other and liked to be around each other. My sister, Mary, was always so affectionate. My sister, Dorothy, was the baby and was always a pest--so outgoing and talked ALL of the time My brother, Johnny, was mischievous; always into something."
16: What Charles and his friends liked to do together was: "We had a baseball team and we used to play. This was before we started skating. We played several teams and played teams in Tucumcari several times. One black team was really fun to play. They would really cut up--they would usually beat the tar out of us, but they were really fun to be around." | "Roller skate! We would skate every night. It cost 50 cents a night for 3 - 4 hours."
17: Charles' best friend during childhood was: "Warren Bohanan, a neighbor. We started school together. We lived close together and we played together all the time. I was at his house nearly all the time. His mother would call him in for dinner, so I'd eat with him. After dinner, it was nap time, so I'd always tell Warren's mother that I needed to go home. But, she would say, 'Oh,no!' She'd make me lye down for an hour with Warren. I'd always close my eyes like I was sleeping, but I never did fall asleep."
18: This person significantly influenced Charles growing up: "I had an uncle who influenced me in a lot of bad ways. He was 4 years older than me. We would just run all over town and we'd fight all the time. We were always together. He got me started smokin'. He'd have me buy cigarettes on my Dad's credit at the grocery store. That lasted about a month until Daddy paid the credit bill and found out what we were doing. He got me to steal money from my Dad. This was a good education, because it taught me to not do it any more."
19: If Charles' parents had only known! He did this forbidden thing with his friends: "Getting drunk when I was young. I was in high school. I was trying to learn to be a mechanic and was working in a garage. The boss had a delivery service. The delivery man and I got really drunk. The boss would drink with us. I would get TOO drunk. I spent the night with the boss and his wife."
20: Charles in Middle School
21: Charles in High School
22: Charles liked this kind of music and these musicians growing up: "I was drawn to country music over other types of music. One of the first songs I remember singing was "The Wreck of Old 97," about a steam train wreck. Then later on came Red Foley, a favorite musician, and the music and musicians who played at the 'Grand Ole Opry'. Jimmy Dickens was a little short guy who played guitar and sang. I learned French harp (harmonica) and learned to play cowboy songs like 'Home on the Range'."
23: Charles' first very own car was: ....and the price tag was: "My first car was a 1930 model Plymouth, a hand-me-down from Daddy for $10. I used it to haul Mary and Johnny to school and Dorothy sometimes. My next car was a 1935 Ford. I bought it from my best friend, Joe Weatherley for $50, or maybe $75, something like that. It was when he went into the service. I was disappointed when I came back from the service and found out Daddy had sold it."
24: The Middle Years
25: Charles' memories of World War II or World War I are these: WWI "My daddy's stories from his experiences. He talked about it all the time. His stories seemed to be realism of misery, but I know from my experiences, it wasn't all misery. WWII Vivid memory of Japanese attack on December 7th, 1942. I was selling papers on Sunday morning and when I first heard it, I was at a friends house, and we heard it on the radio. I went into the service when I was 19 (February). I was drafted. I left on February 14, 1943 and returned home November 24, 1945. I served in combat engineering, stationed in Oran Africa, then went to Italy, Sicily, and all the way through Italy. My highest rank was T - 5, technician. Salary: $30 a month while in the U.S. Then $60 a month. When I was elevated to T-5 rank, then I mad $70 a month. This is what war meant to Charles growing up: It was hell. It was necessary to combat dictatorship."
26: Charles in Italy working heavy equipment such as the crane and heavy truck, He was also the driver of officers whom he drove around in a brand new Jeep.
27: Charles C. Thompson My Military Experiences: W.W. II, 1943-1945 I was inducted into the United States Army on February 10, 1943 when I was 19 years old. I went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for my induction and was assigned to go to Fort Belvar, Virginia for six weeks of basic infantry training. Ft. Belvar was an army engineering camp where I was also trained for an additional six weeks in the heavy infantry school to be a crane operator. At Camp Shanango, Pennsylvania, I was processed and received by clothing and supplies for overseas service. I was issued two huge barracks bags filled with clothing, so heavy I could hardly carry them to the truck I had to meet two miles away. Before boarding the troop ship at Staten Island, New York, I spent the night at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The convoy crossed the Atlantic in two weeks, landing in Oran, Africa. My first assignment was to a replacement depot in Saint Cloud, Algeria in north Africa. Most of the clothes that we brought with us were taken away from us at Saint Cloud. We learned that this was a method used to send needed clothing supplies to the war front. My first assignment came one month later to a railroad battalion in Algeria. While at this location, I experienced appendicitis and was taken to the hospital for treatment and a 10-day recovery. In the mean time, my papers were shipped to Algeria without me and they were lost. I was delayed for six weeks while new documents were created. Finally I was assigned to the 1st armored division, 16th combat engineers. My job was a messenger and chauffeur of several commissioned officers who I transported in a brand new Jeep. I kept that new vehicle spotless! Two weeks later, I was sent with the Jeep to the shipyard and loaded on a boat. After a month, we left the dock thinking we were being transferred to Sicily. But the conflict was over in Sicily, so we continued on the boat to Naples, Italy. We spent seven days in this crowded, damaged harbor before being sent on to Silarno, Italy. I left the ship and rejoined my original company, the engineer battalion.
28: We convoyed to Capua, Italy, just north of Naples. We remained in this staging area near the Volturno River and it is here that I realized I was in a war area. As I was setting up the pup tent in what I thought was a secluded area, I heard a noise. Looking up, a German plane, flying only two hundred feet above ground, was coming toward me. The plane made a sharp turn over company B's staging area and started strafing. A sergeant was alert and acted quickly mounting a 40-mm machine gun and fired at it and killed the pilot and the plane went down immediately failing to harm any American soldiers. Or camping area was moved on north of the Volturno River after our bridge builders assisted in the repair and construction of a new bridge. The Casino battle, which was north of us, continued on into and through the winter. We were prevented from going north into Cassino and beyond to liberate the people in the region. The winter was very cold and rainy. Our area was so muddy, we had to wear hip boots that we turned down to our knees. Many troops came down with a foot disease and some were hospitalized it was so severe. We began to waterproof our vehicles and soon learned we were preparing for a water landing in Anzio, Italy, which was successful. The Anzio beaches were covered with supplies and troops who would make their move to cut the German's supply line to Cassino. The time spent on the Anzio beaches was much longer than anyone expected. Little did we know the danger we were in until after reading some of the information published. We created dugouts covered by boxes retrieved from the supply depot near our camp. At first, my job was messenger to Division Headquarter and Battalion Headquarters. I hauled a variety of officers on experimental and reconnaissance missions. One experiment involved creating trenches that were free of mine fields. We made a "snake" by bolting together two long, narrow sheets of corrugated metal. Enclosed in the sheet metal was TNT. The 300-foot snakes were dragged onto the edge of mine fields using a tank. The tank backed off and reconnected to push the snake on through the minefield. The TNT detonated, exploding the nearby mines and also creating trenches through which troops could pass. This experiment and others were a great success and the work at Anzio was complete. On several beaches of Anzio, weapons were created to protect the troops and they advanced toward the north. Now our company's objective was to help liberate Rome. In order to break out of
29: Anzio, we developed a plan to fire three different directions on three successive nights to confuse the German armies. From sea, land, and air, troops worked through the night, three nights in a row, releasing a spectacular, continuous stream of firepower---a fireball in the sky. It was an enormous firework display! We advanced after the third night and the Germans seemed to be confused by our strategy. Again, we experienced success. On May 25th, 1944, the division headed toward Rome. When we advanced to Rome and beyond, there was little resistance. Our advancement was fairly rapid north of Rome and we did capture a number of German soldiers. Up the central western coast of Italy, the Arno River held up our progress because the Germans had destroyed the bridge. I was involved in the construction of a new two-lane bridge across the river. Very heavy rains endangered the bridge we had just constructed. I was now assigned to drive heavy equipment. With my truck on one side of the river, and another truck on the opposite side, we held cables that kept the bridge from washing away. The flooded river was so forceful we had to release one lane of the bridge, but were successful in stabilizing the remaining lane. We advanced northward encountering occasional enemy fire. Before we could enter the Po Valley, we moved past Bologna and into Reggio to allow equipment and supplies to be brought to us. We also encountered enemy fire while in Reggio. We advance through the Po River Valley to Milano, picking up prisoners and fighting along the way. We had acquired a tremendous volume of equipment in Reggio, and were not able to transport all we had very efficiently. Parts of the supplies were advanced a short distance and would sit while we retrieved the remaining supplies. Our northward progress was fairly quick now as we approached Milano. The Normandy invasion in France affected our activity. Our war experience was almost over. We cleared out all our equipment and stashed it at the depot. I was shipped to Germany and we served as occupation troops for about three months before being shipped back to the United States. I was discharged October 24, 1945 at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Information in this document was provided by Charles in an interview with his daughter, Cindy, on February 19th, 2007.
30: W.W. II Oran Africa Italy Sicily
31: To: Mrs. C.L Thompson From: T-5 C.C.Thompson 405 N. Pierce St. Hq.Co.16th Engineers Amarillo, Texas Apo. 251.70 P.M. N.Y. - July 8, 1944 Wall, Germany Dear Mom and All: Will try to drop you another line, Has been quite some time since I have written so know you are looking for a letter. Anyway I'm getting along OK and am in Germany now. But don't like it here a darn bit and it don't look like it's going to be so good for quite some time, and I know it's going to get darn old before a year or two passes and it look like it will be that long before I will get to come home, so you can quit expecting now. I sure wish I could get some mail has been about two weeks since mail has come in, on account of moving. But don't guess I deserve one at all no more than I write any more. But just please don't worry when you don't hear. Hope you are all well. Love to all, Charles
32: FLORENCE PARKS AND CHARLES THOMPSON MARRIED FEBRUARY 16, 1946
33: Charles' Children | Cynthia Dian May 31, 1952 | Larry Dean October 11, 1956
34: If Charles had a favorite period of his life it was this: "When Cindy was born and seeing her grow up and bringing Larry into our family. I hoped that I could be a good father. I wanted to be loving, and supportive and to be available when needed."
35: High School Graduation Cindy1970 Larry 1975
38: Cindy, Charles, and Larry March, 2006
39: Charles believes that the strengths and characteristics of each of children are: Cindy "Greatest joy, came into our life. Sweet baby, happy, and very beautiful. Intelligent, accomplished many great things in life, educated, desires. Developed to be a wonderful musician, teacher, and a very dear wife to her husband. Never could be a better daughter." Larry "He came into our family and this was a real joy, adopted at nine months. As soon as we took him home, he was our child. Always very inquisitive, intelligent, and had overcome his illness--he's been healthy ever since. He's been able to keep a good job! He picked a very good wife and brought two wonderful children into this world. He's been a wonderful son, husband, and father. I love them very much!
40: Cindy Thompson and Mark Kelsey Married June 28, 1975
41: Sarah Blackshaw and Larry Thompson married March 25, 1977
43: Charles' Political Views "I've always voted a straight Democrat ticket. The reason for that is that I came into the world during the depression when Hoover was president and saw how everyone was poor and out of work. My grandparents had to depend on their kids for sustenance. Roosevelt became president and began to do things for poor people--put them to work; CC camps (Civilian Conservation Corps) - put young men to work. He organized and implemented Social Security. I've experienced working men having a better way to live when Democrats are in the white house, Senate, and Congress." Charles remembers these Presidents: "Roosevelt (last term), Truman (D.), Eisenhower (R.), Nixon (R.), Ford (R.), Kennedy (D.), Johnson (D.), Carter (D.), Reagan (R.), Bush (R.), Clinton (D.), Bush (R.), Obama (D.)"
44: John F. Kennedy President 1961 - 1963 | "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
45: Charles remembers the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated: "I was out in the gas field and had the radio on. About 1:00 or 1:30, I was driving down the road and the news broadcast was giving the accounting of him being shot at. I listened the rest of the day. In an hour they came on to say that Kennedy was dead. Me and my family felt the world had come to an end. I had been reluctant to vote for him because he was a Catholic. But, he did a good job."
46: Lovina Gatson and Charles Thompson married October 11, 1985
49: Union Secretary Oil and Chemical Works Union
52: The Later Years
53: Charles 2009 Age 86
54: Scott's wedding 2006
55: Hayden, Scott, Asher
56: ASHER, DANIELLE, SCOTT, HAYDEN | KAYLA & BRENT
59: 2008 Birthday - Age 85 | 2004 Birthday - Age 81