The little treasures (Volume 4)

Just one today:
Five misfits

Contributor: Richard Peulen

Date of picture: Unknown

Date of contribution: 2007

Caption: “Five who came back from war:

“This is the story of five ‘misfits,’ seen in the picture above, who turned out to be creditable, outstanding citizens, contrary to the general public’s expectations.

“One day, a vote was taken, and all five agreed to resign our employment, pool our resources, and venture west. A very special Lincoln automobile was purchased from a local funeral home. It was a distinctive Pall Bearer Transportation Specialist that reeked with sadness from having performed years of faithful, obedient service. After adding white sidewall tires, the car seemed to give off an air of expectancy and ecstasy, and the exuberant energy of an Alaskan sled dog raring to go anywhere but to another funeral!

“Life was good, and as the picture shows, the car and crew were oozing with personality and possibilities. Reading left to right:

“First is Bill Peulen, a renowned truck driver. During his teen years, he was known as ‘Burn-em-up’ and drove trucks — needing a pillow to see the road. Later, as a house mover, he skillfully guided houses and other buildings to new foundations. He perfected the art of driving tanker units and was recently seen on television violating established rules by driving through the Minneapolis Interstate 94 tunnel with a hot load of tar. He is wearing that same facial expression we all have perfected that says ‘I didn’t know that was a violation!’ Bill now resides in Hudson, Wisconsin.

“Sitting on the fender is your writer, Dick Peulen, just returned from four years in WWII with the 5th Army Air Force: major landings in the Pacific, was on Okinawa when the Bomb was dropped that ended the war, and served with the Occupation Forces in Japan. You will notice he has a smile that shows the same happy energy as the automobile, and that he is ready for adventure!

“Next is Gene Buck, a young man who led his Stillwater National Guard members to creditable service in the Korean War. Later, along with his wife, Anita, he encouraged the arts and writing about our time and place and accomplished outstanding humanitarian services in the St. Croix Valley.

“Next is Bud Grady. Bud was a quiet, good friend, always contributing to the joy, testing and tasting what each day had to offer us. Bud and Bill were with Gene Buck during the Korean War. Later in life, he managed a large billboard-installation company.

“Now to highlight Ed Fredrickson. While he was walking through France during WWII, an artillery shell exploded near Ed, resulting in severe wounds and the loss of his legs. After months of recuperation, Ed came back home very angry and rightfully so, but good fellowship and being the proud owner of the above-pictured vehicle helped the wounded warrior return to the American life, with the French fries, greasy hamburgers, raw onions and malted milk shakes that we all dreamed of during our war duty.

“Later Ed would be an outstanding Best Man at this writer’s wedding, and fate would provide him with a devoted wife, Dorothy. Their marriage and family would continue the healing process in his life, and each year as I meet him at the Bayport Memorial Day parade, he can now be heard uttering a hearty laugh that for years was non-existent, and a beautiful smile that says ‘Life is good.’ Ed now resides as the Honorary Mayor of Bayport.

“The young men in the picture had many happy days on that ‘get-away’ trip in that grand old car. We ran out of money in Grand Island, Nebraska, and returned home, ready for new responsibilities and experiences, thankful for our familiar town, our families and friends.

“This writer, married to wife Jeanene for 58 years, lives a ‘spoiled’ life, wonders what new adventure may still be in store, resides in Hudson, Wisconsin, and is concerned about what will happen to the abandoned dog track!”