We're celebrating Dad's birthday today.
This is about the only place I'm able to print this, so I will......
My Dad was born on the farm where he and my Mom still live. Our family came to the Milford Nebraska area sometime before 1890, buying this farm in 1892.
Dad was born there , December 23, 1922. Along with three brothers and a sister he grew up in the heart of the depression. His father started each of the boys two years early in school so they would graduate early and be able to work the farm.
Dad, like his brothers, graduated at age sixteen, and like his brothers, promptly left the farm.
He worked a variety of jobs, along with joining the Nebraska National Guard in 1939. On one occasion he caught trains and ended up in Hollywood, where he found work taking care of movie star Jack Okey's property. Because he was only 16, he was paid "under the table" cash (to young to work in CA) and said he would "steal" some of the milk and table scraps meant for Okey's dogs to get by. Other "prewar" jobs including fireman on a railroad steam shovel in Wyoming, picking corn in Iowa, and a variety of jobs odd jobs.
We know what happened in December 1941, so soon Dad was soon wearing the uniform full time. Initially the Army sent him to Brigham Young University (expecting a long war, many educational programs sprung up to further educate servicemen).
According to Dad, these programs were cut short (along with his "free" tuition and room and board at BYU) when it appeared the tide of the war was swinging our way.
Dad soon found himself in the Pacific Theater. He was a radio/electronic specialist and on the ground in New Guinea and the Philippines. His exploits earned him shrapnel (that every now and again bits of would work the way to the surface of his neck and shoulders, as late as 20 years ago) and a bout of dengue fever. Every year while is was growing up, Dad would become sick, usually in the winter, and have symptoms that doctors was a recurrence from this tropical disease.
At this same time, two of Dad's brothers were in the Navy, both in the Pacific, one on a battleship, one on an escort destroyer with the same battle group. Dad said he was always
jealous because they would see each other in port once in a while.
Following the war, Dad eventually married my Mom in 1948, and took over farming the "home place" shortly after. At first they still farmed with horses in addition to a Fordson for grinding feed.
When I came along, we were a middle class family, and Mom and Dad worked the farm along with a "town job" to pay off the farm mortgage. One of my familiar memories is the "light" from the welder flashing through my bedroom window as Dad would repair machinery at night in the shop so he could go to work in town in the morning, then home at 2:00 pm to get on a tractor or combine and work til dark (or something broke).
Dad retired from his second job at age 65 to "just farm" and promptly had his "first heart attack". Since then, he has had two more, along with a slight stroke, but has bounced back each time. He still helps me as much as he is able on the farm, drives, and goes to the "senior center" every morning to "tell stories" to the old people (as he says).
Dad has a very dry sense of humor. Some of his favorite sayings include: " he'd complain if you hung him with a new rope", "like a biting sow", don't look a gift horse in the mouth", you get the idea.
Dad's sister passed away several years ago, two brothers are now in nursing homes, and many of his friends are gone. He is wonderful with our girls, and everyone who knows him likes him (that's my story, sticking with it). His classmates were all two years older, and now only one or two of them are left. Up until 2009 the few remaining would congregate at the alumni banquet in Milford each year.
Anyway, we celebrate Dad's birthday today, and I'm very thankful that he is with us now.
Great story Rob and a very Happy Birthday to the senior Heyen. Another blessing for this Christmas season
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR.HEYEN! and MANY MORE
Thanks for the story, Rob. You are a lucky man.
I'll bet he can tell us a few things about a Fordson or model T.
Happy Birthday Mr Heyen and Merry Christmas.
The Greatest Generation! Happy Birthday!
Good genes are hard to come by Rob. You are very lucky to still have your father at that age. Mine is 95 and I hug him every chance I get. He's still the best T mechanic I know!
What a wonderful post. Never knew what it was to have a father much less a DAD. He deserted us early to be with someone else.
You are a very fortunate family to have someone around from the GREATEST GENERATION. My mom is 97 and remembers riding in Model T's like the one I have.
God has blessed you and your family in the greatest way.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR "DAD" and may he have many more to share with all. Cherish what time is left.
Thank you for warming our hearts this Christmas season.
Sam and family
Thanks for sharing all that, Rob. Happy birthday to your father.
Happy Birthday! and Merry Christmas! to France...Mr Heyen...
Here's wishing your Dad a wonderful birthday and many more!
Rob - That's wonderful. We wish him a happy 90th Birthday and many more.
Congratulations! Ninety! Wow....
Rob, a great story and please give your Dad my best wishes on his birthday. My Dad has been gone for a long time now. He was also stationed in the Philippines and New Guinea during the second world war. I also met a man in Silver Bay Minnesota who had been in New Guinea and the Philippines and New Caledonia. He was 91 and said his unit was the Americal. I was in the Americal during my time in Viet Nam. At any rate Happy Birthday to your great Dad and a real hero. God bless him.
Wonderful! So many blessings of a good family. Enjoy them. Be proud of them. And do your best to pass them on to your wonderful kids!
Happy Birthday Mr. Heyen!
Thank you for all your well wishes and comments. We had a wonderful turnout in spite of the cold and snow/icy roads.
To make this a bit "on thread", Dad and his brothers first car was a T roadster pickup. His first individual car was a 34 Ford. Dad said when he returned from the war he learned that the 34 was considered "one of the fastest cars in the county". He said his youngest brother (only one not in the military during the war, too young) had "ran the wheels off" his Ford while he was away.
Thank you all again and Merry Christmas,
Rob, I just read the postings after several days. Hearing of your fathers birthday gathering really brightened up my day. Its so good to see a family such as yours. I'm older than you but I lost my father to a heart attack when I was 12. I still miss him. When I restored my first T it was resurrected from all the parts from a neighbor a few miles from our ranch/farm. I completed it not knowing it had been my fathers T. I found that out after talking to an aunt I hadn't seen for years and also from the local Ford dealership records. It's very precious to me now. Sorry to run on but I wish many more years for you and your father together. A Merry Christmas and a super New Year to you and your wonderful family.
Thanks for the story, Rob. Happy Birthday to your Dad too.
It is slightly O.T. items of this nature that make the Forum so enjoyable.
Great Post Rob. My Dad was in New Guinea during WW2. Tony Milano. Or as nicknamed, Larry.
Very Good, Rob. Wish him well for me too.
Happy Birthday, wish him a Merry Christmas from all of us. God Bless!
Nice Rob, I enjoyed that
Rob, you just seem to have it all :-)
Congrats with the ol'man!
Happy birthday to your dad.
He has lived an amazing and interesting life. One most younger folks today could not fathom. Make sure the girls hear these wonderous stories from him so they can tell their grandchildren one day and keep the family memories alive.