Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

She Rode Home With Her Hero in His Truck

Nelsons lived on a farm between Stockport and Bonaparte. As youngsters, the girls attended a nearby country school, then went to High School six miles south, in Bonaparte.

It was necessary to stay in town, and return to the farm only on weekends when the roads were dry.

One day during the Depression, their mother received a call from the bank. Their entire account was dissolved because the bank was closing due to lack of money to exist. Often, the girls sold eggs for grocery money.

Daughters of a World War I veteran, these three ladies are widows of World War II veterans. Their names are Dorothy Watson, Mary Lou Lydolph, and Hazelle Lanman. Dorothy and Mary Lou have moved away from the area. Hazelle still lives at Keosauqua with a view of the river.

Hazelle remembers that Clay enlisted in the Air Corps. He wanted to be a pilot but was educated as a radio man on a 7-man crew B24. Stationed in Hawaii, his crew sortied out on bombing expeditions. Later, he spent days on the ground guarding Japanese prisoners with a revolver.

Meanwhile she was educated by the government and became a cadet nurse. The war ended before she graduated in 1948, so she remained in the U.S. and served in St. Joseph Hospital in Ottumwa.

One day Clay picked her up at the nursesí home in Ottumwa for a trip in his truck to Des Moines, to attend the Iowa State Fair. The livestock exhibition was a wonderful experience. Her favorite was the butter cow exhibit, seeing Indians dressed in their native garb dancing and shouting, and also eating ice cream in the Agriculture Hall. After an exciting evening fireworks display, what she enjoyed most, she said, was the long ride home--with her hero.

(from: Notes by Hazelle Lanman, written in December, 2007)

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick