Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Life

I've had many different lives, and with this blog, I hope to describe them well enough for my family to learn what it was that brought me to this point in my life and made me what I am today.

I was born at Fairfield, Iowa, October 21, 1939. My parents were Jim and Wanda Gorman. My dad was born at Batavia, Iowa, on December 24, 1913 and my mom was born at Benton, Illinois on July 9, 1916. My dad graduated from High School in 1932 and my Mom in 1934, right in the middle of the Great Depression. There were almost no jobs. Dad did any odd jobs he could find and Mom, right out of High School, got what was called a "High School Normal Training Certificate" for the state of Iowa. To get the certificate, she had to pass tests in 18 different subjects. With the certificate, she could teach in any public school in the State. She then got a job teaching in a small rural, one room school house. In 1937 they eloped to Mexico, Missouri, where there was no waiting period. (The Depression was still going on.)

In 1939, '40, and '41 my parents worked for the National Circulating Co. selling magazine subscriptions door to door.  I still have his sales manual. It describes 6o magazines that they were selling, and has the subscription price of each. They cost from one to five dollars per year. My dad was in charge of a large crew that traveled from city to city. By the time I was four years old, I had been in every state in the union. I have lots of pictures of me that were taken all over America.

Unknow Monument

Photo dated July 24, 1941
Mt. Vernon

On the car that my
parents drove all
over America


Learning to read


 On December 7, 1941, my life, like everyones changed. World War II started for the United States. My dad had broken his left elbow playing high school basketball and wasn't able to straighten his arm completely, therefore he was unable to get into any of the armed forces. In 1943 he got a job building roads (as part of the war effort) in the Northwest Territory of Canada. 

That's my Dad second from the left.

My Aunt and I a couple of years before
we left Iowa for Seattle

Mom, me and Jimmy right after
we move to Holly Park

They had passed through Seattle, Washington on one of their magazine sales trips and loved the city. He wrote my mom and told her to move the family to Seattle. During the war, gasoline was rationed and people were issued stamps for a certain amount of gas they could buy. My mom collected gas stamps from all of her relatives and friends for the move, by car, to Seattle from Iowa. She loaded up the car with me (I was almost four), my six month old brother (James Lee Gorman), her 20 year old sister, and her mom and dad and all of our luggage and we took off for Seattle. In 1943 it was a very long trip - two lane roads all of the way. After what must have been a very hard trip, we arrived in Seattle and moved into the Delridge Federal Housing Project. My mom, my brother and me in one unit, and right next door was my grandpa, grandma, and aunt. They went to work for Boeing and my mom stayed home to care for me and my baby brother. My grandma's name was Flossie, my grandpa's name was Clifford, and my aunt's name was Erlene, but I called her Een. We didn't live there very long, we soon moved to Holly Park housing project. The Federal Housing Projects were built in Seattle because there was a shortage of homes for all of the people that moved there to work for Boeing. Before the war, Boeing was a very small company, but during the war it built up to about 70,000 employees. I remember that the Boeing Company and Boeing Field were completely covered with camoflage nets during the war. From above it looked like a city, but you could drive under it and there was the factories and air field. Holly Park was on the east side of Beacon Hill between Beacon Avenue and Empire Way (now Martin Luther King Way) I went to Van Asselt Elementary School at the corner of Beacon Avenue and Othello Street. 
Second or third grade at Van Asselt
Right across Beacon Avenue from the school were a set  of big Aircraft Artillary Guns. After the war, they took out the guns but left the concrete stucture there for quite a few years. I remember playing war in the ruins with all my friends.....more later. 

Jim and Wanda Gorman
about 1945 or 46