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EP342: Strength in Loneliness is Still Loneliness, Jason Wolfe Paid His Own Child Support and When Truman Came to Town

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
June 8, 2022 3:05 am

EP342: Strength in Loneliness is Still Loneliness, Jason Wolfe Paid His Own Child Support and When Truman Came to Town

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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June 8, 2022 3:05 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Edie Hand was always told by her mother that she was strong... but strength isn't always enough. Jason Wolfe tells the story of figuring out to be the father he didn't have. Rod Stanley of the Dexter Museum tells the story of how President Truman won the state of Iowa and another term in office in 1948. 

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

 

Time Codes:

00:00 - Strength in Loneliness is Still Loneliness

12:30 - Jason Wolfe Paid His Own Child Support

37:00 - When Truman Came to Town

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Send them to OurAmericanStories.com. They're some of our favorites. And you've heard from Edie Han before on our show. Today you're going to hear a little bit about Edie's own life story. We love telling you stories of family, stories of mothers, and the importance they play in their children's lives.

For better and for worse, here's Edie with her own story. I recall a simpler time in my life in Burnout, Alabama. It was so small that we used to laugh and say, you know, burnout's burnt plum out. I remember going out back of the house and I would be making mud pies. My brothers would come up and I'll never forget how they said, so what are you cooking today, Edie? Or they called me Edith. And I said, I'm making a new mud pie.

You want to try it? I remember they sat down on the little pieces of wood on the rocks and they put that mud in their mouth. They got sick from eating that dirt. And running to the house to tell mother that I'd fed them mud pies.

It wasn't funny to my mother, but it was funny to me. It was those little things. I remember going to the barn with the boys and we saddle up our horses. We had two Shetland ponies and a quarter horse. It was a wonderful place to grow up. There was 40 acres of rolling hills. We had the garden with different chores to do.

The boys did more in the garden. I was more helping mother with laundry. My mother would always have us baked when we got off a school bus. I remember it was baked sweet potatoes and chocolate doodad cookies.

She would want to hear about what we had done in school for the day. I remember we had a cold glass of milk with that. That was, it's just remembering home. That was home to me.

And we all need some place we can call home, either physically or a place we can go back to in our mind. And that is a place for me. And I think the barn, I used to think, this is the place.

You know, it was just simpler times. But it was the place of the most joy, I think, of feeling free and you could be anything you want to be. But the barn just spoke to me in a way of, I like the openness, I like the lofts. And you could dream. It was a place to dream. You could look out through the holes, see the sky. Or you could jump out of the barn and be in a pile of sawdust or hay. And we played kick the can. Relay runs that we would see how fast we were.

You know, go from one tree to the next. It was just nothing big but those simple games that I cherish the most that I would call. This is the place.

I think that place is where I found me. My mother Sue was a homemaker. When I was young, she just lived for her children. She loved to dress me up beautifully. I was her baby doll. And of course I was her first child.

And the boys always were so handsome. Now she didn't come to the barn and do the things with us but my grandmother Alice did. She was a tomboy, my grandmother was.

She could ride, she could milk cows, she could do anything. But my mother was the one that always had everything just right in the home. Was always dressed perfect. My mother taught me about being proper, good manners.

It was always important to be a lady. So I grew up with a lot of old school manners with her. She was always very proud of my accomplishments in life. I didn't get to be as close to her as I wanted to be. But she was closer to the boys. I think my mother was closer to the boys because they were more needy. And she would say, you're strong.

You're like mama, you're like Alice. You don't really need anybody, you just get out there and do it. But what I wish my mother had noticed was that I did need her. So I always just was strong. Everybody said it, so I must be strong. I think it made me a loner.

It was a good quality, but I don't like being alone. My grandmother, Alice, she said, please always love your mother. She loves you dearly. She just doesn't know how to connect to you. Your mother loves you. And sometimes there's just no real explanation other than just the comment of it.

Because what people don't realize, I think, is that it is important to take the time to explain to someone and talk to them. Don't hide behind feelings. I think I suppressed mine through the years. To be almost 70 years old and to see that the little girl in me still wants to go to the place. Since the barn is gone, my grandmother's gone, and most of my family is gone. There is no place that I feel quite at home anymore, but I'm looking for it. I'm going to find another place, because my grandmother said I could do hard things.

And I will, and I do. And great job on the production by Robbie, and thanks for just a beautiful piece of storytelling from Edie Hand. And that barn is a place to dream. And at 70 years old, she's looking for that place.

She suppressed her feelings, and she was the strong one, and it made her a loner. Edie Hand's story, here on Our American Story. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to OurAmericanStories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.

That's OurAmericanStories.com. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year, and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot, and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenni with the 902.1 OMG Podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NerdTech ODT Remedipant, 75 milligrams, can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango? It's true! I had one that night, and I took my NerdTech ODT, and I was present and had an amazing time.

Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTech ODT Remedipant, 75 milligrams. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, NerdTech ODT Remedipant, 75 milligrams, is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. And we continue with our American stories. And now Robbie brings us the story of Jason Wolf. He created the first online coupon site and was the first to seriously develop software that tracked web browsing using what are known as cookies. Jason is here to bring us the story of becoming the father that he never had himself.

Here's Jason. You know, I think my very first memories were when I was living in Virginia. My dad worked in the CIA, so we lived in a place called Ruston, Virginia, which was like a new suburb of Washington, D.C. back then. I could remember having a bike and learning how to ride a bike with my dad, and I must have been maybe the first person to do that. And I remember having a bike and learning how to ride a bike with my dad, and I must have been maybe three or four. And I remember going down this little hill that he was pushing me down and, you know, basically being scared and then being happy that I learned how to ride a bike.

So, yeah, it was my earliest memory. Something that happened in my life that I remember that was like a pivotal thing, probably when my mom and dad got separated. By then, it was 1975, so I was six or so, and I could remember my dad driving. He had a Volkswagen, sort of like a station wagon Volkswagen, loaded all of us up into this Volkswagen, drove up to Connecticut, and all of us, meaning my brother and sister and I, drove us up to Connecticut and dropped us off with my grandparents with my mom. My mom was acting strange.

I didn't know what was going on. And then he left, and that was the beginning of their divorce. And shortly after that, my mom, turned out later, I found out my mom had mental illness, and so she was put into sort of a mental institution for a couple years. So for a couple years, after my dad dropped us off, my mom was going through trying to get herself back together.

And, yeah, that's probably the next milestone in my life. I could remember when my mother was, they were trying to get her to take her into this mental institution, whatever, she was put away for a couple years. And they somehow couldn't get her.

She was elusive. And I could remember my sister and I going to this hospital, and they were getting her there under some other guise, some other trick to get her to show up. And so she shows up, and my sister and I are sitting out there.

By now, I'm probably a little older, six or seven. And I remember they had my sister and I playing sort of games out inside this room, and I remember hearing some screaming. And I look over, and here's my mother running towards me with a straitjacket on, because they were trying to put her into a straitjacket.

And that was like hugely pivotal and kind of crazy at that time. And from then, over the next course of a couple years, I mean, we lived with grandparents. I lived with an aunt for a little bit and then eventually moved in with an uncle.

And my mom came out of the institution, tried to take us back, get back on her feet, living in sort of welfare life, not a lot of money, poor. I can remember a Christmas vividly when I was around nine at this point and just laying under a blanket with no heat in the house and getting a knock at the door. And at the door, I looked out the door, there was a box with frozen turkey and some games for us. And we couldn't cook the turkey. We had no gas.

We had no gas to light the stove. We were the poor people. We were what I called the raggies. You know, the raggies of town, the people that were real raggy and poor and stuff, that was us.

And so, yeah, I remember that. And then living with an uncle and then having to make a decision when I was about ten whether I wanted to go to this new school that they discovered that this nun that we were going to a church told my grandmother about down in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was a school for, at the time it was a boy's school. They were just converting over to add girls.

And it was in the late 70s, 79 or so. And we went down, took the test, came back. My brother and I, my brother didn't pass the test, I did. And they asked me, I can remember standing at my uncle's house on the second floor. And they were asking me, do you want to go to this school or do you want to go with your aunt and uncle to go to California, because they were moving to California. And I decided to go to Milton Hershey School alone by myself, which was hugely, you know, that was a God moment. There was no real reason for me to choose to not go with my family. But I chose to not go with my family, to go down to Milton Hershey School.

And so on September 20th, 1980, it was a fall day, crisp out, football season, sunny. I'll remember just like yesterday. And I could feel the air, even right now, and being dropped off at Milton Hershey School. And my mother and my grandparents were there. And inside this place called the Rotunda, which is a huge building at Milton Hershey School. And I can remember Mr. Long standing there with me.

He was the person that had the intake of children coming into Milton Hershey School. And I can remember standing with Mr. Long and looking at my parents or my mother. By now, I thought my dad was dead, because my mom told us he was not alive.

So he never paid child support, and we really thought he was dead. So seeing my mother cry and my grandparents standing there, and then they walk away, and I'm alone now. I didn't realize, but I'd been alone for a long time thereafter. And growing up in that school, I can remember not even a few months into it, maybe, crying every night trying to put myself to sleep and starting to try to get used to. The school at the time was a, you know, corporal punishment was not, it was something that happened.

It just happened, right? It was part of discipline. And I can remember running away, and I remember getting paddled.

I remember these things that I wasn't used to, and it was scary, and I cried, and I didn't want to be there. But I learned to adapt and to change, to figure things out, and eventually I did. And eventually I excelled. I became, played three sports, football, baseball, and wrestling. Some of them I was a captain on, some of the teams I excelled in.

My grades were always good. I was in the top group of our class, probably in the top, you know, handful of kids. And then, you know, went on to college. But before going on out to college, I remember sitting at graduation day, next pivotal moment, was just sitting there and, you know, with a suitcase of clothes and a hundred bucks, because they gave you a check at the time of a hundred dollars. I think mine was less than a hundred because I owed the school something for something that I did.

I don't even know. And I couldn't cash the check because I didn't have a bank account. And I had a suitcase with the brand new clothes, you know, three pairs of socks, 10 pair underwear or something like that, a bunch of pants, you know.

And I'm sitting there with this big suitcase of clothes, this check I can't cash. And my grandfather had a stroke, so he was, on the last months of his life, my mother was always, you know, dysfunctional. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do, you know. So I went up to Connecticut and I stayed with my grandmother to help her to take care of my grandfather until he died.

And he passed away within a couple of months. And I didn't go to college. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. And so I got involved in, like, a lot of things that somebody who has no family, really, who has no direction, no male mentorship, Christ not in my life to any large measure. And so I got involved in things that were illegal.

And I didn't do, you know, I'm not proud about it, but there was a stretch in my life right there that I was led, I was kind of going down the wrong roads. And, you know. Thankfully, Jason, after a number of setbacks, had a moment of clarity. And after years of hard work, he created the first coupon website ever. And then the first real software to use cookies to track web browsing, which he sold for roughly $22 million. So that was 2006. And by then I was married. I was only married for a couple of years. And I had a son, Morris. And I ended up going through divorce. I get the old, you know, you're locked out of your home type of deal.

I go into my house and all the locks are changed. I was only married for two years. I didn't know the person I was getting married to. I only knew her for four months before I got married. And I married her because she was pregnant. And you've been listening to Jason Wolf tell the story of his life and what a story it is.

When we come back, more of the life story of Jason Wolf here on Our American Stories. For example, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop. But for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot.

And I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners, too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the 902.1 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango?

It's true. I had one that night and I took my NerdTech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family. But thankfully, NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults.

So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. And we're back with our American stories and with the story of Jason Wolf. Jason's childhood was anything but easy. His mother was institutionalized, his father leaving and later dying, or at least that's what young Jason was told. Down the road, Jason had a son and got married. Unfortunately, that ended after a few years and Jason found himself in the middle of a divorce.

Here's Jason to tell us the rest of the story. So during that divorce and after that divorce, it was a time for me, I think, when God started knocking on my door and saying, hey, all this stuff you've got to do, you've got to be starting to change the way that you live and put God first. Even though going through divorce wasn't fun, financially it was a mess. It was because I sold a company during the time that I was married. It became a marital asset and that was a big problem. But I started to go to church more.

I was invited into a men's group and I started the journey to change my life, to bring me as a man more towards Christ in a real way as opposed to just saying that I'm a Christian. When I got divorced, it was easy for the lawyers to say, hey, you know, let's just kind of settle this disagreement. And I'm signing papers, honestly, I didn't realize this, Robbie, saying that I didn't know what the lingo meant at the time. I didn't know what primary custody meant compared to just custody. I didn't know what legal custody meant.

All I just knew was like, you have the kid or you don't. I quickly figured it out because I didn't have equal physical and legal custody. I had sort of visitation rights. I think that's terrible for dads at the time and that's how it was for me. And I had to then try to argue with the court that I could be an equal father and I wanted to be equal in Morris's life.

And his mom tried to stop that. And so for years, from 2006 all the way up to 2011, we fought for equal custody. And eventually in 2000, I think it was 11 or 10, the governor at the time, Rendell, Pennsylvania, was leaving office and he put a change to the law or the thing about parental equal custody.

At the time, I had to prove that I was an equal father, like I was proved that I was, instead of just automatically giving equal custody to both parents and then disproving that the other person couldn't be a parent. And so when he did that, it allowed me to have 50-50 custody. It was a wonderful thing.

And I think that's how it always should have been, but it wasn't at the time. So it took years for me to fight for him to just be in his life. And he was a big part of my life.

We spent, I didn't get remarried until 2017. So for 10 years, it was just Morris and I and my dog Toby, our dog Toby. And I spent a lot of time with him.

I focused on Morris. I did his homework with him. I was involved in the school. I was involved with his doctors. I was an equally involved father, as it should be.

And I loved it. I loved to be involved in his life. He's older now, 15, 16. Kids change.

He doesn't want to listen to me as much as he did before, but that's okay. Since then, I did get remarried and we have fostered and we have adopted. So we have two girls now that we've adopted. Danielle, who's five, and Miragold, who is eight. We got them when they were three and six.

And so we love them. We have two new girls and we have a boy right now, too. We foster. His name is Jeremiah. And Jeremiah, we hope, eventually will be our son. And so our family went from just Morris and I and our dog to Susan, my wonderful wife, Danielle, Miragold, Morris, Jeremiah, the dogs, and my wife loves animals.

We have a donkey and a goat, two goats, and a pony. So, yeah, things have expanded. That's good. All these struggles, all these challenges that I had, I learned later in life that, you know, it was God banging on my heart. My heart was getting broken over and over and over. And it was because God wanted to get into my heart. My heart was hard. And so I think these struggles have made my heart softer.

And a softer, gentler heart was needed when Jason had to face the man he'd grown up thinking was dead, the man who left his family when he was six, his own father. And so I found out my dad was alive in 1992. I was 22 years old, 21 years old. I was in college and found out he was alive. We sent letters to my grandmother who wouldn't tell us where he was.

And then she would send the letters to my father. And he, lo and behold, wasn't dead. Found out he lived in New Zealand.

He had a whole different life. And I ended up going down and meeting him probably when I was 23. I spent about a month with him. I got to know him a little bit.

And over the course of a couple years, I knew him a little bit more. But I wasn't with Christ yet. And so what I decided to do was to say to my dad, Listen, I don't forgive you unless you apologize. You need to apologize to my mom. You need to apologize to my grandmother. Because I am the judge. I didn't leave it up to God. I lived it up to myself.

I'm going to dictate the situation. So he did. He sent a letter to my mom and my grandmother. And now my grandmother and my mother knows where he lives. So now all of a sudden it's a lawsuit. It's my mom suing my dad. Because he never paid child support. Now my dad's wanted and in the United States couldn't come back here. And if he did, he'd go to jail. And he had a judgment against him of $418,000. And back child support and interest and everything else.

Penalties, whatever. So he couldn't come back. And it was because of me that that happened. And because of my thought that I needed to tell somebody what to do. Or I needed to be the judge of somebody else that caused him that pain.

So I felt bad about that. And so when I sold the last company in 2016, I hired a lawyer. And I found the documents down in Virginia. The divorce documents between my mom and my dad.

Found the amount that they had leaned against my dad. And I went up to Connecticut and met with my mom and convinced her to allow me to pay her on behalf of my father. So I would pay her. I'd buy her house at the time.

The house was probably worth $100,000. I gave her $200,000. I gave her a commitment of $2,000 a month over the rest of her life. And gave her some other stuff in exchange for her releasing my father of the debt that he owed her.

And she did. And so it was a proud moment for me to be able to tell my dad, hey listen, I settled your debt to my mom. And I was able to live that out because of my faith. Now my father all his years was not very close to the Lord. I don't even think, I think he was probably an atheist or agnostic at best. And in the last several years he married somebody, Rebecca, who was a Christian. And now my dad, at like 75 years old, is going to church and he's in a small group at church.

You can't make this stuff up, I'm telling you. And so it's been a really great journey for me with my dad. And you know, I forgave him. I forgave him in the right way. I didn't forgive him because of me telling him what to do.

I forgave him because Christ forgave me. And I think that's been special for me. And what a remarkable piece of storytelling. Thanks to Robbie for producing the piece. And a special thanks also to Jason Wolf for sharing his story. My goodness, being abandoned by his father, the mental illness of his mother, being alone all that time, then the divorce, then the fight to get equal custody of his son. And he found his dad at the age of 22, tried to reconcile, forgave him incorrectly the first time, incorrectly the second, and it changed everything.

The story of Jason Wolf, the story of so many men and women struggling to find peace and healing in this world, here on Our American Stories. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th. If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They make sure my business stays piping hot, and I stay cool and confident. See, they're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on it. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Hey you guys, this is Tori and Jenni with the 902.1 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th Poll event, Wingo Tango. Did you know that NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wingo Tango?

It's true! I had one that night, and I took my NerdTech ODT, and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wingo Tango don't have to be missed. And we return to our American stories. And up next, a story about when our 33rd president made an all-important visit to a small town in Iowa.

Here's our own Monty Montgomery with a story. Dexter, Iowa is a small town with a lot of heart. And even though its population has never exceeded a thousand people, there's a lot of history there. The Barrow Gang had a famous shootout there. They hosted an amusement park at one point. But it was also once a presidential campaign stop, the presidential campaign stop for that election cycle.

Here's Rod Stanley with more on that. September 1948, President Truman came to Dexter, Iowa for the national plowing match. It was a big deal. The national plowing match was a big, big deal. But what exactly is a plowing match? Roughly put, it's a competition to see who's the best farmer.

They judged him on, I mean, they judged him on different things. They brought their tractors and their plows. And there were judges that judged how well you plowed the field, how straight it was, how open it was. They had some other like conservation, like making a pond.

They made a pond on my uncle's farm. They blew up, they were using dynamite and they blew up land and they made a waterway to drain water off and stuff. This was a statewide thing, so it was a national thing too. So there, you had lots of people coming in from, like there was an airport south of Dexter, southwest of Dexter. And that day like 120 airplanes landed and brought, bringing people in.

They estimated the crowd between 75 and 100,000. But how did President Truman even get involved in this whole thing? It boils down to the drive of a radio personality, Truman's opponent, and like a lot of things in politics, poll numbers. The guy he was running against was a fellow by the name of Thomas Dewey from New York. And Thomas Dewey was so far ahead in the polls. Herb Plambeck, famous WHO farm personality, was in charge of organizing this whole thing. And Herb Plambeck called or went and talked to Thomas Dewey and asked him, do you want to be the headliner out here in Dexter and talk to these people? And Dewey said in so many words, I'm pretty doing pretty well in the polls.

I don't think I need to come out to Iowa and to talk to these people. So Herb Plambeck then called up and scheduled a meeting with Truman. And normally they're on a limited time basis when they talk to the president and so on. But they made an appointment, they talked to Truman and actually went over the time limit because Truman liked talking. I mean, Truman was a, he was one of those guys that liked to talk to him. He was a former farmer, too.

I mean, as far as he was a farming occupation before he got into politics. And he said, well, boys, he said, I would really like to come out and to do that. But he says, I don't think the Secret Service will allow me to do what I want to do.

And that's to go out and mingle and talk to people and so on. And so when Herb Plambeck left that meeting, he thought, well, gosh, I don't think I don't think Truman's going to come either. And so it kind of sat that way until like three weeks before the event. And the White House calls Herb Plambeck up and says Truman's coming.

That threw a whole big wrench because they had to make sure that the security had to be better. And there's a lot of things they had to do to prepare for the president. Truman started over in eastern Iowa in Davenport on the Rock Island Railroad line, the one that runs through Dexter and goes across the state. And he gave a speech there early in the morning. Then he gave a speech at Oxford, Iowa, I believe. Then a speech in Grinnell and a speech in Des Moines. Never in the world were the farmers of any republic or any kingdom or any other country as prosperous as the farmers of the United States.

And if they don't do their duty by the Democratic Party, they're the most ungrateful people in the world. Those were just preliminaries. And he actually, I believe, picked up his wife, Bess, and his daughter, Margaret, in Des Moines. And they rode the train out to Dexter. The band, Dexter Band, was there to meet Truman. I believe they played the Missouri Waltz for him when they when he arrived at the depot in Dexter. They had brought his Cadillac, his robin egg blue Cadillac, out, according to my uncle Dean Stiles, about three days before. And everybody was wondering what the heck was that was going on, bringing that blue Cadillac out here. And eventually they figured it out that it was the president and he was going to be stopping and going after the plowing match. But he was concerned, still concerned, about the Secret Service blocking his style. But he came anyway. The people said that we're setting with Truman. When Truman saw the crowd, when Truman saw how big the crowd was, he said he had a smile from ear to ear. He was just loving it. He was saying, this is this is going to give me an opportunity to really to get my cam.

I'm so far behind. It can't hurt. It's going to give me a chance to to hammer home my points. The majority of these farmers that attended were of the Republican persuasion, but he got 13 ovations that day. And he really hammered on the Republicans the do the do nothings, he called them, the do nothing Congress.

It was his first major campaign speech of the 1948 election. He used this type of campaign, the whistle stop, using the train, traveling around, stop and talk in small towns to people to actually turn the tide. It's interesting when Thomas Dewey found out 100,000 people showed up in Dexter, Iowa. He got a little nervous and he actually got the Republicans in Iowa to have a campaign thing for him in Des Moines.

And they actually got like 15,000 people to hear Thomas Dewey give a speech, which is a pretty good crowd, but nothing like Truman. But anyway, when Truman was here, he ate lunch. We have stuff in the museum, the tablecloth, actually, that that was on the table that he ate off of. But anyway, he ate lunch out there.

We had fried chicken dinner, mashed potatoes and corn and relish tray and all apple pie or had different kinds of pie. And then he went out on a he went out on a wagon to look at some of the projects, the conservation projects that they were doing that day. It wasn't only a plowing contest, but there was some like they were making a pond and they were making waterways and they were doing some other stuff, conservation things that out there on that in that area as well. But anyway, he went out and and he was on the back of a hay wagon. And of course, the Secret Service was with him and they were they were cruising along and the Secret Service looked around and Truman wasn't on the wagon anymore. And he had jumped off the wagon and he was heading down to where they were making this pond. And we called it Walker's Pond back when I was growing up. It was on Howard Walker's property.

It was Piper property back then. But anyway, so those people that were on the bulldozers had actually been told by the Secret Service earlier that if Truman came down there to turn off the bulldozers and, you know, just sit on the bulldozers. And so if the president comes over and wants to ask you questions and and that kind of thing. And and so that's what they did. They saw they saw this guy coming down. They figured it was Truman or some of them recognized him. So they turned their bulldozers off and Truman got down there and was just chatting with him like, you know, like you normally chat with people. And he said, well, why did you turn off your bulldozers for?

I mean, you guys got work to do. And he said, well, we were told by the Secret Service to to do that. And Truman said, well, he says the next time they ask you to do that, you tell those SOBs that you aren't going to do that.

You just keep right on working. You know, he got everybody got a big laugh out of that. And of course, the Secret Service gets down there and puts him back on the wagon and away they go. But that was Truman. But he did get to talk to some of the people out there. But like I said, this this was a huge boost to his is it turned the tide as far as his his election. And he was really the only one in the articles I read.

He was the only one. Even his wife had given up. He was so far behind that he's going to lose.

And she said, we need to start packing things up to get back to Missouri and and live in Independence where our house there. And Truman says he doesn't want to give up yet. And the election came in November and he was listening to it. And he was holding his own and in it and Dewey wasn't blowing him away. And he goes to bed thinking that probably the next morning that, you know, that maybe I won't be president.

But he he was kind of had a quiet confidence. He thought he thought he was going to win. And the next morning, the results are are rolling in and Truman's winning and he's going to he's going to end up winning the election. And it was a huge, huge upset.

I mean, there was no way that he was supposed to win. But they say that win all started right here in the one horse town of Dexter, Iowa, in 19 September of 48. And a great job is always on the production and the storytelling by Monty Montgomery and a special thanks to Rod Stanley of the Dexter Museum in Dexter, Iowa. Dexter is a one light town and the small museum is right off the main street running through it. If you're in the neighborhood, I'll drop by and take a visit. We love visiting these really small, small towns and telling stories about them. And the national plowing match of 1948 helps propel Truman to victory. The story of Dexter and Harry Truman's campaign victory here on our American story.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-16 11:12:01 / 2023-02-16 11:28:49 / 17

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