Family Stories

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B-24 Bomb Run

My grandfather on my maternal side, Sumner McBee Williams, served in the Air Force in World War II.  But it wasn’t called the Air Force back then; it was the Army Air Corps (pronounced “core”).  He flew on a passenger plane to Italy, which was where the Army Air Corps base was.  He flew in a B-24 Liberator.  That is a type of bomber.  A group of planes together is called a formation.  My grandfather was such a good pilot, that he was chosen to lead a formation usually.
On one bomb run a formation led by my grandfather went to an enemy city and dropped their bombs.  On the way back to Italy, the formation had to cross a mountain range that was ahead of them.  Suddenly flak (a type of anti-aircraft artillery) started to fly up from the ground at the formation.  The rest of the formation made it over the mountains, but my grandfather had lost two of the four engines that the plane had.   He was going slow and flying really low above enemy territory.  He would have had to land because he couldn’t make it over the mountains.  But the plane had no more bombs and less fuel, so it was really light and might be able to make it over the mountains.  My grandfather had to decide whether to crash land in enemy territory, or try to make it over the mountains.  He decided to take the mountains.  He made it over, fortunately.  When he landed, the maintenance crew at the base checked the plane, and told my grandfather that flak was 1/8 of an inch away from hitting the fuel line, which would have destroyed the plane, and all 10 people on it.

How to Get Around

Once, when I was younger than 1 year old, I couldn’t move around at all.  I could move my hands, legs, head, and all that, but I had to be carried all around.  My parents left me in the living room, and left for a few minutes to talk to each other.  When they came back, I wasn’t there!  My parents got so worried, and they were about to come to the conclusion that someone had taken me, when they found that I had rolled under the couch.

Snip, Snip!

When my brother, Benjamin, was in Pre-K, his class cut paper to make figures for Christmas cards.  He became so fascinated with the cutting that he went overboard and cut it in half.
Benjamin then developed a fascination with scissors and took a pair with him to cut anything cutable that he could lay his hands on.  Once he got a stack of paper, sat down in his room, and cut one sheet into pieces, then another, then another, and another, and another, and another, and another…
Well, next week we were going to skip school to go to Sea World and Disney World.  Of course my brother brought a pair of scissors.  I got several cameras to bring so I could make a log of what had happened each day.  We had fun, celebrated my birthday at a Japanese restaurant, and I took lots of cool pictures.  I got a picture of a dolphin up close, I got a picture of some of the Disney characters, and I even got a picture of my birthday at the restaurant.  My best picture was of a dolphin about 50 feet out of the water.  I kept all of the pictures in my mom’s wallet to protect them from the deadly grasp of Benjamin’s scissors.
When we got home I made my log out of construction paper.  I put it on a high shelf so that Benjamin couldn’t reach it.  Man, he was clever back then.  He asked my mom if he could look at my log.  She got it down for him.  The next day, all I had to turn in was the shreds that were left of it.

A Work of Art

One day my mom got me a scrolling coloring desk.  That is a small red hardtop with knobs.  When you turn the knobs the paper moves to the left or the right.  It has very long paper.  I got one with the letters of the alphabet and pictures to go with it.
I colored all the way up to X, but then my mom told me to let Benjamin color one.  So I let him color Y.  He just scribbled on it in purple and was proud of himself.
I still posted it up on my wall, with one picture just purple scribble.  The first picture I had drawn was just like that, but it was more detailed.
The paper still hangs in my room, with the one letter scribbled.

How my Parents Met

My dad is a huge soccer fanatic.  He and my mom met on a soccer field in Winston-Salem.  My mom was in nursing school, and came to see her friend’s husband play soccer.  Her friend’s husband was on the Rabid Dogs, and so was my dad.  My mom saw my dad playing, and after the game, they met.

You Got Camp?

My mom's mother's father built a camp called Camp Mondamin.  My mom's mother lived there, and when she married, she married Sumner McBee Williams Jr., someone who enjoyed going to and working at camp.  They decided to build their own camp.  They built Camp High Rocks, the place where this scrapbook was created.

Unarmed, But Still Coming

My great-grandfather, Frank Durham Bell, claims that he won World War I all by himself, without firing a gun or anything.  He believes this because he was a truck driver and wanted to be a flyer.  He passed an examination and was told to go to his squadron, which meant to go back to his truck until he was called up.  They called him up and he was supposed to report to flight school on November 11, 1918.  The report was cancelled because on that day, the Germans surrendered.  He has always claimed that that was the reason they surrendered; they heard he was coming.