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Don Locke: Lookin’ Thru Bifocals

Edmond was my daddy’s second cousin. Daddy and Edmond’s mother Betty were own (first) cousins. Like a lot of young men during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Edmond had joined the army. Twenty-one dollars a month (private’s pay) was better than no money...much better.

The summer I was five or six Edmond was home on leave and pulled into my daddy’s country store for some gas. He had managed to scrape enough together to buy a second-hand car. Edmond was known back then as a “dandy.” Along with his Hollywood good-looks, he was single and wore the best clothes: shark-skin type pants, brown and white Spectators, wing-tip shoes, a light-tan Hollywood polo shirt with the shoelace type collar.

Finding good looking girls was no problem. Edmond had one with him-a looker. She sat in the front seat-beside a portable radio (the first I ever saw.) It had an alligator skin like covering with a suitcase handle. She smiled at me when I looked in.

Gas was 15 cents a gallon. Edmond bought a dollar’s worth. Then he took my daddy aside.

“Luther,” he said, “if its okay, Mamma said for you to let me have two dollars and put it on her account.” Daddy did.

Edmond and his beauty waved and drove away.

Edmond Wilkins, the first soldier from Muhlenburg County, Kentucky, killed in World War II in the invasion of the island of Sicily.

Kindest Regards.

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