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Along Life’s Way
The Lieutenant Who Never Forgot
By Lois E. Wilson
In the forties, we lived in Dayton, Ohio, in what was called a Dutch-Colonial 2-story frame house. I’ve studied some architecture, and it was neither Dutch nor Colonial. It had three upstairs bedrooms. The one bathroom, which had a tub and no shower, was across from my bedroom.
During World War II, my Dad was designated 4-F for health reasons. He was a teacher, and selective service was trying not to reach too deeply into that category of employment. He did what he could and became a certified Air Raid Warden. I was quite young and don’t know if it was an ad, a government solicitation or word of mouth that brought a roomer to our home. I believe my folks wanted to help the war effort in any way they could.
Our roomer was a young, Army 2nd Lieutenant, Lt. Shull from Findlay, Ohio. His bedroom was small with only a bed, a chest of drawers, a nightstand, and a blanket chest. I don’t believe it had space for a chair.
He was the perfect roomer. He didn’t smoke or drink; he came and went without disrupting the household. I never bumped into him going into or out of the bathroom that everyone shared. I don’t remember that he ate with us which suited my Mother as she was teaching full-time.
I never felt uncomfortable around Lt. Shull. He’d ask about my schoolwork, what I liked to do, and seemed truly interested in this little girl—me. I didn’t have any siblings, so I began to wishfully think of him as my older brother.
I don’t remember how long he was with us. After the war and throughout the years, he and my parents exchanged Christmas cards and maybe an occasional phone call. He had gone back to Findlay and let them know when he married and had children. They informed him of my activities, marriage, and their grandchildren when each arrived.
Because of his job, Jim and I, and our two sons had moved to Eaton, Ohio. His parents lived on a small farm nearby. One day my Mother informed us that Lt. Shull had called and wanted to give our two sons a mare and her colt. He delivered them to Grandpa Wilson’s farm. The boys named the mare Sparkle and the colt Skyrocket.
When he was young, my husband had a pony and later a quarter horse. Jim still had his old wooden horse cart which we hitched up to the mare. Our boys had days of fun with their horses.
It is remarkable that Lieutenant Shull remembered his time living with us and was generous enough to give my sons his wonderful gift. Since then, I’ve pondered over the event and wondered— those years ago, could he have thought of me as his little sister? I hope so.

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