• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Papa has written about the work his father did and graciously agreed to be a guest blogger in honor of his father's birthday - Saturday, 24 November 1921. Special thanks for sharing, David. 

1965 Wallace Will Ames

"My father told us stories; stories of his childhood; stories of War, of blessings, of work and of whatever came to mind in the situation which inspired the memory.  We loved to listen.  He stories were real life true adventures which he had experienced. 

"My father worked and taught us by precept and example how to do the same.  He tells about plowing with his uncle’s unmatched horses.  When the horses got to the end of the row, they could not work together to turn the plow to go back the other way.  While uncle went to get a whip to help the horses, dad - just a young boy - unhitched one, turned the plow with the other, then hitched them back together.  Uncle was not grateful and warned him severely about spoiling his horses. 

"The first job my father ever told me about was working for a Greek restaurant.  We loved hearing him quote his boss, “Don’t say nothing for the Greeks.”  His boss was a man who was ready to defend his people at all times.  Working for the Greeks Dad became one of his people.

"When Dad first started, all of the other workers spoke in Greek when they didn’t want him to understand what they were talking about.  He decided to do something about that.  While he went about his work from day to day he would listen carefully to what they said.  One day the boss said something and Dad answered in Greek.  After the initial surprise, disbelief, “Who taught you to talk like that?” and denials that such a thing was possible Dad became a Greek.  The boss finished teaching him how to speak that language. 

"His ability to acquire a language would serve him well in the military.  When he was about 17 he joined the National Guard 1. His older brother, Charlie, was in the CCC’s (Civilian Conservation Corps).  Before Dad turned 18 World War II had begun and he wanted to join the army.  The Guard did not want to let him go until he was enlisted.  The army couldn't take him until he was released.  Dad was persistent.  To resolve the issue the army recruiter came to the guard.  His description of the transfer eludes me but the fact that papers were signed and exchange in such a manner that he was never out of the military was important.  Papers were signed and exchanged and he went suddenly from the National Guard to being an enlisted man."

"Dad had not told his step mother Irene that he was going into the army and Irene knew that he was not old enough to do so.  On the day he joined he went to the door with his bags packed.  His step mother asked him where he thought he was going.  He told her to the army.  She was emphatic that he was not going to the army.  Setting down his bags and leaving the door open Dad went back in the house and sat down and tried to appear submissive, (probably for the first time since Irene had become his step mother.) 

"He watched out the door until he could see the bus coming down the road.  He jumped up and ran, grabbing his bags as he went.  Dad did not stop running until he was on the bus.  The stories of the military are too numerous to be considered as part of a work history.  War is much more than work but a way of life.  Some of the stories do, however fit here.  

"Dad had to move sacks of grain.  They were heavy and he decided that he might as well use them to build up some muscle while he was working.  Rather than move one sack at a time he moved two.  As a result his neck became so large that the military could not issue him a shirt which would button on the top button. 
"Dad had learned how to type.  At some point in his military career he was given the job of typing.  There was a disagreement between the men and the commanding officer and Dad began to type one letter at a time.  He claims to have been able to copy a Zane Gray novel at 80 words a minute, but in the military typing one letter at a time or typing 80 words a minute was obeying orders.  Until the commanding officer got problems straightened out, Dad obeyed orders.

Sgt. Wallace Will Ames

"His [military] tour took him through Australia, Korea, and the Philippines.  He was careful to learn the language of the people he lived with wherever he went.  One time in a lunch line he noticed an unhappy server. Each man would ask for just a little bit of potatoes by saying ‘skoshi’ [sukoshi *– Japanese for ‘a little bit’]. The server would dip his spoon deep into the pot and slap as big a spoonful of potatoes on the soldier’s plate as he could get. When my dad’s turn came he said 'cho kum' [Korean*  for ‘a little bit’]. The server smiled, dipped his spoon into the potatoes and put a nice serving on Dad’s plate, “You number one Korea speak,” he said.

"One of his stories of language is the other way around.  A young boy had been helping in the camp and Dad decided to let him go.  “O.K,” he told him, “get a handful of gone.”  The boy looked at him as if puzzled and answered, “Handful gone, handful gone, what kind of talk that?”

"My dad had an experience in the military which would determine the choice of his life’s career.  He injured his shoulder and went to the military hospital for treatment.  The doctor sprayed it with something which deadened the pain.  Dad had heard of Chiropractic and asked the doctor about it.  The doctor declared that Chiropractors were nothing but quacks and if he went to one he would be harmed.

"My older sister DD tells us, 'According to Chapter 24, page 2 of his last journal, it was a swelling on his back between the shoulder blade and the spine that he was sent to the infirmary for by the sergeant.'

"Dad was released and declared to be better.  As soon as the deadening wore off the pain was back.  He went back to the military hospital but was not admitted. The doctor there determined that he was just trying to get out of work.  A friend knew a chiropractor and told Dad to go to him.  The chiropractor fixed dad’s shoulder and directed him in the start of a new career.

Sgt. Ames with Chinese POW

"In Korea Dad was a front line Medic.  I remember standing with him in the airport talking to a young soldier about a patch the man had on his uniform.   The youth explained that it was a medical corps patch and was very difficult to get.  My father told him that he had been in the first unit of that corps.  The soldier’s admiration and respect for my father were genuine as they talked of now and then.

"I was with my father again as he was preparing for bypass surgery.  His surgeon came into the room and Dad addressed him in one of the languages of the Philippines. After conversing for a while in this language my dad told him that he had served there as an army medic.  He asked the Philippine surgeon what his chances were.  The answer was emphatic, “We can’t lose you.”  This was not the statistical answer normally expected from a professional surgeon to an anxious patient.  This was a man who held the life of what he considered to be a great hero in his hands.  I’m not sure how it would appear on a resume but dad was a front line hero.

"One of the jobs my father had was stacking chairs for the Seventh Day Adventists.   He said the job paid about the same as the cost of the bus pass to get there and go home again.

"While completing his education Dad taught X-ray in college.  At the end of Dad’s education he had acquired an addition to his name.   He was now Wallace Will Ames D.C., N.D., D.PT.  (Doctor of Chiropractic, Naturopathic Doctor, Doctor of Physiotherapy.)  Mom just called him ‘Doc’.

"After graduation he got a job for Spears Chiropractic Hospital.  Dr Spears often took him to task about not following the college’s practice of painless manipulation.  One day Dad asked why it was that all the patients asked for him and another Dr who were not practicing the Spears method. 

"Dr Spears told him how wonderful it was to have the security of working in the hospital.  He told him, 'It’s a hard world out there.'

"Dad asked, 'How much notice would you need if I were to leave here.'

“ 'Two weeks', he replied.

"Dad gave his two week’s notice and went out into the hard world. In Delta he struggled to pay rent with patients paying in kind.  He ordered a correspondence course in writing and thought to support his family as an author if his practice should fail.

1965 Lt. Gov Kiwanis Club in Delta Colorado **

"In 1969 we moved to Canada after much fasting and prayer.  Dad applied for a license in beautiful British Columbia, also in the province of Alberta.  

"One day he received letters from both provinces in the mail.  BC said, ‘be here tomorrow with the fee and we will give you the test’ and then listed all the obstacles which would need to be overcome to become a chiropractor in BC.  The letter from Alberta said, ‘we have looked at your grades and work history.  We will license you without further testing if you come in the next six months’.  Part of that work history [credential's Alberta licensing looked at] was Dad’s determination to keep up on education.  He learned and studied all the advances in physiology as they happened.

"In Grande Prairie, Alberta my father’s chiropractic practice flourished. 
"While practicing in Grande Prairie, Dad introduced us to a new branch of psychology called Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP.  Among other things NLP exposed the physiology of learning.  After he had become somewhat satisfied with this new science he checked into something which was touted as ‘photo learning’.  He took the course in photo learning, then became certified in teaching it.  As a service to the community Dad began teaching a photo reading course locally.  I believe the only charge was for the materials his students needed to complete the course. 

1983 Wallace Will Ames Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

"When he retired his patients continued to come to his house for treatment because there was no one else who could do what my father could do.  I often heard him say, “I used to get paid for what I do.  Now I am good for nothing.”

1. National Guard: The Militia Act of 1903 organized the various state militias into the present National Guard system. With the passage of the 1916 National Defense Act approximately one half of the United States Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organizations were National Guard units. The Air National Guard as part of the United States Air Force was established in 1947.

Title 10 of the US Code states:
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

sukoshi – Japanese for ‘a little bit’;

* cho kum - Korean ; possibly also Tagalog, a language from the Philipines

** presenting Driver of Month Award to a High School student