I’ve been asked many times why I don’t write more stories about Letcher County, and why I did not return to Jenkins when I retired.
I left Jenkins January 1, 1946, a young kid of 16 years old, to join the military. I had never been away from home before.
I had never been anywhere other than Kentucky and Virginia. The top secret job I had did not allow me to come home anytime I wanted to. I only came home on leave, or on a delay-in-route on my way to my next assignment.
I served during wartime, many police actions, the Cold War and the Cuban Crisis. We sometimes had armed guards in our printing department while printing classified material. Often we could not use our telephone for any reason.
Once while my family and I were on leave at my parents’ home at Cane Branch, the Jenkins police came to our farm where there was no phone and told me to call my office at Travis Air Force Base in California. When I got in touch with my office, they told me to return at once.
In my 27-year military career, I did not visit Jenkins that much, so I kind of lost track of Letcher County.
I only read about it in The Mountain Eagle, and letters from my parents.
As for not returning to Letcher County when I retired from the Air Force, I had a job waiting for me in California that started with the largest construction company in northern California, printing on weekends.
My last seven years at Travis I was sent to my fifth overseas assignment with the understanding that I would return when I retired from the military.
I ended up working for Syar Industries in Napa, Calif. part time and full time for 48 years, and retired when I was 81 years old.
It was the best and only civilian job I ever had. I was making more money than I had ever made in my life.
The only thing I do now is manage the over-80 senior softball team. I just started my 33rd year.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.