19420799

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He is my answer when people ask, “where did you get blue eyes!?!”

Yesterday I got a great surprise (man, I love surprises) from one of my favorite men. That man goes by Donald. Jim. James (future sons middle name). Cowboy. Jimmy. Sprenger. But to me, he is Papa. I have a unique love for this man. I remember him most vividly screaming for me at State Track yelling, “com’on baby” as I brought in the anchor for the 4×4. He is also the guy that loaned out his cowboy boots to a curious 4 year old that just loved to trapse around in some big boots (which I still do regularly, now they are just a bit more….fashionable.) Long story short – this guy is incredible and wears a big belt buckle the size of a cantaloupe. I stood in the kitchen for a good 2 hours – along with Meg, my sister – and heard a few things from him that I never knew.

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 January 24th, 1952. This is the day he enlisted in the United States Air Force. 19420799 – 6362nd Squadrant. Did some training down in Texas and then went off to a little island called – Okinowa – for 2 years. His mother wrote him every single day. Now that is a good woman. So i heard the whole story. First of all, can you imagine going off to an other country right out of High School? No, most people have a hard enough time going 50 miles to college. The meat of this conversation is what I learned about this man’s character.

He was immediately appointed Right Front Squad Leader. If he messed up, his squadrant let him know. He was awarded Corporal Radiant and top in his training class. He said, “no matter where I went, I just kinda got picked out for leadership positions.” Some say leaders are born, others say they are made. Either way, I see a bit of myself in him. He was shop leader, head ref for the Air Force Basketball Team and went on to travel and play semi-pro basketball (i did not get that skill from him). He started his own business and went on to tell me that in all his years he NEVER borrowed own cent from a bank – he paid cash for every car (1st one was a 1956 Chevy Bel Air Hard Top…bright Turquoise), house, business opportunities. Now, some in Finance may argue the rationale in that but, point is, this man knows how to work, develop relationships, and what true devotion to family and business looks like.

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I am honored to be his grand-daughter and proud to be carrying his blue eyes with me where ever i go. Moral of this post? Take some time to talk to those around you, I mean – really talk to them – not just chit chat. For once, ask someone else a Question, and then listen. Most importantly, ask/listen to those who have a few years under their belt, especially if it has a big metal buckle on it. I plan to spotlight members of my family from time to time. This is the first.

I think, by doing so, you will inevitably learn more about me and how i became who i am.

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~ by Andria on June 18, 2009.

One Response to “19420799”

  1. Great story Andria, This is special because he is my favorite guy in my life!
    So glad you and Meg learned more about Papa’s life. So sweet. Good job

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