I’ve been thinking about writing my story for a long time. Since having started I realized that there is so much that I could get caught up writing and it would take up a whole lot of space and time. I am going to hit some of the highlights that have been important to me. And when it comes right down to it, my mind and memory isn’t what it use to be. I plan to tell my story concentrating on my immediate family. For very short periods in my early years I had little contact with the Town side. And the Dailey side would be better told through others. There were good times, but most of what I remember are the times together that always seemed to end up in drunken arguments. Or my Uncle Alva, Mom’s brother, twisting my arm up behind my back to get me to say, “Uncle”. Which I recently learned he did with my sons.
I was born July 26, 1940 in Bremerton Washington and was supposed to have gotten the name Forrest Evans Towne Jr., or maybe the III. But it got overruled by my Grandpa Archie Dailey and was named William Forrest Towne, after a sheriff in Whitman County Washington by the name of William Dailey. At least that is the story I was always told.
My first memories start when I was about two or three. We lived in, what I assume, was a farm on Bainbridge Island. I remember a glassed-in kitchen that looked out at a barn. Parked alongside the barn, my folks had a long, about 25 foot, black speedboat. When Pop had it in the water, one of the things he like to do was race the Washington State Ferries, especially the Kalakala, that ran between Seattle and Bainbridge. Before leaving the dock they always had me wearing a life vest, like the old cork ones you see in old movies. One day it was accidently got kicked off the dock and sank. I never had to wear a life vest again.
Later we moved from the farm to a little cottage. There was a Marine and his family living in a house behind us and he use to bring us boxes of Snickers and other chocolate candy bars, things he was able to get at the Navy exchange that weren’t readily available in town. He had a young daughter about my age and we decided to cut each others hair, we got in big trouble. Playing around the house one day, I found a Pepsi bottle with what I thought was pop and drank it. It turned out to be turpentine. The only thing that I could eat for a while was Jell-O. With everything being rationed it was hard to come by until Mom told the grocer what it was for. We got all the Jell-O we needed. Pop and a friend of his, Roy Jimenez, bought “ME” an electric train set for Christmas. I was only allowed to sit and watch them play with it. One time they set it up in the living room and decided to take the cab off the motor. I don’t know which, but one of them thought they could sharpen their penknife on the wheel of the engine as it was going around. The blade broke and went flying out, breaking the bay window in the living room. One Halloween, Mom and a friend of hers decided to go out trick-or-treating, mostly tricking. Mom had an empty thread spool that she notched around the edges. then she would wrap a string around it and put a pencil through the hole. They would go up to someone’s window, lay the spool against it and pull the string. It made quite a racket as it ratcheted against the window. Then they would grab me and we would run into the woods and hide. Setting here, thinking about that time, I was not aware of a War going on. Or that there was not a lot available because of it. We always had what we needed and seemed to have fun. Pop taught me how to wolf whistle and I remember riding around, standing on the back seat of his Hudson convertible, whistling at girls on the street. Pop got some really dirty looks.
About age four or five, after the war, we moved out to Grandpa Town’s farm in Altmar New York. He had a couple of Belgian Draft Horses. They were the biggest things I had ever seen. When we sat down for dinner, I remember, Grandpa had a big bowl at his place and he would put everything in the bowel. He figured it was all going the same place. There was a pond on the property that I could go fishing at, using worms that Grandpa told me to just carry in my pocket. My Mom didn’t appreciate that when she checked pockets before doing wash. Later we moved closer to Pop’s brothers. They had bought a truck and trailer that Pop drove into New York City hauling goods. I remember the kitchen in the house that Mom and Dad were renting. One time we were sitting, having dinner, during a lightening storm. All of a sudden, a bolt of lightening came slamming into the kitchen and bounced between the water and gas pipes. Mom and Dad got pretty excited. The trucking company didn’t work out, Pop was doing all the work and brothers were taking all the money.
When I was about six, we moved back to Washington.