Ernest William "Willie" Calkins
At age 94 (and counting), I have been "encouraged" by family members to collect my memoirs into a repository where anyone who may have an interest can go to read about my life. So we've been real busy around here scanning pictures, organizing information, and trying to piece nearly 95 years of history together.
My service on the U.S.S. Texas served as a pivotal point and influenced my career from then on. Occasionally, I will meet someone for the first time who notices my cap with the ship's insignia and who seems genuinely interested in that part of my history. Therefore, I think it is fitting that this web site also provide a means of contacting others who either have also served on the same ship or would like to know someone who has. It would be wonderful if there are still some surviving shipmates of mine, of course. It would be heart-warming to know what became of my old buddies since we were kids back then.
I became a widower two years ago after 70 years of marriage to, yes, the same person. To say that I felt derailed is to put it mildly. Even though my wife's death was a long time in coming, no one is ever truly prepared for the actual event. So, my life since then has been "blessed" with many changes to which I have adjusted marvelously, I'm told.
If someone had told me at any time in my life that I would find myself living in Costa Rica, I would have laughed out loud. The good ol' U.S. of A. is, as we all know, the best place on earth. And yet, given that my eldest son and his wife had already made that decision for themselves and I was now alone, it seemed worth a try to be with family who genuinely want me in their world. So, here is where you will find me, in La Fortuna, near an active volcano with bananas and tropical plants in the front yard.
I spend my days in front of my computer...
doing one thing...
usually wearing myself out reading my Windows manual and trying to figure things out while my little dog, Shadow, keeps me company.
We have people coming and going most all the time working on some sort of project around here. They all speak a language that I don't understand, but we manage to cordially extend best wishes to each other, nonetheless.
Naturally, I am quite a specialty item given that I am a gringo among few in this area, not to mention that I am one of the most senior individuals that they have met. Everyone seems impressed that I am still "strong and mentally alert" which is pretty good, I guess.
Last year, after taking a tumble when trying to grab one of our dogs, I survived hip surgery in what some would describe as a third world country. Actually, the hospital (CIMA) is affiliated with Baylor out of Dallas, so they do have top quality medical services. We have a doctor who speaks English and manages to keep us all going with a bevy of pills as is typical for those who are into our Golden Years. It takes a weekly family conference get all of our medications lined up for the next seven days, but we seem to be managing pretty well, all things considered.
My Service Record - NEXT