Gene was born at a very early age, in a Religious Cult on February 5, 1933 at 3119 Elim Ave. in Zion, Illinois. He was "brain-washed", from the get-go. So there he was without resources to do anything about this situation, and was uneducated, as he was only one day old. It was going to take a long time to remedy this problem, but Gene was going to try, just he didnít know how, because of his young age.
Zion is about half way between Chicago and Milwaukee, right on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The location was real good and the man who started this cult was not dumb, just a religious nut. Zion had everything going for it, except for the fact that it was a cult. The man, who started this cult town, was named Dr. John Alexander Dowie originally from Scotland and it was all his own idea and he bought all the land on the quiet, so that no one else could cause him trouble. He had a real business head on his shoulders.
He started a lot of businesses in Zion and could have been a multi-millionaire if he wanted to. He started a lumber yard, a cookie factory, candy factory, bank, schools (Grades 1-through collage.), a block long department store that sold everything from cloths, hardware, food, furniture and many, many more things. He also, built the biggest wooden hotel in the world. John also had a church built that would seat 8,000 people and one of the best church organs in all of America. There were other businesses that I canít think of right now. Oh yes, there was even an apron factory!!
Branches of the Christian Catholic Church were started in Australia, England, Germany, Switzerland and China. Mexico had its Paradise Plantation which was started by the Zion Church. There were churches and missions in Michigan City, Chicago, Phoenix, the Navajo Indian Reservation and Sacramento and also South Africa, Israel, Jamaica, Guyana, Philippines and Japan.
Dowie was so sure that all the rest of the world was going to hell in a hand basket. He set up Zion as this religious town where everyone was going to go to the same church and the people were going to work in the Zion Industries, as the were called, and everyone was going to live happily ever-after on land (The houses built on the church land belonged to whoever built the houses.) that belonged to the church. You know what this is called, in the real world -A Theonomous City!! But in reality it turned into a dictatorship!!
A person was free to leave the city of Zion, but if you wanted to stay, they must live by the churches standards. Dr. John Dowie died early in the development of Zion City, on March 9, 1907 after having a stroke that was brought on because too much pressure from trying to get Zion up and running and thinking that there was not enough time before the Lord come back.. It was Dowie that was instrumental in setting up Zion City as a holy city and dedicating Zion to the work of the Lord, as they said back then. Another man by the name of Wilbur Glenn Voliva after much infighting among the leadership of the Zion Church, after the death of John Dowie, was named General Overseer and it was this man that really became the true dictator of Zion.
Voliva was the one that brought Zion out of the bad times that was brought on by very bad financial advice that Dr. Dowie received in the early church in Zion. Voliva started many more of the Zion Industries and put Zion on a sound financial footing. But it was also Voliva who was instrumental in enforcing all the very restrictive laws the Zion Church had on their books. The Zion Church even had their own Special Police Force, that would check to see that the people of Zion, was not breaking church laws as there were no civil laws in the early Zion City with only the church in charge of everything. The original church building was destroyed in 1937 by a fire set by a mental deficient man who had a grudge against the Zion Church administration. Gene vaguely remembers playing among the ruins of the church after the burning down of the church building when he was 4 years old. He would collect the mosaic tiles that were left over after the fire.
A Zion Auditorium was erected and annexed to the Zion Collage Building. Voliva died on October 11, 1942. At this time a man by the name of Michael Jonas Mintern became the Overseer and Zion became almost a normal city but still too much religion. He died in May of 1959 when Carl Q. Lee became overseer. Michael Mintern had a daughter by the name of Muriel, who had married Geneís, Uncle William Maynard, who also emigrated from Canada to Zion, Illinois.
Getting back to Gene, there he was rolling along singing a song and picking his nose, as that is what children do. Remember at this time he was only about one year old and still, filling his diapers. Gene was still more worried about where his next meal was going to come from and he had good reason to worry, as here came, his brother Gordon who was born on July 27, 1934. Gene had to move over as Gordon was also hungry and you know where children eat when they are first born, at lease, in the time frame, when Gene and Gordon were born!!!
Gene had many brothers and sisters and so he had plenty of roll models as he continued to grow. There was Hugh, Herb, Mary, Lewis, Elmer, Alice and Florence, who were all older then him. And as he continued to grow there was Gordon, Vangie and Laura, who were younger then him. You may wonder where we all slept at night, and I still wonder to this day. We only had three bedrooms and also the living room to sleep in. At first we all slept three in a bed and maybe a couple of us in the coal-bin in the basement!! Just joking about the coal-bin, maybe!!
Gene and Gordon were lucky in that they shared a bed and when they were young, they had no problem about falling out of bed, as the bed had no real springs and Gene and Gordon were like inseparable, but this was good in the winter time as they kept warm and they didnít have a lot of blankets. All of us children were born between 1920 and 1937, so you can see that there was not much time between any of us, for an average, of 1.9 years, between children. Mother kept busy as you can see. Dad didnít let any grass grow under his feet either!! Or was that his butt?
Dad was renting the house at 3119 Elim Ave. from a Mr. Mouckmore who was just a little short of six or seven bricks in his upper story (Head). But thatís life, and this gave us children much amusement over the years, as children are cruel and make fun of unfortunate people.
Dad paid about $10 dollars a month rent and sometimes only $5 dollars a month. Even dad could not afford this from time to time and would fall behind in the rent. After all we did have 13 mouths to feed.
The Zion church would help us out, with food and cloths at Christmas time, and maybe a few other times also. But on a day to day basis, we ate a lot of liver, cow hearts kidneys and such. Zion didnít allow the eating of any pork as this was against their religion, which in Geneís opinion was very, very stupid. Also there was no drinking of alcohol or smoking of cigarettes. Life was real restrictive, as swearing was outlawed. This was to be a very gentile society, or so Dr. Dowie envisioned and we were to work hard and give 10% of our wages to the church, as the Bible tells us to do. Stupid policy!!! At lease Gene thought so.
When Gene was 5 years old he was to start kindergarten at the church school as there was not any other type of school in Zion. Thank God, Zion started the public school system that year and Gene didnít have to go to the Zion Church School, as he would have considered running away, before being forced to go to the church school. This is the way he felt even at the age of 5 years old. The public schools name was Elmwood School and it may be still in operation. At that time it was grades kindergarten thought 8th grade. Gene grew from a chubby little fart to over 6 feet tall and weighed all of 130 lbs at 14 years old and he had to throw out an anchor to hold him down anytime the wind blew. They didnít call Gene "String bean Gene" for nothing, at the time!! He had to pay them!!!
Gene was 8 years old when the 2nd World War started and he was listing to Terry and the Pirates on the radio when the announcer broke into the regular scheduled program and announced the Japanese had attacked Pear Harbor, at the Honolulu Islands at about 8A.M. in the mourning. The rest of the family was eating Sunday dinner and Gene called them in to hear the start of the war. The next 4 years sure did color our lives, as the whole country geared up to fight the Japanese and then The Germans as the Germans were already fighting England, Poland and a few others and now it was a real World War.
Up till Gene was 12-13 years old, he thought that every thing that was said, in the church, was the truth. Then Gene started to think for himself and have his own opinion. Just he didnít talk out loud to his brothers and sisters and parents about his emerging beliefs. Remember that the whole city was brain washed and just who was he to talk to, or what was he to think about all these things, all by himself? Gene was isolated in his beliefs!!
When Gene was 12 years old, his friend Billy Nighsonger and Gene would get into the pear trees that were in Mr. Mouchmoreís front yard. The one time Mr. Mouckmore saw us and chased us into Geneís back porch and grabbed Geneís hockey stick and chased Billy into the neighborís garden and broke the hockey stick over Bellies back and then came back through Geneís back yard and Gene thought that this was when he was also going to get a beating. But Mr. Mouckmore just muttered to himself and went back home. Billy and Gene at age 13 years old cut down twelve trees and dug up the roots for Bellies father who had way too many trees in their back yard. Gene and Billy though that it was great fun, even though it was a whole lot of work and for this they got a total of 12 dollars. Six dollars a piece and what were they going to do with all that money??? At the time a person could buy a big candy bar for 5 cents.
Dad was an illegal immigrant and this was to be a problem much later in dadís life. Dad worked at the Zion Cookie Factory all of his work life in Zion and so we had cockroaches wall to wall at home, as the things would walk home with dad on his work cloths. Zion being a religious cult, we all (Kids and all.) went to church two and even some times, three times on Sunday and to a prayer meeting on Wednesdays nights, sometimes. Sunday night about 9-10 P.M., everyone would gather in the living room and dad would read a chapter out of the Bible. After that we would get down on our knees and put our heads on the seat of our individual chairs and the couch, (Watch out for silent farts that you let during the Bible reading, before.), then each of us would say a short payer, out loud. Gene being shy, this was a real torment for him, in his mind. Gene considered it cruel and unusual treatment.
Dad was born in Canada, of a dirt poor farmer, who had emigrated from England about 1888. Dad was in the Canadian Army from 1915 t0 1918 and was wounded in France and almost lost his life. Grandpaís name was Herbert Leslie Maynard and he lied about his age and was also in the same regiment in France, just a Battalion construction company, until they really found out that Grandpa was too old and was shipped back to Canada and discharged from the Army. Dadís name was George Leslie Maynard, and dad was born on August 25, 1892. Dad married a Beadle from South Gardiner, Maine-U.S.A. on November 27, 1918. Momís name was Mary Gladys Beadle, who was born in Gardiner on August 30, 1897. They were married in Canada at Popular Grove, Nova Scotia-Canada, but at that time it was called Millers Creek on November 27, 1918. Grandpa and Dad worked for a Mr. Black from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada right on the Atlantic Ocean coast, after the dirt farm failed. Grandpa was the head gardener, and Dad worked as a chauffeur. That is until Dad backed Mr. Blackís car into a tree.
Hugh Leslie was born at Halifax on July 30, 1920- but the family soon moved to South Gardiner, Main-U.S.A., where Herbert Clarence was born on December 10, 1921 and Mary Louise was born on April 27, 1925, both at South Gardiner. My grandfather on my motherís, side, George Beadle said that there was lots of work in Gardiner. In Gardiner, Dad worked at several different jobs, as a laborer, because he only had an eighth grade education. Dad worked cutting ice on the Kennebec River and at a box factory and other odd jobs.
How mom and dad met, I am not so sure, but I think it was at a dance, at lease this is what I seem to remember my mother telling me. Dad was not so religious at that time, in his life. But after moving to Zion and some years passed, dad would get more and more religious, but thank God, mom did not. Dadís father had moved to Zion some years before, about 1924 and dad, mom and the older kids, followed in about 1926. Grandpa some how learned to raise flowers, when he was still living in Canada, as he was working for that man named, called Mr. Black at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Gardening was to be Grandpaís type of work for many years after immigrating to the South Gardner- U.S.A. about 1922 and then Grandpa moved on to Zion, Illinois about 1924-25. In Zion, Grandpa run a greenhouse for the Zion city for flowers and did a lot of work for the Zion church, designing their grounds and the same with the city. Grandpa won many, many blue ribbon prizes and cups over the years and was written up in national newspapers all over the United States. Grandpaís specialty was Gladiolaís.
Dad and mom moved around from place to place in Zion for some years, trying to get the cheapest rent, In 1926 living first at 2912 Edina Boulevard, then moving to 2109 Ezra Ave. in 1927, then to 2116 Ezekiel Ave. in 1930, then to 3117 Elim Ave. in 1931, then to 3112 Emmaus Ave. in 1932, then back to 3117 Elim Ave. . It is believed that dad didnít get along with Mr. Mouckmore the first time they lived at 3117 Elim Ave. But who in hell could get along with Mr. Six bricks short of a load man.
Because dad had a hard time of paying the rent at 3117 Elim Ave., and Grandpa owned a house at 3119 Elim Ave. in 1939. Grandpa gave this house, which was right next door, to where we lived at 3117 Elim Ave., to Dad. The house was about the same size and needed a lot of repairs, and the repairing of the house didnít start until about 1946 because dad was lucky to just put food on the table. The giving of the house caused a lot of trouble between dad and his brother Lewis and they were to have fist fights, about this from time to time over the years, when Gene was a small lad.
When it come time for the Maynardís to make the move to 3119 Elim Ave., next door, they had a lot of, not so willing help, in all of Geneís brothers and sisters. Gene was six years old and can still remember carrying small items across the way. To him it was fun, and to the older brothers and sisters it was work. And remember we had moved often the first 13 years of our life in Zion. To make room for our family, Geneís Uncle Bill and Aunt Florence Peters (Aunt Flo was my dadís sister.) and their three children, Billie, Margaret and Millie had to move out of the house at 3119 Elim Ave. Also Geneís uncle Lewis was living in the basement at 3119 Elim Ave. in the year 1932 before Lewis got married to Lois Tillman. So you can see that there were some, hard feeling about. As it was sure, that Lewis thought that he should have had the house at 3119 Elim, even though he never had any children. There was some sibling rivalry between Uncle Lewis and dad.
Gene can remember that after moving into the house at 3119 Elim, his dad rented three unused city lots that were close to where we lived and had the lots plowed with a horse and plow, ready for planting of all kinds of vegetables. We raised corn, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, potatoes, strawberries, watermelons and much, much more, so we saved money. Most of us younger children did the weeding, killing of the potato bugs and other things that are required to keep, a good garden. Also the back half of the lot where our house stood was used for the growing of the vegetables. Us younger children, when we could, would sneak off and go to Lake Michigan, as children do on a hot summer day. The lake was within walking distance. Some of us children would try living at the lake, as long as mom and dad were not looking. Vangie almost drowned one summer when she was 11 years old, in 1947 but was saved by a young boy by the name of Loren Leitch who had life saving training and just happened to be there at the lake. The saving of Vangie was written up in the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Gene feels that God was watching over his sister.
We did a lot of work and so we had what to eat in the summer. We raised chickens, in a chicken coop at the end of the lot, (The lot with the house on it.), and when Zion made keeping chicken in the city illegal, at the end of the Second World War, Gordon and Gene tore down the chicken coop and used the wood for heating the hot water with a small stove in the basement for the baths and washing of the cloths. This was another job that we had to do, to earn our keep, before us children went out to earn money at the average age of 14-15 years old.
Gene went and found his first paying job at age 11 years old, (Mom and dad didnít have anything to do, with Gene going to work at such a young age.), (All Geneís idea.) on a truck farm, just to the south of Zion, called Shawís. Gene hoed corn, weeded strawberries, picked raspberries and blueberries, etc. for 25 cents an hour, after school and Saturdays and 48 hours a week in the summer time. The next year Gene worked for another truck farm, called Hudsonís just south of Shawís, same hours and same pay. After that Gene would have jobs ever year at varied places, all through his school years. Sometimes, he worked three different jobs each day.
At age 13 years Gene and his older brother Lewis, worked after school on a construction site, building a shop for Bell Electric Co. and he also worked in a restaurant called Schwager where his sisters, Alice and Florence also worked. Gene worked day and night, before and after school and in the summer, 48 hours a week, Also he worked on a rich manís 300 cow farm, just outside of Antioch, Illinois, for a short while. At age 14 years old, at the newspapers again and worked for Rookís Drive In-Restaurant, as a general helper, (Where Geneís older sisters Alice and Florence also worked as waitresses after Schwager was sold to Walgreenís.).
Gene also worked at his high school at noon time to earn a free lunch. At age 16 years, Gene worked at Houghís Construction Co., building houses and small businessís buildings and also delivered newspapers and at the high school again. In the summer of 1950, Gene worked for a wrecking company at Great Lakes Navel Training Station, near North Chicago, tearing down old navel barracks buildings. In his last year at high school he worked at the high school again and in his spare time, (What spare time?) the newspapers again and the construction yet, for Hough!! It is no wonder Gene was tired out for work when he graduated in June 1951.
Gene also was working repairing the house during his teen years, as the older boys had offered to buy the paint to repaint the house and it sure needed it. But dad knew best and it was his idea to put new cedar shingles on the house, of course the shingles needed to be stained first, which was a job in itís self. In the end, we tore the front and back, huge porches off, and repainted the garage, as the garage didnít need new shingled on the outside walls. We also put new felt shingles on the house and garage roofs. It is a real bear of a job putting on cedar shingles, as each shingle had to be put on the outside walls individually and each shingle was a different width.
Gene helped to tear off the porches and put on new ones and did about half of the cedar shingles and over half of the felt roof shingles on the house and all of the felt shingles on the garage roof. We also helped tear off the wall coverings and put up new wall boards inside the house, and at the same time they rewired the whole house as Hugh, Geneís older brother was an electrician at the time. We also insulated the wall inside. Gene also helped a lot with the inside work, as he always enjoyed learning new things. At the same time he was taking four years of higher math and mechanical drafting at high school, for what reason, Gene didnít understand at the time, but it turned out real good in Geneís work life, later.
Getting back to Gene and the religious cult, he remembers once seeing a woman smoking on the corner of Sheridan Road and 27th Street, and he was sure that the woman must be a prostitute, how sad, but this is how much he was brain washed. One year later at age 12-13 he rebelled against all this religious crap and even though he couldnít do anything about it at the time, Gene told himself that when he was free at age 18 years, he would go his own way for religion and after some starts and farts, this is what he did!!
Zion church had a really great, after school programs for children. The church had a dark room for children to learn how to develop and enlarge and print films, (Gene had a lot of fun taking pictures and developing and enlarging them.) they had a woodshop for children to learn wood skills. There were a basketball court and weight lifting at the fourth floor of the education building (Called the Zion Collage Building.) and all kinds of board games at the same place. A disabled man named Howard Berquist was in charge of the forth floor gym and us young boys use to tease him all the time and even lock him in a closet and not let him out until it was time to go home. This is what stupid young boys will do. There was Chess, Chinese checkers, Monopoly, and many more and there was even an older boy that taught the young boys and girls how to draw!! There was a church camp, where Gene spent two weeks each summer, in his teens. This camp was up north on the Green bay side of Lake Michigan, near (Ellison Bay.). The water at that time was always cool and almost clear. Gene put on a diving helmet when the church camp had a swimming instructor there the last year Gene went to the camp and walked on the bottom of the bay, off the end of the Zion Church Camp pier. Gene remembers that the bottom of the bay under the water was almost all flagstone, with small rocks thorough in.
So you can see, not everything was bad, just restrictive. Gene spent thousands of hours in his youth at these hobbies and church camp where did Gene find the time, with all the jobs that he had at the same time?? Now that Gene is an author, he doesnít know how to get everything done, that needs doing. But Gene is a typical author and they are never done. They never want to give the manuscript to the publisher as they are always thinking of something to add or change!! All GeneĎs stories are on the internet, though and not for sale.
Gene was very shy and this made him a loner, he would not talk to the girls and this gave him time to do, what he wanted to do and not what the rest of the boys were doing, because they were busy following the crowd and the girls. He always thought for himself. Geneís high school psychology teacher talked to him, right in front of his class mates (Which was very dumb on the teachers part.), and told him that he would never have a girl friend if he didnít start talking to the girls. Gene at one time also though that he would never talk to girls. He was very, very painfully shy. Funny this is, he had no trouble getting married and had five wives over the years. Two of them were real beauties. He changed wives like some people change their underwear. Just he would not take any crap off any of, his wives!!
Still he was very immature in some respects. So he did lose out on a lot of experiences that he could have had. Gene felt bad about himself, because of the shyness. But overall he had a very different life and now that he likes himself, he doesnít know what he would have liked to change, as he didnít want to follow the crowd at all, in any form or deed!! Life is just too, too short for that kind of thing.
After graduating from high school and not wanting to work the rest of his life and quitting jobs almost as fast as he found them, Gene was desperate to get something going in his life, so that he could live the life that he wanted to. Gene had a job with North Shore Natural Gas Co. and after three months quite. Then he worked for a plumber called Bartholomew, who put old water pipes in new houses, so Gene quite. Then he worked at an, A and P Food Store in Zion, for restocking the food shelves, 12 hours a night, four nights a week. After about three months he quite, as this job was going no place. Remember that Gene had worked one summer, tearing down Navy barracks in high school, so now he worked for about three months with a navy project to build Navy Officers Quarters for married personal on that same land at the Naval Training Station near to North Chicago. There were some other jobs that he quite also.
So Gene thought that he had better join the Army and get away from Zion, as he had ruined his reputation for his work record, around the area. He promised himself that after getting out of the Army, he would get a job and keep it and that is what he did.
Gene joined the Army in Waukegan, Illinois on March 19, 1952 and went to Chicago for his physical. Then he went to Fort Sheridan near Chicago, for getting his cloths, his first shots and to wait for reassignment for basic training. Gene was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He had chosen the time of year to join the Army, so that he would not be going into basic training in the middle of summer. It worked out pretty good, as he was out of the training in early June. But he had forgotten about what school he had chosen, as a career choice.
Gene chose cooking as a way of getting out of advanced combat training, as he didnít want to be a-ground pounded. No way did he want to be a ground combat man. It is very hot inside the mess halls doing the cooking. The Army asked Gene if he wanted to go to Officer Candidate School and he said no way, as the Korean War was still going on and officers get killed more often, on average then ground combat soldiers. Gene didnít mind serving in the army, but he didnít want to die in the meantime.
So what happens, after getting through cooks school, the army assigned him to Korea, anyway. After having, a 30 day leave, in Zion, and with his mind in turmoil, because he was going to Korea after all. He went to San Francisco to be shipped to Korea. Gene was not a happy camper, as the Korean War was just what he was trying to avoid. Gene traveled on his first airplane flight, from Chicago to San Francisco in the old propeller type airplane on American airlines. When he got to Camp Stoneman, the army had sent his pay records to New Jersey and so Gene was stuck in California for about 40 days. Gene complained about this bitterly-not true!! Who can complain about some extra time in the city of San Francisco, right next door to Camp Stoneman. So he visited Aunt Flo and Uncle Bill who were living at Berkley, just outside San Francisco and his sister Alice, who was living in northern California, with her, then husband Allen Marshall who was trying to be a dairy farmer.
Anyway, Gene finally got his pay records and was shipped off to Japan on the U.S.S. Walker which was a troop carrier of about 600 feet. He had a good time on the boat, as he volunteered to work in the shipís bakery, which was much better then working in the troopís mess hall. The first few days, the troopís get real sea sick on average (But Gene didnít.) and there was wall to wall puck all over the deckís below where the troopís tried to sleep. Gene faked being sick the first couple of days and spent most of his time sleeping on the top deck, even at night time, until the sergeant who was in-charge of the bakery, found him goofing off.
Gene liked going up to the very front of the boat where a person could get soaked with the water from breaking waves that would break over the bow of the boat about every 10 minuets. In-between the big waves a person would dry off completely, and then here comes another wave. When you are young and stupid, these are the kind of things a person does!!! After all those salt water baths at the very front of the boat, his cloths were solid as a rock from all that salt water and they looked as white as an cookís uniform. Anyway when we got close to Japan there was a really bad storm and the boat had to turn around and steam back out into the main ocean, until the storm abated. Gene found a special deck, where he should not have been, and watched the storm, as it was a real beauty. The height and power of the waves was just mind bending.
After the storm the boat docked at Yokohama, Japan and he unloaded right into a Japanese troop train that was there to take them south, through the atom bombed city of Hiroshima, where a person could still see the damage that was done from the dropping of the atom bomb, in 1945. Then it was on to a U.S. Air base where the next day we were shipped to South Korea on a C-119 Flying Boxcar type airplane. The noisiest airplanes that he had every flown on!! They arrived in Seoul, South Korea-Kimpo Air Force Base and stepped out on to the ground where it was evident that Korea smelled just like shit. The whole country smelled like shit. Double ugh.
But one good thing, Gene found out that he was assigned to Scarwalf, which was the Army personal assigned to the Air Force. Gene didnít mind, in fact he was at first assigned to an abandon girlís school, minus the girls, worst luck!!! Still he had to cook and this is where he found out that he really hated cooking for the army. After about six months, Gene was given a job of being the boss over the South Koreans who worked for the Army on the air base, where he was stationed. As more then likely he was a lousily cook.
Gene liked the job of being a boss very well and this experience was to help him in his later work life, just he didnít know it yet. While in Korea, Gene saw some different things that a person would not see, except in a war zone. Anywhere a person went, on base and off base, they were required to carry some type of weapon. At different times he carried a pistol, rifle and short machine gun, (Called a burp gun.). Gene worked with another man named White, (who was three bricks short of a load.) as a boss of the Korean workers, just he worked on a different shift and when White was really drunk one day, Mr. White shot up the floor where he slept, with a whole clip from his machine gun. Another man called Barns would, when he was drunk, try to shoot his fellow buddies with his rifle. Every time his buddies saw him drinking, they would tie him to a chair till he sobered up.
You see, you couldnít take away a personís personal weapon in a war zone. And there was not much to do except get drunk!!! Gene never had a drink of alcohol in all the time he was in the Army. Gene was not in any combat, but he did see a couple of people killed while in Korea. One time three jet airplanes went overhead and they passed through the sound barrier and one of the planed dove right into a mountain, right before Geneís eyes. The only other thing to do in Korea was to run after the local girls, but this was dangerous, as the girls had maximum diseases. If you understand what I mean!! Gene also saw a whole freight train stop to pick up one of the local girls for a little fun and games!!! This was right outside the Air Force Camp where he was stationed!!
Gene was at one time, in his sleeping room during an air raid, as the North Korean Communism flew small Piper Cub type airplanes and a person was not too scared as the North Koreans only dropped 100 pound bombs over the side of the planes and was talking to his room buddy. When another man came into our room and started to argue with Geneís friend and after a couple of minutes, the man who came into our room, stabbed Geneís friend in the shoulder with a small knife. Gene had to go to a court marshal for the man who had done the stabbing.
About half way through his tour of duty in Korea the base where Gene was stationed was given back to the girlís school and he was stationed after that to a rice patty. This was at Anyang Aee about 30 miles south of Soul, South Korea. We had to go there in two and a half ton trucks and fill in the rice patty with sand and erect twelve man tents and after staying at an abandon girlís school it was quite a come down. While filling in the sand we had to dig drainage ditches and at one time Gene had dug up a dead North Korean Communist soldier. Canvas tents are a real bummer in the snow and ice of a Korean winter. After some time they gave them Quonset Huts which were a vast improvement. They learned to cope and almost enjoyed the area after some time. At lease we didnít see combat, even though all of Korea was a combat zone. In Korea when a soldier first arrived they also told a person what exact date that a person would leave for home and that was how it, was.
Gene was promoted to corporal while in Korea and then in late August 1953 was shipped back to America. Gene went by an army-two and a half ton truck to Seoul and then by a four engine Air Force Globe-master plane to Yokohama, Japan and from there by U.S.S. Darby (Another troop carrier.) to Seattle, Washington. After getting to Seattle and getting all new cloths, he went by Northwest Orient airlines to Chicago and then on to Zion for another 30 days of leave. Gene was very happy to be out of Korea!!
Gene wondered what he was going to do for the rest of his army life. After the 30-day leave, he had to rejoin the active Army, he went from Chicago to Denver, Colorado by United Airlines and then on to Colorado Springs, Colorado by Greyhound bus for reassignment in October 1953. While there and waiting for orders, Gene took his first little trip on a Greyhound Bus to Cheyenne, Wyoming and back, which started his wanderlust life.
Gene was assigned to Camp Atterbury, Indiana in November 1953. He went by Rock Island Pullman Car to Chicago and then on to Indianapolis, Indiana to finish his last few months in the Army. The only thing is they put him to work cooking again. Gene hated it and was very glad to get out of the Army on March 9, 1954, which was 10 days early. While waiting to get out of the Army at Camp Atterbury he was sent to a one week cooks school to learn how to manage a mess hall, but this was just a waste time school, for Gene as they didnít know what to do with him. Also he was working as a cook at one company when he was really supposed to be at another company and was reported AWOL (Absent with out leave.). The Army was in a real mess, between the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Gene did think about staying in the Army for about 2 seconds but was glad he didnít because he might have been sucked into the war in Vietnam and that was a very, very bad war for America. He ended his Army life as a corporal. Gene took a Greyhound to Zion, Illinois. On the way between Indianapolis and Chicago, a very nice good looking young woman asked him to stop at her house for a few days, as her husband was off on a business trip. Gene said no, was he stupid or what? Probably it was a good idea to go home, as this girl and whoever, could have been lying to him and really wanted to rob him. Who knows??
After taking about 10 day to get over the Army, Gene found a job as a receiving clerk on March 20, 1954 at Warwick Manufacturing Company in Zion, Illinois. They were manufacturing T.V. and stereo sets for Sears. This was a nothing job, but if you remember, Gene promised himself that he would get a job and keep it. But after a few days he was not so sure if he had not made another mistake. But he would tell himself that he must try, so he continued on.
The job was unloading the various trucks of small parts that make up a T.V. and stereo sets, which were many hundreds of difference parts. The cabinets for the T.V. sets and the stereo sets came into Warwick by freight train. He liked the job real good and Warwick had approximately 300 people and 200 of these were young girls. The pay was very bad, but after saying that he had to stay, he looked around to see what he could do, to improve myself right there. In the meantime, Gene took a home course in accounting, but he didnít like it. So Gene asked many, many questions at Warwick and fund out that he could more then double his pay by learning electronics. So he took a course in electronics and after about one year of working at Warwick during the day and studying at night-time, he was able to get his first job as a repairman of a small sub-chassis, which was a part of the main TV chassis.
While Gene was taking that electronics home course, and still working as a receiving clerk, he was asked by Joe Reardon, a middle level executive, if he would like to be Warwickís receiving clerk in Chicago, at a company called Halicrafters. Halicrafters was to finish a production run for Warwick of the old horizontal T.V. chassis, that Warwick didnít have time to complete. Warwick was changing over to a vertical T.V. chassis that was much easier to manufacture.
Gene was to go to the Warwick plant in Zion each morning and pick up any small parts that Halicrafters needed to complete, that days production run. If the T.V. part was not in stock at the Zion plant, he would stop at the Chicago venders, for that part and pick it up and take it to the Halicrafters plant with him. Or if the T.V. part was too big, then Gene would have it shipped on one of the local trucks that stopped at Warwick everyday. Chicago was only two hours away. He worked many hours of overtime at Warwick nights, picking out the parts that Halicrafters needed for the next days production run and at the same time studied electronics.
Gene liked this job very well, except one time he stopped at this vender that supplied parts to Warwick and seeing nothing wrong, went into the factory and picked up the part that was needed at Halicrafters. The clerk in the venderís, plant asked Gene if he had any trouble getting inside and he couldnít understand why the clerk was asking this question!! But he soon found out, when he tried to leave the plant, as he was stopped, because the vender plant was on strike and he didnít know it!! Gene could have ended up with a broken head or leg, as you donít mess with a factory that is on strike!! He went back and told Joe Reardon that he didnít like to be sent to a factory that was on strike, as he was a union member. This was real stupid on Geneís part, as he never advanced on the white-collar side at Warwick after that. And Gene was on the fast track to a good white collar job, before this happened!! Such is life!!!
Gene signed up at Warwick, (Warwick promoted from within.) for one of the starting T.V. repairmenís jobís and at the end of this production run at Halicrafters he got this job and he was on his way to bigger and better jobs at Warwick, just not in the white collar side of Warwick. In retrospect, it turned out very good, as when Warwick shut down later for good in 1972, Gene was able to get some really good jobs over the years, because of his electronic training. Gene married Louise Marie De Lap on November 7, 1957 who was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. The reason that he married her was he was tired of living at home and having to put up with dad, as no one ever got along with dad, no problem with mother as she would never say boo to a goose.
Next Gene was promoted to a job of group leader over the small IF Mechanical Board Chassis and in a few months Warwick started a Printed Circuit Board Chassis which replaced the earlier If Mechanical Board and Warwick never looked back. In another short time Warwick had five printed circuit board lines running and Gene was group leader over all of them for the testing, and repair. Gene had about 50 employees at this time and it was too, too much and Warwick broke it down into two different group leaderís jobs. Warwick now had a T.V. Chassis that was almost all printed circuit boards except for the high voltage section, picture tube and speaker.
James Ray Maynard was born on October 10, 1958 at 10P.M. at night. He was born brain damaged and never was right in the head the rest of his life. Also it didnít help that Jimís mother was not a good woman. Gene didnít help because he was gone, out of the house, to his work for too many hours, each day and Louise was very young.
Gene had a really stupid idea and that was he would join the Air Force and go to a really good electronics school. He had asked Warwick for a leave of absence and they said yes!! So this is what he did on October 7, 1958-three days before Jim was born. It was his hope, that Louise would like the military, type of life. Gene joined at Waukegan, Illinois and then went to Chicago for his physical and to find out where he was going to go to school. But first he had to go to San Antonio, Texas to pick up his military cloths and get his shots.
Then Gene went to Kessler Air Force Base at Biloxi, Mississippi-where he started school in the spring of 1959. Over 100 students started on this course of Air-born Radar School and when he finished in September there were only 9 of them left. So it can be seen that this course was not so easy. Gene finished with a grade average of just over 91%. His grade average would have been a little better, if he would have not made one stupid mistake in counting upside down tube socket pins, and Louise had not caused him so much trouble with her boy friends.
After getting out of school on September 9, 1959, Gene was assigned to Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base near Elk City, Oklahoma. After a short leave in Kenosha, he went out to Oklahoma and started to work on B52 Bombers and KC 135 refueling tankers, to repair Search Radar Sets and UHF Radioís. When Gene would be working on the B52 Bombers, he had to check the safety pins on the atom bombs, as the bombers had the Atom Bombs always loaded and had to be ready to go in 10 minutes time. This was very detailed work and a person had to be alert at all times.
After working at Clinton-Sherman for about three months, Gene got a letter from Virginia, who is a sister of his wife, saying that she couldnít find Louise (Geneís wife.) in Kenosha and some strange woman was taking care of his son Jim. She also said that he should try to get back to Kenosha, so that he could see that Jim was being taken care of right. The Air Force gave him an Early Honorable Discharge, on January 20, 1960 and he started back to work at Warwick on January 22, 1960.
After a little while, Gene had been promoted to a top analyzer of T.V. chassis and then to Group leader over a moving production line to test and repair the chassis. He liked this work real well and the training he had in the Army in Korea as a boss, helped very much. In 1963, Warwick started to manufacturing color TVís and after taking a color TV course, Gene was able to take one of these jobs as a Color T.V. Repairman that were offered and this was more money for him. He then took one of the top union jobs at Warwick, as group leader over the test and repair section of the color T.V. moving line. Gene was well suited for this type of work.
During the rest of the late 1950 and early 1960, Gene kept moving up to better and better jobs until he had one of the top jobs in the Union at Warwick. The pay was really good now and because of being paid for overtime, he earned more money each year then his foreman did. When he married Louise Marie De Lap, who was born on February 17, 1941 and was from Kenosha, Wisconsin, his wife didnít have to work, even though he bought new cars and two new houses.
On December 19, 1961, Louise and Gene would have a girl named Jeanne Marie Maynard and life went on.
Gene made a big mistake when he taught Louise to drive an then bought her a car, just for her to drive around town, while he was working at Warwick. Louise soon was in trouble with various men who had time to pay attention to her. Gene was working 12-14 hours a day, Saturdays and even some Sundays. He blames himself, for marring such a young girl and then not paying enough attention to her.
Anyway life would sometimes be good with Louise and sometimes bad. We had another child called Ronald Dean Maynard on April 18, 1966-who died the same day, and Louise was never right in the mind after that. We also had another child on July 11, 1969 called Pamela Ann Maynard. Gene tried very hard to stay married to Louise because of the children.
Gene never did learn and Louise continued to mess around with different men and so life was not so good, but he was still working so much overtime he missed seeing almost all of the thing, that Louise was getting up too. The children suffered through all of Louieís and Geneís troubles.
In 1968 Sears sold Warwick to Whirlpool and everyone wondered what was going to happen to Warwick. It was Geneís thinking that Whirlpool really didnít want Warwick as Whirlpool was a huge company and this proved to be true. Whirlpool after a couple of years, then sold Warwick, as a tax write-off, to a big Japanese company and the Zion Warwick plant gave notice that it would shut down for good on January 20, 1972. Gene worked for about one year as group leader over the final assembly line down stairs and Gene surprised himself as he never thought that he would like to run this type of assembly line, as before he always run testing and repair moving lines. But what to hell when a factory is shutting down a person must do what he can, because he still had a family to support. Finally except for a few people that worked to repair T.V. sets and stereo sets that was still under guarantee. Gene could have stayed on as Group leader over this operation, for another year, but didnít know that it was available. By the time that the Zion plant closed down it had grown to about 2500 people and this put a lot of people out of work in a small labor market. Gene had worked a few months shy of 18 years at Warwick!!
Gene could not fine work in electronics around Zion and had to take any job that come up. So he worked for Chester Electronics in Kenosha as a sales clerk for a little over a year, but this was not a good situation, as this job paid very little, compared to what he was earning, before Warwick shut down. At the same time that Gene was at Chesterís he was working two part time jobs just to make ends meet. So he started to look around Milwaukee for work. He was lucky, or so he thought, as he found a job with Allen Bradley Drives at Cedarburg, Wisconsin in late 1974, a little north of Milwaukee. Allen Bradley Drives was making 10 to 250 HP Drives for small motors. While Gene was at Allen Bradley, he divorced Louise on July 5, 1975, after 18 years of marriage as Louise continued to mess around with other men. So in short order Gene lost his job at Warwick, his house, car and kids as the courts always gave the children to the mother in those years, not like now-days.
Now he was down to one used car and Gene had to start all over and his first job at Bradley was laying out the electronic panels and cabinets for these drives, with transformers, resistors, fuses, relays and other electronically devices. After a while he moved up to inspector of the wiring of these same panels and cabinets. Then he moved up to a job of designing these same panels and cabinets. This last job was all desk work and a real opportunity. The only problem was, this was to be a two year training program!! The man that was training Gene, after two weeks, told him that he didnít like people and so he was on his own. Because the supervisor of the design department was an alcoholic there was no place to ask for help.
Gene couldnít work this way, as he was making errors and this was a responsible job and some of the power drives were for elevators and so had to be right, or it could be dangerous for the people using the elevators. So he quit and he thought he would go out to Boeing Airplane Manufacturing Company in Seattle, Washington to look for work.
Gene packed his 1974 Chevy (Vega-A small car.) with everything he owned in the world and after going to see his friend Dottie for a few hours in Milwaukee, he started for Seattle via Oakland California.
On the way to California, Gene went down any road he decided to, at any given moment. When he came to a road junction, he literally would go what ever which way the wind blows, as long as it headed somewhat west and away, he went. After leaving Dottie, in Milwaukee he grabbed any little road, until he came to Davenport, Iowa and then took I-80 West, going on the frontier side road that paralleled the main highway. He did this until he got to Colorado and just as he got inside Colorado he took Colorado Highway 75 straight south. It was some of the prettiest country that he had ever seen!!
Then Gene meandered over toward Four Corners where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet and where a person can walk in a very small tight circle and be in those four states in less then a minute. Then he went back into Colorado and north to near Denver, where he grabbed I-80 West again using the frontier roads again and then into Utah, Nevada and California. Gene wanted to stop at Oakland, California to see his sister Alice Marshall who is in a small religious cult.
Gene stayed with Alice and her son Leslie for one week, instead of going up to Seattle as he should have. Anyway Gene had a real good time as he and Les teased Alice about her affiliation with the religious cult. Even this, Alice was a nice host as she is a gentle person. Alice also showed him around the area.
Gene grabbed California Highway 101 that runs right along the coast of California North to Oregon and Seattle, Washington. While traveling on Californian Highway 101 in Northern California through the Sequoia Forest, he drove right through a 250 foot tall, Red Wood tree that had a tunnel cut right through it. It was very thrilling.
When Gene got to Seattle, he missed his children so much he didnít even stop to fill the gas tank, before he started back east to Kenosha. What a waste of time and money, except that it was the best trip that he had ever taken by car in his life!! He really, really saw America.
Gene went back East through Idaho, Montana and North and South Dakota, stopping at Mount Rushmore and the Chief Crazy Horse Monument near the Black hills. While in Montana, he went up into the mountains on some side roads and it got dark. Gene being a little bit lost ran over a skunk about 1:30A.M., which made for a real fun situation!! Now the car, the cloths and Gene all smelled like skunk and every time he went into a restaurant or motel, he was afraid that everyone could smell skunk. So he stayed as far away as he could from any people. Gene then went to St. Paul, Minnesota and on to Wisconsin. Then to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then to Zion, Illinois as he was almost broke and had to go to live with he parents until he could find a job and earn enough money to get a apartment up in Kenosha.
Gene needed a job real bad and had no idea what he was going to do to find a decent job. After looking for a job in Kenosha for a few days, he happened to meet a friend by the name of Jim Oliver from Kenosha, who had worked at Warwick for over 16 years, with him. Gene told him that he was looking for work and his friend told him that there was a job going with Al Naglie in Racine. Al had worked at Warwick at the same time that Gene did and they were well acquainted, as Al and Gene had correlated on the problems of production at Warwick over the years. When he went up to Racine the next day, Al hired him on the spot, in early December 1975. Was Gene lucky or what???
Alís business was designing and building testers for small motors, rotors and stators. Each technician would build a tester by himself, in most cases. There were only about 10 people, working there at the time, and most of them also had worked with Gene at Warwick, for many years. So it was also a fun job.
At the same time Gene saw an advertisement in the Milwaukee paper for ex-service men and women to join the Army National Guard. So he went up to Milwaukee and joined, and this was to be like a part time job, where a person would work one week-end a month, on Saturday and Sunday and a two week summer camp. The pay was pretty good for the amount of time a person would put in and a person would meet some interesting people and go to some interesting places. At summer camp most of the time a person would train as a soldier, which was not much fun, but because Gene worked as an electronics technician, he would get out of most of the soldier things. Also as a second job with the Army National Guard he drove a 5 ton army truck, which he enjoyed very much. In 1979 for summer camp they went up into the Pocono Mountains where the Army had a supply depot and training center. There were a lot of wild deerís in the woods even on the Army base. Gene was promoted to sergeant during this time.
By this time you must wonder what ever happened to the cult thing. Well I will tell you!!
Gene was working at Electronic Systems of Wisconsin in Racine, Wisconsin and enjoying life, as he was back with many of his former friends from the late Warwick Mfg. Co. from Zion.
One night Gene was in his small apartment, which was across from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside between Kenosha and Racine and it was in February 1976. He was watching TV as there was not much else to do in the middle of winter.
The door bell rang and when Gene answered the door there were a young couple there and they explained that they were in Wisconsin for the year, doing missionary work and they were with WOW, which was Word over the World. By this time he was not very religious, but said to himself that he would listen to what they had to say, which, was a whole lot.
Gene found this to be interesting and sense they lived only a stones throw away in another apartment in the same apartment complex, he decided to go see what this was all about, almost all of these people were hippie types, who were a group of young girls and boys with an average age of 21 years old. The fact that the young girls were not hard to look at had nothing to do with it. Gene was 43 years old at the time and it was the policy of this religious cult, that if any member of the cult wanted to date any of the young people who made up the leadership of this cult, the young girls and boys, they could not refuse the request. Was Gene happy or what!!!
There is always a pay back element to any scam that seems to be too good to be true, but isnít. Remember that all cults are scams. This cult was in reality, just a scam to make money for the owner of this cult. In fact the owner sold the cult to another buyer for over one million dollars a couple of years later. Gene really didnít care as he was having the time of his life, dating the various young girls who were in the leadership and any other girls who were sucked into this cult.
Gene did learn a lot about the bible during this time frame, while having fun, so all was not lost. This playing around in different cults was to have a lasting effect on Geneís life up till he was about 65 years old. As this caused a conflict in how Gene felt about religion through the years and maybe a person could say, even a waste of time, but what else was he doing??
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