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Showing posts from November, 2007

Lindsey Z. Wilcox – Still at Sea – Final Part

Once more I sat down with World War II Veteran, Sailor and Baytown hero, Lindsey “Zeb” Wilcox. He is a survivor of the USS Indianapolis tragedy, a local hero of mine and one of the folks legends are made of. Without further ado, I continue his unique story. “880 men died, 317 survived and 79 remain with us and only 7 are Texans”.

“About midnight I was relieved of duty and made my way to the deck to lay down, when there was a tremendous explosion and fire came out of the forward starboard and port passageways, extending half the distance of the quarterdeck. We had been hit by 2 Japanese torpedoes and the ship was listing badly, so I grabbed my life jacket and literally stepped off the side of the ship into the water. I quickly swam about 50 feet away and donned my “Mae West” jacket. The ship, all 615 feet of her, sank within 15 minutes of being hit”.

“I saw a life raft and got inside and those of us who were unhurt began giving up our place in the raft to all the injured sailors and…

Making a mark on history

By Barrett Goldsmith Baytown Sun Published November 20, 2007

The Bayland Park boat ramp will soon be the site of a pair of historical markers honoring Baytown’s past, and organizers hope it will be the prelude to a renewed sense of historical appreciation in the community.

The Harris County Historical Commission worked with local resident Bert Marshall and other area history buffs to create a marker honoring the Confederate Naval Works at Goose Creek, a naval shipyard that produced warships during the Civil War. The marker was purchased entirely from a donation by Bayer Material Sciences.

Marshall said he was excited to do the research on the shipyard and make a contribution to Baytown’s historical landscape. The HCHC approached Marshall in March of 2006, and Marshall had already been looking into the history of the shipyard.

“I don’t think people realize there was such an involvement in this area with the Civil War,” Marshall said. “They built the little schooners that could go into shal…

Lindsey Z. Wilcox – Still at Sea - Part Two

This week I sat down once again with World War II Veteran and Sailor, Lindsey “Zeb” Wilcox. He’s a survivor of the USS Indianapolis tragedy, a true war hero of the best kind and one of the folks legends are made of. Without further ado, I will continue his unique story. 880 men died, 317 survived and 79 remain with us.

“The railroad work taught me skills early on and I never went without a job. I bid on an opening in my hometown of Dequincy, Louisiana in 1941 as a Roundhouse Clerk, which was the fellow that worked on the turnaround or roundtable for locomotives, but lost it to another fellow who was also promised the job. I was taken in by the Master Machinist even though I had no family connections and was accepted for 65 cents an hour pay. I entered the program in 1941 and was able to complete it after the war in 1948”.

“After 6 months, I was given a raise of a half cent an hour. Back then I paid $5 per month full hospital insurance too. I worked 6 days/48 hours a week and learne…

Lindsey Z. Wilcox – Still at Sea

This week I sat down with World War II Veteran and Sailor, Lindsey “Zeb” Wilcox and I must say he is bright-eyed and full of enthusiasm. He’s a striking-looking man with wide shoulders and I reckon he was no one to truck with, back in the day. As a survivor of the USS Indianapolis tragedy, he’s certainly earned his place in history and the many books written about the sad event. In short, he’s a true war hero of the best kind and one of the folks legends are made of. He’s made of the fiber Baytonians love to brag about and he represents all that is good about our city, state and country.

Today’s article will be part one of three or more parts chronicling his life and the four hellish days he and his fellow Sailors and Marines endured, floating in the Philippine Sea after Japanese Submarine I-58 hit their Heavy Cruiser with 2 “fish” or torpedoes. The sinking of his ship is noted as “the worst single at-sea loss of life in the history of the U.S. Navy” and he lived through it all to…

A Little Stupidity Goes a Long Way

“Stupid people should seek out other stupid people and restrict their communication to those individuals”. I first became aware of this bit of advice a number of years ago and regrettably, I get daily reinforcements of its simple wisdom. I don’t think it should become law though, but if somehow the message could get out, it sure would make conversation a lot easier for those of us who have taken the time to get an education and learn social graces.

In my formative years, my Dad, who was and is a great man in my eyes gave me continuous instruction concerning this very subject and unless he’s mellowed considerably without my knowledge, will not tolerate stupidity in any form.

So, what exactly is stupidity, especially in the context of my initial quote? Stupidity implies that the attributed party is not mentally retarded but rather is willfully ignorant and/or unintelligent, and displays poor use of judgment or insensitivity to nuances.

Being stupid does not mean a person has a low I.Q., …

Alive and Kicking She Is: Ms. Myrtle McDaniel

It was my pleasure recently to spend an hour or so with long time area resident Myrtle McDaniel. We sat outside Green Acres of Baytown Nursing Home on Beaumont Street and enjoyed the warm sunshine, cool temperatures and low humidity chatting like old friends.

Ms. McDaniel is 88 years young and came to Baytown when she was just a child. Her father retired from Humble Oil after 44 years service. Her mind is sharp as a tack and we talked about old times, laughing like two little kids.

For the last many years, McNair has been her home and we both knew Tyree White, now passed on. “Tyree was a BBQ cooking fool” I said and she laughed and said he sure was. While we chatted, her in her wheelchair and me on the large oversized rocker, everyone who passed by had a kind word for her and she a “Hey, baby”! I asked if she knew of Granny Adcock out in Highlands and of course, she knew who she is. Granny, like Ms. Myrtle are local treasures.

She told me this has been her home area all her life and she …