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Warren X. Ison was a true Renaissance man, a scholar, teacher, B-24 mechanic, rail-fan, hitch-hiker, husband, and my father. He was the son of a teacher from South Dakota and a Bavarian-born steam engineer and Union man. An Ohio boy, he grew up during the Great Depression, went to college, and then to war. After the War, he continued his education, finishing a Masters in History at Bowling Green of Ohio. His calling was as an educator – he taught in small rural schools across Michigan, including the newly formed Maple Valley district in Nashville and Vermontville, Michigan where he was the first librarian.
He married my mother, Mary Allen, a good Mormon girl from Utah (and that is a story in itself). He remarried after Mary’s death, to Ferceyna Easterlin – who he picked up in the Graduate Library of the University of Michigan. They were in a Reference class together and they both wanted a smart person in their lives. She was the sort of woman who could understand someone deciding to hitch-hike to Alaska and ride trains for fun. And she didn’t mind an instant daughter.
This book, and several others, are products of my father’s imagination. He wrote this book in the 1960’s – while I was in high school, so in some ways I grew up with Hila and Beta and the others. He wrote – and re-wrote – and edited – this book on a typewriter – which meant multiple copies, lots of paper, and a good deal of frustration, but ending in a manuscript that he sent out to publishers. My father never did find a publisher, but here we are, 50 years later, and this is my chance to share the world my father’s imagination created. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
Round Rock, Texas