Biographical Notes
Relating to
The Earl E. Myers Story

Chapter 1 — The Early Years

When I was born my Father and Mother took one look at me and split, one heading North and the other heading South. My sister and I moved in with my grandparents, the ones that really raised both of us. Their home was on North Delaware in Independence, Missouri, when the telephone number was 4 digits. Grandad's number was 2528 and you would pick up the phone and ask the operator, “give me 0644”. My Grandpa retained those 4 numbers with some mod's even after having an area code and a prefix number until his death in 1966 at age 89.

My Dad would often take my sister and me on Sat. afternoon's and we would stay with him overnight with his new wife. They would go to the Saturday night movie and we had to stay home. I was about 6 and my Sis was 2 years older. We would play in the house as we wern't allowed outside. Sometimes we would get a little wild and knock something over and when they came home he would whack me with his 3" belt before I was awake and up the next morning. Well I got up fast and ran around the Dining room table. He could not catch me and that just made things worse.

We would have cereal for breakfast and if I made a noise while chewing my corn flakes he would give me a tongue-lashing. He worked at various jobs selling vacuum cleaners and other things and then he got a job at the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Kansas City.

Earl E. Myers with dog “Fluffy”
in 1925
Photo Ctsy. Earl Myers

In 1933 he went to Grand Island, Nebraska and started an automobile supply company, working out of the back of a 4 door 1928 Buick. He took the seats out of the back and built shelves for different auto parts and tools. He would be on the road traveling Nebraska leaving on Monday morning and returning on Friday evening or Sat. morning. Years later he had the largest auto parts store in Grand Island.

I was with my Dad for 3 weeks in the summer. Mina, his wife, a German immigrant, would write down all the things that displeased her and he would clear the slate with his belt, or a fan belt, radiator hose or what else that was handy, on Saturday morning. Some of his customers would come to the house to buy different parts as he had a supply store in his basement that was well stocked. Some would ask, “‘Little Boy‘. or ‘Sonny”, what do you want to be when you grow up, a policeman, a fireman?” I replied, “I want to be a pilot”. My Dad would say he's to damn dumb to be a pilot. Hell, he couldn’t pour p___ out of a boot with the directions on the heel. He continually beat me down over the years, but not my Sis. My sister Lillian and I got along very well and we made our own fun.

Earl’s sister, Lillian
Photo Ctsy.
Earl Myers

I was so happy to return to my Grandparents and that is what they were, "GRAND PARENTS". It is true that I was full of mischief. One time I was helping Grandma pick green beans from the garden that my Grandpa planted. I found a small garter snake and put it in with the beans I had picked. We went onto the house and she filled the sink with water and dumped the beans to wash them. She was moving them around with her hands and the snake stuck its head up, and with those beady eyes looking at her, she almost had a cardiac and she didn’t have heart trouble. She ran after me with a broom and half way down the block. Not to hit me, but to let me know that it was not the proper thing to do. We all laughed about that for many years.

When I was 14, I went to Grand Island to live the summer, but not at my request. I got a job at Glades Goodrich Tire and Service Station. Dick and Fred Glade taught me a lot about cars — refueling , tire change and repair, wash and clean windshields, check the oil etc. Also they trusted me to shag cars from the Yancy Hotel and drive them back for service and storage. Here I was soloing a car, no license, but they put there "TRUST" in me. Other than my Grandparents, Dick and Fred built my self-esteem from minus 100 to a plus 1000. I earned enough to buy a used bike for $10. I had to scrounge because everything I earned I had to turn over to my Dad.

I finally had had enough. I hopped a U.P. freight train in Grand Island one cold night and was heading for Omaha and then the Burlington R.R. to Kansas City. In Central City about 35 miles East of Grand Island the train dicks caught me and they called my Dad and he came after me. He beat the tar out of me and the next morning he took me to his Attorney's office above Greenberg's Dept. Store. The attorneys name was Schellenbocker. He did not give me a chance to speak, He just stated if you don't straighten up I am going to send you to Boys Town. I replied that it would be better than continuing the life I had and not in a smart-aleck voice. At that time I picked myself up on the other side of the room after my Dad hit me.

Dad sold my bike and kept the money. I had squirreled away a little. I went back to work at Glades and somehow they found out about my train ride to Central City. They encouraged me to keep working which I did. I purchased another bike and with Glades permission I stored it at their service center. About 3 weeks later I went to work, and when I finished about dusk, I took off for Independence, Missouri with only about $19 in my pocket. I traveled only at night and would hole up in an outlying barn or some farm building. In Platt City I found a barn next to a house at the RR Crossing right in town. It was dark, but the owner saw me go in. He came to the barn and wanted to know in a kind voice what I was doing. I leveled with him and told him. He was very understanding. He let me leave my bike in the barn and took me in and he and his wife fed me a country breakfast like I had never had before and let me sleep in their spare room, after I took a cold bath. I was so hungry that I would have eaten liver and onions, which I deplore. About 5 pm, I woke and dressed, went downstairs and Mrs. Johanskey had fixed a scrumptious meal. They counseled me and tried to encourage me to take a bus. I was afraid to do that. They understood and advised me against travel at night. Of course the were correct, but I wanted to continue on my way home. If I saw headlights I would go off the road and hide in weeds. I was successful in my travels and arrived in Independence, some 330 miles from Grand Island. The Highway Patrol had been notified by the attorney.

My Dad had already called his Mother and Father and said I was gone. They wanted to know what happened. He told them all kinds of things. I told them my side and they believed me. They both were livid with disgust. My dad showed up 3 days later as he had to buy some parts etc. from P. L. Knick and Herbrand Tools in North Kansas City. He was going to take me back with him but my Grandparents would not hear of it. It was terse until he left.

End Chapter 1 — Go to Chapter 2

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