Eighty-five Years of Adventure

As an author, I experience that one of the hardest moments of working on a book is deciding the title. Maybe that comes easily for some folks, but I always struggle with that task.

Several years before his death, Rodney Wilson began work on his life story. Many bits of paper were filed away in the bottom right-hand drawer of his monster-size desk in his office. His grandson-Jeffrey interviewed him about his Navy service in 2006. We had this taped conversation transcribed and filed away. Then in 2008, a gentleman from the Veterans History Project came to our house and talked with him about his Navy experiences. Several months later we received the typed transcription. What a prize.

I found articles about his work, speeches he made here and there, letters from folks who knew him. When I decided to write Zero Meridian, Five Degrees North I had stacks of material to work with. Plus we both loved taking pictures, looking at pictures and hanging as many on our walls as possible. Hunting up the pictures for every season of his life became a real adventure. Whether anyone wants to read this story or not, looking at the eighty-nine pictures through-out the book provides entertainment.

From the Introduction:

book cover

Zero Meridian, Five Degrees North book cover

Rodney Wilson’s journey began several years before the Great Depression of the 1930s and ended with his work in global villages.  Never casual about his faith, his desire to be practically useful took many shapes during his eighty-five years.

Rodney Wilson often spoke of writing a book about his life. He left many notes, interviews, speeches, articles and the title he intended to use: Zero Meridian, Five Degrees North. He talked about having lived five lifetimes.

As his wife of fifty-nine years and now his widow, I decided to pull together this material and write his biography.

Memory is a funny thing. As we examine the events in our lives, a new level of meaning flows forth. Memory connects us to what has gone before, to that which really matters.

Only in looking back over our decades can we understand the hinge points that dramatically shaped our life.

The surprises that shaped Rodney’s life – and therefore mine included:

  • A postcard invitation to join the youth choir.
  • A war in Korea that blocked job opportunities and sent him to the Santa Fe Railway in Chicago “temporarily.”
  • The word Ecumenical on a neighborhood center that our church sponsored.
  • A group of women who decided their husbands should meet.
  • A Rotary sign nailed to a tree in Chikale village in India.

Book is available at Amazon.com

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