Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Man's Journey

John Aitchison, Uncle Jack, began writing the history of his life on January 17, 1986. Rather than calling it a history, he called it "The Story." It was his way of recording "some of the events of my life." At that time, he lived in Yakima, Washington. He sent the story to us on sheets of lined paper, more than 522 of them, all handwritten. His manuscript covers the first 36 years of his life. He began writing when he was 83 years old. He lived to be 92.

"God gave us memory so
that we may have roses
in December"

Uncle Jack was born just after the turn of the 20th century. Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States at the time, serving from 1901 to 1909. There were 45 states in the Union. Subsequent to his birth, five more states were admitted: Oklahoma (1907), New Mexico (1912), Arizona (1912), Alaska (1959) and Hawaii (1959). He lived through historic and tumultuous events. He witnessed a great deal of change during his lifetime.

Over the next several weeks, I will be transcribing Jack's story here, as he related it. In his correspondence to me, he asked that I edit the story if it needed it. He wanted his spelling to be correct, and to leave a good impression on his readers. Oftentimes, he would take a break in the narrative to explain something to me more clearly so that I'd have a better contextual understanding of what he was sharing. He also included drawings as explanations. These things will also be a part of this transcription.

I am looking forward to taking Uncle Jack's journey and sharing it with those of you who find it interesting. In many ways, his story is the story shared by thousands of Americans who lived during the pre-World War II era. I hope you enjoy it.

Pin It


  1. Awesome. The kids and I will be waiting each installment with anticipation. I remember you reading it to us when we were kids. It made us love Uncle Jack extra.

  2. Sweet! I always loved Uncle Jack, and I'm excited to read his story.