Sunday, April 26, 2015

Now, too late, I understand my Oldest Brother

Odis Howard, the eldest of my siblings was very talented in wood.  He also was the only male in our family that could play the guitar.  He loved to play and sing around a fire out in the yard. He had never built a house, but after the war, he and his wife Ruth, bought a piece of land for $50 cut the trees with a cross cut saw, made the brick with a mold from Sears and Roebuck, and built them a beautiful home. He was a truck driver by trade but loved to carve and form wood. He built an award  winning (Gold Hammer award) nine foot battle ship.

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(Odis’s family donated the model to the USS North Carolina Museum in Wilmington. Shirl and I delivered it. The local news covered the donation. you see the USS NC in the back ground))

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(That is Shirl’s hubby Jim in the back ground, Sherry doing the picture taking.)

He built a cabin cruiser.

He built two houses, one burned to the ground and he rebuilt it.

(I was so proud of my older brother, He had such talent, he was also an artist, Chief Jack on the left and Odis)scanoldpic1 030

As he got older he became withdrawn. His son Howard arranged an interview with NBC, featuring his fleet of ships. The fleet (each ship 5-9 feet in length), two Battle ships, Two carriers, a couple destroyers and also the Pinta, Nina and the Santa Marie, had been displayed in some hi- profile buildings and banks. They were a big demand for parades.

  (Below is Howard and a reporter, at a display at Porter Brothers in Shelby, NC. Howard was a great PR man for his dad, sorrowfully, Howard expired at 36 years of age, leaving a beautiful wife and two children)


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I was disappointed when the News crew arrived at his shop, he disappeared, got in his pickup and drove up. The TV crew still used the ships in a TV special, but my brother was no where to be seen on TV.

He was very hard of hearing. Now I know how he felt.  He refused to be put in the position of not being able to answer questions he could not hear, or answer a question he THOUGHT he heard, and appear a little dumb.  I know the feeling, yes, I know the feeling very well. 

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Odis had the ability to do his own thing without explaining. I don’t have that personality,I HAVE TO TRY TO EXPLAIN, therefore I avoid being in a situation where folks will want to converse or I nod and act like I understand.  I wish I had understood my big brother back then.


Understanding has a lot to do with knowing what is going to be said. If I can anticipate a conversation, at times  I can join in, but if the subject is out of ‘left field’, I start off lost and it gets worse.


Odis would migrate to his wood shop and play.  I loved to visit Odis and Ruth. The last time I spoke to Odis, his first words were when he realized I was there were, “I hear what I D--- well want to.”

I said, “Od, I didn’t say anything,” and he gave me that winning lopsided smile.  We visited awhile and that was the last time I saw him alive. He passed away at 61, too young.

Nite Shipslog


He always wore a flat top. He built a rig of wood framing that sit on his shoulders the his hair went thru a piece of stretched screen wire. Ruth ran the clippers over the screen, he had immediate haircut, perfect flat top.


I remember the two rut road Odis ad Ruth lived on.

He had a A model for awhile. (This is a T model I think) tumblr_laefvwoxjA1qdblneo1_500

He later had a Kaiser, I thought that was cool.



betty said...

You are right, Jack, he passed away too young, just like his son did. Talented man indeed he was! I would imagine it is hard not to have one of your senses and not hearing would be difficult especially if one wants to interact with people. Hubby's dad had lost a lot of his hearing and used hearing aids but it was amazing that he would hear what he wanted to hear too sometimes :)


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Your brother sounds like a wonderful and very talented man. You have some wonderful memories of him and his son. Nice tribute to both with what you have written.

Mevely317 said...

I remember those models! Tom (who models WWII aircraft) was really impressed, as well.
So talented, and you know what impresses me? His pride! (Maybe that's not the right word ... but I like how he let his craft speak for itself; and didn't want to risk looking foolish.

On a personal note, Tom's hearing is seriously going south. Neither insurance nor the VA will subsidize hearing aids, so he's struggling ... and I'm not always as understanding as I could be. I needed to read this!

Rick Watson said...

That is a remarkable story Jack. Your brother was an artist. I can't imagine what he (and you) went through losing hearing.
We take our senses for granted, which is a mistake. Thanks for the reminder to be appreciative of life's gifts.

Paula said...

An interesting brother and a nice tribute to him.


So young when he passed. What an extraordinary hobby he had. It was wonderful he got to share his creations with everybody.