At 101, World War II veteran reflects on Ohio upbringing



Owen Hughes has fond reminiscences of his hometown

CLIFTON SPRINGS, New York – Owen Hughes has 1000 tales to inform.

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He painted all his life. Together with in 2000 when he painted the Doc, a B-29 superfortress bomber airplane.

He served within the navy and all the time bear in mind his time rising up in Fremont.

The veteran artist deliberate to rejoice his 101st birthday in March with a celebration, the the birthday bash was canceled as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

Hughes, who lives at Ashton Place Senior Residing middle in Clifton Springs, New York, posted a photograph on social media holding an indication asking folks to assist rejoice his 101st birthday regardless of the get together being canceled.

The post went viral and Hughes got thousands of birthday wishes from folks across the globe.

Regardless of the fanfare, Hughes mentioned there was one factor he nonetheless wished to do: Get in contact together with his hometown newspaper, The Fremont Information-Messenger.

The 1939 graduate of Fremont Ross Excessive College mentioned he wished to hear “from all my mates again dwelling.”

Hughes has a lifetime of reminiscences saved away in his thoughts like a photograph album.

Hughes enlisted within the Military Air Corp. in 1941 and spent practically 4 years in Europe throughout the struggle. Following the struggle, Hughes spent three years within the Military Air Corp. Reserve.

Whereas within the struggle, Hughes mentioned his finest expertise was put to make use of: portray pin up fashions on planes.

However Hughes all the time remembers the place it began — Fremont.

The humanities have been all the time a part of Hughes’ life, as his father was a projectionist on the State Theater, enjoying silent motion pictures, and his brother and sister each labored at theaters.

“My oldest brother Wilson was the projectionist on the Strand Theater and my oldest sister Opal offered the tickets there,” he mentioned in an interview with the Information-Messenger.

One other brother, Melvin, was the projectionist on the Jewel Theater the place his different sister Verna Mae offered tickets.

“It solely price a dime to go to the State Theater,” Hughes mentioned. “However I bought in free.”

Hughes grew up on Wilson Avenue and remembers fondly his time strolling round Spiegel Grove and delivering the newspaper for each the Fremont Information and the Fremont Messenger earlier than the papers merged.

The oldest reminiscence Hughes has is of his first haircut when he was round four or 5 years previous.

Lengthy curly locks hung from Hughes’ head, so the household headed to a barber on State Road.

“My dad and my brother took me downtown, my dad purchased me a cowboy swimsuit and my brother purchased me an enormous bag of sweet after which they took me to the barber,” Hughes mentioned. “And I could not have cared much less about the place I used to be or what I used to be doing, as a result of I had my cowboy swimsuit and my large bag of sweet.”

The day was not all nice for Hughes and his household, nonetheless, as he remembers his dad sending him dwelling in a taxi by himself.

Hughes mentioned he was unsure if his mom and father had just a few phrases about why he was despatched dwelling alone within the taxi.

Hughes mentioned he liked rising up in Fremont, though he did expertise a scary second when he was heading downtown for his newspaper route.

“On my approach to get my papers I needed to go proper in entrance of the police station, and as I approached the station I heard a variety of noise and located that it was machine-gun hearth coming in direction of the police station,” Hughes mentioned. “One second extra and and I might have been within the line of fireside. It was John Dillinger’s gang robbing the financial institution a block away. They bought away, however they did hit one man who stepped out of his retailer to see what all of the noise was about.”

Hughes later moved to Tiffin for work and met his future spouse, Virginia Peddicore, of Inexperienced Springs, at a skating rink.

Although it has been a number of a long time since Hughes has visited his hometown, he all the time remembers Fremont fondly.

Hughes mentioned he’ll proceed engaged on his portray, saying you are by no means too previous to learnn one thing new.

Now that he’s unable to journey as a result of coronavirus, he mentioned he has an opportunity to study extra about portray.

“If there’s something I can not do, I am going to study it,” Hughes mentioned.

Hughes is at the moment engaged on a promoting some prints and, paying homage to his World Struggle II days as an artist, is making ready to color a pinup for a buyer.


Twitter: @CraigShoupNH

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