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World History Honors
“Where I Come From”
History books often tell stories of nationally and worldly significant people. What they do not tell are the stories of the simple, ordinary people and their lives. Through an interview with Bill Thomason I learned the beauty of a seemingly ordinary person’s history. This man painted a beautifully simple yet interesting picture of his life and family, that somehow created an appreciation for supposedly nonsignificant history. His childhood, his family, his families struggles, everything that shaped him into who he is to this day is an impressive story that must be told. If one were to sum up Bill Thomason’s interview in a statement it would be, “There is always something more.” This is the life history of Bill Thomason.
Bill was born in Tulare, Ca in 1954. His parents were migrant workers, so they traveled around quite a bit. Unfortunately, Bill never got the “normal” childhood experience. He was always moving from town to town, state to state. Because of this, Bill was always behind in schooling and never had a permanent community to grow up with. Much like any other kid though, he tried to make the best of a somewhat bitter situation, and developed the hobbies of playing marbles, bike riding, and sibling torment. Also, with his mom for Oklahoma and his father from Arkansas he grew up with a lot of respect for country music and grew up to be a guitar sensation.
When Bill grew into his teenage years, his weariness of traveling grew with him. This changed his relationship with his parents, for he could not have a normal life and when he was able to make friends had to leave. None the less, Bills kind heart drove him to work when he could to help his family by working. Usually he would help with harvest, but a few times he would venture out and work other jobs like being a busboy. At age 17, Bill met Kim DeLair, and had three children. Through this time span they never got married but Bill continued to be a solid working man for 20 years. Mostly, Bill perused farming and other jobs that required physical labor. Later in life after all his children where grown, Bill met and married April Dutchman.
Though Bill was born years after World War II had ended, he grew up with stories of his two uncles and dad who had served. One of his courageous uncles who fought in war tragically died in the line of duty. His other uncle who served was captured by the Japanese soldiers and tortured for 7 years. Prisoners were often kept in war camps, but the one Bill’s uncle was in was unknown. Bill’s dad served, but was sent home months early as the war was ending. Following in his uncle’s and father’s footsteps he joined the war but was never sent off to fight before he was discharged.
Bill Thomason, though seemingly an ordinary man, had a deep history. From his travels he saw and endured many hardships. He did not live the simple, apple pie life many children now a day have the luxury of having. He worked his way through life to find happiness, and in the end he found it with children and a wife, in that nontraditional order. He has the blood of a courageous warrior, loving man, and hard worker running through his veins, and therefore mine. For Bill Thomason is my grandfather, this is where I came from.