Chapter One

The Early Years of my Childhood

September 12, 1923
Scranton, Kansas
LeRoy Berl Wells
Lenora Louise (Jarboe) Wells
John and Louise Jarboe Edwin and Mettie Burkett

About my grandparents

His maternal grandparents were John and Louise Jarboe who lived southwest of Burlingame, and his paternal grandparents were Edwin and Mettie Burkett who lived northwest of Burlingame

About my siblings

The youngest of two boys

“Jack” was the second son born to LeRoy and Lenora. He had one older brother, two years older, Eugene LeRoy. “Gene” was a reader and Jack was the one to do the work.

Gene left Kansas right after Jack married. He “stood up” as the best man for Jack and then moved to Tucson, Arizona.

My earliest childhood memory

John Edwin Wells was born on September 12, 1923, in a farmhouse northeast of Scranton, Kansas. His father’s name was LeRoy Berl Wells and his mother’s name was Lenora Louise (Jarboe) Wells. His maternal grandparents were John and Louise Jarboe who lived southwest of Burlingame, and his paternal grandparents were Edwin and Mettie Burkett who lived northwest of Burlingame.

LeRoy and Lenora moved to a farm southwest of Overbrook when Jack was six months old. It was the farm LeRoy had been working on for pay and then bought. Jake Hay had built the house and was the farmer Jack’s dad had worked for. Unlike many of the neighbors in the country and in town, the house had an indoor toilet and electricity, so the family felt they had some of the nicer amenities of life.

My most vivid childhood memory

As a youngster, Jack’s earliest memory was when he was three years old and a good friend of his dads gave him and Gene his boy’s pony. This friend brought it to the farm and backed the trailer against the ditch to unload. Gene and Jack were on the pony as it came off the trailer and as they were walking it across the ditch; they both fell, with Gene falling on top of Jack’s stomach.

What I remember about my parents

A lasting memory of his dad was when he was older. One day his dad came in the 1962 Ford car, flying across the field to where Jack was working. He got out of the car and seemed upset because Jack hadn’t told him that he wanted to buy his dad’s farm. Jack had wanted his dad to make up his mind about the farm without Jack’s influence. Needless to say, the farm became Jack’s and has remained in the Wells’ family since 1923. As for his grandparents, Jack remembered his Granddad Wells had a 1926 Essex car, and not many other people had such a grand automobile. He remembered his Grandma being a hard worker and always kind.

Jack’s parents were the kind to always help their kids, especially with the horses and the chores. He remembers, though one time when his mother got a little mad. Jack had a palomino colt named “Dinger”, and he brought the horse onto the porch of their house. Jack couldn’t get the horse to get back off the porch, so he led it through the house to go out the front door, where the steps weren’t as high, and “mom” got mad.

As for his dad, Jack remembered he had a lot of respect for him.

Both his parents were kind and didn’t always expect them to work all the time. Other fond memories of his childhood include having Sunday dinners at each grandparent’s house, every other Sunday.

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