Chihuahuas, Dry Roast Peanuts, and a Second Hand String of Pearls

Louie and Vada


I’m sitting on a plane after a visit to an old, dear friend, Vada Pitchford. She and her husband, Louis, were life long friends of my parents. Louis and Dad met in graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Later, Dad asked Louis to work at Hillsdale College where he became a well loved history professor before retiring in 1982 and moving to Billings, Montana.

However, there is so much more to this special couple. Vada was a school teacher for 14 years. She was teaching a few miles away from Texas City during the 1947 explosion, our nation’s worst industrial accident. She recounted the fear and confusion while evacuating students and the challenges of the days that followed.

Louis served as a Naval Officer in WWII on the USS Washington, participating in several missions, including the Solomon Islands. He continued to serve after the war as a member of the Naval Reserves for 22 years. When he shared his plans to join the reserves, Vada asked why. He simply said, “Someone’s got to do it.”

When I think of this amazing couple, I remember dry roasted peanuts (Louis’ favorite snack), Vada’s famous jalapeno grits, their pet Chihuahua, Cha-Cha, Sunday dinners, Vada’s string of pearls, and most important, Vada’s smile and Louis’ kindness.

During my visit, I was so happy to be given Louis’ silk flag from WWII. If you look closely at the picture below, you will notice there are only 48 stars. This special gift will have a place of honor in our home.




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