Albert Hamilton and Scott Hamilton

Recorded November 8, 2010 Archived November 8, 2010 01:19:13 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBY007161


Scott Hamilton (50) interviews his father, Albert Hamilton (76) about his family, his faith, and serving in the army.

Subject Log / Time Code

Albert’s relationship to his grandfather and his love of writing.
Story about Albert’s sister burning her hand at the age of 1 1/2 years old.
Albert’s relationship with God and his faith.
Albert describes his parents and what they were like.
Albert’s time in the army and meeting his good friend John while stationed in Germany back in 1957.


  • Albert Hamilton
  • Scott Hamilton

Recording Location

MobileBooth West

Partnership Type



StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:05 My name is Scott J. Hamilton. I'm 50 years old today is November 8th 2010. We are in Oklahoma City and I am interviewing my dad and my name is Albert J. Hamilton. Go by Jay. I'm 76 years old today is November 8th 2010 locations, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

00:31 We start with your name because you are named after your grandfather. There are a lot of folks that I've ever known who were a second like you are. I know that you had a really special relationship with your grandfather. Guess I did tell and tell me a little bit about not just him but your relationship with him.

00:53 He was perhaps the kindest most gentle man that I've ever known. You can tell a lot about people by.

01:04 The people that they attract and he attracted children they just

01:10 They wanted to be where he was if he was sitting in a rocking chair. They wanted to be in the chair with a Mart close to it.

01:19 He taught me many things over the years.

01:24 And I just hope that some of his good qualities I was able to

01:29 Retaining use with my own grandchildren. What what what are some of those qualities that you see in yourself that you think you could contribute to him?

01:41 Well, I have I think I have a love for children that he had. I love my grandchildren as I did my my own children, but I like to be with him. I think that there are a lot more fun than being around adults, and I can't help growing older.

02:00 But I hope I never grow up.

02:04 He was a storyteller.

02:08 They told me on several occasions that a good story was almost always better than the absolute truth.

02:18 And I have you say it. I like to write in the stories. I've written for the other primarily for my family and my grandchildren.

02:28 Or not

02:32 100% factual I take some Liberty with some things but nothing of any importance to tell me about your writing. How long have you been writing about 30 years?

02:44 One day I just decided that I needed to record some things.

02:53 Before

02:55 I forgot them.

02:57 Some things I hope would be interested interesting to my family. So I started and

03:05 Started back with my very first memory

03:11 Which was

03:14 An old farm house that we lived in and the birth of my younger sister. I was two-and-a-half years old at the time.

03:24 I told something about my mother and my dad and some other family members said they're just brought it forth my life for the

03:35 To school and jobs that I've had and people that I've known.

03:42 Spending has been quite a trip and I've enjoyed it very much. I have done it all written it all in my own hand and it this time I'm somewhat over 3000 pages.

03:57 A lot of work, but it has been a labor of love. One of the things that is interesting about your writing besides what you write is how you write you mention that you've done it all by hand. When you do you learn how to type when you were in junior high school and you've always known how but you never use the typewriter. You've never use the computer. What what is it about the process for you? And it actually putting the pen to the paper.

04:23 Well, I I thought about it and I thought about how much I would appreciate something that my father or my grandfather had written in their hand for me.

04:37 And that is more less inspired me to do at home. I thought my hand it's a it's slow process and

04:48 Tiring, but I think I'm very glad that I made that decision. I've had the pleasure of reading just about everything that you've written some of those pieces many times and I actually have you

05:05 Is there your next step in your writing? Have you ever thought about writing a book?

05:12 Yes, I have I've given that considerable thought.

05:21 I have an idea for a book that I would like to ride. It's there would be a true story of the last person to be put to death by hanging in the state of Arkansas and he was somewhat distant relative of mine.

05:43 I have done some research on it. I have the the coroner's inquest into the death decree and another documents from the trial and I don't know if I have an a novel in me or not, but I am very

06:03 Convinced that I do want to try and just see where it takes me you mention Arkansas you lived in Oklahoma almost your whole life you you came here when you were a boy and yet I've heard you talk about Oklahoma part me Arkansas as far as being home. What?

06:22 What what is it about Arkansas or that everywhere? I guess your growing-up years in Arkansas that still stays with you today.

06:32 I can't tell you, but I know that I have a certain feeling for.

06:38 The area where I was born and and partially raised and when I'm there, I have a feeling of complete contentment. That's Logan County and Logan County, Arkansas. Oh, yes. It is at the time that I was living there my grandparents all live nearby and aunts and cousins and those are just our own a little

07:02 Private two piece of the world and it was a place where I felt safe and very secure.

07:10 Brioche elated we had no cause no TV back then but for a long time we had no radio but no newspapers news that we got was just Word of Mouth.

07:25 Sometimes we wouldn't see any anyone except our family for of the number of days if we live so far back on the postal route if the postman didn't have mail for someone living past us waiting for anybody.

07:45 One of the one of the stories that you told me that I still find really fascinating it has to do with when you were very very young and it's when your younger sister Del was a baby and there was an accident.

08:07 It was 1938 and a half old.

08:14 We just moved to a

08:17 How far I'm in Logan County, you're not far from where the house where I was born and it was a fireplace mother cooked quite a bit in the fireplace and it was what are time and this particular?

08:31 Today she was cooking something in a big cast iron kettle

08:36 And my sister was playing around with her and I both were playing around the fireplace where it was warm and she fell.

08:44 And plunged her arm into the cattle and it immediately just cooked her arm from her fingertips up to near shoulder.

08:54 She wasn't Agony absolute pure agony.

08:59 My dad was away working cutting Timber. I think or somebody will sit away from home and we had no car anyway.

09:11 About three-quarters of a mile from where we live. There was an old lady name is Lowry she reported. It was reported the she could heal Burns and she could take the fire and the pain out of a burn.

09:31 I don't know if my mother really believe that or if she had no alternative she had to do something but my sister was just out of her mind with pain.

09:42 So she took her and ran most of the way to the Miss Larry's house. And how far is that about three-quarters of a mile?

09:52 She went in and immediately bisleri was she was crippled and couldn't couldn't walk.

10:00 As she was sitting in her chair, and she held out her arms and mother gave my sister to her.

10:06 And she started more her fingertips and started rubbing her. My sister's arm and Mom need something very low that mother couldn't hear.

10:17 Within a few minutes, my sister was asleep.

10:22 Mother carried her home. She was still asleep.

10:25 She woke up a little while later, but she wasn't complaining about the pain. She was terribly burned.

10:33 So is a little while my dad came home and found out what had happened. He went to a neighbor's house and a car and they came back and I got mother and my sister and went to the town of Russellville, Arkansas where there was a hospital.

10:51 The doctors immediately examined her and

10:55 Did what they could but they told her mother and dad that very likely her arm would not develop because it was so severely burned and even if it did she would be terribly scarred.

11:11 Well, they came back home and my sister still was not didn't appear to be in any pain.

11:19 She started to heal.

11:21 I was no further Medical.

11:25 Free but accepts to go back every couple of weeks and just left the doctor look at it and they were amazed and the healing process continued until she was finally healed and she has no * whatsoever.

11:42 Full use of her arm follow your server arm.

11:47 I think that's as close to a miracle as I've ever been.

11:51 Speaking of Miracles. I know that that your faith is one of them probably the most important thing in your life that guide you.

12:00 Talk talk a little bit about your relationship with God.

12:08 I give God credit for all the good things that have happened in my life. And I've had a I've had a great life. I couldn't ask her. I couldn't ask for what I've had much less anything more.

12:24 I know that he is a giver of all good gifts.

12:28 He is the great healer.

12:30 He is the architect of the universe. He created the universe and all that is within.

12:37 I asked daily for his guidance and for blessings for my family and friends and healing blessings. If I ask him to draw near to those who are in bad health or have various ailments and just touch him with his healing hands, and I know that that's all that's required.

13:03 He does that mean the person will be cured will be healed.

13:11 I

13:14 I have been very fortunate in.

13:19 The people that he has sent into my life.

13:24 Wonderful wonderful people and I have to admit to just been something that they weren't that great, but they got their small minority and I don't even count.

13:37 But the people that say it that he has sent into my life to become lifelong friends and supporters and spend such a such a blessing in.

13:51 I don't know.

13:54 How long he'll allow me to stay here on this Earth?

14:01 But as long as he does, I will try my best to serve him and

14:06 Anyway that I can be at church work or just working with people and people I know that need help if I can help them in some small way.

14:18 I think good. I will be doing his his will his work. I book firmly believe that we are placed on this Earth primarily for two reasons one be being to praise God and the other is to help each other.

14:36 Beyond that I I I don't know but those two things I'm convinced of that. That's my at least that is my purpose in this life. That's why I was put here growing up. It was important to you that we go to church as a family is and you continue to go to church all all these years.

14:59 Is there a point in your life where?

15:03 Because of of something or some things that we're going on that you you had any doubts about gone.

15:11 No, not doubts, but I have to admit. I've been quite unhappy with him a few times.

15:21 I know in the Bible somewhere it says and I can't quote it word for word, but he says ask anything in my name and I will do it.

15:32 I have prayed for folks who were ill.

15:37 Pray that they

15:40 Be healed and they weren't you and they passed.

15:47 I hope that doesn't change my belief and he is just one of the things that I that I really don't fully understand.

15:55 And like I say, sometimes I get been a little unhappy with him, but I know that many times he's been unhappy with me. So

16:07 But that's been faith has been a big part of my life that I I can't imagine anyone being able to get through this life without faith because a lot this Edition hard life.

16:21 It's hard life with faith. And without it. I don't know how really how you could do how you can do it.

16:29 Your faith has guided you I think is a parent is a husband informed the way that you ran your business.

16:39 We talked about being unhappy with God and I think that's kind of a parent-child thing. We're not always happy with each other are there.

16:51 Other times that that you can point to in the life of your own kids play and Lisa and me that that you were

17:01 They were put to a test in terms of your happiness factor with us.

17:08 Nothing major I would say of course, there's been plenty of small irritants along the way but nothing major why I think I've been very fortunate and very blessed in that in that situation.

17:28 He's just he's just giving me so much more than I deserve.

17:36 I don't know why I don't question why I'm just thankful that you did.

17:41 Did you always see yourself as a dad that mean, did you always want to be a father?

17:49 Not necessarily. I've always loved children even way back when I was you no 8 or 10 years old. I love little little children then.

18:03 I don't know if I was if I ever thought that much about having children of my own or not.

18:14 I suppose maybe I just assumed that that was part of the natural process that would happen. I don't know when.

18:22 On the day that I was born.

18:26 What did you feel can you room? Can you recall what you felt that day?

18:31 I was rap so tight from the night before that. I die. I don't know if I I don't know how I feel.

18:44 But the fact that you were two months premature and we were completely unprepared at that point and

18:54 You really didn't know what was happening and it could have been.

18:59 It could have turned a completely different and the next day. I was still wound real tight, but I was so I was happy I was happy.

19:11 And

19:13 Is each one of you were born? It's just just added to my happiness.

19:20 It's been.

19:25 Spend the most important thing in my life, I guess cuz I haven't worked at work for 54 years.

19:33 Work hard tried to provide but I never I never felt.

19:41 Like work was so much an obligation.

19:46 As it was a privilege and I that I got from my father. He he would never back off manything.

19:58 What times were hard back during the Great Depression they would work at anything. They can find for any wage that he could get some x 75 cent store dollar a day for a long long long day's work.

20:13 So here I got I got that from him and he think he seems to have that attitude that

20:21 He was privileged to be physically and mentally able to do something that somebody would pay him to do and that money he could use to take care of his family.

20:37 My work ethics. I definitely learned from him.

20:42 Yeah, he took work very seriously cuz it would it is serious and I think this problem today too many people do not take it seriously enough.

20:53 But he's too you showed me by example. He didn't didn't talk a lot. He didn't tell me a lot of things. He did them in like I watched him and I learn from it and I think that's

21:09 Maybe the best way to learn is just to watch someone set an example for you. He didn't know what he was teaching me the time but he was teaching me a lesson in the dark and I tried to pass it on because I think that that is a very very important thing and I think you you did a good job of that in teaching at the value of working.

21:35 Clay and Lisa and I eat we will very different personalities. We have different lives and shows different career tracks and you you didn't for anyone of us a while. I think you should do acts for a living. You must have had things that you wished maybe that we had done in terms of professions, but you never you never said so

22:02 We'll work is something that you're going to have to do all your life and you should be doing something that you like. I'd rather for you to be doing something that you like maybe a lesser position that I would like to have for you. But as long as you grew like what you doing, I'd rather for you to do that. Then do something that I thought what you should do, and I I did never felt like that I was

22:32 Should try to push you one way or another look like the kind of let you find your own way. And I think it's I think it's worked out quite well.

22:46 In

22:48 Looking back at the three of us.

22:53 You've always been very very effusive in your praise for for us for the the work we do or just just for us when you've always been very encouraging.

23:04 Any standout moments in terms of times when you were really proud.

23:09 To be a dad or our dad.

23:13 Well, yes a lot of times.

23:20 I don't suppose one time was.

23:25 When you go to graduate from high school, that was her and I was a proud thing. And then again when you graduated from college, I was always proud of his offices, LOL and the awards that you were received.

23:44 I was proud of your being in the National Honor Society.

23:51 I just proud that you turned out to be good people in.

23:55 People that I could like

23:58 I'll just because you're my children, but because you're good people and I'll and I like you.

24:03 And I think so. I think that's equally important is his loving is is liking

24:11 So there's there's been a lot of highlights to too many to name, but a number two, that's just that's just part of the blessing that I have but I've had there are a lot of good parents and yet due to the life circumstances or or luck or or whatever. It might be.

24:33 People can turn out in ways that aren't so good. What what do you attribute?

24:42 It's her major to being a parent to whatever success is that we might have had.

24:52 Faith

24:54 Church, going to church

24:58 Associating with with people in the church. I know you met good friends. They were good kids.

25:09 I thought I think I think faith is just been a big thing. Really.

25:16 Do you go back to Faith a lot?

25:19 You and Mom have been married for over half a century and don't know like in any relationship. There are times when I guess it'd be easier just to walk away. But neither one of you have done that. How was Faith played itself out in your marriage?

25:40 Well, I think our faith is is is helped us through some some very difficult times.

25:48 And like we both said before, you know, we had kids growing up in school and going to college and all that and we couldn't afford to divorce. We had to Keep On Keepin On

26:04 But then

26:07 I just I just feel like that faith has been the glue that's held us together and I can't think of anything more important. Other than which one of your happiest thoughts when you think of Mama.

26:27 I guess when when my children were born.

26:32 That's so that in itself is is it is a miracle. It's God's greatest miracle, and he was there why wouldn't he be there at at the occurrence of his great A great miracle.

26:49 I think that.

26:51 You can look in the face of a

26:55 How about new mother has just given birth to a little baby and you can see the face of God.

27:04 Probably that.

27:06 But that's the pain so

27:09 A wonderful image

27:12 But I think it says a lot about the way that you view.

27:16 Are as well. I mean to to be able to find the godliness.

27:22 In any other

27:24 The

27:26 Is Apple that you've given to us in terms of relationship and family is when I think that all three of us have tried to live out in our own lives your parents were married a very long time. They were married how long 68 years and that ended only because they have for my father.

27:49 How did their relationship impact you as a as a child and then as an adult child, how how did that impact you well.

28:02 My dad likes to eat. He he set examples for me. Not only from working standpoint, but just family how you take care of your family.

28:15 I think his attitude was nothing comes before your family that is and that is your obligation is not somebody else's it's your obligation to take care of your family.

28:28 My mother taught me many things she taught me Pride to be proud of who I am.

28:37 She was proud of her family very proud of her family and she told me it on more than one occasion that regardless of what anybody else had money position title. Didn't matter that nobody was better than me.

29:01 And she believed that she made me believe that and I've tried to pass that.

29:08 Pass out on this just pride in and family hit her early years when I was small and we were still living on the farm.

29:21 Times were really hard really really hard.

29:26 She works so hard mother did to see that we were we went to school. We were playing I with our clothes might have patches on them, but we were playing at our clothes were clean cuz she would not up couldn't abide anybody say anything about her family.

29:47 House where we lived?

29:51 There's a big tree in the front yard. So grass didn't really grow up just dirt.

29:56 And little branches and twigs will fall off a tree and many many times have seen mother with her broom for sweeping at front front yard to get those Twigs up. She didn't want anyone saying that she was not a good good housekeeper and she was definitely a good housekeeper. Wonderful cook. What what

30:20 If she could be here today to cook you anything that would she cooked. What would you ask her to make for you?

30:31 Probably some chocolate to put on hot biscuits.

30:36 She was the only person that I ever knew to do that until I fell automat in the in the in the Army about 19.

30:48 57 bus from Tennessee and he and I were talking one day and he he mentioned something about chocolate on biscuits and upset. I never heard anybody else mentioned that man.

31:00 I don't think it is probably what she made was any better than what somebody else can make but it was just the fact that she made it and she always had whatever she cooked. She had that little special ingredient that she always added and I was love

31:19 You mentioned the Army you have a friend that you've had for probably longer than any other friend and until the last 20 years or so. U-Haul hadn't even seen each other for a very long time. Tell me about John franzone John franzone Italian descent from Brooklyn, New York.

31:45 Until he went to the military. He didn't know if there was a world Beyond, Brooklyn, New York.

31:52 I met him in Germany and when we were both serving with the 2nd Armored Division in 1957, and for some reason we we became very very close friends and I never figured out why cuz he's a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee and I'm a redneck Confederate. He's Roman Catholic and I'm Protestant. He's Italian and I'm primarily Scott so we didn't start off with a whole lot in common, but we became very very close friends and and are to this day I would do anything for him. And I know he would for me.

32:29 His family is all gone. He has no living relatives.

32:33 And he's blind but he still functions.

32:38 If I'm a little down about something and I call Big John I can't stay down. He pulls me up. He's always upbeat. It's a wonderful wonderful individual and I feel so privileged to have had him all these years for a friend.

32:55 UE mentioned Jeremy there of all the places that that you've been in the world and you had a chance to see a lot when you were in the service you have a favorite of all the places you song

33:10 That's kind of hard to say the Swiss Alps.

33:15 Was absolutely magnificent. I enjoyed that so much.

33:21 Innsbruck Austria was an amazing City. I enjoyed that and I enjoyed the black forest of Germany.

33:35 You see so much beautiful beautiful scenery like that and in trouble traveling through the Alps, which I did through the German and Austrian and Italian and Swiss Alps long train trip.

33:51 But you cannot do that.

33:54 And not believe that there is a God because all of that could not justify happened. It had it was created and God did it and he did a real fine job so nature you you've also had a chance to see a fair amount of the United States to some of that since you retired and did you and Mom and take us some trips favorite place. Other than where you grew up that you seen it just really inspired you.

34:25 Well anywhere in the in the Arkansas or Missouri Ozarks, I am very partial to but the trip we took to Yellowstone and we went also through the Grand Teton National Park. So I Mount Rushmore and just just magnificent scenery.

34:48 We saw Mount Rushmore in the afternoon and I thought it was really impressive and then we went back that night and

34:58 If the mountain was Swiss dark

35:01 And then the lights started coming on real real slow and it started lighting up the mountain until it was fully illuminated.

35:13 At the end of the little program that they had they also ask our veterans to come forward.

35:22 And I did that was probably 40 met before The Others.

35:31 They had the flag folded that had flown over Mount Rushmore that day they pass it handed it to the first veteran that he passed it on to the next and it came home down and I got to hold the flag.

35:49 And it was suck great wonderful wonderful experience.

35:54 So

35:56 God country

35:59 Family

36:01 These are really that unusual thing to do to be proud of to be focused on to be guiding principles in your life and yet somehow you brought them all together for a life that you've always described as being very full and and and very good one of the things that you haven't done cuz you haven't given us a lot of advice when we didn't ask for it. You know, if we if we were in trouble you would show us an alternative away, but you you were never real forthcoming with a lot of advice as far as you know, what advice

36:42 Would you give me a 50 year old man?

36:46 Just just wide-open. What advice would you give me? Follow your heart?

36:53 Follow your heart be open to where God wants you to go and what he wants you to do.

37:00 I don't give a lot of advice because I didn't never received a lot of advice so I can say my mother and my dad talk by primarily by example.

37:12 I could go to my dad's and say that that is what it what do you think I should do here? And when I was younger he would tell me as I got older.

37:24 I'd ask him that what what do you think about should do about this and he is say well, what do you think?

37:32 I didn't appreciate that too much at the time, but what he was doing he was teaching me that it is time. It's time for you to start making.

37:44 Decisions on your own

37:47 And I think it's were quite well, of course my made my share of bad decisions and that's why why I'm reluctant to give advice to somebody else. I don't want to make mistakes for somebody else I made enough for my home on my own.

38:05 So make your own, you know, actually follow your heart and do what you think if it turns out good. That's that's a wonderful if it doesn't back up and try something else, but we just about at a time your your kids know you will when you're you're not a hard book to read your your pretty open and I think your grandchildren know you very well who you are and what makes you work.

38:31 You are obviously things that we will tell future Generations about you and your grandkids will tell their kids. But what is it? What would you like to be remembered as doing or is being what wouldn't what how would you like for future generations to hear about you?

38:52 I would like for

38:55 Somebody to say he had a positive effect on my life.

39:02 Best pearlescent that's enough

39:05 That's more than enough quite a legacy what we were out of time. I am doing this. I got to say that it makes me crazy that we haven't been a lot of these for a long time, and I think that this is a good place to start and it's been an honor for me Eve. Just talking to you this morning as it is every day that we get to talk to you then my my pleasure my pleasure.