Consider this an attempt to follow in my father’s footsteps. Raymond Wesley Wild, a.k.a R. W. Wild, a.k.a. Jack Wild, a.k.a. Daddy, was a writer. Not just a wannabe writer, like me … he was the real deal.
With degrees in journalism and philosophy, his vocation and his avocation involved putting thoughts down on paper – newspaper, typing paper, scratch paper. Fortunately, I still have boxes of those papers to pore over and ponder; I’m thankful he didn’t do his writing on a computer, else there would be nothing left today, as will someday be the case with my ramblings.
During the 1940s and 1950s, when he was Director of Public Relations at the University of Kentucky, Daddy wrote a weekly column entitled Jest Among Us (hence the less-than-original title of this site). It was described this way in The Woodford Sun (Versailles, Ky.) on July 20, 1950:
MILLION READERS OF WILD’S COLUMN
A million Kentucky readers of one hundred and eleven weekly and daily papers in the state in which his column appears have the pleasure of reading the sparkling comments of Jack Wild. His Jest Among Us is the familiar heading of a column that delves into the nooks and crannies of Kentucky’s highways and byways and to top it off, he’s the unofficial ambassador at large of the University of Kentucky.
A MILLION! Wow! Okay, those footsteps are too big to fill. I’ll be content with just a few readers here and there. And I doubt if my wit will be quite so sparkly … maybe just a glimmer and a shimmer from time to time.
It’s just as true, however, that I’m following my mother’s footsteps. Ezra Mae (never just “Ezra,” please!) lived to be nearly 101, so perhaps that would be reason enough to want to take after her. She was a kind and gentle lady who lived by the creed that “happiness is a choice” and left many of us, her students and family alike, many reasons to want to follow her teachings.
On these “pages” I will be sharing some of the stories I uncovered while Mother and I traced the footsteps of her ancestors. She was orphaned at an early age, and as she approached her 95th birthday we began to root through a variety of sources to find out “where she came from.” Those journeys together, which took us down memory lane and down the highways of Kentucky as we visited libraries and graveyards and newly discovered cousins, left me with treasured memories. And a new hobby.
With nearly 24,000 souls in my family tree now, after nearly ten years of genealogical research, my wandering footsteps have come across a lot of interesting stories, and I intend to share them with you here. I hope you’ll enjoy them and that they’ll inspire you to think about and share your own stories with me. It’ll be jest among us.