• Note: Throughout this series, actual Journal entries will appear in regular type, with my explanations or amplifications in bold enclosed in brackets. My original hand-written Journal is included in the Ronald R. Van Stockum Papers in the Archives of The Filson Historical Society in Louisville.

    Sept 26, 1937

    Received a nice letter from Colonel Kimmel yesterday. [Head of the University of Washington ROTC unit who had been very supportive.]

  • Note: Throughout this series, actual journal entries will appear in regular type, with my explanations or amplifications in bold and enclosed in brackets.

    Aug 20, 1937

    First week of regular instruction is now over. We are working every minute of the day, doing in three weeks, four weeks work. We are thus catching up with the boys who were commissioned earlier and who are now firing on the range at Cape May [New Jersey].

  • When artistic inspiration hit Travis Adams, he didn’t blow off the urge.

    Instead, he ran with it.

    Adams, newly graduated and working in Nashville with a degree in financial economics, came back to Kentucky to pursue his lifelong dream – blowing glass. And now he is preparing for his very first show to display his creations.

  • Introduction

    Nine years ago, at age 90, suggesting that I might run out of years before running out of columns, I arranged with Walt Reichert, then editor of the Sentinel-News, to write a newspaper column. My first column, under the heading “History Researched and Recalled” was published on April 27, 2007.

  • Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and lovers all over the globe are gearing up in many different ways – some traditional, and some not so much.

    Preparing for a perfect Valentine’s Day means something different to everyone, but a common theme in Shelbyville seems to be anything to do with food.

    “I’m hoping we can go to the Bell House for dinner,” said Mary Jo Netherton. “I will plant that suggestion in my husband’s head.”

  • “We were going to the prom, and she had on this pretty dress, and that was the night I knew she was the one,” said Paul Morris, the memory of that moment still alive in his eyes as he smiled at his wife, Ethel. 

    Paul Morris celebrated his 80th birthday last week; his wife is 76. Outwardly, they look very different from a photo taken 60 years ago that graces their room at Amber Oaks Assisted Living Community.

    But their love is still as strong as ever.

  • In September 1995 my son Reggie took his mother Susanne, then 80, on a trip to France, including a visit to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, near the border between France and Spain.

    She had first visited the shrine with her father in 1926 when she was eleven. Susanne described her impressions:

    I touched Reggie’s cheek and he touched my cheek. And there was an atmosphere of prayer, no giggling, no laughing or anything. Just a very comfortable place to be because everybody else was doing the same thing. And it was very emotional.

  • During our several trips to France, while we always visited our good friends Jean-Michel and Guillemette Dunoyer de Segonzac in Brittany, we did not neglect beautiful Paris.

    We stayed at small reasonably priced hotels, and dined at inexpensive restaurants frequented by Parisians.

    Such informal trips would have been impossible without the entrée provided by Susanne’s family background, warm personality and capability to shift in mid-sentence between French and English, in easy conversations with patricians and functionaries alike.


    The Sentinel-News, since 2008, has honored at year’s end five Shelby Countians we think have had a significant impact on our community during the year. We sought your nominations on our Facebook page, and we believe each person – or team – selected for what we call Shelby County’s Fabulous 5, has in his or her own way left an imprint that merits our honoring and emulating, represents a broad spectrum of a diverse society and truly is one of the best of our best.



    Sam Eyle

  • General Baron Athanase Charles-Marin de Charette (1796-1848)

    At the royal court, Louise, Comtesse de Vierzon, granddaughter of Charles X of France, met a gallant cavalier, Athanase-Charles-Marin de Charette, (1796-1848), Chef d’escadron aux Chasseurs de la Garde Royal (Commander of the light cavalry squadron of the Royal Guard).


  • Our good friends in France, Jean-Michel and Guillemette Dunoyer de Segonzac, drove us to General de Charette’s Chateau de la Basse Motte in Chateuneuf, six miles west of St Malo, which Susanne had inherited from her mother, the Marquise de Charette, in 1964.

  • In early February 1966, Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Director of Selective Service (Draft), and his wife were our dinner guests at our quarters at the San Diego Marine Base. Appointed as head of the Selective Service System by President Roosevelt in 1940, Hershey had become the longest-serving director in the history of the Selective Service System, spanning World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

    Working for the “Brute”

  • One day in February 1961, while serving on the staff of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, I received an urgent summons from Maj. Gen. Phil Berkeley, the Division Commander. I wondered what I had done wrong this time!

    It turned out that the general’s growing dissatisfaction with his chief of staff’s performance had dramatically overcome his tolerance. He had abruptly ordered him to clear out his desk and get out.

    Suddenly the Chief of Staff

  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the Friday, Nov. 6, issue I republished the first of my two-part series about Maj. General J. Franklin Bell that appeared in The Sentinel-News in 2008. Winner of the Medal of Honor in the “Philippine Insurrection,” he was Shelby County’s greatest hero and highest ranked military officer. It seems timely on Veterans Day to republish the second part.

  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: As Veterans Day approaches it seems timely to publish again my story of Shelby County’s greatest hero and highest ranked military officer, Medal of Honor winner, Major General J. Franklin Bell. This column, the first of a two-part series, appeared in the Sentinel-News on August 6, 2008.

    I embarked aboard the naval transport, “USS J. Franklin Bell,” on 10 December 1942 for participation in amphibious training exercises off the coast of California in preparation for combat in the Pacific.

  • It had been a privilege to serve for two years, 1955-57, in Japan, under the command of a distinguished and capable four-star general, Lyman L. Lemnitzer. As his Headquarters Commandant, I had under my command the all-services Honor Guard, which was turned out to welcome senior officers, American and foreign, who visited my “boss.”

  • In the summer of 1952, having been promoted to Colonel during two years of sea duty, I was ordered to take command of the Marine Barracks of the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes. Illinois.  There Susanne and I were assigned spacious government quarters in one of the beautiful old homes on “Brick Row.” 

    Shortly after the birth of our second son, Charles Antoine, in March 1954,I was ordered on an unaccompanied tour (without family) with the Third Marine Division in Gifu, Japan.

  • In late 1948, Susanne and I announced our engagement. Susanne’s mother, the Marquise de Charette, issued a very proper engraved invitations for a wedding on January 7, 1949.

    However, during a Christmas visit with my parents in San Diego, I had developed reservations about a marriage, in which I would suddenly assume the responsibilities not only of husband, but of father, as well. Upon my arrival back in New York, I asked Susanne for more time to consider. Later, she recalled her reaction: “It made me practically ill. Van got cold feet!”

  • Mike Harman grinned as he walked back toward his raptor facility in his backyard.

    “I’m known around Shelbyville as the guy with the bird in the car,” he said.

    Stepping inside his workshop, he withdrew a Cooper’s hawk – somewhat unwillingly – from its cage.