The Highway Three Love Connection from Cerro Gordo County to Plymouth County began in 1921 from a Thornton farm 14 miles south of Clear Lake. The current population is about 400 and I still have relatives nearby. My mother, Ruth James, had graduated from Upper Iowa University and her first teaching job was at Grand Meadow High School in Cherokee County. She would marry my dad, who was farming north east of Kingsley.
Fast forward to 1963 when Gary Cole (died in 2001) from Thornton began working on my Paulin Construction crew. Gary's grandmother was my mother's sister. His sister, Donna Cole, would later work at my Building Center at 128 Central Avenue NE.
Also working on the construction crew that summer was David Paulin, son of Huel and Bonita Paulin, thus my second cousin on my father's side. He and Donna became "friendly," and still are after 42 years of marriage. They now work in private school education in Cincinnati, Ohio, in finance and sports, respectively. You sports fans may remember end/kicker David's extra points beating Sioux City East, among others.
Years later Gary and David's sister Sandra (now living in Spring Valley, MN) would marry! On another front, my mother's nephew from Thornton, James Ulum (now deceased), became Harvey Kluckhohn's Le Mars School assistant superintendent in 1950. Jim would later marry Ann Shepherd, daughter of Clara and Joel Shepherd of Le Mars. The Shepherd's lived at 822 4th Avenues SE and a few years later my parents would build the house next door at 420 South Greenwood Drive. After superintendent jobs in Iowa, James became the head man at Coos, Oregon and Ann now resides near Forest Grove.
Morgan Thomas managed an ice cream shop on SE Central Avenue in Le Mars in the 1940's and married my cousin, Marjorie James, who was from Thornton. And, my uncle Jim Paulin married Mason City native Irene Holbrook, who was my first grade teacher.
In 1478 Leonardo da Vinci designed, in drawings, the first self-propelling vehicle, five feet by five and a half feet, to be made of wood, with three wheels. It was to have been driven by springs. It was the prototype, if you will, of Joel Shepherd's three wheeled automobile. Joel owned a red BMW Isetta, around 1960. He was a Le Mars insurance man and the economical little car was just the thing for short trips around town.
A website lists 356 past or present makers of fuel powered three wheel cars and trucks, worldwide. Nearly 30 are still being made, about a dozen of them in the USA. The "Ecofueler," "Cirbin," and "ZAP," are some of the more interesting American models and who wouldn't want to own the British "Blackjack?" Or Thailand's "Tuk-Tuk" truck?
Starting in the 1960's GMC flirted with prototypes named the "Lean Machine," Runabout," and Commuter Car."
You can build your own three wheeler - kits are still available.
Joel Shepherd, a Simpson College graduate from southeast Iowa moved to Le Mars in 1930 to sell insurance. He became a Red Cross Field Agent during WW2 and in January of 1945 sent a long letter to the Le Mars Globe Post. He had apparently only recently left the USA.
In part, and with my editing, he said, "I am sitting here on an old German bed waiting for a truck to haul my things to my new location. Our trip across (the Atlantic) was uneventful. We were all excited when we came to (the) Strait of Gibraltar. The distant lights of Tangiers looked most cheerful. We landed at Marseilles, France on Friday, Dec. 8, two weeks from boarding time. The Americans and their allies have taken over this second largest town in France."
"Distinctly foreign, it was most interesting. All buildings are of stone or tile, tile roofs, yards enclosed with stone walls or steel fences, winding, dark narrow streets--almost no real modern buildings. Hotels and buildings are cold, as there is little coal or wood around. "
"So many uniforms--all nationalities. Being a port town, it is a tough place. Reports are that 1000 soldiers per month disappear there! Some are found in the bay, many never found, some are AWOL's. There are 43,000 licensed prostitutes--no one knows how many others. Army gave very strict rules as to soldier's conduct."
"I have now traveled close to 1000 miles in France, some in German territory. We came up the Rhone valley, and in some places it is beautiful. I am so sorry about Clarence Roseberry--a great loss to Le Mars. Also Bill Lynch."
Don Paulin 7557 30th AV, Norwalk, IA 50211. firstname.lastname@example.org. 515-201-7236 -30-