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The Last Lead Holders - Quest for Fulfillment

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Learning how to be free and treating life as an adventure are the keys to Deatherage's zest for life.

Richard Deatherage has an enthusiasm for life that fills every page in this memoir, which is part travelogue, part history lesson, part business manual and part “coming of age” story.


As a U.S. Air Force brat (AFB) he and his family moved every four years across the United States. Being uprooted constantly, leaving familiar places and friends behind, might have been daunting to some children but not Deatherage. He reveled in the nomadic life: experiencing the bone chilling cold of a S. Dakota winter; being awed by the majesty of the Grand Canyon; amused at the largest ball of twine in Kansas; and discovering London Bridge and Roy Roger’s stuffed horse Trigger in Arizona.


His cultural reminisces about listening to the music of Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Carpenters on vinyl records add a touch of nostalgia. That was offset by worry watching Walter Cronkite on the nightly news reporting on the Vietnam War and hoping his soldier father, stationed there, was safe.


He didn’t have to watch television to learn about integration. Attending first grade in Mississippi he and his class were part of the busing program of the sixties to integrate schools. One day he saw his kind, loving father morph into an intimidating Marine challenging white racists.


Taking his father’s advice , “…that no matter what happens in your life, you are the only one who can fix it…” he became self-sufficient and unconstrained by convention. The teenage Deatheridge showed early entrepreneurial skills and his independent streak whether selling salmon he caught, changing grades on report cards for money or operating a under-aged liquor business out of a grocery store. But when a real opportunity came along he was smart enough to jump at the chance. Even though he was still only a teenager he managed to impress his bosses and win an award.


Living in the same house on the same street in the same town for your childhood can certainly provide a comforting sense of continuity and conformity. Many people strive for just that kind of conventional life. But the lack of those boundaries perfectly suited Deatherage’s boundless curiosity and independent spirit.


Deatheridge says that, “freedom is one of the greatest fortunes your parents can ever give to you”. Learning how to be free and treating life as an adventure are the keys to his interesting life and a lesson for all of us.


Reviewed by

Book reviewer for the Lawrence Technological University library. Wayne State University 2009 HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) scholar concentrating on digital storytelling WWII oral historian for the Yankee Air Museum. Tour director and public speaker,

Chapter One

About the author

(1963-present) Richard Deatherage, was born in Santa Maria, California. being versatile in his career, he is also a carpenter, draftsman, builder, building large Commercial projects throughout the Pacific north west; Washington, Oregon, California, & Nevada... lives in, Northern California. view profile

Published on November 26, 2020

Published by

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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