By R.G. Wilson,F21025
National Senior Vice President
My wife, Jeri, and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this month. Having heard the story about how we met, our national president, Jeff Jefcoat, F118344, likes to tell it to others. So before Jeff gets to the few of you who haven’t heard it yet, I might as well tell the world.
Born and reared on a farm in western Oklahoma, I had an opportunity to become a businessman early in life. I received my first income “” 25 cents a day “” by delivering drinking water on my pony to my father’s harvest crews in the fields. This gave me the capital to buy a calf, which got my cattle business started. The cattle business then provided me the money to buy a new Chevrolet Club Coupe when I graduated from high school in 1950.
Soon after arriving at Southwestern State College in Weatherford, Oklahoma, two friends and I were cruising down Main Street when we saw three girls walking along the sidewalk. I quickly pulled the car over, and we invited them to hop in and join us. One of the girls was a pretty little blonde who said, “I want to sit by the one who owns the car.” That cute blonde’s name was Jeri, and the rest is history.
From the very beginning, we both loved to travel and see this beautiful country. In the 1950s and early 1960s, however, we did not know anything about traveling in a motorhome. We purchased a 1960 Ford Falcon station wagon and traveled to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. We even slept in that little car for several nights to save on motel costs.
Later in the 1960s, we were on a vacation trip to Colorado when I saw the neatest thing. It was a little house on wheels called a Winnebago. I fell in love with that motorized home and thought that someday I would like to own one myself. In 1970 we purchased our first motorhome, a 1970 Winnebago. Our parents, brothers, and sisters all thought we were nuts to spend $11,000 for something we didn’t need. That didn’t help us deal with the buyer’s remorse that had already filled our minds.
At this time there were very few motorhomes on the road, and the ones that did exist received a great number of stares. We especially got strange looks whenever we drove it to various events we attended. Jeri and I have always enjoyed traveling in our motorhome to Oklahoma University ball games, CPA conventions, and other activities in addition to camping.
Our motorhome made our travels more comfortable and enjoyable. During the 1970s and 1980s, motorhomes became more common and a popular method of travel.
Since our first Winnebago in 1970, we have purchased six other motorhomes, upgrading every three to six years. Today we travel in an Executive by Monaco.
In 1974 a good friend, the late Vern Kiesau, F17945, introduced us to FMCA, which opened up a whole new world of friends and activities. Since I retired from my accounting practice in 1996, we feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel throughout the United States and parts of Canada.
Yes, it’s a wonderful life, and being a member of Family Motor Coach Association makes it even more enjoyable.