Russell M. Middleton - Autobiography
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(Originally published 24 May 1968, when I was aged 17, as a typing class assignment.)
This document seems a little naive now.

My name is Russell M. Middleton1. I was born in the William Crispe Community Hospital, Plainwell, Michigan on July **, l950. [** to thwart identity theft]

My father2 comes from Saskatchewan, Canada. There are three brothers and one sister in my fathers family. My two uncles Keith and Fay and my Aunt Lois still live in Saskatchewan, my uncle Jim now lives in Ontario and we live in Michigan. My grandfather3 died a few years so my grandmother now lives in British Columbia. Before my grandfather homesteaded in 1914 in western Canada and married4 grandma, he lived in Martin, Michigan. Grandma5 lived in Maine, where some of my relatives still raise lobsters. Grandpa and grandma met when my great grandmother moved out west with her family after my great grandfather died.

My mother6 comes from Scotland and has one sister. In Scotland grandfather used to drive a bus in the city of Kilmarnock, but he died many years ago. After my father and mother got married my aunt and grandmother came to this country. My grandmother now lives with my Auntie Anne and Uncle Bill at Dumont Lake, just north of Allegan. My father and mother met in Scotland during the war. Grandma comes over on some weekends and the whole family goes out to supper.

I have a sister, named Shona7, who is in the eleventh grade and is fifteen months younger than myself.

We used to live just west of Martin, not far from where my grandfather was raised as a boy. We lived on the "Page" farm, which my father rented until he bought our present farm. Dad was dairy farming until ten years ago when he became a technician for Michigan Artificial Breeders Cooperative. The farm was put in the soil Conservation Program for ten years because father could not hold two jobs at the same time. Shortly after we moved to our present address we started remodeling. My mother got a job at the Wayland Bank to supplement father's income. Two years ago mother change to her job at the High School. And a year ago father became County Supervisor for Michigan D.H.I.A.


I am most interested in motorcycles and have many magazines about them. I am also the proud owner of a red Honda Sport 50 which I love to ride every chance I get. My other interests are: girls, golf, reading, airplane models and photography. I also like good food and nice clothes.

I dislike most hard work and getting up in the morning, although I do make an attempt to do both.

One of the first things I can remember is going to school at Martin for 2 weeks when I was 5 years old. My family was in the process of moving so after the 2 weeks I went (came) to Wayland. In all my years at Wayland School the teacher I remember as having the greatest influence on my life was Mrs. Steeby. She is the only teacher that I know that could reprimand me and command my respect at the same time.

Religion, that ingredient in life some people believe is indispensable. I believe that man uses religion as a crutch and an excuse. Actually man has the power with himself to live a good life without turning to some super natural being for guidance.


The saddest part of my live was when I took the end of my finger off by smashing it in a door. Fortunately the finger has healed alright and does not give me any trouble. The only other sad part of my life I can remember was the time I broke my arm in 1st grade.

I have only one pet peeve and that is myself and my faults, which are forever messing me up.

My biggest mental worry ever was of not being accepted at a college. My next worry is finding a job for the summer.

If I could change anything at school I would change the length of the school day from the present 6.5 hours to 8 hours. This would prepare many students for an 8 hour work day after school. This change would also allow those who wanted, to finish there education faster.


The happiest day of my life was the day I bought my Honda motorcycle. The thrill I get from riding my cycle is out of this world.

The best vacation I ever had was back in 1958 when my family went out west to visit my grandparents. On our way we stopped at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and saw all the animals. As we continued farther west we stopped at the Black Hills in South Dakota where I saw petrified wood for the first time. Still farther west we stopped at Yellow Stone National Park and was Old Faithful and the bears. I had a marvelous time at my grandparents' farm for they were in the midst of rounding up the young calves.

My hobbies are: golf, reading, model building and photography. This is first year I have really played much golf because I received a set of golf clubs for Christmas. I have been reading about a book a month for quit some time and have a number of paperbacks. It usually takes me about a month to build a model and I build two or three a year. Before I went to Germany last year I bought a 35mm camera and my parents bought a projector and screen, so I can get the most out of my slides.


The future holds many surprises for me but here's my future barring any great disaster. After graduation this spring I hope to work all summer and enroll in college next fall. I will be enrolling in Grand Valley State College for there basic courses the first two years. In my junior year I hope to transfer to Michigan State and enroll in the ROTC program they have. Upon graduation I will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and serve 5 years plus flight training. Some time after graduating from State I hope to find a wife. After serving the 5 years I plan to re enlist and become a career officer.


I believe in the constants of science and that I should always be seeking the secrets of the universe. I also believe that the knowledge I find should be use to better mankind in what ever field man is most lacking.

footnotes not in original document
1 legally changed to Russell M. Middleton in 1998.

2 Russell George Middleton, born 9 January 1920, Rosebriar, Saskatchewan, Canada. WW II service number L56635, 8 July 1941 - 22 January 1946. 1st Section, 1st Troop, 9th Field Park Squadron, Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE), 4th Armoured Division. -- the 9 Field Squadron (7 officers and 250 Other Ranks) supported the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) -- 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and ClaspDad's medals (143K), died 20 November 1996, Shelbyville, Michigan, USA, buried next to his grandfather George in the South Martin, Michigan cemetery.
The exploits of the 4th Canadian Armoured Divisional Engineers is recounted in the GREEN ROUTE UP, published 6 November 1945, edited by Lieutenant M.O. Rollefson, MC, RCE. road to Chambois
One of the things that shocked my dad when he got to northern France was the number of dead horses on the German side.

Dad never said much about the war, but I do remember these stories.

Somewhere in northern France, I think, a junior officer with a map took Dad's unit out at night to build or blow-up something. As they proceeded down a road in a half-track, until they hit a mine which blew a front wheel off. Now, mined areas are usually covered by at least one machine-gun crew, and the explosion would have certainly wakened the Germans up. Dad said he crawled back up the road under fire, feeling for mines with his bayonet. Moral of the story: Never trust an officer with a map.

On another occasion he came upon a Universal Carrier that had hit a mine and the only thing left where the driver's seat had been was a pair of legs.

The only wound my dad received during the war was a small cut above one eye, closed with one stitch without anesthetic, there was a war on. He was struck by a piece of shrapnal compliments of Bomber Command. They were attempting to hit the Germans by dropping so many seconds in from the French coast. They must have misjudged when they flew over the beach, partially cloudy perhaps, in any case the bombers ended up unloading on the 9th Field Squadron.

Russell George Middleton was the eldest son of Guy Middleton and Jennie (Francis) Middleton. Upon learning that he was dying of heart failure my dad said, "Well, I guess we'll run her as far as she'll go."

3 Guy Middleton, born 21 March 1894, Watson, Michigan, USA, died 24 September 1966, Rutland, Saskatchewan, Canada. Son of George Middleton and Nellie (Jacobs) Middleton (later Chrysler). George was the son of John Forbes Middleton , born 1829 Scotland. John was married to Margaret Sutherland born 1828 Scotland.

4 1 February 1919.

5 Mary Jane Francis (called Jennie), born 18 January 1896, Gouldsboro Maine, USA, died 8 March 1986, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Daughter of Albert Ambrose Francis, born Aug 1851 in Canada, and Inez Bunker (Arey) Francis, born 11 Aug 1873 in Gouldsboro, ME.

6 Jean Craig Wilson *, born 8 May 1925, Kilmarnock, Scotland, died 21 May 2003, Wayland, Michigan. Mum and Dad met during the 2nd World War, in Kilmarnock, through friends. They corresponded through the end of the war, as many youg ladies were encouraged to do. At war's end mum was ready to let the relationship go. But dad continued to write. Now my grandmother thought dad was a fine young man. And my mum came down with rheumatic fever and was confined to bed. My gran told mum, in no uncertain terms, to answer those letters. By 1947 dad must have made some kind of proposal which involved mum flying to Saskatchewan, with return fair in her pocket, "she was no war bride." A subject she would not talk about for the rest of her life. They were married just over 2 months after she arrived in Saskatchewan. Mum spent the rest of her life trying to turn my dad, a Saskatchewan farmer, into a country gentleman with mixed results.

7 Born Ann Middleton, (Shona as her middle and preferred name, she chose in the early '60s), born ** October 1951, married Randy Austin 30 Apr 1988, died 9 November 2020.

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