Charles Terry Wilson: An Appreciation

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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OK, you do not know Terry. He is the only one of my wife Fran’s younger brothers still living. I know we are not supposed to have “favorites,” but I think everyone does. Terry was always my favorite of the three; the middle one. Fran and I arranged for her brothers to spend the summer with us when they were 12 years old.

Mitch came to Inglewood, California, and we took him to Disneyland about two weeks after it opened. We have a photo of Mitch driving a little car there that reminds me of the MGA.

We lived in San Diego when Terry’s turn came. We spent many sleep-deprived nights with Terry’s asthma attacks, but I think he enjoyed the airplane rides with me and days at the beach near La Jolla.

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We lived on Rippy Hill (near Lynn) in my Mother’s house (she had moved to California to live with my brother Bill) when the youngest one’s turn came. David Allen liked to target shoot .22 shorts in Aunt Mildred’s rifle—he’d go through a whole box in an afternoon.

David discovered a mule grazing in a little pasture at the bottom of the hill. Being tall for his age, David ran and jumped up onto the mule’s back. When the mule did not respond to his “Giddyup!” commands, David slid off and left the mule contentedly grazing.

When I was courting Fran, she’d put the boys to bed and her parents had retired early to give us some private time. We were huddled on the sofa when I noticed a face at the boys’ door. It was Terry, furtively spying on big sister and her boyfriend.

Terry grew up to write for the city newspaper and later to serve as a journalist in the Navy. He was stationed on the carrier “Bonnie Dick” off the coast of Nam. He tried without success to visit older brother Mitch, also serving there in the Army.

When he returned to the States, he bought an MGBGT, which he later sold to me when he returned to college at Howard Payne University in Brownwood. That little car put the fun back into driving for me. Our small children sat on the little back seat, high enough to enable them to see out. Only one seatbelt, so son Thomas would cram daughter Sharon against the side when I took curves, always at speed.

We drove to Harlingen (I could not start the airplane in freezing weather) for Terry’s wedding. We drove miles and miles through the King Ranch—incredible that one person owned so much of south Texas! While there I got to fly a homebuilt airplane called the “Breezy.”

Terry has retired from an executive position with an insurance company. He and wife Nancy send us Christmas gifts that include large packages of whole, shelled Texas pecans. These Fran bakes into various offerings of cookies and breakfast muffins. YUM! They are also great just to snack on.

I remember cracking and shelling pecans as a youngster. Difficult to get an entire half out in one piece. And also essential to get all of the pieces of shell out of the ridges of the meat of the nut! Bitter!    

I have enjoyed getting to know all of my in-laws over the years. They all tolerated me very well, gladly accepting me into the family. Terry also became an excellent photographer; Mitch an excellent artist in both acrylic and watercolor. Their framed work hangs on our walls to delight our visitors.

I hope you can tell by my rambling discourse some of why Terry is a favorite. He is really quite a guy and fun to be around besides. I also hope your in-laws are as agreeable as mine! 

Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or