David Lee Crismon
It was Monday, June 7, 1943 and Bessie Zulema Crismon at the age of 32 was ready to bring her sixth child into this world. Assisted by a mid-wife, David Lee Crismon was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. David's father, William Crismon, Sr. was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky and unable to be there to support Bessie. With World War II in full engagement, housing near all military posts was almost non-existent and the family was lucky to find something within 20 miles of the Post. The small house at the back of a farm had only two bedrooms but Bessie was a resourceful and pragmatic person. Probably only sister JoAnn can recall how the five children fit into one bedroom!
Pop had been transferred to Fort Knox after completing a tour of duty in Yuma, Arizona. There, the 2nd Cavalry was converted from horses to mechanization. Reporting for duty at Fort Knox, the Commanding Officer said, "Sergeant Crismon, after almost thirty years in the Cavalry you should be able to handle any assignment. Read this manual tonight and report here tomorrow - you are now a tank operation instructor." Several months later Pop was injured when a student over turned a tank. In November 1943 after being released from the hospital Sergeant Crismon was honorably discharged from the US Army. He never fully recovered from his back injury. The family moved to Southern California to be close to Pop's brother, Herman Crismon. Herman's youngest son, Barney, had died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 16. Herman and wife Toby lovingly and emotionally adopted baby David.
While in California David became afflicted with a neurological disorder that cause him to go into convulsions. Of course, the entire family was concerned until a kindly old doctor assured us it was not serious and he would outgrow the problem. If David was hot he was to be bathed in cold water; if cold then warm water. After awhile, we kids seemed to take David's seizures for granted. It was not unusual to see little David writhing on the ground and one of us yelling, "Mother! David's having a fit again!"
In 1945 the family settled into the purchased "old house on the highway" in San Antonio. At three years of age, it was obvious that David was a very bright child. The greatest challenge for us all of us was his propensity to wander off on his own. More than once he was found walking down the highway. When asked why, he always responded. "I want to see what is down the road." The older brothers and sisters developed a strong bond with David, but his relationship with Fred, only six years older, was the strongest. Today David comments, "I had three Mothers, three Fathers and one Brother." David was a shy kid, usually speaking in a very low voice, almost to point where you could not hear what he said. One day in the toy department of a department store, I tried to coax David to climb up on the playground slide. In his usual low voice he refused. Pretending to not hear him, I kept asking him the same question. Finally in exasperation he yelled, "Damn it - NO, I don't want to go on the slide!" What a shock to several nearby parents coming from such a cute little blonde haired boy. Well, just listen to David today and you will understand it being said that perhaps Pop overdone it a bit. To finally get David to speak up, Pop told him, "Sheriffs talk LOUD!" In 1952 Pop, Mother, Fred, and David were in a serious car accident in California. An attorney representing an insurance company arranged to interview all parties. Uncle Herman had coached seven year old David to say nothing. When asked what he recalled, David sat up tall and responded, "Well, I was sitting on the folded down arm rest in the center of the back seat. Up there I could see everything ... (then after seeing Uncle Herman's stern look) ... but I saw NOTHING!"
David's loving bride, Toni, takes it from here when you click on Next below.