Senior Correspondent Mike Causey is on vacation. This is the first in a series of guest columns written by Federal Report readers. Today’s column is from retired fed, John Elliott.
The Williamsburg, Virginia chapter of the R.O.M.E.O. Club (which stands for Retired Old Men Eating Out) graciously accepted me as a part-time member a few years ago.
I live in Northern Virginia but drive down to Williamsburg to spend time with my friend Raga every couple of months. Raga and I are retired feds who met as employees at a training course. Our agency seated us alphabetically. Elim and Elliott, therefore, sat side by side.
The R.O.M.E.O. Club convenes every Thursday at eight sharp for breakfast at a local restaurant. Attendance varies week to week and can range from, say, a dozen to half a dozen retirees. Many are retired feds and military (one was John McCain’s cellmate at the Hanoi Hilton) and one retired from his own wholesale clothing business in Liverpool, England. Most are in their 70s and 80s, and at least one is 91 and was a glider pilot during World War II, a dangerous job. At 68, I am one of the younger members. Sadly, one member had to drop out because his Alzheimer’s disease progressed to a point where, well you can guess. Jim spent most of his career with the IRS, and we miss him — and not for the free tax advice.
At my first meeting Raga introduced me to the others and fortuitously I ended up seated next to the man from Liverpool. His name is Ray Evans (no we do not seat ourselves alphabetically) and it turns out he is an author. How did a small business owner from Liverpool become published? Ray was one of many British children who were evacuated during WWII from areas of Britain that were inviting bombing targets for the Germans. Liverpool, an industrial city, was certainly one.
The evacuated children were billeted with families living in less dangerous parts of the UK. Ray was sent to Wales in 1939 at age six and wasn’t reunited with his entire family until 1945. Ray was urged by his daughter to leave an account of this experience to his children and grandchildren, so he took up writing about his life during the war. His manuscript lay on a closet shelf until one day his wife sent it to a publishing house. It was accepted and published in 2008 with the title “Before the Last All Clear.”
Readers of “Before the Last All Clear” clamored for information about what happened to Ray after the war. So Ray wrote a sequel about his life after 1945 up to his young adulthood, which included starting a business and marrying the woman who is his wife to this day. That text is titled All I Want Is A Peaceful World….and A Pork Pie!”
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