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Culpeper Times • December 13-19, 2018
LOCAL NEWS 'Making of a Soldier:' A look inside Bill Chases's past Bill Chase is a character. Anyone who has attended a Culpeper County Board of Supervisors meeting in the last 36 years can attest to his often witty, self-deprecating humor. That humor shines through in his new book, “The Making of a Soldier,” published by Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. The more than 500 page memoir takes readers through Bill’s early life growing up in Clearfield, Pa., the son of a country lawyer and his struggles to make it through school and into the military. Much of the first half of the
THE FINAL SAY Jeff Say
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book, which focuses on his quests acquire a car, alcohol and good times, is read with disbelief that he even survived many of his escapades. 1
The laughs come fast and steady in “Making of a Soldier,” starting in the first chapter as Bill describes his childhood - one in which he pretended to be a soldier, even making hand grenades out of a mud and corn. It was one of those “grenades” that broke out the front window of the door to his home, which led to a swift spanking from his father. From there, he and his friends moved to playing on the train tracks that led through Clearfield - and it’s with an almost matterof-fact tone that Bill explains one of his friends was cut in half by a train and covered with newspapers before the authorities came. His mother soon forbade him from playing on the track with a phrase he became familiar with throughout his life, “The good Lord must be looking out for you and saving you for a purpose.”
School was not that purpose, as Bill often says with a chuckle. His school tales in “Making of a Soldier” are varied and are antics that would likely lead to charges and jail time today. In junior high, he tells one tale of going to the junior high prom and sneaking in a pocketful of 10 firecrackers. Fireworks were illegal in Pennsylvania, so Bill still isn’t sure where he got them from. He and a group of friends threw a lit firecracker into an air vent down onto the dance floor, thinking that they would never be caught. As is the case with many of Bill’s stories - he was caught. He had hid several firecrackers in the cuff of his trousers, thinking that if teachers searched him they wouldn’t be smart enough to ➤ See Dough, Page 5
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