Jim’s Bio

I was born in Urbana ILL on August 24 1957, and was the first of four children. Two more boys and a baby sister followed. My dad moved us all over the country. It was kind of tough and I was always a little envious of people that had lived in the same house their entire life. I went to more grade schools than I can remember, and then four different high schools in two different states. 

When I was 13, in the summer of 1970, we moved into this old farmhouse. For the first month or so, I would wake up in the middle of the night, sit upright, and wonder where I was. For a split second, I thought that the car had stopped. I just felt a little out of place. I wondered where my brothers and sister were, saw that they were asleep in their own beds and fell back to sleep.  When I was fourteen, I saw a magazine that had a picture of a wooden spoon that some guy had made. I said, “I can make one of those,” and ever since then I have been hand carving those wooden spoons. We lived in that farmhouse for the next three years, the longest that I have ever lived in one place my entire life. 

That same summer, I cooked and became the short order cook in my Uncle Willy’s café. I was only 14. When I turned 15, I baled hay, detassled seed corn, and rouged soybeans so I could make enough money to buy my first car. She was a beauty. A four-door 1957 Chevy sedan. I gave the guy $175.00 for her. After I bought that car, I started working in gas stations. My dad had taught me mechanic work so I would work after school and weekends.

I got married young. I was only 18, and my first wife was 17. We were high school sweethearts. I liked to move around, I guess bad habits die-hard. She wanted to stay put so needless to say my first marriage only lasted four years.

My dad was a union heavy equipment operator, and he got me a job with him running heavy equipment, and I have been doing it on and off since 1975. The only problem with running heavy equipment is that it is not steady.

You could call me a Jack-Of-All-Trades as I have done a little of everything since that time.  I worked on a sheep ranch in northern Arizona, worked in junkyards, garages, farms, set up house trailers, bounced in bars, worked in a bike shop in Colorado, and a tire shop. I worked in an aircraft salvage yard, did landscaping, worked in a charcoal plant and a metal building factory. I even sewed hats for almost a year.

My dad would never let me or my brothers have mini bikes or dirt bikes. We had go-karts, but no bikes other than bicycles, so when I turned 18 I bought my first real motorcycle, a little Honda. That wasn’t enough power for me, so I bought a bigger Honda and then finally my first Harley, a 1971 Sportser.  The 2010 Road King I have now is my eighth Harley, and the first one I have ever owned with an electric start. The 1957 FLH I had in Tucson was the bike that I loved the most, and I actually took my first ride with Demea on that same bike when we first met in 1981. 

Demea was living in this house with a boyfriend and my brother and his girlfriend. I remember going over to see my brother one day and everyone was there except Demea who was working. We were all sitting around getting stoned and having a great time until Demea shows up. She starts yelling and cussing at all of us, and I thought, “Man what a bitch this chick is,” but later I found out she was the only one working and she was mad that the others was just partying and she was the only one paying the bills. We got to be friends and dated before she went back to California. We stayed in touch over the years and then in 1992 my parents and I bought a 195-acre farm in Missouri.

In 1994 Demea called and said she wanted to come for a visit, of course, I said, “Great, I haven’t seen you in a while.” I didn’t hear anything out of her for another two years. Out of the blue, she calls back and says, “I want to come for a visit.” I said, “That’s what you said two years ago!” She said, “No I am coming this time.” I told her she was still welcome and my brother Randy and I took off to pick her up at the airport in St. Louis. During the drive, I was thinking to myself that I hadn’t seen her for 10 years. I wonder if she would recognize me. Funny, she walked right passed me when she got off the plane, went straight up, and hugged my brother. She didn’t even recognize me.

Demea stayed a week with me went back to California for two weeks and moved to Missouri. We got married on May 6, 2000, and the memories just keep on getting better.