Wess Speaks (Part X)

Two more. Three to go.

Read all the posts in the Wess Speaks series.

  • In Too Small to Ignore you shared much about your childhood. But I don’t remember reading anything about your first six years … what do you remember of your early childhood? (Vicki Small)

My very earliest memory is from when I was about five. I don’t know why our earliest memories are usually frightening ones, but I remember getting caught in a barbed wire fence when I was five years old. I still have the scar from that. I was totally trapped like an animal – the more I pulled, the more I tore myself apart. That’s my very earliest memory.

My second earliest memory is the S.S. United States – the ship that took us to Africa when I was five years old. It was on its second voyage. It had crossed, like the Titanic, from England to New York and we were on the return trip. The reason that memory is so emblazoned in my mind is because we went through a horrible storm. Turned out it was the worst storm that the captain of the ship had seen on the Atlantic in 30 years.

I remember looking at the waves way above the top of the ship. They would go down and the ship would just leap out of the water – the exposed propeller would rattle the whole ship. One minute we were going uphill because the ship was almost straight up, and the next minute we were running downhill.

My dad and the captain were the only two who didn’t get seasick. (My dad had just gotten out of the Navy.) But it was so bad that I remember one time at the dining room table, in one wave everything on the table slid right into my dad’s lap. We even strapped ourselves into our beds at night.

And for some reason (stupid little boy that I was!), I got outside and managed to climb up on the railing. I was hanging onto the railing as we were rising and falling in the storm. My mom came and grabbed me, otherwise, I could have gone overboard.

  • Do you have any hobbies? (Amy)

My wife knows full well that she’s raised three children – two daughters and me. Because even though I’m all grown up now, 58 years old, I am still a child at heart. I still love to have fun. I am anything but a workaholic. I work really, really hard, but when I am not working, I am really not working.

So anything outdoors, I am all over it. I love to fish, especially in the ocean. I love to hunt. I love camping. I love hiking.

I don’t love golf. I used to caddy, and I know how to play golf, but I play it so poorly that all it does is make me mad.

I live on a little ranch with a lot of Ponderosa Pines, so I love clearing brush and chopping trees.

I play some sports. Every Friday that I’m in the office, I play racquetball with a bunch of guys.

I love riding a motorcycle. I would love to get a Harley someday, but I don’t have that kind of money. At least the motorcycle I do have – a Honda Magna 65 – has a big enough engine that nothing passes me up!

If you’re new here, these are transcribed answers from a conversation we recorded with our CEO, Wess Stafford.

4 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Vicki Small June 6, 2008

    P.S. Dave, thanks for the link. Beautiful ship!

  2. Vicki Small June 6, 2008

    Thanks, Wess! I didn’t realize those frightening early memories were so common. Thanks for telling us that!

    Your tale about climbing up on the rail, in those violent seas, makes me think of Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame). :o) That sounds like something he would do. When my husband and I were reading all the Calvin books, he assured me that Calvin was a pretty typical little boy. I was astounded, I was.

    Now–everyone who believes Wess was a “stupid little boy,” raise your hand! . . . I see no hands raised!

  3. Compassion dave June 6, 2008

    The SS United States today:


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