James W. Nelson was born in a little farmhouse on the prairie in eastern North Dakota in 1944. Some doctors made housecalls back in those days, and came out by horse and buggie. He remembers kerosene lamps, bathing in a large galvanized tub, and their first phone number was a long ring followed by four short rings, and everybody in the neighborhood could rubberneck. Imagine that today!
Some jobs: Potato picking, haymaking, other farm duties including endless chores, US Navy submarine force, flowershops and greenhouses, many factories including 3M Wahpeton, ND, wholesale health food shipping, battery recycling, sod laying, auto test driving in frozen Fargo, ND, apple thining and cherry picking in Washington, corral construction in Arizona, the list goes on.
Some influences growing up: My dad and grandfather; Oscar Rockstad, my best friend's father; all my teachers, from first grade into college; the Jordheim clan, especially Randolf, Conrad, Verdell and Harold; Chief Thomas, bootcamp; Chief Bell, Class A Weapons School, Chief Ickes, USS Carbonero; Chief Griffon, USS Archerfish.
Major influences later: Henry David Thoreau, Albert Einstein, John Steinbeck, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhauer, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, James A. Michener, John Muir, Walt Whitman, Rachel Carson, Marston Bates, Norman Mailer, Alex Haley, Sally Carrighar, Walt Disney, Jean M. Auel, John Jakes, Dean Koontz, Louise Erdrich, Stephen King, Carl Sagan, The Reader's Digest, National Geographic.