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Thread: Wayne Baldwin's Amazing Story: Baldy's Eual Eldred Baldwin

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    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default Wayne Baldwin's Amazing Story: Baldy's Eual Eldred Baldwin

    I have been planning to start this thread for about a year, but first I wanted to finish AN AMAZING STORY. I am close, but we were terribly busy last year then I had the scanner quit, e mail trouble, hard drive crash etc. I hope to get back on that and finish before spring is out. In the meantime, Bill Van had asked whether or not my Dad was listed in the encyclopedia. I don't know. When I first got on BRF he wasn't. But that was a long time ago, the list is too long to check and he's gotten lots of mentions between then and now. However, there are some things never brought up, and some fun things I'd like to try. When I first started the post AN AMAZING STORY, I was just excited about finding the very motor I wanted an example of for my boat racing room. There was never a plan. The story just evolved with help and participation from many other members here. If it were not for my Dad, I never would have raced boats. During his short time of leadership he made some lasting impressions. He was both loved and criticized. But he was never ignored. What I plan to do is start out with our emergence into the sport and along the way throw in some of his greatest recipes he treated boat racing guests to from Minnesota to California, Florida to Wisconsin, Canada, Australia and West Germany. And there will be tales of hunting, chasing outlaws, and other funny stories. So get ready for another long run. This one may take some time.
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 1 Week Ago at 07:31 PM.



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    Default I can't wait for this one

    This will be a very enjoyable thread, for both those that knew him, and especially those that didn't. I am sure there will be some "amazin' stories", some of which I know when told, I will be "Baldied" in. He was one of the best friends I have ever had, and also one of the most "gotcha" people I have ever known. If you ever did anything you didn't want anyone else to know about because of stupid stuff on your part, DON'T do it around him. I am reminded of at least a half dozen that I would dearly like to forget every time I think of him.

    Even though we had some strong disagreements about various things in boat racing during the almost 20 years I talked to him on a regular basis, both while he was involved in racing and after he left it, he was never mean spirited about those disagreements. You could have a very heated discussion with him about something you felt strongly about, and then go right back to being the best of buddies after the discussion was over. It certainly did not hurt that he made some of the very best Gumbo I have ever tasted, steaks that would feed 4 people, all for you by yourself, and the "piece de resistance", Oysters ala Baldy. Add in a wonderful place to test in the middle of the winter, great company and wonderful hospitality, (and if you loved to bird hunt that was just more icing on the cake) and any visit to his place was looked forward to and savored for long after.

    My biggest disappointment was not having the opportunity to see him in the last couple of years he was alive, and both Eileen and I felt we had lost a family member when Wayne called to tell us of his passing.

    I am really looking forward to this thread.

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    I've got almost a whole roll of film on one of those gotcha stories featuring you Bill Van. It's further down the line so you will just have to wait awhile. I'm doing this in chronological order. I'm glad you mentioned "oysters ala Baldy". The timing is perfect. It is so cold I was going to start off with chili, but Debbie's Dad went to Palacious, Texas (home of the OPC and Inboard Firecracker 200) and got 6 gallons of delicious oysters. I'm going to pick some up today. So look forward to the simple but fine tasting recipe of "Oysters ala Baldy".



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    BALDY'S



    I can clearly remember the moment I heard President Kennedy was assassinated. I just got dropped off at school after lunch and was about ten feet from the flagpole when two or three of my friends ran up and told me. Small groups of kids were standing all around talking about it. That's about all I remember. Other than old news footage I have seen since then, I don't remember anything else about those days. My Mom was real sick and died a week after the assassination. One week before I turned fifteen. She almost died in childbirth when left unattended and her lungs collapsed following an epidural. My Dad could be heard over the whole second floor cursing the doctor and telling him to get the hell over there. She recovered but my baby sister was stillborn. After that my Mom got asthma which led to emphysema. She and my Dad were Camel smokers and they both quit cold turkey, but she could never overcome all the problems from the collapsed lungs. Her name was Frances but everyone called her "Dodo" like the goofy bird. She was always saying funny things and sometimes acting a little bit crazy. The Mexican cowboys on the ranch where she grew up called her "Poco Bueno", which basically means "pretty good".

    My Dad knew early on she was dying, but never let on to us kids. He set up a trust fund for us, and for it to become final she had to live past a certain date. She did, but barely. She held on and died within a week or two beyond the date certain. I think it was the death of John Kennedy that killed her spirit and she gave up. My Dad voted for Nixon, and although my Mom was a Republican, she liked Kennedy and I always had the feeling that she voted for him. It was during the week between Kennedy's death and hers that everything is fuzzy. We didn't go to church, but I had begun praying for her almost a year earlier. She couldn't sleep laying down any more so set slept on a couch in the living room having to sit halfway up. Some nights at our lake house I would stay up with her late watching the stars. She had died some time during the early morning hours November 29, 1963.

    Several months later the IRS began trying to break the trust. They worked very hard, but my Dad used a very good attourney when he set it up. I can remember after months of negotiations several IRS guys with big satchels came to meet my Dad and his attourney at our lake house. They left without getting what they wanted. Then they began auditing him every year. Sometimes they would find little things in their favor, but his CPA could usually find stuff in his favor, but they kept it up year after year. Finally, in the early 70's he filed a harrassment suit against the IRS claiming that the audits were in retaliation for not breaking the trust (which they stilled poked around in from time to time). After that, I can't remember him ever being audited again.

    There were a lot of flowers at the funeral, and there were so many of one kind that Baldy planted them in the road front flower bed. Whoever heard of planting potted flowers outside in December? But that's what Baldy did, and this is one of the first pictures I took with my new Kodak Instamatic camera. Those flowers flourished in the spring and filled the whole flowerbed. That's really all I can ever remember that was planted there.

    I have to break off here so I don't get timed out. This doesn't pertain to boat racing at this point, but it is relevant to how we ended up getting into racing so I am giving some background. Hope that's O.K.
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    Last edited by Master Oil Racing Team; 02-11-2010 at 02:12 PM. Reason: add photo and additional info



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    My Dad was born Eual Eldred Baldwin on November 6, 1920 at Friendship, Arkansas a couple of gulleys and a draw down the road from Hope where President Clinton claims to have been born. Baldy was six years old when his Dad died from yellow fever contracted in a mining camp. His Mom, my Granma Arkie, remarried and her husband Grampa Arkie moved from town to town in the oilfield building wooden derricks. In one year Baldy attended around twenty one schools. One day Granma Arkie checked him in and two hours later checked him out. All his old friends called him Eual, but I think it was in the Navy serving in the South Pacific he acquired the name of Baldy. It was either that or in the oilfield. The IRS always had his name down as Eval E. Baldwin and he never told them any different.. His mail was sent to E.E. Baldwin and some of the A.P.B.A. council members who didn't really know him well addressed him as "E.E.".

    My Mom first saw him when he was shirtless on the roof of her sister's house replacing shingles. They only dated about a month before they were married. It was kind of crazy during those months after World War II ended and my Dad fell for my Mom's wacky ways. He resumed his life as a building contractor after the war, and had built some good contracts, but when he couldn't find any nails he went bankrupt. As luck would have it, he found out about a boxcar full of nails shunted off on a siding around Alice, Texas. He went to a banker and asked for a loan. The banker put his trust in Baldy and gave him the money to buy the wayward car load of nails. Baldy knew people who really needed those nails and he sold them for enough money to finance his newly thought of business. He got out of the construction business and built a warehouse in Alice to service the booming oilfield. He named this new venture "Alice Specialty Company". The year was 1946. I spent my first year living in a corner office in that warehouse with my parents and older sister Brenda. Baldy and a black man built the house we moved into before I turned two. As usual, he didn't have plans. He just drew the foundation in the dirt and built it. He never did anything standard. It had some angles and was sided with Arkansas stone that took him back to his childhood. When he put it on the market in 1959, it was snapped up and we moved to a new house built on Jefferson Street in Alice.

    That same year he bought four lots at the Pernitas Point subdivision on Lake Mathis. He immediately began dredging a boat canal, building a pier and making a private one acre lake just west of the canal. We had always gone hunting and fishing, but the fishing was always salt water. Baldy loved the water so he got the lake place to be on the water more often.

    In 1960 he moved our hunting trailer off the main lot and built a spit level house with the upper and lower sections having the main view facing the lack. The upper room was only two rooms. A full bathroom and the rest just one gigantic bedroom with one bunkbed on the northwestern corner and four single beds spaced along the southern edge that had a rail overlooking the kitchen and bar below. The upper bedroom had a deck running all the way across and facing the lake. It was a great house. It had only two bedrooms that had four walls and a door for privacy. There was a bathroom downstairs too, but most of the downstairs was a very spacious kitchen with a three by five foot grill and a bar facing the grill that curved around and was about twenty feet long. Baldy loved to entertain, so that was the centerpiece of the house. His view from cooking was toward the lake, and also facing his guests sitting at the bar.

    Baldy didn't start off as a good cook, but learned it from necessity after my Mom died and the housekeepers he went through didn't know how to cook a decent meal. He always had a knack for barbequeing, frying fish and outdoor cooking. He didn't start the type of cooking he became famous for until one day he came home and saw our cat working over a piece of something tied to the storeroom door. The maid had put a rump roast in the oven and forgot about it. It was probably turned up too high as well. When I smelled smoke, I opened the oven and found what had started out as probably an eight or ten pound roast had blackened and shrunk to one third of it's original size. I pounded a thirty penny nail through the hardened crust, tied a short length of quarter inch rope to the nail and hung it on the door. Baldy opened the car door and went over to see what that thing on a string was. After that...no more cooking chores for the housekeeper.

    Baldy tried to enlist help from my older sister Brenda who was a junior in high school. Her cooking was mostly the simplest and quickest fare to make unless her boyfriend Kenneth Cobb was coming over to eat. Then she did her very best experimenting. It was always good. Kenneth was tall with thick black hair which he wore in the Elvis Presley style. He would not make it as an Elvis imitator, but he did very much resemble him. Baldy had him pegged for a simpleton, but that's the way all Dad's are when their daughters begin dating I suppose.

    ADD:
    First pic is Baldy around the time he met our mother.

    Second is The Alice Specialty Co., Inc. warehouse Baldy built then got into the oilfield business. I am not sure of the year. Maybe someone who knows cars can figure it out. Baldy is all the way to the left. Don't know who the other two guys are. It's possible that the guy on the first right is his first partner Calvin Cron.

    The third is Baldy with his hand on the rump of my colt Nikki. Lakehouse in the background

    Time for another break....
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    Default Thanks Wayne.........

    I know how sometimes its hard to write about loved ones and earlier life growing up. Your Mom must have been a wonderful woman............and I know your Dad was first class in whatever he pursued. I look forward to the next pages and pages of this thread. And it will give all readers a little insight on what it takes to be successful not only in racing, but in whatever is important to you.
    Charley Bradley


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    Thanks Charley. It's been awhile since I thought of some of this stuff as I ponder what to write. It took a long time to get over those days.



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    I didn't want to go back to school at all after a few days at home. Everyone would be offering condolences and every time it would just send the pain back up. I don't really remember a lot of things from then because it seems like I was in a fog. About the only things I do remember were that the Beatles just hit the airwaves with "She Loves You" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", and I began drivers ed that spring. That was a real bittersweet remembrance. While I was glad to start learning to drive, mine and Reynaldo Torres' day to drive was 5th period on Fridays. Seems like nearly every other week we had an assembly at that time, so that by the time school ended, Reynaldo and I did not have enough hours to take our driving test. Everyone else got their licenses except us. We had to go to school during the summer just to get enough hours in to take the test.

    Baldy was not only tied up with business, but also the IRS and other matters regarding my Mom's estate. But, at our lake house we had neighbors that took us in pretty much the whole summer of 1964. Kenny and Polly Valentine helped my Dad out a lot then. They lived in Corpus Christi, but they spent that summer at the lake to do things with us four kids. Of course Brenda was mostly hot rodding around Alice showing off for the boys, Kenny took Mark and I out hunting arrowheads and other things and Polly took care of Jan. Then very often they took us to Padre Island in their homemade dune buggy. They were beach bums and had the most fantastic collection of oddities they had picked up on the beach. They had a large roofed in area in their back yard in Corpus that was made completely of materials they recovered on the beach, including a thick floor of the floury sand from the beach. Gigantic ropes, nets, japanese glass floats, anchors, homemade wooden ships washed up from somewhere and lots of things with writing from around the world.

    The Valentine's dune buggy with Brenda, Jan and Mark aboard


    One day Kenny told me to take his little john boat out for a spin. I had been in various types of boats all my life and even had one Baldy built us that had a three horsepower Evinrude on it. Even then, I was not prepared for what was about to happen.

    It was all aluminum around nine feet in length and it had a mercury engine, but I don't remember the horsepower. !5 or 20 I am guessing. But with my weight and it being empty besides me, a life jacket and a tank of gas, it had plenty of power. Kenny told me just take it easy until I get the feel of it. I cleared the shoreline, turned toward the main lake and cranked the throttle all the way over. Instantly the little boat was patting the ripples and the wind was blowing in my face. When I went to turn it, it started skidding a little. I backed off a little at first when I had experienced something like I had never felt before, but then I got back on it. How exhilarating that first lap was. I couldn't believe the extreme joy and sense of nothing but speeding over the surface with the wind in my face. All my troubles went away. I went round and round, getting better control of the skid. I could feel the lightness of it going into the wind, and favored that as opposed to running with the wind. To this day I can still feel that first time out.
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    Last edited by Master Oil Racing Team; 02-11-2010 at 02:16 PM. Reason: add photo



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    Brenda's "Elvis" style boyfriend's best friend was Jesse Smith. One of my memories of early Johnny Cash was Kenneth and Jessie getting in to "Ring of Fire". Jessie's Dad was George Smith....a pilot who besides teaching others how to fly flew "pipelines" for oil companies every week. He flew contracted pipeline routes to detect surface leaks. Baldy always knew Brenda's friends and he got to know Jesse. He was tall, wiry and had curly golden red hair. In talking to Jesse, Baldy thought it would be something good for me to learn how to fly airplanes. So, in 1964 I started flight lessons.

    There were six people in flight school. A grocer and his wife, and the only other one I remember was George Townsend who continued on to get his IFR and dual engine rating and became a successful commercial pilot. I passed flight school on my first go around. We had a round "slide rule" that was really neat. We figured our distance, fuel, eta, converted air speed to ground speed and all kinds of things that I don't remember. The flying lessons I learned here served me well later on.



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    I only remember a couple of things about Christmas in December of 1963. Our aunts and my Mom's friends came by with the most bountiful loot of cookies I ever saw. I haven't seen or tasted any since I can't remember when, but it seems like were were overloaded with the white cookies with pecans called "divinity". Maybe nobody makes it anymore. The other thing was that I got a Kodak Instamatic camera with what was labeled 126 film. It came with little tiny blue flasbulbs. The film was preloaded in a cassette with an empty spool on the right to take up the exposed film and a spool on the left with unexposed film. When you insert the cassette and closed the back, the camera automatically forwarded to the first frame.

    I took lots of pictures....and as soon as I had gone through a roll I got somebody to drive me to Connally & Rushing's drugstore on main street to send it off. They were all rolls of color. I always asked when they would be back, and at the soonest opportunity I would get my sister Brenda or someone to take me there to pick them up. The whole time I took film to Connaly & Rushing, then later when it became Rushing & Gonzalez, there were only two guys behind the counter. They got to know me well.



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