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A Policemans Life Remembered

























Biography and Short Stories by retired Police Captain Ralph T. Miller











A POLICEMAN’S LIFE REMEMBERED Copyright: 2018 by Ralph T. Miller Cover Illustration by APC Solutions ISBN#9878-0-692-08843-2

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2018903158




First Printing: April 2018




Printed in the United State of America.




Dedication and Foreword


These Memoirs consist of short stories and segments of my life as a small town Policeman, from 1970 to my retirement, due to disability, in July 1990. It is dedicated to my beloved family, most especially to my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, Daniel Patrick Miller, Anthony Scott Miller, Andrew Christopher Miller, Jacob Daniel Miller, Jessica Lauren Miller, Jeremy Scott Miller, Catherine Michelle Miller, Russell Ramsey, Nicholas Hayden Ramsey, Victoria Claire Ramsey, Evelyn Ramsey, Lucille Marie Ramsey and Elias Nathanial Morrison.


These stories and events are also, most especially dedicated to the love of my life and best friend, Linnie Jane Gilreath, whom I married in May 1960 and who I absolutely adore. She has always supported me in everything that

I have undertaken and has stuck with me through “thick and thin”. Only through her long suffering and unending devotion to her family and by the grace of God, have we managed to accumulate 58 years of marriage to the date of this writing.


The reason I am writing these experiences and events down, is so that my grandchildren and great grandchildren and perhaps those who come after them, may know who I was and a little about the way I lived my life. My loves, my fears, my accomplishments in life and my shortcomings, of which there are many, will be known to them through the pages of these memoirs. I never knew my grandparents, save my grandmother on my mother’s side, Arvilla R. Davis and my grandfather on my father’s side, Ralph Dill Miller, whom I was named after. I feel loss at not knowing those in my family who came before me and I wish to leave a legacy to those who follow me. Any interested person reading





them will have some idea of who I was and what I did with my life.


But whatever else be known of me, let it be known and said that since April of 1994, I was a “born again” Christian, a follower and believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is also my Savior and Redeemer, who I will go to join at the end of my life on earth. Praise be to God for His Grace and Mercy in dealing with me and may everyone reading this, follow in my footsteps, in that regard.


All the following stories are true, to the best of my recollection and belief, save some of the names, that might not be their true name, due to my fading memory or I don’t wish anyone shame or embarrassment.




FOREWORD



by Linnie Miller



My husband and I have been married for almost fifty-

eight years, to the date of this writing. We were married in National City, California in May of 1960, when we were both just eighteen years old and very inexperienced in matters of life. I have grown to love my husband with all my heart and am very proud of the brave, Christian man he has become.


In addition to having served his Country and Community as a Police Officer, my husband also served in the U.S. Navy, from 1958 to 1964 and is a “Disabled American Veteran”. Sometime in the 1960’s while cruising through the Formosa Straights, on the U.S.S. Belle Grove, a Naval troop carrier,

a plane buzzed his ship, creating a “sonic boom”. The Officer of the Deck, thinking they had been fired upon, sounded “General Quarters”, the alarm for “All hands to man their battle stations”. As my husband was running for his battle station, the ship tossed in a rough sea and he fell backwards onto a steel ladder, severely injuring his

back. He was paralyzed from the waist down and was later transported to the Naval Hospital in San Diego, California, where he lay in traction, recovering from his injury, for approximately six weeks.


Some years later, my husband developed Spinal Arthritis and Degenerative Disc Disease from his service connected injuries and was given disability status by the Veteran’s Administration. Throughout his career and during his retirement years, he has had to endure the pain, discomfort and limited mobility caused by his injuries; but through it all, he has kept a cheerful, positive outlook on life, for which I am grateful.













BIOGRAPHY








I was born June 4, 1941, Ralph Theodore Miller, to Jeanne Hattie Davis and Joseph Isaiah Miller, who were joined in matrimony sometime in the year 1938. My mother was 15 years old and my father was 21 years of age. Approximately 2 years after their marriage, my only

sibling, Donna Jean was born to them. Two years after that, I was born in a four room house, located on the edge of Groveport Village, Franklin County, Ohio, which is located approximately 20 miles from Columbus.


After several years, we moved to a nice house, located behind the Groveport Creamery, just down the road from my grandparents on my father’s side, Ralph Dill Miller and the former Mattie Reid. My grandmother on my mother’s side, lived just 6 or 7 blocks away. Her name was Arvilla R. Davis and her husband was Lucius Calvin Davis, who had already passed away before I was born. I know little about him, other than he was one of the country’s first electricians and sometime during his career, helped to wire the White House in Washington, D.C.


My grandmother, Mattie Miller, died from breast cancer when I was very young and I barely have any recollection




of her. However, I do remember quite vividly the night she died, because it was the first time I had ever seen my father cry. My grandma Davis was quite another matter. I knew her intimately and loved her dearly. She was the strongest, kindest person I have ever met. She had solid white hair, which was always combed and curled, wore earrings and

high heeled shoes all the time and I never saw her when she wasn’t neatly dressed. Her husband, Lucius died of what was probably a stroke, after being bed-ridden for several years, during which time my grandmother waited on him “hand and foot”. In addition, they had six children that she cared for and this was during the Great Depression, when this whole country was poverty stricken. My grandma Davis worked as an insurance agent and was a Notary Public, at an office just down the street from her home. She also had the upstairs of their home remodeled into an apartment, which she rented out for additional income. As far as I

know, Gram Davis, as we all called her, never had any romantic interest, after Grandpa Davis passed on and she never remarried. She died in a nursing home in Ohio at the ripe old age of 94. I believe she was one the finest women I ever knew.


I didn’t know or spend much time with grandpa Miller. He was a contractor and a carpenter by trade and he was considered financially “well off”. He was a huge gruff man that everyone in the family seemed to be afraid of. He

was over six feet tall and weighed around 300 pounds. Apparently he had been a strict disciplinarian as a father and I heard many stories from my dad about him. My aunt Mildred Nelson, his only daughter and the youngest of four children, apparently had her father wrapped around her “little finger” as they say and it was well known that Aunt Millie could get anything she wanted from “Pop”, as all




his children called him. I can remember several times as

a child, my aunt Millie taking me to grandpa Miller’s house and bluntly informing him that I needed some school clothes and asked him, how much money he had. Grandpa would then take out his wallet, which appeared to be bulging with greenbacks, take out several large bills and hand them

to aunt Millie, with a big grin on his face. Aunt Millie and myself would then go downtown, shopping for school clothes.


All my memories as a child growing up in Groveport, were wonderful, save for the time I nearly died from Pneumonia. I was very young, probably 3 or 4 years old

and I have a vague memory of being high above my parent’s bed, looking down on a scene, where I was lying in their

bed, covered up and my mother was sitting in a rocking chair, watching over me. I suppose that is what would be described today, as a “near death experience”. I really don’t know but I was told that I nearly died.


The house that we lived in behind the Creamery had one bedroom downstairs, which was my mother and father’s

and two bedrooms upstairs for me and my sister. There was a living room, kitchen and bathroom downstairs. The house had a large yard and a barn that would be used later on, by my father and uncle Harry Miller to go into business together, building of all things, hobby horses. There was

a railroad track that ran not too far from our house and I have many memories of lying in bed and listening to the passenger trains traveling by, late at night, with their whistle blowing and the clacking sound of their wheels, piercing

the quiet night air. When they came by during the day and I was outside playing, I would run over and wave at them as they whizzed by. Sometimes I would daydream about being




on the train and traveling to faraway places and imagined myself in numerous childhood fantasies. The fact is, my memory is flooded with pleasant and momentous times, in that house I spent the first eight years of my life in and I will never forget the happy times that I experienced there.


In addition to our grandparents, there was a great number of aunts, uncles and cousins prevalent in and around Groveport and the Columbus area and Sunday afternoon gatherings at Gram Davis’ house are among my most pleasant memories. There was always lots of joking, laughing and pleasant conversation, along with the most wonderful smell of frying chicken, mixed with cool summer breezes, that filled the air outside Gram’s house, as we played, waiting to be called to dinner.


Other wonderful times I had, was playing and working on uncle Squire and aunt Millie Nelson’s farm, located just outside Groveport. They had four children, Johnny, Bobby, Richard and Joanne. They were all younger, except for Johnny, who was about the same age as me. I remember once, on the school playground, where they showed outdoor movies on Saturday night if the weather was nice,

Johnny got into a fight with a boy that was quite a bit bigger than he was. The boy had Johnny down on the ground and was getting the best of him. I ran to my cousin’s aid and grabbed the boy around the neck from behind and pulled him off of Johnny. At that time, the boy knocked me down and was on top of me and the last I saw of Johnny, he was running toward home. I learned a good lesson that day.


Looking back, I almost wish I could have spent the rest of my life in Groveport, but as fate would have it, that was not to be. My father was having difficulty finding work, which is usually the case in a small town and when I was




around eight years old, my uncle Russell Miller, who was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad, managed to get my dad a job working with him. However, the only “hitch” was, naturally we had to move to Indianapolis, Indiana, where my uncle Russ and his family lived. So we packed up and moved to the big city. It was 1949 or 1950 and

the house we moved into was a small two story duplex, located on Burgess Ave. It was smaller than our house in Groveport and my bedroom was a converted walk-in-closet and as I recall, I was not very happy to be moving there.

In Groveport, we had many relatives and knew almost everyone in town and everyone knew us, but here, we didn’t know anybody and at first it was very difficult. But, given time, I made new friends and we all managed to adjust to our new life.


My first years in Indianapolis were fairly idyllic and I can only remember two noteworthy events, that I will never forget and one of them could have turned my life upside down forever. At an early age, I was beginning to have a

very bad temper. I’m not really sure of the reasons for it, but it seemed that when something didn’t go the way I wanted it to, I became frustrated and very angry. One moment I could be fine and the next, my anger would escalate completely out of control. There were times that I actually hated myself, because of my inability to control my temper and it was many years before I was able to exercise any restraint.


In any event, my sister Donna and I were left at home alone one evening, while both parents were gone and we were washing the supper dishes. Donna was washing and I was drying and as usual, we began to argue about something. Whatever it was, Donna apparently became angry and threw an icepick at me, with it barely missing




me and sticking in a door frame, right next to my head. I immediately grabbed up a butcher knife and tried to stab her with it. Donna managed to elude my attack and ran out the back door, with me “hot on her heels”, swinging at her with the knife, whenever I got close enough. She ran around the long row of duplexes, screaming for help

and when we got to the front row of houses, our next door neighbor Joan, who apparently heard Donna’s cry for help, ran out and disarmed me. I thank God that I didn’t catch her because I know I could have killed her. In my young mind, I felt justified in stabbing her, because she tried to stab me with the icepick and I thought I was acting in self defense. However, I don’t believe the authorities would

have viewed it that way and I’m glad it worked out the way it did, for obvious reasons, not the least of which is, I love my sister and wish her no harm. At least I don’t today.


On the lighter side, the other event that is engraved in my mind, occurred when I was younger, probably 9 or 10. I remember tying a blanket to my shoulders with strings, climbing a tall tree in the alley adjacent to our house and

parachuting out of it. Needless to say, I hit the ground like a “ton of bricks” and I thought I had broken both legs. I remember how incredulous I felt, when I didn’t float back down to earth, as I had seen military para-troopers doing, jumping out of airplanes in the newsreels, at the local movie theater. However, as it turned out, there was nothing broken and the thing really damaged was my pride, when my sweet sister and her friends told me how stupid I was.


After living on Burgess Ave. for several years, we moved into a better house, located on Arlington Ave., which

was only a few blocks from where we had been living. The house was a little bigger and nicer than the one on




Burgess and it was located next to a small gas station. I liked it there because it was so easy to walk next door and purchase my favorite candy bars and soft drinks. Our new residence had two bedrooms and a bath upstairs and a kitchen, dining room and living room downstairs with a full basement. My sister and I had to share a bedroom and since we were getting older and needed some privacy, it was accomplished by hanging a blanket between our beds and I was just glad not to be sleeping in a walk-in-closet anymore.


One of the more memorable things that happened to us during that time, probably around 1955 or 1956, was we

got our first television set. Up until then, our only means of entertainment was listening to programs on the radio, such as “The Lone Ranger”, “The Shadow”, “George Burns and Gracy Allen” and “The Grand Ole Opry”, just to

mention a few. Our new television set only received two or three channels and had “rabbit ear” antennas that we had to constantly move around in order to get a clear picture. The television was quite the advancement in technology and we were one of the first in our neighborhood to get one. I remember inviting friends over to “gawk” at it and

I remember thinking that it was just like having a movie theater right there in our own home. Little did I know, or could even imagine, the fantastic innovations in the very near future, that were soon to follow.


It was probably around 1956 when we moved to another house on Rawles Ave.. It was comparable in size to the house on Arlington Ave., only it was only one level and may have had larger rooms and also my sister and I had our

own bedroom. That was a big plus. My sister and I never got along too well and she was always picking on me and




because she was two years older and bigger than me, she pushed me around and physically abused me a great deal.


Donna also constantly tried to get me into trouble with our dad, reporting me for anything she thought I would get into trouble for, and many times embellishing things to make them seem worse than they actually were. Then one day, when I was 13 or 14 years old, as the saying goes, “the worm turned”. Donna was shoving me around and a scuffle ensued and much to my surprise and delight, I discovered that I had grown much stronger than her and I took great pleasure in, shall we say, “besting” her physically. From

that day on, the “bullying” stopped, physically at least, but of course I still had to put up with her trying to get me into trouble with our dad and her verbal attacks, but she knew, if “push came to shove”, I could “whip” her and that gave me a great deal of childish satisfaction.




Our lives on Rawles Ave. were not so happy. Our parents had always argued a lot since moving from Groveport to Indianapolis and things were becoming worse and worse. The constant fights and bickering became more intense and numerous, until finally, after 20 years of marriage, my mother and father divorced and “called it quits”. As in all divorces, there was the “blame game”. They blamed each other’s various shortcomings for the divorce and more often than

not, Donna and I were “right smack dab in the middle”. My sister Donna would invariably take my father’s side in any dispute that arose. I, on the other hand, would always try to remain neutral, because I loved them both and didn’t want to hurt either of them by taking sides.


As a result of our parent’s “splitting up”, Donna and I were tossed back and forth, in different living arrangements, until

I turned 17 years old and with parental consent, joined the U.S. Navy. In the interim, before I joined the Navy, I had quit school at age 16 and because there weren’t many jobs to

be had for 16 year old “drop outs”, other than flipping burgers in a small local restaurant, which I did for a while, I had too much free time on my hands. I began running around with the wrong crowd. My best friend was a boy who was four years older than me, by the name of Tom Jaddrick. Tom was typical of that “era”, with his “duck tail” haircut, black leather jacket and motorcycle boots. Tom also worked out, lifting weights on a regular basis and took great delight in wearing

t-shirts, with a “deck of Luckies” rolled up in the sleeve, showing off his large biceps. I was 15 and 16 years old during that period and looked up to Tom. He was part of the “James Dean” crowd and was considered very “tough” and “cool” by our peers.


Among other places, we “hung out” at the Irving Movie




Theater, located on Washington Street, downtown, mostly to look for girls and to smoke cigarettes, in the men’s restroom. It was kind of a “social event”. Everyone just stood around, smoking cigarettes and making dirty jokes and small talk, mostly about girls. I remember the time, that a “bully” by

the name of Charlie Schultz had me backed up against the wall in the restroom, with his large hand around my throat, threatening to beat me up. I have no idea what brought

about the assault, other than Schultz was one of those mean characters, that like to hurt other people and I guess I was handy and smaller. In any event, just as my attacker was about to push my face in with his fist, Tom Jaddrick walked through the door and when he saw what was happening, grabbed Schultz around the neck in a “choke hold” and

struck him in the face several times with his fist, knocking Schultz to the floor. Like most “bullies” who are confronted by someone their own size and strength, Schultz quickly got

up off the floor and ran out the door, with Tom cussing at him. From that time on, Tom Jaddrick was my “hero” and I wanted to be just like him.


Tom and I began to hang out and run around with, what I would call today, “unsavory” or “hoodlum” types. Of course back then, I thought they were a “righteous” bunch of guys. The word “righteous” back then meant something

entirely different than it does now, because these guys were anything but “righteous” in the context used in the Bible. There was John Scott, (Scottie), Jim Henderson, (Hen-Doo), the Marcum brothers, David and Ronnie, their parents were in real estate and wealthy. George Ropp, (Fat Man) and Tom’s brother Vernon Jaddrick. There were seven of us that ran together and were in trouble a lot and involved in things we shouldn’t have been and I was able to keep my mother,

whom I was living with at the time, from knowing many of the




things I was doing, because she was so busy with her own life.


Shortly after I turned 16 and got a driver’s license and since I had no job or money to buy gasoline for the 1949

Chevy my Dad helped me to purchase, my friends and I began to steal it. Several of us would go out late at night with a siphoning hose and a gas can and locate a car on a dark street. One night, as David Marcum was sucking on the hose, to get the gasoline started flowing from the car we were pilfering it from, he swallowed a big mouthful. The rest of us thought it was pretty funny when David was gagging and choking but when he started turning green, we got worried. We took him to my mother’s apartment, telling her some “made up” story, as to why David swallowed gasoline. My mother gave him some milk and he finally vomited and seemed to be alright.


Another night, I was out with my friends and we were drinking whiskey, as usual. I got so drunk and sick, my

friends took me home to the apartment I was sharing with my mother at the time and “deposited” me at the door. When my mother got me inside and in bed, I began to vomit. I threw

up all over the bed and spent almost all night with my head in the commode. A short time after that incident, some friends and myself were chased by the police, caught in the act of stealing hub caps from someone else’s automobile. The police even shot at us, but we managed to escape, almost wrecking the new Oldsmobile, owned by the Marcums and being driven by their son Ronnie.


Being shot at by the police was a “wake up call” for me. Things were going from bad to worse and it seemed like I was locked into a life that was going “nowhere”, except to jail. I had no education, no job and no prospects and I was




only seventeen years old and felt like a “big loser”, who along with my “shady” friends, were rapidly spiraling out of control, in a life of alcohol abuse and petty crime. I really wanted more out of life, but like so many other young people in my circumstances, I didn’t know what to do to get it. Pondering my dilemma, I could blame coming from a “broken home”, lacking parental control, I could blame the friends I was associating with, I could blame my lack of education, I could blame the alcohol abuse or I could blame living in a big city with too much free time on my hands. But the truth was,


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