top of page

Timberlane Spotlight: Buchanan, 1950s American Dream

Timberlane Spotlight: Bill Webster - 1950s American Dream & Buchanan, MI.

"Bill Webster & the "American Dream."

This is a short tribute honoring a true "Country Bumpkin" and family man. This song was requested by Bill in a brief letter he left in case he passed away before his bride of 66 years, Millie Webster, Median name Walice. We gladly play this old country classic in his honor. Bill has always been a shining example of the cowboy creed and the American Dream. Bill wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans, and his hair was always slicked back. He was a genius 1950s teen. He loved car engines and was a bit of a hoodlum, but one thing separated him from today's teens: the Cowboy Code. "A cowboy never takes unfair advantage. A cowboy never betrays a trust. He never goes back on his word. A cowboy always tells the truth. A cowboy is kind and gentle to small children, old folks, and animals. The Cowboy Code is simple – be tough, honest, and fair. Bill was all three. Bill lived when radio, cinema, and black-and-white TV had idealism and ethics. Eventually, he settled down to marry Mille, and as time passed, he soon raised five children who grew up and married themselves, and that is where my story begins. Bill always loved to joke around. He once said to my youngest daughter and his granddaughter, Qouet, "Belly up to the bar boys," A saying he picked up from watching old Westerns. There were many visits to Grandpa when the family would sit in front of the colored TV and watch his collection of old Hollywood Westerns. So, as time went on, we'd all always get a kick from repeating that old saying, " Belly up to the bar boys." It was almost a term of endearment. Or "There's a snack in my boots." picked up from a toy cowboy Woody. We had many fantastic conversations that would start with these Western sayings. Bill loved to tell a short story of times when he and Millie were on the road. Many of them we never forgot. I remember him telling a story of how he and Millie got trapped in their Candy rout truck. "Four hours," he said. They ate moon pies and drank root beer from the little wax bottles until Bill realized he had a toolbox back there and unscrewed the hinges, and they escaped the Candy truck unscathed by the event.

Bill loved working on cars, fixing tractors, and building hotrod racers during those days, and he never forgot that ultimate life lesson he learned from reading and watching Westerns: "Sometimes, it's necessary to take risks to reach our goals." He said. Life can be unpredictable, but it can also be an incredible ride. Bill understood this better than anyone and was always up for a challenge. He faced whatever situation came his way with courage, resilience, and faith. as many raised in the 40s and fifties always did. After all, life is a great adventure, and the only way out is through it. Bill and Mille loved to travel, and all along the way, Millie would make friends with strangers, and Bill was always there as her faithful husband and best friend. In those early years in the 1950s in the small town of Buchanan, Michigan, Bill would be seen around town in his old rambler he fixed up in the garage on the edge of the city where he hung out with his garage buddies In the evening you'd see them cruising around town with that frequent stop at "Smokies drive-in restaurant where he first met Mille. One summer day, his buddies bet him five dollars he wouldn't ask Millie out. He told us later that he had asked her, but he had never received five dollars; however, he ended up with the girl of his dreams, Millie. Millie agreed to go out with him under one condition: He had to walk up to her home to get permission to court her from her daddy, and only then would Millie go out with him. So this grease neck from the other side of Bucanine put on his seldom worn black suit coat and, a clean pair of blue jeans, a pressed white t-shirt, pulled up to her house in his black Hotrod, walked up to meet her dad on the stoop. He stood quietly and saw out of the corner of his eye her brother, sister, and mom peeking through the bay window as her dad opened the door. To his surprise, they knew each other from the train docks. After a brief conversation, both men took a hanky out of their pockets and wiped the sweat from their brows. Every Friday night that summer, Bill would pull up to Millie's house in his Hotrod 47 Chevy, and Millie, in her pink sweater and skirt and white and black leather shoes, would run out to greet Bill and tune to AM Radio playing "Country Bumpkin." That was their song as they drove off to the drive-in. An authentic 1950s romance was born. Zooming off to the Buchanan Michigan Movie drive-in, ordering popcorn, watching a Western, and putting his arm around Millie, all while drinking a freshly made root beer, was the routine through their courtship. Bill never stopped loving America, Millie, and the American dream.

After Millie graduated from Buchanan High School in 1957, they soon married. That fall, Bill joined the Army and headed to Germany as a sharpshooter. Millie soon followed him to join him for an excellent peacetime adventure.

US ARMY—4th Armored Division During the months of prying to Millie's arrival there, Bill wrote love letters to her and worked hard to become a top sharpshooter for the 4th Armor Division of the US Army from 1957 to 1959 Automatic rifle matches competition.

Millie traveled to France and then by train to Germany to spend nine months just off the army base with her new husband, Bill Webster. She traveled by ship on the Queen Mary, often used to transport troops during World War II, but was a tourist cruise liner in 1957. Following her nine months there, she traveled by plane back to Chicago, where the airport named the plane the Stork because it transported the military wives, and all of them were carrying babies home to be born. A short time after, in 1959, Bill arrived in the New York harbor on a Battle cruiser US Battleship to be greeted by the Statue of Liberty and a full military band. From there, he flew back to Chicago and by car to Buchanan, Michigan, to be greeted by his mother and mother-in-law and a pleased, almost bursting pregnant wife: hugs and Kisses and Shouts of Yee-Haw. So saddle up and get ready for the journey of your life! The one thing Bill's life can teach us is that you don't have to live on a ranch or wear chaps to embody these qualities. From courage to resilience, the Cowboy Code is something we can all learn from and use to our advantage. And in the end, if we take life by the reins and go boldly on that journey, there's no tellin' where it'll take us! Yee-haw! This film is about the celebration of the life of Bill Webster, A husband, a dad, and a friend.

I genuinely love Mountain View, but something takes presidents over, even some significant events. For Me, God and family are number one. I will be back to the Mountain View Music scene soon. Bill watches a lot of Westerns, bound by these unwritten rules centered on fair play, loyalty, honesty, a deep respect for the land, and a rock-solid work ethic.

Thank you, Bill Webster, for your commitment to our safety as you served in the 4th Armored Division in Germany in 57 and 59

Bill served in the US Army as a marksman from 1957-1959 and was stationed in Germany. He was a skilled carpenter and a man of many interests. He found joy in traveling, camping, and floating on the Buffalo National River. His adventurous spirit led him and his wife, Millie, on memorable motorcycle trips across the country and a trip to Alaska.

22 views0 comments


Anchor 1
bottom of page