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Hitler’s use of the Blitzkrieg both terrorized and fascinated the world.

Daddy read Hitler’s book Mein Kampf from cover to cover. There was no mistaking what Hitler’s intentions were.

Daddy did not approve of Hitler but he did liken his own chess-playing strategy to Hitler’s Blitzkrieg.

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World War II and the preceding Depression brought slow times for Daddy’s business of leasing mineral rights for potential oil wells. But he proceeded with the development of Island Plots such as this one, which he made for my little piece of mineral rights, submitting them to potential buyers for an occasional sale. His faith in the oil geology of this region, the Anadorko Basin, was well rewarded by the future oil discoveries from which he profited.



Before Roosevelt declared war on Germany, Hitler had unleashed his blitzkrieg tactics, overcoming Poland in only 39 days. And so on with Belgium and France. During the quiet years preceding the war, Daddy’s closest friends were among the most educated men in Sayre. One of his associates was Judge Gipson, whom Daddy irreverently called “Gyppy” (but not to his face!). Many a discussion centered around Roman history or American political science. One bond that held these intellectuals together was the love of an intellectual challenge—chess. Daddy, for many years, had played pitch and dominoes fairly regularly with a certain group of men. He gradually became more interested in chess, which was more of a challenge to him. Daddy always disclaimed being a great chess player, but it seemed there was never anyone who could beat him. Daddy’s strategy of attack is devastating to normal mortals and usually ends with a series of “checks” to throw the adversary totally off balance. And then we heard that conclusive “Checkmate.”

When Hitler was sweeping over Europe, the term “blitzkrieg” seemed appropriate to Daddy’s chess style. He had no formal instruction but figured out most of his strategies by observing and playing. This often confused an opponent who had studied all the various openings and the like, and knew them by name. For a time, Daddy had opponents driving fairly regularly from 40 miles distance, from Mangum and Clinton, to play with him; they eventually grew weary of losing and gradually quit making the trip.


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