It is my pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite authors, Robert Elias Ballard otherwise known as Fiddleman. I met Robert on Hubpages and found his writing to be so warm and inviting. It was like getting a healthy dose of the “good ole days.” If you want a taste of home town goodness this is your man. He writes from the heart and shares many stories about his family. I hope you will enjoy learning more about Fiddleman.
On October 25, 1948, a son was born to Wilkie and Mary Ballard. He was named Robert after his dad’s brother who had died as a teenager, the first of his family which numbered 14 siblings to die. He was given a middle name, Elias after a favorite uncle. This is a brief autobiography of Robert Elias.
I grew up in a small rural area of Henderson County, North Carolina where I still reside with my wife, Jane and son, Gary. My dad was a textile mill worker and worked in the same mill until his 70th birthday. My mom also worked for the cotton mill but after the mill had a Union campaign and strike, the mill closed and later was sold to a big textile company. My mom never returned to work and remained a homemaker.
Following high school graduation in 1967, I worked briefly in the cotton mill. The Viet Nam War was raging and those of us able-bodied young me who had the classification. I soon found a letter in the mail from our dear Uncle. I knew it was only a matter of time before the draft caught up with me and I made decision to join the USAF and in June, 1968 I was sworn in to serve my country for the next 4 years.
I have never regretted that decision. For a country boy who was poor, it gave me a whole lot of new clothes and shoes and the opportunity to travel to places I would have never imagined.
My first duty assignment brought me to the Big Apple by way of Long Island and Suffolk County AFB. Seeing fighter airplanes and knowing the base had nuclear weapons was almost more than a hick from the sticks could fathom.
Soon after my arrival to SCAFB, I was assigned to Special Services. These were a group of Airmen who traveled to the national cemetery and conducted military funerals; provided color guards for various civic and governmental organizations and other functions such a parades where we performed as a Drill team. I have several wonderful memories of marching in parades in the Big Apple.
Following my Air Force enlistment I came back to my beloved Blue Ridge mountains and the small cotton mill village of Tuxedo. Using my GI Bill of Rights, I enrolled in the community college and began working on a degree in business administration. It took me several attempts but I graduated in 1976. I never pursued further education and began to work for General Electric Outdoor Lighting Systems in Hendersonville, NC where I worked until my retirement in 2003.
In November of 1972, I married my wife, Pearlie Jane and in October of 1974 our first son, Jason was born.Garycame next in June of 1976 and is our special son.Garywas born with retinitis pigmentosa which has left him blind. Finally, the last of the Ballard Boys as we call them, Joshua, was born on June 3, 1980. Josh is the only son who is married and he and his wife, Autumn have given us two precious grand sons.
I am blessed to have grown up being around string instruments and family who enjoy playing music. As a teenager, I learned guitar. Later, the five string banjo intrigued me. I learned Scruggs style picking. The fiddle has always been a favorite of mine and about 12 years ago, I took up playing the instrument. My son Gary also is a musician and he and I jam regularly. We play a lot here at home but we also have a jam at my son Joshua’s barber shop on Saturday mornings. We play at church and sometime at restaurants or charitable functions.
Some of my you tube videos:
When I retired from General Electric in 2003 I helped our local branch library to complete a short book of history. What I learned most about that project was I had discovered that I enjoyed writing. Soon after I sat down at my computer and began to write my memories of growing up in the cotton mill village of Tuxedo. With the help of a friend I learned of Lulu Publishing and soon had my files uploaded for my first book. My Tuxedo Doesn’t Fit Me Anymore-Memories of a Mill Village Brat. I revised that book over 10 times. I learned much and am still learning.
I grew up in a small cotton mill village called Tuxedo NC. In this book are my memories about the mill, the village and people I knew and loved. I include stories about my family, the businesses in Tuxedo, and how our fire and rescue department had its beginnings
My authors spotlight is and my books can be previewed or purchased: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/robertballardsstorefront
I have published all my books in e-book and they are available at Amazon Kindle books. My books are all stories and tales and some with inspirational views shared.
This is a collection of 42 stories and tales of life experiences. Many I heard as a boy sitting around listening to the grown ups talk while others are simply life situations about the everyday situations we all experience.
Recently I became interested in genealogy and have just completed a book about my family’s genealogy. Using Create Space publishing.
Family Roots-The Ballard’s of Zirconia, NC
Kinfolk and Short Stories from the Journey
An article I have published about me on Bukisa. http://www.bukisa.com/articles/336980_robert-elias-utz-ballard-a-self-published-author.
I am a Christian and serve as a deacon in my church.
My favorite Bible verse:
|Quotations||II Corinthians 5-21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”|
I enjoy the books of Nicolas Sparks and am a pushover when it comes to romance movies. The Note Book and Sweet Home Alabama is two of my favorites.
Bluegrass and gospel are my two favorite types of music.
Our family link on Reverbnation:
Thank you Robert for allowing me to share your story. Wishing you and your beautiful family many blessings.