A classmate recalls Estel Myers

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By Linda Ireland

Estel Myers, along with his younger siblings Orville, Iola,Kenneth and Bert, moved to the Leafdale road area in 1934.

The children attended Stone House School, along with area families like the Dunn's, Powell’s, Pearman's, Riggs, Sidebottom's, and Ovesens. Their teachers at the one-room school were Jenny Nichols and Robert Wallace.

After finishing his studies at Stone House, Myers decided to continue his education at Hodgenville High School, where he became close friends with Robert Dunn.

Dunn and Myers played basketball and football for Peck Hickman, the famed University of Louisville basketball coach. Those were before Hickman’s glory days, however. The teams went practically winless under his instruction.

“I was a running back and he (Myers) was a blocker,” Dunn said. “He was pretty stout, and a pretty good player.”

In those days before school buses provided transportation, Myers and Dunn got daily workouts by walking to-and-from school from the Leafdale area – around four miles each way.

“Sometimes we jogged all the way into town and back home,” Dunn said.

Dunn and Myers also double-dated as teens.

“We both had girls in E’town,” Dunn said. “There was one he was completely in love with, but I can’t remember her name. He used to drive the car when we would go out on Sundays.

“Neither one of us had any money,” Dunn continued. “If we had a quarter, we could buy a Coca Cola for our girlfriend, and have money to put in the jukebox. We could get three songs to dance by.”

 Dunn recalled one Sunday when they had picked their dates up in Myers’ father’s 1928 Buick, and drove to Pine Ridge Dance Hall.

“The girls had an 11:30 p.m. curfew, and the tie rod on that Buick broke at 11 p.m. when we were going home,” Dunn said.  “We didn’t know what we were going to do.”

Stuck in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields, with no tools and no cell phone, Myers proved that a country boy does know how to survive.

Dunn said Myers found a pair of pliers in the trunk, cut a piece of wire from the fence they had broken down beside, crawled under the Buick, and wired the tie rod back together.

“It was still like that when we traded the car years later,” Dunn said. “I thought he was pretty good with his hands.”

He and Myers parted company after graduation, Dunn said. Although he kept in touch with his friend through Myer’s brother-in-law, LaRue countian Boone Morrison, the two men never saw each other again.

Myers joined the U.S. Navy where he attended hospital corpsman school. The rest of his military career, including his imprisonment by the Japanese and his journey on a prison “hell ship,” is chronicled in “Belly of the Beast” by Judith L. Pearson. He settled in Arizona, where he was living at the time of his death in 1973.

Dunn also served a short stint in the military, and returned home to LaRue County to farm.

Dunn and Myers began writing to each other about a year before Estel died, Dunn said. Myers’ last letter spoke of his failing health.

Dunn finished reading “Belly of the Beast” only recently, and although it brought back many good memories of his old friend, it was difficult to think about the hardships he had suffered.

“That book…I had to quit reading it, it got so bad,” he said. “I hated to think of what he had to go through. He had to have a lot of faith in God to live through that.”