An accident as a child left Charles blind, yet he became a prolific inventor best remembered as the creator of cruise control. At age four Mary’s family moved deep into the north woods of Minnesota and built a log cabin by hand. She was a musical prodigy that wrote and recorded her first song while in kindergarten, graduated high school at age nine, and then launched a diverse musical career that was almost cut short by an auto accident that paralyzed her vocal chords. Another fellow named Charles was abandoned by his parents at age five. But he overcame diversity. He became the President of General Motors and was the founder of one of the most successful independent automobile manufacturers in the United States.
On Wake Up With Jim, our weekly interactive audio podcast, we are kicking off a new series. The focus will be stories of inspiration. Many of the stories are about people that transformed the auto industry, independent thinkers. But there will also be stories about musicians, immigrants, and people that refused to let prejudice, adversity, poverty or injury define them.
Yes, Route 66 will be intertwined with many of these stories. What rich and colorful American tapestry could be considered complete with inclusion of the highway that has been known as the Main Street of America for nearly a century?
For more than forty years I have been writing stories about the infancy of the American auto industry, Route 66, ghost towns, road trips and forgotten chapters of history. And, of course, these stories are also tales of fascinating and colorful people. Somewhere along the way I was bestowed with the moniker “America’s Storyteller.”
I am honored by that title but can think of people more deserving of the title. Acclaimed author and historian Michael Wallis comes to mind.
Over the years I have been the recipient of of some rather humbling accolades. Topping that list, at least to date, has to be the recent unveiling of my statue at Depot Plaza in Kingman, Arizona, my adopted home town. But the greatest honor has been in the friendships made, and the fascinating people such as Rhys and Sam Martin, Marian Pavel and Elmer Graves that I met along the way.
Since childhood I have enjoyed stories of inspirational people. And inspirational people have often been featured in the stories I tell. But with this serious I want to make these type of people the focal point.
If you know of someone with an interesting and inspirational story, espacially one linked to Route 66, I would like to hear from you. And as this podcast, and Coffee With Jim, the Sunday morning travel podcast, is interactive, please feel free to join in the conversation.
The Podbean based podcast is archived on our page. And both podcasts are now available on iHeart Radio, Amazin Music, Spotify, and Audible.