Edmond author Claude Romack has had several careers, and now he’s had his first venture into writing a book. The result is “The Sawmill,” a book about growing up in the 1950s.
Romack’s life began in humble beginnings in Carson National Forest next to the Jicarilla Apache reservation in New Mexico. The story begins when he and his brother are 3 and 4 years old. A little later the boys are joined by two sisters.
A sawmill, located nearby, became the source of work for both Claude and his brother, Mike.
When the boys were a little older, they harvested the trees, removed the limbs, and cut the trunks into sections for transport to the sawmill. They didn’t use power saws, but instead labored with crosscut saws and double-bit axes.
Their home consisted of rustic shacks with wood-burning stoves and coal oil lanterns, and life was not easy. The days were filled with work, the wrath of a stepfather, and survival.
Romack shares, “The poor daily living conditions added considerable discomfort and challenges.”
The four siblings moved from New Mexico to Pawnee with their mother and stepfather.
Romack tells his life’s story weaving Bible verses throughout. Although not raised with a religious background, he discovered religion later and tells how it impacts his life in a positive way.
He and his wife, Bonnie, came from two different worlds of sorts and the kindness and compassion of Bonnie has left an indelible mark on Claude’s life.
“The Sawmill” storyline includes many references to difficult and even dangerous aspects of life and living on a sawmill site and working in the forests of the surrounding terrain, Romack said.
That was followed by small-town living, and work. Romack joined the military and then corporate work followed.
The two young boys had a hard life, but in the words of his brother, “We went through a lot of real bad stuff’ together … but we made it.”
Even though this is a story of hardship and many times cruelty at the hands of his stepfather, the detail of the book are interesting and are told in a conversational way that makes for easy reading.
He and his wife are in their 80s and have been married for 60 years. They had two sons, one iof which is deceased.
As he looks back on his life, his family, and the careers he’s had, Claude says of life now, “life is full, easier, and near completion.”