Legacy Created on: September 2008
Legacy on until: January 2012
Legacy availiable via archive until: January 2016
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Tell me about your life after the war.

When I came home at that point you couldn’t buy a car. During the war effort there had been no new cars built. I Walter Hickeyremember that I said, “Dad, I have got to get a car.”  So even though there were not new cars available, I remember I said that I wanted to go to a dealer and get a used car. He agreed and along with my mother we went to a used Ford dealership in Garden City, Michigan.  My father told my mother to wait in the waiting room while we started looking at cars. I saw a car and told me dad that was the one I wanted. I said, “I have the money and I want that car.” He said, “Yeah, I know you have the money, but not that car, any car but that car.” Then he said, “Oh God, I’ve got to take your mother home.” I stayed behind and bought the car, which was a hearse. It was a full-fledged hearse with the flowers on the sides and everything. I filled out the paperwork, paid for the car, and drove it home. When I drove up into the driveway, my mother looked out and said. “That boy is sick.”  All of the neighbors came over to the house to see who the hell was dead.  My dad told me to put the car in the garage so we would stop attracting attention.  He wanted to know what the hell I was going to do with a hearse. I said, "Dad I fought for this country, now I want to see what I fought for.” I took the right passenger seat out and on the passenger side put a table, all the way from the front to the back door.  Behind the drivers seat I put a folding cot. I put some supplies and my bags in the car and then had it all fixed up.  I told my dad that I was going to go see the country.  He asked me how I was going to pay for gas.  Keep in mind that gas was really cheap in those days. I told him that I had a pension and that when I needed money I would call home and he could send me enough of my pension to keep me going.  I was gone for three months. I went all the way around the United States.  I went through North Dakota where my outfit was located to stop in and see the guys, over to to Washington, all the way down California, through the Southern states, and all the way around the country. It took me just a little over three months to do it. When I got home I sold the hearse and went to work for Ford Motor Company.  I was very fortunate because the bomber plant where I had worked before the war was run by Ford, so they gave me all of that seniority.  I worked for them for some time after that.

I have been one lucky bird, I swear. I’ll be 85 soon and I don’t even get headaches. I don’t even take aspirin. Some people don’t believe it. I’ve really been blessed. 

How would you like to be remembered?

I told my son that if I go this house will be his and I have a ranch in Michigan that will also be his.  But I have a plaque with all of my medals on it and I told him that that goes with me. That is all I need.

Walter Hickey

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