Reflecting over my many years of chiropractic, I often think of the day that would forever change my life. During World War II in 1944, I was six years old, and my family and I regularly went to the movie theater. Movies always started with the latest news showing paratroopers jumping out of airplanes with their parachutes opening. They would float down to the ground like a bird. It just looked so neat, and I really wanted to do that!
I didn’t have a parachute or an airplane, but my grandmother had a very large umbrella and there was a garage in our back yard. Without her permission, I took her umbrella and proceeded to climb on the garage roof for my very first real parachute jump. It was thrilling!
There were a few problems. Number one, I wasn’t supposed to have my grandmother’s umbrella, and number two, I wasn’t ever supposed to climb on the garage roof, much less jump off. As fate would have it, just as I prepared for my jump, I saw my grandmother and she screamed, “Don’t jump!” But it was too late, I was already committed. I hit the ground with a thud, the umbrella had turned inside out, and I laid there knocked unconscious.
My grandmother called my aunt, Ruth Dodson who worked just three doors down from our house as a receptionist for Dr. Buell Boring, a 1934 Cleveland graduate. Aunt Ruth carried me to Dr. Boring’s office. I remember experiencing the examination and adjustments quite well still today. Who would believe that incident would eventually change my life in such a positive way!
Something very strange and interesting happened after the visits to Dr. Boring’s office. As a young boy, I took medication to control seizures, but it didn’t work. After my failed parachute jump, and the subsequent visits with Dr. Boring, my seizures were less and less until they ended.
My grandmother said those drugs are really working until one day she found them under my mattress. She was very upset and punished me with a good scolding, and that always made me feel terrible. She looked at me and said, “I wonder if chiropractic had anything to do with this.” My family wondered the same.
Following high school, I joined the U. S. Navy to see the world, and upon release from active duty in 1959, started taking courses at the University of Kansas. In 1959, I was involved in an auto accident and ended up in Dr. Boring’s office again. Well, he convinced me to meet with Dr. Carl Cleveland Jr., and called him to schedule a meeting. To my surprise, Dr. Cleveland said to come on up to the college. After the conversation I was convinced, I needed to start chiropractic college and make it my career. Dr Boring’s son, Raymond, was in my graduating class.
After my graduation, I opened my first office, and on January 29, 1967, I opened my office in a new building, and rented office space in the lower level (basement) of a 600-square-foot building. The rent was $100 a month, so I worked a deal with the owner to clean half of the building for half of my rent. I bought the best used furniture and equipment I could for the office. In going through my records, I found my open house invitation, and my guest registration book. I remember it was very cold, we had snow just a couple of days before, and I thought I was probably not going to have a great turnout. However, after going through my guest book I realized that I had 105 people attend.
Within a few years after graduation, I started purchasing and growing existing practices. I have hired and trained many associates and independent contractors over the years as well. What a great profession chiropractic has been for me, and Cleveland University-Kansas City has provided me with the skills and opportunities to successfully practice for forty years!