By Curt Swarm
With Veteran’s Day coming up, and all the baby boomers aging in, wondering what to do with themselves, I’d like to write about Morris Stamps of Seymour, in southern Iowa’s Wayne County. Morris is 98 years young, a World War II veteran, was a teacher, football coach, and principal of Seymour High School, was married 60 years to his WW II sweetheart and has written five books. As if this weren’t enough, I’d like to point out to all the baby boomers (war babies) out there, or otherwise retired people that find life in retirement rather humdrum, that Morris didn’t start writing these books until he was 92. Yep.
His undergraduate degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. was in English and history. He had considered becoming a journalist, before the war came along and rearranged his plans, so it isn’t all that unusual that he would write books. But at 92?! Most people his age feel lucky if they can hold a pen, or punch a keyboard, or remember events. But Morris is rather sharp, and one of Seymour’s prized treasures. Everyone knows him. After all, he was the high school principal, teacher, and head football coach, with a couple of conference championships and undefeated teams under his belt.
The five books he has written are available at the Seymour Herald newspaper office. The first four books, “Shoal Creek Legends (1 through 4)” contain stories he remembers from his youth in post-World War I, southern Iowa, up to his induction into the Army at the start of World War II. The fifth book, “SNAFUs and Love Letters: Memories of an Old GI” recount his experiences as a message center chief stationed in Hawaii and his letter-writing courtship of his beloved Enid. These books were published by the Seymour Community Club with help from The Seymour Herald and the journalism class at the Seymour Community High School. Proceeds go to a scholarship fund in his wife’s and his name.