So here is the stone-skinny; I am thinking about writing a biography about my Dad. I think (ya'll are welcome to tell me I am wrong) that he had an interesting life story. He was born in a Lego Holler in West Virginia, the 11th child of a coal miner and his wife. He was born in a house with no running water or electricity.
He was the first in his family to go to college, he managed to outsmart himself and wound up in the army, became a lawyer, ran for Congress, was part of the team of lawyers that sued and won the right for girls to play Little League, was City Attorney, has the Trial Lawyer of the Year award in Michigan named after him, loved to sue insurance companies and generally spent his life fighting for the little guy.
Your basic rags to upper-middle class story.
What I am looking for help on is any resources folks might be able to point me to in terms of formatting and researching a biography. I never read them myself, so I am kind of all-at-sea when it comes to such things.
I want to be sure that I know and can prove the differences between the true stories about Dad and the apocryphal ones. Like Dad always claimed that by the time he was 11 he had read all the books in the local library. I find that hard to believe, but to be sure I'd have to know how big it was. If it was a couple of hundred books, well Dad read really quickly, so it might be closer to true (though I still doubt it).
So any help you might give is greatly appreciated. By way of payment in advance I'll share the army story with you.
Back in 1959 Dad was in just about to start his Junior year at Eastern Michigan University. Going to college was a really expensive proposition for him so he went after every scholarship he could, including ROTC.
Unfortunately ROTC only gave you two years of not very much money, but you had to make a four year commitment. That meant drilling and wearing his uniform around, including at work sometimes.
One night he was having some beers with a friend. He was complaining about this state of affairs when the friend had a brilliant (they thought) idea.
"Ron, didn't you have an operation on your eye when you were a kid?"
"I sure did, thank the Lions Club"
"Well, there is your ticket! You just go on down to the recruiting office in Detroit and volunteer. They'll take one look at you eye and declare you 4-F and you are out"
Dad loved this idea. So the next day, after buying his books for the fall semester he hopped in his beat up old car and drove to Detroit. He was going through the induction process when he came to the eye exam. The corps man had him read an eye chart then said "Go over to that table and they will test your hearing.
Dad, was really take aback by this and said "Wait! I had an operation on my right eye as a child"
The corps man took out an instrument and looked at his right eye. He said "So you did. Very nice work.
Then he took out a piece of paper and wrote on it; Teach this man to shoot from the left. He paper clipped it to the file and sent Dad to have his hearing tested. He never did make it back to his car, he had to call his brothers to come and get it from where it was parked. 10 weeks later he was in Korea.
That is just one of the tons of stories that would make up a book about Dad. Any help anyone has is greatly appreciated. The floor is yours.