Actually, my good luck began before I began - it started in the 1880s. That's when my
grandfather and grandmother Ueltschi decided to leave their native Switzerland and try to
make their way in a new, faraway land full of promise. America. I can't imagine what my life
might have been like had those people not had the courage to leave their families, their
friends and all that was familiar to give their children and their grandchildren the
I know the name Ueltschi is a difficult one - people have been misspelling and
mispronouncing it my whole life - but it is a direct link to those people who gave me so
much. And if it was good enough for them, I figure it's good enough for me.
My grandparents settled in Benson Valley, a rural community in Franklin County, Kentucky,
not too far from Frankfort, the state capital. They became dairy farmers. My father left
the farm to work as an engineer, installing lights on Mississippi riverboats. But when my
grandfather died, Dad and his two brothers took over the farm. I grew up there, along with
my four brothers and two sisters. I was the baby of the bunch, arriving on May 15, 1917.