John Emerald: a Life Well Lived

John Emerald Sharp was born in 1928 to Hugh and Elizabeth Sharp. John’s family was what one might call merchant class. They worked hard and were successful at their endeavors. John definitely picked up a successful work ethic from his family.

John at around 10 years old standing next to his younger sister Shirley.

While young John worked hard, he also played hard to the chagrin of his mother Elizabeth. In fact, Hugh’s 1942 Buick Limited was no match for young John as he managed to destroy it with several rolling motions while John and a young lady were bouncing around inside the accident. Thankfully no one other than the Limited was worse for the wear and no, alcohol was not involved, just stupid teenage driving.

During World War Two John enlisted in the Army Air Corp and was trained as a nose gunner on a B-24 bomber. His timing was good and the war was spinning down when it came time for overseas deployment. So he and his crew were left with a four engine bomber with no purpose other than to entertain themselves. One day they decided to fly to the co-pilot’s home town. The town had a four lane highway that went through the center of several downtown buildings. They lowered the gear and flaps and descended below the tops of the downtown high rises. Their low level adventure caused two minor car accidents and one lady to have her baby early. Obviously they were met upon landing and all were demoted in rank.

With that John was sent to be a clerk in the orderly room. Big mistake on the Army’s part. You see John had learned to type working for his father and he wasted no time in typing himself a promotion that was one rank higher than when he was busted. He also assigned himself as manager of the post service club where he was in charge of watching airmen consume reasonable quantities of spirits and beer.

John Emerald (Second from the left) He sent this picture to his mother Elizabeth just to get a rise out of her.

John Emerald was a thinker. During military basic training he memorized the name and serial number of a fellow airman. In addition after being assigned to a unit John shed his combat boots for Indian moccasins. More often than not John would be stopped by a superior who would ask for his name and serial number to report his out of uniform violation. John would confidently spit out his fellow airmen’s name and serial number for the superior to record. Some months later John ran into the airman who reported that everywhere he went trouble followed him. Feeling bad John stopped using his name but kept the moccasins. After all he could always type his way out of trouble.

John’s true love was Sarah. He first saw her as she tied up her horse outside his business. After one look he turned to a friend and said, “I am going to marry that girl”.