Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a Small World

One day within the last year I couldn't sleep. I started thinking back to my days at church camp in Lexington, Nebraska.

Each summer me and the rest of the youth group at church would make the pilgrimage to the Assembly of God Church Camp in Lexington. Although it was supposed to be a spiritual week (and for the most part it was) it was more a "find a boyfriend camp."

Each year I had my eye on this guy named Julius Corder. He had dark skin. I found out later he was Native American. One year he liked me. The next year he liked this girl Denise. The next year he liked me. He gave me his school picture and to this day I have it in a photo album.

After high school my dad told me a guy with the last name of Money called. I figured out later it was Julius. My dad mistaking Corder for Quarter. I never saw him again.

So in the middle of the night I couldn't sleep so I started googling people from church camp. When I googled Julius I immediately got an obituary with the same school picture he gave me at church camp.

But that is not the small world thing.

It said in his obituary he was an actor and that he played Richard Yellow Hawk in the movie Thunderheart. What makes that so interesting is that the movie Thunderheart was based on a true story and is one of my brother's favorite movies. I had even seen it before but hadn't recognized Julius. I downloaded the movie and watched it and sure enough, there was my church camp boyfriend, Julius Corder (who had changed his name to Julius Drum.)

He died a couple years ago of diabetes.


Peggy Batton said...

I'm a teacher at a private school in Dallas, Tx. I ran across your blog while researching Mr. Drum's biography for a Native American Studies class I'll be teaching next fall. One of the student projects will be researching Native Americans and their contributions in the arts. I have seen Thunderheart many times, especially after I knew I would be teaching this class; and one day, I paid attention to Richard Yellow Hawk- why I don't know. However, I could find nothing on his biography. I wondered why he had only been in one movie when he had won award for outstanding performance in Thunderheart. So, I tried to locate him to ask for his biography. I finally sent a letter to him through the Tribal Council of the Omaha Tribe. They forwarded it to his niece, who e-mailed me a few days later that her Uncle Julius had passed away three years ago. I was stunned and saddened by this news and couldn't shake my thoughts and questions about this man's life- why had he died so young and back in Nebraska? Your blog gave me a wonderful piece of the puzzle and answered my question of why he passed. Thank you for helping me to put this to rest. If you wish, e-mail me: pbatton2009@yahoo.com- Peggy Batton

Raysia Harlan said...

That was my uncle. It's pretty interesting on what your doing. Good luck with your classes.

Peggy Batton said...

Raysia- Thank you for your comment! I am currently teaching the class and am excited and honored to be teaching history that these students have not heard. When we return from our November break, we will be covering the events on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the 1970's. I will be referencing Thunderheart and your Uncle Julius' biography. I was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, so your uncle holds a special place in this class. Thank you for your encouragement- Peggy Batton

Anonymous said...

I met Julius in the 1980's while working at the Lincoln Indian Center in Lincoln, NE. We became close. He called me one night for help. Over time, it was Julius who helped me. He was such a loving person when I knew him. I supported his going to AZ to a native alcohol rehab center. We kept in touch by phone and letters (I still have some of his letters). If memory serves me correctly, he later moved to CA and then to CO. He and Rodney A. Grant (Dances with Wolves) knew each other (they both came out of the Lincoln Indian Center) and were in the movie Dark Blood with River Phoenix when River died. The last time I spoke with Julius was after he had filmed Thunderheart - he wanted to make sure he knew he had made it into movies! I lost track of him after that - although I tried to locate him in the 90's. I often think of him, and wish I had known when he was ill, so that I could have possibly offered him some assistance in his final days. He drew me a couple pictures - one that I still have framed and hanging in my home. I miss him...still...and pray that I will see him someday in Heaven.

Mikia Harlan said...
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