Most people revel in relaxation during retirement. But 99-year-old World War II veteran Sam Baker decided to reinvent himself at age 95 with a brand-new career — as a children’s book author. After his time as a Marine and a 30-year career at NOAA, helping kids learn to love reading became a top priority. His latest story, “Oscar The Mouse,” is based on the pet rat he kept as a child.
After such a diverse background, what made you want to start writing?
Most of us have a bucket list that we never have time to do, until life presents us with spare time, and that is what happened to me. When I purchased my first computer, my son called and said, ‘Dad, now that you have a computer, why don’t you write down the stories you told us when we were kids, for your granddaughter?’ It was a perfect time and I wrote my first book.
Describe who your children’s books are written for.
Both of my books were written with two basic goals — to encourage children of all ages to learn to read and to impart an important life’s message of acceptance. Reading is the foundation for all future learning.
When you are not writing, what are some of your favorite things to do?
My son and I are waiting for the U.S. Patent Office to rule on our design for a new football helmet that greatly reduces the impact the players receive when contact between two players is made. This has required a substantial amount of time, but enjoyable time, well spent, and if successful, will be most gratifying when it reduces injuries.
Can you share a lesson learned from your time as a Marine?
During World War II, when I finally arrived on Guadalcanal and was assigned a platoon, I asked senior officers that I respected for advice: ‘Look after your men and when the time comes, your men will look after you.’
Book number three is on the way, and we hope to have it ready early– to mid–2022. If my book can encourage children to become avid readers, I will feel that I have been a great success.