by | The Lills, VW Bus

Lee (known as “Abuelo” to family) has had quite a life. He was born in 1931 as the youngest in a family of 11 who lived in a coal-mining community in North Carolina. One day his father left for work and never came back. The mine collapsed, leaving his mother alone, with more children than she could care for. She put Lee and his brother Paul in an orphanage in the West Virginia mountains, which leaned heavily on the children to keep it running.

They excavated land for crops, sewed crops, cooked, took care of farm animals, facilities and fellow orphans. Abuelo told us Christmas was so exciting because it was basically the only time they’d eat meat. Food was never abundant and clearly they worked more than anything else, but he sure loved sneaking off to the movies for entertainment.

Abuelo Meets Moksha

When he was 13, Lee ran away from the orphanage and found himself on skid row in Ohio. His first job was setting up pins at the bowling alley. Later he became a hard-knuckled boxer (known as “Whitey” – who never lost a match). He was an investigator, repo man and soon after, helped start the credit industry. Although he wasn’t educated (not even a highschool degree), he never drank alcohol, never did drugs and never stopped looking on the bright side of life. He’s been a guide and inspiration us and to many, built a successful business, beautiful family and is loved dearly. The picture (above) is when we met up with Abuelo for his 83rd birthday. He hadn’t seen our VW bus “Moksha” yet, but he lit up the moment he did.