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GUNS Magazine Digital April 2011 - Page 22

• M I k E “ d U k E ” V E N t U R I N O • P h O t O S : y V O N N E V E N t U R I N O • “thAt’S AN AWESOME WIfE!” And she is. A bout midway through 2010, I was working away at this word processor when yvonne came into my office. Without preamble she said, “If I cash in some of my stocks would you invest the money in more machine guns?” yvonne remembers my response as an excited “You bet!” I remember it being more sedate like, “Well, if that’s what you really want to do I could probably help you find some good collectible ones.” That’s not all: OOW also had in stock a Lewis Machine Gun. But this wasn’t just any Lewis Gun. It was a Japanese one in 7.7x56mm Rimmed caliber. How an American designed machine gun, licensed for manufacture to the British, came to be built in Japanese naval arsenals is interesting. I’ll be writing about both of these guns in the future. While making arrangements with a fellow there at OOW I mentioned that it was actually my wife buying these machine guns for me. He paused for a second and then exclaimed, “Oh, that’s an awesome wife!” Indeed she is. My luck at games of chance is nil but that’s OK because I gladly will trade an entire lifetime of gambling luck in exchange for finding my wife. About the time this is printed we’ll have been married 33 years. We met in 1977 while both of us were working in Yellowstone National Park. Yvonne was raised on a farm in Missouri and I hailed from a small town in the coal Yvonne bought her own Bobcat. here, she and her stepfather frank eggers are building a fence with its post pounder mounted. Duke says that while Yvonne may not be an “avid” shooter, she does have her own assortment of firearms. This Glock 23 .40 s&W is one of them. mining area of southern West Virginia. Despite our disparate backgrounds, from day one it seemed like our relationship was perfectly natural. A Start At the time of our meeting, I had had published a half dozen articles in various gun magazines but hadn’t touched a typewriter in four years. With a wife to support I had to get serious about a career. The very first month we were married in 1978 I got out the old portable typewriter and started again. Yvonne was 100-percent supportive of my dream of writing about guns. Her folks never commented on that, but they probably considered the idea about as goofy as my own folks did. Consider it this way: their wonderful young daughter was going to live in Montana and marry this fellow whose worldly possessions consisted of a pick-up truck, his clothing, a few guns and a dog. Times were lean for us in the early years. To keep us fed, clothed and the bills paid I worked seasonally on a National Park Service road maintenance crew there in Yellowstone. Evenings and weekends I worked on producing articles. Yvonne picked up whatever work was available in our little Montana town of about 800 people. She never once complained that I wasn’t bringing in enough money. Eventually my career grew to a full time occupation and we were able to move to our present home with enough acreage to have my own private shooting ranges. Yvonne’s love of animals evolved into a part time job at the Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston where she works on special projects and does all their photography. Yvonne and I are not rich, but back in the 1990s she inherited a modest amount of stocks from the estate of a great aunt. A couple of years ago when the stock market did its big flipflop, her portfolio (I’m not even sure exactly what that is) lost about half its value. When it climbed back to where it had been, she surprised me with the above question. Her idea was to invest in something a bit more tangible than stocks. With an offer like that on the table I did not waste time! Internet websites with ads for full-autos were browsed intently. To me “collectible” means historical: not Uzis, ARs, AKs, HKs, etc. Those things might be interesting to some folks, but my current focus is on building a collection of World War II firearms. Once I hit the website of Ohio Ordnance Works the search was over. In their “Curio and Relics” section was listed one of the very famous 7.92mm Kurz caliber German MP44s also know as the “Sturmgewehr.” 22 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • APRIL 2011

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