Personality and Characteristics
The nickname, Sarge, hardly mimics what his friends know of him, except as a parody to his real character and personality. He is laid back, gentle, amiable and very respecting of others. Sarge is a great listener and inquisitive. The villagers of Birch Clump easily opened up to him on his first stay in august 1978 perhaps because of those traits.
He is a Baby Boomer, born March 19, 1951 not far from Ludington or Traverse City, Michigan. His appearances in the first two novels and first four Birch Clump Readers are brief. We knew little in those earlier books about Douglas aside from his easy going ways and his tall, skinny build.
To get a grip on just how skinny he was, he graduated from high school at 125 pounds, 6-foot 1-inch. He was honorably discharged after a four year enlistment at 135 pounds, and never tipped the scales past 145 until he was well into his forties.
Comparatively, a healthy weight range for six-foot adults is 160-180. Thus, he was 20-40 pounds below the averages. None-the-less, he was in good health. Few could tell at a glance, but he had well toned sinewy muscles.
The idiom, He wouldn't harm a fly, fit his kindly nature. He took great measures to avoid physical conflict. He was well liked and respected for his gentle ways. One of his former classmates said, "There was no price on Douglas' head."
In other words, no one could boast of having beaten him up in a fight. More over, it was inconceivable that he would have been included in the age old school yard peeking order of boyhood scrapping. (He admitted he enjoyed watching others fight; but then, so do most guys.)
There was one exception; that was the class bully.
Billy was nearly two years older than most of his classmates. He had it in for Douglas. It was never know why. He pushed Douglas around during the first two years of high school. Then, at a Church picnic of all places, fifteen-year-old T. Douglas took the bully down. He had a great start, but he was no match for Billy. (See the three paintings of that incident in the art gallery on this web-page.)
The two books, What Would Bubba Do
and People Like Them
(BC Village Readers 5 & 6) present more about Douglas. This includes a three part short story "Confession of a Chicken."
We learn that his maternal grandfather plotted to have him killed, and nearly succeeded. His father deserted him at birth after giving him that atrocious name. (What does the "T" stand for in his name?) He is the only son of an unwed mother. He is mixed race. He made two attempts to enter seminary. The twice married Nora had the hots for him when she first lays eyes on him in 1979.