The Code Of the Wilhelms
In his delightful autobiography, “The Chances of a Lifetime,” my late wife’s Uncle Roy describes the code of conduct he and his brothers created as young, motherless boys in the early 1900s. According to Roy, his older brother Andy said that every organization had a charter or code of ethics, and it was fitting that they did as well:
- If you can’t go first class, stay home.
- Never be intentionally offensive to anyone.
- Never blame others for not knowing things that they had no chance to learn.
- If you don’t like a … don’t be one.
- Never make sport of anyone less fortunate then yourself.
- Never be the aggressor, but be prepared should trouble be thrust upon you.
- Never make a derogatory remark about a man’s wife, his religion, or his dog.
- If a neighbor is giving you a bad time, build a super fence between you. Thereafter he’ll be a friend for life.
- Never aim a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
- Never kill anything you don’t intend to use, unless it is a threat to your life or property.
- Never give up; the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
- If your house is too much nicer than your friend’s, his pride will turn him away.
- C. LeRoy Wilhelm, “The Chances of a Lifetime,” (Second Edition, 2004), page 29.
My late wife, whose father Marion had been one of “the boys,” quoted from these rules constantly throughout her life.