For John Wells, the journey is over. He died a few days ago at the age of 86. Since his passing, I’ve been thinking about the years we taught next door to each other at Howard School. From 1980 to 1985, I taught sixth grade and he taught seventh. Those were good years, and John was part of them.
He loved stories, and we both liked to tell them. My favorites in his repertoire of tales were his adventures in local politics. He would often regale me with anecdotes from inside City Hall, and outside too, for that matter. As an outsider from Chowchilla, I felt kind of privileged to be privy to his views on Madera’s politics.
After we went our separate ways, I kept in touch with him, especially when he jumped back into the political ring after a hiatus in the ‘80s.
John had made his first run for the Madera City Council in 1962 but lost. Two years later, however, in a well-oiled campaign, he made another try — this one successful. Then in 1968, he was returned to office, and in that year he was chosen by his colleagues on the council to fill the mayor’s chair...