As it is said, “Everyone has a story, and every story is worth telling.” Some of those stories grow tall with the telling. Not this one. In fact, it’s the stunning narration of an extraordinary life told without literary embellishment. Dickie Hilton takes the reader through his saga as an orphan, a bear-slayer, a prodigal son, a combat Navy Seal, an outlaw and convicted safecracker, a multimillionaire builder, and an oilman who lost $36 million in a single day. Along the way, Hilton raced cars on the national circuit, beat the house in casinos, jumped from airplanes, crashed boats, loved women and reared children.
By his own account, he sinned dramatically and made plenty of mistakes as he wrested wisdom from his troubles, God helping him. He named the book “Troubles” for a mangy dog that he restored to health in the Australian bush -- a living metaphor of his life. While there’s plenty here for a wide audience, Hilton’s target reader is a despairing young man in a prison cell. He hopes that what he learned the hard way might inspire such a man to walk into freedom with the same resolve that won Hilton a governor’s pardon and enable him to survive a lifetime of near-death encounters. The story is backed up by hundreds of Web-linked photos. You can read it yourself.
-- Clark McKinley, United Press International editor, retired.
Leatha, Dickie's third mother, moved back to California after Al, his father, passed away in Texas. She moved to Sacramento so after things settled down for Dickie he and his son moved to Sacramento from the Bay area so he could be closer to her. She was getting older.
With not many options left to him, he went back to masonry contracting. It was the thing that had made him good money to start with. He thought he could do that and make a living until something else came along. He never wanted it to be a big company like the ones he had before so he kept it small. Some of his jobs were featured in Better Homes and Gardens, as well as Architectural Digest. After starting over and after being away from it a long time he was glad that he was still good at it. He said he guessed it was like riding a bike, once you know how, you can always do it. He did this for about fifteen years by himself with only a few guys he’d hire from time to time depending on the size of the job. He could make about one hundred fifty thousand dollars a year and work when he wanted to. He was always busy because he had a good reputation for good work. After his last divorce he never wanted to get married again. He had a few girlfriends, but as soon as they wanted to get serious he moved on. That is until he met Gracie.