In 1997 Lyman's book, Cry Of The Cat, was released.
His Life Long Adventure
Note: This biography was first published in Lyman's 1997 book, Cry Of The Cat
Author Lyman Houfek has something important in common with Sonny, the hero of his story, Cry Of The Cat. Both have a taste for adventure and a great curiosity about the world around them.
Born in 1911 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Lyman didn't wait until his Lincoln High School graduation in 1930 to begin his quest for new experience. The summer of his sophomore year, he worked as a baggage handler aboard the Great Lakes passenger steamer Theodore Roosevelt, sailing daily on Lake Michigan from Chicago, Illinois, to Benton Harbor and South Haven, Michigan.
The Adventure Begins
At nineteen, after his freshman year at the
University of Wisconsin and a summer working as a resort hotel bellhop,
Lyman set off in September 1931 for his first European adventure. With
a letter of introduction signed by the Governor of Wisconsin, Philip F.
La Follette, Lyman itchhiked to New York. There he got a job aboard
the freighter Pipestone County, working as a deckhand chipping
off rusted paint. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean to France, left the ship
at Le Harve, and bought a single-speed bicycle.
Lyman's cycling trip took him mainly through France, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and troubled Spain, then through part of North Africa.
While in Rome, Lyman attended an audience with Pope Pius XI, who asked him about his travels.This happened during the tenth anniversary of fascism and Rome was festive with flags hanging from buildings and many army generals strolling about decked with medals.
When Lyman entered Spain, the border guards dismantled his bike looking for contraband. Showing them his letter from the Governor of Wisconsin with its gold seal and red ribbon did not help.
Lyman then took a ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar and landed in Tangier, Morocco. Here in North Africa, he cycled to Casablanca, Fez, Oran, and Algiers. He ran out of money in Algiers and sold his bike for five dollars. He was able to get steerage passage, the cheapest, on a boat to Marseilles, where he got a job as an engine room wiper on the President Hayes, a passenger liner sailing to New York.
On his return home, Lyman wrote a series of
newspaper articles about his travels which appeared in the Appleton, Wisconsin
Post-Crescent. At Lincoln High School, Lyman gave a talk to the entire
student body. He made broadcasts about his trip on the Appleton radio station.
His newspaper articles began his adventures in writing, a different type
of journey that he has loved ever since. He later authored a series of
articles on marketing for various business periodicals.
Following his adventure in Europe, Lyman took flying lessons in a WACO biplane which has a cruising speed of about 105 miles an hour. He returned to college and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1937 with a B.A. in Commerce. He then was awarded a scholarship to attend Northwestern University where he received his M.B.A. in 1938.
Lyman served in the army during World War II and was assigned to the Pentagon in the final years of the war, leaving the army as a captain. As an enlisted man at Camp Grant, Illinois, Lyman co-authored a manual for training army interviewers at reception centers for which he received a letter of commendation.
Lyman Houfek and Carol Martin were married in 1949, in Des Plaines, Illinois, and they had two children, Susanne and Nancy. Lyman developed the lessons in this book for Susanne and Nancy as they were growing up. The lessons are based on Alfred Korzybski's system of general semantics, which Lyman studied with the respected educator and author, Dr. Irving J. Lee, of Northwestern University.
Lyman retired as a marketing executive with the Hobart Corporation of Troy, Ohio, manufacturers of commercial and home kitchen equipment. While at Hobart, he invented a sequential valve system used on high-pressure steam cookers.
When Lyman retired, he and Carol lived in Florida for a year, then moved to California in 1979. Shortly thereafter Carol passed away.
As well as being a successful writer who has
also written a copyrighted three-act play titled Roman Vector and has another
book-in-progress titled Harbor Horn Smugglers, Lyman is an accomplished
landscape artist. His painting, Cicero Avenue, was jury selected and exhibited
in The Art Institute of Chicago in 1950. He enjoys golfing, symphonies,
hiking, and the theater, and making annual trips to Ashland, Oregon, to
attend the Shakespeare Festival. His thirst for adventure has not diminished.
His recent travels include journeys to Paris, France, Lake Louise in Canada,
as well as Turkey, Italy, Greece, and the American Southwest.
Adventures in Writing
Newspaper ArticlesSix articles in the Appleton Wisconsin Post-Crescent titled "Bicycling Through Europe with Lyman Houfek."
ArmyCo-authored army training manual.
Adventures in Inventing
United States Patent: Houfek.
No. 3,951,131. April 20, 1976.
For more information, or to contact Lyman Houfek:
International Society for General