No name, no family, no problem: Hatter’s remarkable story told in new book

·3 min read

Hatter Joe Miller has had just about every obstacle thrown at him by life, but no matter what, he always pushed through.

His book, “Who Am I: A Little Book of Hope,” gives the reader an in-depth look at where he came from and everything he persevered through.

Miller was born in India about 85 years ago and was an orphan. He was born to an upper-class Indian teenager who was roughly 15, and his father was a European soldier who was fighting there at the time.

His mother could not take care of him, so he was given to a friend of hers who had other children. He was then given to a convent on Aug. 15, 1935, the day he acknowledges as his birthday.

“My dad doesn’t know exactly how old he is or even who his parents are. He doesn’t know what his real name is,” said Mark Miller, Joe’s son.

Though he had been through so much at such a young age, Joe’s journey was just beginning.

He was adopted out to a woman named Ms. Miller, who used him for labour and physically abused him.

“He was basically a slave,” said Mark. “She beat him unconscious. One day he woke up and just ran away.”

Joe travelled 9,000 miles on foot over the next five years of his life, a trek he started at maybe five years old.

“He stole food to stay alive – he did what he had to do to wake up the next day,” said Mark. “He ended up in a British Air Force camp where he befriended a man named Nelson Taylor.

“He was adopted by the Taylors, and on Boxing Day of 1945 he arrived in England.”

With the Taylors, Joe was finally able to learn essential skills like reading and writing.

Joe’s first job was as with the London Electricity Board, and he eventually met his wife Beryl while in England.

The couple are happily married to this day and live together in Medicine Hat. They have two kids and four grandchildren.

“Through so much, Dad was always able to pick himself up and keep on going through so much adversity,” said Mark. “He’s done so much over the years and we’re so proud of him.”

The book is the first half of Joe’s story and takes the reader up to the point where he and Beryl have their first child. The second part is in the works and does not have a set release date.

The cover features a photo of Joe when he was seven or eight years old, and the black handwriting over the photo is his, written at a young age.

Joe started writing in 1957 and has worked on the book sporadically over the years. The Miller family met a writer recently who connected with the story and has worked on it with the family since.

Joe’s book was released Friday and the Miller family is waiting for the listing to appear on Amazon. People can buy physical copies there, and it will also be available on Kindle E-Reader.

To stay up to date with the book and its sequel, search for ‘Who Am I’ on Facebook and look for book’s cover.

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News