Wendell Affield, the third of nine children born to Barbara Affield, grew up on a small farm in northern Minnesota. He was born in NYC in 1947 and moved to Minnesota as a toddler when his mother met his stepfather, Herman Affield, through "Cupid's Columns" a singles publication. In 1960 Affield and seven of his siblings were placed in foster homes after his mother was committed to Fergus Falls State Hospital-her ninth child was sentenced to Red Wing State Training School.
At seventeen Affield enlisted in the navy. In January 1968 he returned to Vietnam on a second deployment as the cox'n of a river patrol boat with the Mobile Riverine Force. On August 18, 1968 Affield was wounded in an ambush and medevaced home.
After leaving the navy in 1969, he found work as a meat cutter ; a few years later he became a manager, a position he held for almost thirty years. In 1980 he and his family returned to northern Minnesota. After retiring in 2001 Affield enrolled in Bemidji State University, where, over the years, his Vietnam essays evolved into "Muddy Jungle Rivers" (2012).
In 2010, Affield's mother died. Locked in the chickenhouse on the farm where he was raised, Affield discovered thousands of letters, dozens of diaries, scrapbooks, and photo albums documenting his maternal past. He spent seven years unraveling his mother's history. In the process, he came to understand her struggle. Today, Affield works on his Chickenhouse Chronicles series, speaks to veteran groups about PTSD, and leads a Veteran's Writer Group at his local VA Clinic. He is a 2017 recipient of Minnesota Humanities Center "Veteran's Voices Award" for his work with the underserved in his community.
He and his wife, Patti, live in northern Minnesota. They have two children and several grandchildren. Sadly, their third child, Jeffrey, died in 2015.
See this recent television interview with Wendell at:
- Bemidji, Minnesota
- JoinedMarch 22, 2016