Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 24, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 11, The Big Move

NEW UPDATED PHOTOS!

 

The Suitcase

Chapter 11

The Big Move

Up until now my father has been writing to my mother in Brookville, Kansas. He has been stationed at Camp San Luis Obispo located 200 miles up the coast from Los Angeles. But it seems a big change has happened for my mother and her family.

2 July 1942 I find my Dad’s letter postmarked from Ventura, California which is 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Mr. Sellers wrote: "I'm setting slightly back of Sgt. Charlie Hancock (Mess Sgt) on a rock on top of Cero-Renaldo Camp San Luis Obispo, Calif, Jan. 29, 1942. Out tents are in the right hand corner of the picture. X is our tent. This is the Mt. I spoke of climbing a while back. Erceil, The buildings in the background are farm buildings and then the hill on back of them." Erceil Sellers Collection

Erceil Sellers Collection. Mr. Sellers wrote: “I’m setting slightly back of Sgt. Charlie Hancock (Mess Sgt) on a rock on top of Cero-Renaldo Camp San Luis Obispo, Calif, Jan. 29, 1942. Out tents are in the right hand corner of the picture. X is our tent. This is the Mt. I spoke of climbing a while back. Erceil, The buildings in the background are farm buildings and then the hill on back of them.”

Guess what address is used for his next letter to Mom. I find it very humorous but yet interesting, yep my mom’s family is now in Pasadena, California. Pasadena is located only about ten miles from Los Angeles and only 55 miles from Ventura which is where my father seems to be driving between. Their fate has been sealed. What are the chances for this kind of coincidence? Who knew that when these two who first met at a barn dance in small town in Nebraska would lead to having both of my parents living in Southern California in 1942 at the same time and due the war. My grandfather is welding in the shipyards and Dad is driving up the coast with the Army. I know that it is just a coincidence but it just seems divinely orchestrated. What are the odds? I just had another light bulb moment. My grandfather is complaining about driving in California and my dad is a truck driver becoming experienced in driving all over California. I grew up here in Southern California. Pop never drove anywhere when my Dad was around, Dad always drove. Now, I am laughing again. It just seems I have written a whole paragraph of what could be interpreted as “signs” from above. But sadly we have another year to get through before my parents finally tie the knot.

That first letter in July shows that Dad has been to Pasadena on a 24 hour pass to visit Mom and her family, so he has somehow found out that they have moved. I have to assume they have a phone in big town Pasadena. I am not sure at this point how he found out she is there. That first letter there is written explaining that he has a date and has been dating other girls. It makes me wonder if he actually is dating or if he is just making up a good story to make her think he has been. He says that he wanted to come over but thought she would be “busy.” He then goes on to explain that he has been “Red Lined” by the Army. That means he has not been paid yet. I am sure he is broke as he is still sending part of his pay home to his Dad.

The next letter is not written until 13 July 1942.

Glad Pop is working and Likes It. I am doing OK up here but I think someone else is taking my place. But who am I to argue. I have no strings tied and besides that I have no proof of it. In case there is he hasn’t anymore[sic] time than I have. I have been here ever other day. And it has been one grand time after another. Believe me going to her place is like going home. I can have as much fun. You know I am getting as well acquainted here in Ventura as at home. Everybody knows Lefty. Or at least about everyone.

Those sound like fighting words. This whole time I have been looking from my father’s point of view. I would imagine that my mother was having a good time with all the service men around. Between my Grandma Susie inviting soldiers over and now Grandpop working in the shipyards they had to have invited quite a few soldiers over. It was the way they were, always supporting our troops.

Dad goes on to explain that he heard through the grapevine that his sister has had a baby girl. He has not heard from anyone at home but has run into someone who knew. It sure does not seem like he is getting any mail from home, or at least any that he mentions.

He writes again on the 20th stating that he has quit writing to everyone but Mom and Madelyn (whoever that is) and he has not really been anywhere. He talks again about how there are lots of girls around that like him so for her not to worry about him. Then he asks,

Why didn’t you drop on up when you were in Oxnard? That is only nine miles from here and I was home all day on Sunday. Could be maybe I’ll be down sometime this week. Who knows?

Dad is not signing his letters with love at this time. This one he signs, “So long worthless, Lefty. “

Marvin Cain wrote "Main Gate at Camp Luis Obispo" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Main Gate at Camp Luis Obispo” Courtesy of the Cain Family

He does not write again until 4 August,

I was coming up there but decided not to. I was in L.A. Sat. nite [sic] and Sunday. Sure had a grand time. Went to the Palladium Sat. nite [sic]and danced to Woody Herman. Boy was he good. He sang one song named “Fan it Baby Fan it.” I really liked it. We really have been driving lately. Since I saw you. I have driven 700 miles. And 300 of that has been blackout. We bent up one truck and trailer. Boy what luck. Not much damage was done. Bob (Robert Winter) is back with us again I guess he and I are going to a show tonight. We were going last night then they decided they needed some trucks. See we being the only one here had to drive and I had to break a date with Dorothy (now who is Dorothy?) That was bad. It was the first day she had off in 2 weeks. And it may be that long again. I hope not though. They tell me I am to be make a Cpl. Don’t count on it though cause I hope not. And there is no order on it yet. That was the word of some of the men back at the company. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Love Lefty!

Robert Winter was from the same small town my father’s family was from, Cozad, Nebraska. I am not sure if they knew each other before he enlisted or not. But there are many references to “Bob” throughout my father’s pictures and letters.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Herman) Woody Herman was an influential Jazz musician who was popular in the mid thirties. He got his first professional gig when he was 15 years old. His first record was recorded in 1936 and the group was known as “The band that plays the blues.” He was also known as a bandleader, saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. He continued to perform well into 1980 when he passed the torch to the leader of his reed section, Frank Tiberi who continues to make the same type of jazz music as he had. Woody Herman passed away in 1987 and was buried in Hollywood, California.

Oh my goodness! The next letter is not from my dad! It is from someone I never heard of. Is this why Mom was so distant from Dad at this time? I am almost afraid to open it. Who is this? How did she meet him? Why has she kept this letter? What does this mean? Is this the guy she was engaged to?

Pvt. R.L. Metzger
Victorville, Calif.

I was pleased to read your letter in the Echo this issue and as I never think of the few weeks I spent in Brookville without thinking about you. I just couldn’t keep from saying “Hello” and welcome to California.” I hope you like it and I know you will soon have lots of friends out here. But let’s always remember those swell ones in the friendly little village. It is ever this—we lose friends, gain new ones, only to lose them again, to make new ones, for in cycles are we whirled, [sic] but fond memories we can always keep. I find good old Lynn on every page of the Echo, then I think of the few people who took an interest in my work bad as it was, and there I have a picture of Vi sitting on the extra box watching a bum drawing a bum reproduction. Brookville and area is now undergoing a great change due to the war. I suppose all this is vital in our war effort, I am rather glad that I’m not there to witness the peaceful country side change into a huge war machine. How is Rose and Vance? Tell them hello for me. Hope this finds you well and happy. I remain
Your friend,
Leroy Metz

Well it was not what I expected. It is a really nice letter. He knows my Grandpop and Grandma by their first names so I am left once again with more questions than answers. What is the Echo, who was this Leroy, and will I find more letters from other people maybe other men hidden among these letters? I searched for a magazine or newspaper that in 1942 was call Echo with no luck I then searched for the man’s actual name in case he was someone famous and again no luck. I guess that is one question that will never be answered. Interesting that he knows my mom’s family and Brookville, Kansas.

Dad on his 23rd birthday 1942, Bob Winter on the right

The 13 August 1942 letter finds him back in Van Nuys.

They are running me to death or if it isn’t them it is me. I have been made a Cpl. As much as I hated it. It isn’t so bad though. At least not yet. I have only been here a few days. Had to go on guard to catch up on some sleep. Am coming over as soon as I can get there. Boy they sure got me the other morning. Lt. Smith called on me to give mass commands for the exercises and I didn’t know a darn thing about them. I guess I did OK for the first time. But my knees were sure shaking. That was the second day I had been with the company. And things sure have changed.

There are three other letters in August. Dad was just trying to make small talk in all of them. He is driving all over Southern California with little rest. It seems if he isn’t on guard duty or sleeping he is driving.

Envelope

On 29 August he writes that he will be getting a 15 day furlough in the next couple of months. It seems as though he goes back and forth from Van Nuys, California, then the rest of the time the postmarks are from Ventura. He must have gotten the furlough as there are no letters from 29th August though 7 October He also writes that he had a good time at Mom’s house so he must have been by there for a visit.

Furlough pass 20 October 1942, Dad’s birthday was on the 22nd

Furlough Pass for 20 October 1942

There are three letters in November, quickly written and not having much news.

6 December 1942 he writes that he has not written because there is nothing going on. Then he goes on,

Verlin [sp?] went to Van Nuys and came back with heaps of it (news.) First, sometime next week I am to be transferred back to L.A. somewhere about it anyway. I am going to like that though. I probably won’t be in Van Nuys long. But waite [sic] I haven’t told you the best news yet. Under the new set up I wasn’t assigned a squad and that means only one thing. Maybe in Jan. Around the 10th Wont that be a good birthday present getting rid of me. Nothing is definite yet but someone has to go and I sure hope it is me. As I told you I was about first on the list for Cadney. Maybe I’ll have a tale to tell the Grand Kids after all. I hope. Well if you don’t write soon maybe the next time you hear from me I’ll be in Africa. I hope.

Christmas card 1942

Africa? When does Africa get into the equation? According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_African_Campaign) The North African Campaign, lasted from 1940-1943. My husband just told me that was where Patton and his German counterpart, Edward Rommel did battle. Gosh I must have missed that day in school. I really did not remember. Why does Dad want to go there?

Dad's Best Buddy, Bob Winter

Dad’s Best Buddy, Bob Winter

The last letter that was written in 1942 was from Ventura. Dad is talking about how fast the year has gone. He is also complaining that the weather here in California is what he believes is unseasonably warm. He goes on,

Bob (Robert Winter) and I went to a USO party last nite. [sic] We hit several places first and was in a good mood when we got there. But that soon wore off and the party was dead. Pardon the delay had to go to a show. The last one before he leaves. I guess there isn’t much more to talk about anyway so I had better go to bed. I am sitting here in my underwear anyway. Love Lefty.

And that letter ends the year 1942. My parents have been writing to each other for five years now. It does not seem like Dad has gotten anywhere with Mom. We started the year off feeling like they were in love and Dad was going to spend the rest of his life with Mom but it does not seem she has the same feelings as he does. Also he mentions that he is estranged from his family. I know that his father was neither healthy nor well-educated and it was probably hard for him to read or for him to write a letter to Dad. He does not talk about getting any mail from anyone else. It seems like this was a lonely time for him.

Copyright 2012 notsofancynancy ©

Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 20, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 10, California

The Suitcase

Chapter 10

California

Marvin Cain wrote "Breakers at Fort Ord" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Breakers at Fort Ord” Courtesy of the Cain Family

Dad has been in the Army a year and three months and he has been stationed with the same men up until now. On 1 March 1942 my father is pretty upset as he writes,

I guess at midnight there ceases to be a 110th regiment. We are getting smashed. Anyway that is the way I put it. Some of us here and some of us there and who knows where the rest goes. I guess I stay with the same outfit. Only it will be called something else. I am not sure just what that will be. They gave us drivers test and a lot of the men couldn’t pass it so they go to a different place. Some say it will be the Camp Army and others say the service troops and others say in a QM someplace.

1 March 1942 – QM reorganized from QM Regiment to QM Battalion.

Various Stations and Area's Occupied

Various Stations and Area’s Occupied

 

I know that my father is facing a big change. When I was working with a Victory in Europe Day roster, I found that 80 per cent of the revised 35 Quartermaster Battalion was from small towns all over Nebraska. All being from the same state made the men feel a bond. The other soldiers were from other states and now I understand how they got there. It had to do with this reorganization of the 110 Quartermaster Regiment which became the 35th Quartermaster Battalion 1 March 1942.

Up until now I have been confused with the Army’s “numbers.” My father’s discharge papers have him with the 448th Anti Aircraft Artillery Weapons Battalion and he never mentioned this battalion. I asked my siblings, who do remember more of Dad’s stories and they had never heard of it. We knew he was very proud to be known as 110th Quartermasters. Now the men are all mixed up and they will get a new name. It seems as though the Army continues to keep the soldiers guessing about what was going to happen next. And as I sit here in 2012 I have just confused myself more.

Next he writes,

Now maybe I can continue writing. Had to go get ready to go to a parade or something. I guess we are going to parade for the general. Or maybe he is going to tell us goodbye and how good or bad we are doing. Anyway I have been figuring all day how to get out of it and as yet haven’t done it. We lost probably the best officer in the Regt. Last week. He was transferred to S.F. (San Francisco) Boy we sure liked him. He was a Major before he left. He came over to say goodbye. By the looks of it he hated to leave as much as we hated to see him go. Anyway he said he would see us over there. We have to fall in 5 minutes so I better quit for now. Maybe I can tell you what the general says.

Dad writes again later that night,

The general didn’t have much to say about the same thing they have been since we started. That we are the best regt. In the U.S. Army, and that he hated to lose any of us. I’ll bet you hate to see your dad go. I believe I would too. He will only be about 200 miles from here if he go [Sic] to L.A.

Where is Pop going? Is he coming back? Is he going to Los Angeles?

7 March 1942 postmarked from Pasadena California

Well this letter is not what I expected. I am holding in my hand, with tears streaming down my cheek, a letter that my grandfather wrote in 1942. I cannot believe it but it is true. There are others, I see six in total. My grandfather passed away in 1972. He was sick for a long time so I do not remember much about him. A family story passed down was he lost his farm in Kansas when he could not raise wheat because of his severe allergy to it, but how did he get to be in Pasadena, California?

Pop in his cornfield

Dear Sonny Boy:-
Well here it is I just got back from town. We walk down almost every afternoon. I live just fourteen blocks from down town Pasadena just a nice walk have not used the truck since I drove in last Mon. I go down to the welding school around 10:30 at nite [Sic] and get back around 3:00 in the morning sleep till about 8:00 get my own breakfast and dinner most of the time. Sure is a nice climate just cool enough to want a coat in the morning and evening and nice and warm during the day. There are mountains all around this town you can see snow and the Mt. Wilson observatory from the house here most of the time.

My grandparents only had one child and it was a girl. With all the nicknames in Grandma’s family it is only natural for them to call Mom by a nickname, was this it? My sister told me that just after mom was born Grandpa said something to the affect of “well that foolishness is over and we won’t have to do it again.” I guess he did not want more kids, or was it just he did not want Grandma to go through that pain?

He goes on to explain that there are a couple of German brothers living where he is and asks what Mom has been doing. Then,

Please write and tell me all the news and your troubles. I haven’t heard from Susie (Grandma’s nickname) guess maybe I have not had time but it sure seems like a long time. Well it smells like something is cooking so maybe we better go down and see. With love, Pop

So it is 7 March 1942 and my grandfather is in California going to welding school. My sister also told me that after losing the farm he saw an advertisement in the newspaper offering free government training in California to get his license to be a welder. So Grandpop takes advantage of this and drives his truck from Brookville, Kansas to Pasadena, California and gets settled in a rooming house. Coincidentally, my father is just up the shore a mere 200 miles away.

Pop and the tuck he drove to California

14 March 1942 there is another letter from Grandpa; He calls Mom Sonny Boy twice in this letter. Mom has been sick and he is worried about her. He actually is sick himself but he is doing a lot better now that he is in California with its warm weather. I wonder if this is part of the reason he came to California. Since I am not sure I have to let it go. He is surprised that his landlady is so trusting letting him use her brand new Chevrolet to drive to get groceries. What I found interesting is he is afraid of the roads here. I guess Pasadena was busy back then because he talks of the two and three lane highways, but everyone drives in the middle of the road. Some things never change only I am sure there are bigger highways and a whole lot more people now days. I think he scared himself as he never teaches Grandma Susie to drive. She did not learn until he passed away.

He goes on to say,

I am going down to the California shipyards with Bill tomorrow. He is going to take his test. He has been going to the school for seven weeks. Says he is going to marry me thinks I am a better cook that the landlady. Seen former President H. Hoovers house yesterday. It sure looks like a big house it is out on the side of the mountain north east of Pasadena.

It is good to see this side of my Grandpa. I don’t remember his personality because he was sick for so long, but, I can see he had a sense of humor. He would have had to have been humorous because Grandma was such a joker.

I cannot find any mention of Herbert Hoover living in Pasadena but I do find evidence that his son, Herbert Hoover Jr. lived in Pasadena, so maybe that is whose house he saw.

Mom does not get another letter from my dad until he writes on the 17th. Boy he sure is in a sour mood.

I am glad you said we are good friends. You know it could have been a lot worse. I kind of figured I was getting away a head of myself. But I wanted to be sure. One reason I have no intentions on coming back. Why should I. I am worth more dead than alive. Besides the chances are only about 25 to 1. Anyway in a short time we will be over there and then things will be different. The sooner the better for me. At least I will get out of the Army even if it is in a box.

This is killing me. Why don’t they just figure things out. It seems like Mom might not be ready to settle down yet. I feel bad for Dad but I know how this story ends. He goes on to confirm that he is only 190 miles from her Dad.

Viola in her play, standing far left

31 March Grandpa writes a letter to her once again.

How is my little family? What has become of my dog? I sure am glad your play was a success and wished I could have been there to see it I haven’t been to a show or anything since I came here. One of the boys that stays here big Bill has gone to work at the shipyard it is quite a drive 40 miles from here and there is so much traffic it takes 2 hours. Our land lady is trying to rent a house in Long Beach which is 30 miles closer to the shipyard if she finds one we are all going to move down there. There doesn’t seem to be many places for rent down there. I went and looked at a trailer yesterday didn’t like it there a lot of people live in those here. There sure are a lot of soldiers around here. They have camps every place where they is any defense industry. I got to see the search lights chasing a plane around the other nite [Sic] he was awful high but they sure held the beams right on him didn’t look any bigger than a fly. I quit working the hours were so long it interfered with my welding to much only got to sleep four or five hours after a few days it wasn’t enough. It is five thirty and somebody had Fibber MaGee [Sic] on the radio.

I wonder how many people saw that same plane and thought it was the enemy coming to bomb them. How many of them did that plane scare? I know I would have been scared.

The “Fibber McGee and Molly” radio show was on the air and popular beginning in 1935. According to Wikipedia.org (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibber_McGee_and_Molly), a husband and wife vaudevillian team, Jim and Marion Jordan, were listening to a radio show in Chicago with his brother in 1925. They said they could do a better job than the person on the radio and Jim’s brother bet them $10 they could not. They all went to the radio station and announced the bet. The station manager let them audition which resulted in Jim and Marion going on-the-air immediately at a beginning rate of $10 per week. After several years on various local and regional programs, “Fibber McGee and Molly” became a national radio show in 1935.

He ends the letter with “Whatever became of Lefty?”

So it is interesting to see that Pop was wondering if my dad was still in California.

9 April 1942 Grandpa writes again,

I went down to the welding school last nite [sic] at 8:00 o’clock and around nine there was a black out. I was busy welding when all at once my arc disappeared and there I was in the dark I stumbled around and found my way out on the street and the only light in sight was a neon sign a couple blocks down the street and it only lasted about a minute. We sit around about an hour and a half and then started to walk home it is sixteen or seventeen blocks about every other block there is a air rade [sic] warden every other one wanted to argue seems you are not supposed to go anywhere in the dark. When we were three blocks home we were told a plane was the cause of it and you couldn’t even hear a plane here so never even got a thrill.

What would that have been like? Living through the mandatory blackouts? Being afraid every plane that flew overhead might bomb you. In the aftermath of 9/11 I felt that fear. We have a heck of a lot more planes than they had back in 1942. On the evening of 12 September I sat outside and it was eerie not having a plane flying overhead. I guess now I do understand how helpless Dad, Grandpa, or anyone in the United States felt in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the United States. Wow! Breakthrough! It has only taken me ten chapters to come to the conclusion that the attack on Pearl Harbor WAS a terrorist attack!

I find another letter from Pop dated 27 May 1942. He talks of looking for family living in the vicinity of where he is staying. Is he planning to move the family to California? He asks about my dad and says the two brothers who live in the rooming house with him have family in San Luis Obispo and they want him to go along with them up the coast to visit them. He is going to try to find Dad when he is there. Grandpa is starting a government welding school that day and continuing the one he is taking at night. He figures he will be learning twice as fast and be twice as good by continuing both classes. Pop is wondering how Mom is doing in school and is wondering when the graduation exercises will be. He really wants to come home to attend them if he does not get work by then. So he is actually looking for work? Will he go to work in the shipyards? How weird is it that my Pop is in California at the same time my father is here? Wow! This is starting to sound like it would make a good book!

Viola’s graduating class

15 May 1942 letter starts by congratulating mom for getting her diploma and he wants to hear all about the fun time she is having as a senior in high school. He goes on about visiting a friend of his and he is living in a tent a half a mile from Warner Brothers Studios. He uses candles for light and has a portable radio and “the cutest little wood stove you have ever seen.” How was your play? He wonders. He has talked with someone from home who went to see it and truly enjoyed the production.

15 May Dad writes “I heard you are going to get married, is that true?” Wait! When did that happen? Oh dear me! That is hard for me to read. That must be why she has not written him. It seems as though Mom’s Uncle George, the one who introduced Mom and Dad is now in the Marines and is stationed not far from Dad. My father does not go into much detail other than George is expected to pass through where Dad is stationed.

George Vance

In the same envelope he writes to Grandma,

I am sure I would have enjoyed the play. I always did like them. I sure have enjoyed the last nine days though. I have been in Washington so that adds two more states to my list. I sure fell in love with Oregon. Boy there is so much more there for one to see. I guess California has a lot of things but to me they stink. You see I don’t like Calif. or what they stand for. As soon as we got in Oregon we started enjoying ourselves and did all the time we were there. I cannot say that about this place. Really Mom I am not too low you see I really meant what I said. And I wasn’t in a bad mood either. I have a lot to live for but what is the use. When I get out of here I am going to have to go to work and I am afraid I won’t like that. And I have $10,000 worth of insurance that would really be used in a good way back home. I am serious. I am quite sure I am going to be in Calf. When you get out I am just not sure where. I can’t get off to see Pop. They have taken all the passes away from single men. And here I was going to a dance tonight.

I just remembered I was in Oregon when I was 22, the same age my father is in this letter. I stayed about a year and a half. I remember how it looked to someone who was just passing through when I visited the first time. Not that my dad would have had time to stop and visit. He told of driving and sleeping 24 hours a day to get to the assigned location so sightseeing had to have been done from the windshield of the truck.

I remember Mom and Dad driving to Oregon in their camper when I lived there. They camped with my daughter on the Rogue River. I will always remember Dad had her fishing when I got there after work. She was about five years old and sat with her Grandpa holding her pole. Dad got up to get a beer and Tania was standing with the pole when she hooked one! That child threw her pole in the river, ran into the camper slamming the door before anyone could react! I will always remember how tickled he was to tell that story again and again throughout the rest of his life. It will always be a happy memory.

Well this is quite a shock there are no letters for the next two months. With so many letters left how can that be? In looking at how many letters I have read, and how many are left I cannot see him skipping a couple of days. These letters are very odd to me because Dad was always a quiet person. He never talked to me about his time in the service so I am totally surprised to find that all these letters exist.

Maybe that is why he was always so quiet, because he was writing a “book” while he trained in and then attended this war.

Copyright 2012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 8, 2014

The Suitcase, chapter 9, In the Army Now

The Suitcase

Chapter 9

You’re in the Army Now

(The California Military Museum)

January 1942 finds my father still at Fort Ord (for more info click here) in northern California where he was sent to help guard the coast and transport solders and supplies. This will be interesting changes in not only my father’s life but also my mother’s and it will be interesting to see how these changes will affect their relationship. There are a total of 28 letters in 1942.

Dad writes on 16 January 1942 that his regiment is hauling soldiers out to the woods. He does not say why but I have to assume they are having training exercises. He had the kitchen on his truck so he drives back to the base once a week to stock up on supplies.  He is sleeping in his truck at night which is where he spends the first hours of 1942. The first night was the coldest because of the lack of heavy blankets. Can you imagine spending the whole night wondering if you will freeze to death along with the fearing of being attacked by the Japanese and killed that night? It must have been hard for all the men and women.

Then he writes to my grandma,

We sure had a bad News Years. We were in the woods both eve and night. I can’t see why but that made somebody happy so I guess it was OK. Boy it was cold. I just about froze. The first night I slept alone and that didn’t work so the next night we doubled up and that didn’t work any better. I had the kitchen on my truck so to be smart the Kid [Sic] who was sleeping with me and I decided to light a stove. While working on the project we split [Sic] some gas on the floor of the truck. We somehow or other it got lit and did we ever do some fast moving. I had twenty gallons of gas besides three stoves and a lot of other supplies. If that had ever got going someone would have thought sure the Japs had landed. Anyway we got the stove going but it didn’t do much good. It warmed the top of the truck and the rest was like an ice bag.

Oh my goodness! I am really glad that fire did not go any further. But I probably would have tried to do the same if I had a stove and was freezing.

Marvin Cain wrote "Breakers at Fort Ord" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Breakers at Fort Ord” Courtesy of the Cain Family

He goes on to say that he is enjoying the food. They had oysters, of all things, two nights and fried chicken. They have had fried chicken only once in the whole year he has been in the Army.

On the 14th still in Fort Ord he writes,

Well you asked for it. You couldn’t get rid of me even if you wanted too. And I don’t think you will have to do any chasing. If anything you’ll be running to get away. One good way to stop either would be to join the Ambulance Corps. That would be about the only thing that would make me mad enough to end it. There will be plenty of things to do without doing that, they have woman working in Canteens and Service Clubs out here and also in Robinson. I really don’t think I could have anyone I know take what they have to. Soldiers aren’t humans and you would probably be around a lot of them. I can see your point of view about some of the people in this old world. The only thing I can see is why do we have to take this old s_ _ _ anyway. There isn’t many here that would take action in stride. But having to do this and stay here too. That’s bad. Someone has to pay and I am sure it won’t be the enlisted men.

Well he certainly has a strong opinion about the Ambulance Corps. The mention of working in the canteen or service club surprises me though.  There are a lot of happier soldiers there. I wonder if he is afraid that if she is in the Ambulance Corps. She would have to work in the war zones.

Marvin Cain wrote "Fort Ord" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Fort Ord” Courtesy of the Cain Family

He then goes on to talk about their Colonel trying to take bets on where they will be when their next check comes. The colonel bets they will be back in Arkansas. It seems Dad also got inoculated, he explains,

We had a physical examination Sat. They also gave us shots for Typhoid and Smallpox. I took them both in my left arm. (He is left- handed)And they both took. God I can hardly move it yet today (Tues) Was I ever sick Sat night and Sunday. I guess I am going a live though.

He goes on to explain that they are having good weather during the day and it is still cold at night. He also tells that he has not unpacked his clothes since he arrived in camp, not being sure where or when they will move again.

In Grandma’s letter he writes,

The order just came that we were to pack everything so we would be ready to go. And have what we don’t take ready to go so someone else can take it if we don’t come back. Fine stuff. I still don’t think we are going to leave. The only thing I can see we are moving Inf. and looking for a move in between times. I am going to close this now and get things ready. Where the next one comes from God only knows.

He ends my mother’s letter with:

I am sure I can’t write as long and swell a letter as you did so I’ll quit by saying. If everyone has someone like you and your mother back home we have no reason worrying about the war.

Pop and Viola

Mom and her family have sent him a package for Christmas which included cookies and a new wallet. Knowing my dad he shared them with his buddy’s. I know if my mom would have cooked them he might not have wanted to eat them. She was not a good cook. Knowing grandma though she would not have let mom send them if they were bad so I am sure she helped.

The letter on the 16th finds him still in Fort Or and writing to Mom,

I hope you heard the same newscast I did. It was about a German in Russia. He was scarcely dressed and he said he was glad the U.S. was in the war. Because as in (19)18 it wouldn’t be long now. I wonder how right he is. I hope I can live up to the Reputation that is waiting for me. I ‘m not worth it though. No soldier is. If there is one I have not seen him

That sure made my heart sad. I wonder why he is so down on the soldiers. Is it because he has been living among them for over a year, or is he just mad at the situation he is in.

18 January 1942 – QM arrived at Camp San Luis Obispo, California

The letter from the 18th has three separate letters in it. The first one reads,

Well we finally got moved. We are now at Camp Luis Obispo, Cali. so that will be my address for a while. The last group that were here 2 days. So we don’t know where or how long we will be here. We moved last night about 130 miles south of where we were at Fort. Ord. Boy is it warm here. We are right in a valley between four mountains. Some fun getting up every morning and looking them in the face. We are about nine miles from the ocean now. You can see it from here if you get high enough. That means some good walking. Another kid and I tried it today. We went quite a ways but still did not get to the top. Our next move will probably be a boat ride. We are only about 200 miles from L.A. now.

(Visit The California Military Museum here)

This trip to California had to be the first time my father has been off the plains of Nebraska.  He may have come west once before but he had never been away this long or this far. They are having below zero temperatures in Nebraska about this time and they also have record- breaking snow. Dad tells Grandma that he would gladly be shoveling snow than be at camp.

Oh dear, in the next letter dad writes,

Sorry I haven’t written. Have been too disgusted. I probably would have written the wrong thing and that wouldn’t have been nice. Say why don’t you call me sucker everyone out here does. So you think I am too serious Huh? Perhaps! If you only knew. Anyway I thought that you wanted it that way. Anyway a man isn’t too old to change at 22. From now on I am just your loving correspondent as you say. Beside the pickle I am in now calls for a change anyway.

Again I am left wondering what exactly she wrote in the letter. He seems crushed.

A little southeast of Morrow Bay lies Camp Merrian (read more by clicking here.) Given the name Camp Merrian in the late 1800’s it was renamed Camp San Luis Obispo in 1940.  It was comprised of approximately 10,000 acres including 4,200 acres near the mouth of the Salinas River located about 20 miles away. A dam was built there and it was used to help supply water to the Camp. It was equipped to house about 12,000 men.

I have been past Camp San Luis Obispo a few times. My sister lives not too far from there and when I visited I saw it from in the car on the highway. When I look at pictures of the camps these days, whether it is of Camp Robinson or San Luis Obispo it is quiet, it is just too quiet now. I have had the opportunity to visit many of the training camps Patton ran out in our desert and I feel the same thing looking at pictures of these camps or what is left of them. I feel like it is sacred ground. I walk lightly, respectfully, and speak in hushed tones. I have even been known to shed a tear. These camps were in the middle of the desert.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like to see these camps bustling with soldiers in them.  Although the camps that Dad has been to have more to them, such as permanent buildings they still command the same quiet respect as the ones I have visited in the desert.

Dad talks about playing ping pong but they have a limited numbers of balls and when they all break he seems to write more letters. Then the Colonel decided the men were making too much noise playing it and he made them move the table out. Then the men started playing craps and that was ok because the “Big Kicks” liked to play.

Marvin Cain donning his Fort Ord t-shirt, January 1942, courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain donning his Fort Ord t-shirt, January 1942, courtesy of the Cain Family

He has to drive back to Fort Ord to transport another group of men down the coast.  On the way back I guess they decided to see just how “much” their trucks could take.

I bet we drove them 2/3 of the way in a ditch. We sure got the devil too. I don’t think there were any of us that didn’t get called down by a civilian cop somewhere along the way. The best though a Coke Wagon started to pass us. We soon changed the tide and started to pass it when we would go by we would reach out and grab a bottle and then go on. I’ll bet he lost at least 2 cases. Then he stopped.

I am laughing out loud at my Father  for being such a hoodlum.

We are still looking for a move. I really don’t know how soon. The more I am around here the better I like it and this is sure no country for a working man. So you moved. Are you glad or sorry. I’ll bet you miss the old place. I even miss Arkansas and was only there a year.

Up until now my grandparents lived on a part of my great-grandparents‘homestead in Kansas. Although he does not say it, my grandfather loses his farm. I was told by my oldest sister that he was a corn farmer and the government wanted him to sell wheat. My grandfather was extremely allergic to wheat and could not be around it so it seems at this time they have moved. The address remains the same, Brookville Kansas.

In the last letter in this envelope he writes,

Well the big change has taken place and we are all very unhappy. At least we don’t like the new Co. Commander about the brake ups [Sic] we don’t feel bad about that that although I am the only one left that was in the tent. They sure took our fun away from us. We can’t take a truck to town anymore. We can but it has to come right back. Before we could take one almost anywhere within 25 miles and be in before 11:00.

I know that he was upset about them breaking up his regiment. He had been with most of these men over a year now and I know that after the war they had a special bond. One of the men’s daughters recently told me that she remembered Vi and Lefty (my parents) and they had received Christmas cards from my mother until she got sick which would have been as late as 1996, which was 55 years later. It amazes me that it has been that long.

My father goes on in this letter about the confusion about their relationship. He wants to know where they stand. He is serious about her and wants to know if she is as serious. He is so uncertain about how they should proceed.  He goes on to explain that he is writing the letter in the truck and I hope he is not doing it while driving. Then he goes on,

We drove out into the country and camouflaged our trucks. Then next we hauled the Inf. out. And today I am here. Maybe sometime I will have a day off. All I did today was haul bread. About 50 loaves and had a two and a half ton truck to do that. Took me about an hour. The rest of the time I just sat around. Am here an hour too early.

That last sentence “Am here an hour too early” would be a natural thing to my father after the war. He was a milk man for many years. It was a great day when my brother and I got to go with my father on his route. We always got there at least an hour early. It was always dark out. He would sleep in his truck in the parking lot until they got there. My brother and I were always so excited to get going because we would get special treats from the shopkeepers, so I never slept. I just pretended to sleep but I always kept one eye open watching for the headlights of the owner’s car. I knew the treats I would be given were just a locked store away.

Foothill Dairy early 50’s

The last letter in January was written on the 22nd. He talks about the weather and being sick because they have been giving him typhoid shots. Dad had spent two days in bed and that night he had to stand guard.  The he goes on to say,

Too bad about Carol Lombard getting killed. She was such a nice girl too. There was a kid here today that graduated with me. Boy it was sure good to see him. He has been up here 18 months and is making around $125 dollars a month. It takes about that much to live out here. 2 cokes and 2 hamburgers came to about $1.00. So see you would not eat much here.

He goes on to explain that they guy invited him over to his house for dinner but he can only get a pass to be gone 6 hours and “what can one do in that time. Not me I think I will stay in camp.”

Carol Lombard was a beautiful quirky comedian born in 1908 (for more info click here) She was one of the highest paid stars working in Hollywood at the time. On 16 December 1941 she was involved in a plane crash traveling home from a World War II Bond tour in her home state of Indiana. The last words she spoke to the fans was, “Before I say goodbye to you all come on and join me in a big cheer, V for Victory!” Flying back to Hollywood after the event and 23 minutes into the flight they ran in to a peak outside of Las Vegas. Everyone aboard the flight including her mother and 20 others were reported to have died instantly in this tragic event. She was married to Clark Gable at the time and he was devastated by the loss. Flying immediately to the scene he began helping to make decisions on the rescue efforts. Interestingly enough shortly after the crash he joined the Army Air Forces and headed a small unit attached to a bomber. He filmed the B-15’s in flight, completing five missions himself. There would never be an answer to why the plane crashed. There are plenty of stories out there though. One being that all but one of the airplane beacons in the area were turned off or ‘blacked out” as a matter of precaution.  There is a lot of speculation and little concrete evidence.

There is about to be a big change in my mother’s life. It will change everything my mother knows about small town life and will play a key role in my parent’s lives.

© Copyright 1012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 3, 2014

How Much Do You Love Me? by Paul Mark Tag

by Paul Mark Tag

by Paul Mark Tag

What you may not know about me is I love to read so when I was contacted to do a review on a historical novel based on the history of the Japanese internment in 1942 I jumped at the chance. After Pearl Harbor was bombed the Internment of 110-120,000 Japanese to get them away from the shoreline has always fascinated me. My father was sent to help guard the coast of California so this story ties right in to his.

In his book, How much do you love me? Paul Mark Tag weaves a tale based around the Tule Lake internment Camp in Northern California. Having been to and done research on the Manzanar Camp a couple hours away from my home I was interested to see how true to history Mr. Tag kept his novel. I was impressed to say the least and I have to admit I may have learned some new facts I did not know. Although this book is a work of fiction Tag’s descriptions of the camps and what went on there was right on. I felt like his characters could been anyone of the hundreds of thousand internees that actually were at the facilities but the twists he puts on the fictional part of story is never ending.

Keiko Tanaka and James Armstrong, and here is the first twist, a bi-racial couple meet and fall in love before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. With the outbreak of war James Armstrong proposes to Japanese-American Keiko before James enlists in the Navy. They marry before he ships out while she and her family are sent to the Tule Lake internment camp. The novel jumps from 2000 where James and Keiko’s kids are trying to come to terms with dealing with the last days of their parents lives to the 1940’s as Keiko’s family deals with their internment. Oh and what good secrets Mr. Tag has weaved into this story.

If you like this era and want to learn more about the history this book will do you good. I will put it in my top ten favorite historical novels.

 

Amazon, How Mow Much Do You Love Me?

Visit Paul Mark Tag’s website by clicking here

Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 1, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 8, Pearl Harbor

The Suitcase

Chapter 8

Pearl Harbor

December 1941 I am very nervous to read the December 1941 letters. My heart beats fast and I am feeling hot and shaky. Out of all the letters I have read, I know what will happen on 7 December 1941 will be the beginning of the end for many a young man in the United States. I have started to read the letters several times now but I have not been able to get past the first letter. I have held it but I have not been able to open it. So for the sake of preserving history I will push on.

Camp Robinson Stationary

Camp Robinson Stationary

The beginning of December finds Dad still in Camp Robinson, Arkansas, and getting pretty bored. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe he was just trying to right the wrongs he made by not visiting Mom on the last furlough he was granted. He will have been in the Army for one year on the 23rd and he has just turned 22. Something must have been said about not being discharged, or maybe his quest is just to see my Mom before he went to fight in a war that is becoming more real. For now he is focused on getting that furlough long enough to visit my mom and her parents for a few days.  I wonder how many others made that last minute choice and got married because of a war. I am sure way more than I can know. The United States was new in the act of war.  We had fought several wars but never with the weaponry than will be used to fight this war. Dad is beginning to look at mom family as “his” family. He thinks he will be getting furlough sometime around Christmas in 1941, although he is not certain. There seems not to be much of anything going on other than the usual inspections, watching training films, and having the Army changing its mind about what the soldiers should be doing. Then this,

You know I told you about a convoy home. Well that blew up. The colonel wouldn’t give permission. We had the generals’ but that was all. Boy we sure were mad, you see it was to get furniture for our day room. The Texas Chamber of Commerce gave $300 for it. I don’t know how we will get it here. I suppose we won’t. Maybe he will change his mind.

I am not sure why the Texas Chamber would give the Nebraska boys who are in Arkansas money. But it looks like they cannot find a way to get it to Arkansas anyway. Wait! I remember some Texas Girls made a stand about a certain 15 mile hike can this be why? In the same envelope he writes to Grandma,

Well I guess we get travel time on our furlough but that is all. They are giving 10 days and 1 day for every 500 miles on the road. I really don’t know what to do. Right now all I can get off is the 31st and I don’t know about coming then. I asked the Co Clerk and he said he didn’t think I could get gone any before that, I still have the top kick to ask. I think he’ll let me go around the 20th.Right now he is engaged in a big crap game and I couldn’t possibly interrupt that. If I did I know darn well I wouldn’t go. Darn the Army anyway.

There you go he is still thinking he is going to get a furlough but they have just pushed the date back. Did stuff like that really happen? It brings back memories of the television series MASH, sitting around in their underwear, smoking cigars, and playing cards. Although the actors in MASH were in a war zone these men were not worried about it. No one realizes what is going to happen in little less than a week.

Camp Robinson 19411

When I think of Hawaii I see surfers, palm tree’s, beaches, beautifully brown skin kissed by the sun, girls in hula skirts, men in beautiful costumes, drums, drinks served in pineapples with umbrella’s, fruit, and a kicked back life. I cannot get my mind wrapped around the actual event that happened there on that December day in 1941.Although I know that Hawaii is a beautifully magical land, I am now aware that this horrific event happened there. Thankfully my father was not at Pearl Harbor but I cannot help thinking how many men were killed.  I believe in my mind I have always kept Hawaii separate from the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.  This catastrophic event would seal our fate and send our soldiers into a frenzy knowing it was now their duty to guard the United States. As I write this I feel frantic to read what was written in this next set of letters but let’s take a look at the facts of the bombing. According to Wikipedia (Click Here) a little before 8 am on 7 December 1941 a swarm of over 300 Japanese planes filled the sky in a surprise attack over Pearl Harbor Naval base. It was located on the island of Honolulu in a perfect horseshoe bay called Pearl Harbor. It was a Sunday and a lot of the service people were off the base to attend Sunday church services, or it might have been a whole lot worse.

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Courtesy of the Cain Family

It would be a time where the people of the United States were scared and many paranoid. My family came to the United States to get away from war. Never before had it hit so close to home and never had our people felt so vulnerable. When the smoke cleared and inventory was taken over 2,500 people were killed and 1,000 were wounded. All eight of the Navy battleships were damaged and of those, four sunk. Also damaged or destroyed in the attack were three cruisers, three destroyers, and approximately 180 airplanes. Thankfully four of the Japanese’s intended targets were missed. Three of our biggest battleships were out at sea and thankfully the fuel tanks located on the island were missed. The attack was the last straw in failing communications between Japan and the United States. This is what my father and his buddies had been joking about the last few years, having to actually fight in a war.  The safety of the United States just got dumped on these young men’s shoulders. My father told me of being sent to California to guard the coast from any further attack. I cannot even imagine what it felt like to be being threatened with that kind of force here in the United States? 8 December, President Roosevelt came over the radio wires with the same sentiment others in the United States felt.

Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Anyone who was living that day would always remember where they were and what they were doing when the news of the attack reached them.  The whole country was unbelievably surprised by this attack and it sent more than one American’s life into tailspin of uncertainty.

Marvin Cain wrote "December 8, 1941  Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “December 8, 1941 Courtesy of the Cain Family

I have seen the movies of Pearl Harbor and not once has it hit me as hard as this research into the causalities of Pearl Harbor. Maybe it is because now I am looking at it for more personal reasons. I am anxious to find out how this bombing will play out in my father’s story. To me this is the one incident that would change my father’s life forever.  I wonder if he had gotten home in 1941might my parents have gotten married? The way Dad is talking right now I think it is a possibility. This one earth shattering event affected not only my family but the families of over 17 million men and woman who served in this war. Still in Arkansas on 11 December 1941 he writes to my mom,

Up until an hour ago I still had hopes in coming home only for four days. Then a bomb struck them. [Sic} Where will we be by then, God only knows. I only hope we get it over with in a hurry. There is so much I haven’t done and I would like to. Well here are the circumstances good or bad. We might move from here in a half an hour and it might be six months before we go. That is as much as I can tell you. I know one thing though I was a damn fool for not coming when I had a chance. I guess that is too late now. Remember though it is the same as when I was up there before. You’re the only thing I really have left. I hope I can say that???? I guess you can tell me what your Grandmother gave you. I am sure I will be home for some Xmas but not this one damnit. I never did plan ahead of time that worked [Sic}. No I guess you didn’t say you made up your mind. Well we have one thing in common now. At least we won’t argue about it for a while. I had a good argument to put up though when I got there. Hope you had a good time while you were in Emporia. I imagine you did though. I haven’t much to say so I guess I better quit. Adios, Lefty, Tell everyone hello.

He sounds so desperate and alone. He has his family in Nebraska but his dad is not healthy and will soon go to live with my father’s brother, Dad’s Mom has been gone for four years now and I am not sure why he does not have much contact with his brothers and sisters.  He has family who writes him but he does not have the connection he has with my grandparents.  It is sad to think he felt so alone. I am really glad he had my mom and her family. It is beginning to make me realize why Dad was always so loyal to my mom’s parents. He was always close with them and you could tell how much he loved and respected them. After my grandfather died in 1972 my father would drive the half hour to Grandma’s house twice a week. Towards the end of her life in 1996 he drove there every day to help care for her. That is right Grandma lived another 24 years living alone. Grandma did not learn to drive when she came to California and 30 years later when Grandpa passed she had to learn. She was 71 years old. It was a scary time in our family, we were fearful to be on the roads at the same time! 1

6 December 1941 – QM departed from Camp Robinson, Arkansas

Marvin Cain wrote "California Bound" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “California Bound” Courtesy of the Cain Family

19 December 1941 finds the letter postmarked from Big Springs Texas. So they are on the move and there is more uncertainty,

Well here I am again. We left camp last night bound for God only know where. We are somewhere in Texas now. All we know it that it is suppose to take four days to get us to our destination. We are going by train (Note is scribbled) so if you can’t read this than it isn’t my fault. There isn’t much to write about only I love you. Wish I was headed your way instead of this. I have been on guard for the last two nits. [Sic] Sure am tired. Have 2 more Hrs and then I am done I hope. They split our Co in half. Half is with Co F 110th Engineers that is what I am in. Half is with Co E 110QM. I hope the whole Co. gets together again. We don’t even know whether they are going the same way. Well I guess I better close by the time you figure this out you will probably be gray haired. All my love, Lefty, Merry Xmas.

The only thing different in the letter he wrote to Grandma was,

I don’t think there is anything to get worried about though.  Anyway no one is here is. As far as we know Calif [Sic} is our limit. Maybe we will get to shoot a jay yet. We were supposed to have a convoy last Sunday but they could not get flat cars in fast enough to load the trucks. So we were waylaid until Thursday.  Merry Xmas, Lefty

The next is this postcard dated the 20th,

 

20 December 1941-post marked Bowie, Arizona

 It says “Good Scenery here too, Love Lefty. The Letter on the 21th we find him on a train where he writes,

I am just leaving Los Angeles. Not what I expected though. As far as I know we are still going west. I guess we are pretty sure to go to Ft. Ord Calif. for a while. In all the places I have been in yet I’ll take this. Boy you can sure see a lot (of mountains) We have been in them the last two days. That is in and out of them. I always though Texas was grazing country well what I saw of it was mostly farming. New Mexico and Arizona are the ones for that. Always [Sic] across both of them that was all we saw. I believe I had rather driven down though. I believe we could have had more fun. It would be colder though. I guess we are going through a tunnel before long. Anyway they just came along and told us to close our windows. I am getting a lot of experience on this trip. Just think right now there is an orange grove on each side. Everything is green and it is plenty warm. I wish you and I were taking this trip together, I sure bet we could have the fun. That was quite a tunnel. There seems to be more rocks on this side. That was a double header. On [Sic] another it seems to be a habit now. We seem to have a lot of them. This one seems to be a long one. We have the lights on in the car. Boy that really was a long one. The gas from the engine almost got us. It must have been all of a mile long. Gosh I can’t think of much more to say right now so I will close until later.

Marvin Cain wrote "On our way to Fort Ord, Calif"  Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “On our way to Fort Ord, Calif” Courtesy of the Cain Family

24 December 1941 – QM arrived at Fort Ord, California

26 December 1941 finds him in California. There are two letters with the same date on them.

Darling, well guess what! I am still alive. Wouldn’t you know it? We sure have been having a time here. I have been on guard for the last 40 hours. No let up in site either. We have to stand until the company comes back. They are someplace around here close. Pardon the pencil but I just ran out of ink and everyone who seems to have some is gone.  It’s just as good though. You probably wouldn’t be able to read it anyway.  Gosh darling I wish I were there instead of this damn hole. I never did like to break promises. We could have so much fun if it wasn’t for the Japs. [Sic} Just wait. When my chance comes I’ll make them pay for it. That is if they don’t see me first. I am about a man to shoot the _ _ _ _ out of someone anyway. Well I guess I better close for now.

That makes me want to tell him to be careful! I know that he feels like it is his duty to keep us safe no matter what the cost to him would have been. It is how my dad rolled. To Grandma he writes,

Well by now you probably know I am in Calif. This is sure quite a place. It is a lot larger than Robinson is. We can harbor 40,000 men and if need be 80,000. I don’t know how many are here now. I know we are sure having a time. I have been on guard for the last 40 hrs. Boy am I tired. This is some way to spend Christmas Eve. There are only about 19 here, The rest took off this afternoon. We don’t know where they are or when they will be back. Only we do know that we are stuck with guard until they get back. They are taking every precaution against attacks. We even have ammunition on guard. About the first time in the last year. Well there isn’t much to write about. A motor cycle rider just came back from the rest. They ain’t [Sic] so far. I guess every truck in the Co. is going into San Francisco tonight. Boy I sure would like to be them. Maybe there would be some excitement. There sure isn’t here yet! Boy I sure would have liked to come up. It kind of hurt at first but there wasn’t anything I could possible do about it so I guess I have to do the best I can. Half of the Co came through K. C. Wichita and as far as I know Salina. I guess it was after night though. I guess I better get some sleep. As ever, Lefty.

Wait did I read that right? “We even have ammunition on guard?” I am not sure that is a good thing with my dad feeling as desperate as he is right now.

Marvin Cain wrote "Breaker's at Fort Ord"  1941 Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Breaker’s at Fort Ord” Courtesy of the Cain Family

And the second one reads,

Darling, Well I was right we are in Fr. Ord. how long I can’t say. This is quite a place. Have seen a little of it by now. We got here at 5 this morning (Mon.) unloaded and was going to take it easy. Well guess what, they called us out to help more inf. in. Well we were still going at 7:30 tonight. This camp holds 40,000 men. Quite a lot larger than Jolly Joe’s. We have barracks here. They seem OK so far. Not quite so much privacy but it isn’t bad. Things seem a lot better here than there. Anyway it is warmer. We have a nice view of the ocean form here. In fact we are only about a half mile from there. The rest of the company has not gotten here yet. I think now they will because most of the rest have shown up. Well must close for now and hope to hear from you soon. All my love, Lefty.

Ft. Ord is 80 miles south of San Francisco. It is 20,000 miles of prime beachfront property. Originally designated as Ft. Gigling, it was established as a military training base in 1917. With beach side training as well as providing wooded terrain and excellent training ground. It was also good having a ton of soldiers on the coast to protect it at the same time.

(The California Military Museum click here to learn more)

Viola wearing Pop’s WWI Uniform

27 December 1941

I wrote a little last night but I haven’t anything to do now so I guess I will write again. Boy I am tired. Haven’t been in bed for so long I don’t know how it would feel. I might get a few minutes tonight in a bed, I hope. Had a good chance last night but we had to take the trucks out in the woods and hide them. Then we tried to sleep in the cabs. Boy if I ever get in those positions again I think I will die.  Boy I couldn’t even straighten up this morning. I was so tired I couldn’t stay awake and I was a whole lot worse this morning. This is what I think of you joining the Ambulance Service. Don’t do it. You don’t know what you are in for, then if we can’t win this war without you we will deserve to lose it. If you think anything of me at all don’t do it. I have never asked much of you but I am asking this. That would just about be the end of us. If you know what I mean. And I hope you do because I love you. Bye now, Love, Lefty.

Well I guess he told her. I know this was also a hard time for the women in the United States. All of the people of the United States were thinking of ways to help in the war effort. 29 December 1941

Well here I am again and believe me I feel rotten. We got a good night’s sleep last night and it didn’t agree I guess. We get the afternoon off if the trucks don’t go out. I am taking all bets they do though. We can’t even go to town. And think of it we broke the last ping pong ball and now we have nothing to do. I really don’t know how sleeping would be but I suppose will find out. You know in every game a suckers had. Well we are on our way out. I don’t know how soon. So as far as I am concerned you won’t need to keep up with me anymore unless you want to. I might be here tomorrow and I might be somewhere else. Who knows. Anyway it has been nice knowing you and if it wasn’t for the darn Army I am sure we could have gotten together. The way it is I really believe it is better this way. I want your opinion on this whole darn subject. There isn’t anyone in the world I would rather have on my side than you. I’ll probably be sorry I even wrote this but if it does happen there is going to be a lot of grief for you. There will be times I won’t be able to write and times you won’t get the letters I do write. Take your choice. This is going to be a long war. Well the wind doesn’t blow so hard here but it has rained every day since we got here. Believe me it sure has been a job keeping dry. Especially if you are on guard.  As ever, lefty.

He sounds so depressed and hopeless! What will happen in the next months? I am interested to find out. I found this tidbit interesting; the average annual rainfall in at Ft. Ord is 14 inches and almost always occurs between November and April. No wonder it is raining so much. Those soldiers do not have a chance of drying out. I do not remember my dad talking about taking the trucks out each night and hiding them from sight. How long would he have to do this? How many nights would he end up sleeping in the cab of his truck? I wonder how many other soldiers were feeling the same way as he did, hopeless and uncertain. 1941 has been a big year for my father. First the National Guard, then the Army, then he fell in love, and now he is talking about sacrificing his life in honor of his country’s freedom. I don’t believe that he will ever be the same again.

Copyright 2012 © notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 24, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 7, Training for a War

With new update pictures!!!!

The Suitcase

Chapter 7

Training for a War

Dad has been training at Camp Robinson since January 1941. Most of the early training for the soldiers was behind a desk. What they found when they got all these young men drafted was that a lot of them were farm boys. They were not just from Nebraska but from all over the United States. The education level of the men was not up to the standards of Army training. So first they went through basic school subjects and educated the men as best they could in what little time they had. They would then start to train in the field. It was 3400 square miles of Tennessee swampland in the humid heat of summer. In July we find the 110th Quartermaster getting ready for the upcoming field maneuvers.

Company A Street, Camp Robinson

Company A Street, Camp Robinson, Marvin Cain Collection

 

26 July 1941

Our captain missed a cleaning detail last night and he had to get up at 4:30 this morning and do it and instead of getting the men who were suppose to do it he called us. Boy we sure have been telling him all day. Boy I darn near got busted down to $21 a month the other day. We had a field inspection and 9 from this company forgot their waist belts. The inspection was by General Lear (you know the old boy that made the men walk from Memphis) He was pretty mad at us anyway. One Sergeant and one Corporal was busted just for that. Darn I held my breath for a while. We had the best company there though. There is a chance that Company C will be stationed here during the Ark. maneuvers and haul loaded supplies to Southern Arkansas. Boy I sure hope so. Three weeks will be long enough without having to have to do the other three out in the field. We are supposed to get 27 more trucks next week. As far as I know I keep the one I have. I hope so it is a pretty good one. You said you have troubles. I worked on my truck all last Sat. and Sun. we had an inspection on. On Monday the darn thing was dirty. Boy was I mad I guess I’ll have to start driving again. My assistant went to the hospital today. I don’t even know what for. Say there is a good chance of getting out of here in a year. I hope so. I am getting tired of it. Want more freedom I guess. We have a division review tomorrow for General Lear. All the troops will be there. Have been practicing for it all week

Notice that Dad is still thinking he will get out of the Army in a year. If things go as planned he will be out in December. The reality now as we look back on it is so much more but I do not want to get ahead of myself.

2 August 1941, he writes to my grandma.

It seems like 10 years since I was up there. I had such a swell time and then had to come back to this dryed up old hole. On that inspections that I forgot my belt. I was on guard the night before and had breakfast at 6:30. I just changed into fatigues and didn’t put my belt in my bag to take along. I just wish the Army would make up its mind and keep It that way. They change it so much I can’t keep up with them. I have the handles of about 162 pick axes and shovels to paint and they can’t make up their minds how to paint them. A kid over in the 110th Engrs. got struck by lightning this afternoon. I don’t know how bad it hurt him. He was out cold and they took him to the hospital. We got five more trucks. We are suppose to get 21 more before maneuvers. Well I guess this is all I can think of tonight. Love, Lefty.

The man who was hit by lightening is actually listed as one of the causalities of the Louisiana maneuvers. 21 men were killed in an accident on one of the rivers.

Grandma Susie on the farm in Kansas

Here is a little insight about my grandma. Susie, as she was called, was very supportive of our troops. My grandfather served in World War I and I know he was proud of his country. She was a dreamer and was good at making others feel they mattered. There were always a lot of fun times and thanks to grandma’s imagination it did not cost much around her. She could make people feel like the old brick mill they grew up in was a castle. My grandfather, his brother, brother-in –law, and two friends all went down and volunteered to fight on the same day. I do not know much about his time in service. I do know that all five of them came home though. I am not sure if it had anything to do with that or not, but once they moved to California they would invite many young servicemen to spend weekends with them. They would entertain them and make them feel like family. One day I got a message from a lady who asked if I was THE Nancy Woodside that her uncle talked about all the time when she was growing up. The one who was a daughter of my parents, she knew their names. She went on to tell me she could remember this uncle talking about me when he was in the service. I went on to contact that uncle. He was so thankful for my parents and grandparents. He was in the Air Force and was stationed in near my family home in California. My parents and grandparents would take turns hosting him and his friends on the weekends. He went on to say how thankful he was as the Air Force pay was not much and he did not know anyone in California and if not for my family they would have had nothing to do and nowhere to go. My family made him feel like he was family and he was in contact with them until they all passed away. The interesting thing is this man was here for eight months in 1958. I was only a year old when he left and yet now in 2012, 54 years later this man still remembers me, my parents, and my grandparents. It makes me very proud to find someone who thought so fondly of my family.

Pop and Susie at the Brownstone Castle, Kansas 1930’s

5 August, 1941 he writes to Mom again.

Guess we leave for Birmingham, Alabama tomorrow or Wednesday. I don’t know how long we will be gone, I guess we will be back about Sunday. That will add two more states to my list. Mississippi and Alabama. I guess we will take all the trucks we have.

He goes on to talk about sending a picture album to her to hang onto so it does not get lost. He is afraid it will with all the moving around he will be doing. He ends with “tell Mom and Pop Hi. Love Lefty.”

Company A, (Dad was in Company C) Camp Robinson, Courtesy of The Cain Family

Company A, (Dad was in Company C) Camp Robinson, Courtesy of The Cain Family

I am seeing a pattern here. It seems as though Dad sent a lot of letters to Mom and Grandma in the same envelope. I am sure Grandma is writing him by the way he talks in his letters. He is answering her questions in most of the letters. When I first started this journey I thought these were only letters to mom but I am finding a lot that have letters to both. With my dad not having a Mom it seems like Grandma is taking him under her wings. I remember Dad talking about her sending him care packages. Grandma “Susie” was so loving to all she came in contact with it would only make sense he would gravitate towards her nurturing personality.

14 August 1941 – QM departed for Louisiana Maneuvers.

14 August 1941 He has found a typewriter and types.

We got started yesterday on those long waited for maneuvers. They took us down about 100 miles and dumped us out in the middle of a forest. Well the first thing we had to do was to make a road to get out of the damn hole. After I worked all day doing that they called me to come back to camp and bring a load of inf. We got back here about 2:00 last night and had to get up again at 3:00 and ate breakfast. So I didn’t get much sleep since 3:00 yesterday. We really have quite a place down there though. Right in the middle of a forest. The darn thing is sure a good place to hide the trucks though. I guess we will only be there 4 days and then we are to leave. I don’t know where we go. Right now I am in camp. We came back after another load of troups. Leave again at 3 in the morning. The kid I run with is on guard at the regt. Hgt. and I am working there now. Or I am writing this there.

From here the letter is hand written.

Well I got so darn sleepy that I couldn’t even hold my eyes open. Maybe I can write so you can read it. Gosh here it is 3:00 Thursday and we have eaten breakfast and all ready to load. We got one more night’s sleep on our bunks. I guess the 6 Div. is moving in sometime soon. They will be here 10 days while we have our Ark. Maneuvers then they move to Louisiana with us. I have never seen so darn many trucks. That is about all you can see along the way. Well I will write more next time Uncle Bulgy wants his pen and mine is parched.

In the same envelope is this note to Grandma. He addresses her as Mom in all the letters now.

Just like camp here, There you could look and only see hills, Here you turn around and run into a tree. Hot here there isn’t a breath of air. Plenty of snakes too. Otherwise it isn’t so bad, we have a fairly good place to go swimming only it is kind of muddy too. We move tomorrow night so maybe we will get something better. I am glad you liked the scarf. As for coming up Thanksgiving and Christmas I sure hope I can. I am in doubt now though. We don’t know where we will be then. I guess there is a chance of leaving Robinson. I hope we don’t if we have to go farther from home. Or even to some camp closer to home. That isn’t such a bad camp after all. Must go to work in a little while I guess. Lost my truck yesterday I am glad it sure is a wreck now. It was a good one until my assistant wrecked it.

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Courtesy of the Cain Family

 

On 23 August, 1941 he writes at the top of the letter he is “Somewhere in hills. Don’t know where that is.” The letter is postmarked Prescott Arkansas.

Thanks for the card it was sure swell. Well we got moved again. Three times in all now. I can’t keep up with them. If I get out of sight of my bunk I am lost. We are still in the woods. The second we were at is by far the best. I don’t think we will be here long. I hear the reds have captured the 35 Division Hqts. Now. I suppose we will move out tonight or tomorrow. We have until the 28 then we will move into Louisiana the 28th of next month we start for home. We are supposed to get 26 new trucks before maneuvers are over. But then we were supposed to have had them 6 months ago. I doubt whether we will get them I hope I don’t. There isn’t so much work to do. I have only had one night’s sleep in the last week anyway. Well sweet I can assure no snake will get near enough to bite me, but as for getting lost I don’t know about that. We went on a convoy at 12 the other night and got lost twice. The next night I was on guard and couldn’t find my way back to my own bed. Tell Mom and all hello. All my love. Lefty

29 August 1941 to Grandma he writes

Your answer to whether we got new trucks. We got the ones we lost a while back. We thought at first we got some new ones in the Q.M. No Luck. We got the old ones back. It sure is good to be here in camp again. A good clean shower and some good water to drink. I said good water it is just good compared to what we have out there. They put a purification plant out and pump it out of a river, because it is so darn dirty, what is the difference we have everything else that way. It isn’t so darn bad though. We get lots of sleep. That is the ones who doesn’t have trucks do. I have some painting to do. I think I could keep busy doing that. I really hope I don’t get a truck until after maneuvers. They are pretty hard to take care of out there. Then they are pretty particular in a way. We have been eating this canned rations, C Rations they call them. Really they are better than some of the cooks put out. We have some darn good cooks but the stuff they get to cook is what is bad. We have vegetable stew, hash, beans, and meat in the cans. Then in the other ones are coffee, sugar, a piece of chocolate candy and some cookies, they are in about a no 1 can. The coffee is so you can mix it and that is all there is too it. I really hope we don’t get moved further from home. I wouldn’t mind staying here as long as we have to stay. They are trying to make a triangular Division out of this, If they do there are two places we can go Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Which is about 190 miles closer and Ft. Murray, Washington. That is a considerable distance further. They have a lot of heat stroke in Louisiana and they might cut maneuvers 2 weeks short. Several have died from it down there.

I wonder if this is a picture Mom gave Dad

His 22 September 1941 letter finds Dad back driving the truck and he is in Louisiana at this point. They have to get the troops back to Camp Robinson and are planning on letting some of the men travel by train so the drivers do not have as much driving. He tells that a kid named Glen Mullins and he were the only drivers in the convoy of 21 trucks that did not have assistants to help them drive. The lieutenant finally got another man to take Dad’s place because he was afraid of his driving because he was so tired. He goes on to explain;

We had 65 miles of blackout one night. The worst I have ever been on. Down through a road that went through some swamps. I guess we had more luck than (the) service unit. We were hitting bridges that were only about a foot wider than the trucks. If you want to have some fun just try that sometime. Because you have trees about 200 feet high to keep what light there is restricted. Co. D upset one truck with 23 men in it. No one got hurt luckily.

On the 27th of September he writes,

Well according to all the rumors we are about ready to go back to camp. First load is supposed to be there by Sat. At least I hope so. You talk about it raining up there. You should see it here. By gosh I didn’t think it could be so wet. It started raining at about 4 yesterday afternoon and is still raining today. We were on a convoy lost night and didn’t know half of the time whether we were going to be the ditch or not .I guess we were pretty lucky. Co C only had one in and that was either the ditch or hit another truck. About washing you can’t wash when you aren’t around water. And you can’t have water when you aren’t around the Co. There is awful shortage of water. The Inf. regts. Have orders to use water only for drinking purposes. Well darling I know one place I would rather be than on this line waiting for the order to pull out in this damn mud. I believe it is as bad as that night up there. We had four A Co. trucks buried in the mud. I watched the wrecker pull one out. The first wheel was just buried. You know that hurricane that was in Texas? Well it was supposed to hit here at 12 noon 45 mile wind. The wind was blowing but not that hard. Looks like it might get here yet sure is cloudy.

This is kind of scaring me. First there are snakes, then heat stroke, not to count all the accidents, and now they are having problems with the water? All the time they have to drive under adverse conditions AND while trying to keep their trucks on the road? Now they have enough rain to make big mud puddles in the roads, and there is a hurricane headed their way. It sounds like these men are not catching a break.

2 October 1941

Well I guess maybe we are through for now but there is still a rumor that we go to South Carolina for six weeks more. Dog-goned. I hope we don’t have to. I am very insulted at you calling us a bunch of soldiers. Dopes wasn’t so bad but soldiers is out. If anything we are a bunch of prisoners. I saw action on the front day before yesterday. More fun. I sure got the shity shot out of me. Four machine gun firing on me. We had quite an argument about whether I was to be put out. Finally they decided that it was all mixed up and the other should not have been there so they were sent back where they came from and I kept retreating with a load of men. People sure crowded around to see the fighting. I really got in a good spot one place. Right by a filing station. Wow! I guess they want to see how much I could take. I drove over 1800 miles in the last two weeks and had an assistant two day and one day I had her we only drove about 8 miles. Oh well who cares. I would rather be driving than be around this damn company. The company is ok it is just the commanding officers. Our 2nd Lt. took us out for 2 hours close order drill this morning and we raised so much hell he gave up and we came back and for into one of the damnest football games ever. Maybe I forgot to tell you we finally got moved out of the trees into a pasture where it is pretty nice. We sure had a game anyway. That is about the first recreation we have had since the maneuvers started. I thought the Captain was going to stop it but I think he enjoyed it. It’s lucky we didn’t get hurt. I’ll bet we feel it in the morning. The 110 QM and the 110 Engineers were highly complemented by General Lear for their actions during maneuvers.

Does that mean that Yoo Hoo Lear finally made peace with the 110th? Sounds like it to me. The next letter was written 21 October 1941 and was sent from Lexington Nebraska. Apparently Dad got an unexpected furlough. I hope nothing has happened. It may be just because his birthday would be the following day, the 22. Dad would be 23 years old. Let’s read in.

Darling Vi, Well here goes nothing. Sorry I haven’t written before this. You know me. When I joined the Army I quit drinking and started eating. When I came home it was just appropriate. Up until Thursday Roy and I had bought 5 cases of beer. Besides what we drank at the bar. Not bad. Damnit you can’t have any fun around here unless you are feeling so good you don’t know what you are doing or don’t care. I was ready to leave about 3 days after I got here, would have been down if I had the money to fix my car. I just couldn’t spare it night now. So I am hoping to see you Christmas. That is if you still want me.

Ok nothing major just lack of funds. If I remember correctly Dad sends money home to his dad each month. Of course twenty-one dollars a month is not much. He talked about getting drunk a few more times. Then there is this,

Lexington came through too. They gave us free show tickets, and tickets to the football game and traveling and gum. That really surprised me.

If I read that right the town of Lexington just paid for Dad to have some fun while he was home. Awesome support! Then he goes on to tell Mom if he got a furlough at Christmas he would come to Kansas to see her “if” she still wants him.

6 October 1941 – QM returned to Camp Robinson, Arkansas, from Louisiana Maneuvers.

Camp Robinson 1941

Postcard found in Dad’s stuff of Camp Robinson

The 28th of October finds Dad back at Camp Robinson. He talks about being eighteen hours late getting back there due to the weather. I would think those boys got in a bit of trouble for that. And he goes on,

We sure hit some high water in Okl. I drove about ¾ a mile in water that about run into the car. It sure looked funny. There were kids wading and picking up things. We couldn’t figure out what it was. We got curious and stopped to ask what it was. Nuts of all things. The water was just covered with them. They said they could sell them for 7 cents a pound. I am still disgusted from not coming up there. I told the fella’s in my tent that and they said I would probably have been married if I had. Two in this tent got married and one discharged. That leaves two and two. They bet me I would be a married man when I come back Christmas. I guess I had better stop before I get mushy.

Lefty and Vi, about 1940

The next two letters, 8 and 14 November 1941 he does not say much more than he is waiting for a letter from her. He is not sure if he has done something wrong. He asks please to tell him what he did wrong so he can apologize for it. Then on the 14 after he sends a letter questioning why he had not received a letter from her He sounds very relieved when he writes,

Boy you sure changed me. Was I ever glad I got your letter. Even the rest here noticed it. One of the fellows said “I think Lefty feels better since he got that letter.” Thanks for the pictures they sure are swell. I have been showing them to everyone I see. Boy I sure thought you were mad at me. Boy was I ever in a bad mood. I darn near went nuts. If we had not gone to Springfield I believe I would. You see that kinda took my mind off things. And then I thought I would have a letter when I got back. I sure had a lot of trouble going. Everything went well until we got about forty five miles from there, Then the truck got hot and I found I had a broken block and the water was running out about as fast as I could put it in. Of all things we put 2 eggs in the radiator and that stopped it until we got there, than the truck wouldn’t run until we started home. Everything went well until we got part of the way home. Then water in the gas, more luck. I guess Uncle Sam has something on his mind. Anyway they got us all in a huddle and told us to get out woolen clothes out so they could check for shortages. They told us there was a Division order to see if we were ready to move into a colder climate. I am sure going to raise ____ if they don’t wait until I get up there. Gosh darling I wish I could take all your love. Nothing in the world I would like better. Would you accept mine? It’s yours for the asking.

Wow the last of that letter made me cry. The words were heartfelt and she really scared him with not writing. I am glad he finally got the letter and the encouragement from her he needed.

Have you ever read of putting an egg in a radiator? That is a new one to me! I wonder how many soldiers it took to come up with that one.

Vi in her band uniform

 

The Louisiana Maneuvers, as they were called involved 250 thousand men, 19 divisions, and 35 hundred square miles of Louisiana. Twenty-six men died while there including the one that Dad mentions who got hit by lightening. Most of them were due to vehicle accidents. One soldier that was a mere 26 years old had a heart attack.

There are two more letters in 1941. In both letters he is bored because there is nothing really going on in camp other than the usual guard duty, inspections, and painting for my father. He writes Mom on Thanksgiving Day just because he wanted to wish her and her family well. Both letters are full of relief that she is not mad at him. He asks her to go ahead and send back his photo album now that he is done with training. Then he writes;

Well love, maybe I am in a little bit of a hurry. (I think he is talking about getting married!) But I don’t think so. I did promise to wait a year though. God that year is a hell of a long time. Seems it should have been over a long time ago. Couldn’t we just rush it a little, say 6 months. Just what is the matter with eggs in the radiator? I could have frosting at anytime if I had had some sugar. You know it is a long time until the 13th or the 31st I guess we won’t be leaving camp for a while. We were going to Pennsylvania to strike duty. Now they have gone back to work. Well darling here’s hoping you agree with me.

Wait! What did I miss here? They must have talked about marriage sometime. I do not believe that my grandparents had a phone out on the farm. If I had to guess I would say they did not. It must have been when dad visited mom. I do not think they know each other well enough to get married. Weird I am talking about my parents! I think that is how they did it in the old days. Meet and get married while you still like the guy. At this point he is still thinking he is going to be out of the Army in December. We all know that Pearl Harbor was bombed on 7 December 1941.

© Copyright 2012

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 21, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 6, The Yoo Hoo Incident

I am re-posting this again because I was lucky enough to have found another family member of the men Dad served with. Erceil Sellers daughter was kind enough to share her father’s collection with me. In their collection are two pictures that were taken the day of “the 15 mile hike.” So without further ado read on and check out the new pictures.

Before we read this chapter I must make some remarks after I got a bad comment on the original post. My father as well as many of the men’s collections I have worked with were not there when this happened. A lot of the men of the 110th QM were not proud of the incident and would have rather took the punishment and brushed the whole darn thing under the rug. We are talking about approximately 300 men in this convoy and only a handful did the Yoo Hoo-ing and a lot of the men did not even see this incident happen. When they got punished they all were punished not that handful of men. Trust me when I say there were a lot of men who were ashamed and quite a few that were mad about it.  I am not sure how the press got a hold of the story but they are the ones who literally blew this incident out of proportion. I recently spoke with a daughter of one of the men from the regiment and it affected him deeply and not for the good. It haunted him until his death. Yes there were some who rode the coattails of the incident and were famous for their role and they were the ones who after the war revived the incident and called themselves “The Yoo Hoo Regiment.” But what about those who were not there or those who did not want the incident public? They had no say in the matter. In this story I intend no disrespect to General Ben Lear he like the men were just caught up in the media frenzy. This one event should not deter from the fact that these men all went overseas and fought for their country. The incident is what it is and that is now a small part of history.

With that said here is the story of the Yoo Hoo incident with new updated images.

The Suitcase

Chapter 6

The Yoo Hoo Incident

It is here in the timeline that the incident that made my father’s regiment famous happened. Dad was on furlough at this time, falling in love with my mom and hanging out with her family in Brookville, Kansas. Even so, news of this incident provided the “mothers” of the soldiers a reason to campaign. This is where Dad’s regiment and Lieutenant General (LTG) Ben Lear were granted the first nicknames of World War II.

General Ben Lear (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The 110th Quartermaster, 35 Division, still at Camp Robinson was providing ground transportation for the 2nd Infantry to and from the Tennessee training grounds which were about 145 miles away. The training exercises were headed by a newly promoted Lieutenant General (LTG) Ben Lear. From reading my father’s letters at 62 years old he directed and trained his soldiers like a conductor conducts a band, with precision. Lear expected his soldiers to exhibit good manners as well as learn to fight and live like soldiers.

On a hot day in July 1941, the 110thQM rolled into Memphis Tennessee. It was returning to Camp Robinson after six weeks in the field in a convoy of 80 trucks and over 300 men. The men had been praised for being top notch in their field maneuvers and they were proud. They had to remove their hats because their heads had gotten quite big with all the praise they had gotten.

They were almost giddy (if a man can be giddy) as they began their return trip. The Division knew they would be sleeping in their bunks back in camp with full bellies, and a warm shower rather than bathing out of their helmet as they had just learned to do. They broke out in song and tried to pass the time, loosened their ties, and unbuttoned the top button of their fatigues to help with the unrelenting heat. They passed through Tennessee on that hot day and being only 45 miles from Camp Robinson the soldiers were anxious to get some well deserved rest.

"On our way to Tennessee" From the Marvin Cain Collection

“On our way to Tennessee” From the Marvin Cain Collection

It was then the convoy reached a Country Club and there just happened to be a group of beautiful woman in short golf skirts which were all the rage in 1941 They had just finished a round of golf. As boys will be boys and men will be men the soldiers hollered out to the woman with many whistles and lots of Yoo Hoo’s. I am sure many other words were said. They also started razzing the other golfers trying to throw them off their game. At this point an unassuming old man came out from the golf course. He arrived sporting Oxford golf cleats, a pair of cotton seersucker knickers, his matching knee high socks, brown vest and his golf club clutched in his hand. He shook it at the trucks in anger. When the soldiers saw him, it added more fuel to the fire as they laughed and made fun of the old geezer. He stomped and hollered spewing his displeasure in not so many words. The end of the convoy was abreast when the man was finally recognized by the commanding officers riding in one of the last trucks. It was LTG Ben Lear in the flesh. He certainly did not look like a Lieutenant General in his golf clothes. He was certainly not doing a happy dance. He was disgusted with the men’s lack of respect for the lovely ladies and ashamed of them exhibiting such inappropriate behavior while wearing the Army uniform. As the Commanders tried to calm him down, the first of the 80 trucks were so far ahead not everyone knew what had just transpired. Lear got even angrier and demanded that the men return to camp night and they stay loaded in their vehicles until he got there to address them.

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Now remember, the convoy was so long that the front did not even see LTG Lear and had no idea why they were told to hold their positions on their loaded trucks. There were many baffled soldiers wanting to get the trucks unloaded so they could relax. The smell of dinner filled the air and the men were excited to catch up on the mail that they had missed while they were gone. LTG Lear appeared in his uniform with his stripes and stars and demanded that every man on that convoy turn in their resignation or face their punishment. A lot of them did not know why they were being punished until Lear left that night. The men were aghast with shame as they learned the identity of the man with the golf club, the man that most of the men did not see. LTG Lear was now a face not one of those men would ever forget, and this incident would bind the regiment together long after the war. The regiment was told to go back to the airport in Memphis, set their tents up and fall in the next morning for a field inspection. There was no shower that evening. Although they got the food it was ice cold and not many ate. More than half of the convoy was paying for the remarks of a couple truck loads of men. In the morning they would stand as one.

 

Mr. Sellers Wrote: "Erceil & Beck taken at Wright Field-Camp Robinson-During an inspection by Gen Lear. 7-41," The Erceil Sellers Collection, The Yoo Hoo Inspection"

Mr. Sellers Wrote: “Erceil & Beck taken at Wright Field-Camp Robinson-During an inspection by Gen Lear. 7-41,” The Erceil Sellers Collection, The Yoo Hoo Inspection”

If you look at our service people today you might say, fifteen miles is not such a hard thing to do especially if they are doing only five miles at a time. But these men had only begun training and were only six weeks into field training. Up until now their training was behind books. Most of them were farm boys who had entered the National Guards with the lure of money, a twenty dollar paycheck each month. They were now finding themselves training for a war they did not think they would have to fight Most of the men were truck drivers, clerical workers, secretaries, typist, and officers. Lastly, it was hot and humid having topped the chart off at 97 degrees. Many men fell off the lines that day due to heatstroke and dehydration.

Mr. Sellers wrote: “In front of my tent before we were called to attention for inspection at Memphis Tenn. By Ben Lear-3-Star Gen. Erceil, “Yoo Hoo Battalion” The Erceil Sellers Collection

The “Yoo Hoo March,” as it had come to be known was about to climb its way to too being the biggest controversy so far in the men’s training. Apparently there was a club of moms, called The Arkansas Department of Army Mothers. Once they caught wind of the incident and learned of the plight of the soldiers it was on! I have seen how protective moms can be of their sons. I cannot even imagine how those moms’ made the incident and their displeasure known. Within the month the whole United States knew about the fifteen mile hike and the opinions were flying. Congressmen and senators weighed-in with their opinions. The commander of the 35th Division was Major General Ralph E. Truman, cousin to then Senator Harry S. Truman. The Major General voiced his support for the discipline being too harsh for the infamous incident. It seems from all accounts the only people who did not complain much were the men from the 110 QM. With all the press around they thought they were stars. The crowds lined the streets all the way back to camp with people cheering the men on.

Winquest-Johnson Collection

LTG Lear and the 110th QM would receive the first nicknames of World War II forever being branded as Yoo Hoo Lear, and the 110th Yoo Hoo Regiment. It was also the first time a Civilian would write a song about World War II. The stories went wild and made plenty of newspapers. It also spread by word of mouth. Eventually the story was featured in Time Magazine in July 1941.  Two songs were written about the incident: The “Yoo Hoo Song” was sung to “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”;  and a song called “Yankee Doodle 1941”, with words like “General Lear was playing golf (he is twelve years over fifty), pretty girls were playing too and boy did they look nifty.” There was a Yoo Hoo pack of cigarettes, there were candy bars made, and there was even a Yoo Hoo club started with membership cards.

 

Courtesy of the Winquest-Johnson Collection

Courtesy of the Winquest-Johnson Collection

“Those poor men did nothing wrong,” A group of young Texan woman reported in a newspaper article about the incident. It featured four beautiful college women from San Antonio Texas holding a sign that says, “YOO HOO ALL YOU WANT TO BOYS, Lear isn’t here,” and “Come on down fellows!” There was talk of asking for LTG Lear’s resignation but he defended his decision. I cannot imagine something like this getting into the press these days but our country was trying to learn just how to do this thing called war and LTG Lear was dedicated to making these boys into soldiers.

Winquest-Johnson Collection

Winquest-Johnson Collection

Dad writes about the incident

13 July 1941

That deal about those boys walking home from Tennessee. I guess the general was playing golf with some lady friends and one of the boys hollered and told him not to get it in the wrong hole. That is what started the whole thing.

And in the same envelope he writes to my grandma.

Sure was glad to hear from you. I guess everybody feels the same about the Generals deal on that convoy. Part of it those boys had been on maneuvers for the past 6 weeks. One captain is in the hospital over it and about 10 passed out on the way. The papers down here have sure been full of it. Last Sunday one paper had a full page of letters written in by people along the way.

Then on 29 July 1941 he writes.

I was in town to a show Sat. nite and they had a phase in the news reel about the Yoo Hoo boys. That sure covered a lot of territory. We have heard about it being used in Oregon. They were making fun of it up there.

Our father’s regiment became famous and because of the Yoo Hoo incident they would always be remembered as the “110th Yoo Hoo Regiment.” It was on the brochures of each of their reunions and the story told and retold. The name also stuck with LTG Lear and followed him home three years later. As the ship docked that he sailed home in Lear walked to disembark and was met by hundreds of GI’s shouting “Yoo Hoo!” LTG Lear with a blank face and no acknowledgement of what was shouted stormed ashore keeping his head up, shoulders back, gut sucked in ignoring the Yoo Hoo’s. To this day if you look up LTG Ben Lear you will find that the Yoo Hoo nickname follows him even in death.

Reference Wikipedia, 35th Division, 110th Regiment, the 1958 Reunion Brochure, Time Magazine July 1944, Mike Allred Yoo Hoo Scrapbook Collection, Marvin Cain Collection, Winquest-Johnson Collection, Erceil Sellers Collection

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 17, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 6, The Yoo Hoo Incident

Before we read this chapter I must make some remarks after I got a bad comment on the original post. My father as well as many of the men’s collections I have worked with were not there when this happened. A lot of the men of the 110th QM were not proud of the incident and would have rather took the punishment and brushed the whole darn thing under the rug. We are talking about approximately 300 men in this convoy and only a handful did the Yoo Hoo-ing and a lot of the men did not even see this incident happen. When they got punished they all were punished not that handful of men. Trust me when I say there were a lot of men who were ashamed and quite a few that were mad about it.  I am not sure how the press got a hold of the story but they are the ones who literally blew this incident out of proportion. I recently spoke with a daughter of one of the men from the regiment and it affected him deeply and not for the good. It haunted him until his death. Yes there were some who rode the coattails of the incident and were famous for their role and they were the ones who after the war revived the incident and called themselves “The Yoo Hoo Regiment.” But what about those who were not there or those who did not want the incident public? They had no say in the matter. In this story I intend no disrespect to General Ben Lear he like the men were just caught up in the media frenzy. This one event should not deter from the fact that these men all went overseas and fought for their country. The incident is what it is and that is now a small part of history.

With that said here is the story of the Yoo Hoo incident with new updated images.

The Suitcase

Chapter 6

The Yoo Hoo Incident

It is here in the timeline that the incident that made my father’s regiment famous happened. Dad was on furlough at this time, falling in love with my mom and hanging out with her family in Brookville, Kansas. Even so, news of this incident provided the “mothers” of the soldiers a reason to campaign. This is where Dad’s regiment and Lieutenant General (LTG) Ben Lear were granted the first nicknames of World War II.

General Ben Lear (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The 110th Quartermaster, 35 Division, still at Camp Robinson was providing ground transportation for the 2nd Infantry to and from the Tennessee training grounds which were about 145 miles away. The training exercises were headed by a newly promoted Lieutenant General (LTG) Ben Lear. From reading my father’s letters at 62 years old he directed and trained his soldiers like a conductor conducts a band, with precision. Lear expected his soldiers to exhibit good manners as well as learn to fight and live like soldiers.

On a hot day in July 1941, the 110thQM rolled into Memphis Tennessee. It was returning to Camp Robinson after six weeks in the field in a convoy of 80 trucks and over 300 men. The men had been praised for being top notch in their field maneuvers and they were proud. They had to remove their hats because their heads had gotten quite big with all the praise they had gotten.

They were almost giddy (if a man can be giddy) as they began their return trip. The Division knew they would be sleeping in their bunks back in camp with full bellies, and a warm shower rather than bathing out of their helmet as they had just learned to do. They broke out in song and tried to pass the time, loosened their ties, and unbuttoned the top button of their fatigues to help with the unrelenting heat. They passed through Tennessee on that hot day and being only 45 miles from Camp Robinson the soldiers were anxious to get some well deserved rest.

"On our way to Tennessee" From the Marvin Cain Collection

“On our way to Tennessee” From the Marvin Cain Collection

It was then the convoy reached a Country Club and there just happened to be a group of beautiful woman in short golf skirts which were all the rage in 1941 They had just finished a round of golf. As boys will be boys and men will be men the soldiers hollered out to the woman with many whistles and lots of Yoo Hoo’s. I am sure many other words were said. They also started razzing the other golfers trying to throw them off their game. At this point an unassuming old man came out from the golf course. He arrived sporting Oxford golf cleats, a pair of cotton seersucker knickers, his matching knee high socks, brown vest and his golf club clutched in his hand. He shook it at the trucks in anger. When the soldiers saw him, it added more fuel to the fire as they laughed and made fun of the old geezer. He stomped and hollered spewing his displeasure in not so many words. The end of the convoy was abreast when the man was finally recognized by the commanding officers riding in one of the last trucks. It was LTG Ben Lear in the flesh. He certainly did not look like a Lieutenant General in his golf clothes. He was certainly not doing a happy dance. He was disgusted with the men’s lack of respect for the lovely ladies and ashamed of them exhibiting such inappropriate behavior while wearing the Army uniform. As the Commanders tried to calm him down, the first of the 80 trucks were so far ahead not everyone knew what had just transpired. Lear got even angrier and demanded that the men return to camp night and they stay loaded in their vehicles until he got there to address them.

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Courtesy of the Cain Family

Now remember, the convoy was so long that the front did not even see LTG Lear and had no idea why they were told to hold their positions on their loaded trucks. There were many baffled soldiers wanting to get the trucks unloaded so they could relax. The smell of dinner filled the air and the men were excited to catch up on the mail that they had missed while they were gone. LTG Lear appeared in his uniform with his stripes and stars and demanded that every man on that convoy turn in their resignation or face their punishment. A lot of them did not know why they were being punished until Lear left that night. The men were aghast with shame as they learned the identity of the man with the golf club, the man that most of the men did not see. LTG Lear was now a face not one of those men would ever forget, and this incident would bind the regiment together long after the war. The regiment was told to go back to the airport in Memphis, set their tents up and fall in the next morning for a field inspection. There was no shower that evening. Although they got the food it was ice cold and not many ate. More than half of the convoy was paying for the remarks of a couple truck loads of men. In the morning they would stand as one.

 

If you look at our service people today you might say, fifteen miles is not such a hard thing to do especially if they are doing only five miles at a time. But these men had only begun training and were only six weeks into field training. Up until now their training was behind books. Most of them were farm boys who had entered the National Guards with the lure of money, a twenty dollar paycheck each month. They were now finding themselves training for a war they did not think they would have to fight Most of the men were truck drivers, clerical workers, secretaries, typist, and officers. Lastly, it was hot and humid having topped the chart off at 97 degrees. Many men fell off the lines that day due to heatstroke and dehydration.

Courtesy of the Winquest-Johnson Collection

Courtesy of the Winquest-Johnson Collection

The “Yoo Hoo March,” as it had come to be known was about to climb its way to too being the biggest controversy so far in the men’s training. Apparently there was a club of moms, called The Arkansas Department of Army Mothers. Once they caught wind of the incident and learned of the plight of the soldiers it was on! I have seen how protective moms can be of their sons. I cannot even imagine how those moms’ made the incident and their displeasure known. Within the month the whole United States knew about the fifteen mile hike and the opinions were flying. Congressmen and senators weighed-in with their opinions. The commander of the 35th Division was Major General Ralph E. Truman, cousin to then Senator Harry S. Truman. The Major General voiced his support for the discipline being too harsh for the infamous incident. It seems from all accounts the only people who did not complain much were the men from the 110 QM. With all the press around they thought they were stars. The crowds lined the streets all the way back to camp with people cheering the men on.

Winquest-Johnson Collection

LTG Lear and the 110th QM would receive the first nicknames of World War II forever being branded as Yoo Hoo Lear, and the 110th Yoo Hoo Regiment. It was also the first time a Civilian would write a song about World War II. The stories went wild and made plenty of newspapers. It also spread by word of mouth. Eventually the story was featured in Time Magazine in July 1941.  Two songs were written about the incident: The “Yoo Hoo Song” was sung to “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”;  and a song called “Yankee Doodle 1941”, with words like “General Lear was playing golf (he is twelve years over fifty), pretty girls were playing too and boy did they look nifty.” There was a Yoo Hoo pack of cigarettes, there were candy bars made, and there was even a Yoo Hoo club started with membership cards.

“Those poor men did nothing wrong,” A group of young Texan woman reported in a newspaper article about the incident. It featured four beautiful college women from San Antonio Texas holding a sign that says, “YOO HOO ALL YOU WANT TO BOYS, Lear isn’t here,” and “Come on down fellows!” There was talk of asking for LTG Lear’s resignation but he defended his decision. I cannot imagine something like this getting into the press these days but our country was trying to learn just how to do this thing called war and LTG Lear was dedicated to making these boys into soldiers.

Winquest-Johnson Collection

Winquest-Johnson Collection

Dad writes about the incident

13 July 1941

That deal about those boys walking home from Tennessee. I guess the general was playing golf with some lady friends and one of the boys hollered and told him not to get it in the wrong hole. That is what started the whole thing.

And in the same envelope he writes to my grandma.

Sure was glad to hear from you. I guess everybody feels the same about the Generals deal on that convoy. Part of it those boys had been on maneuvers for the past 6 weeks. One captain is in the hospital over it and about 10 passed out on the way. The papers down here have sure been full of it. Last Sunday one paper had a full page of letters written in by people along the way.

Then on 29 July 1941 he writes.

I was in town to a show Sat. nite and they had a phase in the news reel about the Yoo Hoo boys. That sure covered a lot of territory. We have heard about it being used in Oregon. They were making fun of it up there.

Our father’s regiment became famous and because of the Yoo Hoo incident they would always be remembered as the “110th Yoo Hoo Regiment.” It was on the brochures of each of their reunions and the story told and retold. The name also stuck with LTG Lear and followed him home three years later. As the ship docked that he sailed home in Lear walked to disembark and was met by hundreds of GI’s shouting “Yoo Hoo!” LTG Lear with a blank face and no acknowledgement of what was shouted stormed ashore keeping his head up, shoulders back, gut sucked in ignoring the Yoo Hoo’s. To this day if you look up LTG Ben Lear you will find that the Yoo Hoo nickname follows him even in death.

Reference Wikipedia, 35th Division, 110th Regiment, the 1958 Reunion Brochure, Time Magazine July 1944, Mike Allred Yoo Hoo Scrapbook Collection, Marvin Cain Collection, Winquest-Johnson Collection

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 12, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 5, 110th Quartermaster 35th Division

I am so excited to get to this part of the story as this is when I start having new pictures to share. Thanks to The Cain Family for the ones in this chapter.

The Suitcase

Chapter 5

Believed to have been taken at Camp Robinson, Courtesy of the Cain Family

Since I first posted this part of the story I have found this following document which you will find listed in bold throughout the story.

Various stations and areas occupied by 35th Quartermaster since entry into active federal service.

23 December 1940 – National Guard of QM, which was part of the 35th Infantry Division, mustered into active federal service.

On 3 December 1940, Dad writes that he got fired from his job because some other man had lied to the boss. And now,”All I am doing is cooking and cutting wood and waiting for the 23rd to get here.” His induction date has changed to 23 December 1941.

 I guess you’ll have to talk your dad into coming up. As far as I know George chickened   out and didn’t join after all. You might know more about that than I do. You see we don’t run around so much anymore. I figure if I have to pay for all I just as well go by myself, If you know what I mean.

George is on of my Mom’s relatives and he is the one who took Dad to that original barn dance in 1937. He goes on to talk about how he is going out with another girl named Mick. Then

 Oh Yea! I overheard one Sergeant talking and he said we would probably be gone more    than a year so I just don’t know when I will be back. You better talk real good to your dad so you can come up during Christmas vacation. We get twenty new trucks before we leave. I can’t think of a good ending for this book so I’ll just close. Sincerely ….Lefty

I can detect the fear of uncertainty, and feeling of being let down in Dad’s letter here. His friend had agreed to join the Army with him and now the guy is avoiding him or is Dad is avoiding George because he always makes Dad pay for everything?

Before his mother passed away my father was taking care of her on her sick bed and now it sounds like he is taking care of his dad. He is going to be sent away and it is going to be longer than a year. Note how he signs this letter,” Sincerely,” I wonder what happened to all the, love, hugs and kisses he has been sending up until now? Was he just upset over his choice to join, uncertain?

On 22 December 1940 the men from the National Guard Post were discharged. On 23 December 1940 they were mustered into the Army and it is then they become 110th Quartermaster 35th Division, and he was assigned to Company C.

Lefty home on leave in Nebraska 1941

2 January 1941 – arrived at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, near Little rock, Arkansas.

2 January 1941 Company “C” 110th QM Regt. 35thDivision

Well I hope you got home O.K. We got off to a very late start this morning but got to the end of the line tonight. I didn’t even go to bed Wednesday morning. I just went home and packed my clothes, polished my shoes and read the paper. We got the trucks out about 1:30 and I got stuck the first thing. Then after we got loaded I went back and got stick again in about the same place. I am being a very good boy. I am staying here and catching up on some writing and sleeping We are in the post office and did not have enough room in the one room they gave us so we are sleeping in the hall and every place else we can think of.” “Well we will go through Salina sometime tomorrow. Wish I could stop and come out but that isn’t possible. Well I guess I better go to bed and get some sleep. Lots of hugs and Kisses Lefty

Ok so they got to see each other one last time before he left. And she is the one who came to Nebraska It sounds like they are on their way to Camp.

Postcard found in Lefty’s stuff, Camp Robinson

On 16 January 1941 we find him finally in Camp Robinson and he writes;

I have been having a pretty swell time here. We have been doing school in the afternoon for about 1 ½ hours. Then we are off until 4:30. We haven’t had anything to hard yet. Anyway I don’t think so. Some of them have been gripping about too much work though. I really like to drill. I guess maybe that is why.
I still like it here although I was really mad when I wasn’t made a first class private. I really worked for it. It rained here and I am on guard again from 4-6. So I am pretty wet. I won’t be able to change clothes until after tomorrow noon. At least that is what they told us. It is warm here thought and I am setting by a fire so I am not cold.
I cut my finger and had to go to the dr. with it. I had my hair cut off close to my head. I have about 1 ½ inches left. It feels good too.

He ends with love and kisses and a happy birthday to mom, she has just turned 18 years old.

“Vi”

Dad then writes to my grandma, about the trip to Camp Robinson, how guard duty works and then he goes on to say,

 I am proud to be here although I will probably change. I sure hope not. As of yet I haven’t seen only about two piles of “little rocks.”

Awe, my grandma probably made a joke about those “little rocks” in Little Rock, Arkansas.  My grandma and dad both had the same sense of humor.

In February Dad writes to mom asking how she would like to be married to a carpenter. That is what he signed up for and has made a couple of chairs and a table for his tent. Then he gets an assignment and is making signs for the camp.  He has twenty-four to make and only has two finished. “I may get transferred to the engineers,” he says as that is “what I signed up for, I hope not,” he states. He ends the letter “Anyway we are having inspection tomorrow by the commander of the Regt, Colonel Poteet. So I better close”.

13 February 1941 he writes;

We got 7 drafters in Tuesday some pretty good boys. We also got eighteen new trucks. I got a new one assigned to drive, but as yet I haven’t driven it. They are six wheels drives. Have 3 gear shifts. Something to play with I guess.

18 February 1941,

I had a very good compliment on my painting the other day. Our Lt. said a professional couldn’t have done a better job.

I am very proud to tell you that as far as I know I have gotten that long wanted promotion to first class private. All I hope now is that I can keep it. I am going to have to work for it anyway.

 Look at what I have facing me. Every day the radio says we are getting nearer to it (the war) than the day before and yet we never give it so much of a thought than a joke. Just think like we do we have to so we have all the fun out of it we can. I guess I got started. I really don’t think we will get into the war itself.

It is just like my dad to make a joke out of a bad situation. But really he does not know what he is up against the devil himself, Adolph Hitler.

8 March 1941:

Well I guess another month has gone by. Having just as much fun as ever, Only not so much work you see I am working for the big shots now.  I told you I was going to be a carpenter. Well I got started last Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday I painted for Colonel Poteet, the commander of the “110th QMR,” and the next two days I worked for Lt. Myers. I guess I have plenty more to do. I don’t have any K.P. or guard until I get through and I really like the work.

It sounds to me like he is doing a lot more painting than constructing.

12 March 1941

Say you thought tobogganing was tough you should see me. We went on rifle range today. I held my nose to close to the safety lock and I sure got it skinned. Have been getting the laughs over it though. There were several that got skinned up. We go on the range for record tomorrow. I don’t know whether I get to go or not, I suppose I will though. I got a pretty good score.

 

Company A Street, Camp Robinson

Company A Street, Camp Robinson

I have been working pretty hard too. Have been painting up at Reg. Hqts. For Colonel Poteet. Also been doing some carpenter work for him. He is commander of our Regt.  You should be proud of me for it. I haven’t done a thing else for the past week except for on range today. Have lots more work there I guess. At least that is what they tell me. Have been getting lots of compliments on my work.”

 

The next letter he writes is to my mother’s mom. He is answering her letter to him. Interesting enough Dad speaks of getting a medal for marksmanship.  What I found interesting is this…….

I shot 146 out of a possible 200. Not so good for me but better than nothing. I think I could do better, but I have to change hands. I have shot left handed all my life and now I have to shoot right.

All of my father’s life he has had problems with being left-handed. They did not want him to use his left hand in school and now they are not letting him shoot left-handed? What? Does the Army not have guns for left-handed shooters?

9 April 1941 finds Dad writing

I am so proud of myself. Tuesday was the fifth anniversary of the 110th QM Regt. Walt (Huntsucker) and I were color guards. Sgt Shores and Sgt. Jeffery were color barriers and they said we were the biggest color guards and barriers in the Regt. They also said we were just about perfect. They took pictures of the Life and Liberty Magazine. Lt Smith said it should make the World Harold paper and go a long ways further than that. We have that honor for the next month and longer than that if we want it.

Dad on the left in the Color Guard....

Dad on the left in the Color Guard….

24 May 1941

Today ends the fifth month. It sure doesn’t seem that long. Some of the guys are home on furloughs. I wish I had taken one. I guess maybe I will sometime next month or the next if I can. They say that no more will be given until after maneuvers. We don’t know when that is. But Uncle Sam is always changing his mind. We leave for Tennessee Tuesday. 110 trucks and 84 trailers. We will be gone for 4 days. Taking the 153 inf. and the 110 Observation Corps down for maneuvers. All I have done in the last weeks is one convoy of about 30 miles and two parades as color guard. The rest of the time I have been sleeping. Sounds fun, eh! Send me a picture in your formal. I bet you sure are pretty. I changed my hobby. I am not a carpenter anymore. I am a Co. sign painter now.

Ah ha! I knew it!! Sign painter!

13 May 1941 – Provisional battalion from QM departed for Second Army Tennessee Maneuvers.

1 June 1941

Home again! Had a very nice trip though. Something to pass away the time with. We went over 800 miles. There were 113 trucks. We were spread over 40 miles. There was one convoy that had a wreck and one guy got his foot cut off and died the next morning. I don’t know which Regt. He was from. I think it was the 161st FA. Tough Luck.

18 June 1941

Camp Robinson-Hospital-Courtesy of the Cain Family

Camp Robinson Hospital 1941 Courtesy of The Cain Family

Gosh we sure are lucky, we got a new Captain and First Sergeant. Things are so much better now. We get every other 24 hours off. Drivers get one 24 off and Assistant get the other. We can get passes to town when we are off duty. We just can’t stay in Co area. If we do we have to work. Gosh they are talking about giving us a $12 raise. I sure hope they do. Maybe I can go on a good drunk without going broke. I sure feel like doing that. I was all ready to come up last week and the Colonel wouldn’t sign the furlough. He

My father gets a furlough over the 4th of July and goes to see my mom in Kansas. He left the night of the 3rd and was back in Camp by the 7th.

7 July 1941

Well I got back ok. That is I am back pretty darn tired. Got here about 3:30 this morning. We got a bus at Joplin that didn’t stop anywhere along the line so we make better time. I sure got here at a swell time. We had a federal inspection this morning and had to get the trucks ready to go to Tennessee. We leave at 7:00 tonight. There is a catch to that too. We are not taking assistants along. There will be an assistant for every other truck. We will drive two shifts and then rest one…..Wish me luck on the trip tonight. I can hardly keep my eyes open so I don’t know how I am going to drive all night……….All my love…Lefty….I love you!

 

It seems to me that every time they meet Dad falls a little more in love with Mom. Each letter after the meeting he is sending all his love to kisses her and in this letter not only does he send all of his love but he also says. “I love you.” I also notice a pattern of him playing down his dating and going to dances with him always “getting in a fight” with someone at the dance. He uses the fact that he does not like the Nebraska girls when there is someone who he likes so much more in Kansas. I really feel like Dad has the love bug.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 11, 2014

9/11 Memorial~We Must Never Forget

Ground Zero, July 2011

I remember I was watching the morning news when the first plane hit. I was confused by what I saw on the television but was looking right at it when the second hit. One of the first things that went through my mind was I was glad my dad was not here to see this. He instilled how important it was to honor our country and he served overseas in World War II to help ensure his kids were safe in their own country. This kind of terrorist attack was what he fought against. So that his kids did not have to see such atrocities as he saw fighting that war.  I knew that was why he was called home in August 2001. To greet all those souls when they arrived in heaven.

I sat in front of the television and ended up late for work. I was stunned and could not have done my work no mater what I tried. My mind kept going back to the moment when I saw that second plane hit. I knew it was intentional even though my mind did not believe it.  I never would have thought that twelve years later I would visit the place it happened.

I had never been to New York before, in fact I had never been on a plane before I went to my Nephew’s wedding in New Jersey in February of 2010. I had a fear of heights which carried over to being afraid of flying. My oldest sister passed away in 1998 and I have always been close with her three son’s, who are only 8 years younger than me. I grew up with them and when they were young it was like we were brothers and sister rather than nephews and aunt. When they moved to New Jersey in 2007 I was devastated. I thought for sure I would never see them again. That was until the day the oldest called me and told me he was getting married. With my sister being gone I felt it was the right thing to do, to face my fear, get on a plane, and represent my sister at his wedding.

A fitting memorial

That first plane ride was one of the scariest things I have ever done. But I did it and it didn’t kill me so I returned in July to see the younger nephew who had the lead role in a play. I stayed a couple of weeks and they insisted they take me to New York. Now I had no desire to go to the city, in fact it scared the hell out of me, but I played along. I did not know what to expect other than all the really tall buildings and lots of people. I hate crowds and had a horrible fear of this big city. Lets just say that TV does not always portray New York as a safe place to go. That first trip conquered my flying fear and reminded me of how safe I always felt with my nephews around me.

October 2011

The middle nephew had to be away from home in September of 2011 so I went back to New Jersey for a couple of months to help out with his teenaged kids. While I was there my niece had gotten tickets to see the 9/11 memorial and invited me along. I was excited and scared. Of course it is scary going to a place which had so much devastation. I was not sure if I was going to be able to handle all the pain the site held.

Memorial Wall

I have to admit it was an experience I would do again. I was afraid that I would feel the terror the hero’s felt when they perished.  I found that the memorial was an eerily peaceful place. Yes I cried a few tears but I don’t feel like the people’s souls who were murdered still remain in this place. I was amazed at all the different nationalities that were represented there. All of us there to show our respect to those who lives were sacrificed.

It is really a peaceful place. It is unexpectedly quiet and serene, but at the same time commands respect. I found a bench and sat down to take it all in. It was a warm day and as I sat I felt a cold breeze pass hitting first my legs and then my arms causing goose pimples. I feel it was the angels who reassured me the souls are not trapped but have made it to the other side in record time.

Amazing water featured drown out the city noise.

The two big water features are amazing and they bring about a calm sense to the area. The noise from the fountains drowns out the noise from the city. You can’t help being touched by the memories this sacred place holds. It certainly is a touching tribute to those who fell that day, September 11, 2001, a day I will never forget.

How about you? Where were you?

A Family Member Memorialized

Let us Never Forget

Flag reflecting in a building

Flag reflecting in a new building. Notice there are two crosses also. I wonder if that was intentional??

© notsofancynancy 2012

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Bill Willson

My Writing Life

findingmynewbliss

Lost my bliss looking for a new one

Dear Judy...Letters to Tanzania

What the hell, it's cheaper than postage

The People of Pancho

At Play in the Archive

Wayne's Journal

A life of a B-25 tail gunner with the 42nd Bombardment Group in the South Pacific

14 Weeks Worth of Socks

because its important to have clean underwear

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Spirits and The Paranormal, Don't Be Afraid.

Spiritual Awareness & All Aspects of the Paranormal

Vogel Talks RVing

How the hell did I get here?

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