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

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 8, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 4, National Guard

The Suitcase

Chapter 4

National Guard

On 15 March 1939 Adolf Hitler declared “Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist.(Wikipedia) This was a scary time for my mother’s family who came to America from Bohemia, which was part of Czechoslovakia. I am not sure that my Father knew how much this event would have affected my great grand parents had they still been alive. This was the land of their childhood. But this is why they migrated to the United States of America, so their children would have a chance to be successful. They still had family there and for them to hear it had ceased to exist must have been shocking to their children. What does that even mean, it ceased to exist? In my mind I see a big bomb crater on the map where it used to be.  At this time in their relationship I am not sure my father knew where my mother’s family originated. But my dad did not need that as a reason to fight for his country. He fought because it was the right thing to do and he would be proud when it was all said and done. I as his daughter am proud to say he was my father.

Frank Warta Sr. and Emile Podlipsky Warta, My Great-great grandparents

Interesting enough exactly one year from that first mention about the war, on 5 September 1940 my father volunteers in the National Guards, in Lexington NE. The Draft was set into motion at the end of September. There is no talk in the letters about what he did do in the National Guards other than drills and guard duty. What he leaves out is what they are guarding.

Lefty in the National Guard 1940

October of 1940 there are some clues of getting mustered into the army when in a letter dated 21 October 1940 (the day before he becomes 21) he writes, “Well as far as I know we have the 25th of November. I don’t know definitely yet. I was kinda glad at the thought of leaving at first. But now I am not so sure I will like it.” And two days later, on the 23rd he writes “I would sure like to come down before I go to camp, but I guess I can’t. I had my picture taken so I’ll send you another just to show you what I look like in a monkey suit.

Lefty in the National Guard 1940

The next letter that was written on 6 November 1940, I include in it entirety.

Dearest Vi,

Well we got home ok, not a bit of trouble. We got here about 11:30. That is to my brother-in-laws place.
 

I went to guard drill to-nite. We are leaving the 25th of Nov. Definitely. That is what they told us tonight. 

We didn’t go to work until noon today. Because the wind was blowing so bad. I should have written sooner but I was catching up on some sleep. I wonder why.

Only one thing wrong we couldn’t stay long enough.
 

I hope you can come up before we leave. Cause a whole year is sure going to be a long time away from you.
Well I guess I’ll have to close now and go to bed.
 

All my love
 

Lefty

Remember I love you very much

Well there you go! It looks like they met and fell in love, or he really fell in love with her.

On 11 November 1940 he writes;

Dearest Vi,
Here are the pictures I finally got them. George hasn’t seen them yet. I haven’t seen him since we got back. I don’t know what’s the matter with him is. Please send these back and you can write on the back of each picture if you want it and how many you want. I’ll get them for you.

 A new order has come out and the date for leaving is postponed indefinitely. The hospital at Camp Robinson is not completed and we can’t go until it is. So I cannot tell you definitely when we go. They told us last Monday that we would leave for sure the 25th and then today is was different.

 I have been wishing a million times a day that I was back down there Cause I sure miss you. I’ll live in hope that I’ll get to see you before I go to camp.

All my love and Most of my kisses. (I have to save some for the baby)
 I still love you

Wait did I read that right? He has to save some for the baby??? What baby? Have they even kissed yet? Oh my! They have to be kidding each other. My mom is only 17 years old at this time and Dad just turned 21. He has been in the National Guards for a little over two months. I guess mom liked a man in a monkey suit.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 5, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 3 The Early Years

The Suitcase

Chapter 3

The Early Years

A Very Young Viola on the farm in Kansas

A Very Young Viola on the farm in Kansas

 

1938-39
In 1938 there are only 5 letters that my father wrote to my mom. Apparently my Mom was not as good at writing as Dad was or maybe she was playing hard to get. There are a lot of words wondering why she has not written back. From reading the letters I can see that they must have gotten together with each other.  The guy that Dad hangs around with is “George.” He was a Vance which is my mother’s grandmother’s name. Some of the Vance’s were well off and owned quite a bit of land in Kansas. I am not sure how George and my father became friends but it is because of him my parents met.

He writes in April, “I am going out for track”, “So far I have vaulted 10’ feet the highest anyone has this year (In this school.) In September, he is looking forward to the football game coming up. He is going to be the first kicker of the season. They lose the game but he kicks the ball “65 yards,” he brags. He finally clears 10’7 on the high vault bar and boy is he proud. I really wish I could know what my mom was writing back to him but it is left to the imagination. It is during this period my parents fell in love, or at least Dad fell in love with Mom. It seems she is encouraging him. The letters go on talking school, after school sports, the harvest, helping to build his brother’s house, his sister getting married and things friends would talk about. It seems almost in every letter he has gotten in a fight with someone, made someone mad, or drank too much.

Silly dad, for making me think he had never done this the first time I came home drunk.

My father’s mother passed away in September of 1936 and she had made him promise to complete school. With perseverance my dad made sure to keep that promise. I know it was not easy when there were crops that needed harvesting, houses that needed building and money that needed to be made. He talks about how hard it is to keep his grades up when he can only get to school two days out of five because of the harvest. What I found interesting was that dad really liked school and learning. “I would rather go to school than work any day”, he says.

In 1939 he graduates and is pondering life. Now that he was on “his own.” In May he writes; “I Haven’t reached the conclusion of what I am going to do, but I have been trying to talk my brother into going west with me. I have always been travel minded and I sure want to go.” He goes on to say “I am going to try to come down this summer but if I get a chance to go west I will probably take that and then come back after I see some country. I have sure seen enough of Nebr to suite me.”

It is in 1939 my father fell in love and it is also the first time he speaks about the war.

He was about to get a free ride and will go a lot of places on that ticket.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 2, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 2, The Beginning

The Suitcase

Chapter 2

The Beginning

In order to tell this story I have to go back to the beginning.

My Dad’s Grandparents on their Nebraska Homestead

My father’s family came to the United States from Scotland and Denmark in the mid 1800’s and settled in Pennsylvania. Meeting there, my father’s great-grandparents then went west following the lure of free land with the Homestead Act of 1862. They ended up settling in Cozad, Nebraska. My dad’s parents married and lived in Cozad until my dad’s mom passed away in 1936. It was a month before my father’s 17th birthday. My grandfather then moved the family to town, in Lexington. There were eight kids in the family, but most of them were older. Dad was just a farm boy from Nebraska, born in 1919.

Mom’s Grandparents and young mother on their Kansas Homestead

My mother’s family came over in the late 1800’s from Bohemia, which was part of Czechoslovakia. They settled in Chicago and they also took advantage of the offer of free land and homesteaded 250 miles away from where my father was born in Brookville, Kansas. Mother was an only child, born in 1924.

“Vi”

My parents met at a barn dance. Dad was friends with one of mom’s extended family. In 1937 my mother and father started a pen-pal relationship that blossomed from a friendship and eventually into love. It would span from that first letter through my father’s time overseas in World War II and did not end until he was safely on back on US soil in 1945. It was these letters my daughter found in the attic of my family home. It is thanks to her that I have a story to tell.

Dad’s Graduation Picture

The first letter is written 5 September 1937, my mother was only 14 years old. Dad, who would turn 18 in October writes Mom:

Dear Viola

George let me read his card you wrote him, And so I thought I would write and tell you that I am sorry I didn’t get to say good:by before you left. I was coming out to Ray’s again Sunday nite, but it didn’t stop raining in town until after it was too late. It rained just enough to keep us from working on Monday. Then it rained again Thursday nite and Friday nite so we only got in three days the last week before school started. Not near much when I had planned for a good week. School starting isn’t the worst that could have happened, but I wish we had about three more month of vacation. I am not much of a letter writer so don’t get mad.

Write Soon

Love and Kisses

Lefty

Since I like history I found the post script is also very interesting.

P.S. Farr lost the fight but I think he got a dirty deal even if I was for Louis he shouldn’t have won the fight. In case you want to write my address is, Lexington, Nebraska.”

No really that was his address! You did not need street numbers back then. He did not need one for my mom in Kansas either. Weird, it was just Brookville, Kansas. No numbers were needed.

I searched for information about the Louis-Farr fight in 1937. This is what I found out.

**On a humid day in August of 1937 after postponing the event three days because of rain, British Empire Champion Tommy Farr and the World Heavyweight Champion Joe “Brown Bomb” Louis came up against each other in a long-anticipated fight at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Louis had knocked out the eight of his previous nine contenders and went on to knock out the next seven rivals. Tommy Farr gained respect by the crowd of 30,000 when he courageously attacked and hurt Louis in a fifteen-round fight. The referee, Arthur Donovan Sr., was so impressed and surprised that Louis was unable to knock Farr down he went into Farr’s corner right after the last bell to congratulate him and shake his hand. At that moment Farr thought the referee was raising his hand in victory. Mr. Donovan turned sensing his mistake and almost ran away from him. The crowd saw this mistake and also thought the ref was raising Farr’s hand in victory. All the while the ref was yelling “No, No, No, No!” Of course, no one could hear this. Because of all of the of all the noise the excited, then confused crowd projected. Then after collecting himself and counting the votes Donovan announced the winner. It was Louis, by an incredibly small margin. Apparently the crowd could be heard booing the decision all the way to Nebraska.

This is a glimpse into my father’s character. What is fair is fair! What he heard about the fight was not fair and even though he was for the guy who won, it was not a victory in my dad’s mind. These are the values he instilled in us kids.

This makes me wonder if the one time my parents met, did they actually talk about this fight or was he just making small talk?

Dad writes one letter each month in October, and November of 1937 and they have exchanged pictures. In the October letter he writes,

We are all ok here. There are 6 or 7 cases of polio here and talk of closing the schools again. I hope they don’t school is just getting interesting.

In December he sends her a card that says, “Dive right in, To the New Year.” It was signed. “Love and Kisses, Lefty” (one of Dad’s many nicknames.)

References, **Wikipedia, http://www.bestboxingblog.com/

© 2012 re-write 2014 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | August 26, 2014

How We Celebrated National Dog Day 2012

I can’t believe it has been two years!  Read on for an update! and Happy National Dog Day!

 

Our Newest Addition

 

I don’t know how this happens. I am restricted (by my hubby and my good sense) from looking at dogs on the internet. But something came over me and the next thing I know my hubby is off to look at a new dog. We don’t really need a new dog, we have three already. It is not like I don’t have enough love for all of them I certainly do. And if I was a millionaire I would have lots of land and lots of dogs. They are what keep me going, the reason I get out of bed in the morning.  I love having a new challenge to train and who knows maybe someday she will grow up to be a therapy dog, maybe not.

This little girl was in a high kill shelter which euthanizes the dogs in three to four day. We have been looking at her for two days, so she had little time left. I just cannot imagine that they would kill such a sweet little girl. Well I have not met her face to face. My hubby knows better than to take me to a shelter, especially a high kill shelter. We might come home with ten dogs. I think four is enough, for now. She is to be fixed tomorrow and we can pick her up around four o’clock. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I wonder how she will fit into our balanced pack. I will keep you updated!

We do not have a name for this little angel so any suggestions?

Happy National Dog Day to us!

8/26/2014 Well you may know we named her Pixie. She has been a challenge. Her pixie personality shows through so that was a perfect name for her. Her and Roxie are best friends and that is really what we wanted. She is stubborn and pushy, but funny and loveable.  BTW I have not looked at dogs on the computer since. Pixie makes four dogs in our family. That is a challenge when we go camping, but it is manageable. We are so loved!

Pixie taking a selfie

Pixie taking a selfie

 

Posted by: notsofancynancy | August 25, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 1, The Adventure Begins

I thought for my newer readers we should go back to the beginning.

World War II

Chapter 1

The Adventure Begins

The Suitcase

The Letters

My parents moved into a rest home in 1994 due to my mother’s failing health. My daughter and her husband bought their house. In the attic they found a suitcase of letters. It seems like I should have known about the letters but heck, I must have forgotten. Both my sisters and brother knew about them, so I must have known at one time. They are all letters my father wrote to my mother and a few he wrote to my grandmother. The first one was written in 1937 and the final one in 1945.  They would span many changes in my mother and father’s lives, their relationship and their families. The letters are few until my father gets mustered into the Army on 23 December 1940. Then is when they fill the suitcase.

When my daughter Tania first told me about the letters I knew that something had to be done with them, after all they ARE our history. I took them home and put them all in chronological order. I scanned that first letter and looked at how many were left and I became overwhelmed. There are SO many of them, did I mention it is a suitcase full? There may be thousands, but I guess we will find out together if you want to join me for this adventure.

The Photo Album with Dad’s writing

The Pictures

When my parents sold their house, my nephew, Harold, and his wife, Kris, became guardians of our family pictures. Thank goodness they took them and kept them safe until my siblings and I came to our senses and realized something was missing from our lives, our pictures. I started looking to find my family tree information to pass on to the kids and grand kids. I am told that is something that happens at this stage in life. Old age is when we gather our history and get it ready to hand down. It is a good thing the younger generation told me as I did not even know I was middle age yet!

About seven years ago Kris and Harold moved to New Jersey and our family pictures went with them. In the meantime I had started working on the family tree. I got a chance to go to New Jersey and stay a couple of months in September of 2011. Harold is a stay at home dad and he had to go away for 6 months because of a job and Kris travels with her job so I stayed and helped with his kids so they could keep their commitments. I went on a scanning spree while I was there. I scanned 1600+ family pictures into my computer. There were thousands of unidentified pictures I did not scan. The 1600 were just the ones I could identify or that my family has identified and written names on the picture. My focus was getting as much historical information as I could from the pictures and I believe I have been successful.

While I was organizing the mass of pictures I came across a black unassuming photo album. As I flipped through the pictures I only saw pictures of my father’s time in WW II, with the 110th Quartermaster, in the US Army. There were only names of three men visible, Tribble, in St Jean, France, Levinsky, and Dudley. Since I did not have a lot of time there, I set this album aside thinking I would take it home and give it to my brother Loren for Christmas.

I am a history nut and had been studying the homesteading my great grandparents did. I have started two books about that era. When I got the album home I decided I should scan the pictures before I gave them to my brother; after all they are now historical pictures. I took them out of the original album to scan and was excited by what I found. Last names, places, and a few comments, my father wrote on the backs of the pictures. What I also found was that although there are several pictures of my father in this album, it was more an album in honor of the men my father served with. All of a sudden I got a little panicky and felt it was up to me to get as many pictures to the families of these men as I could. It was then I knew what I had to do. Reunite these pictures with the families who might or might not, already have them.  I needed to work with this collection, find any surviving family members possible, and pass on the story of the 110th 35th Quartermaster.

To make a long story short, as of today, Leap Day–29 February 2012, with help from Roberta Russo who maintains a Memorial Website for the134th Infantry, who found a roster of the 110th 35th Quartermaster Company; Find A Grave, a website that documents where people are buried; and Doris Cain, daughter-in-law of our soldier Marvin Cain; I have been able to put full names to 77 different men in the pictures. Also with the Cain Family’s kindness, our pictures have grown from 209 to 345 images in the collection.

(UPDATE 2014: Since I wrote this back in 2012 The 110th/35th Quartermaster Collection has grown to over 1,300 images. I have found many other families and learned more about the early days of the regiment. I have found different rosters and have been able to identify over a hundred men.  I have become quite an expert on the history of this group of men. This three years of transcribing the letters has a been journey of discovery about my father as a soldier and my mom as the love of his life.)

When I first saw the album I had no idea where it would take me. I am two months into trying to find family members of the soldiers whose pictures I have. So far, I am in touch with three daughters, two sons, one granddaughter, one cousin, a nephew, one distant cousin, an ex-son-in-law and Harry, a man who trained with the 110th QM and who is still alive. Harry was born in 1919, the same year as my father, and has a good memory at age 92.

(On a sadder note Mr. Dahlstrom passed away this last year. I have been working on the Winquest-Johnson collection and have found quite a few pictures of a very young Harry. Here you can read a memorial post I wrote about him)

There has to be a reason why we have all been brought together. I am amazed that I was able to find one family member let alone as many as I have. I do have to believe this path has been laid by God and our fathers, the men of the 110th QM. It is for our fathers I embark on this journey. I hope you will join me as I delve into the thoughts and actions of a kid who became a man while he was on his way to fighting in a war.

It is for our families I will try to tell their story.

Copyright © 2012 notsofancynancy

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