Posted by: notsofancynancy | June 17, 2015

Jelly & Bean

I am so excited to tell you we found a hummingbird nest. My hubby found it when he saw the mama fly out of the lilac bush right next to the garage.

May 29th

May 29th

I sneak a peek every couple of days.

Two eggs

Two eggs

The nest is so small about three inches across. Bean arrived June 9th.



Jelly arrived on the 10th. They really are as small as Jelly Beans.

Jelly's arrival

Jelly’s arrival

I can’t believe how much they grew in four days!

Four days old

Four days old

Did you know that these babies come knowing to poo out of the nest? It fascinates me. I use to follow a live hummingbird cam and I saw it with my own eyes. They were just sitting there when one of them moved their bum out of the nest and pooed. Look at the sides of the nests where the babies bum’s are.

June 16th

June 16th

And God Smiled!

Desert Rainbow

Desert Rainbow

Posted by: notsofancynancy | June 9, 2015

Refrigerator Oatmeal

When I first started crocheting my cousin told me about Pinterest and I have fell in love with the accessibility of recipes. This is about something I found that I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! This has become my favorite breakfast, snack, EVER!

Chocolate Whip's yogurt, Peanut butter and Banana's

Chocolate Whip’s yogurt, Peanut butter and Banana’s

I have always loved oatmeal but I hate the mess it makes to the pan and bowls. I just don’t enjoy it so I only ever eat instant. If you eat it you know it is good but nothing like a good bowl of cooked oats. I really wondered if these cups of oats would fill my oatmeal craving. I have to say it has totally quenched my appetite and it is delicious too. The possibilities for flavors are endless.

Everything you need

                Everything you need

Here is what you do. First go to a discount store and buy some one cup mason jars. This is the perfect size for the oatmeal.

There is not much to it, the recipe is easy.

¼ cup oats

¼ cup of yogurt

1/3 cup of liquid such as milk (I am using almond it has a better shelf life)


Spices to taste

Here is how;

The Jars

I bought 12 jars because it was cheaper. I spent seven dollars on them. Wash them all and find a place in the cupboard to store them. Because once you try this you are going to want them handy.

Oats and yogurt

                       Oats and yogurt

The oats

¼ cu: You can pretty much use any kind of oats from what I have heard. Steel oats are supposed to work fine and are probably healthier. I tried to cook some steel oats once and had to throw it out after burning the pan. If you got 3 minute oats they say you can eat them after an hour. Something like steel oats you are going to let them sit overnight. I have also been known to use granola. It is delicious!

The yogurt

¼ cup: I have used all kinds and I have not met one I don’t like yet. (Unusual for me) You can use flavored or plain. If you are trying to eat healthier get the healthy stuff. Our Winco carries a brand called Zoi. It is the only place that sells it and we don’t always get there so I have been known to use other brands and after melding overnight with the other ingredients it all seems good. I used a chocolate “Whip’s” (I added peanut butter and banana in this one) one time and I love the coconut with . . . don’t let me get away from myself. Use whichever kind you want.

Almond Milk

               Almond Milk

The liquid

1/3 cup: Once again use whichever kind you want. I use almond milk because it has a long shelf life, but milk is fine. Also if I am using canned or jarred fruit I may use half of the liquid amount, juice and half milk make sure it equals 1/3 of a cup.

The fruit

The possibilities here are endless. I have used fresh, frozen and canned, apples, bananas, peaches, pineapple (personal favorite), pears, fruit cocktail, strawberries, cherries and today a mango. I am not a fan of a mango but I have never had it like this so I am willing to try. Keep in mind the life of the fruit. If using say, a banana, don’t let it sit for days. I would eat that one the next day. You could probably eat it after two days but that is too long for my, yuck factor. I did use apples one time and was pleasantly surprised they were still crispy after two days. I have even seen pumpkin used. (I am looking forward to trying it so many possibilities so few breakfast’s. Cut all fruit in bite size, or smaller pieces I will usually put enough fruit in to bring the level in the jars to just below the lid threads on the jar.


To taste: I love using a bit of brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and cinnamon, or be healthy and don’t use any. Just remember the spices get a bit stronger after sitting overnight. You can always add more so use less until you figure things out.


Some days I will use the sweetener as a topping but have also been known to crush up and top with a chocolate chip cookie. I would recommend if you want to put some granola on the top to do that right before eating to keep it crispy. You could also put some nuts in, if you are into them. I am thinking of using some cereal??? Did I mention the possibilities are endless?

Shake, shake, shake

                      Shake, shake, shake


First get the jars ready, you will need the lids for mixing. Place oatmeal, yogurt, liquid and sweetener in the jar. Put the lid on and shake to mix. Take the lid off and make sure those items are mixed well. You can either stir or shake more if needed. Add fruit and stir gently until combined. Add any toppings (unless you want them to be crispy then add just before eating.)



I make two days’ worth at a time. Place in fridge overnight. In the morning grab and enjoy. Mix before eating.

In the fridge overnight

                  In the fridge overnight

That’s it! It is easy and delicious.

Here are some links to recipes

Or you can go to a search engine and search for “Refrigerator Oats.”

Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 23, 2015

New Projects

Here are the projects I have been working on the last week or so.

Beau's Blanket

Beau’s Blanket

I wanted to create a piece to show my support to the gay community. I knew that I wanted it to be the colors of the Gay Flag, the colors of the rainbow. So I created this wonderful blanket. It is smallish about 45 inches. I love the way it turned out. I sold it right away to Beau. It looks great on him.

Beau donning her blanket

Beau donning his blanket

Next, I made this owl trivet because I found a free pattern for it on Zooty Owl’s Blog. I had to give it a go and here is my take on it. Zelnia Oliver has some great pieces and a lot of her patterns are fee. The pieces she crochets and her patterns are what made me fall in love with crocheting. Stop by and check out her blog.

Zooty Owl

Zooty Owl

I sold two of these and then got a request. “Can you make a cow like this owl?” Well apparently I can. I started with Zelnia’s pattern and went from there. Previously I found the black and white yarn made by Red Heart, called Zebra. When I first saw the color it intrigued me. So when I was buying yarn one day I bought a skein and made a headband and a hat out of it. It is a fun color. So when I got this request I knew it was just the right choice. I could not find a pattern for a cow trivet so I had to improvise. Here is my first one. I call it my prototype/pattern. I will keep the first one to reference if I need to make another.

My first attempt

My first attempt

I sold three!!! I made some changes to the next one. I made the ears smaller and put some pink inside. I did not love the eyes so I made new ones with color and eyelids, and I made the bow a better proportion.

Robin's Cow

Robin’s Cow

While I was looking for a pattern for the cow I saw this really cute Zebra Hat on the Adorably Hooked blog.

It was so cute I knew I wanted to try it so here is my version.

Zebra Hat

                       Zebra Hat

Then, Then I got a request. “Can you make a snow owl?”

Snow Owl?

                         Snow Owl?

How was your week?

Here is a link to my Etsy store. I also do special orders so if you don’t see anything you like send me a message and lets create together! It will be so much fun!

Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 19, 2015

Mockingbirds, natures early alert birds

I have been observing our mockingbirds. They are annoying birds that never stop talking, but I have come to love them. I know you are curious so I won’t hold back. They have now alerted me to the last four snakes in my yard. I now LOVE mockingbirds!

My Woman Cave

My Woman Cave, note the birdhouse on the left side just under the eve. There were babies in there

I live in the high desert of Southern California, two miles up a dirt road and have only two neighbors. Two sides of my property are nothing but desert. If you have followed me in the past you may have read my post “Snake Season.” I always know that I will encounter a snake this time of the year and once again I was not disappointed, well the only disappointment was that I saw one. I was really hoping for a snake free year. Bear with me this is good.

Snake on the fence!

Snake on the fence!

My husband and I have noticed that if there is a snake in the area the mocking birds act funny. They squawk, jump around on the ground. They throw their wings up trying to make themselves bigger. I now listen to them. Ok I am a little obsessed with them. Anytime I hear their squawk I pay attention. So was the case last week.

Like walking on a tightrope!

Like walking on a tightrope!

The day was warm and the desert breeze blew the sent of sage in the door. The dogs (I have four) were taking their after breakfast nap. All of a sudden I heard the squawk of the mockingbird and without knowing what was going on I got up to check but first I slowly walked into the kitchen and put the dog door on securing my dogs in the house.

Shoo, snake, shoo!

Shoo, snake, shoo!

Now the birds are really squawking and jumping around. I knew it was a snake even before I saw it. Snakes never cease to amaze me. I have seen them five foot up a pine tree and climbing. I still have not seen it but I know there, somewhere. I have two acres of land and we have fenced off a sub-yard of a nice size. When we got Chihuahua Roxi, she was so small she could have fit through the chain link so to keep her in and other animals out my hubby lined the fence with two feet of hardware cloth and has cemented the bottom to keep diggers in/out.

I am not closer to the snake I zoomed!

I am not closer to the snake I zoomed!

Ok it is time to go out and see what the ruckus is. I made the dogs stay in the house and pulled the slider shut, just in case. I was still hoping the it was just a false alarm, but the last three times they did this we had a snake. I watched those birds making a ruckus so my blood pressure was going up and was heart was beating faster. It was kind of like walking into a haunted house. I was that scared. I pulled up my panties and looked. AND I SAW IT!! It was on the top of my five foot fence trying to get to the birdhouse on the shed. OH MY GOODNESS!! (my thoughts had lots of expletives in it.) I may have peed a little .

The moment of truth. If it comes on the outside of the hardware cloth we are good.

The moment of truth. If it comes on the outside of the hardware cloth we are good.

I took a deep breath, lots of deep breaths The first order of business was to identify the species, well first I got the camera then I looked at the snake, Lets see. The facebook desert wildlife group I have belonged to have taught me a lot, so as I am trying to identify it as not being venomous so I have to look at it. Point tail, good sign, rounded head, ok, ok it is non venomous. My heart is still trying to beat out of my chest but I feel a bit better. Then it started to snake its way across the fence in the sub-yard. Lord please help me now. Funny, this whole time I am taking pictures until. . . That snake started winding its way down the fence. What I have not mentioned is this whole time I am trying to shoo that damn snake to the outside of the fence. Now he is almost down to the hardware cloth. I am shooing and cussing at the thing. If it goes on the outside of the sub-yard we are good. I wouldn’t have to do anything other than watch to make sure it gets out of the main yard. I am ok with them out there just don’t come in here where you can injure my dogs. I mean even though they are non-venomous they still bite! I know, I have seen it happen! Although it did get the dog out from under the shed, where she had been the last hour trying to kill that thing. But that is a whole other story. She was fine.


So where were we? The snake is coming down the fence, I am screaming and hollering, and the dogs are in the house barking at me making a fool out of myself by trying to shoo a snake out of the yard. What was I thinking? I want to make sure it did not get on the inside of the hardware cloth, but how in the hell is that going to happen? He was getting close and so I thought I am going to get the hose and try and squirt him out of the yard. It would work with a dog, It did not work on the snake. He slid right into the yard and then it curled up on the ground, looked at me and I swear it turned around and started licking the water off its back. Now it was trying to make me feel sorry for it. I am not falling for it! It did try to get out of the yard BUT THERE IS TWO FOOT OF HARDWARE CLOTH SO IT CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET OVER IT!! OMG will this day ever end? That is it I can’t win I am out of there. The mocking birds were on their own!

It is licking the water off its back

It is licking the water off its back

I am in the house now watching it come straight for the window I am looking out of. I reach up and lock the window. It lied in the shade of the porch swing for a bit and I watch it make a left and skirt the cement patio. I ran over and locked the sliding glass door and watched as the snake got with in two feet of the side of the house. I was now watching it as it was heading towards the garden. The last time I saw it, it had crawled under the box that covers the water valves. I was not  lifting it off to see if it was under there. I got the dogs settled and tried to relax. It was one o’clock and hubby would be home at three. I would just wait for him to come home and make sure it was all clear.

Home free, on its way out of the yard

Home free, on its way out of the yard

Ok I did go out and tried to look in the side of the box, without getting to close but I could not get a good view. I checked a few more times but the view never changed. In the house our old deaf dog, Max kept checking to see if the dog door was open. Click, click, click of his toenails across the linoleum in the kitchen and then back, click, click, click. Every ten minutes he checked. Doug got home a bit after three and from the window I watched as he slowly lifted the box off the valve. It was not there. Darn it I NEED to know it is not where it can encounter our dogs. My hubby located it in the garden. He got the grabber and lifted it over the garden fence and we watched as it made its way out of the yard. As I look back on this incident I realize three things. One, snakes can climb. Two, you cannot shoo a snake, like you do a dog, and three, mockingbirds ARE natures early snake alert birds. Now if I hear the snake squawk I will certainly listen. I do love my mockingbirds now.

Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 11, 2015

Where have you been notsofancynancy?

I know it has been awhile but ………………


Some things

I spent the last three years with my dad’s story and although the journey is still amazing I needed to find another hobby and take some time away from it. I have some ideas about all the information I have, maybe a smaller book. Who knows?? In the meantime I continue to have people who are connected with the 110th/35 Quartermaster contact me. I now consider myself the unofficial historian of my dad’s Division.

Made this pig headband

Made this pig headband

I am not the kind of person who follows the crowd; I am the one who will stay behind just because everyone else IS. When I was growing up Grandma Susie and Mom crocheted. Then when my sister got older she did. Then my sister Sharon did and even “My sister the Clown,” does. They made all kind of stuff throughout the years, doilies, Afghans, and at Christmas watch out. They made all kinds of little things like Santa’s, and ornaments, toilet paper and Kleenex covers. I tried a couple of time and things did not turn out straight, and hats had big holes in it. I did not have the patience or focus to do it. One time while I was sick I made a blanket, it was boring and drove me nuts, and took forever.

Ok I did make SOME Christmas items

Ok I did make SOME Christmas items


                         Princess Kiva

Roxi sports a beanie

Roxi sports a beanie

This new adventure started innocent enough. I had a friend from the dog club who lived about a mile from us. She had five cats and two dogs. I cat sat for her once (I don’t do cats) and she ended up giving me a whole bunch of yarn. Years later she moved to Texas and she gave me a bunch more yarn. Now I had a whole huge tub of yarn. I decided I had to give crocheting another try and although it took a really long time I made a nice blanket, then another, and another, then three more. I thought I would never get through all that yarn. It seemed I had a never ending supply of yarn. I even wonderer if the supply multiplied at night. This was about Thanksgiving last year and it was freezing in the high desert. I belong to a local news group on Facebook and they were collecting stuff for our local homeless, warm blankets, coats, anything to keep them warm. They hit a cord with me when they mentioned how many of our homeless are veterans. I decided to make hats for the homeless. Between Thanksgiving of 2014, until after the first of the year I made and donated close to 80 hats. I really became good at it but I still had the stigma of all my family doing it, thing, but I decided I would check for some patterns.


Then it happened! My cousin, Susan told me about Pinterest. I cannot believe how many free patterns there are out there and I am now thankful. I found a really nice lady, Zelna Olivier and her blog “Zooty Owls Crafty Blog.”. Zelna changed the way I looked at crocheting. She creates pieces of art, in beautiful, amazing colors and that is how I can justify it. I am not crocheting I am creating works of art. They kind of look like doilies but I call them Mandela’s I have opened a shop on Etsy, called “Hot off the Hook 4U.” What I love about Etsy is their Custom Order feature. With each and every Special/Custom order I get to create an item just for you. If you want you can be a part of every step of the creating from choosing the yarn colors, to the pattern as it goes along. They provide a place for us to personal message each other and I can update you with pictures. I love this! I can create and get your feedback on the thing that IS hardest for me, choosing colors and patterns. I can take any pattern and custom make it just for you. I have been lucky enough to have created two tablecloths this way. We took the basic pattern and worked it until we got it the right size. It was such a fun experience. I loved it.

Doily on Doris Cain's table

Doily on Doris Cain’s table

One of my friends contacted me and he wanted a table topper for his man cave. At first I thought he was crazy! I crochet, how am I going to make something that would fit in a man cave décor? He wanted me to try to make something that looked like a tire. We collaborated and came up with this! He loves it and there is no way my family ever made anything like this! I mean they did not have man caves in the old days. There is no way you can call that a doily!

Small ones

              The infamous “4×4 Tires”


                   Showing the tread


Small ones

Big ones

Big ones

My plan is when the weather gets cold I will take all the odds and ends and once again give back by making more hats for our homeless. Who knows maybe other local people will want to get together and chat while we all make them. I can even teach you! That would be fun!

Visit me on Etsy; Hot off the Hook 4u

Some really big ones!

                Some really big ones!

Black and white ones

               Black and white ones

All different, shapes, sizes and colors

All different, shapes, sizes and colors

Posted by: notsofancynancy | December 13, 2014

My Brother is Santa Claus

Santa’s Updated 2012 look

In the past I divulged the secret of my sister in “My Sister is a Clown,” well now I have another confession. My brother is Santa Claus. Shhhhh, don’t tell the kids. Of course being Santa and all, his wife is the famous Mrs. Claus.

Santa and Mrs. Claus

He already has to disguise himself in the off season.

Santa in disguise.

But that does not stop the kids from recognizing him. A couple of years ago a young tot thought she was so special when Santa came to her house for Christmas Eve dinner. That was with no prompting from adults. He did not even have his red suit on, but donned shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. She kept saying “Look at me Santa!” and “Santa watch this!” When asked the next day, who had come to her house for dinner she cutely replied with a sweet innocent smile, “Santa!”

Some of the year he hides at the Renaissance Faire

Santa and Mrs. Claus in the summer

All in all I have quite the family. Sonshine the Clown, Santa Clause and the Seamstress who make the Emperor’s new cloths. What? I didn’t tell you about the seamstress? Well, I have to keep some secrets.

Today I am thankful for my brother, Santa Claus and his wife, Mrs. Claus.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | December 3, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 14, Camp Rucker

Now with updated picture, Special thanks to the family of Marvin Cain

The Suitcase

Camp Rucker, Alabama

Chapter 14

May 1943 letter

In the last chapter we found my father in intense, or at least what he thinks is intense training and learning about Chemical Warfare in Camp Rucker, Alabama. It seems they are really trying to get all of these men ready to fight in the upcoming war. Dad has gone through marksmanship training and also machine gun training. I wonder if they are still trying to make him shoot right-handed. He mentioned it early on in the letters but has not mentioned it again. Dad’s discharge papers tell me that he got a medal for Rifle Sharpshooter in October 1942 (click here to learn more)and would go on to get his Carbine Sharpshooter(click here to learn more) in March 1944.

From Dad’s Discharge Papers

7 May 1943 he writes,

It is about time I found time to write you. Haven’t much time now. It’s about 6:40 and we have class at 7:00. I have been one of the busiest boys you have ever seen. The last 4 days. Today won’t be bad though. Chemical Warfare school was rough. I came in third in the class but it took some work. You can blame Colonel Cobb about not hearing from me. I never studied so hard in my life. 8 hours a day classes and I never got to bed before 12 at night and I wasn’t running around. We have a truck and ordnance Inspection the 12th and Personal ins.(inspection) On the 23. They cancelled furloughs for 15 days so I guess it will be a good one. It will be by 7th Corps and that means rooouuuggghhh [sic] so it will be busy for a while yet.

The Chemical Warfare classes sound like they took most of the day. So they are not doing much other than learning about this nasty way of fighting. It does not seem that they would have much time for anything else. You can tell he is in a hurry as the letter has been hastily written. I do not like that fact that my dad might need this training in the near future.

9 May 1943

I saw “My Friend Flicker” [sic] tonight it was good. Wasn’t there some good scenery in it. Boy we went up to go about 1:15 minutes ahead of time and there was a line ahead of us about a block and a half long. God I hate to waite. [sic] Nothing has happened here I filled an application for a specialist school yesterday and I guess only 2 from the Company goes so I probably won’t have a chance. Anyway it was a good idea. Go to college. Wouldn’t that be nice.

(Read about “My Friend Flicka” here.)

Marvin Cain Wrote " Camp Rucker" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain Wrote ” Camp Rucker” Courtesy of the Cain Family

I wonder how different our lives would have been had they let him into that school? I mean I don’t believe he went as he comes out of the Army driving a truck, same as he is doing at this time.

16 May he angrily writes,

Just to show you what kind of an a-hole we have for a captain we have last week we passed three inspections and one drivers test. We were second in the division on the drivers test with an average of 97 and in the inspections we rates as excellent by our own I.G. (Inspector General) and by the I. G. of the second army we were rated one of the best QM he had ever inspected. The other one we passed satisfactory. Oh yes we had an ordnance (inspection) by the 7th corps and they said we were some of the cleanest rifles they had ever seen. Then the Capt. Have guts enough to call a non-com meeting and really chew us about 20 minutes worth. And say it wasn’t us but by the grace of God and Good luck we passed it. He was the only one who did anything to aid the cause.  So we have about all quit. He gets all the credit let him have the work too. Waite[sic] until next week until we get a chance to talk to the I.G.(inspector General) The closer the 23rd gets the harder they drive us. Believe me by next Saturday we will be going night and day. Last week I was on duty 5 nights and that wasn’t anything.  The 23rd starts our 7th Comp. Inspection and we have to be good. At least they say so. If I were as sure about some of the officers passing as the E.M (Enlisted men) I wouldn’t worry.

He sure is mad. I can understand it when he feels like he has been so cheated. Plus he has all this training in Chemical Warfare to learn. It seems as though he does not have time for anything more than what the Army is asking of him. The uncertainty of things to come and the training they are putting him through starts to show in the following letters. It is evident in the hurried script of his handwriting, but he still finds time to write almost every day.

1940 Era Gas Mask

(Courtesy of

(Click here to learn more about the 1940’s troops preparing for war)

20 May

I have been in school again. And about all we had we the same thing we learned before. Anyway we put in 8 hours and have 8 more tomorrow. Then we have a four hour test. The test consists of decontaminating 96.67% pure mustard gas. If we get burned and have to go to the hospital we flunk the test. Doesn’t that sound good. Any way I hope it [sic] good. I think I told you I had some poison oak. Well I have one hand. I am going to the Medics with it in the morning. I can hardly close it and have some good size blisters between my fingers. It is about to drive me nuts. Are they ever excited about the inspection next week. Boy we are getting everything ready. I hope we don’t even get to first base. But damnit when we all get in a mood like that we run into lady luck again and pass it. That is the way it goes. I guess I won’t make that specialist school. You have to have at least one year in college and I haven’t.   So I guess I’ll just have to wait until something else comes along. Oh well the army is the Army whenever you find it.

What does that mean! How does one decontaminate mustard gas? Does one not need to be in contact with said gasses to decontaminate them?

21 May

I have been on the range running targets. Boy what a time. We have 60 men who have to qualify and maybe we will get through this day firing and rifle marksmanship. So all the Non-Coms in the pits have made up our minds to give them enough points to pass the. In two cases this afternoon I know of a couple of scores that couldn’t have been over 6 and we gave them 20-22 to get through with the affair. They can’t shoot so something has to be done. No Bob didn’t get married but I guess she is coming down and they are then.

That does not sound like good odds. It just brings more questions than it does answers.

Marvin Cain Wrote "Camp Rucker" Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain Wrote “Camp Rucker” Courtesy of the Cain Family

25 May

Two fellows took a jeep and went to town the other nite [sic]. They got caught and were both busted and grounded. Man was that bad and one was in my squad and also a good driver. He might be able to drive later I hope.

It kind of reminds me of a day in the past in a little town in Arkansas where Dad drove his buddies somewhere other than the picnic he was suppose to be headed to. He ended up running into the front of the convoy. But they did not get in trouble. It seems that the Army is keeping a tighter rein on the soldiers.

27 May

We just had a blackout. Gosh what an experience. We had to move out in the dark and all and all that. About 2 minutes after the whistle started we couldn’t see anything. Less than four we were moved out. How is that for efficiency. Of course it was just part of the inspection. I don’t know how much area it covered. It lasted about 20 minutes of course I didn’t time it. The inspections have been going damn good. At least I think so. In the last two days I have skipped five classes on of them were at night. And one inspection. So I haven’t done so bad. You see a certain portion of the Platoon is called at a time to be inspected Well my squad was inspected on Field Sanitation and today we had 30 minutes to pitch pup tents display full field equipment and strike tents. We did it in 25. Beat the old Recon troop by 8 minutes and got another excellent for the Company. The rest I have skipped. I would have missed that too but they caught up with me. To tell you the truth I don’t give a damn anymore and I am acting the same way. So as I have said before don’t be surprised if you have to start writing a private.  The last rumor I hear today is that we are moving to Ft. Ord. But then I know we have 26 weeks more of Combat training and them we have maneuvers. By that time I will be in a padded cell so I won’t have to worry. Bob says hello.

I can still feel the desperation in his words. In Chapter 11 we hear about my Grandpop going through a “blackout” in Pasadena. (Click Here to read it)  Here is a glimpse into what the soldiers went through when they were on “blackout.”

Viola in 1942

There are 10 letters in June 1943 on 1 May he writes,

Another day another dollar, Still nothing done to help win the war. I’m sure in the dumps. Boy what will the kids think of an old man who couldn’t even get across in three years. I am almost in the mood to take a bust and joining the Rangers. We can now. But only Pvt. And Pfc’s can though. It sure wouldn’t take much coaxing. I sure hope you had a good time at the beach. I know you did so take care of the sunburns and all the insect bites. If you find any smears on here it is sweat. Man is it hot. And I want to go to a dance after a while. I’ll bet that is a hot place. There are over 400 WAAC’s in Camp. Maybe they will come up and we will have enough women. I hope. I just found out something for sure. Today was Bob’s birthday. I knew it was soon but not exactly when. I am in a heating[sic] up mood I have another letter after I finish this and then carry on so take it easy.

8 June

Gosh Darling I sure feel good tonight for some reason or other. Maybe it’s because I got cussed out twice today. Gosh I am reforming. Bob and I have just been discussing again. Maybe I am wrong about Madeline not liking me. But I’ll take my hunch until proven not guilty. We had a bitching session about recreation today. The Special Service Officer is going to try to arrange a dance in Enterprise and invite the WAAC’s. I guess we go into the fields for a week starting around the 14. Boy will that help pass some time until I get out. I wrote home for my money yesterday. I am getting all in the mood. By the way darling what kind of chewing gum do you like best. We can buy it here two packs at a time and I sure have been stocking up. So name your favorite kind. Gosh Darling I still don’t know about getting married. I sure hate to put it off and I hate to get married and not have you with me. Lets waite [sic] and talk it over between Mom, Pop, you, and I. How about that? Maybe they wouldn’t like the idea anyway? After I read your letter I would have gotten married right then and not even thought about the things we should. I damn near cried. Baby, ain’t [sic] I. By now though I have only read it about a dozen times through. See Darling I do love you and like your letters very much. Bye Darling, Love always, Lefty.

Lefty and Vi, in Kansas Dad’s first leave

It seems like Dad has gotten some kind of encouragement from Mom. I think it is sweet that Dad wants her Mom and Dad a part of the planning process. I wonder if he ever gets the chance to sit down with Pop and Grandma. I wonder if it is true or just the dream of his to be married before he sees action. It seems like he has been teasing Mom about getting married since about 1938 and here in 1943, five years later he is still waiting in the wings to sweep her off her feet. Will she let him?

© Copyright  notsofancynancy 2012

Posted by: notsofancynancy | November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 1944

Dad Wrote "Chateau of Chow" Mr. Cain wrote " Chow, St. Max"

Dad Wrote “Chateau of Chow” Mr. Cain wrote ” Chow, St. Max”

I was reading on the Veterans Facebook page and they were asking for stories about Thanksgiving while being deployed. I wondered what exactly where dad was and what he was up to. Here is his letter from that day.

23 November 1944, near Chateau-Salins, France

My Darling Wife,

Say Mommie you don’t know how near you came to not getting a letter tonight. After chow I put on water and took a bath and washed my pinkies. Then made my bed laid down and was almost asleep. Had I completed the letter you would have been neglected, but today being Thanksgiving I just couldn’t do that. We sure had a good dinner. Turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, peas and carrots, raisin bread apple cobbler and of course coffee. It was really good too. But supper killed that. Spam again. Say in case you can’t read this I’m all cramped up trying to write in bed. Have to be in a bad position in order to see. Again I didn’t get any mail. But a couple of men got packages so we ate. But again that isn’t helping my morale anyway. We still have tomorrow though and when we haven’t that to look forward to we won’t need the mail. Have been looking at our picture. Honey you know you’re the prettiest woman I know. Gosh I love you so much my darling. If I don’t get on the ball your [sic] going to miss tonight-anyway. I got to thinking about you and that’s as far as I got. Gee honey I miss you so much. I haven’t anything to say now except how much I love you. I love you so much my Darling. I hope you and Jr are getting along ok. I wouldn’t want either of you getting sick now. It just won’t pay. I love you honey. I love you so much. I love you. I love you.

All my love,

your husband, Lefty

Please take a moment and say a prayer for all those deployed. I hope they are not having to eat Spam

Posted by: notsofancynancy | November 18, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 13, On the Move

Now with updated pictures! You can click on the pictures to view larger.

The Suitcase

Chapter 13

On the Move

Marvin Cain wrote "Odell, Byfield, Hayes, Blank"  Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Odell, Byfield, Hayes, Blank” Courtesy of the Cain Family

Since shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, my father and his regiment were sent to help guard the coast of California. He remains there for a year and three months. He is a truck driver and is driving supplies and soldiers all up and down the coast of Southern California. He has been able to get quite a few furloughs and is able to visit my mom and her family who are now living down the coast from him in Pasadena, California. From Dad’s letters it seems like Mom is dating other men. I really cannot blame her with all those handsome soldiers around. According to Pop’s letters he spoke about Pasadena,There sure are a lot of soldiers around here. They have camps every place where there is any defense industry.”  So there would have been plenty of opportunity to do so. On 19 March 1943 Dad writes his last letter from the California coast. Dad has been in the Army since 23 December 1940. He thought he would only have to serve a year. It has been two years and three months.

I love that saying, “Just when you have things figured out God changes the rules.”  Now I have to say, just when you fall in love the Army will move you.  Dad is on the move once again. Is this a move to go overseas or just more training?

Camp Rucker

Picture Courtesy of Encyclopedia of Alabama

His next letter is postmarked Camp Rucker, Alabama.  According to Wikipedia,

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the War Department decided to add a number of new bases for training the military to fight.  Alabama had 58,000 acres of Alabama wilderness along with some farmlands available. Fort Rucker was opened the 1 May 1942 as “Camp Rucker.”  It was large enough to house 44,000 soldiers.

There are twelve letters just in April 1943. The next is dated 3 April 1943 and he writes,

Got your letter today. And was I ever glad to hear from you. I should have written but we couldn’t send anything from the train. So what was the use. I like the Camp here but that is all there is to like. The climate, the wind, sand, and all the rest isn’t so good. I really believe it is the best camp we have been in. I’ll probably change my mind a hundred times before we move out. I guess we have 13 weeks training again and then no one knows what will happen. Boy things are stirred up. Maybe we should have gotten married while I was there. Lots of fellows did. Our nearest town is 30 miles. Don’t ask me which way. I haven’t been there yet. Don’t think I will get there soon either. Seems to me as if I should save some money now. My vacation is over now. I think I am going to turn down my next furlough. No future in going home. At least when you can’t see the right person.

He goes on that he had a nice trip from California to Alabama and they took almost the same route they did on the way to California from Arkansas. They traveled through eight states which only left Mississippi that he had never been to so he adds that to the list he is keeping of new states he visits.

“Erceil, Byfield, Scholl, Kennedy, kitchen door on the train to Camp Rucker, Al” Erceil Sellers Collection

In his letter dated 5 April he says he has turned his furlough down because he is so far away from Mom in California. He goes on,

You see I even turned my furlough down. I am trying to sell it. Maybe I can make a little profit out of the deal. We have our first touch of what our training is going to be like. Well so far it is not bad but I bet that will change. I guess we will be wearing shirt sleeves starting on the 15 so you see we have a different climate here than there. We work year round there. We had a two mile road march and along with that we ran the obstickle [sic] course twice. It isn’t as bad as the one there, but bad enough. They say this one is the worse [sic] one in the U.S. I don’t believe it. I ran this one in 3 minutes and the one out there in 6. So you can see the difference. Anyway we took off on through the woods on our hike and it sure was like Little Rock. Boy it was like home. I mean Arkansas. After all we are the adopted sons of Arkansas.

Sell it? Did you know men sold their furloughs? Did the Army know they were selling furloughs? I have never heard of such a thing, have you?

What he says next confuses me.

Say in my last letter I aimed to ask you more thoroughly what was the matter with you and Emile. [Who is Emile?]  If it’s anything I could have caused. If so I am sorry. If not well tell him to be careful. I hate to have my future wife beaten up. Bob is well and talks as much as ever. He says hello.

I just don’t understand this and I am not sure who Emile is. Is this the rumored fiancé? Was he there when Dad went to visit Mom? It sure sounds like it to me. Just more questions.

Marvin Cain wrote "Going onto a ferry to cross the Mississippi River at Baron Rouge La. On our way from Calif to Camp Rucker Ala."  Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain wrote “Going onto a ferry to cross the Mississippi River at Baron Rouge La. On our way from Calif to Camp Rucker Ala.” Courtesy of the Cain Family

If Dad’s buddy Bob is still stationed with him I am sure he will be able to get news from home. Bob did come from the same hometown, and many of the men in the regiment were from small towns in all around them.

There is a letter almost every day, now. I want to get the most historical stuff documented, so here we go.

Man what a life. Something happening every day. Always the same though. Now we are suppose[d] to run 30 minutes before the 17th.  Well if they would promise me a 30 day furlough maybe I could do it but otherwise I don’t think I’ll be able to. Besides you do not get any more [pay] for doing it than otherwise. We can double time for about 10 minutes now and have only been trying two days. That is the most of us can. We have another road maneuver tomorrow afternoon. Besides one hour close order drill. Maybe you think that doesn’t bring up a sweat. Boy I’ll bet if I were to weigh now the scales would have to pay me. We really have a rough training schedule ahead of us. Believe me when one gets a furlough now you have to take a written examination to see if you are well trained enough. If you don’t pass no furlough. I turned mine down. Maybe later I will get a better deal. None at all.

I guess they are really cracking down on getting the soldier’s educated.  I read somewhere that once they drafted all these men into the Armed Forces their education level was not where it needed to be to understand the Army’s written instructions. Somewhere Dad talks about how they want them all to be educated through high school and one year of college under their belts. I wonder how long a year of school is in the Army.  It seems to me Dad has been in school for 2 years and five months and he is still in school learning how to fight in a war.

April 1943 letter

Dad is using paper provided by the Army, and it is very thin and could be used for toilet paper

10 April

You talk about missing me. Well I miss you probably a lot more—not because I am away from home but because I have no place to go.  I mean of interest. If I didn’t keep myself busy all the time I would probably go nuts. When I come in at night I am just dead. That tired. Therefore I go straight to bed and don’t have any time to lay [sic] around and think. Saturday afternoon and Sunday are the worse. And I sure hate for them to come around. But within a limited time we will be busy then also. So all we have to do is waite[sic]. And I guess if 5,000,000 others can do it I should. Maybe sometime we can catch up on lost time.

He goes on to talk more about his training.  He does not seem to think that the obstacle course is as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It seems the reason it is not so bad is the two hour hike they do afterward. They have to trudge through thick Alabama underbrush and he feels like this is harder to get though than the course. He goes on to write,

“Vi” are you sure I didn’t just catch you on the rebounds from John. I was afraid that was the way when I was there. That is why I really didn’t want to get married then. It happens that way a lot and marriage doesn’t last. When I get hitched I want it to be the one and only. And everyone has to enjoy it. That is everyone envolved [sic] therefore I want someone whom I can trust and that trusts me. Other wise no deal.

Wait! Who is John? This is the first I heard of a John. Man, I cannot keep up with Mom. And what is up with the statement about trust. Why is he bringing it up now and they talked about marriage? This is really a side of my parents I have never known.

Is this one of the men Mom dated?

This is definitely not my dad. Could this be John? Is this one of the other men Mom dated?

13 April 1943

Most of the New Yorkers are here but they are in the Service Platoon and I am in the third truck Platoon so we don’t see much of each other. (Goody Goody) I guess we loose [sic] the whole service Platoon though so that will be O.K. A new T.O. [Training Officer] is coming down and that breaks the Company again and forms a railhead Company. It will be better that way because there will be more men envolved [sic] and can take care of the railheads. Man can you figure that out. If you do tell me what I meant.  Don’t wreck yourself on those skates after all I want something left when I get to see you again. Bob and I went to a show here in Camp last night. Man was there ever a crowd. One time I was going to pick up my feet and see if I could stay there with out them. The crowd was that thick. Well I couldn’t pick them up. They were standing on them too. It was a good show though “Happy Go Lucky.” Only I am on CQ (Charge of Quarters) today and can’t get out.

The Army terminology has thrown me off a bit. I am not up to par with what all the letters mean, such as CQ. When I was reading articles on Word Press one day I came upon an article called “CQ.”  It was written by blogger, Chris Connell on his Falling Down to You, Word Press blog. I knew I had seen those letters in what I had read that day. Was this fate? How was it that that exact poem was in my blog reader that day? Did my father have anything to do with this, I wonder? I was going to research a few of those letter combinations just as soon as I finished with reading posts and I did not have to go any further than the Word Press Reader. Now I have a firsthand account of what CQ meant in fact here there was a whole poem about it. I read it and could not believe how his words fit exactly with the way Dad talks when he is Charge of Quarters. I don’t know much about blogster Chris, other than he can capture feelings only a soldier who has served has felt. I do know he is a Paratrooper in the Army and he has served in Afghanistan. I will take a moment here to thank him for his Service.  Thank you Chris!

 CQ (Charge of Quarters)

Such a long night

Worse than them all

I’m losing focus

Just staring at the wall

Getting groggy

Now my pants are soggy

What the hell

What did I do

Okay, nothing to worry about

I just spilled my Mountain Dew

But I’m starting to see things

Like dancing flowers

Are you sure it’s only 24 hours?

Things are bouncing around

Careening around my head

I just want to beg

Sarge! Just let me go to bed!

Waking up

Watching the drunk ones come

Can’t help but laugh

They look so dumb

Queen Mab keeps calling me

Taunting me with sleep

In which I want to flee

Away to her dreamscape

I would love to go

Instead I am stuck staying up late

It’s been a tiring week

My legs hurt and my back aches

Though it should

It’s not helping me stay awake

Half past two

Only six more hours to go

But be glad it’s not you

Because this really sucks

Being on CQ

15 April

Bob leaves on his furlough tonight. Man is he a happy lad. He will probably come back a married man. He hopes. He has been going to Catholic school and all that. Maybe he won’t though. He says maybe. But he thinks he will waite [sic] until after the war.

So it sounds like Bob is serious about his girl, Madeline. Dad goes on to talk about how if all four of them get married they can all live in the same neighborhood and how all their kids would grow up together. Dad seems to think Little Rock, Arkansas is just the place to do it.

April 1943 letter1

Mom wrote on each letter, “ans” to make sure she answered each one.

16 April

Remember that training schedule I told you about. We have to be able to run 30 minutes by the 17th. Well three of us ran 32 this morning. Man that is a long time. In high school 1 mile seemed long but we ran about 3 this morning. Overall it didn’t seem to hurt us much but our legs sure knotted up. I am a little stiff but I believe I can do it again. Altogether I sent home $52 out of my base pay last month, 7.70 for insurance and 1.50 for laundry. About 3 for dry cleaning. Not bad huh. Had 5 left to start with. Have 3 left of that. So I have not done to [sic] bad.

If you add up those totals you come up with $69.20 cents. I am not sure how often he gets paid but that sure isn’t a lot. It is a good thing the Army is picking up his room and board. How long does he have to make that three-dollars last?

Marvin Cain Wrote "Camp Rucker"  Courtesy of the Cain Family

Marvin Cain Wrote “Camp Rucker” Courtesy of the Cain Family

19 April

The pictures were grand. Only one thing. What makes you think you would get any back now. We had to send our cameras home .I have been over to the Chemical Warfare warehouse. I might get a chance to transfer there. In case I do I will get a Sgts. [Sargent] Rating and be in charge of supplies not bad huh. Boy that will be interesting anyway. Issuing gas and equipment. This isn’t supposed to be out but I sure hope I can make it. You see a staff Sgt is all I can get here and there I can make master if I have luck. And it can’t take any longer to [get] somewhere than here. Have been here 2 ½ yeasr and only a Cpl. [Corporal] Anyway I live in hope. My legs were sure sore for a couple of days after running that 32 minutes. O.K. now though. I guess I am going to live after all.

Chemical Warfare?  I don’t think I ever thought about the soldiers needed training in Chemical Warfare before. From what I have read about it Mustard Gas was used in World War I. It was a horrible chemical that was used to injure people but this gas caused death. That is sure a scary class but they would need all this training. I sure wish he would go into more detail about what he saw or did while he is there. It is also interesting to note that they had to send their cameras home.

24 April

We got a man back who went A.W.O.L. for about 25 days. He only got 1 year, a D.D. and a forfeit of all pay. Not bad for that long. We thought at first he was going to get away with it but they laid it on, Think if you had something like that to look forward to. He went and got married while he was gone.

Interesting I wonder who this was? He got a D.D. which assume was a Dishonorable Discharge or maybe Drunk and Disorderly but still ended up doing a year behind bars. It makes me wonder how many others had gone A.W.O.L in the years leading up to this war.

27 April

I figured out what I would be making if I got married. $107.33. Not bad huh. Of course Dad would get $20 my insurance would get $7.39 and laundry and dry cleaning about $4 the rest would be practically clear. We haven’t gone on any maneuvers as such as yet. We are training though and that means a lot. We have had the same thing about 60 times. Why in the hell don’t they just send us across. We could shoot our way out then.  I am getting so damn disgusted.  I told one kid in my marksmanship class today I hoped the first jap he saw got him. He really boiled me over. I guess Bob will be back about Sunday. Anyway he should be. I wonder did he or did he not get married. If he did I will. How’s that?

That would be a big payday? A little over one hundred dollars and he would be clear a whopping 76 dollars a month? Wow that sure puts things into perspective.  Can you imagine having 70 dollars to spend for a month?  Dad has mentioned several times throughout his letters that he expects Mom to work when they get married.  I can see why he thinks she would have to by looking at these figures.

30 April

I have to go to Chemical Welfare school all next week.  That should be good. If Colonel Cobb teaches it I know I will. I have heard him before and I know what he is like. I’ll tell you what we will have one boy and a girl and see how that turns out. Say maybe you might say when you said if I got back out on the coast we wouldn’t waite [sic] anyway the latest rumor is will be there in about 4 months. Of course that is just a rumor. But one can pray can’t one. God darling I hope so.  This place is sure getting me down. I believe that if I really let myself go I could really get some good fighting done. It is about to drive us all nuts and the officers ain’t much better. In fact a hell of a lot worst [sic].

Dad has also been insistent he only wanted two kids. This month, one of each sex is his choice.  It seems as though each time it comes up Mom always chooses the bigger number. It is interesting but I have always been under the assumption that Dad wanted a bunch of kids and Mom only wanted one. I guess you will have to read the whole book in order to find out how many they end up with. I will never tell, well not until the end of the story.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

Posted by: notsofancynancy | November 8, 2014

8th of November Documentary

Early on in their career Country Duo, Big and Rich spent some time in Deadwood South Dakota. In fact most of the songs on their first album were written there. While there they met Niels Harris and heard his tale of being in Vietnam. Niels was sent overseas with the 173rd Airborne and found himself and fellow soldiers in the middle of a jungle and ambushed by 1200 enemy soldier out numbering his unit three times. According to Deadwood Mountain Grand,”

Just 19, Niles was assigned to the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade. On November 5, 1965, he and his fellow soldiers of C Company landed in Vietnam’s War Zone D near Bien Hoa. Three days later, on the 8th of November, B and C Companies found themselves in a fierce battle with 1,200 Viet Cong soldiers equipped with machine guns, claymores and sniper rifles.

At the end of the battle, 48 Americans and more than 400 Viet Cong were dead. Many more U.S. soldiers were wounded, including Niles. His right leg, from knee to hip, was hit by machine gun fire.

Here is Big and Rich’s 8th of November Documentary

Join me in Honoring Niles Harris 173rd Airborne and the tragedy that happened on the 8th of November 1965. This is their story. Let us never forget!

Here are the Lyrics

{Hello, I’m Kris Kristofferson On November 8th, 1965, the  173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Hump War Zone D in Vietnam were ambushed by  over 1200 V.C.Forty-eight American  soldiers lost their lives that day}

{Severely wounded  and riskin’ his own life, Lawrence Joel, a medic Was the first livin’  black man since the Spanish-American War To receive the United States Medal of Honor For savin’ so many lives in the midst of battle that  day}

{Our friend, Niles Harris,  retired 25 years, United States Army The guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat Was one of the wounded who lived This song is his story}

{Caught  in the action of ‘kill or be killed ‘”Greater  love hath no man than to lay down his life for a friend”}

Said goodbye to his mamma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16
Just doing what he had to do.

He was dropped in the jungle
Where the choppers would rumble
With the smell of napalm in the air.
And the sergeant said, “Look up ahead”

Like a dark, evil cloud
1,200 came down
on him and 29 more.
They fought for their lives
But most of them died
In the 173rd Airborne.

On the 8th of November,
The angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire raining down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standing that day.
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November.

Now he’s fifty-eight
And his ponytail’s grey
But the battle still plays in his head.
He limps when he walks,
But he’s strong when he talks
About the shrapnel they left in his leg.

He puts on a grey suit
Over his Airborne tattoo
And He ties it on one time a year
And remembers the fallen,
As he orders a tall one
And swallows it down with his tears.

On the 8th of November,
The angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire raining down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standing that day.
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November.

Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky

On the 8th of November,
The angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire raining down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standing that day.

On the 8th of November,
The angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire raining down
And the Hell all around,
There were few men left standing that day.
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November.

The 8th of November
The 8th of November

He said goodbye to his mamma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16
Just doing what he had to do.


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