|Wayne Leroy Ninemire.|
|Front Row, Left to Right: BM 2/c Clyde Caskadon, GM 2/c Rudy Wells, ?, ?, Walter Goricki, Wayne Ninemier, ?, ?, Dale Vinson. Middle Row, Left to Right: ?, Tilley, LaFave, Curtis Shiffer, ?, Casey Jones, Jack Jennings, Gus Momberg, Back Row, Left to Right: Evenston, Kanter, Kay Thomas, Wallace Moe, ?, Shriber, Sisk, ?, Crew of the Ethan Allen Hitchcock for one year.|
WAYNE LEROY NINEMIRE JUNE 28 1925 I SHOULD NOT TALK SO MUCH ABOUT MYSELF IF THERE WERE ANYONE ELSE I KNEW SO WELL ....... Sometime between the hours of 12:01 A.M. and 11:59 P.M. on June 28, 1925 there was an uneventful happening on Park Street lot 13 Hetland, South Dakota. In a very small three room house Mrs. Lawrence Ninemire was experiencing the wonderful pains of birth. Dr. E.H. Grove was called to the home.(During that period of time there was more excitement to a birth as the parents had two choices a male or female. Today they know what sex it is before the grand entrance.) To Mr. and Mrs. Ninemire a baby boy made his appearance, who they named Wayne Leroy Ninemire. For the first three years of life I caused my parents no anguish. At the age of four I was running between rooms with a soap bubbler in my mouth. (This resembled a pipe used for smoking.) I tripped on the door stop and when falling it tore my tongue loose allowing it to fall back into my throat where it was choking me. My mother held my tongue while a neighbor lady drove us six miles to Arlington South Dakota where Dr. Grove sewed it back down. Sometime between the ages of four and five I developed a vocabulary not acceptable to my family. One day while playing behind the two holer outdoor plumbing I had a reason to use this vocabulary. I have this sister who is nine years older than me who heard me practicing this vocabulary. I don't know who she thought she was, but she being bigger and stronger she proceeded to take me in the house and wash that dirty vocabulary out of my mouth with soap. It was not Lux, Camay or Dove. Probably homemade out of animal fat and lye. I guess she should have used some bleach, because I have improved and expanded that vocabulary. I was always at my fathers heels. I was five years old when one winter night I was with my father while he was feeding the pigs. (These pigs were kept in the old livery barn in Hetland, South Dakota along with four head of horses and ten head of dairy cows.) He had a club in his right hand and was beating the pigs back so he could get their feed in the trough. On one of his back swings he hit me square in the left eye. This really shook him up. To pacify me and keep me from having to walk through the snow home he put me on a horse and he lead the horse carrying me home. No serious injury, only a black eye. Early in 1930 we moved to a farm that was the first house outside of the Hetland plat going south. Here my parents were able to expand on the dairy serving the Hetland community with milk and cream. (This was whole milk.) The house sat on a shallow hill. The road in front was gravel and at the bottom of the hill was a concert bridge. In 1931 at the age of six I was learning to ride a bicycle that had no brakes. I went down a hill on this gravel road lost control and hit the bridge. Oh I did hurt, but nothing serious only bruised in the lower extremities of my body. The barn yard consisted of an acre. On one corner there had been a building that had been removed. There was a four foot hole in the ground with large pieces of concrete on the bottom. I'm still not proficient in riding the bike and while riding in the barn yard that hole was like a magnet. I could not steer it away so down I went head first cutting my head open. I did master the bicycle. My parents ran a dairy that provided milk to the town of Hetland, South Dakota population, about 500. Unlike the dairy barns today this barn housed 14 heads of cows, baby calves and 4 head of horses. It was built very warm and provided good places for cats to hang out and get fed fresh milk. One night while milking my father counted 23 cats. They would come from town as they knew where the good life was. My father decided to slow them down. He attached a wire to the light wire and put the other end in the milk pan. When those cats hit that pan to drink they got the shock of their life. Since they couldn't figure out what was going on they would come back for more. Those that had a home decided to return to it. The udders of the cow were never washed before milking as they are today. Dried manure dropped in the bucket and if a cow got her foot in the bucket you just removed it and just continued on milking. The milk was poured through a strainer; that was as close as it got to purifying. Some milk was run through a hand cranked machine that separated the cream from the milk. the cream was sold in pint and quart glass bottles to regular customers. The separated milk was fed to pigs. Today that would be four percent milk. No one in those days would drink skimmed milk. In the fall of 1931 being six years old I started school. In those days we skipped pre-school and kindergarten. We went right into first grade. Nothing to exciting happened; a few of us wet our pants. Our desks had fold up seats. The seats were shaped to provide more comfort. This also provided a trough for the pee to run to the lowest side and on the floor. That same fall my brother Ivan and I went with our father to help retrieve a bull that had gotten out. We were on the highway running between Arlington and Preston,, South Dakota. My father told Ivan to go chase the bull back toward the house and for me to cross the highway and keep the bull from going back through the fence. There probably were not more than twelve cars a day that used that highway, but as I started across one of them hit me doing 45 MPH as the driver had the sun in her eyes and had speed up to go over the hill. My father picked my limp body up putting it in his Model T Ford and with one arm around me drove that car wide open for the six miles to Arlington. Dr. Grove was called on again to sew me up. That is all they did as there were no x-ray to determine head injuries. They laid the skin back over the top of the head cleaned out the dirt best they could and sewed it up. I probably have rocks in my head! I missed a lot of school; don't know how much because I wasn't always among the intellect. In those days they had no way of knowing the extent of brain damage; they cleaned the gravel out of the wounds sewed up what they could find through the hair (they did not shave the head) and sent you home. My brain had to have rattled around in my head like a pea in a bucket. It was probably still rattling when I went back to school. I was still covered with bandages and head swelling to where my eyes were mere slits. I didn't do very well that first year, so I went to first grade the next year. In 1932 my father, sister Irene, now sixteen years old, brother Ivan and I loaded the back seat down with glass bottles of milk. Ivan sitting on one side and me on the other. Irene was learning to drive and those model T Fords did not have power steering. When we came to the corner of Oleson and the alley she was to turn north on the alley, but she only turned 45 degrees and KAPOW took a utility pole dead center. The sudden stop rearranged the milk and Ivan and me. We all survived and if we did not have a car to deliver the milk we used a coaster wagon until the snow came then we used a sled. On August 7, 1932 Mrs. Lawrence Ninemire was experiencing those wonderful exciting pains again. The excitement being what will it be a boy or a girl. It came out a girl, who they named Loyce Revay. When I was asked, as siblings always are, if I was happy to have baby sister, my response, I would rather have a pony. The day of this great event was, also the day my father had scheduled for threshing the wheat. At age 7 I became a teamster. I was given a team of horses and two grain wagons. When one wagon got full of wheat I took it to the grain storage. When I returned with an empty wagon I changed the horses over to the full wagon and took it to the storage. This continued throughout the day. My father would put harnesses on a team of horses that I would hook to a manure spreader. I would load manure in the spreader and take to a designated field and spread it. In 1932 the depression and drought was catching up with most farmers. A farmer came to my father that winter and asked if he could bring about 100 head of cattle and ten head of horses to our farm since he had lost his farm and there was no market for cattle. My father agreed to let them come in. Most were already weak from no food. They ate up our straw stack. After that was gone there was no more feed. For humanitarian reasons they started killing the animals after they went down. There was one very nice horse that I became attached too. My father kept it in the barn and fed it. I would ride it and put a harness on it and pull kids with sleds around town. 1932 was a very bad year, because there was no rain, nothing could be raised; the dust blew so thick it turned daylight into darkness. We would wet clothes and put over our noses attempting to keep the dust out of our lungs. The dust would drift against fences, groves of trees and buildings up to four feet deep. I remembered seeing one corral with three feet of dust filling the entire corral. It blew under doors forming little dust banks two inches high and the length of the door. My father shipped hogs to Armor & Co. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. One pig weighed over 300 pounds; he got ten cents for that pig. He borrowed money from the State of South Dakota to plant the crop. There was no crop. Several years later he paid that loan off. In the spring of 1933 my mother and father moved us to a farm in Missouri. I'm not sure this was an improvement. At this time this farm was back in the Ozark Hills and woods. When this move was made we went back a century. We had kerosene lamps and lantern. The water was from a well in the front yard. There was a pulley with a rope through it to which a four inch tube three feet long was attached. It had a valve in the bottom. This tube was dropped into the well where it would fill with water. You would then hand over hand the rope until you brought the tube to the surface. You would dump the water in the bucket and take into the house. Our running water amounted to: you run to the well get the water, run it into the house, run the waste water into a slop bucket and run it out to the pig pen where it was used to mix pig feed. ( This was recycling before we knew what recycling was.) On Saturday night enough water was carried into the house to fill a large boiler, probably ten gallons. The water was heated by a stove that burned wood. By the time that water got hot that kitchen was warm. A number two galvanized tub was placed on the floor and enough water was put in it to bathe our youngest sister. Then a little more hot water was added and I got my bath. A little more hot water was added and my brother got his bath. The water was then dumped and clean water put into the tub for my father and mother to bathe. One thing for sure they did not take their bath together as an adult could not sit down in that tub. My older sister lucked out as she was working in Springfield, Missouri where she had all of the modern conveniences. My brother and I fought often, to hear my mother tell it all of the time. We were fighting one day and he threw dried cow disk at me hitting me in the face. Some of the fiber went into my eyes. (I can hear me screaming yet.) He really got severally punished even though he pleaded not guilty. He said it was an accident as he was sailing it. Dried cow disks must be where the idea came for Frisbees. Spring Time was the best ones as that is when they would be the thinnest. I had to heard cows as we did not always have grazing pastures fenced. There was an apple tree in this pasture. It was deigned for easy climbing and much easier to fall out of, which I did. My father put my arm in a sling, never knowing if it was broken. I carried it in that sling until the elbow became stiff. Since physical therapists were unheard of I had to suffer the pain while getting that elbow loosened up. My brother and I walked over two miles through the woods to a country school called Bird Eye. This was first through the eighth grades. It had three holer outdoor pit toilets and the running water was a spring bubbling up out of the ground. Our lunches were peanut-butter on homemade bread. Dry and gummy. The students ranged in ages 6 through 18. I was 8 years old in the third grade. The woman teacher was a very nice person. She did rule and maintained authority. She had a bundle of hickory switches that stood in the corner. If one of those hickory switches came whizzing by your ear and crashed on the desk top you had better come to attention. I never knew of her hitting anyone. When she spoke everyone listened. We learned more that the three R's. Us boys would hang out at the three holer during the lunch hour and smoke, of course we got caught. The place looked like it was on fire. Smoke coming out of the moon in the door and from every crack. However, before we got caught I had my experience with smoking. My brother Ivan and I had been smoking coffee, cornsilk and string with newspaper as the wrapper. One day one of the older boys brought the prize winning award for smoking. Home grown tobacco and his grandfathers corncob pipe. This was passed around like and Indian peace pipe. I was standing on the seat. It came my turn; I took a drag and blew it right out. The owner of this equipment said oh no you make a big drag and inhale. I said, how do you inhale? He said, take a big drag and go uhh sucking the air in. I took the big drag and went uhh and that was lights out for me. The audience caught me and carried me to the spring where they washed my face and head in that cold spring water. They steadied me while getting me back into the school. The teacher must have known but never said anything. Perhaps because she was watching a storm building up. She let us out before we started studying so we could get home before the storm arrived. We had a hill to climb on our way home. I was so light I just floated up the hill. By the time I got home the affects of the education had worn off. It lasted a lifetime; I never became addicted to tobacco. I can remember my mother questioning us one night about smoking, as our clothes carried the odor, my brother said no we have not been smoking we had a bonfire at school today and we ran through the smoke.(she bought it). He was 13 years old and never stopped smoking. In the spring time when the water would be high in the creek we had to cross; my father would put us on a horse and we would swim it across, then turn it back to my father. At night he would meet us and we would reverse the procedure. In the fall and spring the road to civilization became a quagmire. The only way we could get out and in was to hook a team of horses to the vehicle and pull it through the mud. Fortunately we did not go out often, but my father had to have a team of horses harnessed to pull the milk truck in to pick up the milk and then pull it back out. One day my brother and I went swimming with the neighbor who furnished the lesson on smoking and his brothers. When we got to the swimming hole they said there are water moccasins (snakes) in there; we will show you how to get rid of them. They all ran into the water splashing and making a lot of commotion. Then they went in. Just before Christmas of 1935 my father had a serious accident. He was using a power take off from the rear wheel of a model T Ford to power a circle wood saw. His pant leg became entangled by some bolts on the wheel and he was wrapped around the drive shaft. This broke his left leg and the knee. He was taken to the hospital in Springfield, Missouri. The county was to move us from the farm to a rented house in Springfield, before they could get to us we had an 18 inch snow fall, making it impossible for anyone to get in or out of the property. That Christmas had nothing but sorrow. We eventually got moved to Springfield. My father was four months in the hospital. He was severally crippled the rest of his life. This house was located in the upper part of the poverty fiats. It was almost modern. It had running water and a flush toilet in a room on the back porch. The room had no heat so in the winter you did not spend much time in it. We still took baths in the number 2 tub on Saturdays only. We were not there long before the sewer plugged. I don't know if we put something down it that it wasn't designed for. Where we came from you could put anything down them. We could not afford electricity so it was still kerosene lamps. In January 1936 I started school at Roberson Grade school in Springfield, ( I think that school is still being used). It had been four years since I had been hit by a car. My face was still swollen to where my eyes were slits, many of the kids wondered what this was coming to school; it looked like Chinese and talking funny. The South Dakota language and the Missouri language were decades apart. My mother finally got on the WPA. It was a government program to get you off of welfare. She was a seamstress in a garment factory. She had to furnish her own sewing machine. She had a good singer sewing machine, but did not want to use it in that work. She bought a White sewing machine for $10.00. Her Singer sewing machine still works and is still in the family. We lived there something over a year. Apparently the rent was to high so we moved farther down on poverty fiats. This put us right under the Frisco Railroad shops. When they worked on railroad cars they would dump scrap iron over the side of the bank. since I had gotten into the scrap iron collection business, ( I was getting ten cents a hundred weight for it) I found a gold mine in that mountain of scrap and dirt. My first time on the mountain I had my bag about as full as I could carry when a man appeared at the bottom of the mountain. He called me and two adults down and informed us we were trespassing. I did not know what trespassing was. He took us to a shack where there was a phone and made a phone call. By this time I was scarred. I pleaded with him to let me go tell my father where I was. He said dump your iron and you may go and don't come back here again. My scrap iron business just went bankrupt. I was still in the same school district. While still living there the first skate boards came into existence. We would take two 2x4's nail them together like an L. We would take a skate apart and attach one half to the front of the board and the other half to the back. We would attach a board across the top of the other board for a handle and we had a skate board with a handle. The cost was nothing as we would find a pair of throw away skates. Apparently we became a little more affluent as we moved out of the poverty and into a nice home (all modern) in a nice neighborhood. Again I did not have to change schools. I completed the sixth grade there and then went to a junior high by the name of Reed Junior High. It was so big and so many kids I was awed. We had to change classes. The traffic was so heavy there were student patrol directing traffic and keeping order. They could write you a ticket if you broke a rule. I was scared all of the time I went there which was not very long. The next April we moved back to a farm. This was a great community. Most people were doing quite well. However, we went backwards again. We hauled water from a spring that was down over a hill and a long way from the house. There was a well with a handle pump on the back porch, but it was so deep no one could pump it. We traded a nice comfortable toilet for another two holer, cold, stinking pit toilet. We did continue using nice soft toilet paper. The other two holers we used Scars and Montgomery Ward catalogs. They had some nice soft sheets in them and they were the first to go. Then there was a lot of slick sheets left and only a bath on Saturday night WOW. For me the advantages outweighed the disadvantaged. The person who owned the property kept saddle horses there for his riding; although he never rode them. He turned them over to me. At one time I had ten to pick from. There was a young one that I broke to ride. There were clew berry vines all through the pasture. I would catch the horse in the pasture a long way from the house and take a dew berry vine about five feet long run it through his mouth and jump on his back and ride like a wild Indian. Then I stopped using the dew berry vine and guided him by tapping him on the side of his neck One day on my way home from school I hopped on his back and we headed for the house at a dead run. He felt really good that day and as we came down a small hill and just as it bottomed out and started up a hill he bucked, he had never bucked with me. I went head first into that hill. I was very dizzy, hut took him to the barn where I put a saddle and bridle on him. Always before I could throw the saddle on him. By this time my wrists were swollen so had they would not bend. I had to push the saddle up his side. To tighten the cinch was very painful. By this time my nose was also swollen out to my eyes. My mother was home, hut I avoided her and rode to my friends house and his mother put something on my wrists that made them feel better. At the supper table that night I could not conceal my secret any longer. Apparently a broken nose, but no other broken bones, you will heal. I started school at another country school where grades first through eight were taught by one teacher in a one room building. Coming from the seventh grade in a large city school to a one room school where all grades were taught by one teacher proved to be a real strain on me. They did not use the same books, did not teach the same courses and they were taking quarterly test. There was only two months of school left that year. I was a victim of circumstances. I was kept in the seventh grade for the next year. We got a new teacher that year and I picked up right away. I was now learning from a country school book and country school methods. After completing the eighth grade I started at Fair Grove High. Had to walk a quarter of a mile to catch the school bus. I got through my ninth year when we moved again. While living here us boys had a good swimming hole on the creek I did not know how to swim. One day I got in over my head and I was going up and down. There were several boys around me but none of them offered to help. Mike Costello was up in the brush taking care of nature and heard the hollering. He came running down reached out his hand and pulled me into shallow water. This new place was a total disaster. It was a long way from the main road. The road to the house was down a steep hill over a washed rocky road. The house was a shack and the barn was not better. The two holer looked like it could collapse at any time and we even went back to catalogs. I was the typical ignorant hillbilly kid so the environment did not mean anything to me. I enjoyed it. Since my father was disabled I had to do the farming. I plowed with a team of horses that pulled a plow that turned 12 inches of dirt. I plowed on a hill that was so steep I had to put the handles of the plow in my hands and hold them above my head to keep the plow in the ground. It was so rocky I was not turning the soil but scooting the rocks around. I would plow ten and twelve hours a day and I might plow an acre of land. This move put me in Strafferd High School District. I walked along a dry creek bed, climbed two fences to get to the road where I caught the bus. I did not like the people nor the school as a whole so I went back to Fair Grove. To catch a Fair Grove bus I used a bicycle for the first leg of transportation. I still had to get over two fences; to do this I built a platform on each side. I set the bike up Jori one side then lift it over the fence to the other side. The second fence where it went across the creek was high enough I could crawl under. Then I rode two miles over a gravel road up and down hills to where I left the bike at another students home and we caught the bus. The school bus was built of a wood like plywood(don't think plywood existed yet?). It was so low that even us kids had to lean down to walk in it. It was built on an old truck frame. When we left the school at the end of the day the bus would be packed with bodies right up to the door. The first person to get off would be the last to get on. When coming out of the school ground there was a little dip and if the driver came off of it at an angle it would throw the last person on the bus off balance and his butt would go through the glass in the door. This happened several times. I did this for two years which included two winters. The temperature would often go to zero. There were days when there was a foot of snow. I would ride the bike in the trail made by the cars. The second year (which was 1942-43 I was 17) my parents moved to Springfield, Missouri leaving me on the farm. I would get up in the morning, milk eight cows, take care of 200 laying hens, 200 baby chicks, several head of hogs and four head of horses. Then fix my breakfast and lunch and get on that bike and ride. When I would get off that school bus at night and did it all again. It was all so routine that I never stopped to think about whether I liked it or not. Ail that effort for an education and I did not know anything. I don't remember what I ate. My parents would come out on the weekends and bring food and take the cream and eggs to town and sell them. I remember two cooking incidents. I was cooking a pot of beans (on a wood burning stove ) when I left to go look for a mare that was do to foal. When I got back the bottom inch of the beans was black. They had cooked dry. I wanted some chocolate pudding (there was no box pudding in these days ) so I had to make if from scratch. I misread the recipe. It called for something like a table spoon of cocoa and I must have used a cup. The first bite was WOW. I could not figure out what was wrong. I kept adding sugar, but nothing would make it taste like my moms. I hired a man at $1.50 a day to help plant the crops. In one field there was a good stand of oats. We had a flood and that dry creek became a raging river. It went right through that field of oats. The livestock had to swim across to the barn. Some would go under due to the current. As I watched my dreams go down with the flood my spirits were dampened. All of the time I lived there I had to cut wood. I had a five foot two man cross cut saw. I made a bow from a hickory limb so I could operate the saw by myself. I cut the trees down and cut them into ten foot length logs. To load them on the wagon I would run two chains from the wagon under the logs then over the top of the wagon. I would then hook the horses on the chains and the horses would roll the logs up on the wagon. I got up one morning went out and did the chores, when I came back in I found the ceiling had fallen on my bed. In April of 1943 I got a letter from the Department of Navy asking if I would like to see the world. I discussed this with my parents and they agreed to sell the animals and equipment and sign me into the navy. My parents had to sign their approval since I was only 17 years old. I had a big 18th. birthday party at Farragut, Idaho compliments of the United States. I was issued my clothes and bedroll. I was proud of them and excited. I had never had so many new suits; 2 pair of shoes, underclothes, socks, work clothes, winter coat and two of the prettiest cream colored wool blankets I had ever seen. I had a good dry place to sleep (unless the guy in the top bunk wet his bed). My meals were always cooked for me and they were good and plentiful. I was making a dollar a day with no expenses. Spent the better part of three months in boot camp at Farragut, Idaho. I got sea sick on Lake Pend Oreille. We went there to learn how to row whale boats (life boats). I never go so sick I vomited but when I went to bed that night I had to hang on to the sides of the bed to keep from rolling out. This was in the barracks. After completing boot camp they gave us leave so we could go home before being shipped to the Pacific. I got on a train in Sandpoint,Idaho going to Springfield, Missouri. The power used to pull trains were steam engines fueled with coal. Since air-conditioning had not been invented we opened the window for ventilation. The cinders and smoke from the engine would be sucked into the coaches in which we were riding. It really got bad when we went through tunnels. By the time I spent three days on that train the white strips on my uniform blended into the dark of the material. The white sailor hat had also changed color. On my return trip I was routed a different way. This train was loaded to overflow capacity. Bodies were setting on the floor and often times stretched full out on the floor. When walking through the cars it was like playing hop scotch. This did not create any problems; in fact we became well acquainted. Some of the males and females became well acquainted. I was a dumb kid out of the Ozarks and had no idea what was going on under those blankets. After arriving back at Farragut we got orders to move out to Treasure Island, California (this was the man made island where the worlds fair was held located in the bay between San Francisco and Oakland.) They put us on a train at Farragut that took us to Spokane, Washington. There we were supposed to get a troop train with sleepers. There were no sleepers available. It took many hours for them to get equipment together to transport us. (breakdown in communication) It took several days and nights to make the trip. It didn't make any difference to me as it was a much nicer life than what I had ever had. This Ozark hick was awed. The size of the buildings on Treasure Island. The mess hall would accommodate several thousand. Everything was so massive I feared getting lost and in trouble so I learned the route from the barracks to the messhall and never strayed from that unless I was lead. There was the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, San Francisco with it's hills, tall buildings and street ears running up and down Market Street. The street ears were so close together when standing between them, as people did, you felt as if you could not turn sideways. I got off one thinking it was stopped and it was the one next to it that was not moving. When my feet hit the ground I was turned upside down. Now I'm between two moving street cars as the other one had started. I swung my body parallel to the tracks. The motorman stopped the one I got of, when he saw I got up he just buzzed away. While waiting for orders we were sent out on a work party to equip the S.S. Lurline (an ocean going steam ship used for carrying passengers) for carrying troops. While we worked on it they were loading soldiers all having a sack lunch, us navy people were served steak at our tables.
When our orders came we were assigned to what was known as armed guard. Our group consisted of twenty four seaman (gunners), two non-commissioned officers and one commissioned officer. We were put on the Ethan Allen Hitchcock (a new liberty ship built to carry cargo and our assignment was to defend that ship against any enemy attack. To do this we were furnished a 3 inch anti-aircraft gun in the bow, a 5 inch surface gun in the stern and eight 20 millimeter anti-aircraft guns. We were an elite suicide squad none of us gunners had ever seen any of these guns let alone shoot them. Here is the crew list of the SS Ethan A Hitchcock: Caskadon,Clyde Beaver 656 25 36 Cox. V6 USNR Wells,Rudolph Garfield 376 86 58 GM3/C V6 USNR Evenson,Kenneth Bruce 757 74 03 S-1/C V6 USNR Gorecki,Walter(N) Jr. 306 30 95 S-1/C USN Jennings,John Leonard 859 39 04 S-1/C V6 (SV) Jones,Clifford Henery 866 19 29 S-1/C V6 (SV) Kanter,Marvin Jerome 866 19 43 S-1/C V6 (SV) Lafave,Allendean William 870 19 87 S-1/C V6 (SV) Matthews,Leanard Neal 576 97 88 S-1/C V6 USNR Midgett,Thomas Layton 872 90 67 S-1/C V6 (SV) Moe,Wallace Robert 870 17 09 S-1/C V6 (SV) Momberg,Gus John 386 71 58 S-1/C USN Newhouse,William Loren 859 37 46 S-1/C V6 (SV) Ninemire,Wayne Leroy 338 45 13 S-1/C USN Shiffer ,Curtis Leroy 859 37 39 S-1/C V6 (SV) Shriber,Ll0yd Clifford 882 99 50 S-1/C USN(SV) Sisk,Martin(N) 338 45 10 S-1/C V6 USNR Skothenien,Kenneth Orval 886 66 34 S-1/C V6 (SV) Strickland,William Forrest 870 18 34 S-1/C V6(SV) Thomas,Kay Edward 884 76 18 S-1/C V6 (SV) Tilley,Stanley Edward 338 45 07 S-1/C V6 USNR Thomas,William Jared 871 90 99 S-1/C V6(SV) Troyer,Leslie Elmer 866 18 90 S-1/C USN (SV) Vinson,Dale Earl 621 89 01 S-1/C V6 USNR Smith,Raleigh (N) 274 76 35 SM 3/C USN Sept 8, 1943 the following men reported abord for duty: Smith,Glen Royal 564 98 74 RM 3/C ,V6 Webb,Edward Lloyd 555 85 75 RM3/C V6 The ship was not completely ready for the sea, but they wanted it out on that particular day in November 1943. It was late in the day when the lines were cast off and we were on our way. I was so excited; from the Ozark hills to this in five months. We sailed on calm water by Alcatraz Prison under the Golden Gate Bridge. As San Francisco faded in the distance and twilight settled in the water started moving. As we were leaving the bay approaching the open sea we passed the Farrlon Islands. These were the cause of out first ruff water. They were causing land swells and the ship was doing a little rolling. As we moved through this and into the open sea we hit extremely ruff water. The life boats had not been brought in and cradled on the deck. They swung out and in with the roll of the ship, knocking holes in all of them. The merchant marine crew who were operating the ship worked feverishly to get the ship secured for sea. We were told the ship was rolling to a 45 degrees. My bunk was fore and aft (longways of the ship rather than crosswise) therefore I would roll from the outside to slam against the bulkhead (wall). I used blankets, lifejackets, clothes and stuffed them between me and the bulkhead. After being at sea for awhile you no longer needed that stuff and you enjoyed the roll. The ships cruising speed was 12 knots (Approximately 13.5 MPH) so it took us a long time to get to Auckland, New Zealand. We had cargo for them so we were there for quite sometime. Then we took cargo to Christ Church, South Island, New Zealand. These ports are below the equator. We were taken to an Island for gunnery practice. The first night there we were hit by a hurricane. Palm trees were flying, tents were destroyed and water very deep. The next day we spent digging out. After leaving there we sailed back up north of the equator going from one island to another moving cargo and equipment where it was needed. We eventually came back to California where we took on another load of cargo and set sail for Perth Australia. That took us forty-two days and forty-two nights. We left there and went to Calcutta, India where we unloaded some cargo. Then we went to Colombo Ceylon (now called Srilanken) Then we went back to Calcutta. This time they loaded three hundred monkeys as deck cargo. These were for research in the United States. One of the ships crewmen contracted to care for them. He lost only eight. Occasionally one would escape and provide a real show. He would climb the rigging and hang over the side. From there we went through the Suez Canal and stopped at Port Said, Egypt. Could not get off of the ship as it was subject to being bombed. Then we moved over to Alexandria,Egypt. I went ashore there, don't remember a thing about it! From there we sailed through the Mediterranean Sea by the Rock of Gibraltar into the Atlantic Ocean. We landed in Baltimore, Maryland where we unloaded all of the ammunition. We were taken to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards and given orders to report back at Treasure Island by a certain date. When unloading the barge at the Brooklyn Naval Yard my gear was accidentally thrown in the water. It floated and was retrieved but my blankets and much of my other gear got wet. The barracks we slept in that night were cold and my sleeping under wet blankets I caught a severe cold. I was so miserable I brought a fifth of Rock and Rye whiskey, I had run out by the time I got to St. Luis and it being Sunday no liquor was being sold. Had to pay a cab driver to take me where I could get some bootleg stuff. By the time I got to Springfield I did not have a cold. I spent a few days in Springfield then caught a train back to Treasure Island. I was at Treasure Island a few days when I among others were loaded on buses and taken to Port Chicago, California. Here we replaced over three hundred people who had been killed when three ships being loaded with ammunition blew up. That was now our job, to load ships with ammunition.
I was always looking for a better job. The first one I tried was painting vehicles. I had never had a spray gun in my hand, but I told them I had experience. They put me to the test by putting me on top of a bus to paint. I had paint running down the sides. I didn't get that job. Probably a good thing I may have become a body and fender man. Then I worked my way into the dry cleaning department. They knew I didn't know anything about that, but they taught me what I had to know. This came under ships service. This included the store, the soda fountain and beer parlor. Often they would not have enough people to run these departments so they would pay us extra for working there since we were considered forty hour a week personnel. The benefits that came with this job were: I could eat all the ice cream I could hold ( I especially liked the eggnog),the beer that would freeze would be written off. We would thaw it out and drink it. I have always been conservative don't waste anything. I got acquainted with one of the head cooks and after drinking beer we would go to the meat cooler in the galley (kitchen) and he would find the best loin and cut us each a thick steak. He would cook it and fry some eggs and what ever else we wanted. While there at Port Chicago I bought a military surplus Indian Scout (45) motorcycle. I had a lot of trouble with it. There was rust in the gas tank. One day it died on the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge ( it was raining). A patrolman was right there and the next thing a wrecker was there who took it back to the San Francisco. I finally removed the tank cut the back side out cleaned the rust out had it welded back. That took care of that problem. Then the clutch went out so I took it off and hitch-hiked to San Francisco with the clutch in a paper bag. I got the clutched fixed and was hitch-hiking back to the base, my hands were greasy and uniform not to clean, I was picked up by three senior citizens driving a large expensive car. They asked me the usual questions, Where are you stationed?, Where are from?, What a are you doing ?, etc. Then they asked if I had eaten lately. My answer was that I had not eaten since morning. They asked if I would like to go to their home for dinner. ( they must have recognized this was a dumb kid from the Ozark Hills). I was delighted to go with them. They lived in the Claremont Hills of Berkeley. This is a very wealthy area one of their neighbors was Admiral Halsey who at that time was the naval commander of the Pacific Fleet. In the eyes of a kid whose last home was a shack their home was a mansion, When we arrived at the house one of the men took me to the second floor to a bathroom where I could clean up. I must have looked bad as he said make yourself at home if you would like to bathe you may do that too. When you finish come back down stairs. We were served dinner in a large dining room. There were several people there for dinner. The madam of the house sat at the head of the table as she was the director. When she wanted something she rang a bell and two people were there at her beck and call. The meal was served in courses. I do not remember how many, but the main coarse was baked salmon. Up to that time I had never heard of salmon. (now I'm married to one) This was a memorable experience and I still remember their name (Ristenpart). From there I hitch-hiked back to the base and got the motorcycle running. During the summer of 1945 I took leave and headed for Springfield, Missouri on my motorcycle. I was well into the Mojave Desert when the motor started losing power. I discovered the oil pump had come loose and the oil was being pumped out. The engine finally died. I caught a ride to the next settlement. This is Route 66 and during the war not much traffic. I got two gallons of oil and caught a ride back to the bike. I poured in some oil and it started. I kept pouring in oil until I got back to that service station. I sold the motorcycle to the owner for $20.00. I walked out to the highway in front of the station and caught a ride with a fellow who was going to St. Louis, Missouri. He had also picked up a soldier going to St. Louis. His car had recap tires, so could not exceed 45MPH. They switched driving while I had the back seat to myself. We arrived in Springfield where my mother had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. They spent the night with us and left the next morning. I returned to Port Chicago by train. While at Port Chicago through another sailor I got acquainted with two Irish sisters in Napa, California. One I became partial too. She was only 16 years old.. Her parents took a liking to me. If I missed two weeks not coming to see them they would call the base trying to locate me. One of her brothers came home from the service and I started running with him and his friends. I suppose it was because we were much older and playing the field. They outfitted me with civilian clothes. One night three of us fellows went to an area where there were several night clubs. The area was packed including the roadways. Most of the brains was saturated in booze, of course we had our bottle and I was in the middle of the front seat holding the mighty spirits. We met a car on a curve on our side of the road. Since the speed of each vehicle was low no one was injured, but the cars were demolished. I was out of uniform and many miles out of bounds. I feared everyone would wind up in jail and I would be turned over to the navy. I jumped out of the car threw the booze and got of there. I was never listed on the accident report. I went down over a bank where I stayed the rest of the night freezing my buns. At daylight I started walking toward Napa. There was no traffic. I walked about eight hours. I beat the other two home. I thought they had spent the night in jail, but they spent it in a nice motel On one of my trips to Napa I was hitch-hiking back to the base one morning. The fog was so thick visibility was zero. I was picked up by a state game warden. As we inched our way along before we could see it we met another ear on our side of the road. They made contact on the left front of each vehicle. The other car failed to stop. I was told to get out as he turned around to pursue while on his radio. Three other sailors had gone together and bought a 1927 Buick. It was in excellent shape. Often times burned kerosene along with what gas we could get( it was rationed). You could turn the switch off go into a bar and then there would be this loud explosion; that was the Buick. The first time we went out expecting to see it in pieces, after that we never bothered to go look. Five of us were coming back from swimming one day, as we came around a curve two cars were parked on the road one headed in each direction. Our driver tried to miss them, but hit the right rear of one, He had tried so hard to stop he broke a brake rod so we now had no brakes. We then traveled off of the road into a hay field. The force from the three of us in the back seat against the front seat and the post that held the doors closed. All four doors flew open scattering our beverages and bathing trunks through the hay field. Nothing was hurt but our feelings, our beautiful car was ruined. Politicking existed at that time I just didn't know it was politicking. I got a call at the cleaners from a yeoman in the headquarters office. He said he had before him the papers for my third class rate. He said I can put them through a month early if you will clean my clothes for a couple of weeks ( that meant for free) I agreed. I got a call one day in May 1946 from a yeoman in the headquarters office. He said you are up for discharge in June if you will clean my clothes for a period of time I will get you on an early draft to the separation center. I agreed. I got to the separation center and one of the personnel with my papers in hand hollered out we can't let this guy go his time is not up. There was some discussion what to do with me. They wired Washington, DC for disposition. Three days later they called for me over the speakers. They said you are out of here compliments of the government. I gained ten days. The people at Napa had asked me to come live with them. I and the daughter had fallen out of love, but we were like brother and sister. I went to work as an apprentice in a dry cleaners. All of the cleaning was done by another cleaners. All I got to do was press. The outside temperature was over 100 degrees. There was no air-conditioning in the building and it must have been 120 degrees standing over those presses. I decided I did not like that work so I quit. I next went to work for Shell Oil Company in a service station and enrolled in Junior College ( high school). Nothing appealed to me but the good times I was taking advantage of that. On Saturday night we would dance all night. The first part of the night we would be at the Dream Bowl where many of the big name bands played. That place closed at 1:00 a.m. Then we would go through town get something to eat and go to the SWING SHIFT. ( This was established to give the people coming off of the swing shifts a place to dance). Here we would dance the rest of the night. There was no booze served at either of these places so for the most part there was very little drinking of alcohol. While living at Napa I got aquatinted with a fellow who introduced me to flying. On my maiden flight as we left the traffic pattern and started to climb the engine died. He tried to start it diving but did not have enough altitude to do much diving. He decided we were out of gas so a forced landing was in order. He made a perfect dead engine landing on the airport from where we had just taken off. We were flying off of an airport where he had worked and had been closed. I don't know those airplanes he was flying but he always could get one. There was a large underground gas tank that supplied us with gas. One day we were flying a surplus military basic trainer and we found ourselves at the same altitude and meeting a squadron of navy fighters. He went on to become a captain for Japanese Airlines. I left Nape going back to Port Chicago where I lived with the fellow who used to cook me steak and eggs on the base and his wife. I was able to make enough money to pay my way. Another sailor who was a good friend was discharged. He and I signed on with a painting contractor at $2.00 an hour seven hours a day. I was now making over $400.00 a month. I had never seen so much money and never seen it for very long. We continued having fun. The first day on the job we were given a hand full of putty and told to putty nail holes in the siding. We had gobs of putty the size of a silver dollar over each nail head. One of the bosses saw that and hollered someone show those guys how to putty those holes. The old timer painters took us under their supervision and taught us how to be journeymen painters and how to pass the test to get in the union. While living in Concord, California I became a student pilot and earned my private license. In March of 1948 I returned to Springfield, Missouri where I joined the family in mourning the death of my father. I was living with my mother on a farm. My father had cows, calves, and pigs. He also had a 1929 Model A four door car. Ivan and I had a calf we wanted to get to market so we loaded it in the back seat of the car. I baby-sat the calf while Ivan drove. We are driving down the road with the calves head sticking out of the back window. We got it to market. We also tried to pull a plow with that car, would not work. I went to work in the Veterans Administration Hospital as a kitchen aid. This involved taking an electric cart of food from the kitchen to an assigned ward and feeding the patients there prescribed diet. We had to leave the ward kitchens very clear. We kitchen aids discovered that cream made excellent floor polish. Since we had a lot of it we would pour it on the floor and buff it to a beautiful luster. This job paid $1,818.00 a year. I left that job and went to work for my long time friend Frank Costello who had a truck stop. During this time I was continuing my education in flying. I earned my commercial license with instructor and multi-engine ratings. I went to work for Southern Missouri Air Service as a flight instructor and commercial pilot At that time we were teaching many exservice men to fly so I built up hours fast The company secured a contract with Missouri Farmers Association to fly bull seman to cow inseminators throughout Southern Missouri. This was accomplished by our flying low over a drop area and dropping a container of seamon through a chute in back of the seat. This container was attached to a small parachute that would immediately open as soon as it left the plane. There were a few that landed in tree tops, but as many were caught by the inseminator on the ground. I would get up at 4:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday to be at the farm from where we took off at daylight We had only bare instruments and no radios in the planes. We would call the weather station by phone that was located at the airport for the latest weather information. One morning I got a favorable report and in ten minutes ran into a snow storm. I survived that one. I left one morning and ran into a severe thunder storm. I put the plane down in a cow pasture, in so doing I hit a hole with the nose wheel and it reared up tipped nose down and crashed. They sent the chief pilot out with another plane. We transferred the load and took off. We were forced down six or eight times that day and waited for the weather to clear so we could continue. We were running out of day light and still had not finished. We had lost track of where we were as the clouds had us so low we could not see. We came to a water tower that was the same height as we that had the name of the town on it. We found a cow pasture put down tied the plane down and they came and got us in a truck. I had highways and railroads I could usually turn to if the visibility got to low. We didn't know any better and thought this was fun. Normally I would be back at the airport by noon. There were beds in the hanger and I would lay down to get some sleep. Many times a student would come for instruction, this would interrupt my sleep. If we were practicing take off and landings I would go to sleep after the plane left the ground and would wake up when the engine was throttled back to land. Many times I would make a night cross country flight with a student to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I would get home at midnight. I met this beautiful young girl, who was my sister-in-laws sister and my hormones kicked in. The problem was she lived in Columbia, Missouri. This was 150 crooked highway miles and by air (if I didn't get lost) was about two hours. I did get lost once and had to land in a cow pasture and get out of the plane that I left running while I went to a house and asked where am I. This ran me low on gas so I had to find an airport. When I turned the gas ticket in management wanted to know what I was doing way off course. Mary Virginia Salmon 20 years old shy and innocent, yes that was the one I had been looking for. I flew to Columbia to bring her back to Springfield on Thanksgiving Day 1949. The wind became very strong and as we flew over The Lake Of The Ozarks the wind would twist the airframe and the door would keep popping open. Mary had to lean out over that lake and pull the door closed. Over the years she flew many miles with me. On January 6, 1950 we stopped the commuting by getting married. Our entire assets was $40.00 and a 1941 Chevy coupe. Two weeks after we were married I was forced down due to heavy rain. I landed on an airport with runways of red clay mud. The plane came to a very fast stop as the wheels were in the clay up to the hubs. The next two days I spent in a motel. This life was not designed for a good marriage. In June I became a police officer in Springfield. This was a good job and one I enjoyed, but the pay was so low I had to moonlight in a dry cleaners to make it. In November a son was born. My life was changing very fast. In March 1951 I came home from working the swing shift and listened to the news. I told my family that within a month I would be called back into the navy as I was in the reserve. In April I received train tickets and orders to report to Treasure Island. I was there six weeks and just before I was shipped out Mary flew out for a few days. She was now learning what it was like being married to a sailor. Ail these changes in less than 18 months. I often wondered what this poor girl thought. She never once complained. I was on a troop transport with several hundred other military personnel headed for Korea. We arrived in Pearl Harbor where I got my orders to report to the USS Caliente some where in Pacific. I met another ship service petty office with orders for the same ship. We learned the ship was at some island ( I do not remember the name). We caught a military plane headed for that island. As we embarked from the plane and asked where the Caliente was, we were directed to the only ship in sight that had just gotten underway. We had to catch a plane out, I don't remember where we finally caught the ship. The ship was a tanker carrying aircraft fuel in the forward tanks and black crude oil in midship tanks. While underway at twelve knots we would take battleships and aircraft carriers on the port side and destroyers and supply ships on the starboard side. We would transfer fuel through large hoses to those ships. We operated between Korean waters and Japan until December at which time we set sail for the US. I won the anchor pool of over $300.00 This is the time the anchor pin is released allowing the anchor to go down. I obtained leave and made a fast trip home to see my family. We took on a load of fuel and supplies for the fleet. On our return to Japan we ran into a hurricane. A tanker fully loaded only has a three foot freeboard ( the amount of the shipside above water). The first day the ocean would break over the ship. The second day we were under water most of the time. The mess hall being in the stern required all enlisted personnel to go there to eat. Once they got back there they could not return to midships. They stayed there for more than twenty-four hours. During this time the ship was being torn apart. Reels containing cable welded to the bulkhead (walls) with inch and one half steel-pieces of were torn away like tissue paper. There were two bilge pumps running at capacity because we were taking on water so fast. One of them failed. The engineers got it repaired. Talk among the officers was when we should we abandon ship. On the fourth day we got out of the storm. When the forward hatch was opened water came pouring out. The first level here was loaded with canned goods for the fleet. Large cans were rolled and compressed to a size of a softball. Many had ruptured and the water was thick and discolored. Upon arrival in Japan the fuel was pumped off and the ship put in for dry dock for extensive repairs. I left the ship in March 1952 as I got an emergency leave to go to my mother who was listed in serious condition in Richland, Washington. I went to Tokyo where I caught a plane under contract with the government to fly military personnel.After the plane reached it's cruising altitude one of the flight officers came walking down the isle, it was Dick Bottini the fellow who took me on my first flight. It was not long before he came back and asked if I would come up and set in as co-pilot as the captain was going to bed. I held that position to Waie Island where Dick got off. I continued on as a passenger to Fairfield Airforce base near Sacramento, California. From there I hitch-hiked to Richland, Washington. The last ride I caught to Richland was with a fellow who was resigning from his job and leaving for Chicago in three days. He took me to Fremont, Nebraska where he let me out around 8:00 P.M. I was standing in the cold on a desolate highway when a taxi cab stopped. This was an older Kaiser vehicle. He was going south to pick up a fare he said. He drove at 80MPH and did not slow for curves. He said that car was designed for curves. He let me out at Hays, Kansas around midnight. There wasn't even a light burning in Hays. It was cold. There was a car that drove around the block several times and finally stopped. It was two young girls wanting to know where I was going. They said they would take me to Salina, Kansas. They let me out on a highway to Joplin, Missouri about 1:30 a.m. Two police officers stopped and asked where I was going. They said it sure was cold to be standing out there, they offered no help. About thirty minutes later they came back and said hop in we have got you a ride to Joplin. They took me to a truck and that driver took me to Joplin. I slept all the way. It was daylight when we got to Joplin. I got home sometime that day. Mary and I loaded everything we owned in a 1941 business coupe. Steve who 16 months old had a place in back of the seat. He did not know me and had a fear of me. He wanted to go home to his daddy who he thought was Ivan. The first night out Steve slept in a dresser drawer. He got homesick and vomited and wouldn't eat. The car started jumping out of gear. I had a defrost fan on the dash I took it off tied it to the gear shift. The gears finally wore down so they would mesh together. I was under pressure as I had to report to Pier 91 in Seattle by a certain date. This was no honeymoon. Apartments in Seattle were as scarce as hens teeth. We found one in the basement of an old six story apartment building. The sewer line and toilet of the apartment above us was right over our bed. The tenant apparently worked the swing shift as they would flush the toilet at 1:00 A.M. They would also vacuum at that time of day. Steven's bedroom had been the coal bin when they burned coal. Can't even describe how bad the kitchen range was. I requested an early release and it was granted. Some Chief Petty Officer wanted to know where my seabag was. I told him aboard ship in Japan. He said you can't be released until you have it. Some one changed his mind as I once again got out compliments of the government. This time it was three months. It took two years to get my seabag. It was all there. I was released back to reserve status on July 2, 1952 and on July 3 we joined Clara and Ivan who now live in Spokane, Washington. We rented a furnished apartment, now we are upstairs. I immediately started telegraph school and worked nights at the drive-in theater. The Northern Pacific railroad paid my tuition as I signed a contract that I would work for then for one year. I made that 28 1/2 years. I went to work for them on January 19, 1953. They sent me to Ritzville, Washington to break in for three days at seventy-five cents an hour. I worked there a few days and they sent me to Lind, Washington. I was working from mid-night to 8:00 A.M. I was staying at the old Lind Hotel. They only had one room to rent the rest were all torn up. The one I was in wasn't any better. The rats would wake me up. It was a total mess. I moved out of it into a caboose that was set out for the train crew. They used it at night and I during the day. Mary and I finally brought an old 1942 - 24 foot none modern trailer. We were at Lind, Washington for three months. We would have dust storms so bad you couldn't see 200 feet. I pulled this trailer with that 1941 chevy. The trailer had no brakes and our turn signal was a lath with a white rag wrapped around it. Mary would hand it to me when we were to turn and I would stick it out of the window giving the hand signal as to what we were going to do. That first year we moved that trailer thirteen times and the second year twelve times. We saw a lot of new country and made a lot of friends. We lived in that trailer for three years. Then we bought a new 41 foot two bedroom all modern one. I got a promotion and the company paid to have it moved. It was moved four times with the final being Spokane, Washington where it was sold and we brought our first house. While working as a telegrapher I held a job for over a year at Mabton, Washington. I worked from 4:00 P.M. to midnight. During the day time I taught students to fly out of the Prosser, Washington airport. When I was promoted to Chief clerk in the traffic office at Lewiston, Idaho we moved the trailer to Clarkston, Washington where we lived for two years. While there I taught two brothers and one of there wives to fly. They let me use their airplane as payment. Mary, Steve and I would fly to Spokane and Richland. In 1960 I was promoted to City freight agent in Spokane. Then something happened. In May of 1961 Mary produced a boy and a girl. Now there is five of us. In 1962 I was promoted to City Freight Agent in Portland, Oregon. In 1966 I was promoted to traveling freight agent out of Portland covering eastern Oregon. When we moved to Portland we rented a house. In February 1969 we brought a beautiful house from my boss who had retired. In June 1969 I was promoted to Area Sales Manager, at Pasco, Washington. We lived in Portland seven years and enjoyed it, but we must move on. I retired form Burlington Northern in June 1981. We now live in Kennewick, Washington. This is the third time we have lived in Kennewick. We have now lived in this area twenty-nine years. During that time we have owned two small farms where we raised cattle and had horses. We enjoyed them, but it kept us tied down and we wanted to be free. We sold the farm and now live back in town so if we decide to leave all we have to do is lock the door. Since retiring from the railroad I worked for about one year for a freight forwarding company. Didn't like that so I quit. I worked two summers cutting 450 acres of alfalfa hay. As soon as I got it cut I started cubing it with a portable cuber. Then I went to work for Columbia Mosquito Control District. This covered the area in Burbank, Washington where we lived. I did that for four summers. For two summers I drove a tractor for a large farming operation. While I worked during the summers we would travel during the winter. We made several trips to Missouri. ON one of these trips we extended it to Kalamazoo, Michigan. One year we left in September traveled down the Oregon Coast and to Los Angeles where we had quite an experience. We had been in the Hollywood area one day. It was during the rush hour we decided to go back. When I looked at a map it looked simple to get on the freeway and get off at a certain exit. It wasn't that simple and we both had to visit nature bad. We left the freeway and came to a small shopping area. We parked the pickup and started looking for a toilet. We found ourselves on the outside-backside of this shopping center. I told Mary I think we have made a big mistake, we were seeing nothing but black people. We got back on the front side of the shopping area and went into a restaurant where they allowed us to use their facilities. After we ate we asked the waitress how we could get to where we wanted to go. She was an oriental and couldn't make it to clear. She told a blackman what we wanted and he gave us good directions. The waitress said you are in the Watts district I will watch you go to your car. Get in lock the doors and don't stop until you get out of this area. I handed Mary a piece of pipe and told her if anyone tries to get in use this. We made it with no more problems. We worked our way over to Arizona where we stayed until February. We did a lot of sight seeing of Arizona at this time. The next trip we left in September and covered some of New York City, Niagara Falls and the state of New York, Pennsylvania,Washington,D.C., on down the east coast to Key West, Florida. Followed the Gulf Coast around to Texas at which point we headed for the northwest corner of Texas as we were headed for Tucumcari, New Mexico where we spent Christmas with one of Mary's sisters and husband. On our way to Arizona we toured Carlsbad Caverns. We spent the winter in Arizona where we did more sight seeing. We got home in February. We had been gone four months traveled 14,000 miles. While on the east coast we fought so many battles, waded through so much blood I told Mary I can't stand to go through another battle. But then while in Tombstone, Arizona we went through the battle of the OK Corral. Then I went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service as a hunter check station checker. This now had me going to work in October until the last of January. I worked thirteen hour days three days a week. I checked hunters license, charged them ten dollars and assigned them a blind to hunt water fowl. I checked their kill when they came out. If they were dumb enough to show me illegal kills I wrote them a ticket. I did that for three winters. I volunteered at Our Lady Lourdes Health Center for several winters. Over the holidays in 1996 I worked as a security officer at the shopping mall. One trip was enough. In February 1997 I was getting very ancey. Some people called to see if I would do a little work for them on seven apartments. It was going to be a few weeks. As I write this it is February 1998 and I still work there. I now have them all renovated so I don't work steady.
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