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Monday, December 29, 2014

May 14, 1953

Dear Mom, Dad, and Snapper

I am on guard tonight.  I have some time so I thought I would write.  I go on guard from  to  and .  I walk the Reg. guard house area.  That is around the guard house, PX, and cleaners and parking lot where we parked that night you visited.  We came in at  today to get ready.

To day was C ration day.  We are on recoilless rifles now.

I got your letter tonight. 

I think we are going to bivouac the last of next week.  That is about the 22nd of May.  I will be glad to go in away because when I get back I’ll only have 2 weeks left o guard.  I am sending some pictures that Martin took when we were on the mortar.  I have some more I am getting developed.  How did the pictures come out you took out here.  You don’t need to send me them but I would like to have 1 or 2 that you think I would like.

Well we just finished our 11th week today.  That leaves 5 weeks.  We are still on the alert and restricted somewhat.  I didn’t have much desire to go anyplace anyway.  I want to save my money for when I come home.   I don’t know how much I will needy yet to come home but I’ll let you know.  If I don’t get my orders in time I will probably not get the charted plane and may have to go to LA or San Fran. to get a plane.  There is a chance I may not get my orders when the rest of they guys get theirs because of my special training deal and but then I may get them early.  We should finish on Thurs night and get to leave ahead of time and get more time at home. Some guys in the company across the street from us got away on a Sat afternoon and their leave didn’t start till Monday.

 I still have to get my trousers change yet.  Some of the guys are getting their changed so it shouldn’t be to long.  I got your stamps last night.  Thanks. 

Saturday is the big Armed Forces Day parade here.  I would rather see it than be in it.  You can’t see anything when your in it.

Everyone is sure in a bad mood around here anymore.  We don’t get enough sleep , its is hot etc.  They tell the squad leader where to go to when they put them on detail.  I told mine last night.  They were going to give me a recoilless rifle to clean and our Field Sgt. told the guys on guard they didn’t have to.  They were just to work on stuff to get ready for guard.  I never did clean it.

Well can’t think of anymore to say.  That coffee ration is good if you get the right amount of water with it.  Taste just like the real stuff to me.  May be I am just use to it.  Will write again.
Love, Ted

Saturday, December 27, 2014

May 12, 1953

Tues night  12 May 53

Dear Mom, Dad, and Snapper

I got your box of cookies and letters last night and a letter tonight.  The cookies are good.  Sat night I got away to the show and saw Scared Stiff with Martin and Lewis.  Sunday I messed around here and Sunday night went to see Desert Song.  It was a good picture.

I was going to go to church tonight but after dinner I didn’t have anything to do so I laid down and took a nap thinking I would wake up in time to go but I didn’t wake up until .  So I didn’t  get to go.

We are still restricted because of the alert.  If we leave the area we have to sign out and tell them where we are going. 

We had motors today and yesterday.  We got to ride out on trucks both days. 

It has been hot here lately.  I picked up another cold some place.  And the sun and wind is chapping my lips.  It doesn’t hurt much but it is annoying. 

I guess we start on the recoilless rifle tomorrow.  That will take up 4 days.  Saturday is Armed Forces Day and they are going to have a big parade.  Open house and all that.
The Clyde Beaty Circus will be here also.

I haven’t heard much about the rifle team lately.  I heard they just picked one man from here for the team.  I don’t know for sure yet.

I get guard duty Thur night.  They are going to have classes tonight at  for the guard mount.  The last bunch messed up so we have some kind of class.  This will probably be the last time I will be on it here.

I put a deposit on the airplane and a receipt for a reserved ticket.  I just get to carry 40 lbs of baggage.  Don’t know what I will do about that yet.  I want to keep my stuff with me.

I guess Richard isn’t going to be in the infantry if he is in bivououac already.  He must be in an 8 week cycle and going to be put in the Arty or something.  I didn’t think he was in the tank corps.  

Well not much to say now.  Did you get the title to the car back and have you had any bites on it?  If you don’t sell it before I get home it is OK.  I can use it.  How is the weather there now.  It is usually nice this time of year there.  Wish I was there.  Well I’ll write again later.
Love, Ted

Friday, December 26, 2014

May 9, 1953

Saturday 9 May 53

Dear Mom, Dad, and Snapper

Well guess you wondered why I haven’t written you.  Have been busy lately.  I have been firing mortars and learning about explosives, mines and booby traps.  We got to see some TNT, plastic C3, ammonia nitrate. And Bangalore torpedoes blow up.  It was interesting.  Learned how to use and put mines around and booby traps in different places.  We have about two more days in mortars then we start on recoilless rifles. 

Last night we had to pack a field pack, blankets and everything.  We all have been restricted for 2 weeks.  We are on what they call “alert”  We have our duffle bags packed and field packs and have to be ready to move out in a moments notice.  Every Btry does this some time or another.  It is for fire, riots, or invasion in the state of California.  Probably won’t go any place, no one ever has, but some one has to be ready all the time.  Everyone is restricted, even the Company Commander.  I guess I won’t get a pass for the next few weeks. 

We started our 11th week yesterday.  We will be on alert fore the 11th and 12th week and go on bivouac  13 and 14 week.  Our 15 & 16 week we will probably be restricted too.

I could use some cookies and candy when I am on bivouac.  We get mail out there.  I couldn’t carry them out there if I got them before I leave because we can only carry so much stuff.  I could also use one of those small flashlights like Snapper got for Xmas.  I got the shorts and the candy.  It sure was good.  I’ll let you know more about the bivouac  before I go.  I could use one of those flashlights now.

This morning I got to go out and fie with the rifle team, they are going to have a match next Saturday.  There was a pvt from this Regiment (Division Arty,)  LTC Pruitt was firing right with us.  Almost everyone out there was an officer.  5 of the 9 will be picked for the rifle team.  LTC Pruitt is on the team and some other officers.  247 is the highest anyone has fired at Camp Roberts.  Last time I fired it was 227 and this time I fired 231.  I used my training rifle both times.  We are supposed to get new rifles next time when we go out.  It was just for practice today and we get to go out again this next week. 

I haven’t done much this afternoon, just fooling around.  We can’t leave the area.  Well I have just a little over 5 weeks to go now.  Should go fast.  Wish I could come home for Mother’s Day.  I wanted to send something home but I don’t know what to send and you couldn’t buy anything in the PX.  Did you like my card.?  Well not much to say.  I will write again later on.  I should have more time to write now.
Love, Ted

Sunday, December 21, 2014

May 5, 1953

Tues night 5 May 53

Dear Folks

I got your letters tonight.  Glad to hear from you.  It has been hot here the last couple of days.  Really hot.  I got Margie off Sunday night.  Had a nice time and was glad she stayed.  After I took her to the airport I came back to Paso Robeles and bought a few things I needed.  I was going to ride the bus back but it was so crowded I missed getting on 3 buses.  So I went up to the corner and started hitchhiking.

I saw the restaurant where we ate dinner that Sunday night so I went over there and got a sandwich.  Later I got a ride back and got in about .  I didn’t get away till about  Sat afternoon.  Was glad you were here while you were..  We may not be getting anymore passes for awhile till basic is over.

We will be in bivouac 2 weeks, the 13 and 14 weeks.  We will start our 11th week training Friday.  That just leaves us 6 weeks. 

I got the title to the car last night.  I will mail it to you.

I heard we may go to Ft Riley for that school I told you about.  I hope it is.

We turned in our overcoats and sweaters tonight.  I sent some C rations coffee, sugar and cream back with Margie.  Some cocoa too, that is the best.  Well not much more to say now.  I’ll write again later on.
Love, Ted

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An explanation or two and a small back story

There were not many letters written in April due to the fact that is when we took our trip to California to see Dad.  By me I mean both my grandparents, Margie, and I.  Margie was Dad’s girlfriend and is mentioned a lot in the letters.  I remember her.  Tall blond.

Margie seemed more in a hurry to get there than we were, so to the best of my recollection I can only remember stopping once on our way out there but we must have stopped over night some place else.  I know one night was spent in New Mexico at a motel that was shaped like Indian Teepees.  I remember stopping at the California border and having to surrender any fruits and vegetables we might have been carrying with us.

I remember seeing Dad as we drove up in the evening standing by his barracks and the guest house we stayed in.  The people who ran the guest house were black and I spent a long time talking to a very attractive black lady.  I guess she thought I was a cute little boy.  A black soldier walked in on us as we were talking and told me he was going to tell her husband that she had been talking to me.  Sort of scared me.  When we checked out my grandfather gave me some oranges to give to the lady.  The same soldier was standing there as I went to the lady’s door and I still remember being some what intimidated and afraid he would tell her husband.

The only two things I remember about Camp Roberts is we went and played Bingo and one of the prizes was a pin that wrote underwater.  I thought that would be a neat prize.  We didn’t win anything.  The other thing is when my grandparents and I were driving around the base one afternoon and ended up on a road that we discovered was restricted for civilian traffic.  An army vehicle came up upon us and my grandfather grabbed my army cap and put it on his head so they would think he was a soldier.  I am not sure to this day if he was serious or not.

The weekend we were there we all drove to San Francisco.  My grandfather wanted to two three things.  Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, which we did; eat in China Town, which we did; and ride the cable car, which he didn’t for reasons now I don’t recall.  We took a boat and drove around Alcatraz, visited the Red Wood Forest, and I am sure much more but that is all my 5 year old brain can recall. 

I don’t remember taking Dad back to Roberts but I do remember Margie stayed there, we stopped in Los Vegas, by grandmother bumped my head with the handle of a slot machine, some place in Arizona or New Mexico we saw tumble weed, got caught in a sand storm, went through the Petrified Forest, and saw the Painted Desert.

Dad mentions a couple of more new people in his letters of April but I did not know any of them.

The last letter Dad wrote in April was the first and one of the few times he mentioned anything about some “special training” he was going to receive based around “army intelligence.”   If you want to find out more about that go to my blog “The Adventures of Conley McAnally” and find the blog I wrote in November 2010 called “Spy Dad.”  It really is an interesting story and was not finished until dad's funeral.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Thur April 30, 1953

Thur April 30, 1953

Dear Mom, Dad, and Snapper

Well I guess you are home by now.  I am still on the 60mm motor.  Margie and I went to the show last night again.  I don’t know what I will do tonight. 

I had something happen today that may be good news and may not.  They called 16 of us out at  to go to be interviewed by Government Intelligence.  It is a secret of some kind.  They sent 5 back because they had been charged with some crime.  They took down our life history, every place we lived, when you and Dad were born and where and all that kind of stuff.  All he told us was that we would finish our basic here, take our leave as usual and then go to a 2 week school which has something to do with aircraft in one way or another.  Then we would go to our port after school.  We will still be infantry as far as I know but will have two weeks of some kind of training.  I will have to wait and find out.  It may work into something good I hope.  They told us not to talk to anyone about it and even among our selves.  They will probably be around checking on my credit and character references.

I don’t want you to say a word about this to anyone at all.  I will let you know more when I find out more.  It must be pretty secret or they wouldn't have told us not to talk about it.  They picked us up in a truck and they just told us to get on, that was all they said.

Well how was the trip?  I got your card you mailed Monday.  I guess I will close for now, I’ll write later on.  I sure miss having you here to see at night.  I really had a swell time when you were here on your trip.


Love, Ted

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

April 19n 1953

Wed morn  April 29, 1953

Dear Mom, Dad, and Snapper

Thought I would take a few minutes this morning to write you and tell you I had a swell time last weekend and I sure hated to see you go back.  Margie is still here.  I saw her Monday night for a little bit and went to the show last night.

Guess you will be home by the time you get this letter.  Wish I had made the trip back with you.

We had the .45 pistol Monday and it rained all day long.  Got kind of wet.  Tues we start the 6mm motor and will be in it for about a week.  That will just bout finish our weapons.  Won’t have many more.  Will close for now.  Will write later.  I miss having you here.
Love, Ted

Monday, February 10, 2014

Friday Night Lights

I had not been to a Van Horn Football game in over 30 years.  Seems like Tom Koely and I went to one when the Falcons were finally playing for the Interscholastic League Championship but don’t know exactly when that was.  It was a first in school history.   Funny thing is I don’t remember if they won or lots.

When I was in High School I never saw a football game from beginning to end.  The last two years I was playing and my sophomore year I was too interested in trying to talk, with some success I might add, my girl friend, who shall remain nameless, to forgo the second half and head out towards the school buses that were parked un locked and with no attendants. 

But the other night Bev and I had nothing planned and I suggested that we see if Van Horn was playing and go to the game.  Those of us who are in our senior years get in free to all the high school sporting events sponsored by the Independence School District.  Being on social security one has to find free entertainment where one can you know.

When I was in high school Van Horn was part of the Kansas City School District and a fine district it was.  But because of miss management, forced busing, redistricting, family disintegration, lack of continuity of leadership, and a host of other reason real or imagined the district for many years was just a shadow of itself and Van Horn was one of the causalities. So much so that eventually a grass root effort lead by concerned local citizens and spearheaded politically by Victor Callahan, State Senator from the area bought Van Horn under the auspices of the Independence Board of Education.  Van Horn now has a bright future.  An alumni association has been established, scholarships have been given, and a hall of honor established for distinguished graduates.  I have been over looked for the last two years but eventually they will find me and be proclaimed as one of the honorees.  Well perhaps.

The Van Horn Falcons played the Butler Bears the night we went and unfortunately lost.  However the score on the field may have spelled defeat but those in the stands, kids, band, parents and all were winners.  The enthusiasm and diversity represented by the crowd, let alone those on the field, stood out and made me think that this is how it is supposed to be.  There were people of different races and ethnicity sitting side by side hand in hand, a far different picture than when I went to school there, but those were secondary identification marks.  First they were Falcons.  Nothing else had really changed since I was a young man playing or watching, at least the first half of the games.  Kids were laughing, yelling support, acting stupid, being courteous to the elders (which to my chagrins was me) and conducted themselves in such a manner as to make me proud that I had gone to school there. 

 Home coming is next week.  I think I will go.  Bev wants me to drag out my old letter jacket and let her ware it and if I can find my class ring she wants to put it on a chain around her neck. 


None of us can or should go back to Van Horn and expect it to be ours again, we passed that torch a long time ago.  But just perhaps for a few fleeting moments we will return to those days of yesteryear and remember what it is like to have the rest of your life ahead of you and not even realize it.  And if I am real lucky I might be able to talk Bev into slipping off to the buss at half time.