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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Another explanation

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.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

April 29, 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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

April 13, 1953

April 13, 1953

Dear Mom, Dad, and Snapper

I guess you thought I had forgotten how to write.  I have been busy.  My training is about the same.  We double time a lot.  We went for about 3 ½ miles without stopping the other day.  We are still on machine guns.  I fired this morning and came in at  for KP to relieve the guys who were on KP so they could fire.  Everyone has to do it.  I got off just a while ago.

Sat Keith and two other guys and myself got a pass and left about  and went to Pismo Beach.  It was really nice there.  We stayed in a motel looking out over the beach and the ocean.  We hitched hiked and had no trouble getting a ride.
Sunday night when we got back I went to the guest house in the East garrison and put a deposit on the rooms.  It cost only 1 dollar a day per person.  Margie cannot stay there because she is single.  I stopped at another guest house on the way backs in the west garrison and made a reservation for her.  It was the same price as the other.  Girls only can stay there.  It is kind of an inconvenience that way.  I paid for a day for you $3 and a day for Margie, $1.  The reservations are for 22 April.  When you get here come to Btry A-44 orderly room and ask for me.  If I am not there they will tell you what time the troops get back.  Better just send Dad in because they don’t like a lot of people in there, it gets confusing.  There is a parking lot on the next street back of the parade field. 

I have been looking forward to you arriving for quiet awhile.  I don’t know just what we wan do when you get here.  But we can see when you get here.  It has been cool here so don’t forget your coats.

I just got your letter.  Glad everything is ok.  I don’t have any tires left to give him.  I let them go with the car.

Well Saturday they took some of us to be interviewed for leadership school.  I signed my name but may not take it.  It’s a sharp school.  Shoe strings have to be pressed, floors so clean you can eat off them etc.  It would be another 8 weeks of training after I finish my 16 weeks here.  It would be in the heat of the summer.  You have to give a 5 and 20 minute talks on different subjects etc.  I don’t think I would like that.    The guys that don’t go to officer’s candidate school go directly to Korea.  I have until about my 15th week to decide.  I might be lucky enough to get some other school.  They interview us in our 8th week for schools.  Very few guys with A1 profile get to go to most schools unless they have had some college.

The guy who got his money stolen never did get it back.  They made us go to bed at 9 instead of staying up all night.

Margie said she saw the note Jan gave Arkie.  Arkie showed it to Margie.  That makes me mad that she does that.  She had better not cause me any trouble personally more than she has.  I would just as soon she didn’t keep my name.  Sometime why don’t you go down and talk to a lawyer and see what he says.

I guess I will see you before long.  You probably won’t get to many more letters from me before you leave.  I will write again when I get a chance.
Love, Ted 

Ps  I got a letter form Lowell and Virginia and one from Jimmie Miller.  Tell them I will write before long if you talk to them.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Out of order letter date uncertain.

(received and posted out of order)

Dear Mom and Dad

I received your letter last night.  I got 6 letters all together.  Was glad to get them.

Sunday night after I wrote you I went to the service club and ate in the cafeteria.  Got a good meal. 

I found out that you will have to stay in the East Garrison guest house.  I tried to call but couldn’t get anybody.  I found out that I have to get a form signed by my Btry Commander though.  I am having a guy get me one tonight.  You can only stay there for three days..  Let me know as soon as you can the approx date you will be here.  If you get here during the week you could stay here and then I would get a pass on Sat and we could go some place else.
I think Richard Jacques is at Camp ChaffeeArkansas.  He may be put in the infantry or artillery.  He may be lucky to get something better.  Nice he is close to home.

I had classes all day yesterday and another hour of bayonet training.

We had a Btry complaint session last night with our Btry Commander.  Did I tell you he is just 24 years old.  2nd Lt.  He is pretty good and plenty smart.  He said we will have a party before long and have steaks and beer. 

We went to the field again today for class.  We always eat  out.  If it is cold we have coffee in the morning once in a while, when it is hot we have orangeade or lemonade in the afternoon.

I am mailing something home to you all for Easter.  Hope you like it.  I didn’t get to go to church last night because of the meeting. 

I got you letter awhile ago and the newspaper.  Didn’t know you put my picture in the paper.  I was sure surprised.

To bad about Sad Sack, I hated to hear about him.

We got paid tonight, I got $74.  You should get the allotment check before long.  Jan should pay you what she always does, regardless of what the check is.  It will be either $40.00 or $51.30.  When we get paid we line up in alphabetical order and walk in the orderly room.  The 1st Sergeant has us sign our name.  Then one of the officers sits at a desk in another office.  We walk up, salute and say “Sir, Pvt. McAnally reporting for pay.”  He counts outs the money.  I pick it up and count it and then walk out.
We have to salute all the officers on the base if they are walking or in cars.

Did I tell you they play bugle calls at different times of the day.  All the cars stop at .  They call this retreat.  I saw Donald tonight.  He said he didn’t think Betty was coming out.

I enjoy getting the packages you sent.   Seems like the last package I got was on Thurs.  I will let you know when I get the next one.  I am fixed up on shaving lotion and tooth paste.

Well not much more to say, I will close now and write again.  I can never think of all I want to say.  I always think of it after I write.
Love, Ted

 A personal comment from Me

If you have been following this blog you may have noticed that the last two entries are out of order.  The last one was Dated 31 March and the one before that April 8, Easter.  Although Dad wrote them in order they were not postmarked correctly and received out of order by my grandparents.  Either the US Post Office lost them in the mail or the Army messed up.  Either way that is the way Dad filed them.
After the last blog entry dated the 31st I thought that this might be a good time to stop and provide some explanations as to who, what, where, when, and maybe how.  I think I will start doing that after every month to cut down on some confusion, you, the reader, might have. 
For instance Dad wrote about Camp Crowder.  Camp Crowder was a staging and processing Camp that was used for those who were drafted in the Midwest.  It is about a three hour drive from Kansas City and is nestled near JoplinCarthage, and SpringfieldMissouri.  Ft. Riley is in Kansas and home to the Big Red One Division.  Ft. Leonard Wood is between Rolla and SpringfieldMissouri and was a major basic training facility.  Camp Chaffee was also a basic training facility.  Crowder and Chaffee have been turned over to their respective states and used as training facilities for national guard units.  I have spent short tours of duty in all the places Dad mentions except for Camp Roberts which is close to San Francisco.

Jan was my mother and she must have done something to irritate Dad but what it was she did exactly I don’t know and have never asked.  Why they were divorced one can only speculate and again I have never asked.  My mother as of the present is still alive and has her wits but I don’t think it prudent for me to ask her what was going on back then.

Most of the guys Dad mentions are unknown to me.  He writes about a Keith Underwood several times, but I never heard him mentioned any other time while I was growing up.  He makes a passing reference to “Jim” whom I did know well and was like a best friend to Dad for many years after the war.  The guy named Arkie (which one time in Dad’s letters was called Archie) was a friend of his from Arkansas that had moved to Kansas City and they hung around the Bars together.  The Bar where Arkie met “Jan” is no longer there.  I did meet Arkie a couple of times, but from what I heard later he was not the type of guy Dad would want me to be around.  A fellow name Richard Jacques was the son of friends of the family and Donald, the one who had to go home because his father-in-law died and later recycled was a boyhood friend of his.  Betty was Don’s wife.  I never met or heard about them after Dad returned.

Sad Sack was my dog that got ran over by the school bus driver one morning while all of us kids were waiting to get picked up and taken to school.

Dad was a Christian Scientist so that is what CS stands for and my grandmother use to send him pieces of paper with CS information on them to help him through some of his hard times, especially when he had his lingering cold.  Mr. Clark was the CS representative at Camp Roberts and ministered to those of his denomination.

One thing I have noticed is that the training in 1953 was very similar to the training I went through in 1968. We had plenty of GI parties, doubled timed a lot, pulled KP, changed floors in the barracks now and then, had many classes, ate K-rations, but they were C-rations by 1968, spent many hours on the rifle range but did qualify with M-14’s and not M1’s. The procedure they used to pay us was identical and lasted well in to my own National Guard tenure.  I was a pay officer more than once.  I had a “Negro” drill sergeant in Ft. Benning, who for some reason made me guard a tree once also.  Some things never change.
Love, Ted