Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm off to Basic Training


"So after graduating from high school I was fortunate enough
my father could send me to Mississippi State and I went up
there until 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
And when I came home I went over to Jackson and volunteered
my services to the United States Air Force. Well, they were in
a hell of a mess then. They didn't have enough training facilities.
They were building 'em as fast as they could, but there was no
place to send me; so they said, 'You go home and we'll call you
when there's a place for you.' And I did. I went home and I went
bird hunting, and I did a bunch of things. I couldn't go back to
school because I didn't know when they might call me so I
enjoyed my time at home.

And then in 19 -- well, it was just after January of 1943,
they gave me a call and said you're to report to Miami Beach,
Florida. Well, there were quite a group from Yazoo City. There
was Bobby Thompson, James Coleman, Thomas Oakes and
John Taylor. We all went over to Jackson and got on
a train and headed out to Florida.

Well, as it happened, John Taylor and I were roommates
at the Miami Beach. And they had taken this fine hotel and
just stripped everything if it was worth anything off of it right
down to the bare walls almost. And we lived there, ate there,
slept there, and it was not too bad. We had drill exercises.
They taught us how to march and we enjoyed ourselves.

I remember John Taylor and I were on KP duty together.
And we had taken all of the trays that were stacked up
there one at a time, and we were washing 'em. He'd hand
me one and I would dry it off, and put it in a new stack.
And the ol' sergeant came by and said, 'Man, y'all are doing
a fine job. How many of these have you wiped dry?'
And we smiled and said, 'Everyone of them sergeant,
and they're all as slick as they can be.' And he said,
'Well, I'm sorry to tell you boys, but you gonna have
to wash 'em all over again. The Army says that there is
something in the water that we give you to wash 'em
with that sterilizes 'em, and then you go and contaminate
'em with a drying cloth. So you have to wash 'em again
and you got to stack 'em up and let 'em air dry themselves.'
Well, that was a first grade lesson I guess I learned, and that
was, don't do anything you don't have to; so I guess that
stayed with me a little while anyway, but that about
concluded our stay in Florida."

(To be continued)

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