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Over Hill, Over Dale . . . Over Seas April 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, People, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,
16 comments

After basic training, dad received a furlough and went to Vermont for a quick visit before taking the train to Chicago and on to California:

“There are an awful lot of soldiers trying to get on the train.  All headed for Camp Stoneman.  We had reserved coach tickets this far, but from now on we will be lucky to get a seat.”

“Arrived 3 PM yesterday.  We saw some of San Francisco Bay when we came in.  We will probably see more of it in a few days.  On the way out we came over a bridge across the Great Salt Lake.  It is quite large.  This will let you know I arrived O.K.”

Wikipedia ~ Camp Stoneman (in Public Domain)

On October 1st, 1946, he wrote:

“It’s not official, but we will probably ship out Sunday for Yokohama.  That spelling is probably wrong.  Most of the fellows I was with in Alabama are here.  It looks as though we may stay together.”

Two days later, he added:

“Today is the last of our processing.  We still expect to ship out this weekend.  This morning we were issued sunglasses, insect repellent, salt water soap, and louse powder.  I now have 12 pairs of socks.  Seems as though that should last for a while.  I think I am ready to be alerted for shipment.  The sooner the better.  Last night, Healy and I got a pass and went to Pittsburg.  It is a small town, somewhat larger than Windsor. There are quite a lot of Mexicans there.”

On October 6th, he wrote:

“I received my shipping orders.  I leave Tuesday, October 8, for Korea.  Healy is in the order with me, but Gibbons has not finished processing yet.  Last night, I bought a set of Eversharp pens and pencils at a price considerably lower than the price we saw at Claremont.  I am sending them home.  You can consider this your Christmas present from me.  Speaking of Christmas presents, I wish you would look after getting some for me for Marjorie, Margaret, Aunt Lucy, Uncle Webb and Aunt Pete, and Uncle Frank and Margaret.  You can take $10-$15 from my account for this.”

He wrote his sister Marjorie the same day:

“You will probably be surprised to get this letter because I don’t write to you very often.  Healy and I just came from the movies ~ Errol Flynn.  It was quite funny.  I noticed that Northeastern has won all three football games and Dartmouth has won two.  Today, I listened to the Red Sox-Cardinal World Series game.  Glad that York got the home run.  After tomorrow, I may not be able to keep track of the sports very well.  I wish you would see that someone sends me the scores for Northeastern and Dartmouth each week.”

“The food here is a lot better than at McClellan.  We sometimes get pie and cake twice a day.  And what is more it tastes like home cooking.  The cooks are young and try to see which are the best cooks.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued next Monday . . . A Slow Boat to Korea

“We Rest Here” April 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, People.
Tags: , , ,
29 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

On August 17th, dad got paid for the month of August ~ $71.78 after all deductions taken out.  He sent a $50 money order home for safe keeping:

“The physical training is getting more difficult, but as we are getting used to it we don’t get any more tired than we did the first few weeks. Yesterday, the mile that we run after each physical training period was not alternated with periods of walking.  We double timed all the way.”

“You asked how my score on the rifle compared with the others.  I would say that approximately 15-20% of the company made expert, however there may not have been quite that many.”

On August 22nd, he wrote Margaret:

“The weather here has started to cool off nights.  One army blanket is hardly enough to keep you warm.  We have two if we want them.  It’s a lot nicer sleeping here than at home ~ it is the days that make it uncomfortable.

“This afternoon we hiked 3 miles with 50 pound packs, which included blanket, gas mask, rifle, bayonet, raincoat, mess gear, steel helmet, etc.  Also tents.  When we arrived, we pitched tents, dug water drain around them, took them down, and marched back.  It was just practice in preparation for next week.  We camp out overnight then.”

“Perhaps you and some of the others would like to know what “Alabama” means.  It is the Indian word for “We rest here.”  Pretty good!”

On August 25th, he reported on firing the Browning Automatic rifle:  “It is the type of weapon that most countries call a light machine gun.  I got 67 out of 80 which qualifies me as a sharpshooter.  I needed 70 to get expert. The officers told us that the majority of the company didn’t qualify, that is they got less than 50.”

In the same letter, he shared an interesting anecdote:

“We have one fellow in our company that was in Europe during the war.  He was born of American parents in France.  During the war, he was a spy in the French underground.  With forged papers, he went through Germany and Austria, collected information and sent it to American authorities in England.  He said he sneaked through the German lines 7 times.  He is pretty much of an expert with an automatic because he carried one with him all the time.  That must have been an exciting life for a fellow of only 15 or 16.  The reason he was picked for the job was that he could speak German without an accent.”

As basic training wound to a close, he continued to tease his younger sister Marjorie about being a poor correspondent:

“By the way, isn’t it about time you wrote.  I don’t think that I like your postscripts to Daddy’s letters.  They aren’t very complimentary.  Now you know that I wouldn’t write anything like that to you.  You had better write a good letter back if you know what’s good for you.  Can’t you think of a better signature than Stinky.”

In a letter dated September 2nd, he filled his dad in on the next leg of his journey:

“We have only 32 hours of training left now.  all the hard work is over. Everyone is beginning to spend a lot of time thinking about going home.  The first of us are supposed to leave in about a week.  Don’t be too surprised if after I am home I have to report out west and get shipped to the Pacific.  I think a lot of us are going in that direction.”

“Yesterday when I got off K.P. I found a package waiting for me.  The cookies arrived in good condition.  Tell whoever cooked them that they did an excellent job.  Was it Margaret or Marjorie?  If Marjorie cooked them maybe you had better say that they were just fair.”

Two days later, he sent a follow up letter:

“Today we had a little information given to us in regard to our “delay in route.”  Most of the company, including myself, is going to the west coast probably to be shipped overseas.  They give us a ticket to Cincinnati and a ticket from Cincinnati to our [ordered] destination. When we reach Cincinnati, each of us will buy a round trip ticket home. From this you will probably see why it is called a “delay in route.”

“There are only 2 1/2 more days of basic left.  Tomorrow we fire the 30 caliber machine guns and the 60 millimeter mortars.  This morning we practiced throwing hand grenades.  Saturday it is all over.  We have graduation, parade, and are given our diplomas or whatever you want to call them.”

“The other day we had 4 hours of classes in how to stop riots and house to house fighting.  They even had a platoon cause a riot while our platoon moved in on them in wedge formation, with fixed bayonets and gas masks.  We even threw some mild gas grenades at them.  A lot of fun for us, not them.”

On September 9th, he wrote his last letters home:

“We are really getting ready to leave here now.  We are handing in all the equipment that they gave to us.  Our rifles were just taken.  The only things that we have left are our bayonets and foot lockers. Yesterday, we turned in our packs, tents, rifle slings, entrenching tools, etc.  Did Aunt Pete tell you about my writing to her and saying that I am earning $82.50 a week plus room and board.  This is mostly on account of the G. I. Bill ~ the amount they will pay toward college.”

“This Friday I leave here for home.  I expect to get home Sunday.  I will have to leave in time to get to Camp Stoneham California on September 30th.  Camp Stoneham is an overseas replacement depot.  I am pretty sure to be sent to the Pacific.”

After basic training ended, dad received a furlough and headed north to Vermont for a short visit.  

_0001 (2b)

Aah . . . that’s better!

“We’re In The Army Now” April 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, People, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,
22 comments

Dad ~ Top Right

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

Earlier that spring, he received a draft notice, had a physical, and then the draft ended.  After considering his options, he enlisted anyway:

* He valued higher education but had limited financial resources.  He hoped to subsidize the expense of obtaining an electrical engineering degree with the benefits offered under the G.I. Bill.

* After spending 17 years in rural Vermont and one year in Boston, he wanted to see the world beyond the relative confines of New England.

At the recruiting office in Rutland, he passed the mental screening test with a score of 49 out of 50 ~ “to pass you need to get 15.”   From Rutland, he headed to Fort Ethan Allen, passed his physical, and was sworn into the army on June 29th.  Next stop:  Fort Banks in Boston.

A few days later, he caught the troop train to Fort Dix, NJ ~ “they have got between two and three hundred of us now.”

On the 4th of the July, at Fort Dix, his number came up on the processing roster and he received his uniform, dog tags, etc.  He bought stationary at the PX that afternoon and caught up with some letter writing:

“Before we finish processing, we will get 6 tests, some movies, several shots, and some other stuff besides.  Anytime after that I might ship out. The sooner the better.  After we finish processing we are likely to draw K.P. and other details.  When on K.P. you work for 16 hours straight.  The food is a lot better here then at Fort Banks.  If the food that I get the rest of the time in the army is as good as it is here, I won’t kick a bit.”

A few days later, he wrote his sister, Marjorie, also from Fort Dix:

“I am quite a ways from home now ~ it would take 12 hours to come home, but I will probably be a lot farther away in a couple of days. They say this fort is only 30 miles from Philadelphia.  None of us can get a pass to get out of here though.  The shots I had yesterday made my arm pretty lame, but it feels better today. I am enclosing some papers for Daddy to keep.  They are to show him that he is the beneficiary of the life insurance that I took out.  I didn’t take the $10,000 policy as the war is no longer on.  I decided that $5,000 would be plenty.”

The next day, July 8th, he wrote his dad:

“Just a line tonight to let you know that I ship out tomorrow.  Tonight I do not know where I am going; they will tell us in the morning.  (I suspect they have put me in the infantry and will send me to Fort McClellan, Alabama.) I will not send this letter tonight and will leave space to write in my destination tomorrow morning.  Enough for now. I have some friends to say good-by to.

P.S.  I was right.  I am going to Alabama.”

_0001a

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . “It’s a Rifle, Not a Gun!”

“You’re Out Of Line!” April 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, People.
Tags: , , ,
40 comments

SwimmingAt Water Aerobics last week, I listened to my body instead of following the leader’s orchestration.

As I did my own thing, I heard a resounding chorus of “Nancy! Nancy! Nancy!”

Alarmed that someone was drowning, I turned and heard, “You’re not doing it right.”  “We’re not doing that any more.”

I nodded and kept doing my own thing.

A few days later, as we rode our bikes around the neighborhood to check out the Annual Yard Sale offerings (more focused on socializing than shopping), we ran into some folks from Water Aerobics.

It was great chatting with them . . . with clothes on!

Donald-DuckaUntil one guy (who has hardly spoken to me before) asked, “Why don’t you do what everyone else is doing in Water Aerobics?”

Taken aback by the challenge in his voice, I said, “Well, if my shoulder is bothering me, I do other stretches.”

Dissatisfied with my answer, he rephrased his question, “Are you just not a good listener?”

“I listen.  But I listen to my body first and foremost.”

Ignoring my attempt to deflect the discussion, he continued with his cross examination, “Do you just not like to have people tell you what to do?”

Tigger-Looking-At-His-Tail“Well, I admit I don’t worry much about staying in line.  It’s not synchronized swimming after all.”

He kept at it, determined to discover why I am not doing what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m supposed to be doing it.

Why?

I’m not sure and I didn’t ask.  That’s HIS business.

Perhaps . . .

* I stepped outside the lines of what he views as acceptable conduct.
* He believes I am stepping on his toes by coloring outside the lines.
* He blames me for upsetting him . . . when he’s upsetting himself.

People like him are exhausting.  They require too much tending, insisting that we spend time mending broken fences that splintered under the weight of their expectations.

Mickey-SurferLife is short.  Feel free to ignore the Border Collies yapping at your heels to get you “back in line.”  Do what you want to do.  Let them think what they will.

They’re not the boss of you.

Unless, of course, they are the boss of you . . . in which case Listen Up!

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Mad Hatter April 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Nature, People, Poetry.
Tags: , , , ,
20 comments
220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27

Wikipedia ~ Alice in Wonderland (in Public Domain)

Trained to restrain
Our joys and triumphs
We share instead
Our sorrow and pain

Wings clipped, lights low
We diffuse our truth
To broadcast tales
Of worry and woe

Who created these social norms and mores we blithely follow?

The Mad Hatter?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Our Deepest Fear

 

Bait For The Beast April 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Humor, Nature, People.
Tags: , , , ,
44 comments

Wikipedia ~ Trophy Wife (in Public Domain)

A few days ago, I saw a bizarre commercial for a dating service.

Which one, I couldn’t say.

The ad featured 10 “hopefuls,” all skewed in the same direction.

All women.

With long flowing tresses.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long brunette hair.

Long brunette hair.

Long blond hair.

Long black hair.

 Long blond hair.

Wikipedia ~ Beauty and the Beast (in Public Domain)

None of them looked like they needed a dating service to help them troll for men.

Each had “Trophy Wife” stamped across her forehead.

I’m certain the site isn’t looking for dates for these prom queens . . .

No, I expect it’s looking for men “of a certain age” eager to hop aboard the dating express.

These beauties are bait for the beast.

Let’s hope the beast doesn’t have a heart attack while taking the bait out for a test drive.

Vroom . . . vroom . . .

Wikipedia ~ Beauty and the Beast (in Public Domain)

Perhaps, just to be on the safe side, the beast should start slow, by sitting down to a “getting to know you” dinner.

Whatever will they talk about?

Watching the ad made me wonder whether the marketing moguls are correct in their assumptions:

* Do 7 out of 10 beasts prefer blondes?

* Are beasts partial to long locks?

* Is Goldilocks more apt to get the gold?

* Is everyone in the target audience searching for Rapunzel?

Aah . . . that’s better!

At What Price, Conformity? April 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
38 comments

At times, we are tempted to conform to the expectations of others ~ to use an external reference point to guide our actions rather than being guided by our own inner compass, vision, and values.

IMGP3968

But is it worth shaving off the non-conforming parts of ourselves in order to fit our square pegs into round holes?

Which is more important:  gaining approval from others or being true to our selves?

At what price, conformity?

220px-Pinocchio

Wikipedia ~ Pinocchio (in Public Domain)

If I pretend to be someone I’m not and people like me . . . I’ve gained nothing, because they’ve fallen in love with a “mask.”

And if they don’t like the “pretend me,” I’m left wondering if the real me would have fared better.

I’d rather be disliked for who I am than loved for who I am not.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To be nobody but yourself ~ in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else ~ means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~ e.e.cummings

Fly By Nighters March 31, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogs & Blogging, Humor, People.
Tags: , , ,
47 comments

Comment threads on the blogs I follow are informative, entertaining, silly, happy, funny, and thoughtful.

It’s great when a post sparks thought-provoking comments from diverse and varied visitors.  Comments that make me sit up and say WOW! often inspire me to head round and meet the blogger on their home turf.

That said, some “fly by nighters” need to brush up on comment etiquette:

* X scrolls through partial posts on his reader at lightning speed, pressing “LIKE” for each . . . without bothering to read them first.

* Y slows down long enough to leave comments in his wake, but most are banal . . . and often off putting.  Colonialist gave a terrific example once upon a time:

Post:  My whole family was wiped out today. I am distraught.

Comment:  LOL

* Z hasn’t been around for weeks.  She rushes in, out of breath from cruising around 47 other blogs during a 15-minute blog break, blitzes through 12 posts in 3 minutes, leaves cursory comments on each . . . AND expects us to believe she read each post.

Silly rabbits!

All of us have days when our comments don’t flow ~ sometimes it’s a slow go, other times a no go.  That’s to be expected.

But if we act like X Y or Z on a daily basis, perhaps we need to rethink our practices and priorities?  Are we following the blogs we follow because we enjoy reading them . . . or for some other ulterior motive?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts (on being “the perfect host”): The Perfect Host ~ Comment Moderation (WP Daily Post) * Commenting on Posts (Carol Balawyder)

* * *

Artwork available at Roderick MacIver Arts.  Rod conveys nature with brilliant brushstrokes.  The beauty of Rod’s watercolors lies in his ability NOT to control all aspects of the water ~ he allows it latitude to do its thing while he does his. The result speaks for itself.

“I’m Humbled” March 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People, Spirit & Ego.
Tags: , , ,
43 comments

Donald-DuckI confess to raising my eyebrows a bit when someone responds to a compliment by saying “I’m humbled.”

Doesn’t “being humbled” mean we’ve been knocked down a peg or two by losing a race, making a mistake, or being human?

How would receiving a compliment be humbling?

Wouldn’t a compliment tend to have the opposite effect on people who use an external reference point to gauge their progress in life?

In many instances, “I’m humbled,” translates loosely as, “I’m stoked! Thanks for noticing!”

Why not just say that?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote to ponder:  In reality there is perhaps not one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.  For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.  ~ Benjamin Franklin

Related posts:  Fun with Words ~ Is Humility a Virtue? * You’re Full of Hubris

A Hottie . . . or a Nottie? March 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Fun & Games, Humor, People.
Tags: , , , ,
30 comments

Goofy-Riding-A-BikeOn the way to Bradenton’s Farmer’s Market last weekend, we saw a man riding a bike, wearing tight biker shorts but no top.

His shirtless state revealed a big belly bulge as his badge of honor.

“Look, BFF!  That guy is following his gut instincts!”

“That’s not a 6-pack . . . it’s a keg!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

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