jump to navigation

Can’t Stand The Heat? Get IN The Kitchen April 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Travel & Leisure.

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.

During free time, he enjoyed playing cards, buying drinks at the service club, going to the movies (“to take advantage of the $.15 tickets”), and getting to know his fellow enlistees.

“Tonight I am down at the service club.  They furnish stationary, desks, etc.  They have a nice restaurant and also a soda bar here.  There is a large room with easy chairs that would equal a very nice hotel lobby. They also have pool tables and ping pong tables.  I am down with two other fellows, both from Massachusetts.  We ate in the restaurant to see what it was like to avoid the mess hall of our company.”

“Right near the service club is the post library.  It has a lot of good books and most of the latest magazines.  It really wasn’t any hardship not to get a pass this weekend.  I am going to stop now and drink some milk that we bought here at the service club.  That is one thing the army doesn’t serve much of here.  They say it would make us sick on the kind of work that we are doing.  P.S. I really do not dislike the army.  Of course there are moments that are a little disgusting.”

Dad took advantage of the post library rather than getting a weekend pass to go into town (especially after being told that “there are more soldiers there than anything else”).  In a letter to his dad at the end of July:

“I have taken a book from the library on sea navigation and have been studying it during spare time.  I’m still glad that I enlisted and think that I will be a lot farther ahead at the end of one year and a half.”

In a letter to his dad, dated July 26th, he recounted some of the challenges of basic training:

“Just a few lines tonight.  I drew my first K.P. since I hit Fort McClellan. Tomorrow, instead of getting up at 5:15 as usual, I will have to get up at 4:30.  I get off at 7:30 P.M.  I think that it will keep me from having to stand inspection.

“The training has been pretty tiring, mostly on account of the heat.  I don’t have access to a thermometer, but one of the sgts said that it was 127 degrees F yesterday noon.  After marching, standing, and running the obstacle course in that all afternoon we didn’t care much whether we had supper or not.  After I cooled off I was hungry enough though.”

_0001 (3b)

Dad ~ Top Right

A few days later, in a postcard to his step-mother, Margaret, he concluded with: “The life here is really pretty easy.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . “Ready, Aim, FIRE!”


1. Pix Under the Oaks - April 16, 2014

Nancy you look so much like your Dad! 127 degrees. I don’t know how they did it. I would have been whining and crying!

nrhatch - April 16, 2014

And not 127 degrees on a beach under swaying palm trees with umbrella drinks in a cooler ~ they were hiking with packs on their backs. ACK!

I have a photo of me at 18 that looks a lot like dad at 18.

2. suzicate - April 16, 2014

They look so young!
People these days really don’t know how easy they have it made, do they?

nrhatch - April 16, 2014

Our perspective depends on what we use as a frame of reference. In comparison to those serving in the military, most of us have nothing to complain about . . .

But that doesn’t stop us from finding things to complain about.

3. Grannymar - April 16, 2014

I would not survive one minute in 127 degrees. 75 degrees would be my limit, so just as well I was not taking part in that training.

nrhatch - April 16, 2014

I can’t imagine that I would be much good at anything at those high temps . . . I’d be too busy MELTING.

4. Three Well Beings - April 16, 2014

What a great photo, Nancy. Despite such intense heat, going without sleep and generally working so hard, he still doesn’t complain, but says life was “pretty easy.” And then instead of taking advantage of R & R in town, he stays home and studies. He really strikes me as a remarkably focused young man. I’m sure you have had many reasons through the years to be very proud of him!

nrhatch - April 16, 2014

I got a kick out of that line . . . since it didn’t sound “pretty easy” to me. Dad was focused and maintained varied interests throughout his life ~ sailing, gardening, genealogy, photography, woodworking, bridge, travel, etc.

He had a very good life as a result of all those interests.

5. Val Boyko - April 17, 2014

They look SO young don’t they …… Thank you for sharing his stories!

nrhatch - April 17, 2014

Reading about his time in Basic Training makes me RELISH the freedom I have to plan my own days . . . choosing to not march in the pouring rain.

6. jannatwrites - April 17, 2014

It doesn’t sound very easy to me! I guess if you dwell on how difficult it is, though, it becomes more difficult…

nrhatch - April 17, 2014

I agree with you . . . it doesn’t sound easy. I also agree that focusing on difficulties, challenges, and obstacles makes them appear BIGGER. Dad had the right attitude ~ accept what you cannot change.

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: