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Homeward Bound June 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People.

Continued from . . . Things Don’t Go According To Hoyle

Despite the fire at the headquarters building, which burned up discharge dates and orders, dad received word that he was heading home.

On October 12th, he wrote:

“Day before yesterday we received official word that we would report to the depot on the 13th.  There was some hustle and some bustle as we scurried about the office in an attempt to close all cases as soon as possible.  With such a goal as we had, it was not difficult.  By evening we were free of all investigative work.

That evening, Swinnerton and I sat around and discussed with pride some of our most interesting cases and the reports on which we were complimented.  We then realized that our year here had not been wasted.  We had gained a great deal of knowledge and had had a great experience.  The boat leaves Korea on 20 Oct. and is supposed to hit Frisco on 8 Nov.  Hope to see you about a month after you receive this letter.”

Wikipedia ~ Victory Ships (in Public Domain)

On October 14th:

“I expect to be here at the depot the rest of the week.  This is really a vacation except that there is not much to do for recreation.”

“Since I have been here at the depot, I have met about 15 persons that were in my company during basic.  Most of them are PFC or Corporal ~ they are a little envious of my stripes.  It is hard to believe that I am actually on the way home.  Looking back, it doesn’t seem such a long time since I enlisted.”

U.S. Army Technical Sergeant Rank Insignia, in use 1942-1955 (in Public Domain)

What a difference a few stripes make!

On October 17th, to Marjorie:

“When I came to the depot I had to put on my tech sgt. stripes.  They really do wonders.”

“When the men fall out for details, all top three grades are excused to do whatever they want.”

“Out of the 1300 men leaving on the General Patrick, there are only about 10 first sgts., 10 tech sgts., and 15 staff sgts.”

“If we don’t get put in charge of details on the ship, we can loaf all the way.”

“I’m hoping to be one of the fellows to just loaf.”

On October 19th, to Marjorie:

“We have wonderful washrooms here in the depot.  That is ~ if you like to wash and shave in ice water without a mirror and don’t mind not having any place to hang a towel or lay your toilet articles, and if you don’t mind standing in about two inches of water on the floor.”

“Tomorrow morning we get up at 3 o’clock and get ready to get on the train that takes us some 40 miles to the boat.  By this time tomorrow I will probably be getting on the boat.  Thank goodness my time in this country has nearly come to an end.”

“Yesterday, we were given numbers for the order in which we board the ship tomorrow.  Out of 1300+ men, I got number 4.  That means that I will be about the first to board the boat.”

“With the large camera and several books and boxes that I am carrying, my duffel bag is so full I have to wear an extra jacket or two all the time in order to get it closed.  What a lot of fun I’m going to have carrying it half a mile to the train.”

Dad left Korea in 1947, three years before the start of the Korean War in 1950.


Aah . . . that’s better!

After leaving Korea, dad obtained an electrical engineering degree from Northeastern University in Boston, accepted a job with Bell Labs in New Jersey, met mom, got married, had four kids, got his master’s degree, assisted with the launch of Telestar, traveled for work and pleasure, and enjoyed many hobbies (photography, woodworking, sailing, canoeing, hiking, gardening, camping, ham radio, reading).


Dad died two years ago today after celebrating Father’s Day with his 4 kids.


And his 9 grandkids (not all pictured).


I’ve enjoyed sharing dad’s words (before he became a dad) with you.



1. Rainee - June 23, 2014

I have enjoyed reading about your Dad, Nancy. I do remember the photos you posted two years ago. We always have our memories (and our stories) and thank you for sharing yours.

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Thanks, Rainee. I enjoyed reading and sharing a slice of his life.

2. Jill Weatherholt - June 23, 2014

Thank you for sharing your father’s story with us, Nancy. I’ve really enjoyed this series. I’m sorry to hear he has passed…no doubt he was very proud of his daughter. This was a great tribute to him!

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Thanks, Jill. Dad enjoyed his kids and grandkids (once we reached the “age of reason”). I’ve been sorting through photos this weekend. Amazing how much has changed in the past 20 years.

3. katecrimmins - June 23, 2014

This was a wonderful series. I’m sorry it ended.

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Thanks, Kate. I still have a stack of letters to sort ~ from my grandfather to dad (after dad got married). If I come across interesting bits, I’ll toss out a nibble or two.

4. NancyTex - June 23, 2014

What a beautiful series and a loving tribute to your dad. xoxo

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Thanks, NT. The series ended today (the anniversary of dad’s passing) without conscious planning . . . on my part anyway. I love it when stuff like that happens.

NancyTex - June 23, 2014

Serendipitous, indeed.

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

A lovely little *wink*

5. jannatwrites - June 23, 2014

I’m glad you’ve shared his letters. I feel like I’ve been on this great journey. (Except the washroom… that doesn’t sound so good to me!)

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Thanks, Janna. I don’t like “wet” on the floor of restrooms . . . it makes me wonder what kind of “wet” it is. 😎

6. Val Boyko - June 23, 2014

The end of a journey on many levels. Thank you so much for sharing Nancy! What an enriching gift 🙂

nrhatch - June 23, 2014

Thanks, Val. When one door closes, another opens. And we’ll see it if we keep our eyes open. 😯

7. Barbara - June 23, 2014

I enjoyed reading about your dad’s life Nancy, it gave us a good insight into the kind of man he was, no wonder you are so proud of him.
I remember the photos from two years ago of the family, shortly before he died, they are precious memories.

nrhatch - June 24, 2014

Thanks, Barb. Memories can be anchors or sails . . . depending on which way the wind blows.

8. Don - June 24, 2014

I loved this open door in to your Dad’s life Nancy. Thank you for sharing it. Such a good, adventurous and constructive life, one I’m sure you all celebrate with great joy and memory. 🙂

nrhatch - June 24, 2014

Thanks, Don. Saying good-bye was easier knowing that he had enjoyed a full and happy life.

9. Pix Under the Oaks - June 24, 2014

It’s been a lovely story Nancy. I hate to see it come to an end. Thanks for sharing with us!

nrhatch - June 24, 2014

Thanks, Pix. When I got to the last letter, it seemed anti-climatic. As if dad should have done a “sum up” once on the ship heading home.

10. colonialist - June 24, 2014

Incredibly interesting. I’m sorry he rushed the last part, a bit. It would have been super to have had more of the details.
His subsequent career was pretty spectacular, wasn’t it? That could also benefit from being told with less brevity!

nrhatch - June 24, 2014

Thanks, Col. He’s sprinkled here and there on SLTW. Here’s a short post and video from his work on Telstar:


nrhatch - June 24, 2014

And here’s a glimpse at his biography:

11. bluebee - June 25, 2014

Love the sarcasm about the washroom and the duffel bag.

nrhatch - June 25, 2014

Me too! His sarcasm spilled out mostly in letters to his kid sister, Marjorie. She’s my only aunt and is still fun to “tease.”

12. joannevalentinesimson - July 6, 2014

Nancy, I’ve finally gotten to the last of your posts on your dad’s time in Korea. I wanted to read them all as carefully as possible. Thanks for posting them. I’ve saved them in my “Korea file” for email. I don’t have many records from servicemen who were over there.

nrhatch - July 6, 2014

I’m glad you enjoyed, Joanne. I expect that even “saved letters” got misplaced over the years.

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