Monday, May 31, 2010

My Father Never Discussed His Military Service ...

We knew he'd been in the army after WW2 and before Korea. He'd been a baker, and thought nothing of making 20 or 40 loaves in a single batch. Whenever this happened, we figured we were nearly rich - we didn't know anyone else who had FORTY LOAVES OF BREAD!!!

He may have been stationed in Korea for a while. He had a little book for introducing soldiers to Korea, a digest sized paperback that is long gone. As a child, I heard the grown-ups talking about him getting a Purple Heart for being stabbed in a bar fight; I took this quite seriously but now I think it might have been a joke.

He talked about playing cards on the troopship; losing all his money on the way over, getting it all back on the way home. However I read much the same idea in Bill Mauldin's book so maybe that was just a common way of speaking.

He used a lot of expressions that he might have picked up in boot camp. For example, "When I say 'Jump!' you say 'How High?'; when I say 'Shit!" you say 'What Color?'" The effects of these were lost on us kids, since although they were intended to indicate we were expected to give blind, unquestioning obedience, it left me at least wondering how I could get my shit to come out green or purple on command.

When he was buried, it was with a flag which was carefully folded. As eldest son, I have it in the traditional triangular box.

That's about all I know. If I get photos, I'll post them.

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