THE SUMMER DAILY
Tuesdoy, June S, 1973
Page Eight THE SUMMER DAILY Tuesday, June 5, 1973
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She wants me,
she wants my Vasque boots ...
She wants me,
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Draft dodger finds
new lie in Canada,
wouldn't come back
(Continued from Page S)
hair, and it smells of talcum powder and Vitalis, and the men thumb
through the magazines and gossip: Len knows the conversation must
get stiff when his father walks in and Leo asks, "how's your son?" and
everybody knows which son, and Len knows how painful it must be
for his father to answer: "Oh, he's . ." pause . "doin' well, you
know . . ." pause ... "in Canada."
BUT, MAYBE he could explain to Virgil, and that would be
awfully important. Virgil has refused to telephone, write, acknowledge
his younger brother's existence for four and a half years.
It was winter, January, 1969, when Len Grannemann, his young
wife and baby daughter left Missouri. The departure, without notice,
climaxed a deep personal change in his life.
He remembers growing up in the Ozark foothills and going with
his grandfather to Chappler's Store in Cooper Hill, where the old-timers
sat on two-by-twelves across some nail kegs, and he sat on a concrete
step and drank the red soda pop his grandfather always bought him
and listened to the oldtimers spin yarns.
HE REMEMBERS how the people came from miles around when
his great-grandfather died, and how they crowded along a line of
tables with white tablecloths, and how he stood at one end and saw the
beef and chicken and salad and homemade bread they brought, and
the whiskey and beer, and how everybody got a drink and got to
talking and sitting on the front porch and rocking .. .
He remembers his grandmother, who cleaned the squirrels his
grandfather shot, and who talked to him about whatever was on her
mind while she made squirrel gravy; and his father, a survey crew
leader for the Army corps of Engineers and a proud man, proud that
his young son with clear blue eyes and wavy red hair was growing up
to be a fine young American; and his mother, who took care of him
and Virgil and his other brother, Wayne.
He remembers standing every morning in school for the pledge of
allegiance and learning that America was the greatest country in the
world. And he remembers the day Virgil came home from Korea.
"HE CAME TO school and we came running together down the
school yard ,. . We became really, really close. We played ping pong
and hunted and fished and drank beer . . . And we took this float trip
down the Gasconade . . . the fast moving water and the fishing . . .
We were gone for two weeks down this treacherous piece of water
... shooting the rapids ...
"He was the person I was closest to."
At Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield, Len Granne-
mann joined Sigma Tau Gamma. A front-page picture in the news-
paper showed him standing on the front porch of the fraternity house
with a proud banner overhead: "We Back the Boys in Vietnam!" He
polished his brass, spit-shined his shoes and planned to enroll in
advanced ROTC. He figured on graduating in 1968 with a commission
as a second lieutenant.
"I STARTED taking courses from professors who said, 'That's one
point of view. There's another. Take a look at this side . . . and that
side ...' " He began reading: Thoreau and Gandhi and an article
in the Atlantic Monthly by Gen. David Shoup, retired Marine Corps
commandant, who impressed upon him that the Vietnam war had no
clearly defined objectives, that the United States was mistaken about
what it thought it could do in Vietnam and that Americans were
pursuing a kind of military roulette-"We tried 10,000 troops . . . and
it didn't work . . . so we put our chips on 150,000 troops . . . and we
spun the wheel again .. .
At the same time, Len Grannemann experienced an internal up-
heaval he likened to an "emotional catharsis." Be discovered that his
heritage included a lot of hate. "I hated Jews. I hated Niggers. I
hated Niggers. I hated Communists. I hated, hated, hated, hated,
hated," Why? he asked himself. "Why should I hate blacks? Why should
I hate Jews?"
"WHY SHOULD I hate whatever? All of a sudden I couldn't do
that anymore. Politically, emotionally, morally, this was a time of
great upset in my life."
He quit the fraternity. "I couldn't agree with their values about
the war." Be refused to continue ROTC. "My friends changed, the
people I was hanging around with changed."
He became what he calls a midwest revolutionary. "That's not a
New York revolutionary, not even a Washington, D. C., revolutionary.
If I went to New York and told them that all I did was lead a Martin
Luther King demonstration after he was shot . . and marched in a
circle when Robert Kennedy was assassinated . . and carried a
placard and made a few antiwar speeches on campus . .
BUT AT Southwest Missouri State, that was revolutionary.
And Len Grannemann was doctrinaire, quite dogmatic about it.
"I couldn't be objective about some of the tactics in the move-
ment. I thought, 'Well, the end justifies the means.' At that point, I,
Was still struggling with the passions of adolescence. And you know
an adolescent with a cause is a dangerous guy."
He had little missionary effect, however, upon a first cousin, an'
honor graduate from West Point who left for Vietnam with a sawed-off
ahotgun "to kill the gooks;" and very little effect upon his father,
whom he remembers saying, "Yeah, I know there's a lot of truth in a
t of that, but I don't know what to believe anymore-you've just got
to keep your nose clean, look straight ahead and keep going."
THE EFFECT upon his farriage was disastrous.
"I was married in 1966, right during the time of my upheaval . .
and I changed so much I became two different people . . . My wife
and I kept on for another couple of years or so, but eventually we
didn't make it." They were divorced not long after they arrived in
See WINDSOR. Page 10
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