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November 17, 1946 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1946-11-17

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P RSPECTIVES

Pace Three

cDoAPhrTAINbUY
..Don T hornbur-

... of wandering forever and the earth
again.,. .of seed-time, bloom, and the
mellow-dropping harvest. And of the
big flowers, the rich flowers, the strange
unknown flowers.
Where shall the weary rest? When
shall the lonely of heart come home?
What doors are open for the wanderer?
And which of us shall find his father,
know his face, and in what place, and
in what time, and in what land?
... Thomas Wolfe
IT WAS A LONG damn war and it did
funny things to a lot of people. Some
it made rich, some it ruined. Some it
made healthy, some it crippled. To
some it gave courage, new hope, and
confidence in themselves, and some it
reduced to hopeless psychotics. To
some it gave an education at a univer-
sity, and for others it interrupted an
education at a university. Oh yes, and
some were killed.
But for Captain Squeeky, it provided
an opportunity to travel, to get out of
a Texas oil field, and away from an or-
dinary wife. It gave him wings and the
freedom of the skies. It sent him to
Iowa and preflight, to Corpus Christi
and to Pensacola. It made him a dive-
bomber pilot and sent him to Cherry
Point, North Carolina. It gave him
comrades and a spirit of comaraderie,
and an unshakable faith in the cer-
tainty that he was flying the best
damn planes with the best damn guys
in the world. He knew too that he was
a hot pilot and could fly rings around
any six Nips. All this he was sure of until
on his first patrol over Rabaul he saw
a Nip "zeke" fly rings around six
Marine "beasts" and down three of
them. After this happened he went ov-
er to the "O" club and drank himself
into a blind stupor. Everyone told him
that it was a tough break and just a
freak and could have happened only
once in a thousand years, and just you
watch, on the next strike they'd really
make the rice bags sorry,
On the next strike they did make the
rice bags sorry and after they landed
Robert Davis shook hands with his gun-
ner, slapped his "mech" on the back,
and went over to the "O club and
drank himself into a blind stupor. Then
there followed strikes, and days, and
patrols, and nights at the 'O" club, and
moving to a more forward base and
then more strikes, more days, and more
patrols, and more nights at the "O
club. Robert Davis was promoted to 1st
Lt. one morning and he wrote a letter
home to his wife about it. She wrote
him back that she was going to have a
baby, and that she was sorry and that
it was awfully lonely without him and
that she hoped he would understand
how it was for a girl that was married
and still young. He laughed when he
read this. He didn't like his wife any-
way and now he was free of her. That
night he told everyone at the "O" club
about it and they all drank a toast to
"Squeeky" and his bastard son. Maybe
it won't be a boy, someone said.
"Well if it is, may he grow up to be
as good a buzz boy as his old man,"
proposed a 2nd Lt.
"And if it's a grl, may she follow in
her mother's footsteps," Squeeky said
and they all laughed.
The next day the 2nd Lt. was shot
down and two weeks later Squeeky was
sent back to Pearl with a group of oth-
er worn-out pilots. When he left he
shook hands with everyone in the
squadron. He knew he would not be
back. He was well aware that the new-
er men laughed at him at the mess hall
in the mornings when his hands shook
so much that to drink his coffee he
had to set the cup on the table and lean
forward and sup it. The ones that
had been out for awhile did not laugh,

but looked the other way and were sick.
These were the ones that envied him
when he was leaving for a "rest" and
wished that they were worn out so they
could go home too.
He got drunk in Honolulu and flew to
San Francisco the next day. When he
got there he telegraphed his wife that
he was bagk in the States and went out
on a binge that lasted for six days and
four hundred dollars. On the sixth
day about dusk he was walking down a
busy street and the war ended. He turn-
ed into a bar, had a whiskey sour and
went back to the base and hit the
sack.
The next day, August fifteenth, the
adjutant gave him a set of orders to
proceed to Mar Air Bases, Cherry Pt.,
N. C. and authorizing fifteen days de-
lay. He took the Santa Fe Chief to
Chicago, and for three days watched
the land roll by and drop swiftly and
noiselessly out of sight. He told the
WAVE jg who sat across the aisle from
him on the second day that he was go-
ing to join her in her berth that night.
She said she would call the SP's if he
tried to. At midnight he ruffled the
thick, green curtains and she opened
them, laughed and let him in. He had
a pint of Old Crow with him so they
slept soundly as the train sped swiftly
and swayingly across the continent and
through the night.
At Chicago he said goodbye to the jg
and they shook hands. She laughed and
got on a train 'for Worcester, Massa-
chusetts. Then he checked his bag at
the station and took a taxi to a bar in
the loop. From there he walked to the
Brass Rail and sat on a tall stool cov-
ered with false, red leather and drank
a bottle of beer. A heavily mascaraed
girl at the end of the snake bar ditched
the Navy chief she had been talking to
and came up to him and told him that
her name was Jean. He bought her a
beer and took her to another place that
had tables and a small dance floor. She
told him she was from Florida and that
she was in show business but was not
working at present. After a few drinks
she picked up his cigarette lighter and
set fire to a five dollar bill that the
waitress in slacks had left on the table
as change. He blew it out and put the
lighter in his pocket. Then she pick-
ed up the bill and stuffed it down the
front of her dress and looked at him
smiling and told him he was "chicken"
if he didn't take it back. He reached
across the table, put his hand in her
dress and took it out, and then got up
and went back to the Brass Rail. He
picked up a very drunk blond who said
her name was Mary Miller. He bought
her a couple of drinks and then they
took a cab to Isbelle's and had garlic'
salad, huge rare steaks with tangy
sauce, and salty french fries with ket-
chup, shrimp cocktails, white wine, let-
tuce salad, with black pumpernickel
bread and caraway-seed rolls. cups of
strong black coffee, and listened to the

subdued music in the background play-
ing "Jalousie." They looked at the thick
wine-red carpets , and the dark ma-
hogany panelling of the walls, and the
soft colored lights and talked about
the war and home and life, and when
the music gave forth with a tenor and
"Danny Boy", she cried.
From there they went to the Dome
which is the cocktail lounge of the
Sherman hotel and drank stingers and
whiskey sours. After awhile she whis-
pered to himthat she wished they could
be alone. Hle got up without saying a
word and went into the lobby and up.
to the reservation desk and got a room,
and a key, went back to her and sat
down. They had one more drink, and
she said, "Did you get a room?" He
said yes and they both got up and walk-
ed through the swarming lobby to the-
bank of elevators and took one that.
had a sign over the door that said floors
1 to 14.
He stayed in Chicago for eleven days
and she stayed with him. They danced
at the Black Hawk, ate at Chinese res-'
taurants, had breakfast in bed togeth-
er, and listened to a hot negro band at
the Down Beat Room. It was in here
one night that the pounding, surging
rhythms of the music and the beating,
throbbing of a mad drum coupled with
the wild cries of "Caldonia! Caldonia!
Caldonial" and the wild-eyed twitching.
and beating on the table of a hawk-.
nosed "hep" cat affected him so much
that his hands shook, and he broke
out in cold horrible sweat until he
would have screamed had Mary not
noticed his excitement and got him out
and up onto the cold airy street.
He did not tell Mary when he was
leaving or where he was going when he
did, and she never asked. On his last
night in Chicago they went to a theater
and saw "Anna Lucasta." After the
play they talked about the "race" prob-
lem, G.I.'s marrying foreign girls, and
the atomic bomb. That night he rent-
ed a four room suite in the Continental
for fifty dollars and they had a party
with two other couples whom they had
met in the Preview while standing at
the doorway waiting for a table. One
was a Navy lieutenant with a plump
dark girl that laughed loudly and who
he said was his wife's sister. And the
other was a Marine private who was
stationed at Northwestern in the V-12
program and a girl that said she was
a student of sociology and who smoked
cigarettes constantly and blew the
smoke out and up in a hard, swift curl
of her lips. They all got very drunk
and toasted each other, then they
toasted the Army, the Navy, the Ma-
rines and said to hell with England.
The sociology student stood up on a
chair and toasted the end of the war
and then passed out. The Marine car-
ried her into one of the rooms and the
others had one more drink and then
they all went to bed.
The next morning Squeeky got up,

-Marion Carleton
dressed and left without waking Mary
up. He took a train for Washington
and slept most of the way. He felt
sick and queasy inside in Washington
and only stayed there two days. On
Tuesday he went to the airport and got
a ride on a Marine transport going to
Cherry Point.
They assigned him a room in one of
the BOQ's and he started putting in
his four hours a month and going to
the "O" club every night. There was
nothing else to do. He accepted a reg-
ular commission because, he said to
Brownie, the "O" club bartender, that
on the outside you would have to think
and work for your dough and pay big
income taxes, but mostly you would
have to think.
One afternoon he was promoted to
captain and he wrote a letter to his
wife and told her about it. He got a
telegram back from his wife's father
saying she was very ill and could he
come.
She died in childbirth before he got
there on a ten day emergency leave.
He went to the funeral and everyone
told him how sorry they were and that
it was a great loss, but that he would
get over it and not to take it too hard,
and that it happened to everybody
sooner or later. She was buried be-
side her mother. .He went out to the
cemetery the next day and put some
roses on the grave and took off his cap
and stood for a few minutes. Then he
drove back into town and arranged to
have his sister-in-law take the baby
girl, and keep her for him. None- of
them knew that the baby was not his.
He stayed with his inlaws for three
days, then one morning he left without
telling them and started back to Cherry
Point. In St. Louis he had dinner,
smoked a cigar, and picked up a red
headed waitress and spent the night
in her apartment.
When he got back to the field, he
was quite sure he had a dose, so he went
to sick bay and they gave him penicillin
shots. His C.O. called him in and told
him he was sorry about his wife, and
not to fly for awhile if he didn't feel
Un to it.
On the nights he didn't go to the "O"
club he would go in to one of the small
towns near by for chow with the boys,
drinks at a supper club, and to look, at
civilian women' Sometimes they would
take them back to the base with them
and keep them at the BOQ for a couple
of days and then kick them out. There
was a girl called Tiny who stayed with
him more often than anyone else. She
told him that she loved him, and asked
him if he loved her. He said no, that
he merely loved her body, and asked
her to marry him. She told him that
she was eighteen and that her parents
wouldn't let her so they would have to
do it secretly. He said they would have
to wait two weeks until he got paid.
(Continuel on Page Eli/if)

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