It is the day before Memorial Day, and as it happens many times during my days, thoughts about WWII still surface. After so many years, I often wonder how many of my memories are real and how many are unreal; I have decided that there is something of both in most thoughts.
The memories that once made me wake up at night, scared and shaking, have passed; letting the most pleasant memories prevail. Now I realize that there were times in the Marine Corps, and then when I was a little crazy. The “I don’t give a damn” and “I can’t die until I’m at least 40” attitude is practically gone.
The thought “until 40” helped me enormously back then; however, the year I turned 40 was a bit awkward, especially when my new company car that year was a bronze-colored casket. Is there some superstition in each of us?
The memories of state duties during the last days of the war were good! Returning from the Pacific, I had a 30-day license en route to Camp LeJuene, NC I fell in love four times starting at Mare Island in San Francisco, then Los Angeles, Mineral Wells, TX and Kinston, NC (Well I already admitted to being mad!)
A few weeks later, I wrote the same letter to each of the young women, asking them to forgive me for falling so fast, and only then did I come to my senses. My thought at the time was to remember that falling in love, getting married, and having children would somehow keep me alive. Reading these now shows me how silly this thought was.
Money was not an issue during my time at Camp LeJuene. A whole night with craps is a case where I ended up breaking my headquarters and one next door, between which there were two guys from Chicago who had a combination of gambling. It seemed like I made almost every point that I tried.
How much money? I have no idea, but it was enough to pay for a night in Kinston for any of the losers who could get into one of the five taxis I ordered. Steaks and alcohol, and whatever else anyone wanted. What a night!