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1917 | Butlerville Ut
ON THE FARM
My parents didn't know whether to laugh or scream when I made my debut on Halloween, October 31, 1917. Doctor Brown, a general practitioner, assisted with my birth. It took place in a two-room log cabin located on an eighty-seven acre farm in the little town of Butlerville near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. There were already four people occupying the home., my father, John Alexander Maynes III, my mother, Sarah Louretta Despain Maynes, and two older brothers, Darrel Despain Maynes, and John Alexander Maynes IV. Sleeping quarters were a bit crowded, but they found a place for me.
Let me pause and introduce you to the people that made this event possible. First, there was my mother, Sarah Louretta Despain Maynes.
The March wind was howling outside a three-room log cabiq with a lean-to shack attached. Inside, two figures were leaning over another person laying on the bed. Beads of sweat poured from the foreheads of the two who were struggling with a wiggling creature that seemed to resist all efforts to sever it tro~ tn~ WPfIlb. Finally with a tug the creature was free and as it was held up "it’s a girl!” was declared by the doctor at the bedside. Such was the birth pf Sarah Louretta Despain on the 27th day of March, 1890. She was the eighth child of Sarah Catherine Egbert and William Joseph Despain. The birth took place in the town of Granite which is situated at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
It was such a frail baby the doctor said that it would live a week at the most.
History of William Joseph Maynes
My parents didn't know whether to laugh or scream when I made my debut on Halloween, October 31, 19 17. I made my home in a two-room log cabin as the third son of John Alexander Maynes ill and Sarah Louretta Despain. I crowded in with two older brothers, Darrel Despain Maynes, and John Alexander Maynes IV. We made a cozy three-some sharing the two rooms that we called home with our mother and father. Our place of abode was located on an eighty-seven acre piece of land out of which father carved a 30 acre farm situated one-half of a mile south of Big Cottonwood Canyon, in the little town of Butlerville. It was an ideal place for a fruit farm. The cool evening breeze added flavor to the fruit that was difficult to match any where else in the Salt Lake Valley.
I was told that my grandfather William Joseph Despain visited my mother after my birth and decided I should have a name and so he gave me a blessing and named me after himself.
I must have spent a normal baby's life, or at least nothing unusual happened to impress my mother's memory until I was six months old. At this age I was afflicted with pneumonia and almost returned back beyond the veil. My mother's nursing skills saved my life.
Let me pause for a moment and introduce my mother and father and the rest of their family.
The howling mournful sound of the March wind went whipping around the comers of a three-room log cabin with a lean-to shack. Inside two men silhouetted by a coal oil lamp hovered over a woman laying on a bed. One was struggling with a wriggling creature while the other mopped beads of sweat from his brow. The situation became more tense with each painful scream from the woman on the bed. Suddenly a period of silence settled over the room as the doctor held up the wriggling body of a baby and exclaimed, "It's a girl!" Such was the birth of my mother, Sarah Louretta Despain, on March 17, 1890. She was the eighth child of Sarah Catherine Egbert and William Joseph Despain, who lived in the small town of Granite, Utah, situated at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
My mother was so frail at birth that the doctor remarked that she couldn't live more than two days at the most. However, he didn't know that Louretta had an indomitable spirit and along with the prayers of family and friends, she not only survived, but lived to be a beautiful child of the William Joseph Despain family.
My father, John Alexander Maynes III, known to his friends as Jack, was born March 21,1883, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the oldest child of John Alexander Maynes II and Selina Jane Sabine.
Darrel Despain Maynes. the oldest child of John A. Maynes III and Sarah Louretta Despain was born October 6, 1914 in Butlerville, Utah.
John Alexander Maynes IV 2nd oldest child of John A. Maynes III and Sarah Louretta Despain was born January 29, 1916 in Butlerville, Utah.
Lawrence Milton Maynes, the 4th oldest child was born March 23, 1919 in Butlerville, Utah.
Alden Despain Maynes, the 5th oldest child was born December 21, 1920 in Butlerville, Utah.
Robert Despain Maynes the 6th oldest child was born March 24, 1925 in Butlerville, Utah
Gaylen Despain Maynes, the 7th oldest child was born March 7, 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Fredrick Despain Maynes the 8th oldest child was born August 14. 1929 in Butlerville, Utah.
Mama Ruth Maynes the 9th oldest child was born September 1, 1931 in Butlerville, Utah
Mary Maynes, the 10th child was born April 11, 1934 in Butlerville, Utah.
Military boot camp
July 9, 1942 | San Diego CA
During World War II all eligible single males over 18 years of age were required to sign up to be drafted into the Army to fight for our country. When they were getting close to drawing my number to be drafted, I felt that the Marines were the better of the two services, so when Marine Recruiters came to Salt Lake to recruit men for three platoons of the Mormon Battalion, I volunteered my services for the first platoon. These platoons would be recruited totally from Mormons and this appealed to me because I knew that I would be training with men who had the same values as I did and I wouldn't have to listen to a lot of foul mouthed individuals using the Lord's name in vain. Nor would I have to listen to men bragging about how many women they "made" during their week ends off. Another reason that influenced my decision to join the Mormon Battalion was that my Great Grandfather, Robert C. Egbert, was a member of the original Mormon Battalion. I enlisted on July 9, 1942.
We were sent off to Boot Camp in San Diego, California with a lot of fan fare which made us feel like heroes before we even left Salt Lake City. They loaded us on the Union Pacific passenger train for an overnight ride to San Diego. When the train arrived at San Diego, I saw palm trees growing for the first time in my life. But what a disappointment! Instead of growing near beautiful bodies of water with sandy beaches like the pictures I had seen, they were growing in a junk yard of old cars.
When we arrived at Boot Camp, we were assigned tents to sleep in with four men to a tent. We were also issued clothing we were to wear on a daily basis and a dress uniform for special occasions. We were told the schedule that we would be following and the first thing on the schedule was a haircut. We were told that we wouldn't have time to primp our hair and so it would no longer be needed. We were marched off to the barber shop to be sheared like a bunch of sheep. When we came out of the shop, we looked like a bunch of skin heads. One young kid, who lied about his age to get into the Marine Corps to impress his girl friend, had a beautiful head of curly hair. He asked one of the older marines if they would just trim his hair and not cut it off. The Marine told him to ask the barber and he might accommodate him. When it was his turn to sit in the chair, he begged the
barber to just trim his hair and not cut it off. To humor him the barber said that he would just trim it in the back. He started cutting it in the back, but kept on going with the shear until he cut a swath all the way across his head. Then he followed up with a couple more passes over his head with the shear. About this time the tears began to flow. He confessed that he had lied about his age to get into the marines and that he was only 15 years of age. He was discharged and sent home with a bald head.
We spent most of our boot camp days learning to march in unison and take orders from a corporal. We also had combat exercises where one platoon would compete against another to see which one could use the combat information that we received to the best advantage to out maneuver and capture the most men in the other platoon. We also had to train on the obstacle course to improve our physical condition.
Military pt 2
1942-1943 | Naval Air Station
After Boot Camp training we were transferred to Camp Pendleton for training on the rifle range. When we arrived at Camp Pendleton, we were assigned tents to live in. The side boards and floor were made of wood and were permanent fixtures. We had to erect the tent part. While we were putting up the tents, some rats ran out from under the floors. As soon as we were issued rifles and bayonets" the marines went looking for the rats with bayonets in hand. When they spotted a rat, three or four marines would cause a little excitement by chasing it with their bayonets.
At Camp Pendleton we were taught how to take a rifle apart, clean it, and reassemble it. Safety was emphasized, especially on the firing range. I became ill shortly after arriving at Camp Pendleton and was taken to the hospital. I had missed so much training at the rifle range, that after they released me from the hospital they assigned me to another platoon to complete my training. In a letter to my mother I wrote: "I am feeling pretty blue because I came down from the rifle range Saturday and learned that my old platoon had left for Salt Lake City and I didn't get a chance to go with them. On top of that I shot 226 all week long, which is expert shooting with the rifle. Then on Friday, record day, I shot a measly 192 which isn't even a qualifying score. There was a strong wind that affected my bullet trajectory.
After finishing the training at Camp Pendleton we were given a list of openings where men were needed in the Marine Corps in the war zone and at home in the United States. Most of the skill jobs required at least one year of college to enter the training program to obtain the skills necessary to fill it. One of the needs was for men to work in the supply depotts of the Quartermaster Corps. They had openings and I qualified for the training and so I applied for it ad was accepted, but was told that all of the schools were filled and I would have to wait for some more openings. I was transferred to the Naval Air Station at North Island to wait for another class to start at the Quartermaster school.
At the Naval Air Station I was put on guard duty with four hours on and the rest of the day and night free until the next day. I wasn't content with all of the time I had on my hands and so I began looking around for something to keep me occupied. I found a golf course in San Diego that was very accessible and had special fees for servicemen which were affordable. Also in my search I ran across a bean factory that was looking for help and said they could use me any time that I could work. I worked at the bean factory one day and played golf the next.
My set up was too good to last. It wasn't long after I started having fun playing golf when the Marine Commanding Officer received a request for him to search his records to see if any of the Marines waiting for schools to open for training, had any schooling or training in office work. They needed an administrative office clerk at the new Marine Air Station at El Centro, California. when he saw on my records that I had taken typing and shorthand in school and had some office experience, I was given orders to go to the Marine Air Station at El Centro. I was to accompany a sergeant major, who would be in charge of the administrative office.
We traveled by train arriving at El Centro around midnight. It was a sticky 100 degrees at the station when we arrived and the crickets were so thick that we had to cover our heads to keep from being bombarded by the hordes of crickets that filled the air. When we called the base for transportation, the commanding officer told us to check in at one of local motels as the enlisted men's barracks had not been completed yet. The sergeant and I were booked in the same room and shared the same bed. It wouldn't have been bad if the sergeant hadn't had been a smoker. I didn't smoke and requested that he do his smoking outside the room. I was only a PFC at the time and felt like I was treading on thin ice should he feel that I was trying to order him not to smoke in the room, he could have made it very uncomfortable for me, but to his credit, he took it in stride and did his smoking before he entered the room. The next morning we found that another four marines had checked in earlier in the evening making a total of six of us marines who were assigned to the base. We were treated royally by both the Commanding Officer and the town people. The marines got invited out to dinner at private homes. We were also invited to private parties put on by individuals especially for us. There were two of us that didn't drink alcoholic beverages and so we didn't attend the parties. This paid dividends when the Commanding Officer tried to get hold of some marines to drive gas trucks to Salton Sea to refuel some PBY's that were stationed there. An unidentified submarine had been sighted along the Pacific Coast and an "alert" was issued for all PBY's to fly along the coastal waters to try to find and identify the submarine. They were low on gas at the Salton Sea Naval Air Station and so they put in an urgent request for gas from the Marine Air Base at El Centro.
All of the marines except two of us who didn't drink were at parties and too drunk to drive a vehicle. The Commanding Officer requested the two of us to drive trucks and follow him to the Salton Sea Naval Air Station. I had never driven a large truck before and so didn't know how to shift the truck into high gear and so was unable to keep up with the other two. The corporal, who was the other enlisted man driving a truck, stopped me to find out why I was going so slow and showed me how to shift into high gear. From then on I kept right behind the other two trucks. When we got to the Naval Air Station, we got word that the submarine had been spotted and it was American. We filled the PBY's with gas and then headed back to El Centro. The Commanding Officer commended us for not drinking and thanked us for being available during the alert. The situation could have been much more serious had it been a Japanese sub.
The Sarge and I were moving into a temporary office in a wooden building on the base and as we were organizing things in the office, the building began to shake like someone was pushing it with a bulldozer. I mentioned the fact to the Sarge and he said "Bulldozer Hell! That's an earthquake!" He left me in the dust when it came to getting out of the building. The magnitude of the earthquake was around 6.0 on the Richter Scale, but it was a rolling type of a quake and did very little damage. However, if it had been a jarring type, it would have caused a great deal more.
As the company clerk, I was in charge of setting up a filing system for all the correspondence, regular, confidential, and secret. In order to set up files for the secret and confidential documents I had to become acquainted with their contents to determine where to file them. I was only a private first class at the time and by the time we were informed that only commissioned officers should handle secret and confidential documents, I was the most informed person on the base on confidential and secret documents and so special permission was obtained for me to continue handling them as there weren't any qualified commissioned officers on the base that could handle them. Most of the secret and confidential documents pertained to communications. Eventually an officer brought a coding machine for the use of the base in coding and decoding messages. They didn't have a communications officer on the base as yet and so the officer who brought the machine taught me to use it. When the communications officer arrived, he took one look at what he was faced with and told me that I would have to teach him how to use the materials that we had received and added that the training they had received didn't cover the use of confidential and secret coding material. He also told me that he was going to request that I be transferred to the communications department so that I would be available when he needed me. He also added that he wanted me to be the NCO in charge of communications. He recommended me for the rank of Corporal so that I would have a rank at least as high as any of the personnel working in communications. As other communications personnel that came to the base out of school with a higher rank than I had, I was recommended for a higher rank. I was promoted from PFC to a Technical Sergeant with in a year's period of time.
Military Part 3
1942 | El Centro CA
While at the Marine Air Station at El Centro we became acquainted with the coach of the El Centro Junior College football team. We asked him to loan us the football uniforms for two teams as we wanted to form two football teams on the base and play against each other for recreation. He told me that he would loan us the uniforms, but suggested that we form a team and play the Junior College football team. He added that he would advertise the game and invite the towns people to come and watch it. We agreed to do it although we didn't know much about football. We could only find about three or four marines that had played football in high school or college. The rest of us tried to learn as much as we could in the short period of time we had to practice. The Lieutenant that was coaching us became a little concerned about our lack of preparation and experience and so he sent an urgent request to the Miramar Marine Base to send us as any marines who had played football either in high school or college. As a result four marines who had played football showed up. In the meantime the Junior College had built us up in the local newspaper as a great team.
The following is an excerpt from the letter I sent to my mother telling her about the game. "We played our big football game between the marines and Junior College. The final score was 12 to 7 for the junior college. That wasn't half the beating we took from the paper. We were rated the underdogs by at least four touchdowns. Here is the starting of the newspaper story: 'The J. C. toyed with the marines the entire game and the score could easily have been 120 to 7'. You wouldn't have to look twice to see who the reporter was routing for.
The J.C. pretty much dominated the game the first half, but the second half the marines began to make a game of it and felt the paper failed to give them credit for their effort. This angered the marines and if they could have found the reporter after the game, the paper would have had one less reporter.
An observation taken from a letter home. "The people at home worry about the fellows in the service being deprived of things and the fellows in the service worry about the people back home and so we have one cycle of worry after another."
Military letters home
1943 | Marine Air Station, El Centro CA
Marine Air Station, El Centro Calif.
January 18, 1943
"People are feeling the pinch of war and rationing down in this neck of the woods. Candy is becoming a thing of the past. Beef and pork are rapidly diminishing and butter - whoever has heard of it down here. The restaurants are having a very difficult time in trying to get enough meat to keep going. On weekends about 1,000 soldiers, out of about 65,000 of them that are stationed in the desert at Yuma, Arizona, storm into El Centro and there is hardly room to walk up and down the streets. They wipe the restaurants out of food in the first couple of hours they are in town.
Marine Air Station, El Centro, Calif. January 28, 1943
The Marine Corps Women have arrived on the station and I have about twenty in the communications department. There are some cute ones among them and so I am kept plenty busy. They draw guys from all around the base. Between them and the women officers, they keep the place full of men, which bums me up. I've told a number of them in no uncertain terms what I thought of it. As a result, things are improving somewhat.
I thought my flight papers had been processed, but I found out that they are still going through red tape here at the base. At least they are being worked on.
I missed out on the promotion list by one this time. If another comes out before I leave the station, I'll probably on it. Someone asked me if I let the stripes settle on my shirt before I add others.
Marine Air Station, El Centro, Calif Feb 4, 1943
My newest load is the filing of secret and confidential documents. Only the custodian, who should be a commissioned officer, is allowed to handle them, but they requested special authority to let me handle the filing of them and so you can see what a position I am put under. I'm getting so I'm scared to open my mouth even to say "Ah!" any more.
Marine Air Station, El Centro, Calif. March 25, 1943
I'm really up to my neck in work now. The communications officer has just arrived and I've been given the job of setting up the organization. I don't know very much about it, only what I have picked up from reading instruction books. Some of the fellows that are working under my direction are graduates of a communications school, but the communications officer said that he would rather have me in charge.
This Captain, who is my superior officer in communications, certainly is a swell Joe. He is about as military as a bishop. He addresses me as Brother Maynes. He sits down and tells me that he doesn't know anything about communications and then proceeds to ask me what I know about it. He went through a communications school, but he said it was just a waste of time. I have had to teach him everything he knows about coding and decoding messages. Also the regulations regarding the handling of secret and confidential material.
Because of my experience in handling secret and confidential publications, there were three officers trying to get me transferred to their organizations. The adjutant wanted me to stay with him handling his confidential correspondence; the operations officer wanted me to transfer over to his organization and become a tower operator, and the communications officer wanted me to transfer into communications. The communications officer won out and so here I am. I didn't care where I went just as long as I got out of the Sergeant Major's office. The office got too small for him and me too.
Marine Air Station, EI Centro, Calif July 27, 1943
I feel like I had just climbed out of a river I'm so wet. The heat has been hovering up around 120 degrees and the humidity has been nearly 60% at times so it is like taking a bath in a warm fog except the water comes from within your body.
Marine Air Station, EI Centro, Calif August 4, 1943
I'm still pushing hard to go to bombardier and Navigation School, but I am still waiting for a replacement. The Communications Officer said that he wouldn't let me go unless he could find a replacement for me.
We have combat training exercises, but it doesn't mean very much. I am stuck here for a while yet. However, I'm getting tired of sticking around. This campaign against the heat, humidity, crickets, scorpions, and insects of all sorts is driving me nuts.
Answers to Questions from home part 1
1917-1935 | Butlerville UT
[here are the answers but without the questions. Sometimes they hang unconnected.]
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED BY WINN ERICKSON
I was born October 31, 1917 on an 87 acre farm situated one-half a mile south of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the town of Butlerville, Utah.
Yes. My father and his brother, Bert, were farming 30 acres of farm land during the early years of my life.
They had a fruit orchard in which they raised apples, peaches, apricots, pears. and cherries. They also raised strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, and blackberries
In their gardens they raised carrots, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, onions, and corn. They had fields of alfalfa, wheat and oats. In addition they had a dairy herd, several horses, to pull farm implements, a coop full of chickens, some turkeys, a few geese, several sheep and several hives of honey bees.
At one time or another we had to perform the following chores: Take kindling and coal from the wood shed into the house every evening during the winter months to start the fire in the coal stove for cooking and heating the house. As I matured I was assigned to feed the chickens, gather the eggs, and see that the chicken coop was locked each evening to keep the skunks and other predators out. I also had to prepare the feed and slop the pigs. I fed and milked the cows and fed and watered the horses. I also had to pitch the manure out of the barn.
These activities don't exactly come under the heading of chores, but they had to be done when the season was at hand to do them: The land had to be fertilized during the fall and winter months and the orchard had to be pruned. During the spring, the ground had to be prepared and the seeds planted. The orchard had to be sprayed to keep the insects out of the fruit. During the spring and summer months the garden, orchard, berries, alfalfa and oats had to be irrigated. The orchard, berries, and garden had to be cultivated and weeded. I was involved in all of these activities as well as harvesting the crops.
During the summer months we were plagued with skunks, weasels, and sometimes badgers. These animals were a threat to the chickens and eggs.
Yes. Most of them would help themselves to the small chickens and eggs if given a chance. Coyotes roamed the hillsides and could be heard howling practically every night. I am sure they would have been grateful for a chance to fill up on the chickens.
When you asked what we raised on the farm, I was tempted to add dogs, cats, and kids. We had 10 siblings. Eight boys and two girls. The last two were girls.
We were all assigned chores to do on a daily basis according to our abilities. Some of us older kids were given additional responsibilities to take some of the pressure off of my father who worked at other jobs during the depression. I failed to mention that my Uncle Bert died during the flu epidemic in 1918 and left his share of the farm to my father and so the total load of running the farm fell upon his shoulders.
A fire started by my two older brothers, when they tried to brand a calf with matches, burned two haystacks, the barn, corral, and chicken coop with all of the chickens. Two horses were burnt so badly that they had to be killed. Several of the cows were burnt so badly that they had to be killed also. Severally farm implements were destroyed by the fire as well as the harness for the horses. It put my father behind the eight-ball financially because he had to mortgage the farm to rebuild the chicken coop and barn. He added enough to the mortgage to add an additional four rooms and two closets to the two-room log cabin we were living in at the time of the fire. From then on he worked at other jobs to supplement his income.
Yes. I was twelve years old when the depression hit.
Yes. I was the third son.
Yes. I was the third oldest
I began school in the Butler Elementary School located on the top of the Butlerville Hill. It was a new four-room school house. I spent the 1st, second, third, fourth, and sixth grades there. The seventh grade I spent at the Sandy Jr. High School and the 8th grade I spent at the Union Jr. High School. The latter two schools were finished in the order they are listed and as soon as they were finished, they transferred the seventh grade from the Butler Elementary school to Sandy for the seventh grade and then to the Union Junior High School for the eighth grade. I attended the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades at the Jordan High School in Sandy and graduated in 1935.
I had two uncles, who managed two stores in Salt Lake City: The Anderson Jewelry and Walk-Over Shoe Store. They were Dad's brother and brother-in-law. They came out to the farm practically every Sunday and they encouraged me to follow a business career. Financially they were a lot better off then we were and were able to indulge in the finer things of life and so I felt that it would be the way to go for financial security. I took whatever classes that I could that would help me get a job in some store or industry.
In grade school I fell in love with my third-fourth grade teacher, Miss Valentine. She was good-looking, had a great personality, and gave me things to do so that I could help her while I was waiting for the bus to come after school was out. The only problem was that the janitor's son, who was in his twenties, also had a crush on her. He always came to see her while I was around and tried to get rid of me by telling me to “get Lost”. He usually brought Miss Valentine a bag of jelly beans, her favorite candy. She would find things for me to do in the room so that I stuck around while the janitor's son was there. After he left, she would share the candy with me.
One of the teachers in the Sandy Junior High School, Mr. Sjoblom, was the science teacher, he was always finding experiments to do that were interesting and would take us out of the classroom. Sometimes he would send us on a scavenger hunt to see if we could find any of the stuff we talked about in the classroom. At times we were late getting back to the class at the appointed time. He would congratulate us on our enthusiasm for the class and would admonish us to be a little more conscious of the time, but never criticized or chastised us. I had a lot of respect for him because of it. In high school, a history teacher, Mr. Harris, was a congenial man and very religious by nature. He always had a saying written on the blackboard when we came to class. I really enjoyed them. One of them that I still remember probably would have gotten him a jail term if the ACLU had been in existence then. It went like this:" A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content and joy and happiness for the morrow, but a Sabbath profaned, no matter what gained is a sure forerunner of sorrow."
No. I lived too far away from high school. I would have had to find my own way home after participating in the activity, a distance of ten miles. I felt that was a little too far for me to walk and there wasn't any rides available. I didn't have very much confidence in my athletic ability. I was small for my age and my coordination wasn't very well developed. Nothing ever came easy for me when it came to sports even though I loved taking part in them. My friends always invited me to play with them, but they always made sure that I was given a position that when I fouled up it didn't have too much effect on the outcome of the game. It did have one effect on me, however, I put a lot of extra effort in trying to succeed. This became a habit with me and I always put in an extra effort in everything I under took. It began to pay dividends later on in my life.
Yes. I had two close friends that I maintained a relationship after high school. One of them lived in my neighborhood. He joined the army when World War II started.. He wound up fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and it so affected him that he died several years after returning home. The other friend lived in West Jordan. We double dated until our paths led in different directions and we lost contact with each other. There were many other fellows I made friends with in high school and when we meet we greet each other like old friends, but our interests have changed and so we don't see one another unless we accidently run into each other, then we enjoy reminiscing.
While I was in high school, I attended L.D.S. seminary classes and met a number of students who got the best grades in the class. They associated with each other not only in Seminary, but also in the regular school as well. They invited me to join them when they learned that I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning to study my lessons because I was having difficulty with my eyes. I could only read a page at a time and then had to rest them a while before I could read another page thus making it necessary to spend twice or three times as much time as it should have to prepare the lessons. My parents got me a pair of glasses to correct for near sightedness, but it didn't correct the eye condition that was the major problem. None of the eye doctors could determine what the cause of problem was until I entered the university on a full-time basis.
I mentioned that when I participated in sports of not having good hand-eye coordination. In retrospect, however, I believe it was due to the fact that my eye condition also affected my depth perception. Now to return to my friends in the seminary class. They invited me to their discussion group when tests were to be given, and discussed the possible topics that we thought would be covered in the test. I memorized the material and usually received good grades. We did the same thing for the regular high school classes with the same results. Even though we took different paths after high school graduation, I still appreciate what they did for me in high school.
Depression Memories (part 2 of Answers)
1930-1939 | Salt Lake Area
[continuation of Answers to Questions...]
Yes, the Great Depression had a profound effect upon our lives. The company for which my father was working at the time went bankrupted and laid him off. It cut off the major supply of our income. What little we received from selling farm products went to pay on the mortgage and buy what few clothes and other things we needed that couldn't be raised on the farm. Farm prices plummeted and so we had to practically give the produce away to keep it from spoiling. Even at that we had to feed a lot of it to the pigs. Clothes were mended and handed down from one member of the family to the next. When the soles of shoes wore out, we cut cardboard the size of the shoe and inserted them in to the shoe to keep the rocks from bruising the bottom of our feet. We didn't have footballs or basketballs and so we rolled up gunny sacks and put an elastic ring around them and used them to play with. We didn't have overshoes or rubbers and so we cut up gunny sacks and wrapped them around our shoes to keep out the snow. During the winter months we nailed toe straps on barrel staves and used them for skis. A lot of the neighborhood kids had skis and so we asked for a pair for Christmas. My father could only afford one pair and so we had to share them among four of us. We were fortunate that we lived on a farm as we were able to raise all of the food we needed. We canned and bottled fruit and vegetables. We also had a root cellar where we stored potatoes and carrots and dug an apple pit where we stored apples and covered them over with straw. For meat, a pig and veal were killed, dressed, and stored on a table in the sleeping porch which was cold enough to preserve them through the winter months. Four of us kids also shared the same quarters with the meat. Father worked at whatever work he could get. I remember that he drove a school bus for the Jordan School District for a period of time.
When the Stock Market crashed in 1929, one of our friends, who worked for the Stock Market lost all of his money in the market and committed suicide.
When congress, passed the Act that created the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), WPA (Works Progress Administration), and NYA (National Youth Administration), it was a means of survival for a lot of families throughout the nation. My two older brothers and I took advantage of the Civilian Conservation Corps to help support our family with some badly needed finances. Later, my father went to work for the WP A as timekeeper and I took advantage of the NYA to further my education at the Utah State Agricultural College for a year I worked for the Entomology Department collecting and labeling insects.
While I was in the CCC, I worked in the Headquarters at Ft. Douglas. I was assigned to work there because of my clerical skills. They treated us like we were in the army. We slept in the army barracks, ate at the army mess hall, wore army uniforms. We had to muster in the morning for roll call before we went to work.
We were awakened in the morning by the bugler blowing reveille. He played taps for us to go to bed by. We had to stand uniform and quarters inspection once a week. We were confined to quarters after working hours if we didn't pass.
July 2, 1936 to June 14, 1937. [service in the CCC??]
We never had to worry about food during the depression. We raised enough food on the farm to meet our needs. We ate well.
See #19 [earlier answer] Our recreation was mainly things that didn't cost anything. We'd get together as kids and play games that kids of today have never heard of Like kick the can, run sheepy run, hide and go seek, I spy, pomp pomp pull away, king of the hill,and beckon. At school we played baseball, ball tag, marbles, mumbly peg, yo yos and leap frog..
We went swimming where ever we could find a place with enough water to make it worthwhile. There were a number of cement tanks that were used to store water for irrigation that were large enough to swim in. We made good use of them. My father was scoutmaster for a number of years and took the scouts swimming at the Wasatch Plunge. This was located on Beck Street where the children's museum is now located.
Yes. My father had the bus he used to haul kids to school in. It was a 1929 Model A Ford truck converted into a bus.
I went to the Utah State Agricultural College on the NYA program.
Yes. It was a part of the NYA program. The NYA program was set up to give youth on- the- job training in the construction trades and cleaning public buildings. I was a timekeeper when they constructed the auto mechanic shops at the Jordan High School. I later supervised a crew that cleaned up part of the old Salt Lake County Hospital complex. The N.Y.A. program was later modified to allow youth who were qualified and didn't want to follow the construction trades, to attend a college for a year under the program.
Yes. I took advantage of the opportunity to attend the Utah State Agricultural College under the program. I worked in the Entomology Department catching and labeling insects while attending.
Yes. From September 1938 until May, 1939. [school year at USAC??]
The war started while I was working for the Salt Lake Tribune.
War years (answers to questions pt 3)
1942 | Utah-El Centro CA
The war started while I was working for the Salt Lake Tribune.
I worked for the Salt Lake Tribune until August 13, 1941 at which time I quit to go to work for the War Department, U. S. Engineering Office. They were the ones that built the Remington Small Arms Plant. I worked as a Junior Checker and Payroll Clerk. I worked with them until February, 1942. At that time I received notice that there was a job opening on merit system for a clerk-typist at the army administration office at Ft. Douglas. Inasmuch as it was a permanent job with a possibility to advance under the merit system, I quit at the Small Arms Plant and went to work at Ft. Douglas. After two months of working under an army sergeant whose's personality clashed with mine, I had all I wanted to take from him and quit. He acted like we were a bunch of privates under his command and became a first class dictator expecting us to take his word as law and not to question his interpretation of merit system regulations or other regulations that he continuously interpreted to suit his own needs. He was unhappy because we were being paid more money and accumulated more leave time than he even though we worked under his supervision and so he took every opportunity to take away our benefits whenever he could.. When I quit, I requested all of the money, and leaved time I had coming under the merit system. It was denied, and I appealed his decision much to his chagrin. The appeals board overrode the sergeants action and he had to pay me all the benefits that I had coming. This set a precedent which he had to follow in administering the merit system regulations in regards to pay and accumulated leave time.
Yes. This all happened after my year at the U.S.A.C. After working at Ft. Douglas, I went to work for the Denver & Rio Grand Railroad until I joined the Marines.
Definitely, because everybody was affected by it. I was twenty-four years of age when I joined the Marines on July 9, 1942.
Yeah. I had to sign up for the draft. I anticipated that I was a prime candidate to be drafted. I was twenty-four years of age, unmarried with no dependents.
I was working for the War Department, U. S. Engineering Division, at the Remington Small Arms Plant which was being constructed at the time.
Yes, I felt like it was breathing down my neck.
That was one of the reasons. Another reasons was because the Marine Recruiters were in Salt Lake City recruiting men for an all Mormon Battalion in honor of the Mormon Battalion that existed during the early days of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I felt that if I joined with a bunch of Mormons that I wouldn't have to be around a bunch of dirty mouthed guys whose recreation was mainly going out and getting drunk and taking advantage of whatever the girls would offer.
That's right. There were sixty three in the first platoon. This was the one I signed up for.
Yes. They planned on having three platoons of around that number in each platoon. When they filled the first platoon, they gave us a royal send off with a lot of pomp and ceremony. We were ushered on the train with families and dignitaries looking on. We arrived at San Diego, where we were to attend boot camp, the following morning. After our initial training at boot camp, we were taken out to the rifle range at camp Pendleton. They taught us how to use bayonets, but the only time I ever saw them used was on rats that housed themselves under the floor boards of tents at the camp. We took the bayonets off the rifles and kept them handy while we were putting up the tents. As we put up the tents, the rats would become scared and run out from underneath the wooden floors. When the marines saw them, a number of them would take off after them with their bayonets.
Yes, /we used our bayonets as weapons to get rid of the rats. It was a diversion from the routine stuff that we were having to do. It was also amusing watching a bunch of marines going after one rat.
The guys were careful around each other and so there weren't any casualties except for the rats.
I got sick with the flu while I was at Camp Pendleton and was taken to the hospital. By the time they released me, the rest of the platoon finished their rifle training and were preparing to go on a furlough to Salt Lake City. They assigned me to another platoon so that I could finish my rifle training at Camp Pendleton. When I learned that the platoon that I came down with had been sent back to Salt Lake City on a specialrecruiting mission. I felt worse than I did when I had the flu. I learned later that the First Platoon of the Mormon Battalion marched down main street in a special parade and were given the V.I.P. treatment while they were in Salt Lake
Yes, It was effective too. They had another platoon of the Mormon Battalion ready for boot camp by the time we left.
Yes, It was effective too. They had another platoon of the Mormon Battalion ready for boot camp by the time we left.
No. After the platoon arrived back from Salt Lake City, they told the members that if they wanted to stay together, they would have to join the amphibious corps. None of them were interested in joining and so the platoon was disbanded and the recruits were sent in different directions.
No. When my new platoon finished training at Camp Pendleton, they asked me what I would like to do. They gave me a bunch of things that I could qualify for if I wanted to go. They needed men to fill positions at the supply depots in the Quartermaster Corps. The qualifications required a year of college. My year of college under the NYA came in handy. I applied and was accepted. I was sent to the Naval Air Station at North Island, San Diego to wait for the training to start for the next group of trainees. I was assigned to guard duty for eight hours a day we stood four hours on and four hours off. We also had every other day off. We were given a lot of freedom to do whatever we wanted to do on our time off as long as we stayed out of trouble. I went ashore to get acquainted with mainland San Diego and found a golf course that catered to service men and was very accessible and so I put that on my agenda of things to do on my time off.
While I was waiting for training, the Marine Commanding Officer at North Island received a request for him to go through his files to see if he could find anyone that could qualify as an administrative clerk as they were badly in need of one at the new air station just being completed at El Centro, California. When he came to my records and saw that I had experience in clerical work and was a fast typist, he gave me orders to pack my things and prepare to catch a train for El Centro, California. When I got on the train I found that a sergeant major had also been given orders to report to the Marine Air Station at El Centro as the NCO in charge of administration. We arrived at El Centro at midnight. The temperature was 100 degrees and the air was so filled with crickets one had to cover his head with his arms to keep from being hit.
When we called the Commanding Officer at the base to get transportation out to the Air Station, he told us to check in at a local motel as the enlisted men's barracks wasn't ready to be occupied yet. When we checked in, we were informed that there were five other marines that had checked in before us. We were really treated great by both the Commanding Officer and the towns people. Those marines who liked to drink were invited to parties at different peoples homes. There were only two of who didn't participate. One was a staunch Catholic and the other a staunch Mormon. There were enough families who didn't drink that kept us busy accepting dinner invitations.
It took the construction company a couple of months to complete the buildings on the base and so when squadron of planes landed we had to arrange for transportation and rooms at the local motels for the pilots to stay overnight. The seven of us marines had to be a jack of all trades to service the planes so that they had enough fuel to fly on to Hawaii. We were also at the service of the pilots and tried to meet their needs as to where to go to eat, phone their loved ones before leaving for over-seas duty, and take them to get other things they wanted from stores in El Centro.
My first office was a shack I shared with the sergeant major. It was built by the construction people but they no longer needed it. A short time after we had moved in the building began to shake like a bulldozer was pushing it. I calmly asked the sergeant if they were moving us to another location without giving us notice. He said, "Bulldozer hell! that's an earthquake! Let's get out of here!" That's the fastest I had ever seen the sergeant move. He didn't go around the desk, he went over the top. The next day the newspaper stated that it was a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, but it caused very little damage because it was a rolling type of earthquake. If it had been a jarring type, it would have done a lot of damage to the buildings on the base.
The commanding officer of the El Centro Air Station received a call from the Naval Air Station at Salton Sea requesting additional fuel be hauled there to fuel the PBY planes stationed at their based. They had a submarine alert and were short on fuel. The commanding officer called the corporal at the motel and asked him to round up three marines to drive the trucks to Salton Sea. The corporal went to the house where five of the marines were partying. All of them were so drunk they couldn't drive and so he asked me to drive a truck, he drove a truck and the commanding officer had to drive the other one. When we arrived at Salton Sea, we were told that that the submarine had been checked out and was one that belonged to the United States. We fueled their planes and then returned to the home base much relieved..
Between squadrons landing on the base, we had quite a bit of spare time to ourselves. There wasn't much to do in town because as the enlisted men increased on the base, the town people began to feel overwhelmed and quit holding parties for the marines. I started trying to find things that we could do that would be interesting. Some of the marines suggested getting a football and having some intermural football games. I contacted the El Centro Junior College football coach to see if he would loan us a ball and equipment so that we could play. He suggested that he loan us the equipment and ball and that we form a squad and they would play us. Very few of us had played any football other than backyard football in our lives. We thought it would be fun. He told us that we could do it and invite the towns people to come out and watch us. We scouted around and found a lieutenant on the base that had coachedsome football and so we got him to coach us. When he got us together and saw how we played, he was ready to quit before we got started. We talked him in to sticking with coaching us. We practiced until the day before we were to play the junior college team. They had really built us up. I guess there were about 300 to 400 people to watch the game. The day before our coach put in an SOS to the Miramar Marine Base and recruited a couple of guys that had experience playing football and brought them to El Centro to run the show.
Yes. When they brought them in, it was a complete surprise to the team although a pleasant one. Guys like me made up the team. I was a lineman and only weighed in at 170lbs. The other team mates weighed in at 170 to 190 lbs. We were playing a team that outweighed us at least 30 to 40 lbs to the man. In addition they were Junior College Champions for the State of California. They should have given us medals of honor for courage. They tried to make us look good for the sake of the towns people, but it was very obvious to them as well as us that they weren't fooling anyone. Whenever they got the ball whether it was on a kick or a fumble, they would always give the ball to the full back and would huddle around him until we nearly got to them then he would break loose and follow his linemen up the field. They mowed us down like bowling pins. If we got through to where we could tackle the player with the ball, he would run over us and leave us laying on the field. The only exceptions were the three men from Miramar. They had both weight and savvy and so we had to rely on them to do most of the tackling. The Junior College Team found ways to keep their score reasonable for our sake. When we tackled them during the second half they would make us look good by falling down. They did a lot of other things to help us make good plays whenever they could do it and look respectable. They beat us by three touchdowns, but as the newspaper said, "The score could have been 100 to 6 if the junior college team had played like they were capable of playing.
The spectators thought it was nice of us to try something new even though we knew that we could get skunked. We were always trying something new to keep us busy.
As the barracks and officers' quarters were completed we constantly received new personnel to man the base. As administrative clerk I was kept busy checking the marines in on the base. Along with the personnel I received a lot of secret and confidential material for which I had to set up a filing system. Much of it had to do with coding and decoding messages and operating the decoding machine. Regulations stated that only commissioned officers should handle this restricted material. They had to get special permission for me to handle it as I was only a private first class. When the communications officer was assigned to the base, he requested that I be assigned to the communications department as he felt that my knowledge of the secret and confidential material would facilitate his being able to set up and run the communications department. He told me that they hadn't covered anything on the handling of restrictive communications at the school where he was trained. He had no knowledge of how to set up and run a coding machine or what to do with the material when it was received. Before the Communications Officer arrived on the base, I was working in the Adjutant's department and became very familiar with the officer- incharge of the control tower as I did a lot of favors for him when a squadron of planes would land at the base. He was often overwhelmed because he was short on personnel to handled them. When I had the time I would volunteer to help him take care of the pilots. The adjutant, control tower officer, and the communications officer, all three put in a request for me to be transferred to their departments. The communications officer won out because I had been cleared to handle secret and confidential communications.
The communications officer asked me to teach him what I knew about communications, and rewarded me by making me the non-commissioned officer in charge of communications. He told me that he wanted to keep me in charge of communication and so if any enlisted men came on the base out of radio school with a higher rank than I had, he would put in for a higher rank for me so that I would out rank any of the men under my supervision. As a result, I went from a private first class to a technical sergeant within a year.
A big change came on the base when the Lady Marines began to arrive. Most of them were assigned to communications and put under my supervision. I believe every male on the base felt he had to come over and get acquainted. It took a couple of days forthings to settle down. I finally had to forbid any socializing during working hours and the lady marines were able to accomplish their work without interruption. During their off hours, both the enlisted men and women arranged to have picnics and other activities out in the desert.
Marine Experience (Answers Part 4)
1943-1944 | Naval Air Station San Diego, Wooster Ohio
After I had been on the Marine Air Station at El Centro for around 16 months. a directive was received stating that anybody that had been stateside eighteen months or
longer was to be sent over to the war zone. I had been stateside for nineteen months and. would have been eligible to be sent over except I met the qualifications of an exception they had made. Anyone who had put in for flight training and was accepted shouldn't be sent. I had put in for flight training and had the one year of college and the rank of sergeant to qualify and so was accepted. Instead of sending me over to the war zone, I was sent to the Naval Air Station at North Island to wait for the next group to be sent for pre-flight training. The group that preceded us into pre-flight training were marines who had been brought back from the war zone, had met the qualifications and were accepted for flight training. The marines decided to train a marine air squadron to fight along side of the navy.
When I first applied, I was turned down because I had a deviated naval septum. I was sent to the Naval Hospital in San Diego to have it corrected. I was also turned down the first eye test they gave me because my eye perception was not within acceptable standards. However, they decided to test me again and knowing how far off I was on the first test, I made allowance for it on the second test and passed. I got glasses that corrected my nearsightedness, but it didn't correct the other problem. My eyes still got tired, but I got to a point where I could tolerate it.
No. Not then. It was later.
Yes. I learned to compensate for my other eye problem. After I was accepted, I was sent to the Naval Air Station at North Island, San Diego to wait for the next group of cadets to enter pre-flight training. I was put on guard duty again with plenty of time off. As before when I was waiting for training at the Quartermaster Corps, I began looking around for something to do in my spare time that was productive. I talked to some Naval Officers to find out whether they had something pertaining to flight training that would be beneficial. I was told that they were holding a navigation class and for me to contact the instructor to see if he could take any more in his class. I explained that there were a good number of Marines waiting for flight training and asked him what the chances were for some of us to join his class. He said his class was full, but that he would be happy to set up a class for the Marines if I could get enough of them interested to fill a class. I contacted the Marines and most of them were anxious to take the class. After we finished the class, I was invited to go on a cruise with a PBY crew as their navigator to get some actual practice. The PBY planes were used to patrol the western shores of the United States for Japanese submarines. We flew about eight hours. We were far enough out at sea that the main shore line couldn't be seen from the plane. It was a bit scary realizing that I was responsible for the crew arriving safely at North Island without being lost. When we arrived at where the Catalina Island should have been according to my reckoning, but it was no where to be seen. The pilot decided to head for the mainland to get a bearing. We found that the reason we couldn't see Catalina Island was that it was covered with a dense fog and I was only 13 miles away from where I should have been on our flight path. The plane crew gave me a hearty thumbs up on my navigation ability. They thought it was great for my first time out.
Yes. They were big planes and carried a good supply of fuel.
I can't remember exactly, it could have been about two months. The class included both regular and celestial navigation and recognition of planes and ships. I was on the island six months waiting for pre-flight to open up. I was always looking for something to keep me busy. I went over to the bean company and they hired me again to help thrash and bag beans.
I was put in charge of the Marines on guard duty during one of the shifts. We all carried loaded automatic pistols while on duty. When we came off duty, we had to unload the pistols during the changing of the guard. One time during the changing of the guard, one of the marines pulled the trigger to make sure the barrel was empty before he released the magazine. It really got the attention of everybody within hearing distance. It was fortunate that he had the pistol pointed towards the ceiling before he pulled the trigger or one of the other marines could have been wounded or killed.
When the time arrived for us to enter pre-flight, we were sent by train to the Wooster College at Wooster, Ohio for refresher courses in math, physics, English and communications. There were other classes, but I don't recall the subjects. We arrived at Wooster November 17, 1944. We were given weekly tests to determine whether we had to stay sixteen weeks or 24 weeks before going to Georgia Tech. During the first eight weeks I received very good grades in all the subjects except math. They always included a problem on ratios on the test. I couldn't recall of ever having ratios in any prior math classes and always got the wrong answer on the test. This kept me below the cut-off score for the marines that would be going to Georgia Tech. After sixteen weeks. I had resigned myself to staying the full 24 weeks and felt sad because I wouldn't be able to go with my friends in the first group. The next week the instructor covered ratios in the math class and my test scores in math were high enough with my other scores to elevate me to the top half of the class and made me eligible to go with the first group to Georgia Tech.
Yeah. I arrived at Georgia Technical College at Athens, Georgia around the middle of February, 1945 for primary training. We were housed in the men's dormitories, and ate in the cafeteria. We were organized into platoons. There were enough platoons to form a regiment. The platoons had to compete with the other platoons in practically everything they participated in. There were all types of sports such as football, basketball, soccer, track, swimming, boxing, wrestling, obstacle courses, and other field events, as well as rope climbing. We had some good athletes in our platoon and qualified for regimental competition in almost every event. We also did well in regimental competition. Believe it or not I came in second for my weight division in the regimental competition.
War years (answers to questions Pt 5)
1944 | Athens GA
Most of the training at Georgia Tech. was geared towards survival. We took classes in navigation, recognition, physics, math, communications, at a higher level. We took swimming classes and had to meet the following qualifications to pass the test: Swim 200 yards with good form, 1\2 mile with clothes on and 1 mile without clothes. We also were taught to jump offa twelve foot platform, take off our pants under water, tie knots in the legs and fill the pants with air and use them to help keep our heads above water. We were taught how to survive if we got shot down over land.. We were also scheduled to go on a three-day survival hike to test our skills.
At the start of the three day hike we were given a 60 lb. pack which included a canteen without water, a map, a sharp knife, utensils for cooking and eating, a tent and bedding, water purification pills and matches. We had to rely on the land for our food and water. We were divided up into teams of two men each, given our compass direction, and told what time to be in camp. We ran into a black sharecrop farmer as we were traveling across some fields He lived in a shack with a well next to it, so we went over and engaged him in conversation while we rested. He was very friendly and was happy that we went out of our way to visit with him. He offered us a drink from his well and filled our canteens. That was the reason for our going to see him in the first place. The 60 lb. pack we were lugging felt like 250 lbs. before we had gone very far, but we enjoyed the hike in spite of getting weary and foot sore. The first day we had to go up hill and down dale, and plow through jungle for about five miles. Then that evening we were lead about two and one half miles from camp and had to take a direct course back to camp. It sounds easy unless you have seen the undergrowth and swamps we had to plow through. It was so dark we had to grope our way along relying on a compass for bearing. At the edge of one swamp, my companion and I followed with him a little in the lead. I turned to look at the compass and when I turned back he had disappeared. I lit a match to see what happened to him and saw him lying in a ditch about four feet deep. A lot of vines and other vegetation broke his fall saving him from injury and a good ducking. Several times after that I felt ahead with my foot before taking a step and there was no solid land to step on. We lit a match and there before us would be a five or six foot ditch going straight down. We beat our way back to camp in approximately 2 hours. Some of the fellows got lost and spent the night in the woods.
The next day we were sore and weary from the pack, but went through practically the same experiences we had the day before. When we camped in the evening, we had to pitch our tents near a river bed and you would think it was the mosquitoes who were on the survival hike the way they tore into us. We didn't get much sleep for breaking up dive bombing attacks.
We didn't suffer from hunger as the wild blackberries, dewberries, and plums were plentiful and delicious.
On the third day we got off course a little, but were compensated by finding six little turtles in a stream bed. We had visions of turtle soup when we hit the camp, but after an hour of tugging to get the shell off and only finding about an eighth of it eatable and the rest of it was all muscle, we decided it wasn't worth the effort. Besides the Navy was furnishing us steaks for dinner as it was the last night of the hike. Saturday morning my companion and I were the first to leave and we lost very little time getting back to the base. When we arrived, we found the barracks was locked and my key wouldn't work so I had to let myself in a window two stories high. [end of answers]