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Interview with Victor Kramer [Unknown]

Margie Shafer:

Victor would you state for the recording which war and the branch of service you served in?

Victor Kramer:

World War II, United States Army Air Corp.

Margie Shafer:

Okay. Tell us your rank and where you did serve?

Victor Kramer:

My rank is corporal and I served in the European Theater of Operations.

Margie Shafer:

OK, Victor, tell us about you know your early life before the service?

Victor Kramer:

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and I lived in a middle class area. I grew up during the depression, but we were fortunate enough for my father to have a steady job and while we were not rich and we had to watch our expenditures I still considered myself as being middle class and I was able to enjoy most things that the other - the other kids enjoyed. I went to grammar school in Chicago at Park Side Grammar School. And graduated in 1938 at which time I went to High Park High School in Chicago and graduated in 1942. I was always interested in aircraft. As a kid I used to build model airplanes. I used to read books on World War I Air Force or Air Core Pilots and I just at times I would even go out to Midway Airport in Chicago to just watch the various airplanes. I just was an airplane bug. 19 -- December 24th 1941 I went to Midway Airport and I had my very first ride which is a sight seeing plane in Chicago. It was just a two passenger plane. And that was my first experience to flying which I always wanted. The war broke out at I was still in my last year of high school and I wanted to enlist in the service. But my parents didn't want me to so I finished high school and I graduated in June of 1942. At that point I wanted to enlist again, but my parents tried talking me out of it so I went to a trade school and from there I got a job in Gary, Indiana, the Carnegie Indiana Steel Corporation, because if I had a job that was somewhat beneficial to the war service my folks thought that that would be equivalent of enlisting in the service, but after one month that certainly wasn't gratifying and September 15th 1942 I enlisted in the Air Corp. I did my basic training at Camp Grant, Illinois. From there we had basic training in Shepherd Field, Texas, and from there I went to - I went to Saint Louis -- I went to Jefferson Barracks near Saint Louis where for some reason or other I underwent basic training again. But after that I went to -- I - I was asked what type of service I wanted. I indicated I wanted to be an aircraft operator or a gunner on a bomber. And my eyesight was less than perfect and as a result I was not qualified for any type of flying status. I believe that there was such a thing as the Flying Sergeants Program around the same time and I tried to get into that, but of course I wasn't able to qualify for the same reason of not having good eyesight. We were asked a choice of various types of things we might be interested in and I remember I had said that aircraft mechanic was one, and the other was a radio operator. However, when it came to indicate where I was to go they decided to send me to armament school which is the care of and the maintenance of machine guns and bombs and various types of armaments and I went to school at Buckley Field, Colorado, which is just outside of Denver.

Margie Shafer:

Is that boot camp?

Victor Kramer:

No. No, boot camp is the same as basic training. Boot camp is a naval term.

Margie Shafer:

Um.

Victor Kramer:

After graduation from Buckley Field as an aircraft armorer I was sent down to Los Vegas, New Mexico, where I went to another school which had to do with the various types of weapons. And from there for some reason or other I was sent to Presque Isle, Maine, and I was assigned to the ATC. Now, I am trying -- I was assigned to the ATC which is the Air Transport Command in Presque Isle, Maine. Exactly what I was suppose to do there I don't know, because the Air Transport Command was not a combat affiliated organization and of course that is what I was trained for. Subsequent to that I was transferred up to the Batten Islands. I am sorry I was transferred to Goose Bay, Labrador, and again I don't know what I was supposed to do there and after a couple of weeks from there I was sent up to the Batten Islands which is a thousand miles north of Goose Bay, Labrador. That was a glorified weather station, and the sole purpose was to give weather information to the Air Transport Command I guess for airplanes that were going to be flown from the United States to the European Theater. After approximately a year or so I was given a fur -- well, sub -- before that I had constantly complained that I was trained for combat and what was I doing in a glorified weather station. However, in asking around I found out that there was a warehouse with various things in it including one was a Water Cooled Browning Fifty Caliber Machine Gun and nobody seemed to know why it was there. So, I took it upon myself to uncrate the machine gun, clear it of all the various cosmoline which was used as a rust preventative item and I set it up with a - on top of one of the hills surrounding the base figuring that if anything, if we were under attack or anything like that at least we had one anti aircraft machine gun. We serviced by PBY aircraft which was a - called a Catalina. And one day I went up in that Catalina and was flown around so that I could see just how effective that machine gun might be and how exposed it might be and really did nothing more than just make sure that it stayed in firing condition. A little later I was given a furlough and went back to Chicago and when I got back I reported back to Presque Isle, Maine, where I was told that I had been transferred to them at Presque Isle, and that I was going to be sent - that I was to inspect the various aircraft in the H Air Transport Command that were the combat aircraft that were to fly from the United States to the European Theater. We were in Presque Isle, Maine. From there I was to inspect the various bombers, primarily B-17's, and later some - and then a few B-24's and the idea was for me to board each aircraft, to speak with the crew chief and the various gunners on the crew of each aircraft to find out if there were any malfunctions or any problems they had with any of the fifty calibre machine guns. There were on the B-17's, there was a tail gun. There were two waist guns, one on either side. There was a top turret. There was a vol(ph) turret and there were forward machine guns in the nose. And my job of course was to check all of that and also to check the bomb bay to make sure that everything was operational. This again was my primary duty and after these planes would depart and they were departing from the last place in the United States that they had been. Their next stop was Greenland, and the stop after that was Iceland, and the stop after that was Presput, (ph) Scotland. And from there they went down into the various places in the eighth air force.

Margie Shafer:

Were any of the pilots that were ferrying the planes women?

Victor Kramer:

No, actually the planes had their regular combat crew of - each plane had ten crew peop -- men and they were flying actually to England, destination England, which would be their combat base. I still managed to complain that I was trained for combat and I wanted something -- I knew there was going to be an invasion in somewhat of the near future and I really wanted to get into it. I was 18 years old and (laughter) I had - I really wanted to get into it. I was very patriotic. And I felt that I was not doing my duty because I was in a non combat situation. I complained enough that they finally sent me to a staging area and from there I went to Boston, and in Boston I boarded a ship and it turned out to be an English war ship and that ship joined the convoy and we were on our way to Europe. The trip from Boston to Liverpool, England, took 21 days and that was because we were in a pretty large convoy and we did not steam in a straight line. During that time which happened to be April or May of 1944 I was afraid the invasion was going to start without me and I just couldn't wait to get assigned to an operational unit. After the ship got to Liverpool I was sent down to Bournemouth, England, where I joined the 371st fighter group and that was -- I was assigned to the 404th fighter squadron. Because of a recent accident where a couple of firemen were killed trying to put out a fire on a P-47 aircraft that is a Republic Thunderbolt P-47 pursuit aircraft, I was assigned to the fire truck because there was no opening at that time for an armorer of my qualifications. That was my first taste of war being assigned to a fire truck watching the P-47's take off with a 500 pound bomb under the left wing, one under the right wing, and one under the belly watching them take off on the Pierce Plank -- Pierce Plank Runway. We did not have concrete runways. These were just strips of metal that were placed on level land to make a runway and that was the type of runway we had. It was called Pierce Planking. Anyway, as these planes would take off you could see the wings flexing and the plane bumping along and I was always fearful that one of those bombs would go off or one of the planes might crash and the bomb go off. But it just turned out they got off safely. And I never had to do anything spectacular. But about after a week or two of this type of duty I was assigned to the 404 fighter squadron and that would be the C flight. We broke up the squadrons. A group was comprised of three squadrons and each squadron had three elements and the elements were A B and C. This was really interesting, and this is really what aside from not being able to fly, this is what I really wanted to do. I was assigned a particular aircraft in the C flight and my duties on it were to maintain the eight machine guns, four which were in each wing, and the three bomb racks, one under each wing, and one under the belly, and flights went into -- went into France from our base. We were quite close to the channel and the flights went into England. I ended up - excuse me, into France where we did bombing and strafing. My job after the planes came back was to clean the machine guns, rearm the bombs on the various planes, mine as well as others, and reload the bullets in the wings for the -- for the machine guns and to load and arm the bombs. By this time we are talking about May of 1943, I am sorry 1944, and the activity was just before the invasion. We all knew the invasion was coming and the planes flew sorties throughout the daylight hours, this being late May we were on the line and the planes were flying and we were quite active from probably 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning all of the way through maybe 7:30, 8 o'clock at night because of the daylight hours. The planes did a lot of combat in the various areas in France and they went after railroad yards. They went after troop replacements. They went after anything that might be -- I guess they called them targets of opportunity. There were - the Luftwaffe was active at that time also and there was various aerial combat and we did lose a few planes but my plane which was numbers were 9 Q. 9 Q stood for the 404th squadron so my plane was 9 Q and the number zero. The pilot was a fella by the name of Jack Fitz and the name of his plane was the name of his daughter, baby daughter, which was Linda Jean. The planes came back with their front edges of the wings smoked because of the various fire from the machine guns and of course they came back without their bombs, because they had been dropped on the enemy. And it was a -- it was a great time. Prior to the invasion which took place on June 6th all of the aircraft in the eighth and ninth air forces were painted with what we called invasion stripes. These were white stripes on both wings, white stripes on the fuselage and the whole reason for these black and white stripes was to let our own troops once they got into France after the invasion to recognize these planes as being our planes as opposed to the German Luftwaffe. The invasion took place on June 6th and our planes were very very active flying maybe five, six, and seven sorties each day and the reason for that is that we only had to fly to the Normandy area and bomb and strafe the enemy troops and then we turned back and rearm and reload. It wasn't long before we started to set up, we wanted to set up some bases actually in Normandy itself so that we would be closer to the fighting and as opposed -- and therefore the aircraft didn't have to fly as far to get into the various combat zones. So, somewhere around the middle of June plans were made to set up the first base in Normandy itself so that our planes would be able to take off and be able to carry out their duties right from Normandy itself. This was - this location of this base was just above - just above Omaha Beach and it was set up at a place called San Mary Gleese (ph). Now, here is where it starts to get interesting. The first echelon, the first people that are starting the base, I was included in that group, and we boarded another English ship which took us to just off of Omaha Beach and at that point there were rope -- rope nets over the side of this ship and all of us descended with our helmets, our guns, all of our barracks bag, all of our -- all of our ownings. And we climbed down this rope ladder into a landing craft, an LST, which was waiting for us, however the water was less than smooth and as a result the landing craft were bobbing up and down as we were climbing down the ladders. And the whole idea was to time our drop so that when we left the netting and we went into the landing craft itself with all of the weight that we were carrying the idea was not to drop too far because the further we dropped the harder would be the impact. So, fortunately I was able to make the transition that morning and a bunch of us were fully loaded into this LST that proceeded to the beach head at Omaha Beach. An LST you cannot really see anything. You have a high front. A high back. And high sides and you are sort of in a well. So, you can't see anything. But you know that you are getting closer and closer and then the LST stopped and the ramp went down and I don't know what I anticipated, but there in front of me was the beach with all the various carnage, with all of the various broken tanks, broken -- other broken ships, all our tank traps, all kinds of carnage, but fortunately we weren't fired upon. After a little while once we were all -- we had all waded ashore we were formed into a single line file and went up a steep incline all of the way up to the very top of the cliffs. Now, this was a really long hard trip because the incline was so steep that we snaked back and forth as opposed to going up in a straight line and we all had everything we owned on our backs and it was really, really tiring. I think if one person had stopped we all would have stopped, but eventually since no one stopped we got to the very top of the cliffs. Once we got to the top the land was fairly flat and we saw behind us - of course we saw the beach and right around us were hundreds and hundreds of foxholes that had been dug prior to our land -- our coming on the scene. It was -- by this time it was dusk and we all just decided -- no, we didn't decide - we were told that this was it for the day. We were to spend the night there and a couple of the -- several of the fellas would combine shelter halves. In our pack each one of us had a shelter half and two halves would make up a pup tent and two soldiers would sleep in that pup tent. I instead decided rather than to try to get into a pup tent I just hunkered down into a foxhole and I took my shelter half and put it over the top to protect me from the rain or whatever might come around. I was extremely tired. In no time I was fast asleep and some time in the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of artillery and bombs and machine guns and I looked up and I saw tracers in the sky and I saw white flashes and I saw red flashes and some jerk was running around with a whistle, blowing his whistle and saying air raid, air raid, as if we didn't know. I remember keeping my head up and looking around and of course I had my helmet on and finally I just was so tired I just went right back to sleep. These series of air raids took place several times during the night and I sure was glad that I was in a foxhole, because that is where I was and that is where I stayed and that is where I was the very next morning. That morning we assembled and we went out to our new landing field where several of our planes were parked and this was our new base. Unfortunately we were at one end of the field and the other end of the field was still under - under fire. Well, we were still operational and so many -- so much equipment had been off loaded on to Omaha Beach by this time and so many -- so much of the ammunition and everything was brought up to our base that we were able to get off operational right away. So, we loaded more bombs. Some times we loaded GP General Purpose bombs which were 500 pounds. Other times we loaded frag bombs which were designed to really go after ground personnel. And these were bombs that broke up under - broke up into many, many small pieces called fragments and was definitely targeted to the enemy ground forces. We were -- our whole outfit was assigned to work with General Patton and his third army. And we were giving them close ground support and as Patton advanced, although at this time there wasn't very much advancement, we were pretty much contained in Normandy. And the hedgerows pretty well had our ground forces bottled up and there wasn't much more going forward. So, our airplanes were used primarily to strafe and bomb the various targets in France and possibly offer also some air support to the heavy bombers from the eighth air force which were going further deep into France and were confronted by the German air force and that was the reason for our own air support. We operated like this for some time until we could break through and then we were bottled up and we were trying to get through to St. Loe and that was the big hold up. I remember one day looking up and seeing the sky black with B-17's all with the idea of bombing St. Loe and getting us to be able to break through. Fortunately, we did and St. Loe was eventually taken. We read in a newspaper the Stars and Stripes, that St. Loe had been taken. So, about four or five of us got in a six by six truck and drove up to St. Loe to try to get some souvenirs. Unfortunately what we didn't know is that St. Loe had been taken from the north and we were coming up from the south. So, all of sudden we were in an area we saw a sign that indicated that this was the end of the road and there was no further advancement. At that point we didn't realize that we were at the front. We decided to turn around. And we started to get shelled. And I don't know if you ever try to turn a six by six truck around on a road that was only very narrow and just wide enough for two vehicles. We didn't want to get on the shoulders because we knew that the shoulders were mined. So, during this turn around I noticed a farmhouse right in front of us and I was standing up in the front part of the truck and I had my rifle and I figured there were - there was an observation post in the loft of this farmhouse and yet I was so scared and I was so petrified that I couldn't bring myself around to train my gun on this loft. I was just scared and I was just petrified. Somehow we were able to get back to the safety of our base. Needless to say we didn't get any souvenirs. We just brought ourselves all back in one piece. We operated from that ALG 6 for a while and then we were able to make our way up to Cherbourg and the one thing I remember the most was driving from Son Mare to Cherbourg and through the various villages that were just rubble. The roads had been opened and the trucks were bringing supplies all around there. We called them the Red Ball Express. I guess because the trucks had painted -- a red ball painted on their sides. But the damage was just -- there was nothing standing between on either side of the road from San Mare at least all of the way up to Cherbourg. It was just complete damage. Anyway after our lines went forward and after we broke out of the hedgerow country we were still supporting Patton's third army and we went up to a town Dijon, D I J O N. After Dole -- after Dijon we went to a town called Dole and I remember that we were flooded and life was pretty miserable. It was cold. We lived in tents. It was really difficult to be comfortable. It was either dust when it way dry or mud when it was wet and there was just a difficult existence, but I was still so happy that I wasn't in the infantry because at least there were times when we were fairly dry, warm and comfortable. Our group was supporting Patton's third army and as he advanced through France. We stopped being in a combat zone and General Patches, I can't remember if it is the seventh or the ninth army and they came up and we were now in a communication's zone which was called a calm zone. There was a great difference between these two zones. As we advanced forward to Paris and then further on through France and through Germany we would still be shuttled back and forth. We would be in a combat zone where cigarettes were free, where there was no saluting. Where we just didn't -- we were --we didn't have the discipline that was required in a combat zone. When we were supporting the third army and we were in a combat zone as I said cigarettes were free. Things were loose. The various warehouses were open and we could do whatever we wanted to do. Then when the seventh -- General Patches seventh army came up and we were in a combat zone at that point we always had to be dressed neatly. We had to salute. Naturally the warehouses were closed and we had to pay for our cigarettes. Earlier on when we were still in France we were living on C rations which of course were better than K rations and we got a three day pass, another friend of myself. And we took some C rations with us. And I remember stopping at a farmhouse before we went on to Paris. We stopped at this farmhouse and we gave our C rations to one of the women at one of the -- I guess the woman of the farmhouse and she made us the most delicious dinner using our own C rations. I remember we had some red wine and we had some bread and our own C rations were heated and I don't know what she did, but it was one of the best meals we ever had. After that we started our three day pass. We took a train and we went to Paris. I'll never forget that train. It was -- we called it the French Doodle Bug. But it was really an advanced train. It had state rooms. It had - I don't know it was really deluxe. It had all kinds of buttons that you pushed and different things took place and it really was great. As I said we had three wonderful days. We went to the Follies. We went to different restaurants. We were at a place called the Guard de Ouest (ph) which I think means the station, the French West Station. We had a hotel room there and - and we just had a wonderful time. Let me just say we had a great time those three days. It wasn't exactly a church picnic if you know what I mean. Anyway as time went on we kept on advancing, following Patton's third army, trying to stay ahead of Patches seventh army and wherever we were there was an air base we did the same -- pretty much the same thing. We loaded the bombs, fused the bombs. Depending on what type of mission was planned it would be determined as to what type of bombs we dropped. We sometimes even used napalm. Which we have like a gasoline tank which is an outboard tank, it is filled with napalm which is a jelly like gasoline type liquid and there is a belly - on the belly instead of putting the bomb we would put this gasoline tank and we would - where there were troop concentrations or other type of things we wanted to destroy the airplane would drop this napalm which when it hit it exploded and of course it was a series of -- it was a vicious type thing. Looking back now I really feel that -- sorry that - that we had to do such awful things. After leaving a place called Nancy France we went on forward and we went to a place called Mets which - Germany which was an area that was highly fortified. This Mets was an area that was surrounded by German forts. There were seven forts around this area that had been occupied by the Germans and this time again we decided to look for some more souvenirs. While we were there one of the fellows saw - apart from us - saw a box that looked like it had munitions inside. It was a long, long box and with his bayonet he tried to pry it open. Unfortunately it was a German anti tank mine that he pried open and it blew up and a few of them were killed. I was fortunate in that I wasn't with that group. However, we did awful dumb things. I was 19 years old. Maybe I was even 20, but I never really expected to come -- to get out of it alive and I have so much more sense now, but at the time we did an awful lot of dumb things and I am just lucky that I never got court martialled. That I never got hurt. I came through the entire war with - with hardly a scratch. There was one incident when we were in Germany that was really amusing. We took a weapons carrier and loaded it up with five gallon cherry cans and we went to a city called Bamburg and in Bamburg we went into a wine cellar and decided to liberate some of that wine. We took all of these cherry cans and filled each one of them up with this white wine from Bamburg and I even remember I had to keep my canteen with me and I filled that up with white wine and all of the way back, driving back, with this full load - oh, we also had a decontaminator truck. A decontaminator truck that is like a big water truck. We used it to decontaminate various areas and to pour water on it. I forgot we filled that up with white wine also. So, we came back with God knows how many gallons of white wine and I remember driving home and taking a sip of wine now and then until pretty much the whole canteen was empty. I remember sitting on my bunk and I was reading the Stars and Stripes and I remember the headline it said, War Ends Europe. No. No. It said V E Day Europe and I could never get passed that headline. I remember trying to read the article and all I could remember reading was V E Day Europe and I must have somehow fallen asleep, I don't know why. Anyway, one never really should try to get drunk on wine because it's -- it's when you wake up you are extremely thirsty and you take some water and as soon as you take that water you get dizzy all over again and this goes on for three days. You can't imagine a worse three days in your life, but what the heck I was young and what did I know. Anyway, the war was finally over and the outfit started to break up and I went to a hospital in Regensburg too because of my back. I had a lot of back trouble and I feel that that was because we were lugging around these hundred pound machine guns or carrying a full ammunition box full of ammo. Anyway, I used that opportunity to have my back looked at, although nothing was done, and we were still waiting for reassignment to the Pacific Theater. Fortunately during this time the war in the Pacific got over and we were now going to be breaking up and being discharged. I was fortunate enough to have 83 service points so that I was able to be processed fairly early and we went to a place near Marseilles called I think it was Camp Lucky Strike. I was there for a few days and then boarded a liberty ship for processing back to the United States. We went - this time it didn't take 21 days. I think we got back in, I don't know, maybe seven days at the most although I remember being off of Cape Hatterus and for some reason or other the engines were off and I still remember those towering waves above us and then the troughs way below us, but fortunately we didn't capsize. We were there just for some type of -- and we made our way into Boston Harbor and coming into Boston Harbor is something I will remember for the rest of my life. END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE; BEGIN SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE. We came into Boston Harbor and the fireboats were streaming their streams and I remember seeing a sign that says, welcome home, and as I say this today and as I have told this over and over again to different people at different times I can still feet the shiver on the back of my neck and I can still feel the -- I guess it is the hair stand on the back of my neck because that was - that was something I just will never forget. After reaching Boston we disembarked and I don't remember all the details. I remember going by train and making my way back to Camp Grant, Illinois, where I was inducted and where my discharge was to take place. After, I remember calling my folks and coming home after a couple of days at Camp Grant. And now I am told that the part that I am to discuss is life after discharge and life afterwards. That- that's really interesting. The first few days that I came back was really a tough time for me. I remember the second day I was still in uniform and my uncle called and wanted me to work in his furniture store and I didn't even have civilian clothes, just my uniform. Although I guess I had some clothes that would still fit me. And I remember working there, but my mind was -- it is hard to explain, I was sort of in a fog. I had no memory. Something might have taken place four hours earlier and I don't even remember. Something that might have taken place the day before and I know it took place, because I remember it now, but at the time I just didn't remember it. It was really a very confusing time. This had to do with adjusting to civilian life. I remember seeing an article recently that talked about like being on a race track and driving around 200 miles an hour and then all of a sudden being asked to drive at 30 miles an hour and it is just a very confusing and very difficult time. Anyway, a couple of days after my discharge I was walking down 71st Street in Chicago and I passed an attractive girl and I thought to myself, gee, there's an attractive girl and as we passed she said, Victor Kramer, and I turned around and it was a girl I knew by the name of Joan Carroll and we talked. I remembered from high school we both had gone to the same high school. Although she was a year younger than I. I still knew her, because we must have had some of the same classes together. Anyway, one thing led to another and we started dating and dating even more seriously and I was discharged November 15th 1945. And to make a long story short we were married on August 18th 1946. But, before she would accept my proposal she -- let me digress a bit. When I was in high school I was smart. I was a good student, but I just did enough work to get by. I never planned to go to college. I didn't enjoy school that much and while I had no ideas of what I would do in later life I certainly knew I didn't want to go to college. Anyway, one of the promises I had to make to Joan, if we were to get married, was that I would have to go to college. Which I did. I went to Roosevelt College in Chicago. And North Western University, the Downtown Campus in Chicago. And I specialized in accounting. And I took up accounting. And I really loved it and that was going to be my future, I was going to be a CPA. And after getting out of college and getting married. It was August. Our wedding date was August 18th. I wasn't finished with school then, but school was probably another year to go. Anyway, we were still --I was still going to school on the GI Bill of Rights and I went to school, and while going to school Joan worked in an office and I remember it was a great life. I would get I think fifty dollars a month just for going to school and all of my textbooks, and all of my supplies were paid for and I would do my homework at home and go to the beach in the afternoon and then pick up my wife, Joan, who was still working. I would pick her up at the Illinois Central Train Station. She was working downtown and I was living out on the south side of Chicago which leads me to tell you another story. I was discharged in November of '45 and met Joan a week later and got engaged I think around February or -- January or February of 1946 with a wedding date set for August 18th. Finding an apartment was another thing. There were no apartments. There were -- there was nothing available. There were no automobiles that you could get without paying under the counter, under the table, whatever. And the same was true of apartments. One of my friends put me in touch with a relative of his who knew of a garage apartment in the High Park area of Chicago. This - this garage apartment turned out to be one that had never been lived in and one that had been disused and abused and really was vacant and I remember that I had to pay the realtor that found it for me some kind of money. Joan liked the apartment and we took possession of it. Well, actually we didn't take possession of it. It needed remodeling and the landlord, the owner who lived in the front of this area which was a very high class area but with servants quarters in the back, the owner of the unit let me remodel at my own expense, but at the rate of thirty-five dollars a month he set the rent at. He allowed me to use all of the funds that it cost me to renovate and make livable - he let me use that rent free at the rate of thirty-five dollars a month. So, he was- he was one of the nice guys. The unit was on Ellis Avenue, 50th and Ellis. It is interesting to note the Leopold love affair that took place between those rich kids that was the house across the street from this garage apartment. We got married August 18th 1946 and I think I graduated the following January of '47. After being discharged in November of '45 I needed to get a car, because I had always had a car, even in high school I always had had a car. And I remember a friend of mine, I use that word advisedly, because he was an automobile dealer, he was nice enough to sell me a 1937 Chevrolet that I bought, but I had to pay him supposedly a couple of hundred dollars for quote, roof repairs, unquote, in order to get the car. So, coming back a conquering hero and veteran I had to pay this guy a couple of hundred dollars in order to get the car and I also had to pay the realtor, I don't remember how much, probably a couple of hundred dollars, in order to find an apartment. The nicest part was the owner of the building lived in the front of it and also owned the garage and the apartment, he was nice enough to while he let me renovate it and make it habitable and everything on my own, he was nice enough to let me use whatever money I had spent as rent in advance. After we got married I no longer - I don't know I just didn't have enough to save and make a home and everything so we decided after we got married to try to economize and get by without a car. Incidentally, I remember on our honeymoon we went to the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago with this car and by that time both fenders had fallen off because they were just puttied on and I remember that they parked the car at the very, very, very, very rear of this garage so that anybody coming into the garage wouldn't see this car. Anyway, we decided to economize and I sold the car for I don't know - I sold it without the fenders, but whatever it was. We only - by this time it was - we were married in August and I remember it was winter time and I remember being on 51st Street and waiting for the bus and freezing and standing and waiting for the bus and making up my mind this was no good life to live without a car. So, we did buy another car and try to get by on what little money we had. I got a job after my graduation in January. I got a job with a CPA firm and I was working and Joan was working and we were just trying to do whatever we could to get by. In July of 19 - I guess it was - yeah, it was July of 1947, my uncle had a furniture store in Chicago and he opened up an outlet to get rid of all kinds of junk that he had accumulated during the war years in which his customers never bought, because it really was just junk. It was just odds and ends and it was stuff that was very difficult to sell and that's why the factories in order to buy the good stuff made him buy some of the bad stuff. So, that this outlet was just to - just to get rid of the furniture and to liquidate it. So, he asked me if I wanted to go in as a partner in that store with no money to invest. And just to liquidate it and to give him ninety percent of whatever it sold for and to keep ten percent for myself. Well, Joan strenuously objected to her words, quote, my being his flunkie, end quote. After all I had a college degree. I was an accountant. I had scheduled to take the CPA Examination in August and why should I change careers just to please him. But he assured Joan that I was not going to be one of his flunkies. At this point I should point out that Joan was pregnant and I guess the child was due in November. So, in August I went ahead and changed careers. I did go ahead and work in the store. I did liquidate everything little by little. And I kept ten percent for myself and remitted the ninety percent to him. And with the money that I accumulated -- incidentally I worked without a salary -- and with the money that came in I was able to little by little buy some new stuff and sell that and sell that at a profit which I was able to keep in the store. And to make a long story short I made a go of this little store by running it myself and hiring help as time went on. And later I was able to go into a larger store and it - it just worked out for me. And I stayed in that business. And I stayed in that business until 1969 when I moved to California. The person that asked me to make this tape wanted me to comment on my life after - after discharge whether the army had - whether the army had any influence on my life. I guess it did. After that period of memory lapse and I then went to school and I became quite a different student than when I was in high school. I graduated in the top fifth of my graduating class. When in high school I graduated probably in the bottom fourth of my class. One case - I sort of matured while I was in the army. I got married afterwards. I had responsibility. I had a wife who was pregnant. And I really, really went to school and I really worked to make a man out of myself. During my time in school I never worried about a test. Never worried about a final exam. I used to rationalize by saying, hey, I came from a place where people were shooting at me nothing could be worse than that, how can I complain about having to take a test. A lot of Joan's friends were my friends. Some of them I knew, some of them I met through her. They- we all seemed to get married around the same time within the same few years and that was it my military life was over. I thought about it a lot I - I - I - I thought about it a lot. But I had no intention of going back into the service, but just start out on my new life. THE END.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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