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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, March 20, 2006

KS - New Jersey

4- Late October 1959 - While waiting for my flight out of California, I stopped by a local clothing store and purchased some civvies to wear back to Georgia. I bought a new pair of Levi’s jeans and a shirt of a now unremembered color or type and proudly wore them the whole cross-country trip home. This was the days before pre-shrunk and pre-faded jeans and my first bath back at my Mom and Dad’s led to the discovery that the lower half of my body had turned a very distinct blue color from the dye. I was blue for home before, but now this emotional condition became a physical reality and stayed with me several days.

After my leave time at home was over, I traveled to my next duty station by unremembered conveyance – I think by bus. I arrived at the Signal Corps training facility in Fort Monmouth, N. J. the latter part of October and billeted in a platoon bay in Company K. My lengthy training at this location involved the basics of electricity and electronics, the workings of and how to maintain several units of communications equipment and their associated crypto gear (encoding and decoding machines).

Several “firsts” happened to me during this period of time. I witnessed my first deep snowfall, ate my first sub sandwich and the next summer, endured my first – and worst of my life – really bad sunburn. This latter probably contributing to the many extra-curricular skin growths I’ve had to have removed from this near-ancient hide of mine. The initial burn was bad enough, but then it starting full body itching and it about drove everyone around me nuts from hearing my moans and groans – couldn’t scratch because the blisters would break. Even had one buddy that got some vinegar from the mess hall for me and I doused down it that in the shower to try to get some relief – needless to say I didn’t want to have another sunburn again – ever.

The snowfall of that winter was waist deep in the drifts and stayed with us several days - any snow I had experienced up to that time was not much over an inch deep and was mostly melted by the next day. The “sub” sandwich was a wondrous discovery for me, with the shop located just outside the gates of the base and down about a half-block. This great invention was unknown to me until that time, but I gave them much business during my stay.

There was no great emphasis on the military part of our existence, except for a few required formations, marching to and from class and an occasional, annoying inspection of our living area. We mostly just went to class and studied, with our evenings and weekends free. There were a small number of KP days, but fortunately they were held to a minimum. In case you are not familiar with the term KP, it means kitchen police – this just means that you are on duty in the mess hall and do whatever you are told. It lasted from very early in the morning until late at night when everything was finally cleaned up from the meals of the day.

TBC - ec

3 Comments:

Blogger Bonita said...

You give new meaning to the term 'color rinse'. Having half your body a different color is fun - I remember one summer tanning only my legs a deep bronze, by sitting in the shade with my legs in the sun.

3/20/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger country-gospel-singer said...

Very funny! Color me blue! My sun burn!! was when I lived in Turkey. Blessings, Janie Marie

3/20/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - In that case it took me a while to get over the 'blues'.

CGS - Some of those areas over there give sunburn a whole new definition. Thanks for visiting the 'patch'. ec

3/20/2006 09:32:00 PM  

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