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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

KS - New York

The first document I have pertaining to this military space in time is a set of orders dated 31 March 1960 telling that thirty-one guys were being promoted from PVT (E-2) to PFC (E-3) and I happened to be one of those. The up side of this was obviously the pay raise and the down side was that I had to get a stripe sewn on all my uniforms. Fortunately there was a nearby clothes-cleaning establishment that performed this service for the soldiers and I was glad to pay them to do it.

It was also during this time that I made my first trip to New York City. A friend and I went there for the weekend and visited several sites that I had only read about until then. One of the sites I now cite is the Empire State Building and it was a sight – at least for this country/small town boy. Somewhere among my photos, there’s one of me in uniform standing at the rail on the very top of this tallest building in the city – at least it was tallest at that time.

On this trip we also went to my very first pro baseball game – at Yankee stadium – and naturally the Yankees were playing but I don’t remember their opponent. If memory serves, the only other sporting event up to that time I had paid to attend was a local stock car race back in Georgia. Fortunately my friend was a bit more experienced in these type things and I followed him around in wide-eyed amazement.

This same friend and I spent another weekend at his home in a small town in upstate New York – very beautiful country indeed. We bummed around his home turf and had a reasonably good couple of days, but the real “fun” started on the trip back to the base. We were returning in his old Buick – circa 1951 – and part way through some very serious mountains, his brakes gave out. One of the metallic lines had a hole in it and was unfixable in the short time we had remaining to get back.

Not wanting to get into trouble by being late returning to our unit, we finished the trip with only the emergency brakes in operation. He drove and I sat in the passenger seat with a death grip on the dash, somehow not thinking to pray. The scariest moment was when we were side-by-side with another car in a deep “s” curve on a two-lane mountain road. My gum was chewed so hard that my jaw muscles were sore several days thereafter. It was only by God’s mercy that we made it back in one piece but I didn’t recognize that at the time.

TBC – ec

8 Comments:

Blogger Granny said...

Thanks for your comments on granny. I'm from upstate NY originally, 10 miles east of Utica. Beautiful country.

3/21/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

He drove mountain roads without brakes? While you held on for dear life? God must have been his co-pilot!

3/21/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - Yes indeed, very beautiful - next time I go there, hopefully the brakes won't fail. Haven't been back there in all these years. ec

3/21/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - He definitely had His hand on that car, but I didn't recognize or appreciate it at the time. ec

3/21/2006 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

A '51 Buik without brakes in the mountains would constitute a "handful"

3/22/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Mothers worry when their children have experiences like this. It makes for guardian angels.

3/22/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

peter - Right - this car was a large chunk of metal, a real 'tank' and if we had lost it on one of those curves it would have been all over except to peel us off the rocks. ec

3/22/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - And sometimes more than one guardian angel is necessary, or so it seems at times. ec

3/22/2006 11:04:00 PM  

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