A Life Begins Again I Thought I Had Left Behind
by Harold, Editor at Large
After a long, tedious journey stuck in the hold of the Gen. Billy Mitchell wandering the South Pacific, nineteen days later, we sailed in under the Golden Gate. After in-processing and receiving uniform issue, we were given orders. I was assigned to a Nike Missile Battery in Southern California as a Communications Specialist. I was given a thirty-day leave enroute, so I thought I would just go down to the unit and see if I could report in early and maybe take leave later. I arrived after having a difficult time finding the unit since they were so secretive.
They were in the process of dismantling the site, since they had been decommissioned, and they refused to accept me. They called down the Port to the headquarters. Headquarters said they were aware of it ,and had not gotten corrected orders to me as yet. If I would just wait an hour, they would fax travel authority to me and I could go home and wait for my new orders.
I got a bus ticket from Los Angeles and after three days and four nights arrived in Effingham, Illinois, just south of where my sister lived. She and her husband came down and picked me up and I spent the first week with them. Phoning home, I asked my Mother if some new orders had arrived for me, and she said they just came in the mail that day.
The next day being Saturday, we drove up to the home place and there I found I had nothing left. Nothing!!!. Not a single possession of mine remained, no clothes, no guns, no tractor, no truck, nothing!!!. I just sat down and cried.
The little brother was hiding out somewhere, so when I asked Dad what had happened to all of my possessions, he said the brother had taken them and sold them.
I asked him, “Why did you let him do that?”
Dad said, “He said that you had given them to him. Even if that wasn’t the case, you had left them behind and abandoned them.”
I then asked, “Did he give the money to you?”
“No, he had spent it all on himself.”
I then asked, “Is there any of my allotment money remaining? Because I’m now going to have to buy a vehicle to travel to my next assignment.”
“No money left.”
I said, “I am going to have to arrange with the bank to see if they will loan me enough to buy a vehicle and stop the authorization for you to draw on my allotment.” Dad almost died when I said that.
My sister spoke up and said, “It is his money, you know, and he has been stolen from with your knowledge.”
After the furor was over with, a decision was made that if I allowed them to continue to collect the allotment they would give me a little Aero Willys sedan they had, that had a front end problem making it go through tires very quickly.
I finally agreed and drove it back to my sister’s house. There I bought a used set of tools for ten bucks from an old man who was having hard times and hired him to assist me. The problem was in the design of the car, it being one of the first unibody cars made. Since there was no solid framework across the front, the stress put on the front knuckle joints was causing excessive wear.
I could not buy new ones and I called the old mechanic at home for advice. He said to bring the parts to him and my brother-in-law drove me down with the parts. He looked at them for a few minutes and then took some parts down from a shelf where he had them. It was a kingpin and bushing set from an older car, but the kingpin matched the diameter and length of what I had and could be cross-pinned in its place. He then bored the knuckle to accept the bushing, pressed in the bushings and installed the new kingpins, charged me ten bucks and said good luck.
I put the car back together and realigned the front end and then set off to the state capital to transfer it, get new plates, insurance, etc. By the time I was ready to go, the gentleman over at the insurance agency had arranged for two other people to travel over with me, not only paying for the trip, but also having a few bucks extra after everything was paid. I am still with that insurance agency today after all these years.
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