Monday, October 28, 2013

Well, then...

B-29 Superfortress
 Well, then…

My father began every story with those words.  He’d lean back in the kitchen chair—that is where most stories were told—and tilted back the John Deere cap.

Me and Sweetman were on a long run over the China Hump…you know what that is, dontcha?  Well, that is a flight over Burma and China to Japan.  We dropped bombs on towns there.  But... Well, then. 

It took close to 24 hours to fly there and back.  Had to fly low over the waters, so low that we could see the white caps on the waves.  I betcha we coulda reached out to grab some sea water. 

We flew so low to conserve fuel.  Plane was heavy.  Man, it was heavy with the fuel tanks and the artillery.  Me and Sweetman were the bay gunners.  The closer we got to Japan, the Japs would be buzzing around us like hornets.  Me and Sweetman would shoot at them, heavy guns and loud.  Now and then, we’d say, “I got one…”

Well, then.  This story is about a rule we had on the bomber.  The first one who had to pee would have to clean the latrine.  Nasty, bad job.

Ol’ Gandy had to go bad.  The rest of us were pent-up about the mission, we couldn’t have peed for nothing.  But Gundy had to go.

But the latrine?  He decided he’d open the bomb bay doors just a little and pee down them.  Worked just fine.

Then we heard the navigator Ol' Shelton say somethin’ like.  “What’s this?  Yellow sea water?”  He smacked his lips, wiped his face.  “Tastes funny.”

We never told him what that was.  Don’t think he’da like it.

Top Row (rt. to lt.): Charles T. Rock,  Charles H. Donalds,  Ronald M. Gandy,
Louis E. Peck (my dad),  John Sweetman

Middle Row:  Capt.Willam O. Ezell (pilot), Lt. Hump Halsey (co-pilot),  Arthur M Shelton, Merril Williams

Front:  James. D. Waring,  Robert Quick










Then Dad would stand up, straighten his cap, and go out to do chores.  

Dad loved to tell stories, but only certain stories.

20 comments:

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    1. You can't imagine, but his facial expressions on certain words were part of his delivery. He never laughed at the end. He had a wry smile.

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  2. Good story. Love the picture. I have some like that.....found then in a box my mother left. God, those guys always look so young and they were,

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    1. I saw "Memphis Belle" years ago, and it was then that it hit me. These young men were very young.

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  3. What a great story! I wonderful that your dad shared them with you.

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    1. He shared more and more stories as he grew older. My grandfather was the same.

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  4. lmao ewww no wonder it tasted funny

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    1. Glad I don't get those chances to experience such.

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  5. What an amazing story Susan. I truly loved reading this. Love hearing stories passed down :)

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    1. Aren't they fascinating? I encourage any blogger whose parents are old, still living, to record those stories. Video them, if possible. I wish I had done that.

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  6. I wish that my father had shared more of his life. And love this story, and your telling of it. Thank you so much.

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  7. I enjoyed the story and loved the picture, Susan.

    I remember my Uncle Tommy telling us of his days in the Pacific. He did not speak much of the war, except for anecdotes about him and his buddies. He always had an interested audience.

    Bless all of them who have sacrificed for all of us.

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  8. Never trust the yellow sea water!

    Your dad is a great story teller.

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  9. Thanks, Susan, my husband is waiting for a cancer operation, so things are not normal, but hope to have my next book published by the beginning of December.

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  10. Hahahaha yeah I wouldn't have told him either. :-D

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  11. That story is a classic. I wrote a piece about a WWII pilot of a B17. He was shot down over Nazi occupied France. His story was remarkable.

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  12. Ew, but really funny! It's great that your dad was a story teller.

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  13. Well, then, you dad sure could tell a tale or two. Pee down them bomb bay doors, indeed!

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  14. Your dad handed down not just the stories, but the art of storytelling, to you. What a gift. I've heard of the Yellow River, but the Yellow Sea? ewwww. :) Some of those guys in the photo had some mighty "big guns" of their own, including your dad. Sweetman was a cutie pie, huh?

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  15. It's great that your dad shared this, and other classic war stories with you. Your dad, and the men he served with were true heroes.

    Julie

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!