Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Well, then

B-29 Superfortress
 Well, then…

My father began every story with those words.  He’d lean back in the kitchen chair—where most stories were told—and tilted his John Deere cap to the side. Well, then...

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... Well, then. 

It took close to, oh say 24 hours to fly there and back. We'd stop over in China to unload food supplies for the hungry Chinese. Then take off 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. 

Flew low to conserve fuel.  Plane was heavy.  Man, it was heavy with fuel tanks and artillery.  Me and Sweetman were bay gunners.  The closer we got to Japan, Japs would be buzzing around us like hornets.  Me and Sweetman would shoot at 'em, 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 it was.  Don’t think he’da like it.





Top row (rt. To lt.)
: Charles T. Roc, Charles H. Donald, Ronald M. Gandy, Louis E. Peck (my dad), John Sweetman
Middle Row: Capt. William O Ezell (pilot), Lt. Hump Halsey (co-pilot), Arthur M. Shelton, Merril Williams
Front: James D. Waring, Robert Quick

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

Some stories don’t need an end.  Others do.


28 comments:

  1. Pretty sure that Ol' Shelton wouldn't have liked it at all. What he didn't know didn't hurt him.

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    1. So true. But, I am guessing that he found out eventually. Such a good secret is too good to keep.

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  2. An unforgettable story, and experience. I imagine your Dad had quite a few tales to tell. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. He did. My sister has letters that Dad sent to my Grandma and I will pick them up from her this summer (I hope). Looking forward to reading them, altho I am sure they will not include some very good storeis.

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  3. My dad never told war stories, but he did criticise every war movie he ever watched, saying he'd been there and it didn't happen that way.

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    1. He must have been in infantry or some branch that brought him into close contact. From the air, the deaths were pretty removed.

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  4. haha yeah, he wouldn't have liked the truth on that at all. Blah.

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    1. Ol' Shelton certainly would not have appreciated that.

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  5. So funny...of course I don't believe anyone would drink sea water but then again....

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  6. I can't believe he tasted the seawater.
    My father flew planes and he's got some crazy stories to tell.

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    1. I hope you still have him and can hear those stories. It is important for you and for him.

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  7. Hi Susan - amazing story ... and one that will never be lost to the test of time. Well then! ....... that was fun and would amuse so many - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks! My nephew in Ohio used this story as an assignment for a 4th gr. writing assignment. Teacher loved it, and other students even more so.

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  8. Good one!We will be thinking how can we drink sea water, but i heard a news that during great storm fishermen caught inside the sea to save their life they have drank sea water .It was so sad to hear...

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    1. Drinking salt water is a death knell. The body just cannot handle it.

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  9. How wonderful that he told you these stories to pass down to others.

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    1. There are some stories that I can remember well.

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  10. Hi Susan, What a nice blog. You asked about my quilt. It was all applicae. All 68 pieces. My hands did hurt when I got done. All of the other quilts I made for my grands were panels. I just keep hoping no one else wants one. :)
    Thank you so much for asking.

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    1. We now have 5 gr-kids. Each one has rec'd 2 quilts so far. One cannot stop building a stash with quilts in mind.

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  11. OMG! That's a fascinating story.

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    1. Dad and Sweetman were best friends for the rest of their lives. Oh the stories I did not get to hear!

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  12. Well, then....I think this is truly a wonderful story...a memory to be cherished.

    (And, of course, I have tears in my eyes as I write)

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    1. So glad you stopped by! I know what you mean.

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  13. Isn't it amazing, the different lives we live? My dad was in Sweden during the war, wore a uniform and trained to be a soldier, but never met an enemy or fired on anyone. You told his story very well, I can see him at your kitchen table.

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    1. Your father was ready to defend his country. He was willing to be a soldier who faced evil.

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