DAVE – I remember Rusty (Heurlin) picked on Dick a lot. I don’t know why. I guess Dick was at the age, 15, 16, 17, and Rusty didn’t have much patience. Rusty was a man’s man. He wasn’t too much for kids. I just remember he picked on Dick a lot. It should have been a very joyful time in my life but I don’t remember. I just remember feeling sorry for Dick.
LAD – In about 1932, Dad saw an ad in the newspaper about a Diesel Engine class that was starting. He told me about it and I was quite interested. I made out an application and was accepted. Dad paid the tuition and I went to school in East Bridgeport (Connecticut) at the Wolverine Motor Company. They had a reputation for building very reliable and long-lasting engines. The instructor, their Chief Engineer, did a very good job of teaching and gave us all some excellent material in a loose-leaf binder. In fact, there were three binders that we received during the length of the class. When the attic of the Trumbull house was being cleaned out, they were discarded, to my great sorrow. I’ve been sorry ever since because there have been many times when I could have used that material. The instructor gave us formulas for making various materials and metals, and taught us how to make various engines. It was a very complete course. Each student was given a list of people who were looking for Diesel Engine Mechanics, and I think most of them got jobs. I received a request from a guy named Windsor, a high up government official in Washington, but I never followed through on that.
The gasoline engine training is something that I picked up on my own. I used to work for Steve Kascak, who owned the garage. He wasn’t enthusiastic about my work because he always said, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But I was always making it better, even if it wasn’t broken. I worked for him for a couple of years.
Dan and I both applied for and got into the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) because Dad was badly in debt. His wife, my mother, had developed cancer and spent a lot of time in Bridgeport hospital. At Bridgeport Hospital they made a very bad error with the intravenous feeding…. One of the nurses had put a saline solution in, and Mom went to a hospital in Pennsylvania where her cousin, Randolph Noet, was a doctor. She was in the hospital for quite a while. All of this is very vague in my mind. Helen and Dorothy, her sisters, were in Trumbull taking care of us kids. They were very restrictive as far as letting us know anything about Mother. So, we knew very little about what was going on or anything else.
Because of the expenses of Mother’s illness and death, Dad was in considerable debt. Dan and I joined the CCC and send him money. Both of us had assigned him to get the money we were paid. I don’t know what it was, maybe $70 a month or something like that. I was in Niantic, a town just outside of New London and Dan was in Willimantic. I was maybe 75 or 85 miles from home. There were three or four of us from the Bridgeport area at the camp. I could frequently get a ride from one of the fellows who had a car, but it was always a lot of trouble trying to arrange transportation to get there on time and be home on weekends. So I decided, after talking it over with Dad, to buy a motorcycle to get me back and forth. I used that motorcycle for a couple of summers, and then the CCC camp was over. It was a 1925 Harley Davidson, model 74. One of the fellows across the street, Erwin Laufer, bought a motorcycle and we used to ride together. He had what was known as a 45 Harley, and we raced a couple of times. I had one cylinder and he had to, but both machines almost stayed together, even at top speed, so we never decided who had the advantage. That didn’t last too long. I went to Venezuela and then the war came along.
Tomorrow, I’ll start a series of letters written in 1941. Lad will be coming home soon from Venezuela and Dick has moved to Anchorage,Alaska, after delivering a car to Dan and Ced.