Dave tells us a little about his high school days, how he meets his wife and the beginning of his military sojourn.
Dave – Anyhow, I graduated and that was fine, but then after having been noticed and having a name that meant something in Trumbull, I went to Whittier Junior High School in in Black Rock in Bridgeport, and I was absolutely nothing there. I absolutely hated the teachers. I hated the school building. Most of all, I hated the Principal. I took Latin two years, understand that’s Latin I that I took for two years. I flunked it royally the first year and the second year, I still managed to flunk it. I was going to be a lawyer and so I wasn’t going to be a lawyer. That was one year. Then all the kids from up in the hills went to Bassick High School and things were a little better there. Finally, I turned 18, and at that time, the war was on and they were taking people, even people out of school, kids out of school. When I turned 18, I left my senior year in December, December vacation. Never went back. Did go back to get my diploma. For some reason (I think my grandmother was dying) I was home for the graduation, and those of us who were in the service got our diplomas at graduation. I think that I would still be in the school till this day if I hadn’t got my diploma because I was in the Army. I was anxious to go into the service.
Ellie and I met at the player piano. Eleanor had a friend named Doris Eroncrona and they had been friends since sixth grade or something like that. One Sunday night after the Young People’s meeting, everybody came up to the house to play the player piano and sing. Doris brought along her friend Eleanor. I noticed her that night, thought she was kind of interesting, not having any idea if anything was going to come of it. This was when we were still in high school, senior year, just before I went into the service. Doris went to the meeting and she brought her friend Eleanor can top and she and Elinor came up and sang around the piano. A few days later, I got a call from Doris, and she said, “Bob Jennings has asked me to go to a Halloween dance at Bassick High School and I’m not going unless we double date because I don’t want to go out alone with Bob. Would you take Eleanor?” I said, “yeah”. Now I know this is going to sound hard to believe but it 18, I was still afraid of girls. So, one day we were down at Doris’s house and I remember her trying to talk me into it, “Just call her up, call her up and ask her.” I’m sure it had already been arranged but I wasn’t smart enough at the time to think about that. She must have thought that I was passable enough to be able to take her to the dance. I said, “I don’t dance. I don’t even know how to dance.” “That’s all right, blah blah blah.” I finally called her up and she said she would go. That was our first date, and then we started dating. That’s how I met her – all because of that good old player piano
On December 23 (1944), I was sworn into the Army and on January 16th I went off to Fort Devens begin my training. One of the deals in the processing up there was a situation where you could sit down and some guy with a typewriter and a form would ask you questions and then type the answers. Well, one of the questions further down the line was, “what would you like to do while you are in the service?” I said, “I’d like to have your job. It looks pretty good to me. I sit here and I know how to type and I’ll get to talk to people. I’d like this job”. A few days later – George connect and I went into the service at the same time – a few days later they called me down to processing and said, “We can keep you for, we don’t know how long, it depends on how your orders are written, but we can keep you on this job doing this typing.” And I said, “Yes.” I could see some weekends home with my new girlfriend, so that’s fine with me. A couple of days later George shipped out and went to Europe and slogs through mud and muck during the whole war.
I got home three weekends; it was a pretty nice job at Fort Devens. Of course at the time I said I’d like to do this job, I didn’t realize that it was done by people who were just recruits as I once was. Anyhow, the guy behind me – there were four of us that were doing this job – was telling me about his brother who was in the Signal Corps in New Jersey. So I figured that was a good deal. I’ll joined the signal Corps and from New Jersey, get home some more weekends. What I neglected to say is that they told us, “when they ask you this question of what you’d like to do, nobody ever reads that. At this point, we are just filling a quota, but those who work here we actually do try to put them where they want to be.” So that’s what I said, “New Jersey. I’d like to go into the signal Corps.” So I went into the signal Corps after I got in the signal Corps I found out that jersey was the advanced training for radar or something and I ended up in Missouri, but at least I was in the Signal Corps.
Tomorrow, you’ll learn more about Dave’s adventures while he was in the service. On Monday, the letters will be from 1942. Both Dan and Lad are in the service getting further training in what they like to do best.