William Harmon Interview
Interview: William Harmon: WH Medium: Digital Video Recording Date: Monday, May 1st, 2011 Place: Colonial Oaks Retirement Community, South Colonial Oaks Drive, Marion, IN 46953 Collected By: Lukas Clevenger: LC Visiting: Christine Clevenger: CC
LC: Alright, um, today is May 1st, 2011, at 4714 South Colonial Oaks Drive, 46953. I am with William Harmon who is going to be interviewed. He goes by Bill, and his birthday is January 8th, 1915, and he is my great grandpa. Um, Christine Clevenger, his daughter, will be here as well, and um, do I have your permission? WH: Yeah. LC: To videotape? WH: Yep. LC: Do I have your permission to share this with the high school, and the library? WH: Yeah, yep. LC: Ok, thanks. Alright, um, we’ll just start at the beginning, I guess, uh, maybe if you want to talk about when you were enlisted? For the Army? WH: Yeah, uh, what do you, you just want account of Army life? LC: Pretty much, yeah. WH: Well I can give you a, give you a story of, from the start to finish. LC: That would be perfect. WH: Let me think a minute. Yeah, I was in Florida when the war got started, and I went over to, what’s that town over there on the east coast? Um. CC: Was it Tampa? WH: No, the one on the east coast is, Tampa’s on the west coast. CC: Oh, Miama’ WH: Huh? CC: Miama’. WH: No, on the west coast across from Tampa. Big town… where the… where the… the place over there where they got a, where people go to s… I just can’t think of it. LC: That’s alright. That’s ok, um. WH: Anyhow I went over there and they interviewed me for the service, and, and I, pretty soon they inducted me and I had to, I went to New York, and they give us, we had a little basic training before we, went on the ship to go over to Europe, and we had a berrics bag, and a rifle, and we had to climb a rope ladder up the side of the ship, to , with that bag, that big bag around your shoulder, and a rifle on the other shoulder, and we got on the ship, and started for Europe, and… we got into a lot of rluff weather, ruff leather, weather and uh, just for instance I was eatin’ breakfast one day at, in the, in the ship, and they was, and I said, I was sittin’ there at a table, that was about thirty foot long, thirty or forty foot long, and I had a cup of coffee that came uh floatin’ down the table to me, and I uh stopped it before it went off the edge CC: (Chuckling) WH: There was a lot of other soldiers on the bu, on board, and we was sleepin’ three deep, and uh, canvas beds, and we pull in to caste the blanket, and, and went down into uh, a little country in, let me think of that town, let me take a look at my map. LC: Alright, so you want to tell me about, uh, when you landed over in Africa? WH: When I, when I what? LC: When you uh, landed over in Africa. WH: Well um, ma, Morocco was in Africa, and we went out, we was afraid the Germans was gunna come down through Spain and close off the bra, Gibraltar. And that’s what we came for, and that’s why we came, we was to stom em’, so our ships could come through there, into the Mediterranean, and, and uh, we pull in ta this cork forest, and um, that’s where all the cork in the world comes from, they peel the bark off the trees, and it’s about, uh, two, two and half inches thick, and they just peel the bark right off the tree and stack it up underneath and it just grows new bark. But we, we set there and, the Germans never did come down there, so after a while, while we was, they wanted to take us up to where the fightin’ was, so they put us on the train and started us across, uh, North Africa, and we, we got to Libya ‘bout the time that the Germans gave up, and, and uh, after Africa. So we turned around and, but to go over there we went on the, went on the train, and that’s when we went over the mountain, and uh, the breaks didn’t work on the train very good, and uh, we was going down, going like that (zigzagging motion with hand) and uh, and, it felt like any minute it would turn, it would turn over, ‘cuz it was goin’ too fast around the curves. LC: Wow. WH: But it didn’t, it didn’t happen, so, and uh, every little while we’d stop for, in a town, and these natives would come to the, come up to the shh, come up to the train, and try to sell us whine, and, we ke, we kept goin’ until we got to where the war had stopped, and uh, and it happens the war is all over and they put us on a truck and hauled us back to Morocco again, clear across fifteen hundred miles. LC: Wow. CC: Wow. WH: And uh, we sit there, fa, fur quite a while, two or three months, and they said now were going to go to Italy. LC: And you stayed, you stayed in the cork forest? WH: Huh? LC: You stayed in the cork forest for two or three months? WH: Uh huh. I was sittin’ there by my radio in that cork forest didn’t have, there was nothin’ goin’ on so I wrote Jaunita a letter every day and she wrote then, one back, so I got all the mail, but we’d get ready for mail call and they’d say, “Harmon”, and I’d get my letter and they’d say somebody else, and then they’d say, “Harmon”, and them guys would say, “How come you get all the mail?” CC: (Laughing) WH: (Laughing) And, but anyhow, we got on a boat and went ta, Italy, went to Naples, that’s in southern Italy, and, we was in Naples a while, and I said, “Why are we goin’ up, goin’ up, fur?” So we got on another sh, small ship, and we went on up to ka pa, opposite Rome, and we stopped and started unloadin’ our tanks and, and the Germans sh, started comin’ across in their bombers, in their uh, small um, bomb, bomb, not, it wasn’t bombers, it was fighters, they was, we was standin’ on the deck getting’ ready to unload and they was shootin’ at the boat, and the bullets was boucin’ off the deck right next ta, right ten foot away. LC: Wow. CC: Wow. WH: Big bullets, great big bullets, and finally we got unloaded and, went up into the, into a, another forest, always get in a forest cuz it’d hide a, hide a tank good. CC: Ah. Uh huh. WH: Tank wasn’t so visible when it was under trees ya know. CC: Oh. WH: And we, we started to go up towards Rome and, and the Germans was sittin’ up on the hill shootin’ at us, so we couldn’t go, and we spent from February ‘till July, sittin in that forest waitin’ for those, and the Germans shootin’ at us, and every morning you’d get up, and there’d be limbs off them trees all around us. And uh, I had a guy, I was a radio operator, so I had to stay awake half of the night and, one guy was on the radio, and I was, I was sleepin. We had, we dug holes and, with all that artillery comin’ down, we dug holes, and we tore a, we tore the town down where we unloaded, and used all the lumber to cover up our holes. Then put dirt on top of the uh, lumber. And, so, we spent a while there, and I had a guy workin the radio at night, and uh, six hours on, six hour, hours off, and I had come outta my hole, and’d get on the radio, and he’d go ahead back in my hole. And I got up one night and tried to get in in there, and tried my radio and it wasn’t workin’, and he was scared, so scared he would hear a bomb, that he didn’t run the battery to build up the, he didn’t run the generator to build up the battery in the car so it was runnin’ down, and uh, so I, I turned everything off, and after about an hour it charged up a little, and I was able to get the charge, able to get it charged up. And uh, he was so scared that the next day we had a bomb attack in daytime. CC: Woe! WH: And. LC: Wow! WH: He started off ka-runnin’ through the woods screamin’. And when the bomb had qui, quit, why he come back and so they sent him on a sick call, and sent him back to Naples, and when I came back for a, on a ship, later on, he was on the ship too, he never did get into anything. CC: (Laughing) WH: But, but uh, we started north from Rome, and ‘bout every two hundred feet, there’d be a shh, be a truck in the side ditch that had burned. CC: Oh. WH: They was, the Germans retreatin’, and we was burnin’, we was bombin’ their trucks, and they’d get a fire, and it was just a row of uh, of trucks in the ditch, CC: Oh gee. WH: mile after mile, and uh, we st, we started up the, and we cut below a town called Radicondoli, r o d I, rodi, c o n d o l i, Radicondoli, and we stopped, and we just, the Germans had just left town and there was a few of our prisoners just across the street, st, at a filling station, everybody went into a wine cellar, but me and the lieutenant, and lieutenant was in charge, so he had to stay out there, and I had to stay there on account of my radio. And I was standin’ there in the street with no helmet on, and uh, the Germans started shootin’ ra, morter shells back into ta, into town, they was just up the sss, road a piece. One of the morter shells hit the wall right over my head, and blew the wall down on top of me. And I came to, and I was layin’ in the middle of the street with a layer of cement blocks over me. CC: My goodness. LC: Wow. WH: And I was bleedin’ in both arms and both legs and. So I crawled over, I was, able to crawl over to a door, and I don’t know how I got the door open, but, I got into this house, and there was a, a, a woman in there, what Catholic? CC: Nunn? LC: Nunn? WH: She was in, what do they call that? LC: Sh, She was a nunn? WH: Huh? LC: Nunn. WH: Yeah. LC: Yeah. WH: She was in there cookin’, and had big tall legs under the stove, and I crawled under the stove, and I figured another shell might land any minute, but they landed on down the street. So I was layin’ there bleedin’ and, and uh, the sh, the shellin’ had got on away from us so. There was a pa, pick up there, I mean a Jeep there with a bunch a medics in it. CC: Yeah. WH: They came in and bandaged up my arms and legs, they put me on a… What d’ya call it? LC: A stretcher? WH: Stretcher. Took me to the nearest hospital which was a tent, ‘bout, oh about a hundred feet long, and with, they had white sheets stretched up in the ceiling so it’d be light, so they could operate, with, have some light on the subject. And they laid me on the table, and they said, “Now, count backwards, and start at thirty-two.” And I started countin’, and uh, 32, 31, 30, 2(Laughing), and I passed out, and when I come to, I was uh, in the hospital, and uh, ta, and I was all bandaged up, and so that was a tent hospital. Then they put me on an airplane, fl, flew me back down to Rome, put me in another hospital. CC: Mhm. WH: And I got, I got feelin’ better after a while, and I went on a trip to town, and, while I was in town, why, they decided whether they was gunna send me on down ta, further ta Naples, and I wasn’t there. And when I got back they said, “You otta been here, they’s gunna take down to Naples!” And, and uh, I went, they said, “Maybe the sh, the uh ship ain’t left yet, boat.” So I got on a truck and run down there, and they was still sittin’ there. So I sit down there with ‘em, and after a while, ba, bout a day or two, they’d get ya so bored ta sit and wait, and uh, they took, took me on down to, Naples, and um, got on a ship ta come towards the ya, United States, and there was that guy that come run off down through the woods. LC: Wow. WH: He hadn’t seen no action at all. CC: (Laughing) WH: (Laughing) He, he was on the ship goin’ home like I was. CC: (Laughing) Yeah. WH: So we got back to New York, and, and I come home for a visit, and I went down to Miami for a visit, and they sent me out to, out west, and we had another, pl, camp, and they’s getting’ ready to send me into the war with Japan, and, I, we started trainin’, marchin’, and I was limpin’, and they said, “What are ya limpin’ about?” And I said, “Well I got some shrapnel in my leg, and it’s still a little sore, and they said, “Well you don’t have to be in this army!” “Well thanks”, they said ya could get out of it, about a, ‘bout a week later they sent me,oh well first they discharged me, then they sent me back down to Tampa, that’s where we was livin’. CC: Yeah. WH: So I got a job I the shipyard, havin’ to make the ships, for the war, and, one day, late in the fall, they said uh, “Everybody stop, the wars ended.” And. CC: That was good. WH: So they just stop, my job stopped right then. And I went, went home and we loaded up our, la, I worked at the radio factory for a while, and then we loaded up and went to up, Florida. Drove up, drove an old pick-up truck, and we hadn’t went very far ‘till we had trouble, with the, the uh truck, we got it fixed and went up a little further, and it broke down again, and they, they fixed it up, I got it fixed again, and finally got to Tampa. CC: (Chuckling) LC: Wow. WH: And I got a job at a goat farm, milkin’ goats. CC: (Laughing) LC: (Laughing) WH: (Laughing) Every morning, at four o’clock in the morning, I’d get up and go to the goat farm and, and we’d milk goats forty goats. LC: (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) WH: And, the woman that run the goat farm, her husband worked in the factory and, and, he would uh, let’s see what did I do? What was I doin? Oh, I’d, I’d milk them goats and he’d take the, the milk into the factory and sell it to the ne, to the people that was in town. It was the both cities, the name of it, with a bunch of jap, people was all Spanish that lived in Naples city and Tampa. LC: Oh yeah. WH: And, but that was the end of the fightin’ for me. CC: (Chuckling) Yeah. WH: But I probably, I missed a lot of the small details, but that was kind of a general picture. CC: Yeah. LC: Yeah definitely. CC: That’s good dad, that’s good. LC: Yeah. CC: You remembered a lot. (Laughing) WH: Yeah I remembered but a lot of that I did. CC: That covered, how long did that cover? WH: Huh? CC: How long did that cover? How many years? WH: Um, well I was in the Army three years, and uh, I spent several months in that cork forrest. LC: What was your highest rank? WH: Uh, Sergeant tech, T4, I think they called it, well it was the equivalent of a Sergeant. Before we went over sees, I went into a place where the soldiers went to for recreation, and uh, wasn’t supposed to be there, and uh, and they, they busted me from, back from Corporal, back to, for Sergeant, not back, back to uh. CC: Private. LC: Private? WH: Private, but after I got over sees, I went back to Corporal again, and, and when I got out I was a Sergeant. (Chuckling) CC: (Laughing) LC: Should I ask him about any medals? CC: Sure. LC: Did you get any medals? WH: Yeah I got some medals, but I think they’re, I think they’re in a bag box. CC: That’s. LC: What were they? WH: I don’t remember what there are. I got a blue, got a red. CC: Purple Heart? LC: You got a Purple Heart? WH: Yeah, I got a Purple Heart, and I got some other ribbons, but I don’t remember what each ribbon meant was for. Each part of the war I got into had a different ribbon. But that was just a kinda, general. CC: Yeah. LC: Yeah, that’s really good. WH: Ge. LC: Um, we can, I can come back too. So we can do it another day too if you want to talk about it more? WH: Yeah I could, brush up on my mind and. LC: Yeah give you some time to think about it. WH: Add on some things. LC: Yeah. WH: Was you gettin something on there, on while I was talkin? LC: Yep, yep. WH: I wish I could, remember a little better. And I could remember things that I didn’t think of. CC: Yeah. Well see dad the nice thing with the equipment nowadays, he can add, and take away, and add in. WH: Yeah. CC: So he can make it like, if you don’t want something you can take it out, if you wanna put something in, you can put it in. WH: Yeah. CC: So he can keep on workin on it. WH: Oh that’s interesting. CC: Yeah, he’ll put it up on the computer and look at it. LC: Yeah you’ll get to watch it. CC: You’ll get to see. WH: Yeah. LC: Yeah. CC: So, you did good! You did real good! WH: Well I didn’t, I didn’t think it was too good. (Chuckling) CC: Well you can always add, you can tell him more things, and he can add it all in. That’ll be great. WH: There was, we got down there, where we over, where we went over to, uh, Italy, across the Mediterranean, the Germans had give up, and all their equipment was sittin’ there. And there was a German Jeep sittin’ there, and I looked in it, br, they took all these Germans away by then, the equipment was just settin’ there. And I looked in this Jeep, and there was a, a beautiful camera, layin’ in there, and I took the camera out and sold it for a hundred bucks (Chuckling). LC: Wow. CC: (Chuckling) WH: It was, it was, if I hadn’t a gotten it, someone else would’ve, cuz it was, they had already given up and gone. LC: (Whispering) WH: Equipment just sittin’ there. LC: Uh. WH: I coulda had the whole Jeep if I coulda gotta (Chucking). CC: (Laughing) LC: I don’t think that would, uh, go in the ocean very well. WH: Huh? LC: That wouldn’t go through the ocean. WH: (Chuckling) Nope. LC: Did you sell, um, like cigarettes when you were over there? What else did you sell. WH: Uh, oh! They give me, uh, carton of cigarettes every week, and I sold ‘em to the A-rabs, for two dollars a pack, and that was. They was tickled to death cuz they couldn’t even buy, couldn’t even buy any cigarettes, and they, they asked you to buy them. And when I’d sell ‘em to ‘em, they’d turn around and sell ‘em for twice as much as I, I um, got for it (Chuckling). CC: Wow! (Chuckling) WH: That was in North Africa there, close to, in a Libya. LC: Um, when you stayed in the cork forest, you made, uh, trenches? WH: When I was in the cork forest, what? LC: You made, did you make trenches to sleep in? WH: No, No I. Oh, in the cork forest? Let me think, we didn’t, didn’t dig no holes when we was there. LC: What did you stay in? Just tents? WH: Huh? LC: You stay in tents? Did you stay in tents? WH: Did I stay in what? LC: A tent? Tent. CC: Go ahead and spell it. LC: T E N T WH: In a tent? LC: Yeah. WH: No, never did stay in a tent, we either just slept outdoors, or in a hole, or wherever, but I never had a tent or, never was in one. CC: Oh (Chuckling). How ‘bout the temperature? LC: What was the temperature? WH: Temperature? LC: Yeah. WH: Well North Africa was about like Florida. LC: So was it really hot? WH: Italy, southern Italy was pretty warm. CC: That’s, that’s something. WH: ‘Bout like Florida. CC: Mhm. WH: Further up through Italy, we went, the cooler it got. LC: Did you have, uh, any? What was the winter like? WH: Have any what? LC: Winter. WH: What’d he say? CC: Winter dad. Winter? In the winter time, when it was cold or hot in the winter. WH: It was all, full, summertime I could say. CC: Oh yeah. WH: All the time I was there. CC: Ok. LC: Oh wow. WH: I never had any ge, never got cold. (Chuckling) CC: That was good. LC: Uh, what did you eat? WH: I uh, canned, uh, a can, uh, there was one meal in a can, uh, I forget the name of it, uh, but that’s all, that’s all we eat, in North Africa and Italy, was can. I was tellin’ ‘em one day about uh, the first morning I woke up in, after we got to Libya, I guess that was Libya, I don’t know whether it was or not, any how I woke up, and we didn’t have anything to eat, and the guy said, follow that road, follow that line of guys, you can get something to eat. So I started, I got in the line, and we went over hill, and down over another hill, and directly we came over the last hill and there was a, guy standin’ there, had a fire goin’ under a pot, and, and uh, he was heatin’ up sss, gravey, and uh, we were, as we walked up there they give us a, a cup of coffee, and a, and a, a slice of bread, and they put the gravy on the slice of bread. CC: How about that. WH: That’s what we got for breakfast. LC: Biscuits and gravy? WH: Yeah, biscuits and gravy. One slice. (Laughing) LC: (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) I think he’s wearin’ thin. WH: One slice is all we, I think we got coffee, I’m not positive, I think we did, yeah I think we did. Either that or it was something else, ta, hot. CC: (Laughing) WH: Mighta been bulyon, probably was bulyon, instead of coffee, coffe was too expensive them days. I think it was bulyon. LC: Did it taste good? WH: Yeah. But uh from that day on, I lived out of a can, it was pretty decent food. CC: Mhm. WH: It was just canned goods, but it had a can opener on the can, ya know? You’d open’r up and, we all had a spoon and a fork and. CC: Well. WH: And I could empty that can for breakfast, and another can for lunch. (Laughing) LC: (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) LC: Did you ever get tired of it? WH: Oh uh, there wasn’t enough of it to get tired of. (Laughing) LC: Oh. (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) WH: I lost weight on that, that diet in Europe. CC: (Coughing) WH: But that guy that run off through the fa, woods, had never come back, he knew how to get out of the war. CC: (Laughing) WH: He started screamin’, and I don’t think he was as scared as he acted, him and another guy had been tryin’ to talk up, talk up a way to get out of the Army, and he figured that was the way out, and it was right. CC: (Laughing) WH: He was runnin’ Just as hard as he could run, and screamin’ (Laughing). CC: (Laughing) Isn’t that something. LC: (Laughing) And they thought he was crazy? WH: Yeah, and the next time I saw him we’s gettin’ on the ship to come home (Laughing). I don’t know what his name was, but, he figured it out. But he was scared, he was scared to death, he’d do anything to get out of the Army. CC: Mhm. WH: Cuz he was supposed to be keepin’ that radio goin’ and, and was sittin’ right on it, and six hours on, six hours off in, there in that cork forest, and, no that wasn’t the cork forest that was up, in uh. LC: In Italy? WH: In Italy, uh, let me think, what I was tryin’ to say. CC: Yeah he’s getting tired. WH: Oh, he stay on the radio six hours, and he’d wake me up and I, I was, I’d come out of the hole. We’d dug our holes ‘bout six foot deep, and about ten foot acro, six to ten foot across, and then we pu, we laid the limb, buh, lumber over it, to where we tore the town down, ra, and put over it, and then we pulled dirt over the top of that. CC: Oh! WH: And uh, he come over, and he’d a holler down and say it was, “Come on out, I’m, done.” And so I’d come out and the battery was run down, he hadn’t run it cuz he’s afraid that if you run the battery, the noise would just cover up the bombs comin’ in, and he’d get hit. CC: Wow. (Laughing) WH: And so, I come out, and I turned up the radio, and it’s dead, so I turned everything off, cuz you know it was set to run, but it wouldn’t, and uh, and after a while, it built up enough that I get the radio a goin’, and uh, get the generator to goin’. (Coughing) And uh, he went back to the hole, and I stayed on there, and after I got the battery charged up, I stayed on for six hours, and the next day’s when he took off through the woods runnin’ (Laughing). CC: (Laughing) WH: He was scared, so scared that so bad that he couldn’t stand have the motor runnin’, it was too ba, too scary. CC: My. WH: He was afraid that bomb’d come in and, he wouldn’t hear it, I don’t know what he coulda done about it. CC: (Laughing) WH: Cuz the bomb woulda, he wouldn’t have time to got outta the way of the bomb, but uh, the what he did, he left the battery off, he left everything turned off. I don’t know how that charged up enough to run, but it did. CC: (Laughing) WH: We was there, at uh, before we went on into Rome, there was a, ba, English battalion there, and, but, that was, artillery, and they was shootin’ at that mountain where them bombs was comin’ from, all British guys. And uh, I’d go over there and watch them, watch them shootin’, they, they shootin at the uh, shootin’ the Germans, and they’s shootin’ at us. CC: Yeah. WH: We was in a, we’s in a pine forest then, we always tried to get in a forrest so they couldn’t see ‘em. CC: Yup, yeah. WH: The Jeep, you’d get a tank, or a uh, a big truck, you’d dig it in, you’d dig a big hole and drive it off in it as much as possible. LC: Wow. CC: (Laughing) LC: That’s a big hole! WH: Yeah big, dig a deep hole, di, we had things to dig with, equipment. LC: You had shovels? WH: Yeah, and we’d dig up, dig about ten foot deep, and we’d drive it, slope it into there, but we couldn’t go all the way you know? I can’t say that it helped any, they could come in there, into the ba, bomb shelter, but that’s what they did. CC: Yeah. WH: But, I had never seen anybody so scared as it was, he was. CC: (Laughing) WH: I bet he’s still scared when he thinks of it (Laughing). He probably ain’t alive, he’s about the same age as I am. Most people that was my age, and in the Army, is all gone. Cuz you know, not, ain’t very many people livin’ to ninety six. CC: (Laughing) LC: Yeah. How old were you? WH: At that time I was twenty four. And um, it’s a long ways from twenty four to. LC: Ninety six. WH: (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) LC: It’s good. CC: He did good. LC: I can come back, like um, later this week, or next weekend? And we can do some more if you remember? WH: Ok. LC: That’s alright. Good? CC: Yeah, real good. LC: Alright well. WH: That’s a pretty dull story, compared to some Army stories I imagine. LC: No It’s good. WH: There’s quite a lot of action, in one kind or another. CC: I thought it was good dad, I heard things I hadn’t heard before. WH: Huh? CC: I heard, you told some things I never heard before. WH: Did ya? CC: Yep, sure did. WH: I’ll probably think of some more. CC: Yeah I’m sure you will. You could write them down, write a little note to remind yourself.
CC: Yeah, that’s so interesting. WH: Them A-rabs was the mo, about as interesting thing you’d ever seen, they all had the white robes on, they didn’t have pants and shirts, they wore a robe, and they’s dirty. CC: Hm. WH: Them robes was about as dirty as a, filthy, they probably never washed ‘em, they just wore ‘em. CC: (Laughing) WH: Day in and day out. LC: Was that in Italy? WH: Out there, that was in, was in North Africa. LC: Oh. WH: And, all over North Africa was full of the A-rabs. LC: Wow. WH: There wasn’t no A-rabs in Italy, but North Africa was full of ‘em. CC: Yeah. WH: That was the national people, was the A-rabs. CC: Well. WH: They didn’t call ‘em A-rabs, they called them Arabs, Arabs is what they was. CC: Mhm. WH: But uh we all called ‘em A-rabs. CC: Yeah. LC: Were they Muslims? WH: Yeah, they was all Muslims, all Muslims. Yep that’s what they was, Muslims. We didn’t think much of them, the Muslims. CC: (Laughing) WH: Time we left the country, Muslims was somethin’ else we didn’t care for. LC: (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) WH: (Laughing) The Italians was alright, the Italians was a lot like us, but them people in North Africa, all over North Africa, full of Arabs. LC: (Laughing) CC: Isn’t that somethin’. WH: That cork forest, there wasn’t no A-rabs there, there wasn’t nobody there, that cork forest, just a big ole’ forest of, and they just cut that bark off the trees and pile it up under there, and they’d grow uh new bark in a year or two, it was about that thick, they’d be that deep. CC: Wow. WH: And uh, and that bark, you know what they made bark out of? Corks for bottles. LC: Yeah. WH: Nowadays they uh, you don’t have a very good sale for it. LC: Yeah. WH: People uses different caps instead of corks, I guess wine has cu, some wine has corks though don’t it. CC: Mhm mhm. LC: Yeah. WH: But can you imagine bark that’s, that’s two, two and a half inches thick? CC: No. LC: That’s, wow. WH: And they just took an axe and just chop right down the tree, and then back down, and cut across, and peel that bark off and stack it up onto there until they got ready to sell it. And by the time they had gotten ready to sell it, there’d be another layer of bark growin’. (Laughing) CC: Wow. That’s amazing! Really fast! WH: I never heard of anybody every mention a cork forest but uh, but I sure lived in one for a while. (Laughing) LC: (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) I love it. LC: Could you use the cork for anything? Did you ever use the cork? WH: Did I ever do what to it? LC: Did you use it? WH: Huh? LC: Did you use it? WH: No, didn’t use it for nothin’, I just parked there by it and. CC: (Laughing) WH: The woods was full of cork forest, I mean the woods was all cork forest. LC: Yeah.
WH: But we’s always in a forest, if we stopped we found a forest.
CC: (Laughing) WH: Get in a pine forest, or, or whatever kind we get, we wanted to get in under it as quick as possible, so them Germans couldn’t shoot at, see us to shoot ‘em, shoot at us. CC: (Laughing) LC: Yeah. WH: Them Germans was tough, tough the uh, the Germans was the toughest people I’ve ever heard of, they were tough, don’t think for one minute they wadn’t, woooooo, they’d a won that war if it wasn’t for the Russians, they followed their, the Russians finally decided to join us, and, and uh, to started fightin’ to the, uh, Germans, and the Germans start backin’ ‘em up, and they followed them Russians clear back to Moscow. CC: Oh. WH: And, and on the way back there, but uh, but the Russians finally strengthened up and, and backed the Germans up, again, and you know they was goin’ back and forth. CC: Mhm. WH: And they followed the Germans back to Germany again, and they fought, uh, pretty good, them Russians was pretty tough, and If there hadn’t been any Russians, they’d a took over Europe, and kept it, in my opinion. CC: Mhm. WH: And we mighta had ‘em in North America and in some parts. They might have been all over the world, they was mean, and tough. But them Russians, uh, helped us beat ‘em. CC: Yep yeah. WH: And, they had a big, uh, wall, them Germans had built a wall, between Germany, and the rest of, of, either that or. The other people, the people built the wall to keep the Germans out, I forget which. LC: Is he talking about the Berlin Wall? CC: Yeah. WH: But anyhow. CC: Isn’t that something. WH: They had a bi, a big wall, and. LC: Was it in Berlin? WH: Yeah, to pr, yeah it was to protect Berlin, Berlin was, I guess it was ta, to protectin’ Berlin. CC: I never heard him tell that. Ask him about. WH: I had forgot a lot about what that, what it was like there in Germany, but uh. CC: You wanna ask him about Hitler, and Stalin? LC: Yeah. CC: When he’s got, rested up. Yeah I never heard him talk about the wall before. WH: Sometimes a lot of people don’t realize that if it hadn’t been for the Russians, we mighta been fightin’ Germans in Florida. I mean they was tough. CC: Yeah. WH: If they’d a, they could’ve stayed strong, and kept buyin’ equipment and fightin’, no tellin’ what woulda happened to the whole world. CC: That’s right. WH: The toughest people that I ever heard of, to fight. CC: Mhm. WH: They was mean. Well they was about like Americans, they was more like us than anything else. CC: Mhm. WH: But we wasn’t as tough as them, cu we wasn’t raised up in an army, and taught to fight from first to last, and. CC: Yeah, that’s right. WH: And uh. CC: Getting’ tired. WH: They’d a come over here as sure as the world, but ya know their uh, their submarines ‘bout sunk all our ships ‘fore we got over there. I was just lucky cuz I got, I got over there without gettin’ drownded, cuz there was other ships around us that was gettin’ sunk, and uh, I was uh, just like in that ship I was tellin’ you about that coffee was floatin’ down the table. CC: Yeah. WH: That was full of soldiers. CC: My. WH: And them ships got sunk with the soldiers in ‘em. CC: Wow. WH: And I just happened to be on a ship that didn’t get hit. But them German submarines was just as mean as, they was just as bad as anything I know of. They was tough in Germany and Russian, and they was tough in the ocean, they was tough everywhere (Laughing) . I don’t know why they didn’t try to come down to Spain and try to close off that Mediterranean, but they didn’t, I guess they didn’t have enough men or somethin’. There, right there were we set, I’d been right in the middle of the war if uh, if they’d a come down there, cuz we was sittin’ there waitin on ‘em. CC: Ask him about Mussolini. LC: Uh, what about Mussolini? WH: Huh? LC: Mussolini? WH: Mussolini, um yeah let’s see what wa, what about Mussolini? Let me think, well. CC: It’s alright, you can tell, you can tell Lukas later, you think about him and Hitler. WH: Yeah. CC: Mussolini. WH: Oh! Mussolini was the head man in Italy, and the time we got there they had him hung on a limb on a tree. CC: (Laughing) LC: You didn’t get to talk to him?! WH: Huh? LC: Cause he was hangin’ already, you didn’t get to talk to him. CC: (Laughing) WH: Yeah, they just took Mussolini and all of his head men, and tied ropes on their feet, and hung ‘em under a tree. CC: Yeah. WH: Hung ‘em on a limb. CC: Yeah, yeah. WH: We went up on past there and went on up, and that’s where I got hit, after we passed there. CC: Well how about that. WH: But they’d already took over Mussolini. CC: Yeah. WH: He was, he was tryin’ to be ‘bout like the Germans, ya know, he was in cahoots with the Germans. CC: Yeah. WH: And uh, but we, we ka, killed him off. CC: Yeah, yeah. WH: He was tough old guy and. CC: Yeah. WH: He wasn’t tough enough. (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) Well I think you’ve done real good dad, we’ll give you a rest. (Laughing) WH: (Laughing) LC: Yeah. WH: Yeah that’s the sidelines that I’ve given you here. (Laughing) CC: (Laughing) Pretty good. LC: Yep. We good? CC: That’s great, we heard a lot of great stuff. WH: You probably got more stuff than you thought you would.