Friday, November 28, 2008


This is Sid, the Fed again recalling some of the incidences, funny or tragic, from about my age of 6 or 7. I may have briefly touched on these before so please forgive if I am repetitious.

Here is an incident that occurred when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was almost fatal as you will learn. At that time we were living in Fairbank and my dad had torn down the old shed that served as a garage and store room. And in its place built a two-storey block garage/store room. On the south side of this, my dad had a small chicken pen where he kept a few chickens and a number of rats that also enjoyed the chicken feed. Anyway, my brother Bill and I by coming out on top of the chicken coop and carefully inching our way up to the top. We would then slide down the slated roof to the top of the chicken coop. We would often repeat this several times several times a day. My father was disturbed that our sliding down on the rolled roofing and with each slide, he would remove a little more of the gravel that kept the roof from leaking. Anyway, one nice summer day, Bill and I and a couple of other neighborhood kids were up to our usual Saturday morning tricks - sliding down the roof.

The remainder of this incident does not come from my recollection. I had learned of it from the remarks of others. I must have positioned myself too close to the edge of the garage roof and slid down. We usually ended up on top of the chicken coop, but this time I apparently slid off the garage roof, fell out, 12 feet onto a chunk of concrete. Somehow my parents got a doctor to the house and he was asking me various questions, presumably to detect any brain damage. I do remember he asked me what day it was and I gave him the wrong answer.

I was kept in bed for several days and apparently my condition returned to normal. However that was also the end of our roof sliding.

Another childhood incident our home was only about 30 feet from a busy railroad track. As kids we would put nails or pennies on the track so that the huge wheels would crush them. Up the track to the east there was a depression in the ground that we called "our den". It probably had been a basement excavation for a long ago inhabited, but to get to the point - one hot day in the summer, I went into the local confectionery and bought an ice cream cone for a nickel. I kept licking on the cone as I traveled eastward toward our den. A number of my friends had also gathered in the den and we then all lit up foul smelling cigars in a short length of time my stomach became extremely upset and I went back home. I had always attributed the bad feelings to combining tobacco smoke and ice cream. I have never smoked since that time.

Here is an incident that never before has seen the light of day. The second story of my father's garage had become a hangout for the kids of the neighborhood. I recall that on one particular day my friends had apparently persuaded a young lady I will name only as Maxine to preside over the section of the second floor. It was my understanding that the boys would go up on the second floor and what then occurred was never known to me. However, it was finally my turn so I walked up the stairs to the second floor. 'And, lo, Maxine was seated in a chair. I stood there speechless because I had no idea what had been done or was supposed to be done with Maxine as a participant. After a minute or two, Maxine put her hands on her hips and said "Well . . ."

Not having the slightest idea what was expected of me, I turned and fled. Fortunately my mother called me for dinner about that time so I escaped the clutches of Maxine without any damage to my ego.

Another minor incident, in the life of Sid the Fed during the depths of the depression, my father had swapped a number of day old chicks to another man. My father receiving 80 acres of land in southern Missouri. My father was overcome with curiosity as to what the new land was like. We had no money but he persuaded the father of one of my childhood friends to let the son (Bob Williams) go on a trip with us to Missouri and the father put up $25 toward his son's expenses, it being noted that $25 was a lot of money.

However, we did take off my brother Bill also accompanied us and drove to the outskirts of St. Louis. We had what passed for a tent and we spent the night at this campground. The next day my dad told us that we would be going through the Annheuser Busch brewery which, incidentally, was a free of charge tour. We did show up at the brewery and after being shown the internal organs, we ended up at the "party room". As you might expect, beer was the only drink served and each one of us was given a bottle of beer. I drank some and found it was not to the liking of my tummy. No more beer for Sid. I recall that in the handling of this beer bottle, it foamed up and spilled on the highly polished table. I tried to wipe it up, but lacked the needed equipment. One of the things that I recall about St. Louis was that we were buying gasoline 8 gallons for $1. That was cheap. Gasoline did burn in the car's cylinders, but knocked something awful. We bought no more gas at that price.

At the site where the land was located, we found nothing but low mountains, huge boulders a few pine trees and desolation. We did find a hillbilly family who answered some of our questions about this bit of property. At that point, we headed back to Fairbank, Iowa. I later heard that my dad had sold this land to the state of Missouri for some kind of wildlife sanctuary.

This concludes the long, long ago

I will now bring my saga containing an account of my life in the Navy. I know you all are aware of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Armed Forces. Earlier in 1941, I had registered for the draft and was shortly 1A which meant I was only a step or two away from being drafted into the U. S. Army. I was teaching school at the time and the school board wanted me to finish out the school year through the next June. We made arrangements to appear before the local draft board on December 8, 1941, we made an appearance through the overtones of the Pearl Harbor disaster and, as you might expect, I kept the 1A draft status.

The next day, I drove from Riverside to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to determine what the Navy had to offer. I contacted the recruiting station and was given full details as to the rules and regulations. I was also told to report to the recruiting station on December 10, which I did. I was immediately put to work as a yeoman (typist), since the Iowa farm boys were not anxious to be drafted into the Army, but felt the Navy was a better deal.

However, I found that the yeoman that had worked in the recruiting station was off recovering from the effects of some serious alcoholic beverages. They needed a yeoman desperately since, as mentioned above, the Iowa farm boys were lined up ready to take on the Japanese Navy. They had even found a room in a rooming house where I could stay. Life continued quite routinely with Sid working his butt off, filling out the forms and papers for the new recruits.

As I have (or will) mentioned, Marilyn Elizabeth Ingham and I were married in the following July. We enjoyed life in Des Moines, but eventually I was commissioned an ensign in the Navy Reserve and the happenings will be recorded elsewhere.

The following represents another notch in Sid's blog. I was perhaps 10 or 12 at the time and during the summer months would go to an area just up the river from the mill which often yielded a fish or two. I was down at the mill with my usual fishing gear when I got too far out on a plank covering the ____ and the plank tipped throwing me into the water. I could not swim, but I was paddling for life in order to keep my head above water if the mills mechanism had been turning at the time, I most certainly would have been sucked into the grinding chamber and would quickly become human mincemeat. Fortunately for Sid the Fed another older man was also fishing with a cane and pole. He thrust the pole out to me. The pole was long enough I could grab it and be pulled in. I was none the worse because of the incident, except to give thanks that I was still able to breathe and walk. My savior (first name unknown) Fitzgerald although I am sure my parents did hear about their eldest son's brush with death, I never fished at this location again.

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