Friday, April 25, 2014

A Little Taller Than That

Growing up the tallest thing I ever saw was the silo at the feed mill. 60 Feet maybe; 65 at best. 6 stories; give or take a foot or two.

And that probably would have been the tallest thing I ever saw, if it weren't for Pearl Harbor. Not the Harbor itself, but the attack, back in '41. those of us who couldn't get to the Enlistment Office fast enough to choose got drafted not much later. As long as Dad could handle the farm, the boys went off to War.

But not right away. Nobody handed us a gun and dropped us thousands of miles from home. First we had to train. For me, that was Navy. And for training that meant Great Lakes Naval Training Station. And that meant Chicago.

Before the War I had heard of Chicago. Everything we ordered from Sears an Roebuck came from Chicago. I knew how long to took to ship just about anything from Chicago. A day or two for new school clothes; 16 years for the toy you spent your birthday money on. Or it seemed that way any how.

It took twenty-six hours to ship me from Knotville Station to Chicago. I started off on a small, old engine and a 3 car train up to Louisville, then traded up for the Pan American into Cincinnati. From there we took a Military train into Chicago. When we stopped I stepped onto the rear platform at took this picture. You might notice we were in the freight yards. My days as a civilian ended in Cincinnati.

From here it was onto trucks and then a couple of hours of bouncing around in the back of a truck. It was long past dark when we stopped and managed to stretch our legs; the sights of Chicago were nowhere around. I had had one good glimpse, and had made the most of it.

8 weeks later we left Great Lakes in the dark; all I saw of the Windy City was that one picture.

But in the next four years I saw plenty. You want tall? Pull up next to an aircraft carrier in a Higgins boat. That's tall. Look over the rail of a Battleship, knowing you will be jumping any minute to escape the flames; that looks even taller.

I saw lots of things that made the old feed mill silo look small.

But that doesn't mean it was any less friendly looking when I got home.

No comments: