Friday, August 28, 2009

Missing Daddy

[When I left for Adak again,] Leona sent me many pictures of the boys and the things that they were doing that I was missing out on. Many pictures showed them around an inflatable swimming pool or holding baseball gear. Little did I realize that we had the beginnings of a baseball team and swimmers.

Play ball!
Jim - Tom - Don - Lou, Jr.

Uncle Delbert supervising pool time

What a line up
Lou, Jr. - Jim - Steve (cousin) - Tom - Don

We miss you, Daddy
Lou, Jr. - Jim - Tom - Don

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Brother's Loss

Charles Lee Butler
1 September 1925 - 25 August 1977

August 25, 1977 – Charles Lee Butler, my brother Chuck, was killed in an auto accident today, just lacking six days of being 52 years old. I will always be grateful for the time we spent at scout camp together this summer, because at the end of the summer Chuck was killed in a traffic accident.

He was killed as a pickup truck with a camper turned left at the intersection of Highway 96 and Baxter Road and hit him in his little sports car. Beth took it real hard, and I tried to comfort her as best I could. Needless to say, it was very hard on Pinky and Toodie and all of the family.

Uncle Chuck was a great husband, father, brother and Scout leader. Dad (Lou) felt a great sense of loss at his death. Future posts will highlight his life and family.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I left my heart in Pueblo, Colorado

Butler Family
Tom - Leona - Lou, Jr. - Jim - Lou, Sr. - Don
August 18, 1950

We took the trailer and returned to 1808 E. 5th Street. It was very sad to leave my wife and small children and go back into the service. Leona really wasn’t up to taking care of those four little boys (Lou, 3 ½, Jim, 2 ½, and Tom and Don, 1) by herself. We fixed a few things on the house and got Leona and the boys set up to live there while I was gone. She could be on her own, but close to my folks and with her folks not too far away.

Leona, 24 years - Lou, 27 years
Lou, Jr., 3 1/2 - Jim, 2 1/2 - Twins, Don and Tom, 1 year

Neither one of them looks very happy about the impending separation.

The night before he was to report to the Induction Center, Leona traveled to Denver with Lou. These pictures were taken outside the motel where they stayed.

She may have been sad, but still stylish. Check out her classy dress and shoes!

At the end of February, 1951 I was discharged and sent home. I received an honorable "hardship" discharge, thanks to Leona's efforts!

[Empty] envelope from Official Discharge Records

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kindergarten Music Lesson

One day I stepped just inside the Kindergarten class to observe a music lesson. I observed that the teacher was sitting at the piano with her back to the students who were seated in two rows of small chairs. The boys were sitting on the second row, and little Johnny would reach out and pull a girl’s hair in front of him and make faces when she would turn around.

She turned around in time to see Johnny make a face, and she put her hands on her hips, cocked her head to one side, and said, “Johnny, I don’t think you are a bit cute.”

Johnny stood up, put his hand on his hips, cocked his head to one side, and said, “Mrs. Curry, I don’t think you are very cute either!”

No one had seen me standing in the back of the big room by the door. So I quickly stepped out before I busted out laughing!

photo credits here

Friday, August 14, 2009

Anchors Aweigh . . . again

Ready to report to the Induction Center
20 August 1950

After being discharged from the Navy in December 1948, Dad expected (hoped?) that his military service was complete. However, with the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, his hopes were crushed when he was called back to active duty.

We lived in one of my parents’ houses during this quarter [Spring 1950] and then went back to Greeley for the summer sessions when school was out. We took their trailer house up to Greeley and rented space between the football field and the baseball field. During the summer sessions, the college rented trailer space and there were many teachers from all over who came with their trailers just for the summer. We had a good time with them as most of the classes were in the morning and they were all around in the afternoon.

The summer session was going well until we went back to Pueblo for the 4th of July break, and I received a telegram from the Navy. I was in the Naval Reserve for the money to help get through school. The telegram said that with the Korean War in progress I was needed to return to Adak immediately and not to bother asking for a deferment because my orders were being drawn up and would be delivered very soon. I was going back on active duty as a communications Technician 1st Class and was told to make plans to depart within the next few weeks. We went back to Greeley, and I reported to the school administration with my telegram and dropped out of school. The administrators were very sympathetic, and since I had just taken mid-term tests before the 4th, I received full credit for the summer based on my mid-term grades.

Orders to Active Duty
27 July 1950

I received my orders to report to Denver on August 20, 1950 where I would be given my uniforms and sent to Seattle, and then would be sent to Adak for service, back to the same radio station I had spent 19 months at during World War II.

Check In Slip
23 September 1950

However, it was certainly not the same station I had left. When I arrived in Adak, though, all of the old Quonset huts we had lived in were gone and there were new barracks in use. Our old radio station was several Quonset huts put together with radio rooms, transcribing rooms, transmitting rooms and offices. Now it was one large building with all tiled floors, shining brightly in contrast to the sheets of plywood which we had for floors when I was there before. There were very few sailors on the station until 300 of us Naval Reservists arrived, outranking the 30 some men there, as most of them were seamen or 3rd class. It didn’t help morale much to find out that they had called us up to active duty only to find out that they did not need us at this station and really didn’t want us.

It was very sad to leave my wife and small children and go back into the service.

This simple statement sums up the harsh reality of this Navy assignment, for this time Dad was leaving a wife and four very young sons. We'll reflect on that in a future post.