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James C. Foot



Dad's army photo

Here are some excerpts from my Dad's memoirs.  This one is about Dad's grade school days:

"In one of my classes a girl sat behind me.  One of her greatest joys was to put a stick pen in her shoe and jab me in the rear.  One day came revenge.  She went up to ask the teacher something and I put four or five thumb tacks on her seat.  She came back and I decoyed her whispering, "How did she say to do this?".  She smoothed her skirt and sat down and boy did she come up a yelling.  There were two desks that sat off to themselves.  I got moved to one of them.  I don't know what crime the other boy over there had done but we got along fine.  The girl couldn't leave well enough alone.  Whoever got my old desk she jabbed in the rear with the stick pen.  This one came up hollering and she got caught.  She got moved from the back of the room to the very front so she couldn't jab anybody.  And she blamed it all on me. 

One of the teachers was sure good to one kid.  I didn't know why.  A few years later she married his father.  Well, what do you know.

I always thought Pearl Harbor happened on Monday because when I first heard about it I was in school.

 When I graduated from the eighth grade in 1942 my old friend - I don't know what I'm going to do with you - was back as my teacher.  The war was just starting and everyone was supposed to be conserving.  The teacher thought the boys could wear blue jeans and the girls shorts to graduate.  Boy, what an uproar from the girls.  They wanted formal gowns.  I asked my pal, stick pen, what was so great about formals.  She said it'll probably be our only chance to have one.  I don't remember what we wore to graduate but it wasn't blue jeans and shorts."



 He served in the Army after WWII and during the Korean Conflict. This selection deals with Army Integration.  Keep in mind this was in the 50's.  

"The army was supposed to be integrated. In the barracks I was in we were all white upstairs and all black downstairs. All the negroes in the battery were there. A congress man came to the camp. All those blacks in one group will never do he said. They split the blacks all up and distributed them throughout the barracks. After he was gone the colored folks traded around and got back together down stairs. There was never any trouble that I know of between the races in our barracks.

On one Saturday parade they got me all dressed up and I received an Army Commendation medal for service in Korea as a mail clerk. I was surprised. All I can figure out is in my last days in Korea we had a foul up in money order money. I never counted the money from the batteries. It was always right. I went to the APO to buy the money order and Headquarters was a $100 short. I think that the First Sgt. ripped off a 100 bucks that's what I think. Anyway one guy was short $30. I gave him 30 dollars. A negro named Harper was short 70 dollars. I didn't have 70 dollars. I told Harper to give me his mother's address and when I got some money I would send it to her. I got paid in Japan and sent Harper's mama 70 dollars. I think Harper might have told the brass about me keeping my word and that's why I got the medal.

Towards spring they were going to send a fellow from Oklahoma to Fort Sill to school. He must have been a relative of mine. He fouled up and got into all kinds of trouble. So they sent me instead. I guess that class was supposed to be the Elite. Operations and Intelligence school. We pulled no details and just cleaned our own barracks.

There was a negro named Falstrom I think. We did a lot of school work together. A few times I went with him to his home off post. If we ran out of beer he would go buy it with my fair share of the money. When I went back to the post he'd go with me to the bus stop. Some of the other negroes would kid him about what are you doing with Whitey. He'd laugh and say he was training me at the Fort. I'd bet I wouldn't have gotten on that bus without him for an escort.

In our class we had two national guard from Pennsylvania. There was another idiot from one of those states out east. And there was a negro corporal from Detroit. I don't know what those four dummies thought they were doing. The three whites took the negro to a white drive in restaurant. The girls wouldn't serve them. The owner tried to serve them himself to avoid trouble with the army. They got out of the car and roughed him up. Then the customers beat the hell out of them. They came back to the barracks still bleeding. They wanted us to go with them and clean out the joint. They got no volunteers. Another Sgt. and I took two of them to a first aid station to get patched up. They wouldn't leave well enough alone. They went to the school commander and complained. Some way an old master Sgt. and I from the class got to go with a Captain and a fellow with no rank showing to visit the drive in. They owner tried to be hospitable. The car hops sure weren't when they found out what we were there for. We sat around, drank coffee and decided to forget the whole thing. The car hops got a little friendlier. The owner gave us two enlisted men a free meal ticket of some kind. I threw mine away. I wasn't about to go back there."



Dad bummed around the country a lot, as illustrated in this next section:

Later on I started back to Kingman again. I think I damned near froze to death in northern Arizona. It thought maybe I could play that game again with the union or hiring hall. I couldn't. Some way I wound up in Mesa, Arizona. I went picking lettuce. I was the only white person doing that. The first day I made $3.00, the second $2.00. I was staying in a dormitory like thing - 50 cents a night for a bed and use of a shower and washroom. I rode a company pick-up to the farm. A lot of the Mexicans were making $20 a day and came to work in taxis. The third day I just made over a dollar. A member of the family did the weighing and paying at the end of the day. He gave me my pay and said, "I'll see your tomorrow." "No, you won't", I said, "Enough is enough. I didn't even break even today." "Just a minute", he says. I got hired to weigh lettuce and stayed there - Room and Board - Four or five dollars a day. After a week or so a pretty fine looking white lass came picking lettuce. "Oh, oh", I thought. I was right. I got laid off and she weighed lettuce. Home I went.



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