"By the time I had graduated in May, I believe I had convinced Mom and Dad that I would be a lot better off enlisting in Cadets, rather than being drafted and ending up in the Infantry. So, with their blessing, I went to Toledo and took the mental part of the exam. It seemed like it took forever before I heard that I had passed. On my 18th birthday, September 14th, I was notified to report to Cleveland for my physical. I made the height requirement by one-half an inch. Two weeks later, I was sworn in. Active duty started October 17th at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri."
"My career in Aviation Cadets didn't last long. A whole bunch of us were washed out in one "Fell Swoop." We went through Basic Training, we learned our left foot from our right, we marched, we ran, and then we had P.T. (Physical Torture). We slept in tents until mid November with coal stoves for heat. The fire always went out before morning, and I learned to dress while still i bed under the covers. Finally, we moved into barracks, and what a relief that was!"
"I had written to my folks to send my horn to me. I had played trumpet in the band at school, and we also had a dance band. One evening at Jefferson Barracks, was sitting on my cot playing my trumpet, and this big guy walked over to me and asked me, 'Would you like to get out of P.T. tomorrow?' I said I sure would and he told me to bring my horn over to the Day Room at 2:30."
"So, the next afternoon I went to the Day Room and the guy that had the band was passing out the orchestrations. In glancing through them, I realized that it was all Glenn Miller stuff; "moonlight Serenade", "Little Brown Jug", "String of Pearls", "Kalamazoo", etc. I had been a Miller freak since I first heard "In the Mood". We practiced quite a bit the next few weeks, and one afternoon the leader told us that we had a job in St. Louis and would be paid $2.00 per night, paid for by the U.S.O. We played for many dances throughout December, January and most of February before we moved to Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin. Our whole band moved intact, and we started playing at the University of Wisconsin three nights a week. Remember, we made $2.00 per night, and our Army pay was $21.00 per month. The University of Wisconsin had the most beautiful campus I've ever seen. There were several lakes, as I recall, throughout the many acres of the campus."
"As all good things do, our time at Truax Field ended in March, as we were transferred to Scott Field to go to Radio School. The word was that we were to be in AACS (Army Airways Communication System)."
"Once again our dance band started playing for U.S.O. dances, and one night in particular stands out, when several bus loads of girls from Stephens College attended the U.S.O. dance. I never will forget, when we started the "Moonlight Serenade" them and all of the people crowded around the bandstand, not dancing, but just listening. Our band got a nice write up in"Downbeat" Magazine. "The closest sound to the original Miller Band that this writer has yet heard."'
In later years, Dad would get his trumpet out to play. By then he couldn't play as well as many years had passed with no practice. I do remember one evening, my step-brother Bob, (who played trombone) and Dad with his trumpet, began to play. It was fun to hear while it lasted, but our dog sure howled!
I never inherited Dad's musical talent. As the saying goes, "I can't carry a tune in a bucket!" However, I do have that beloved trumpet. This past summer, our grandson, Grant, picked it up and started to play. Just notes, no song. I can see Dad smiling down...