November 30th, 2004


And thus ends a mad dash to the mid-west. . .

After a few long delays, I fell asleep in my own bed last night around 2:30 AM (slightly later than I thought, as I was originally scheduled to deplane at 10:10 PM.

But I am home. And dead tired. And sporting my first hickey (much thanks to featherynscale, and more thanks for keeping it light and not-so-noticible).

I think I can sum up the weekend by repeating a short conversation I had on the plane:

Lady: "Where were you coming from?"

Me: "Kansas City. Was visiting family in Kansas."

L: "Oh, which part?"

M: "Downs, in Osborne County. North-central Kansas. Then down to Wichita for a very small reunion and a 50th Anniversary party on Saturday, and then back to Kansas City for Sunday and this morning."

L: "Oh, do you have family in Kansas City, too?"

M: "No, but I have some friends who know how to take very good care of me."

Thanks, guys.

More later. . .



I found, in the basement of my Grandmother's house, the guide to Basic Training Center Number 10, 1944 edition. This facility is in Greensboro, North Carolina, and I suspect that this is where my Grandfather trained for duty in World War II.

This book was published by Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, Incorporated, for the GI's. You can tell, because a full 25% of the book is taken up by information on the base's telephone services, which I actually transcribed, because I found it so interesting.

Also included are two maps, one of BTC-10, and one of downtown Greensboro. I was amazed by these two maps, and what they implied about what a Service man was interested in, and what he was expected to do during basic training.

The first map details the camp, but it ignores some of the key featueres you would expect it to cover. The parade grounds are not listed, nor are the barraks or obstacle courses. Listed instead are the four theatres, the chapels, the libraries, the Post Office, the Service Clubs, the two PX's, the post headquarters, the ever-present telephone center, and the gates. I suppose that the easy answer for this is that the documents were in mass-circulation, and they didn't want to compromise the security of the base, but I still find it very interesting that it doesn't list these features that a GI would find most useful.

What really and truly interested me, though, was the second map, smack in the center of the booklet, that included the travel hubs (from bus stations to rail depots), the regular YMCA and the coloured YMCA, and two womens colleges -- the Women's College of University of North Carolina and the Greensboro College for Women. Both are denoted with big orange circles with white numbers inside, and the map appears slightly off center, so that they could just squeeze these last two prominent features into the picture.

My grandfather never appears to have used this particular book. It's in excellent condition, aside from a small amount of water damage. There are no phone numbers in the back, nor any notes on the pages provided. I wish he had included some numbers. It's a nifty little book, and I'm happy to have found it.