June, 2004, interviewed by C. Wangrin
L: I’m Lenhart Lange. I live at 460 Bradcliff Dr., Napoleon OH. My father was a World War I veteran. I had a brother Arthur who was a First Lieutenant in the Army and he was in charge of Quartermasters in the South Pacific. I had one brother Raymond and he served in Germany. So there were three Armies and I decided I wanted the Navy so I joined the Navy in Sept. of 1943 and went through the Navy Boot Camp at Great Lakes and from there I boarded my first ship. My first ship was the Cape Smmdcapecalmas (as transcribed; not found) and we traveled to South America. The ship was new. We picked it up in Beaumont TX and we passed the Mississippi down to New Orleans and we had to be in there for about three weeks because it didn’t have all the electronic equipment on it that it should have. So from there we sailed into South America and there we had a number of submarine attacks and-a we went through the Panama Canal.
C: You mean submarines actually attacked you?
L: Um hm.
C: How did you manage to escape?
L: Well we just zigzagged and we dropped depth charges and we lucked out. When I got into port in Anafaghasta, Chili I went into a USO which a lot of the service people did and there was the name of Bud Ferguson from Deshler that had been there and had visited. I thought that was really somethin’ so I signed my name on it and about a month later I get the Deshler Flag and I seen that a submarine had blowed up his ship and he didn’t survive, so that was sad news. So we had a load of iron ore and iodine bark and we sailed that into California and the iron ore we took into Washington.
C: Did those have anything to do with the war then?
L: Yes. That was all war-related.
C: Well I could understand the iron ore, but what use was the other?
L: Iodine bark that they used for medicine. And then after that I got a leave and then I boarded the SS Alcoa Pioneer, and I boarded that ship in August of 1943. We sailed from San Francisco and we were out about two weeks when the Captain told us where we were gonna be heading, that we were gonna be heading into bay into the Philippines. So we …
C: Is that in the main city there?
L: Yes. That’s one of the main cities. It’s a big island in the Philippines and that’s where Clark Field is. And on our way we made several stops and one of them was in Australia, and we picked up fresh meat and from there we sailed into Hollandia, DutchNew Guinea. And while we were in Hollandia, they put the necks down so the submarines couldn’t get into the bay there and one night they called, and here it was Tokyo Rose mentioned the name of our ship in the bay.
C: We heard about Tokyo Rose. Was she broadcasting then?
L: Yes. She was broadcasting then.
C: What’d she sound like?
L: Oh, she sounded just like you and I are talkin’. She was originally from Chicago and you could just understand her real well. And while we were in Halandie (?) …
C: Excuse me, let’s tell the listeners in case they’re not familiar with Tokyo Rose what she did.
L: Tokyo Rose was a lady that worked for the Japanese government, and she would find out whatever she could and she was what I would say, a spy. And she would talk over the radio and let people know that they knew where we were, so everybody knew what was goin’ on.
C: Our soldiers hated that. She was a traitor.
L: That’s right. She was a traitor. And while we were in the bay, because it was a tight bay there in Hollandia, we were getting’ ready to form our convoy to go into the invasion of the Philippines and one of the ships rammed our ship during a storm and put a pretty good-sized hole in our bow.
C: Where was this now?
L: This was in Hollandia, New Guinea. And so while we were in there we had big lifeboats abroad our ship. Now I was in the regular Navy but I served on merchant ships. Merchant ships were the ones that took all the supplies overseas into all the different ports for the Army and the Navy.
C: What did you do on those?
L: Our Navy job was to man all the guns. We took care of protecting the ship and the cargo and the Merchant Marines had their job of unloading and managing of the ships and the Captain of the—and the First Mate of running the ship. So while we were in Hollandia we had the chance to go aboard one of the destroyers. We didn’t have doctors or nurses or anything like that aboard our ship. Once we got on that ship you’d better make it or you didn’t make it. So while we were in Hollandia, like I said, getting’ hit in the bow and gettin’ a big plate put on and getting’ it ready for our convoy we were going in to the destroyer to see a movie at night—which we did. It got to be late and we got back on our boat and it got to foggy in the bay there we couldn’t see our way to get back to our ship, so we floated around most of the night and finally in the morning we could see where our ship was.
C: That’d be scary wouldn’t it?
L: It was scary. It was scary!
C: You wouldn’t know but what you might run into a mine or something.
L: So finally when we got back to our ship our Captain was very very angry, very upset, so that was the last of visiting any ships and seeing any movies. So the convoy left there two days while we were in our ship. I should say that while we were in Hollandia we were also in a port called Wewac and they mentioned that the Japanese Navy was comin’ through. We knew the nets were there as far as the submarines but we knew that the Navy would come in and fire at our ship and we had high-explosive gas on board. We knew we had to get off the ship or none of us would live to tell the tale.
C: Did you know what kind of gas it was?
L: Yes. It was in barrels for the airplanes and aboard our ship we had all crates and the planes were all KD’d and once they were unloaded the parts were put together on the island.
C: What does KD mean?
L: KD means the planes was broke down.
C: So you carried planes as well as the gas?
L: Yeah. All the gas was in the hatches. The planes were on top deck and while we were going, and I was on three ships but this ship we were in depth 22 feet in the water ‘cause we had a lot of weight The other two ships I was on we were in depth maybe 15 feet but this one we were down 22 feet, so we didn’t have much from our deck down to the ocean, and when we had that much weight they would really come on over.
C: Oh yeah. You could have been grounded.
L: So after two days of gettin’ the big plate welded on our bow in we left
C: Was that to cover up that hole?
L: Yeah. We left then for Leyte Bay in the Philippines and after a few days we caught up with our convoy and from there on we were headin’ on in to the Philippines. While we were there we had a number of submarine alerts and we dropped depth charges but fortunately we never had anything to hit us. So on our way into Lehy
C: How many were in this convoy?
L: Well there was about 13 ships in the convoy. Three merchant ships and rest all Navy ships.
C: Filled with men I suppose.
L: Yeah. And we no more than got into Leyte Bay —it was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon—and the Japanese zeroes were startin’ to come in, and we started firing right away and so we went in and we anchored and so we knew it was really gonna be for Clark Field . The air force and all that was there and we knew it was going to be a dangerous spot so we knew we really had to protect our ship because we knew we daresn’t have one of the ships hit that was in the hatch or really none of us would live.
C: Dwight Huddle said that those Japanese kamikazi planes would come in just at sunset when they were really hard to spot because they would be between the sun and the ship.
L: That’s right, absolutely, and so we got settled in there and so while we were in Leyte Bay we had 103 attacks and, excuse me, 103 alerts and we had 50 attacks. That meant we had 103 times that the planes were in there that they didn’t bother us and 50 times that they were in that they did some damages. And then in our ship alone we knocked down five Japanese planes and we had five planes painted on our stack. Anyways while we were in Leyte Bay we hit a typhoon and that typhoon lasted about two and a half days, and it was so bad it was 25, 30 feet waves up above the ship. It’s just hard to imagine. We had both of our big anchors down; we had our engines goin’ full speed ahead and we were still goin’ out into the ocean. And there was two battle wagons and an aircraft carrier and a destroyer and all them was havin’ the same problems. They was pushin’ ‘em out into the ocean ‘cause it was such a storm.
C: Well now, were you in the bay when this happened?
L: Yeah, we were in the bay.
C: Oh that’s very dangerous ‘cause the waves could put you up on shore.
L: It’s just hard to believe how high them waves . . . They claim they were 25 and 30 feet—course we had no way of knowin’ cause we couldn’t get outside. But anyways after that left over why the Japanese started comin’ in again with their planes right away and they had already—the Americans had already bombed the beaches and they were already landed on Leyte and they were diggin’ holes. Our bombers had killed them and the smell was really bad, smell of the bodies—yeah, terrible.
C: They were Japanese then?
L: Japanese, um hm, Philippines and probably Japanese service people too.
C: Philippinos were helping U.S.
L: Yeah, the Philippines were on our side, that’s right. So while we were in there with all this action, every two hours—you could depend on it—that the bombers or the zeroes or the oscars. . They had two types of planes. They had a Zero and an Oscar. Now the Zero was a better plane. It could carry a bomb under each wing, but the Oscar was a smaller plane.
C: You’re talkin’ about U.S. planes?
L: They were Japanese planes. An RV38 that you see there—that’s the nearer plane that you see there—I don’t know how many of those we shot down. It got so bad they had to take ‘em out. They finally brought in the B38’s with twin tails and in the air we could see them right away in the dawn light. In the dog fights, like I say, every two hours they were in there and our gun ships and battle ships and that they were protecting us, trying to get us unloaded of our gas and our equipment. Of course while we were in there I never believed that I’d ever get out of there but I was very fortunate, and …
C: Well now, you were in the bay with all this inflammable gas at the time that the typhoon struck? You hadn’t had a chance to unload.
L: That’s right. We hadn’t had a chance to unload. So after the typhoon and stuff we were in there getting’ ready to be unloaded and on a Sunday morning, ten minutes after seven, actually it was four planes. There was three of ‘em. They was all suicide-natured planes—came down from our stern and I was about a gun-setter on the 350 and they came in off the right and they came in very low. We had had the siren that they were comin’ in and I always slept underneath the bow gun turret. I had a big hammock and I liked to sleep there ‘cause there was always a breeze and it was always quiet. And so I was one of the first ones up to get on the big guns and of course they came in so low with the other ships in the bay we had a hard time firing ‘cause we didn’t want to hit one of the other ships. So they kept a-comin’ and we knew that at that time we was gonna have to either get ‘em or hit ‘em or we was gonna be goners. So what happened, the three planes come in. They was all suicide; they was Oscars. It was lucky that was suicide ‘cause they didn’t have the bombs underneath their wings. So all three of ‘em—so we knocked two of them out. One of ‘em we knocked out before it got to our ship; the other was on fire and went over our ship and the third one come in and it hit us right dead center on the ship, and everything was ablaze with fire and I could see — of course we were very fortunate. We had the Navy there with a different ship. They had fire equipment and hoses and they came and put our fires and that out right away. I could still see our Captain and officer looking up on the deck with the smoke and everything left, and I could see one of my good friends hangin’ there with the heal of his shoe on his gun turret. It was a 20-mm gun turret and they had sttel ladders and you could really reach over where you had your hands. Hhe was caught, blowed over there, hangin’ there by his shoe. Of course, he was dead.
C: Oh, my!
L: I was very fortunate. I was one of five that didn’t get hurt or didn’t get killed in that suicide raid. So after we got hit with all the fire they came and — of course, they hit us right in the stack, in the middle of the ship.
C: Was it a big explosion?
L: Oh yeah. We were full of gas and that, and that’s right where they hit us The seamen and that slept right in the center of the ship. Well so then I can’t tell ya. There was Merchant Marines. I think there was around 40 or 50 Merchants, and the Navy crew we had 28 and I was one of the five lucky out of the 28 sailors. And of course the Marines on there they had cooks and they did all the cooking and of course they did the shifts and the painting and that sort of thing. And that was their duty, to unload the ships. So after they got the fires and that out and they had the hospital ship there and they took all the people that was hurt and burnt bad, they took them on these hospitals and the people that were dead, they took care of them too. So after we had things cleaned up, the Merchant Marines that was left on the ship helped us man the guns ’cause we no more than had our fires out than the Japanese started comin’ in again.
C: More suicide bombers?
L: More suicide bombers and they had the big bombers with the bombs. Now we-every two hours in the nighttime the bombers would come in and the battleships and the destroyers, they would fire explosive bombs up there that would light up and we could see their bombers but we quit firing our guns at night because they could tell right where our location was and they could come in and hit us, so the smaller ships we didn’t fire back at that time. So they got busy and started; in fact two ships beside us got hit with suicide planes. One was a ship that was carryin’ Army and we heard there were 127 killed in one hatch. They claimed it was a direct hit. Now I can’t verify that . I was told that. And so these planes were startin’ to damage these ships so they were afraid they would have so many ships hit by these suicide planes so they decided that-our engines were able to go so they thought that maybe we could make our way back to San Francisco. Well, we were out about two days and the ship broke down, so . . .
C: What do you mean ‘it broke down’?
L: Well the motors, the engines and that, with the stack and that, it just wouldn’t operate. So we had to wait for a tug to come out from one of the islands and we were towed all the way back to United States. It took 54 days and from there the five of us, they took us into a barracks on Treasure Island and they wouldn’t let us talk to anybody ’cause they didn’t want anybody to know about the suicide planes ’cause they knew that if the word got out there on the Treasure Island Navy Base a lot of people wouldn’t get back on the ship. So we had to swear on our Survivors’ Leave, which we got, a 30-day Survivors’ Leave that we wouldn’t say nothin’. And I have it all in my book here in writing from the government. I went home on leave and about two days before my leave was up my parents got a notice that we could release in our newspaper that our ship had been hit and Lenhart Lange was one of the heroic persons aboard that ship. And I have an article here. I told my mom and dad not to put it in, so — but I have it here.
C: Isn’t that nice! I wonder if we could have a copy of it?
C: Did you get a purple heart for that?
L: No. I could have ’cause I had a bad stomach. I’m still bothered with it today. But I didn’t get a — I ended up in the hospital when I got back into Great Lakes because I was having problems with my nerves in my stomach. But then I figured I didn’t want to – ’cause so many men were being lost that I thought the ones that were killed should be the ones to get the purple hearts, so . . . So anyways we got on this – I got my survivor’s leave and I went back to Treasure Island. I got aboard another merchant ship called the SS Campso, and from there we sailed to Okinawa and that was a …
C: When was that?
L: That was right after I come back from my survivors’ leave on the Philippines.
C: That would be what, about the middle of the war?
L: That would be towards the end of the war. And then from there that was when the Japanese was fightin’ to keep Iwo Jima. That’s where Ernie Pyle was killed. And we had on this ship we had air force people and the other half in the hatches was beer and we unloaded the Air Corps people at Iwo Jima. While we were in there-that’s only about 300 miles from Japan. They kept comin’ in with their torpedo planes, and these torpedo planes, they’d fly maybe 2 or 3 feet up off the water, so we had to have our smokestack – we had to have smokestacks that we ran most of the time when we were in there. You could put your hand in front of your face and you couldn’t hardly see your hand. But anyway we were told when we were unloadin’ there at Iwo Jima that the Japanese would tie dynamite to the backs of these children and when these ships would come in they’d shoot at these kids and blow up our troops. We could never forget that. But after that, after we unloaded our Air Corps people…
C: How many did you have?
L: Air Corps people?” Oh gee, I don’t know. I’d say maybe a couple hundred. And from there we went on to Okinawa and we unloaded our beer there that we had at one of the Navy places and then we sailed back to San Francisco. And that was about the fifth part of my Navy.
Ellen (wife): Did you show Charlotte … (tape garbled) .
C: Had to wait another year. Isn’t that something!
L: Now, I’m gonna give you a copy of . . . This is our ship after it got done and it went into Japan and it hit another ship and blew up, and the lady sang the Lord’s Prayer. This man here is the author who’s gonna be writin’ the story about the Alco Pioneer. That’s quite an article. You read that sometime. Let’s see …
C: Oh yeah, that was your first collision.
L: No. That was after the Navy let the ship go back to Alco Pioneer and this company bought it in Belgium and they sailed it and they got hit in Japan, and they sank the other ship.
C: Got hit by what?
L: Another plane. No this is after the war. Is the machine still on?
(turned off momentarily)
L: All confidential stuff.
C: So, your Captain was not killed.
L: Yeah, and our Captain on the ship, he was layin’ there on his back and his dog had shrapnel in it and he was lickin’ his captain’s face. I can remember seeing that just as though it happened today.
C: I’ll bet! Well, I don’t know whether it was the same typhoon or not but probably not because this would have been after the war, and right after the war was over but the way Huddle was on the big ship when a typhoon hit and they had to get their ships in the ocean, out of the bay so they would be safe, and he said that ship was rolling and tossing. He was way down in the bottom of the ship. He said they put the farm boys down there to run the boiler because they figured that they would know the machinery well enough they could repair it and he said his watch was over so he struggled-he said he was just so hot in there and he could hardly breathe. So he struggled to get up on deck and it was really a chore to get up those ladders.
L: Oh yes, those waves-it’s just unbelievable. When you take 25, 30 foot waves, you know that’s almost as high as a house. We had ropes and that on there but it was so bad that you couldn’t even tie yourself over a strap. I mean you had to stay put wherever you was in the ship till the typhoon went through.
C: Well, he didn’t. He made it up those steps onto the deck.
L: He may not have been in a place where they was bombin’ or something. See, if it could have been where we…
(Side I of tape ends here.)
C: Well he managed to get up on deck where he could watch a ship. He said it was about-oh I guess half-mile away or something. At first you’d see it and then you wouldn’t. It was because those big waves that you mentioned would hide it. Just while he was standing there watching a big hole appeared in the ship and here they had been hit by-struck a mine or something. Big hole in the side of the ship.
L: Oh yeah, they’d blow a hole right in it, yeah.
C: Now, Treasure Island. I wonder if he was there the same time you were?
L: I was there in ’43 and ’44, ’45.
C: When was the war over?
L: It was over in the last of ’45, yeah.
C: Well, this was right after the war was over they came into San Francisco and as I understand it and then they had to sleep in this huge barracks. He said, if you could imagine 1000 men snoring. He said it was . . .
L: Oh and them troops, you can’t believe the sickness. ‘Course I was seasick for a year until I got over it. I wanted to die. I got over it and it couldn’t get rough enough, but it was terrible. They couldn’t get into the bathroom. It was really somethin’. (pause in the tape)
C: The armed guard, through all those wounded, were the Go-fers.
L: That’s right. I got to be a Bosun after I got…
C: (looking at a picture) Now this Maude Jersel, is she the one who took the alcohol when they died.
L: Yeah. You know, I never had a captain over my head die. Now you’d better keep this. This is the release published in your local paper.
C: You have another copy?
C: Good. These will all stay in the same folder. And that ship that hit the mine, that was one that was returning U.S. prisoners.
L: Now, when we were out the two days and a big tug, a bug ship, was towin’ us because they had so many suicide planes. They started to hit so they was afraid if they didn’t get some of these cargo ships back they’d have no way to get supplies over to the troops, the pilots, see. Otherwise they would probably have just left the ship there and sent us back on another ship or somethin’ but anyways, while we were out the great big cable broke loose.
C: Oh, the one they were using to pull you?
L: Yeah. So they had to get a big tug out of the Admiralty Islands. They was about a day and a half getting’ there and they came and they shot great big ropes up aboard and from there they kept hookin’ on to bigger ones ’till they finally got a big cable. They hooked it on to the ship so we could keep agoin’.
C: Now these Admiralty Islands, were those part of the Philippines?
L: No. see, all the time I was in I was in the Admiralty Islands, I was in the Marshall Islands, I was in Wake Island, I was in the Solomon Islands, and I was in the Admiralty Islands. I was in all them islands on the three ships I was on. I got into 33 countries and islands while I was in the Navy.
C: Thirty-three countries!
L: And islands, uh-huh, thirty-three.
C: Now those islands were part of what country?
L: They belonged to all different countries. Japan owned a lot of them; Australia owned some but the Japanese had occupied a lot of them, see, so we had to get them all cleaned off during the war. And you could see them . They was hid in caves and what not.
C: Oh were they. Y’know, Romy Flora was just a kid and he acted as a messenger boy, cause he was friendly with everybody and the Japanese officers didn’t suspect him. So he was taking messages back and forth for the U.S. officers.
L: Yeah, they had a lot of stuff, things like that goin’ on. But how that Tokyo Rose ever got our .. is this on now?
L: I don’t know how they ever, how she ever did that, but Boy, it was really . . . and while we were on the island in Hollandia the Japanese was there. At night they’d have to watch them ’cause the Japanese were still hid there on the island. They would break into our camps and carry away maps or, food, you know, whatever they could.
C: They were hungry.
L: Um-hm, yeah, so whatever they could find they’d take. But it was a terrible thing. We never got more sleep through the month than 2 hours at anytime. I mean they were constantly in there. .. you could just set your clocks. Every two hours either the Zeroes or the Oscars or else the bombers would be comin’.
C: And you had all this flammable stuff.
L: Yeah, yeah. We had to man our guns. We had to have people so, like I say, every two hours we’d be on and off. So it was really . . . and I, but I believe what made me feel good. . . when I left my church my minister gave me a little Bible and I carried that Bible with me every day I was in the service. I had a money belt and I had that old Bible strapped in there and while I was on this ship we had a fellow from the state of Washington. His name was Babcock. He’d see me read my Bible and he’d make fun, and he absolutely didn’t believe it. So after things really got goin’ rough he’d really, really — see in the Navy we would make it, he asked me one time if he could read my Bible, and I said, “You certainly can.” And-uh-but I seen him down on his knees prayin’ for the Lord to save him. But he didn’t make it. But I always felt good that I had my Bible with me. It meant an awful lot to me. My Dad had taught me that, my Mother and . . .
C: It gave you added strength.
L: Yes, it did, and-uh like I say on that ship I was the youngest aboard.
C: How old were you?
L: Well I was 17. So . . .
C: You must have enlisted right out of high school?
L: Yeah. No, I was in my last year, and when I got out of the service I went back and finished it. Then I went to Cedar Falls Iowa Teachers College on the GI Bill for awhile and then from there I got a job-I got to knowin’ a person-`course I knew by this time I wanted to get back into the lumber business and I met a fellow while I was there in school and he talked me into goin’ to work for his company, so I did. It was Clay Equipment and so I decided that I’d do that and it was a good job, good-paying job. And so I worked at that three years and then I got back into the lumber business.
C: So-uh–did you know Bill Lytle when you first got into that lumber business?
L: Yeah, I knew Bill. Bill Lytle had just started. (part omitted) One of the things I remember is that it was my job on the Navy to be on the sight center, and I was the one that whenever we were right on the target and the crosses met on the target well then I’d holler “Fire!” and they fired, and these suicide planes was comin’ in, especially with one that was comin’ right into our midship I had him focused and I could see his whole face and everything just as he went into the side of our ship and it blew up.
C: Did you get his face in the cross-hairs?
L: Yeah, I could see him and with my sight binoculars you could see a long long distance, real far. It makes it real big, and I could just see him sittin’ there see him come in.
C: How many nights have you seen that in nightmares?
L: Oh I’ve thought about that a lot of times; I see it, but more than that one of my friends dangling there with his shoe over his gun turret, and he just hung by the heel of his shoe, and that writeup’s all there in those papers.
C: He was one of your buddies.
L: Yeah. Umhm, in fact I lost one of my best friends I chummed around with a lot and he got killed, and then another one, he completely lost his leg. His leg got blew off but it says in there they passed away. Umhrn, they died.
C: Right away?
L: Yeah, some of them died within a matter of a couple months and some of ’em maybe after a year. They were really beat up bad. They were burned so bad that-it was sad.
C: Was there a roar to those planes when they came in?
L: Yeah, they had-you could hear them just like you can hear a plane. They weren’t very big but they were noisy. They had a-uh-the blades you could more or less tell, yeah, you could hear them. Now the big bombers, you could hear them real well. At night you could hear them, but the smaller planes …
C: Just as deadly.
L: Yeah, that’s right. I don’t know-I don’t know what the Japanese people did to get them to do that suicide work, to be able to-uh …
C: They had ’em convinced that it was right.
L: Yeah, that’s right. They had them all sold on somethin’, that they could do that.
C: Well, I surely appreciate your telling me what you went through. It’s not easy.
L: Well I should have told it a little bit better.
C: Oh no! You did a great job! We don’t want it all stiff.
L: I told Robin (daughter) that I got it all pretty well wrote down because I had a chance to think about it, see. But like I said, it was a long time before we talked about it ’cause everything was so confidential, and finally they sent us all the-uh, and then everybody else in the service was the same way. You know a lot of people never talked about it till just maybe the last ten years that they opened up and said what happened.
C: Did they release all that flight information at the same time?
L: Yeah. Um-hm, on our ship they did.
D. It was so strange because Robin was so sure that they must have made a mistake.
L: Yeah, finally it all come out.
C: So then you came back after the war, but you hadn’t been mustered out of the Service then, when you went to church that time, remember when you were tellin’ about, you went to church in Hoytsville?
L: No, I went to church in Deshler. I graduated from Deshler. And that’s where I met Ellen, was at the Lutheran church in Deshler, on a Sunday.
E. He sang in the choir. I said, “Who is that?” She said, “That’s Lennie Lange. Would you like to meet him?” I said, “Yeah, I really would like to meet him.” So after church I met him. I had to okay it with my Mom, ’cause she said I could not go out. I said, “O.K.” I washed my hair and had it up in curlers `cause nobody was gonna be coming that night. Suddenly he appeared at the door, and here I am with my hair up in curlers, so he saw me at my very worst. And he eventually got around to asking me if I’d like to go to Toledo, and I looked at my Mother because she had said, “No.” I couldn’t go out.
L: Then we went to Centennial.
C: Was it just the two of you then, or did the other fellows have dates, or what?
L: Yes. In fact, Andy Ruffer from Deshler, I worked with him at Koppenhoffers when I was goin’ through school and he married the Postmaster’s daughter and we’re going to get together here in a few months or so.
C: So then you corresponded after you . . .
E. Well no, not really because he was stationed at Great Lakes then for awhile, so he would get home about every weekend.
C: And that was in Cleveland?
E. No. Chicago.
L: Here’s somethin’ I didn’t tell ya. I was very fortunate ’cause when I worked for Koppenhoffer they had eggs and butter and sugar. And everything was rationed back in those days, and I had a paper route, and I had the Blade, and the train that went from Chicago to Washington D.C. and they would let me go on there with the Blades, and I could sell Blades and I had to hurry up and go through and I had to get off quick but I’d get around a dollar a paper, papers that sold maybe for 12 cents. And I made more money in one night goin’ through there than I’d make all week workin’ at Koppenhoffers, but I got to know ’em and sugar and that was hard to get and-uh-so-uh and butter, so I would have my little wagon and when they’d come I’d sell it to ‘ern, porters and people on the train. And I got to know these guys and after I got in the Service I’d go to Chicago and I bet I made 20 trips back to Deshler and it didn’t cost me a dime. (laughs) Yeah, it really paid off.
C: So then-uh-you (Ellen) thought he was pretty handsome.
E. Right. He was very nice too, very nice. He is very nice. He’s very good in …
C: Well I’m sure you’ve had many good years together.
L: We have a good time with Robin (daughter) and her boat. They’ve got a nice big boat that sleeps six on Rhode Island. ( talk about their plans for vacation)
(end of tape