Gene at age 12-13 years old did not believe in all that religion that was the base of Zion, he would get into trouble, from time to time. Not bad trouble, but trouble. Gene was the black sheep of the family, but someone had to do it!!!
When Gene was thirteen years old he wanted a motorbike to help make delivering newspapers faster and easier, so he went up to the local bike shop where they sold motorbikes. He watched how the bike and motor were put together. He had a bike at home and he bought the motor, gas tank, special back wheel, handle bar controls, etc., then he went home and put it all together. Much to his surprise it worked, Gene was happy!!
Gene at age 12 years old, in 6th grade remembers having a school teacher named miss Wright. The teacher had metal rimed glasses, highly rouged cheeks, that were very sunken in and tight black-gray curled hair and looked like Gene's idea of a witch. The teacher also had a personality to go along with her looks. Her favorite discipline measure was to hit a child on the back of the knuckles of the hands with the metal edge of a wooden ruler, some years later the teacher had to resign, because of her discipline measures.
Gene was hit with that ruler many times for talking in class and other things he did wrong. So how Gene ever got the courage to do what he did, I don't know. What he did was this: there was a good looking redheaded girl who sat at the desk, right in front of Gene, and he reached under her arm and held her right hand and she did not move it. Considering how shy Gene was, it must be a fact that Gene really, really liked the Girl.
Another time when Gene was 14 years, he asked the same redheaded girl to go to a class roller skating party with him. Gene had to work after class at his job at Rook's drive in restaurant and so asked the girl to meet him at the roller rink at the correct time. Also Gene didn't have much money, so this saved him the cost of the ticket and skate rental. Gene being shy he didn't know how to talk to the girls, so he said only a few words to the girl the whole length of the skating party. Poor girl must of been bored to tears.
After the party Gene's friend Walter Butz an Walter's girlfriend Norma , and Gene's girlfriend (the red head) went to Rooks drive in restaurant for burgers, fries and malted milk. It was very cold in the restaurant and Gene being a jerk, asked the cook to put some more wood in the fire place, and the cook told Gene, that if he wanted to put more woods on the fire, he should, just go and do it himself, because the cook was very busy with doing the cooking.
After the burgers Gene and Walter walked the girls home. Gene didn't even put his arm around the girl or talked to her. Even after this, the girl said she had a good time, and all Gene did was to say "Good night". Poor girl, I am sure that she wondered where Gene's mind was. At this time Gene also wonders, even now.
Another time when Gene was 16 years old, a group of church youths went to Chicago in a group of private cars. Gene was in the back seat with two nice looking young girls and all the way to Chicago and back he just looked out the side window and didn't say one word to the girls. Was gene shy or what!!! Shy gets a person nothing, except problems for the person who is shy!!! What a jerk!! Now Gene may be boring young girls with all his talking.
One afternoon on a Saturday, the children were playing on the street, as they will. The incident took place half way down the block from where the Maynardís lived. Children are often cruel too each other, which is normal.
One of the boys was teasing a young girl and the father (A Mr. ---.) of the young girl came out of his house and told the boy to leave his daughter alone, but the father had also been drinking and was pushing the young boy around at the same time, which was wrong.
The boy that (Named David.) was being picked on by the father of the girl, his brother (Name of Terry.), was also at this fracas and had run home to tell his father. In the mean time the next door neighbor man (A Mr. Strem.) ran out of his house and was trying to stop Mr. --- from messing with the boy. But the next door neighbor man, had only one arm, and so it was a stand off.
In the mean time the boys (Whoís names was David and Terry.), father arrived on the scene and started to argue with Mr. --- and one minute later (Gene was standing only ten feet away.), The boys father (Was an ex-prize fighter.) hit Mr. --- on the chin and Mr. --- fell back and hit his head on the cement sidewalk. It sounded like someone dropped a bucket full of wet cement. Gene knew that Mr. --- was either dead or was dying right then or would be dead in a little bit of time.
This was the case and the ex-prize fighter was charged with manslaughter. Gene had to go to Waukegan and give his true eye account of what happened on that day of the fight. But after paying a fine, the charge was dropped and probation was imposed. Life went on and Gene thought that was the end of the story. Little did Gene know!!
About three years latter, the wife of the man who died decided to file a law suit against the ex-prize fighter and Gene was asked to give his testimony again, at the wifeís lawyer. One of the daughters of the man who died, name was Lorena and she was somewhat of a girlfriend of Geneís. After Gene gave his true full testimony at the lawyers, the woman of the man who died dropped the lawsuit, and then the mother of Lorena would not let Lorena talk to Gene anymore. Gene learned a lesson!! Telling the truth does not always make things better.
I first met John Beebe in my second year at Zion-Benton High School in Algebra Class and we sat next to each other in higher mathematical classes for the rest of our high school years. We did a lot of watching out the window as the new auditorium and Manual Arts class rooms were built.
John and I got along and become friends. We both had bought Harley Davidson (125cc Poppers), a small, small motorcycle. Our bikes were both black, though Johnís was faster then mine. Mine had a windshield and I think this is one of the reasons that mine was slower. The Poppers were very much under-powered, as the design could have been better.
Anyway, I could of paid much more attention to what I was doing in class, but I was doing a lot of outside work, as the Maynardís were rather poor. I was a B-plus student and I donít remember what johnís test scores were as it was none of my business, anyway!! I was so childish that I failed the last half of my math class for my senior class on purpose. Talk about stupid!!!
Getting back to the Poppers, I was rather childish and so I asked John to repaint my motorcycle and I asked John to paint the gas tank metallic green with pink poke dots and the front and back fender guards in a chevron pattern. The front guard with black and bright blue colors and the back guard black and red colors. I am sure the John thought I was nuts and looking back on this, I am sure he was right!! Soon after the motorcycle was painted, I sold the bike as I was ashamed to be seen riding the dam thing.
John had a really good singing voice and I really admired John for this. John and I use to go on little trips together, one to a city near Madison, Wisconsin. After high school, John and I drifted apart, but I had often wondered how he was doing through the years. I met John briefly in 1991 at the reception for the 40th year anniversary of getting out of high school, but didnít follow through with a real conversation. But at our 50th anniversary in September of 2001, I had more chance to talk to John and was happy to find out that he has a very good sense of humor. Also I am jealous of how young he looks. His wife must of took real good care of him. John looks about 48 years old, not about 68 years. Now donít get a big head, John!!! Just joking that I was jealous, maybe!!!
There Gene was rolling along singing a song and delivering the newspapers of the Waukegan News Sun and Chicago papers, at age 16 years old. He was on his Wizzer motorbike that he had put together. Gene used the bike to get around the paper routs faster.
A red headed girl of about 14 years, from his neighborhood who Gene liked, stopped him and asked him if he could give her a ride on the motorbike and Gene being rather dumb, told the red headed girl that he had to deliver the newspapers and if she wanted to go with him, O.K..
So the red headed girl sat on the gas tank and Gene had to drive with his arms around the girl. Gene says to himself, this is not half bad!!!
So there Gene was trying to reach around the girl and get the right newspaper and deliver them to the right customer. This worked, after a fashion, as Gene was not paying much attention about where he was driving. Gene was driving down the sidewalks and the one customer of his had made the sidewalk border a little flower garden and the ground was soft. Gene drove into the soft dirt and the front wheel collapsed into a 90 degree angle. Gene and the girl fell off the bike and as luck would have it, neither one of us were hurt. How dumb could he be??
Anyway, that was the end of Geneís romance with the red headed girl. Funny how life takes care of the stupid, as we could have been hurt, really bad!!!
Again Gene fell into a barrow of crap and come out smelling like roses!! There, Gene was without direction and so he decided to do something stupid.
Elmer was working nights at Com. Ed. and while he was sleeping Gene went into the bedroom where Elmer was sleeping and took his car keys. Gene had learned to drive a car when Aliceís husband to be, was in town waiting to marry Alice. Allen and Gene were working on that cow farm and every time Gene made a mistake in driving, Allen would throw a bucket of water on Gene. So Gene learned how to drive the car fast!!
Getting back to Elmerís car story, Gene took the keys and all by himself got into the car and started to drive around Zion. One time going east on 31st street at Sheridan Roar, Gene was afraid to cross the main highway, because there was a slight hill there. There was no stoplight there at that time. Anyway the police pulled up behind Gene and now he was even more scared. The police honked there horn a couple of times and Gene finally crossed the highway, all the time Gene was sure the cops were going to stop him. Gene did not take Elmerís car after that for some time.
Gene being Gene, after a while took Elmerís car again, but this time he took Gordon, Vangie and Laura with him. Gene decided to go up to Kenosha, as he knew Kenosha well from driving all over Kenosha on his Harley Davison (Popper.) motorcycle. All this was without a drivers license. After getting to Kenosha we started to follow 22nd Ave. going north. Gene asked Vangie if she would like to dive the car and she was only 13 years old. Was Gene stupid, or what? Anyway Vangie started to drive the car, still heading north, until we come to the hill near the fire station and she stalled the car, because the stoplight was red and she didnít know how to stop the car using the clutch and break. So there we were with the car stalled in traffic and Gene had to run around the car and have Vangie more over so Gene could get behind the wheel and take over driving of the car. This tine there was no police and so we lucked out, But after this Gene decided it was dumb to take Elmerís car. Gene could of got into a accident or even in trouble with the police. You could say that Gene was, dumber then dumb. God looks after the stupid!!!
In high school Gene went to work summers and before and after school begun each day when school was in session, for four years. He still delivered newspapers from time to time, also he worked for two different construction firms and before school started each morning he worked at the high school for about one hour to earn, a noon time meal. Gene took four years of mathematics and mechanical drafting, (The math and drafting were to become a big part of Geneís later work skills.) In his spare time, (What Spare Time.), he went out for football, one year and two years for track and field. To say the lease, Gene didnít develop very much for social skills, even he was very shy. He tried, but nothing worked for him. As a freshman, (Age 14 years.)
|High School||What to do??||Track and Field.|
Gene bought a small motorcycle called a Harley Davidson 125cc Popper. When he was in his last year of high school he bought an old army 45 cubic inch, motorcycle.
In my senior year of high school, I was taking Physiology and the teacher was not very good at all. The teacher had us do, for a class test, trying to guess the basketball games scores for the coming weekend. What this had to do with physiology, I have no idea!!!
Anyway, as I have said before I was working hard at the different jobs that I had each and every day before, after and even during school days. So I didnít get this assignment done. So when I went to class on Monday morning, I was not prepared. So I asked the girl next to me to see what she had done on her test and I copied her paper and turned it in as mine. To say the least, this was wrong on my part.
As luck would have it, she guessed the most basketball games right and because I had copied her test, I also had the same test score. The teacher not being dumb noticed the two high test scores come from two students that sat next to each other.
What the teacher did wrong next, was to announce who had the top test scores and also tell the whole class that the two students sat next to each other. The poor girl, whoís name was Barbara was very embarrassed and what Gene did was not only unfair to his fellow student, but it was not honest. The teacher should of called both the girl and me to come after class to meet with him and ask us about this problem.
This teacher was also the junior basketball coach and was not very good in this job, either. What he liked to do was embarrass the students, to make him look good in front of the girls. He had all the good looking girls set in front of the class, so he could look at the their legs. This was not just my observation.
The last year of high school was nice and yet sad, as Gene knew what was ahead for him. Nice, because the younger students looked up to Gene, (At least in his mind!!!) but sad, because he liked school very much. What lay ahead was not good to think about Work, work and more work!!!
After finishing high school and thinking he knew everything for life, Gene quit jobs just as fast as he found them. He, worked for Waukegan Natural Gas Co., and quit. Gene worked for a plumber called Bartholomew and quit as the plumber was putting old pipes into new houses, Gene didnít know how the real world worked. He had two other jobs but also quit them after a couple of months. What to do.!!! Gene told himself that he would join the army and when he got out he would find a job and stay there. He had bought a 1951 (Red) motorcycle and he gave it to his brother Gordon and when he got out of the army, Gordon gave to Gene, a almost new 1954 motorcycle, as Gordon was going into the army himself.
|Gene with a group of cooks in Korea. 1952-1953||This is the type of boat, Gene was on for the trip to and from Japan. TRIP THERE was on-U.S. Walker. TRIP HOME WAS ON U.S. DARBY.||Gene back, from Korea 1953.|
Gene did join the army on March 20, 1952 and went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. There, he went to basic combat training and cooks school. The army, wanted Gene to take Officers Training School, but sense the Korean War was still on, he said to himself, that officers were killed much more often than the regular solders, so Thanks, but no thanks!!!!!
|Ft. Leonard Wood, Age 19 years old. April 1953||Gene in Korea 1952-53.||Gene in Zion, back from Korea. 1954|
After training, Gene had a 30 day leave in Zion and then went (American Airlines) to Camp Stoneman, Calif. on his way to South Korea. From Stoneman to Yokohama, Japan by boat (U.S.S. Walker), a troop carrier, 600-feet long. The boat trip took eleven days because we run into a very, very bad storm and had to turn around for a day and a half. Gene watched the storm from a special deck on the boat. When we did arrived in Yokohama we went by train to Hiroshima, (The atom bomb city.), Japan and on to Seoul, South Korea by airplane,(C119 Flying Boxcar.). When Gene arrived in Seoul, the Korean War was still on and he was not a happy camper. The whole country smelled like shit!! What to do??
Gene was lucky and the Army attached him to the Air Force, (SCARWALF), At a little village outside Soul at a unused girls collage. Gene didnít like cooking and about six months later, he was able to get a job as a boss over the South Koreans who worked for the Air Force. With the math and drafting Gene took in high school and now learning how to be a boss, he had most of the work tools he needed for his later work life. He just didnít know it yet!!
Gene didnít get into combat in Korea, but he did see some combat going on around him. We had air raids (Little Piper Cub type airplanes.). The North Koreans would drop 100 lbs. bombs, but not near him. Gene become a corporal and received three bronze battle stars just for being in Korea. On one night when we had a air raid going on, Gene and his room mate were talking, when another man came into Geneís room and started to argue with his room mate and the man stabbed his friend in the shoulder. Gene had to testify at the court marshal for his friend.
Gene had some strange experiences in Korea. There was not a lot of things to do in a war zone, so one night Gene went down to the kitchen where he worked, just to see what was going on. We had a native Indian in our outfit and he was about 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighed a good 275 pounds.
The Indian came into the kitchen very, very drunk, one night and wanted some water. He would not drink out of a cup, but wanted the water in a saucer. This is one man that a person should not argue with. So the head cook gave the man some water in the saucer, the man got up on the table and drank the water down just like a dog would. After drinking the water he then went into the office and wanted his money out of the safe (No one could have their money after 5P.M.), so he could drink some more. So the Indian picked up the 350 pound safe with one hand and threw it through a wall. Everyone knew not to mess with the Indian!!!!!
Another thing that happened was this one man named Barns, who when drunk, would go and get his machine gun and try to kill anyone in sight. And yet in a war zone you could not take away a personís gun. This man was restricted from the enlisted menís club where most of the men hung out to drink, as there was not much else to do. Barns would go out side the compound and go to a local hooch (A local house.) and drink the local poison. And I do mean poison, as a lot of times the local alcohol would make a person go blind, if not even something worse. Anyway, when the guard would see the man named Barns coming back to the Army compound, he would call up and some of Barns so called friends (Who could really be called Barns friend????) would come and get him and tie him up until he was not drunk anymore. Barns was a nice man when not drunk. Gene had talked to Barns many times.
Another man, who worked with Gene, as a shift change boss, named White, who was not too bright, (Maybe this was also the reason the Army named Gene a boss, other then the fact that Gene hated cooking.!!!!!). Anyway, as I said before, everyone had a gun of some kind. At different times, Gene had a rifle, machine gun and a pistol. A man could checkout whatever kind of weapon that he wanted.
Getting back to the story on Mr. White, he liked to play with the machine gun he had, as his personal weapon, and when White was drunk one time he sprayed a whole clip (30 bullets.) of bullets over the floor of his room. Again, a person had to have some kind of weapon, as this was a war zone!!!! From then on, someone was always keeping a eye out for Mr. White, Gene keeping two eyes on White.
Gene didnít smoke and each person could buy two cartons of cigs each month for 80 cents a carton. Gene would buy the cigs. and trade them with the local girls for something else. The local FBI man would come around to Gene from time to time, wanting to know what Gene was doing with the cigs., as he knew that Gene didnít smoke. It was against the law to trade anything with the local people. Gene always told the FBI man that he bought the cigs. for his Army buddies. The FBI man didnít believe this story, yet could not prove different, as we soldiers would always cover for each other. This was dumb on Geneís part, as he really could of been in trouble with the FBI. Rather stupid, donít you think, as the thing that Gene wanted a couple times a month, only cost $2 a time. And so Gene saved $1.20 each time. Thinking back on it, it was really, really stupid. But thatís Gene!!!!!!
Gene was talking to one of his friends one night, in his room. His friend was standing half way in and half way out of the door to Geneís room. There was a shot fired, and my friend fell into my room. At first I though my friend was shot, but he was O.K.. Just the shit was scared out of him. We did find out who fired the shot and the man was court marshaled. Put in the Army jail. Life in a War Zone, was fun!!!
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