“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – The Big Race of “72”

The Big Race of “72”

It was the winter of 1972, Wilber, Alfred and Albert were drinking beer, having a good time shooting pooi having fun with the girls. The old pooi hail is a very busy place during the winter months. Most ranchers and farmers have more free time this time of year. One younger fellow asked Wilber about racing at the Sturgis Rally. Wilber said yes, I’ve dreamed of racing on that half-mile flat track, it’s a fast track, not in the best condition. The long cold winter in the hills is hard on tracks, ball parks etc., especially if they get a lot of snow. One has to spend a lot of time and money, “which most of the time they don’t have,” to put the tracks back in good shape.

The young man’s name was Fred, most people called him Freddie. Old Wilber said, you know what, I’ll talk to Alfred and Albert if they agree to race we’ll start getting our bikes in shape. If we start this winter we should have the bikes in shape by July, of course we had plenty of work to do on the farms, so we’d better hurry and get the bikes in condition to race.

The more beer they drank, and the more fun they had, the more they were sure that they would race in August, 1973. Wilber talked to Alfred and Albert about racing at Sturgis. They said it sounds good, only you know how we all hate the big crowds and all the traffic, but what the hell, let’s do it once. So after the tavern closed, they all went home, but agreed they would get together Monday to plan on which bikes they would use and see what they would have to do to get their bikes in shape. The rules say 750” is the biggest you can race and the bikes must be twins of 500” singles. Stupid rules, but that’s the way it is. Wilber asked Alfred and Albert what bikes they would be using. Alfred said I think I’ll start right now and build a flat traveler out of the Army Indian “45” we bought at the surplus sale after we came home from the Korean war. Albert said, these old bikes will really need a lot of work to build them into flat trackers. They had bought a truckload of surplus Harleys and Indians. They have been sitting in the barn for over 17 years.

All three agreed to get to work at once, they would use all their spare time on building the race bikes. The first thing they would do is strip the bikes down and make a list of parts they would have to order to build nice bikes out of army bikes. Albert said old Wilber what bike are you going to ride? Wilber said, I have three Harley “45”s, I’ll build a flat tracker out of one of them. So all three got to work, they knew they would have a lot of work ahead of them once they got the bikes built. They would have to have a track to run them on, they all agreed Sturgis was too far to go to test the bikes, plus the city would not let them use the track unless there was a race coming up. So Wilber said, we’ll just build our own track. Nothing fancy, but a true half mile track, that way we can practice on it. We’ll all be in good shape come August. Those big city racers will think we’re just some farm boys out to have fin but wait till the big 30 lap, 1 5 mile race comes up, we’ll show those city boys how old farm boys can ride! They all agreed to build the bikes into real racers, but we will have the bikes look old. No fancy paint jobs, no chrome, just pure racers. So they got to work, Wilber had his “45” stripped in one day. He put the engine on the work bench, he would tear it down soon, but first be had to get that list of parts made, they knew of a big dealer in Ohio, they could get their parts there.Wilber decided he would use the stock 45” springs front forks and save money, a new race fork cost lots of money. He stripped the rear wheel down, he would order 2 new lightweight rims. Wilber had been to a lot of races in the last 20 years so he pretty much knew what he had to do. He took that engine apart. Once he took weight off the flywheels and polished the rods, made sure the rollers were good as new he knew what pistons to order. He machine the heads, he did all the work on the carburetor. He let it look stock, but if the other riders really knew what he did to that carburetor. Wilber knew a stock 45” put out around 2 1-23 H.P. he would need 70 to 80 H.P. He cut every bracket off the frame he would not need. A stock 45” is around 550 lbs. he wanted his down to 300.-325 lbs. He cleaned the frame painted it black, he stripped the gas and oil tank and painted them fire engine red. No front fender was needed, the rear fender he made out of aluminum. He used an old Bates Salo seat, with pad on the back fender. He stripped off the Anny paint from the exhaust, he didn’t need a muffler, just the exhaust pipes, he really put work into them and tapered the pipes just right. He built a real simple bracket he could kick open with his right boot and close it at the correct time, he knew he could get a lot of extra H.P. this way.

One sunny spring day the mailman came by, and left Wilber a big package. The mailman said, what you got in that package? Wilber laughed and said garden seed. The mailman said from a motorcycle shop? Old Wilberjust grinned and said I’ll tell you come the middle of August. Wilber took those special race pistons and installed them. He laced the new alloy rims to the stock hubs, which he had cleaned and painted black. In two weeks he had the engine together, and the frame painted. He was now ready to put the bike together. He had started work on the track in April, Alfred and Albert had also worked on the track. They used old tires around the track.

One sunny day in April, a small airplane flew over, he must have noticed the track. He banked the plane around, flew real low, 50 – 100 feet off the ground. Wilber could see this guy was a real pilot, be flew around the track a few times. Wilber signaled for him to land in the pasture, which be did. He set the small pipes cub down like a real pro, got out of the plane, walked over to Wilber, and said old boy, just what the hell are you building it looks like a race track. Wilber said you’re right, a true half mile. He told the pilot the story, how he and his pals were going to race at Sturgis. The flyer said, by the way my name is Joe Foss. Wilber almost fainted he was the big hero of World War II. He seemed like a regular fellow, he had also been governor of South Dakota. Wilber called his friends Albert and Alfred, they came over in a few minutes, riding their old Indians. Wilber broke out his special home brew. Foss said I’d like to drink with you boys, but not when I’m flying besides he said here its 4:30 I’d better fly away, I have to be back in Sioux Falls by 7:00. He said he would come by sometime, and try to make it to the Sturgis Races. He never did fly back or come to the races. But Wilber knew Foss was a real busy man. It was a nice gesture but old Alfred said hell were just old farm boys, we all been in the army but we’re not heroes. Alfred said, I’d rather be an old farm boy any day than a city slicker. Wither said yes were just old farm boys, but we’re going to show some of those city riders this August at the Sturgis Races.

By end of April Wilber had his bike built, it looked good like most Harley 45” racers. He told Alfred lets get the track finished so we can get our bikes tested and practice our racing. Alfred and Albert had both the Indians stripped down. They agreed to use the stock Gircter front forks. They laced 19” alloy rims to the stock hub, which they hadstripped of all brake parts. Both really knew how to build Indian engines, they ordered special pistons out of California. They new of the old Indian racer named Ed Krent. He had won the Daytona 100 mile race on an Indian. They built both Indians the same. They built their own exhaust pipes and they did all the work on the stock carburetors and the air cleaners they built out of light aluminum, tapered to just the right shape. They painted the gas tank a bright Indian red, and the frame black, by time they got them together, they looked good. Just like factory racers.

By the end of April, they had their bikes race ready, now they would help Wilber finish the track. It rained a lot in April ad also in May. As soon as they would get the track ready to race on it would rail like crazy and make a mud hole out of the track. They knew they would have to put special clay on the track. This they would have to get down by Wounded Knee. There was a friend of theirs who had this large ranch on one section was some of the best clay in the Mid-West. They drove their old big Ford trucks down there one Sunday and loaded the trucks with clay, took it home and put it on the track. They knew at once they could never haul enough clay in their trucks to finish the track by June. So, they hired a trucking firm that had a dozen big trucks. In a weeks time they had moved enough clay to really build a good track. This cost them more than all three bikes did to build. Wilber said, I’ll sell some of my cattle to pay for the clay. He had to sell over 20 head of good Steers to pay for the clay. He did not like doing this, but they had come too far along to quit now.

Come the second week in June the track was in beautiful shape and their bikes were running beautiful. So come Sunday they started running the bikes on the track. The first Sunday they spend testing their bikes they got to gearing down. The third Sunday they started practicing racing. They must of used up 50 gallons of fuel, they ran those bikes until almost 9:00 at night. Their old friend Ruthie had been clocking them on the track, she said you guys are going as fast as the top racer in the U.S. do. Old Wilber said let’s try some of our special fuel, let’s see if these bikes will really fly and hang together. So come Monday, they tried the special fuel. All three bikes set record speeds, they were going around the track as fast as any Pro Racer.

They knew the bikes could go fast, they knew of an Indian friend who had bought a Triumph 500” twin in California. It was built to race on half-mile tracks, so they invited their friend over the next weekend. He asked Wilber if he could bring a friend of his along. He had this super fast B.S.A. 500” single. Wilber said bring anyone with a fast bike. The next weekend they spent all day Saturday and Sunday racing and testing the bikes. The Triumph was real fast, the B.SA. could take the Triumph. But they thought just maybe it was the rider, they switched riders. All five riders tried all the bikes, it was about 5:00, and old Ruthie had been clocking all the riders. She said lets try a 10-lap race and see how all 5 of your can do. So they all lined up, Ruth dropped the flag and all 5 riders took off like real racers. She clocked all the bikes. She could tell Wilber, Alfred and Albert had built some fast bikes, they stayed right with the Triumph and the B.S.A. Now they would have to get even faster if they could beat the B.S.A. and the Triumph, they knew they had a good chance of winning at Sturgis. They continued to race on their track all July.

They were now ready for Sturgis. They had just gotten their copy of Cycle Magazine, it had a large add on the races, $5,000 to the winner of the 25-mile main event. They checked and re-checked their bikes. Trying different jets and air filters. They were readyto race. Wilber said, we’ll take my Ford truck with the camper. We’ll camp out at the track, no need for a motel, besides they were all taken months ago. They drove to Sturgis on Friday and made arrangements with the track to camp out in the parking lot. They spend all day Saturday testing and practicing. Now it was time to race!

Sunday looked like it was going to be really hot out. Wilber liked that, because his bike would really run fast in the hot weather. The ate all their meals at the track and didn’t even go into town at night. Sunday came and bikes were arriving from all over the U.S. and they even noticed three riders from Canada. Alfred said if we can all three win, we can take home over $8,000. On Sunday morning they all signed up, practice would start at 10:00 sharp. The track looked good, Albert said good thing we build our track, we learned a lot about flat track racing. It was a good thing our friend came over and raced us on the B.S.A and Triumph. Wilber said let’s play it cool, no showing off, we’ll make sure all three of us make the main. Practice was underway, all three did real good. Albert came in 3rd, all 3 made the main. There was a big crowd on hand, the stands were full, standing room only. The word was out, the farm boys were running real fast. A lot of the west coast riders didn’t think much of the farm boys, Wilber heard one rider from Seattle say lets not let those fanners get ahead of us, we’ll hold them back and push them to the back first chance we get. Albert said to Alfred, we’ll show those city boys just wait and see.

The announcer said all riders in the main on the line now. There were 25 riders lined up in 2 rows. The flagman was on the starter line and all the riders were on the line with their engines running, it was very loud, riders were eager to start. The starter dropped the flag, and the race was on! The hot Triumphs shot to the front fast. Dick Washer from Seattle was really going fast, his Triumph seemed real fast. Wilber was back in 14th place, Alfred and Albert right behind Wilber, five laps passed and those farm boys were trying to work their way up. The Triumphs were really fast and it was hard to stay with them. Old Wilber was now in 9th place he was thinking to himself, I have to do something, then he reached down and pulled a lever on the carburetor, his bike shot forward fast. He could see Alfred and Albert were playing with their carburetor; they were all trying to get more out of their bikes. Fifteen laps passed, dick Washer on the fast Triumph was in place and really flying. Now 20 laps, Wilber had worked his way to 6th place. Alfred and Albert on the old Indians were really flying, they were in 8th Twenty-five laps went by, they flag came out, 25 laps to go, half the race was over. Thirty laps and the farm boys just could not work their ay up. About 20 riders went into the 3rd corner, really flying and all of a sudden one rider went down, he took 4 or 5 riders down with him. The flag came out, all riders kept their positions, 3 laps went by, then the flag came out, go again and all the bikes just went flying. Wilber had done good, he missed all the fallen riders. Alfred and Albert on their Indians had missed the fallen riders too and had worked their way up front, 40 laps gone by, 10 laps to go! Alfred had passed Wilber with Albert right behind him, now all 3 riders were up front, 6 or 7 riders were riding almost side by side down the straight a way. Wilber had now passed Alfred and Albert, 3 laps to go, the farm boys were now up front. Dick Walker on the fast Triumph was in front, 2 laps to go. Dick’s Triumph starting missing, it was back firing bad, he dropped way back. A California rider was now in 1 place on a Triumph. The white flag came out, 1 lap to go, Wilber was in 2nd, Alfred and Albert right behind him, the crowd was on their fee. Six riders went into turn 3, coming into turn 4. Wilber was now just inches ahead of the Triumph, Alfred and Albert right behind. All the riders came down the home stretch, side by side, Wilber now 6-8 inches ahead, Alfred and Albert were right with him. The checkered flag was out. Old Wilber had stayed inches ahead of the Triumph. This was going to be a photo finish. The crowd was going crazy, the Announcer was telling it as it was. All of a sudden, he said the three farm boys had won, just by 68 inches, it was so close they called all three winners. The crowd was going wild, and the race was over. All riders parked their bikes, engines off. They announced the winners, the boys on their old bikes had won! The hot California riders just could not believe it, they called for the engines to be tore down to see if they were legal. After 3 hours passed, the 3 Dakota farm boys were declared the winners. The race was over and the farm boys went home with $8,000. This was a race that all riders would be talking about for years.

Wilber, Alfred and Albert decided to spend the night at the track, all 3 were just too tired to drive home. They would get a good night sleep and leave in the morning. They would of liked to see the Sturgis Rally, but decided the next year they would spend a few days at the Rally, just maybe they would not race, they had proven they could still win at their age and on old bikes, if people really knew. All 3 bikes were special built, no factory could ever build racers like these 3 could. Wilber said what you boys think, just maybe we’ll have some races on our track. Wilber could hear Alfred and Albert were asleep, so he turned the lights off and soon was in La-La-Land.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Vietnam

Vietnam

Where is Vietnam, it is a small country in Asia, until the war between the south and north, which lasted from late 1964 to 1975, over ten years, few people had heard of this country. The way I got it, the war was supposed to drive the commies out of the country, which really never happened. The communists still rule the country. We do have a pretty good relationship with both the South and North. For over ten years our government tried to find a way to end the war. How many really understand why we were ever there? We lost over 58,000 men and women, the Vietnamese lost over two million. The cost of the war was in the billions, tax payers are still paying for that war. ??? and after the war inflation here went sky high. I remember buying a new ford for 3,000 dollars in 1964, after ten years it was worth 10,000 dollars.

In April of 1975 the U.S. forces fled Saigon, helicopters were flying the last ones out they were standing on the roof of the U.S. embassy. The Viet-cong troops entered just hours after we left. Why in the world did we ever get involved in the first place. Our government leaders, both parties, had got us involved in too many places we never should have been. What are we doing in Iraq? How are we ever gonna get out, without more of our men and women dying? Inflation again will start going up and up. Taxpayers will be paying for this war for years. In the end, will we have won, I don’t think so! I no longer trust our leaders of both parties and election is only a few months away. The big question is who are you going to vote for? I know who I’m voting for, Bush. I don’t agree with him on many issues, but Kerry sure doesn’t have an answer for anything. How can you be a Christian and believe in murder, which abortion is. Bush believes in god and he is not a afraid to say so. I can not and will not vote for anyone who does not believe in god and his laws, this would be men of both parties. The war with Iraq, I pray this is. As people everywhere want to be free and they should be. I still do not believe it’s the U.S.’s job to free everyone that should be up to the United Nations. That’s enough talking about the war.

In 1967, I was 41 years old, I had a wonderful business and family and was really happy. Never did I dream our government would be asking me to come and help them out of a big mess, one we never should have been in the first place.

I got a call one day from my old buddy Clarence, he was living in Texas. He asked me if I had a call fro the War Department. I told him yes, they told me they had also contacted you. He said they sure did, he told me they would be contacting both of us soon, and they sure did. They told both of us they had this special job they had to get done in Vietnam. But why us? They have all the men they need to do any job they want to get done. We both should have been suspicious right then. But like big dummies, we fell for their lies and trap. A Lt. Commander Warlick called us both and told us we would be it he M.S.T. and would be working with the Navy and Marines.

Clarence had worked at many jobs since I had last seen him. He was and still is a very brilliant man. He had worked as a motorcycle cop in Tennesee, he taught at a Lauge college in Texas, he worked with the EB.I. and also the I.R.S. He had worked at A Special Rescue work flying helicopters. I had not worked with Clarence since 1945, that’s a long time ago. We both had done special work in France and Japan at that time we were not allowed to talk about our missions for years. I had been living in Sough Dakota and North Dakota for a short time. I got married in 1949 to Donna, I went to school at N.D. School of Science in 1949 and 1950. In 1951 we moved to Seattle, Washington, we have lived here ever since, it is now 2004, we have been married 55 years. We have a beautiful two and half acre farm in Maple Valley and a beautiful winter home in Arizona. Quite a number of years ago I learned to fly helicopters, I just loved it!!! It cost $200 an hour to rent and I don’t go up much anymore. As I write this, my legs are both bad and I’m unable to fly or even ride my motorcycles. But I can ride my big motor scooter, I pray I will be able to ride a motorcycle again soon. Since 1946 I have worked at many different jobs, I was a boot maker for a few years and I worked at painting signs, this I really enjoyed. In 1958 I started a Motorcycle store, I just loved it! I continued painting signs for a few years. I did all our signs at the store, but by 1962 I was just too busy selling motorcycles so I had to quit painting. As I was working at the store Donna worked right with me, she did all the paper work and books, she sold parts, motorcycles, she could run the store if needed. She has been a wonderful wife now for 55 years. Now, I better get back to my story.

Lt. Commander Warlick explained to Clarence and me the job he had for us. It was Special Rescue work, flying helicopters in Vietnam. We would be paid really good for this work, the Army had lots, just too many choppers. Clarence had done lots of Special Rescue work in Alaska and other places. The U.S. Navy had this special work in Vietnam they told us they just could not trust the Army or Marine pilots to do this, we again should have been suspicious. Be we just couldn’t believe the government would be this dirty. The Navy sent us to San Diego, California for 2 weeks special training. We would be using _??? Choppers, these are slow, under powered, but they work good for this kind of work. We were now in the M.S.T. but most of our work would be with the Navy. We ate with the Navy, slept in the same tents, etc. Again Clarence said we should not have taken this job. We both agreed we would try to find a way to get out soon. We were too late, the next day we got our 1st orders. We agreed we got to find a way to stay alive and get back to the U.S. fast. But how? Clarence said we got about I chance in 1,000 of getting out alive. We were told we could never talk about this work for at least 38 years, why 38 years I never did find out. We both kept our mouths shut, till now. About 1:00 we got our first orders, we were to fly north from our camp and follow the river. One side of the river was a real high hill with a cave in the side by the river. Our orders claimed we could not miss the cave, they were right. As we flew low, close to the water and the cave, 2 men came out of the cave. They signaled I was to fly dose, about I foot above the water as there was no place to sit the choppers down. One man got into each of our choppers, we flew back to the camp, neither man would say one word to us. We both thought that was funny. We made it back to camp, no problem before we could get out of the choppers a Nave officer gave us our next orders and just said, go fast. We said we needed to gas up, he said, okay then leave at once. We got a chance to read our orders while the Navy filled our choppers. We read the orders, they looked about the same as the last one, only this time, fly down the river further until we see this island and get back to camp fast. I said to Clarence, there’s something funny going on here, any pilot could do this job, Clarence said this job sticks. We got in our choppers and lifted off, down the river. As we got close to the island, 2 men came toward the shore. We both noticed both men, looked real dirty and unshaved, their clothes looked old and worn out, the men had no shoes on. I thought to myself, these men could be prisoners, and they turned out to be just that. We found out later the North Vietnamese had been paid big money to get these men out of prison. I at once picked one man up, Clarence picked the other one up. We tiled to get high in the air fast, we got about 150-200 feet high when guns started going off. It looked like they were shooting at us, the sky was all lit up. We were both scared, but tried to gain altitude, just then I noticed my chopper had taken a hit, I kept flying. I noticed that Clarence’s chopper had taken a hit too, his chopper was smoking, it looked like it was on tire. We both kept flying as best we could, we both knew if we went down her it would be all over for us.

We got about 5 minutes out and the sky lit up again, it looked like lights at the 4th of July fireworks. We did get up to 500 feet, we kept flying back to wards camp. All of a sudden I noticed that Clarence’s chopper was going down, he had taken a big hit. I turned and flew back towards him, his chopper went down hard. I got as close as possible, I noticed that Clarence was wounded. bad, bleeding all over, the man he picked up was dead, most of his head was gone. How Clarence managed to get out only God knows.

Clarence got into my chopper, he had to sit on the passenger’s lap, we had no seat belts and he had to hang onto the passenger. I had a hard time lifting oft, it was real hard to get any attitude. It was especially hard with all the weight off to the side. It was very hard flying, the chopper kept wanting to go down. The highest I could get was 300 feet, my chopper started misfiring. I did not know what else to do but keep flying, if we went down it would be all over for all of us!

I thought if I could make it back to camp we should be okay, but it would be hard landing. Clarence said to me, old buddy you’re bleeding your arm looks real bad, I knew that as it hurt, but I had to use it to fly. My left leg was also hurting, I could not see if it was bleeding. Old Clarence was having a hard time hanging on, my chopper was misfiring bad and smoking. I looked at the oil pressure, it was way down, thats really bad, if the engine stops, we’re all done. I noticed the camp up at my front, I at once flew close as I could to the level area, I tiled landing my chopper, it hit the ground real hard.

Old Clarence fell out at once, he was bleeding bad, at once I shut the chopper off, it was smoking real bad, the engine sounded like it was ready to fly apart and gas was coning out. I said to myself I had to get away fast, the passenger was out fast. All 3 of us got as far away as possible from the chopper. The chopper blew up, parts flying everywhere. All most at once 10 – 15 men me to us, they all helped us up. Suddenly there was a 3 Star General that cam over to us, he grabbed my passenger and left at once, never said anything to any of us.

We were taken to a small aid station, a young doctor treated us, he got the bleeding stopped on Clarence, he was realty hurting and there was nothing I could do for him. A Major cam over to me and asked about my passenger, I told him the 3 Star General had taken him away. He asked about Clarence’s passenger, I told him he was dead, we left him on the ground. He said how do you know he was dead, I said his head was gone, I’m sure he was dead. He said don’t get smart with me, I’ll have your head also. I said sorry sir but I’m just telling you the facts. The men helped both of us into the back of an Army truck. The driver took oil at once, no one said anything, we drove for about an hour.

We finally came to a camp, they at once rushed us to a 50 bed hospital, it looked real dirty. The doctors treated our wound the best they could. One young U. said you’re both lucky, no broken bones, just flesh wounds. Another young LI. came over to us and I asked him if we could get something to eat, we haven’t eaten all day. Another officer a Major said, why should we even feed or patch you guys up, you both screwed up bad today. Clarence that was hurting pretty bad said, why because we screwed up 2 new choppers today and one man. We could see he was real mad, he said to hell with the choppers, it was the passengers we wanted. I said sir, we did the very best we could, we were under tire all day. He just said, you both get paid real good, you should be more careful not to get hit or hurt I kept my mouth shut, we both said no more. We both agreed this would be our last job working for the government.

The next day we were flown to a large Navy hospital ship. They had lots of doctors, they all took real good car of us, treated our wounds, etc. They fed us real good too. I said to myself I wonder what’s up? Almost at once we were taken into a large room with many high ranking officers, they questioned us for hours then finally left us alone. The doctors told both of us it would be months before we could fly again. We both agreed, now is the time to get out of here.

We have to find a plan going back to the States and find one fast, and we tried the best we could to find a way back to the States. I talked to a Lt., he tried to tell me something but I could tell he was afraid to say anything. I could tell he did not Ike his job and what was going on in Vietnam. Clarence and I were sleeping one night when the voice of the same officer woke me. I could hear him talking about the war and saying it was all about drugs and bid money. He thought we were both still sleeping. Another officer told him to shut up, you have said too much, you could get us both killed.
The next day we heard of a plane going back to the states, we immediately tried to find out if they had room for us. One officer said, yes we have to take care of you Navy men, I did not say anything, we were not Navy men, we were just given some Navy clothes to wear because we had lost our. We finally got on the plane, both of us said nothing, we let everyone think we were Navy and had been wounded, this helped us, as they always take good care of their own.

After a long flight, we landed in Los Angeles, California, got off the plane and walked away as if nothing had ever happened. We caught a Taxi to the office of the M.S .T., we told them we were and we would like to get paid for the jobs we had done. Some big shot Officer seemed to know all about us and what we had done. He again said, you both keep your mouths shut if you want to stay alive, you do just as you are told. We both agreed to say nothing and told the Officer that maybe someday you can use us again. One big Commander said, I’m the one that does all the hiring and firing, when you guys heal and can fly again, get in touch with me. We both played dumb and said sir, we sure will. But, when we got away and were by ourselves 01 Clarence said, are they crazy, do they really believe we are that dumb?

We said nothing for 37 years and this is why I wrote this story, now we could tell it all. When we did try to telling some high-ups they all just said you were both big suckers. They told us that what happened 37 years ago is history, who really cares? We tiled telling some reporters, they just said forget it, that’s old news and no one wants old news. So we just said nothing more.

It is now 2004 and we are both still hurting from that war, I am 78 years old and I forge how old Clarence is, but he’s up there too. We both still ride our motorcycles and have not ridden to Sturgis since 2001, but sure would like to ride one more time. I can’t fly anymore, my feet are both really bad, without good feet you can’t fly. Besides, renting a small chopper cost $200 an hour, that’s too steep for me. Clarence had to quit flying a few years ago, he’s lucky to be walking, he has been hurt just too many times. I still try to fide my bicycle 4- 5 times a week, but even that is hard to do. We’ll both just keep riding until God calls us home.

Clarence rode by our home here in Maple Valley just this past week, he had bought another BMW, a beautiful black 1100, only had 11,000 miles on it. He has 3 BMWs now, claims he’s owned over 50. A lot of people like to buy and sell a lot, he’s had so many cars this past year I’ve lost track.

The weather is beautiful here in Seattle and as I write this, it looks like we got 4 more good months of riding the rest of 2004. Then I’ll head south to our home in Arizona, one can ride there in comfort all year around. I thank God Donna and I have the best of 2 worlds, summers in the Seattle area with our family and winters in Arizona.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Motocross in Nebraska

Motocross in Nebraska

Motor-cross racing was always big in Europe. Here in the US scramble racing was our most popular dirt racing. Motor-cross was beginning to really catch on here in the states in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. In Europe motocross with side-cars was really big. The Europeans were starting to bring their sidecars to the US. It was a big draw at the races. People really loved the sidecars. They all had a rider in the sidecar. He was called the Monkey. If you ever see sidecar racing with the Monkey sitting and hanging out the side-car you will know why they call him the Monkey. He’s all over the sidecar, hanging out and moving all over the side-car. The American riders were starting to get into sidecar racing. I remember here in Western Washington it was really big especially at Puyallup raceways. This was a beautiful motor-cross track, long straight aways, big jumps, etc. Every rider I ever talked to always liked Puyallup. Sidecar racing was a big added attraction. Wilber, Alfred and Albert had seen a few sidecar races. They had done some racing on two wheels, but not sidecars. They read all the motorcycle magazines and papers. They had seen how big it was getting to be. Wilber read about this big motocross race in western Nebraska in the sand hills. They were having a special sidecar class. The prize money was large. Wilber was drinking beer with his riding pals Alfred and Albert. They were talking of racing. The more beer they drank the more they got excited about racing. Wilber said I’m going to enter that side-car race. Alfred said what are you going to ride, he said I’ll ride my old 1934 Harley 74” Albert said what are you going to do for a side-car? Wilbert said no problem, I’ll pull the side-car off one of my old Indians, pull the body off, bolt a piece of plywood on, put some handles on, and you, Albert can be my Monkey. Albert said wait, now just maybe I want to race. Wilber said you can race the next year. Alfred will be racing his special 1929 HP JD 74”, this is a special built JD he has been building the bike for years. It’s special in that it has an aluminum cylinder and heads. All the stock JD’s have cast iron cylinders and head as one unit. Alfred had built his own engine. It was now 88 cubic inches not 74”. It was super fast. Alfred had tried to see how fast it would go a year ago. They had blocked a part of old Highway 18 off near “Wounded Knee” one early Sunday morning. They had many of their Indian friends help them. They had signs made up; Highway will be closed for 3 hours Sunday the 16” between 5 and 8am. They closed this highway down and raced their motorcycles for 3 hours. If the state ever got word of this I suppose all three and the Indians would still be in jail. But, as far as they could find out no one ever was the wiser. People most likely figured the Highway needed repairing. Elfred had his I-ID up to 178 mph. Wilber and the side car hit 144 M.P.H. These bikes were really fast. They both had the latest brakes, forks and suspension. Both Wilber and Alfred were getting anxious to race, they could hardly wait. Albert would be their pit crew. It was April, 1973, both Alfred and Wilber had sent in the entry many weeks before. They had already agreed to use Wilber’s old Ford truck, with the camper. It was still large enough to hold the HD and sidecar. They knew it would take 8-10 hours to drive to the race track. They wanted to get there Friday night to have all Saturday to get the bikes ready and check the track out.

They left 5:00 on Friday. They drove on old Highway 18 turned south on 27, this would take them south to Highway 2. They would turn south on 87 then on 26 west to ScottsblufY From there, they would find out where the track was located. They drove along at 60 M.P.H. making good time. That old Ford was running beautiftil. They were getting hungry so they stopped in Alliance, a nice small town. They noticed a lot of motorcycles on trailers and in pickups near a cafe, so Wilber drove over to the café. He found a place to park. They got out of the truck, wasn’t long they had a large bunch of riders looking their bikes over. Some young riders said, what you old timers going to do enter the bike show? Wilber said I’ll let you know, we intend to enter the races, the young riders said I think you are 40 years too late with those old bikes. Alfred said you think so, just wait and see. They went into the café; it was almost fill of riders. Most were young men, a few older guys. They ordered the special ham and eggs and plenty of hot coffee. They ate their breakfast and payed the girl. Albert said, “This is the first time none of us have teased the waitress. Wilber said I got too much on my mind. I’m going to win the big one. It’s for $5,000, I’ll show those young riders what an old timer can do. As all three walked over to their truck there was quite a crowd of riders looking at the sidecar and the J.D. Older riders could see these were special built bikes. One older rider asked who built the J.D. He said that’s the first J.D I ever seen with aluminum head and cylinders. Alfred said this is the only one he knew of The guy said I bet it will fly. Alfred said almost if it had wings it could. They looked the sidecar over. One older rider said where in the world did you get those big aluminum cylinders and head? He asked how large is it? Wilber smiled and said it’s large and will it go, watch me Sunday. They bid their new made friends goodbye and drove off. Elbert said they are all in for a big surprise Sunday. Wilber said yes and when I win the sidecar class those young punks will be lost for words. They drove into Scottsbluff and asked a few riders where the track was. An older fellow said I’ll tell you, but if you follow me I’m going there soon. They agreed and in a few minutes they left. The track must have been 40-45 minutes away. When they got to the track they noticed all the bikes and sidecar outfits. There must have been 400-500 bikes, and over 30 sidecars. They found a good place to park their truck. It was now getting late so they got the camper ready to sleep in. They set up their booby traps still not trusting everyone. They walked over to a big stand set up with all kinds of food. Albert said you guys hungry, Wilber said I could eat something before we hit the hay. They ate spareribs and were they ever good. Wilber said we should have some beer, but not tonight and not till after the races. Albert asked one cook where he learned to make such good spareribs. The cook said down south, I was in the army. I learned from an old buddy. He said glad you farm boys like the ribs, wait till you see what I got fixed for breakfast. They thanked their new found friend and said we’ll see you at 7 o’clock. They walked back to their truck, got ready for bed, wasn’t long; all three were in La La Land. Wilber dreamed of winning the side car race, only he was riding a high powered 125cc Harley. How in the world could a 125cc pull a side-car? We all know how dreams are.

Wasn’t long the sun started coming out. They got up dressed, said let’s see that guy who’s going to make that special breakfast. Soon the sun was out and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. Alfred said we got all day so sign up shoot the bull with other riders and see all the special built side cars. Albert made a comment whoever is putting on this race really knows how to dot it 1st class. Everything was set up 1st class. They sat down with a lot of other riders. They took their plates and got in line to pick up their food. When they got to the food line Wilber said, boy look at all the food, they filled their plates with hot cakes, eggs, steak, ham, bacon, every kind of food you would have at a big hotel and more. They got in line twice, ate so much they could hardly walk. They started making the rounds of seeing all the bikes, one rider asked you guys racing Sunday? Wilber said Alfred and I are, Albert will be the Monkey. Wilber said maybe we had better get our bikes ready then see all the bikes, so they unloaded their bikes. Wilber started the Harley and said Monkey get on lets try this rig out. They rode around, soon they heard practice in 20 minutes. So, they put their old black leather on, put their old helmets on, rode over and got in line with all the other riders. There was lots of bikes and riders.

Wilber heard the man say all sidecars get ready, practice in 3 minutes. Wilber was in line, he noticed all the other riders looking at him. He said to himself I’ll take it easy play dumb, and then when I get in the race I’ll show those young riders how an old farm boy can ride. Wilber was now 50 years old, not real old, but no kid either. The flag was out, the starter dropped the flag, there were 15-16 riders in this practice heat. All those high powered bikes took off like crazy. Wilberjust laid back on a long straightaway he powered the power on, he flew by this big special built 3 cylinder Triumph, got along side and the rider looked over at Wilber, he waved his hand, like let’s go. Old Wilber opened that throttle part way, he passed the Triumph as if it was a stock bike. He played with other riders letting most of them pass him. He felt his way around the track, the flag came out, practice over for these riders’ lots of bikes to practice. So they had to keep the bikes moving along. Wilber rode over to his truck, wasn’t long there was dozens of riders looking his bike over. One fellow from England said how in the world you get that side valve to go so fast? Old Wilber said oh I put in new plugs and changed the oil. The Englishman said you did more than that. How large is the engine 2 cylinder bikes could be as large as 1600cc only thing side valves could be as large as 100 cibs. This gave Wilber the advantage, if his bike would hold together. Wither had built this engine to run wide open and not hurt it, being a side valve it would only turn up to 4500 rpm’s. But, that would be all be needed he could tell by riding with the special built jobs he would have all the power and speed he would need. After practice he watched old Alfred just play with some of those young riders. But, Alfred knew he was in for a real race, he kept thinking about winning and the $5,000 be was going to take home. All three spent the rest of Saturday looking at bikes and just talking with other riders. Saturday night was special; they had a meal fit for a king. Every kind of meat and vegetables you wanted, breads of every kind. Albert said we got to come to Nebraska more often. Soon the sun was going down, the sponsor of this big race had hired a big country band, and they had setup a big dance floor. Soon every one was having a good time. Wilber said hey lets knock it off, we’re not as young as most of these riders, they can party all night we need our sleep if we’re to race and win tomorrow, best we hit the sack. So, they put the bikes back on the truck, locked every thing up and hit the sack. Albert said good night, we’ll get up at 6:00 eat some of that wonderful food they have here then we’ll go racing and we’ll win.

Sunday morning came fast, they were up at 6:00, they cleaned up and got in line to eat. When they seen all the food, they just could not believe they had 3 days of the best food in the world. A place to camp out signup all for $100 this was really the best race they had ever been to. Soon it was time for practice, only 3 laps as there were so many riders the race starts at 11 o’clock. Even then all the races would probably last till 5:00 or 6:00 Alfred heard his beat race, called so he got in line with about 12-15 other riders the starter said 3 laps and please leave the track as fast as possible, we got lots of riders today. Alfred road hard for 3 laps passing a lot of young riders on their special MX bikes but he let plenty pass him. He didn’t want all the riders to really know how fast his J.D. was. Soon it was Wilber’s and Albert’s turn on the sidecar. They let most bikes pass them. Only on the straightaway Wilber really turned the throttle, he could tell he had the power and speed to win. The course was really tough. Big jumps, lots of corners and real tight turning. He knew he would really have to race his best if he was to win. All three were happy they had not drunk any beer or stayed up late. Saturday night, it was 12:30 Alfred was wondering when his race would come up. He didn’t have to wait long, the starter called the numbers out, Alfred got in line, the flag dropped (they were still using flags in the early 1970’s) Alfred let most riders pass him but he knew he had to place in top 3 to make the A-Main. So last lap he turned the throttle up, the old J.D. was fast, as fast as any other bike out there and just maybe the fastest of any. He waited for his race to come up he had made the Amain he had placed third, he got in line. Old Wilber and Albert were at the starting line, to watch Alfred take off. The flag dropped, all 1 8 riders took off 20 laps, the A-Main got underway. Alfred was in about 6.1 place 1 lap, he was happy, he had passed a lot of riders but he had 1 9 laps to go so he just stayed close to the riders up front letting some bikes pass him on the corners. On the long straightaway he would turn the throttle up, that ID was fast. He was sure of himself. Ten laps passed, he had stayed up front was in 8th place Wilber was on the side lines telling him what place he was in and waving him on. Nine laps went by, he knew he had to start passing so on the straightaway he cranked the throttle open. He passed some like they were standing still, 2 laps to go he was in place; he just smiled and said now I’ll show these young riders how a 50 year old rider can fly on a 44 year old bike. He passed 2 riders at once two ahead, 1-long last straightaway to go then the finish line. Old Alfred opened that throttle he flew by both riders in the corner, he took that corner like he was 16 years old he was smiling as he crossed the finish line He had passed the last two riders so fast he was a good 50’ ahead when the flag came out. He had won and he was really happy after the race all the riders came over said how an old farm boy on an old 44 year old bike can go so fast. He just smiled and said watch my buddy on the old side valve side car, he’ll really show you how a 50 year can ride. Alfred enjoyed showing the riders his special built J.D. This was one special bike it looked like it would not make one lap until you looked the bike over really good. It had the latest front fork, big dual brakes; the rear was of the latest mono-shock design. The engine was a beautiful piece of art all polished alloy. Those large cylinders and heads really stood out, Alfred was a proud owner indeed. Many races went by, all of a sudden the announcer said all sidecars in the AMain, get on the starting line now. Twenty five laps of really exciting racing. All those specials lined up, their Monkeys holding onto the sidecar. Everyone wanting to show their best and win that big prize $5,000 cash. No taxes coming out of this prize.

The flag came out the starter dropped the flag. All bikes shot forward, all wanting to get to the corner 1. Wilber knew he had 25 laps, his bike was fast, and he could pass many riders at will. It was about 1 mile around the track, many turns, two big jumps, and two good straight-aways. This is what Wilber liked best, a place to pass. This track was built for speed and those two big jumps were good and wide so a rider could pass even on the jump. After the jumps you went into a curve not sharp, like so many tracks are. You could still come off the jump and go into the corner fast. Wilber really liked this track. His bike seemed to like it. Old Albert was hanging onto the sidecar for dear life. Always moving with the bike, he was a good Monkey, he and Wilber made a good team. Four laps went by those English bikers were fast and the riders were good. They had been riding sidecars for awhile, you could tell these riders knew what they had to do to win. Everyone wanted that 1 place and the $5,000. Wilber came up on this one bike he knew was fast and the rider was super good. They had just come out of a curve over the big jump now a long straightaway. Both riders going wide open they both went into the corner wide open. Albert hanging on for dear life, sliding from one side to the other he was really good. He helped Wilber keep all the wheels on the ground. The next corner came up fast, now there were 4 riders going into the corner one really fast bike slid off the track taking another bike with him. The rider was on Wilber’s right side much too close as they went over a jump, the other bike hit Wilber’s side car both bikes flipped over, riders laying on the ground, a flag man came over to flag the coming riders off to the right. Wilber got up, Albert was already up, they said nothing, they picked the side car up got it right sided and got on old, Wilber gave that starter pedal one big fanner kick. It came to life. Before even looking for Albert he rode off full throttle, they were I lap behind, but still had 20 laps to go and pass other bikes Wilber rode that old Harley like crazy. Every spectator was cheering him on. Old Alfred was near by, he had seen the accident Wilber could see him cheering him on. Wilber rode that old side value like no other rider could. He started passing even in the corners. He came over a big jump filly air borne, his bike was a good 6-7 feet in the air. Old Elbert was hanging on for dear life. Soon he had made up the lost lap. He just kept the throttle open. Riding like no farmer ever could, it was now 12 laps to go. Alfred was on the side with his big marker board keeping Wilber informed of what place he was in. The board said 11 laps you’re in 8th place. All those Englishmen were really good riders and they had fast modern bikes. Wilber however did not doubt for a second he could not catch up and pass all the bikes. He wanted 1 place and the $5,000 prize money. Wilber got along side this one bike he just could not pass him. He was a Chec riding a special built JAWA Twin. After the race was over he checked to see how large the engine was, it was the largest vertical twin he had ever heard of 1,000cc about 64 cubes. It had a longer stroke that the bore. This gave him that extra power he needed. His Monkey had been riding sidecars for 18 years so he really knew how to control the sidecar. I sold JAWA motorcycles from 58 to late 70’s the largest bike they built then was a 500cc twin, it was a heavy road bike I like to have one, I just bought a bike I always wanted, 1982 Honda 6 cylinder with bags and Fairings, a beautiful bike, looks and runs like new. Only it sits a little high and is heavy 635 lbs. At 77 years old my legs are getting weak. Other wise I’m in good shape. I love my KAW 800cc twin its only 500 lbs. and that’s just perfect. My Harley Road King is getting heavy for me. However, it’s so nice to ride once you’re under way it’s still one of the best road bikes made. It will cruise all day at 85 M.P.H. and still get good gas mileages. Now back to the race. I found out after the race the JAWA rider had built this special JAWA, it had taken him 2 years to build. Wilber and him really took to each other. They talked for hours over building big engines and bikes.

Alfred card came out as Wilber flew by he was now in 6th place but he was having a hard time trying to get by the fast JAWA. He thought to himself, I have got to pull something special off in order to get by the JAWA. The high jump was coming up. He kept the throttle near wide open. He was really riding over his head as he came over the jump it was a good 5-6 feet in the air. He pulled the car to his left as far as he could go, he was along side the JAWA he kept the throttle wide open. There was no more. This wasn’t his bike pulled ahead of the JAWA by only 2-3 feet but that’s was all he needed to keep the throttle open going over the smaller jump he was in the air, the crowd went wild watching Wilber this was probably the best race of the day. The sign came out Alfred put up. 4 laps to go you’re in 4th place. He had just passed the fast JAWA there was a big Honda up a head two 3cyl Triumphs there riders had raced all over Europe and England they really were good. How in the world was an old farm boy from South Dakota going to get by these riders. His old side valve was getting tired. He could hear the engine knocking. He said please Lord, give me 3 more laps. Please Harley don’t blow up. Wilber just held that throttle open riding like it was for a million dollars not $5,000. Two laps to go he was still in place. The big jump coming up he worked his way to the left, he signaled to Albert to move to the left, he went over the jump 5-6 feet in the air side car in the air. He kept the side car wheel in the air; he was going as fast as he could go. He passed the Honda, then passed one big 3 cycle Tn one rider to go. One lap left, if he could only pass the remaining Triumph. The long straight away was coming up; then one jump 150 feet of straightaway, then the checkered flag. Wilber said to his old Harley, please don’t blow up now. The crowd was building up; every one could see this was a race they would remember for years. The announcer was giving the crowd a good run down on the race. You could tell he had been doing this for years. I tried announcing at the old Jolly Rodgers Track in 1960’s and 70’s I had a lot of fun doing this. The old Jolly’s Track will be remembered for many years. Almost every day I will talk to someone who raced there or their kids did. The track was well known for 60 years. Wilber got along side the big Triumph, the rider glazed over at Wilber, the jump was coming up. Two riders right on his tail. Wilber flew over the jump so high one could drive a car under him; He kept the side car wheel off the ground, Old Albert hanging on for dear life. He held the throttle wide open. The old Harley had shot ahead of the last big Triumph, but all three riders were right behind. He kept to the left, riding right on the line. No one was going to pass him on the left. The crowd was now going mad. The finish line was 100 feet away. Wilber could bear the engine making a funny noise. But that did not matter now. He would do almost anything to finish this race and win. Even knowing he would have to rebuild the engine which could take 2-3 days and the cost of parts $2-3,000. The checkered flag was out. Wilber could see the flag; it looked like it was almost in his face. He crossed the finish line on two wheels and kept it up for another 100 feet. He then pulled off the track. He rode the bike around to the finish line, the big crowd was waiting. He shut the engine off. Albert got out of the sidecar; Wilber slid off the Harley, The press was there, flashes from all the cameras going off; the crowd going crazy trying to get close to him. He had finished 1 the old JAWA came in 2nd, the two big Triumphs right behind the JAWA, this was probably the closest race all day, and most likely the fastest even for a sidecar. The announcer said he had just witnessed the fastest lap ever set on this track by a sidecar, just under 57 seconds, it’s a mile track. Wilber would have to have been going over 100 M.P.H. on the strait a ways. The old record was set 3 years ago by a rider from Italy riding a big-big Ducati. It was reported the Ducati was 1400cc, it put out over 21OHP it clocked over 190 M.P.H. this the rider did at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The rider had told other riders he had over $150,000 tied up in the Ducati. The sad part is someone had stolen the bike at a big race. By the time the police found it, the thief was long gone, but he didn’t really get far away. He had made it close to Ogden where the police found the bike. The rider had passed a car on a two lane highway; he hit a big Kenworth Truck head on. The guy died, the bike blew up. It burned to where one could hardly tell it had been a motorcycle. The police said the boy was only 17 years old. He had come from a broken home, one of his pals had said the kid had nothing to loose, only his life. The poor owner of the Ducati lost it all, they reported after he seen the burned cycle he just walked away, no one ever heard from him again. Just maybe someday he’ll show up somewhere. Anyone that could build a bike like his deserves a 2nd chance. Wilber collected his $5,000 and a big trophy, he was the most popular rider at the races. Everyone started packing up, putting their bikes in pickups and trailers. It was 8:00, Wilber had talked it over with Albert and Alfred. They decided to spend the night at the track, get up early and drive home Monday. They were all just too tired out to start home this late at night. There was some partying going on but for the most, everyone wanted to go home, all looking forward to next year. Wilber and pals got home 4:30 Monday. He at once tore into the Harley, he got the engine out, tore it down that night, and he checked everything. Only thing he had broken 2 rings on the rear piston. The rest of the engine looked new. He had really built a good engine. He was excited he had won the big one. His name and picture would be in all the motorcycle magazines, also Alfred who had won his race, but the sidecar race was what everyone was talking about. Wilber, Alfred, Albert would be talking of this race for years to come. Will they ever race again, who knows? Ruthie and Evelyn were at Wilber’s home waiting for the men. They were happy to see all three and when they seen the big checks and trophies they were all smiles.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Clarence and I Go To France

Clarence and I Go To France

It was a long time ago. As I look back now it almost seemed like it never happened. But it did and I will try to tell you of this great event. You must remember I’m now 77 years old as I write this and the dates and events may not be 100% correct, but I will try to tell it the best I can. I felt I must tell this as I have never told anyone before.

It was in 1944, I was in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific. I had been a coxswar on a L.C.M. that stands for Landing Craft. It’s a 50 foot long all steel landing craft, has two gray Marine Diesel engines. We have 2-50mm guns on board. It has large ramps on the front when you get to the beach you let the ramp down. All 50 men got out as fast as one can. I pull the ramp up fast, back away from the beach as fast as I can, the 2 machine gunners are keeping busy all the time firing on shore, or whatever they can to get us off the beach and back to our troop ship. We repeat this as often as we can there is no 8-hour shift, you go back and forth as long as the landing takes or you are knocked out of the water. The L.C.M. will also hold 1 jeep and 20 men or a small tank and some men. After making lOOs of landings, this was a piece of cake for my old buddy Clarence and I. The Navy said, old Clarence and I were some of the best coxswains they had in the South Pacific.

One day Clarence and I were on shore on an island shooting the bull with some Sea Bees and drinking some of the hot beer. We often took the Sea Bee ashore on one of the first waves. We worked them a lot. Have to explain to you what a Sea Bee is if you don’t know. A Navy Officer, a Lt. Commander came over to us sat down and drank a beer. I looked at him, I said nothing, he soon spoke. He said I know all about you two, you’re some of our best coxswains. He said I’ll talk to you and Clarence in private, the three of us walked over to an old log and sat down. The Officer got right to the point. He said the Navy has a Special Mission they would like you to do. He explained what it was. They needed us to make a Special Landing in France. It was top secret and told us we could not talk of this mission for at least 50 years. We were to take 10 men in each craft and sweep. The Officer said that is all I can tell you now, what do you say? I looked at old Clarence and said let’s do it old buddy. He said, sure why not. France seemed a long way off and it was. The Officer got everything ready, in face he already had arranged everything. In 2 days, we left by plane and flew from island to island.

Not like it is today, a few years ago Donna and I flew nonstop to Australia from Los Angeles. We first flew from Seattle to L.A., this was about an 18-20 hour day. I can still remember it and would not want to repeat it at any age. I would like to go to Australia again, but most likely never will. After a few days, we arrived in England where we spend 1 day. The Navy had everything ready for us. The next day we left aboard a L.T.D. with our L. C. M’s. The L.T.D. was somewhere off France, where I don’t know. Early the next day at 4 o’clock, we were all ready to hit the beach. Our L.C.M.s, there were 4 L.C.M.s, were all loaded, we were again told to say nothing now or for 50 years. The L.T.D. got within 12 to 1 5 miles of shore. I was given our final orders. We were told, get to shore fast, unload and get back fast. I was told to lead the pack, Clarence was to follow me. The water was real rough, the waves would hit the ramp and water would shoot right back to me, covering the men in the hole. All the men looked real scared, some would look back at me, the coxswain stands in a 3×3 tower on the back of the craft. I have a good view of the sea and whatever is up front. I had been through this hundreds of times so I was not scared. We were at sea for about 50 minutes. I could barely see the shore, it was still dark out, just starting to get light and the tide was coming in. I picked out a spot I thought would make a good landing. At least it was the best I could see. I gave the men in the hold of the craft the signal, this is it, be ready. I hit the beach, water coming over us all the time, I dropped the ramp, the men and the jeep were off faster than you can say Jack Robinson. The jeep had a little trouble but the men helped it ashore. I could see old Clarence about 30-40 feet off to my right. He had dropped his load too. We both pulled our ramps up and backed up fast as we could. We were to get back to the ship fast. We were about 200 feet off shore and shells stared going off all around us. I looked over toward Clarence, I could see he had taken a direct hit. I got as close to him as I could, shells were going off all around us. I picked Clarence up out of the water, his craft sank in seconds. I got maybe 20 feet away and my craft took a hit right in the center. The whole front of the craft blew off and sank. My craft took another hit and started going down fast. In what seemed like a minute, a boat picked us both up. We didn’t know it was Germans until we noticed their uniforms, they said nothing and neither did we. The boat headed towards shore about 50 feet from shore their boat hit what we thought was a mine. The explosion blew us all into the water, somehow, Clarence and I got to shore. We both lay in the sand for what seemed like hours, but I’m sure it was minutes. We stood up and started to walk away fast. We looked back and could see no one anywhere in sight. I thought to myself, could everyone else have been killed. We moved ashore fast and began walking as fast as we could, when all of a sudden there were German soldiers all over us. We gave up fast! We thought to ourselves, no use to die now. They put us into a truck and took us about an hour drive away, I figured 40 to 50 miles at the most. They drove into a camp, we became P.0.Ws there. I thought to myself, this may be our home until the war ends or they kill us, but I figured if they wanted to kill us, they could have done that when they first saw us. The Germans fed us, the meal was mostly bread and sausage with few potatoes.

In a few days the Germans came and took us and about 20 to 30 others away. It must have been an hour or two then they put us aboard a ship. They told us no talking when they first picked us up or they will shoot the first one talking or all of us. So, we said nothing. The ship sailed the next day. We were all put into a hold of the ship and they told us nothing. We all wondered where they were taking us and what for. Why not just kill us. We were out to sea for hours and the sea was really rough. After being at sea for 3 or 4 days we could see through a porthole in the ship, shore ahead. We got within 2 or 3 miles of shore. All of a sudden, two big Navy ships came out from what seemed like nowhere. Shells were going off all around us, our ship took a direct hit. The German guard came and let us out fast. I could see the Captain was trying to get the ship as close to shore as possible. Our ship took two more direct hits, the ship started going down fast, we had on life jackets. The Germans had given us these when we first went aboard. It had been real cold on the ship so we figured it would be real cold out and the water would be freezing. We knew we would only last a few minutes in that cold water. The ship went down and there was a piece of ship floating on the water. Clarence and I swam over to the big piece of the ship and we climbed onto it. We could see land maybe one-quarter mile away and the tide was going in, we were really lucky. The big piece of the ship we were on hit the beach. We got off as fast as we could and ran as fast as possible away from the beach. We got about one half mile away and sat down for a few minutes, we were cold and freezing. All of a sudden, old Clarence said Free again. We started walking, went a few mile on an old road, a wagon came pulled by an old horse an old man was in the wagon. The man asked us if we wanted a ride. He spoke like he was Norwegian. I talked to him he said very little. When we got to his old farm, we went inside his house. He gave us some hot coffee and some old bread which we really loved as we were hungry and cold. He could speak some English real broken but we could make it out. We asked him where we were. He said you are in Norway. He said there are Germans everywhere. He told us we must hide out, until he can figure out what to do with us. He had worked with the underground. He let us sleep in his barn in the hay mound. This was a lot better than sleeping outside. I had slept in hay mounds as a kid in old South Dakota. He told us food has been real hard to get. He told us the Germans took most of the food the farmers raised, and they took most of their cattle and hogs. The farmer’s wife killed a chicken and cooked it with some potatoes and black bread. It was real good. She said nothing to us. This meal was the best we’d had in long time. The old man’s name was Lass, he was a very nice man. He was always singing in Norwegian. I could catch a few words and could tell they were Christian songs. One day I started singing along with him which he really liked. In broken English he told me you good Christian boy, God has taken good care of you. He said don’t ever forget God, he’s the only hope we have. He told us I must get you out of Norway before the Germans find us and kill all of us.

The next day he went to the village. Asked us how we would like to be Norwegian fishermen. One night he took us to an old fishing boat and we met the captain. He had helped men get out of the country before. Lars was such a nice man, he liked old Clarence and I. He told us get on the ship, the captain will try getting you out of Norway. Before he left, he gave both of us big bear hugs. He slipped off the ship and was out of sight before we could say anything. The captain had given us some real old fishermen clothes. Old Clarence said, see I fisherman. I said sure Clarence you Fisherman about like me. We both don’t know a Salmon from a Cod-Fish. Early the next day in the morning the ship pulled out to sea. The captain had told us if Germans come aboard don’t say anything, act real dumb. I told Clarence that’s not hard to do. We had been working a few days real hard work but we loved it. During the night the weather really turned bad, the sea was real wild. Waves were coming over the bow of the ship. We were all really scared, I could see the captain was worried. We were thinking we were free again, but for how long. Almost from nowhere a big wave came up. The captain was really scared, he told all of us this may be it. This ship cannot take much more, it will break up soon. The waves got bigger and bigger it seemed like we were 100-200 feet above on top of the waves. The big wave took our ship and landed us 600-700 feet on beach. The ship settled down in the sand. The ship seemed like it was in good condition. No one aboard was hurt. How they would get the ship out to sea again would be a big job but knowing the Norwegians, they’d find a way.

We walked to a village about a mile or two away, the Captain again said, say nothing. He talked to some men who worked in the underground. Told us he’d try to get us out. He got us a job on an old ferry that was going to Denmark. We both looked like old fishermen. We went ashore and got lost in the crowd. We thought to ourselves free again, but for how long. We made our way to France. There were German soldiers all over the place. We found some French underground men and told them we like to get out of here. Maybe we could get to some U.S. Army base. We were thinking of all kinds of ways to get back to the U.S., the underground kept us hidden for couple of weeks. We could stand it no longer. Clarence said let’s go, I said where to, he said anywhere. So we walked away, we just wanted to get to some U. S. base and tell our story and get back to the South Pacific. We were walking along on an old narrow road. We saw an old German jeep on the side of the road. We went over to it, no one was around. We got in the jeep, it wouldn’t start and I stuck a long stick down inside the tank, pulled it out and there was lots of gas. We looked at the engine. I found a gas line, it had come off the carburetor. I put it back on, took a piece of wire made a clamp, and put this on the line. I tried starting the jeep it ran beautiful, we took off, hoping all the time we were going south. We had heard the Americans were in Southern France. We drove on old roads, we saw a man on the side of the road, he looked like he wanted a ride. We said what the heck, who would like to be stuck out here. We gave him a ride he was a young Frenchman who told us in broken English he wanted to get to Southern France, said there may be U. S. soldiers there. We had been driving all day and the jeep sounded like it was running out of gas. It stopped. We all got out and started walking.

Alongside the road was an old railroad track. It didn’t look like it had been in use for a long time. We knew the track must go to some town so we started walking along the tracks, before we knew it an old train was coming from behind us. It was going real slow, so we waited on the side of the track. Until the last flat car came by, then we all jumped aboard. We were all tired, so we he down and fell asleep, I felt real warm. I woke up and looked around it was getting light out. We had slept thru the night. We we’re all hungry, but had no food or water. We noticed it was really warm out, we must be in the south. We stayed on the train and it soon came to a town. We looked ahead we could see soldiers everywhere, so we hopped off and started walking toward the town.

We passed an old house stopped and knock on the door. An old lady came to the door. We said we were U.S. Navy and we were hungry. She said no food. But she did make us some mush. What was in it we didn’t know, but boy did it taste good. We were so hungry we could of ate a horse. We thanked the old lady and left. We slipped into town there were people everywhere and soldiers everywhere. We tried to talk to some of the soldiers but they could not speak English. I said to Clarence, “Where are the Germans”, what’s up? We walked around free as birds. Soon we heard a soldier say war over. We checked around and the best we could tell the war was over, it was May.

We walked away, Clarence said let’s head out. I said but to where. We started walking on an old road, soon a jeep came along and we waved it down, asked for a ride to the next town. To our surprise, the driver was a U.S. Army soldier. We told him our story while driving along, I don’t think he believed us though. But he took us to his Captain’s office, it was in a tent. The Captain looked us over, said boy you guys are a sorry mess. We told him our story, the Captain said he had been in the Army 4 years and told us he had heard many stories, but ours was the best he had ever heard. When the Captain walked, he walked with a bad limp. I could tell he had been thru hell. I asked the Captain to call the Navy and told him the name of the Commander to speak with. I also said we were real hungry and had not had a shower for weeks. He said I could tell and smell that. He ordered a soldier to take us to the mess hall and said get some clothes for them. We ate like hungry horses took a shower, put the Army clothes on, they didn’tfit good, but we said no problem. They told us where we could sleep. We stayed a few days, then the Captain said I got word from the Navy, the Commander had told the Captain to get us back to the south Pacific, fastest way possible, he had another job for us. We thought to ourselves, what, have they any idea what we have gone through! Next day the Army told us the U.S. Navy Shore Patrol were coming for us. We wondered why the Shore Patrol. The Patrol came and took us away. First we thanked the wonderful Major, then off we went. One of the 1St things an Officer said was, you boys are out of uniform. Clarence said really we both tried to tell them our story. I don’t think they believed a word. They took us to a big Navy ship.

We were questioned by at least five officers. Finally, one officer came and told us they had contacted our officer in the South Pacific. He assured them the story was true. The navy said you boys are going back to the South Pacific. They have a new mission for you. Clarence said to me, what the hell do they expect of us. In two days the Navy had us on a plane headed for the Pacific, we knew this would be a long tiring trip. We were on four different panes before we got back to our outfit. We were put aboard a L.T.D. they gave us some uniforms. We felt Navy again. After one day the officer who had sent us to France came and seen us. He had checked our story, said we did a wonderful job. The mission we had been on was a complete success. You will be getting medals for that assignment. We said to each other, just give us the bonus money and leave in Hawaii. We got neither. The officer said we have a new assignment for you in 2-3 day you will be going to Japan. The war was still on it did not end until Sept. This was end of June. The navy said you boys do this and you’ll get that leave in Hawaii. The officer said no, leave now. He would only tell us a few details but it was very important we make this landing. The captain cam and told us you do this and if you come back alive you’ll get big bonus and three weeks leave. Finally Clarence said old man let’s do this last one Clarence called me old man at times. We were glad to be back in the south pacific, nice and hot. We would soon have our new LCMs. The navy gave us three days rest. Feed us really good I thought to myself feed us good now. It could be our last meal.

This next story will have to wait. We thought we had been thru hell in France, Norway and elsewhere. But little did we know the hell we had waiting for us.

“YESTERDAY IS HISTORY
TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY
TODAY IS A GIFT, THE PRESENT”

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Wilber’s Telescope

Wilber’s Telescope

This has got to be the most powerful telescope ever made. Wilber has been working on this on and off for over twenty years. Ever since he bought his first computer he has done more in one day then he could have done in twenty years. The computer is truly a lifesaver.

This telescope is so far advanced, you can see millions of light years away. One can see other planets real clear, just like watching TV on a large screen, most planets seem to be dead, at least the side that one can see. You can see planets in other galaxies real close. There is one planet that Wilber told me about, so I keep going back to it. Wilber named this planet Earth number two. I could see people walking on the streets, real ultra modem cars and many other forms of transportation. I found an airport, all the planes looked very much like flying saucers seen on earth, they moved through the air super fast. The people and animals looked just like they do on earth. I saw horses, cows, dogs and cats on farms just like on earth. Either they copied us or we copied them. I saw beautiful lakes, mountains, trees, etc. one would think you were looking at earth. I saw no deserts, but they could be on the other -side of the planet or maybe the whole planet is beautiful. Wilber told me he realizes that it is impossible for a spaceship to travel from earth to this planet, it would take thousands of light years to travel there.

As I looked at the cars there, I could see no exhaust fumes of any kind. I assumed that it ran on some other form of power. I’m sure that 100 years from now our cars will be powered by some other form, other than a gas engine. Wilber has only found any kind of life on this one planet, but then there are millions, so it is impossible to really know. Wilber believes that until we learn to go from one dimension to another, travel between planets now is impossible. He says, if only he could live another 25- 30 years he could find a way or if the Great Nikola Tesla could have lived fifty more years this old planet would be completely different. Tesla was the greatest Engineer and inventor this Old World has ever had. Those of you, who have not heard of Tesla, type Nikola Tesla on your computer and you will get a wonderful history of him. You know it’s strange all the years I spent in school I never remember hearing of Tesla, WHY? Are most schools just interested in teaching you to read and write and play sports, oh we all love sports, buthow many of us can really make a living in them? It seems to me that other than reading and writing, everything else I had to learn on my own.

When Jesus was on Earth he traveled from one place to another in no time at all. When Moses and Elijah were on Mt. Sinai with Jesus how did they get from heaven to Earth, then go back in seconds. Wilber and I both believe that they moved from one dimension to another. They knew the secret, someday we also will. We believe Heaven is really just next door. I have yet to have anyone tell me where it is. I believe there is a heaven, but where is it? Wilber believes that if he could live another thirty- forty more years, he could find the answers. If Nikola Tesla could have lived another twenty-five to Thirty years he would have found out how to do this and so much more.

Let’s go back to Wilber’s telescope. Not only can one see millions of light years away, Wilber has made this scope so one can see hundreds of years into the future, you can adjust the scope to see your future when you will leave this old world. Both Wilber and I believe this is not what we want. We will let God keep this a secret from us. With this scope you can see what earth will be like 100 years from now. I’ve looked and seen Seattle 100 years from now. Man how beautiful it looked. The advancement in the way we travel was most interesting. Science had found a way for man to live to be 120 and older, there seemed to be no illness anywhere. I looked for hospitals and saw none, only small clinics.

When I looked for Seattle, I looked for the waterfront, it was so beautiful, and it looked like one big park. I wonder when the city got rid of the vie* dock, cause it was gone. I could see the football stadium it looked beautiful. When you build something good it will last hundreds of years. Look at some of the old buildings and bridges back on the East Coast, hundreds of years old and still standing. I looked for the baseball stadium and found it. All the old buildings on First Avenue by the old ballpark were gone. I looked for the train depots and they were still there. I see 15 it is still there, but above it was the most beautiful monorail. The monorail seamed to go all over the Puget Sound. I could see at the south end of Seattle there was a long tunnel going north under city, it seamed to come out on aurora Ave. north. If only I could be in a helicopter, one could really see well. One of the nicest things I saw was the space needle it looked as beautiful as ever. I then looked at Lake Washington, 1-90 was till there, a monorail ran along sideit, and it was going fast. I lookednorth and saw 520 it also had a monorail along side it. I was really tired, I had to quit for the day. I get tired when I am on any computer also. I waited two days and then looked again, it was hard at first trying to find where I left off. I saw Renton, so I looked at Lake Washington and found 405. Boy, was it nice and wide a monorail ran on both sides the Renton airport was still there. Gone were the Boeing buildings. There were beautiful houses there, it looked like a large gated community, really beautiful. Renton also was really beautiful. I saw one monorail come from Southcenter to Renton then south east on 169th I followed it all the way to Maple Valley. I saw our home on 244th it looked almost the same the yard, barn, and still horses in the pastier and yes I see a beautiful dog and two cats out by the barn. I then followed the monorail, it went form Maple Valley to four corners then Black Diamond and then all the way to Enumclaw then along side the highway to Auburn, Kent back to Renton Southcenter and back to Seattle. I could actually watch the train it moved along fast, no wonder the freeways were not over crowded. I then went back to Enumclaw and followed the rail alongside 4 10 only up in the air. It went to Lake Tapps, I tried to find my son Russ’ house, I just could not find it. From Lake Tapps the rail went all the way to Tacoma I again had to rest, I was really tired. I waited for three days till I looked again. Wilber said, “good friend you told me you could only stay a total often days”. I looked again and saw the rail went from Tacoma to Fort Lewis then to Olympia. From Tacoma it also went north to Fife, then to Federal Way only it now ran above old 99. From Federal way it went to the SeaTac airport. I noticed the airport now had four runways. The airplanes looked really advanced almost like flying saucers from the airport the rail went back to Seattle Wilber told me I could look one more day then he just had to get back to work on the scope. He told me if he could only live another five to ten years he could find a way to look into the scope and go back in time. One could go back in history and see everything, seems impossible but so does this scope. Wilber thinks his brain power is wearing out, at least he is really tired. He told me one night while we were just sitting around talking of old times, he said I think I will be going home to be with our lord soon. I tired to tell him that he was just overly tired and to rest for a couple weeks. But knowing Wilber one or two days is all that he would rest. He said he always wanted to see heaven, see if it is as beautiful as the bible says. He said Tom, I am readyto go, I have had a wonderful life here on earth. He said, first I got to get the work on the scope. I want to find a way to get back to our past. I pray he will find a way soon. I looked one last time into the scope, I found Lake Washington, the rail ran from 520 to Bellevue, then headed East to Monroe, then southeast to Issaquah and into North Bend it ran along 190 again back to Seattle. The freeways were not crowded. I noticed all the trucks had their own lanes on the freeways. It sure would be nice if I had really been there. I would like to see some of my grandkids, if any are still living, I’m sure some must be. They would have grandkids of their own. There must be a lot of Toms in the Seattle area. It would also be nice to see old South Dakota, Id like to see if there were any Toms back in old Britain. Id like to see Sturgis S.D. see if they still have the rally. Before I forget, all the cars were quite small, about the size of a Ford Taurus. Al the cars were really far out, they seemed to have no exhaust. I’m sure they are powered by a muchadvanced power than the old gas engine. Being interested in motorcycles my whole life and all; I looked and found hundreds of them. They also had no gas fumes, I wanted to get a closer look to see if Harley Davidson was still building bikes, I just could not see that well. I also was very tired, I looked for Tukwila for Russ’ Downtown Harley. I finally found the old building, it was now occupied by a furniture dealer. I wondered what happened to the Harley store, I looked for two hours. I was just exhausted, but I finally found it, it now was off 1-5 only 2-3 miles South. Boy talk about big and beautiful. I told myself ifi could stop in and get some of the coffee and doughnuts. But who would know me. Maybe some of Russ’ great grand kids were running the store. This would be too much to ask for, but it is nice to dream.

I begged Wilber to give me one more day, I wanted to see all of those Big beautiful cities built in the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada. Wilber said, Carmen I just have to get back to work on the scope. It is too bad that I don’t have two. So I thanked my good friend, I said I am tired out, tomorrow I will get on my Harley and leave for Maple Valley. I will see you my good friend next spring, but I will call you before that.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – UFOs

UFOs

Wilber, Alfred and Albert claim they saw their first UFO in the early 1960’s. All three are brilliant men, a little different, but that would depend on whom you compare them with. All are in their 80’s, and in very good health. They have never quit designing and building new products. Some people claim they were hallucinating when they said they saw the U.F.O., since all three had made such powerful beer and white lighting for the last 60 some years and have drank more than their share. Personally I believe them, but you decide.

Back in the early 60’s, it was April and Wilber was out feeding his cattle; it was around 8:30 PM. He had been out working in the fields all day. Wilber grew some of the best oats, wheat, and corn in the U.S. He used much of this to make his powerful beer and white lighting.

As he was walking toward his house, he noticed a big shadow on the ground. He looked around and what he saw was so strange it scared him. He looked at this big round thing about 50’ away and about 50’ off the ground. It was completely silent. After staring at it for what seemed like hours, he turned and ran for his house. He called his good friends Alfred and Albert.

He went back outside and the craft went what appeared to be straight up into the air. It was out of sight in just a few seconds. He again called Alfred and Albert and told them what he saw and asked them to go outside and watch the skies. They hurried outside, not even putting on theirjackets. It was April and the night was still pretty cold. They took their binoculars and sat down on their chairs in their yard. They watched for over an hour and they were getting cold so Alfred went back into the house to get their jackets. When he returned he noticed old Albert lying on the ground. Alfred was real, scared; he feared Albert had a heart attack. He shook him and felt his pulse and in a few minutes Albert sat up. He was white as a ghost. He tried to talk but was still very scared. He said, “I saw it.” Alfred said, “you saw what?” Albert said, “I saw the thing Wilber called us about.” He said it was out by the barn, about 20 feet off the ground and it looked like they were interested in our cattle. After a few minutes they took their powerful flashlights, they had designed and built these flashlights; the bulbs would last for years and the batteries for 20-30 years. When they did need recharging, you just plugged them into a house light socket and in a few minutes they would be fully charged. They shined the light all over the barn and ground. Albert shouted to Alfred, “look over there on the ground.” One of their priced cows lying on the ground. They looked the cow over really good. They noticed it had been cut open. One of the first things they noticed, there wasn’t any blood anywhere. The heart was gone, the kidneys, lungs and many other parts were gone. Alfred said we have to call Wilber, then the sheriff and their good friend Dr. Peterson who was the best veterinary in the hills. In what seemed like hours Wilber got there first, then the sheriff and soon Dr. Peterson arrived. They told their story and showed them the cow. Dr. Peterson checked the cow over really good. He said he had never seen anything like this in all his years of being a vet. He said the cuts were so clean and neat, a knife couldn’t do this. It had to be some kind of lazar. The sheriff called his office and told one of his deputies to get a truck and get out to Alfred’s at once. They loaded the cow into the truck. The sheriff told all three to be extra careful. Keep your yard lights on and keep your guns near by. Maybe even start packing your 45’s again and call us at once if you see any unusual things.

Wilber had listened to the radio and loved the night radio talk hosts. For the last 10 to 12 years he had been listening to Art Bell, who is the best night talk show host in the world and he is heard all over the world. I myself have been listening to Art Bell for many years. On one of Art’s shows he had a guest who told of all the cattle that were mutilated in parts of Colorado and New Mexico and the states government had been investigating for many years. They had no answer to what was going on. It seemed like people would see U.F.O.’s and black helicopters before the cattle mutilating. But who really knows.

Most people figured the government really knew what was going on, like the craft that crashed near Roswell, NM in 1947. But our government just will not tell us the truth. Some claim people could not cope with it. Many smart people believe that U.F.O.’s have been visiting planet earth for thousands of years. Even in our Holy Bible in the Book of Ezekiel it tells of strange crafts being seen near the river Chebar. Please take some time, dust that old Bible off and read the book of Ezekiel. The Bible tells us how to live and if we all would believe in it and do as it says, what a different world this would be. The Bible was written for us to read.

After the deputy took the cow away, days and months went by and no word about the cow. The government had shut this one up. There were no further sightings reported. Then one day, old Albert called the sheriff and asked about his cow and if whoever had the cow would like to be paid for the cow. Old sheriff Jack Taylor said what cow. He had been ordered to cover this story up. The government claimed Wilber, Alfred, and Albert were just some old drunks who had made up the whole story.

Months went by and no one said anything about U.F.O.’s or the cow.

It was the 3rd of July. Wilber, Alfred and Albert were planning on going to town on the 4th as the tavern always put on big fireworks and had a big party. People had been coming to this big event for years. On the 3rd of July Wilber was coming from the barn after doing all the chores. He felt like something was going to happen, a strange feeling came over him. He turned and looked back at the barn. He almost fainted at what he was seeing. It looked like the same craft he had seen in April. He had his powerful flashlight and he was packing his 45. The craft came toward him and it made no sound. It hovered about 15 feet off the ground. It got within 15 to 20 feet of him. He could see it very clear. It had what seemed like portholes all around and it was about 100 feet across and maybe 8-10 feet high. It had powerful lights on and one seemed like a spotlight. The light came right on Wilber. He was scared to death. He called for his dogs, they were always with him, but they had taken off for the hills.

Wilber shouted out to the craft, what do you want? Who are you? The craft moved closer toward him. He pulled his 45 and emptied it at the craft. The bullets seemed to just bounce off the craft. Old Wilber was really scared. He ran into his house. He grabbed his deer rifle off the wall. It was always loaded. He stepped out the back door of his house, two men, at least they looked like men, grabbed him. They were very powerful. Old Wilber said, “What do you want with me? You can take all my cattle, my sheep, my horse, but please don’t take old Jumper. They said nothing and they took him over to the craft, which now was hovering about one foot off the ground. What seemed like a door opening, they carried Wilber into the craft. He was really scared. But a funny feeling came over him. He no longer was scared. A voice came from a box, the voice said, “do not be afraid Wilber, we will not harm you. We would like to be your friends. We are here on your planet to study you humans. We need some things from you, like the organs we took from your cow. We are running experiments, we will need more animal parts, but will not take anymore from you.”

Wilber was now completely relaxed. They let him look the craft over. He noticed four more aliens none spoke directly to him. When he asked a question, a voice would come from a box. These could pass as humans, but they all wore uniforms. There were no buttons or metals on their uniforms. By this time the craft had lifted off, it was high in the sky. Wilber looked out one porthole. He could see Alfred and Albert’s farm. The lights were on. Wilber said to the aliens, “Lets drop down and see my friends.” The voice from the box said, “oh, no problem.” The craft scooped down into the back yard. It hovered about one foot off the ground, it made no sounds and the lights must have surprised Alfred and Albert. They came out of their house when they saw the craft and so close by, they almost fainted. A voice came from the craft. It said, “this is Wilber do not be afraid.” A door opened and Wilber stepped out. An alien also stepped out of the craft, a voice from the craft said, “We came as your friends. Please do no be afraid.”

Alfred and Albert were so happy to see Wilber; they gave him a big bear hug and almost broke his ribs. The alien escorted Alfred and Wilber into the craft. The door to the craft shut. It lifted off and was high in the sky before you could snap your fingers. The craft flew all over the black hills. Wilber asked them to fly over the small town. The alien said, “no problem.” The town looked really small from high in the sky. Alfred asked the aliens if we could land out in front of the tavern. The sheriff’s car was out in front. The town was full of people who came to see the big fireworks. All of the people were in for a big surprise when they saw the alien craft and saw the aliens, Wilber, Alfred and Albert coming out of the craft. The sheriff almost fainted. The craft hovered about one foot off the ground. The alien told Wilber, Alfred and Albert to stay only five minutes and we will take you all back to your farms. All three greeted the sheriff and all their friends. Most of the people looked like they had seen a ghost. They just couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

The alien greeted the people and a voice from the craft said, “We are your friends, we have been coming to your planet for thousands of years. Please do not be afraid of us. We will never harm you. We are peaceful people. But we must worn you, there are people in outer space from some planets that are not friendly. But most of the people that live on other planets are friendly. They are not like people from earth. You have been fighting and killing since Adam and Eve.”

The alien said, “You should read the Book of Ezekiel. Read chapters one, verse five. Better yet, read the entire book. And while you are at it, dust that old Bible and read it. Our God and your God has left you very good instructions on how to live and in live in peace. The alien said, “If you would believe in the Ten Commandments, you would have no wars, no killings. You could learn to live in peace. On our planet, we all live in peace. When you earth people learn to live in peace without wars, we will come back and tell you the true story of the universe.”

All the aliens went back into the craft. Wilber, Alfred and Albert entered as instructed. The craft lifted off and was high in the sky in seconds. They first took Alfred and Albert back to their farms. They told them good-bye. We pray we can see you again. They then took Wilber to his farm. Before they left, one alien came over to Wilber and gave him a big hug and said good-by my friend. The craft then lifted off and was high in the sky and out of sight in seconds. Wilber went back into his house and went to bed and slept like a baby. He dreamed of living in a peaceful world without any more wars or killings and living in peace. If only this dream would come true.

The End

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Jumper—ARI 411

Jumper—ARI 411

Just a brief history of JUMPER, the Missouri Mule: Jumper’s Army number was ARI 411. He was 2 yrs. old when the Anny bought him, along with hundreds more, from a farmer in Missouri who raised mules. He had a great love for mules. During World War lithe Army needed mules for packing supplies up the mountains. The mountains in Italy are very high, and it is impossible for trucks to haul supplies, but not for the mules.

It was 1942 that ARI 411 first saw action while hauling supplies up the mountains. Two farm boys from the Dakotas trained the mules during their basic training in Texas. They were sent to Italy along with thousands of soldiers. The names of the two who trained Jumper were Alfred and Albert. Both men were wounded and also Jumper at three different times. All three received the Purple Heart and other metals.

When the war ended in 1945, Alfred & Albert, along with their buddies, were sent home on troop ships. They were discharged from the Army. All the mules and thousands of trucks were sold at auctions. The boys paid $10.00 for ARI 411 and bought a good 1 1/2 ton Ford truck. All three went back to their fanns in the Dakotas. Alfred and Albert worked their farms, but the mule did very little; just ate and drank the good beer that Alfred and Albert were famous for.

A few years passed and the Korean War broke out. The Army needed experienced men and mules, so all three were called back into the service. After a brief training they were shipped to Korea. They fought in the high mountains for 2 1/2 years. The mules hauled supplies to the front lines. One day while supplies, the mule ARI 411 stepped on a land mine and his left front leg was blown off. After a few days of rest and medical care they were shipped to Australia for a longer rest. It was on a farm in Australia that they saw so many kangaroos and how good they could jump. The mule watched them carefully and then he tried jumping. He fell down quite a few times. But he would get up and try, try again. In no time he could jump almost as good as the kangaroos. This is where he got the name JUMPER.

The war ended while they were in Australia. Soon then were on a troop ship headed for the United States. After the three were discharged, they went back to their fanns in the Dakotas.

Old Jumper started jumping over everything. Soon Alfred and Albert had him jumping over tractors, cars and much more at State fairs. Jumper became very famous throughout the Mid-West.

I hope to have a book with drawings of all three telling the history of Jumper, Alfred and Albert and many more stories. It will tell how they trained Jumper to jump over 50 ft. Also, they many products Alfred and Albert built and how they raced their old motorcycles at the big State fairs and other places and won race after race. Their big dream was to have Jumper jump over 100 Harleys at the 50th yr. anniversary in Sturgis, So. Dakota during the big rally.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – My Oh My How Times Have Changed

My Oh My How Times Have Changed

How many of you can remember buying a double dip ice cream cone for 5 cents? I can, and I remember when they went to 10 cents, people said no one will buy an ice- cream cone for 10 cents. But they did, just like when a glass of beer was 5 cents back in 1946. It went to 10 cents, people again said that they would not pay 10 cents for a glass of beer, but they did. I will go back sixty years, I could go back farther but how many of you would remember that? I must be getting old. I keep thinking of the old days, the Big Depression. They think unemployment is high today at 6%, in the 1930s it was 25 to 30%, now that is high. We had about seven years of drought from Canada to Texas. In the summer there were big dust storms day after day, no wonder so many people left the mid-west in the thirties. It was almost impossible to make a living.

In 1940 one could buy a new Ford or Chevrolet for under $600, today you pay anywhere from $15,000 to $26,000, of course they are built much better, and have lots of accessories, but if you bought a stripped down model it would still cost you over $15,000. Gas was 60 cents a gallon for many years. What is it today as of 4/20/03, I just filled my Toyota. I paid $1.98 a gallon. It will come down again but not much below $1.50 a gallon. Why have prices gone up so much? Stop and think, every time we have a war, prices go up. Who pays for war? We the working people! Wars, they should outlaw them, but they won’t, too many big corporations get rich during war times, its big business.

We spent lots of time in taverns as kids growing up in old South Dakota. In the winter there and the pool halls and bowling alleys were the only place to get warm. Let’s talk about taverns, the small town of Briton S.Dak. had three taverns and a pool hall, and a bowling alley. Briton today has no taverns, no pool hall, if you want a beer you go to the bowling alley or VFW I asked my older brother, who still lives in Briton, where are all the city drunks, all the big beer drinkers. He said come and I will show you. We went two miles west of town, the cemetery. He started pointing out various graves, there’s old Ted Larson and there’s Hersal Morris, and so on. Most small towns are the same, things are changing fast. Even in the big cities there are very few taverns left. One thing that really, hurts is the strict driving laws. Most people are afraid to drink over I or 2 beers, because if you get pulled over you get your license taken away, a big fine, it is just not worth it. Another reason small towns are dying all over the U.S. is because of the way we farm today. Forty to fifty years ago it took at least 2-3 weeks to do harvest, and it took a lot of help. Today harvest is over in a few days and it only takes a few men. Most farms today are large, the day of the small farm is gone. Also the day of the large farm is on its way out. When I was a kid all the families had 7 to 10 kids, today it’s two or three. So, gone are the large families in the U.S., although in some parts of the U.S. there are large families, mostly single parents who are on welfare or some kind of unemployment. Most responsible families know that they can only afford 2 or 3 kids. The cost to raise and educated them is just too much.

Let’s talk about dance halls, where are they? We came to Seattle in 1951 .We used to look forward to Friday and Saturday nights, so many of us would go to the Brown Derby, White Spot or the Civil tavern, the valley was full of dance halls. We really had a good time in all of them. It was back in the 40’s to 60’s and most of them would close at midnight, after closing we would all head to the big steak houses. Remember the Kansas City Steak House, everyone loved going there. Well, it has been gone many years, just like the dance halls, gone forever. We really had fun dancing to that old country music. I have a good friend who had a country band, Donna and I would go dance to his music every Friday or Saturday night. I asked him where he plays today and he said, I don’t, there is no where to play. The F. F W. Eagles and Elks may put on a dance a few times a year. Only the older people come, and not many of them.

What happened to all those girlie shows? Man we used to have fun in those places. I remember some of the guys in there would yell at the girls, take it all off baby. All that fun gone forever. Things have really changed the last few years.

Have you been to a drive in movie lately? They are all but gone. We really had fun going to the drive-in movies.

Have you been to a drive-in restaurant lately? I can’t find any in Seattle, there could be a few but I can’t find them.

It seems Ike fast food places helped to kill the drive-ins. All that junk food and people eat it every day. What happened to home made french fries? Al the cafes used to make them, not today they take the easy way, they sell frozen fries. Even most of the big restaurants sell frozen fries. There are a few areas in the Seattle area that one n get homemade fries, but they are few and tar between. I’m sure my brother Ruben would Ike some Spud’s fish and chips- They sill make their own fries. you stand in long knee to get into those places. Then there are service stations, have you been to one lately? They are also far and few between. I know of none in Seattle. Sure they all sell gas, but try getting your oil checked, your windshield washed, or your tires checked. All of the stations sell food hot dogs, and all kinds of things, but not service. It looks Ike the old service stations are all gone for good.

Have you noticed any small repair garages? There are few and their days are numbered. The modem cars need We repair. In order to work on newer cars you will need lot of expensive equipment, and all the training that is required to operate it Gone is the day you can just have a Mend fix your car. Very few people even change their own oil anymore, one can no longer just throw the engine oil away. We used to just throw the oil away in the allies- Today you take your used oil to a special place, same with batteries and old tires. Gone is the day you could just take them to the city dump or put them in your alley. I have not seen a new housing development in 40 years that put in ales, so gone too is the alley. Only the old neighborhoods will you find allies. I have a good friend who is in his 80s, he has an alley out behind his house, his house is 100 years old. He has lived in it for 50 years, now he really uses his alley. It is full of old cars, trucks and motorcycles, trailers and old boxes. I don’t know what he would do with all his stuff if he lived in a newer neighborhood, in a newer house. The alley is gone. Churches, boy have they changed in large cities. The small white neighborhood church is all but gone. Its big mega churches n; some have their own schools, which is good. Big huge orchestras, you would think you were in a big nightclub. Talk about singing from books, the words are up on walls now. I listened to many on TV and they are a disgrace to God. Some preach a good sermon but most give you a watered down message, one that will satisfy almost everyone. The small neighborhood church is almost a thing of the past Donna and I are really lucky, we still go to a small old style church, and we still use old small songbooks. Same message they preached 100 years o. How long can this last only God knows.

This old world ischanging fast, hang on oryou could be left behind. ln big cities thesmall stores arealmost gone. Try finding a small hardware store. Lowes, WalMart, Home Depot have all but killed them. It seems kke all businesses have gotten to be big. Even the motorcycle stores, when I started nine in 1955 there were small shops and stores everywhere. Today only the big stores can make it The small repair shop is all but gone. It seem to be the same in auto sales business, the day of the small auto dealer is gone. The other day I ran into an old friend who used to cut my hair. He had a nice small barbershop. I asked him if he was still cutting hair, he said oh no, I had to give that up a few years ago. It got to where I was working three weeks a month just to pay the overhead. One can’t lye on only a weeks pay a month. Seems to be the same for all small businesses. The large corporations are forcing the small man out.

The small shoe repair store, you may And one in a few parts of the city, but their days are numbered. When was the last time you had your shoes resoled? Ever have your heels replaced? I know I haven’t had either in over 40 years. Most shoes today are built to last.

I was in the motorcycle business for 40 years. All through the 1950s and 60’s there were small stores everywhere. Repair shops on almost every block. Look around, have you seen any lately? I really enjoyed being in business those days, I would visit other dealers and tal about the races, trail riding, road runs and we would go out to lunch, that is all history now. When we wanted to buy new motorcycles we would call up the distributor and talk to the owner, unlike today. They are all large corporations, there is just no personal touch. Almost everything today is just Big-Big business. It is the same thing in auto sales. Big-Big dealerships, even the used car business. The day of the small lot is history. Try talking to the owner of any business today, good luck.

I tried to call our TV cable company the other day, what I got was a push I for this push 2 for that 3 for something else, and it went on and on, I never could get anyone to help me, so I hung up. Most people I talk to have the same problem. It seems Ike machines have taken over this whole world. Gone is that personal touch. So what are we going to do? Myself, I am just happy to be retired. I got this next article out of a small newspaper.

Changed by the times. I’m always hearing people say things were better when they were young. We must admit that there is a lot of truth in that thinking. We cannot argue with the pillars of the past. Trends that can be documented and compared with the present are realities to be reckoned with.

Statistical studies of behavioral trends in America over the past three decades give us a good indication of how much things have changed. Since 1950, while the gross domestic product has nearly tripled, violent crime has increased at least 60%, divorces have more than doubled, and the percentage of children in single parent homes has tripled. In 1940 teachers identified the top problems in U.S. schools as talking out of turn, chewing gum, making too much noise and running in the hail. In 1990, teachers hated drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, suicide, rape and assault.

Things certainly have changed, we don’t have to look at the statistics and studies, we can see for ourselves. What then is the reason for such a moral decline? The answer is very simple, the turning away from a Holy God. There are 64 books in the bible, written by Jews and two by Luke the Greek. Total-.66.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Halloween of 1938, The Biggest Prank

Halloween of 1938
The Biggest Prank

It was the fall of 1938. I was 12 years old. It is real cold this time of year, and this was HALLOWEEN. We had been looking forward to this night for at least six or seven months. I had secretly been planning a real trick. Today they call it “Trick or Treat.” But back in the thirties it was a big thing to look forward to. All the kids and big kids would really pull some doozies; tipping out-houses was the number one on their list. I and Virgil had all we needed up on the water tower. We and our friend Victor had been planning this big prank. All three of us had saved as much money as we could all year. Come the 4th of July, fire works was the big thing in those days. We bought all the fire works we had money for. We didn’t fire any off on the 4th; we saved them for the big night coming up on October 31st. We had our masks to hide our identity. We had flash lights, real heavy jackets, gloves; all we needed. So I said “Virgil, let’s do it.”

BrittonOur plan was to climb up the city water tower to the top rail which went all the way around the tower. It also had a ladder which went to the very top. If one was really brave, which most , we would climb to the very top and yell down to our friends below. Some kids thought it totally crazy. We had planned on making a dummy to take to the top of the tower. At the night time we would drop him down on the crowd below. We figured this would really drive the cops and crowd below nuts. Our little town of Britton, 1500 people, had one old cop, my uncle Bill Stadler. Also, a county sheriff and one deputy. The sheriff and deputy had at least 8 towns to watch over. So they were busy most of the time. It was around 9:30 on the eve of the 31st. We climbed to the top of the tower. We had our dummy, eggs, flash lights, water and food; and all we needed. We had planned on spending a few hours up on the tower. Around 10 o’clock we flashed our lights at the ground below. I threw an egg at one old lady and Virgil threw one at an old man. We both missed. By this time there was a good crowd below. They were all talking and one man called up “you kids come down at once.” At that moment I threw an egg at him and hit him. He became very angry. All the people started yelling, “You crazy kids, come down.” Remember, no one knew who was up on the tower. Pretty soon Bill Stadler, the cop, showed up and yelled for us to come down. We threw eggs at him and I poured a gallon of water on him. That really got him mad. This is just what we wanted. We plastered him with eggs. He said he was coming up to throw us down. We said, come on you old devil. If you come any further, we will throw down our pal Fred. At this time they thought there were only two of us. I held the dummy up. He looked real from 30 ft. in the air, let alone 120 ft. The cop yelled up, “What’s your last name so we can go tell your parents. We made up the last name of “Price.”

Pals foreverThere was a family named Price who lived up in the hills East of Britton who had lots of boys, so they really didn’t know who Fred was. In fact, the Prices lived 18-20 miles out of town: no phone, no lights, real poor people. Their youngest son was a good friend of mine. We called him “Cuffy.” I remember a year before he bought an old Model T Ford for $15.00 from OLD SAM’S Used Cars. Sam sold cars, farm machinery, etc.; for $50.00 or less you could buy a good used car. My mother bought a used car (our first car), a 1929 Chev. for $65.00 from Thorpe Auto. She saved years to buy this car. Old Cuffy let me drive his car. All of us kids would save our money until we had 30 to 40 cents for gas (18 cents a gallon). You didn’t need a drivers license. You could drive at any age. I remember one time my mother had to haul something and we had no car. She asked me to go to Herman Johnson and ask if we could use his truck for an hour. Herman had a grocery store and they delivered groceries to your home. Almost everyone in town owed him money. He was a wonderful, kindhearted man. I used the truck and I told him thanks and that I would help unload the big grocery truck when it came in once a week. His truck was a 3-speed. I really loved to drive that truck. Old Herman would always give us kids candy bars when we helped him.

Now, back to my story:

The big bully kept coming up the ladder. He was wet and covered with eggs. He said how are you kids? We said nothing. I had saved the big surprise for this moment. I had hauled 3 big bags of cow manure up the tower days before. This was wet and runny stuff. The guy kept on coming. I thought, this is it and I poured a sack of the goop on him. I did this just as he looked up. That did it: he couldn’t get down fast enough. He was yelling that he was going to get his gun and kill us. The cop said you can’t do that; I’ll get them down. He had one last big bully from town, Lou. He was real big and he thought he was someone special. He started up the ladder and it was covered with eggs and water and manure. He had on a nice jacket and pants and gloves and shoes. I told Virgil we will let him get 70 to 80 ft. up then give him the works. We had one big bag of manure left and just as he looked up we poured a gallon of water on him, and 10 eggs, and the manure. He almost lost his footing. This scared him.

He kept on yelling, you boys are going to jail for this trick. We said you have to catch us first. He looked up and said Who the hell are you kids? I know every kid in town. We said we are not from Britton, you big dummy. He looked up again and I threw the last bag of manure on him. It hit him right in the face and neck. Then Virgil poured 2 gallons of water on him and we plastered him with some more eggs. That did it. He started down and Stadler knew he could not climb the ladder. He kept yelling for us to come down. We were getting low on our supply of water and eggs, so I told Virgil it is time we drop the dummy down. I started playing with the dummy; he looked as real as could be. The crowd kept yelling to come down.

By this time it was getting cold. We had had enough fun, so I pushed the dummy. He fell right into the crowd below. As he was falling, we could hear the people crying and saying, the poor kid, I wonder who he was? We had hooked the two bags of blood in the dummy (old cow blood). When the dummy hit the ground, blood spattered all over. People screamed and began to leave. They couldn’t take any more. The cop yelled again for us to come down.

It took about ten minutes before someone had the nerve to look at the dummy. The crowd was getting smaller. When Stadler saw it was a dummy he really got mad. He said he was coming up himself to get us kids. He started up the ladder and I told Virgil this is our last chance and we will give all we’ve got left. We plastered him with eggs, water and our last bag of manure. He could take no more. He climbed down as fast as he could without slipping. We could hear him say he was going home to clean up. He was freezing. Only a few were left.

About this time Virgil hollered “FIRE” in town. Looks like the theater. We could see real good as we were 120 ft. up. Old Victor had done his job. He had rigged the fire works to go off at just the right time. Smoke bombs and all. It looked and sounded bad. The crowd all left and started running to their homes and to the town two blocks away. We waited until they were all gone. We climbed down faster than any fireman could have. We were on the ground before you could say “Jack Robinson.” We ran down by the elevators, took off our masks and hid them; brushed ourselves off and just walked away. Remember, it was now late, 12 or 12:30 AM and really cold. We thought we would really have some fun and we drifted down town into the crowd. The people started saying there is no fire, let’s go back to the water tower. When they got back there was no one there. They all started blaming on another. Said someone should have stayed and watched those kids; but being so cold they all left for their homes. And, we went home, too.

This trick was the talk of the town for months and years to come. They all wondered who those kids were. We went right along with them. They all said some day they will find out. You know what? They never did. Well, it’s 62 years later. Both Virgil and Victor died several years ago. I’ve been gone from Bntton for over 57 years, but I go back at least once a year. My parents are both gone, but I have brothers and sisters there and many friends. I am sure most of those that were in that crowd that Halloween night are dead. Old Uncle Bill died years and years ago.

I wondered for years if I should ever tell this story. I’ve argued both ways; should I or shouldn’t I; but, what the HELL. If there are any of you who remember the “Biggest Prank” of Halloween 1938 — it was I and Virgil and Victor.

“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Look Out Japan, Here We Come

Look Out Japan, Here We Come

In June 1945, the Navy had big plans for Clarence and I. After our very successful ordeal in France, we thought that it would be the last Big Harrah. Little did we realize we would be going to Japan and soon. We hardly had time to rest after France.

No one really knew that the war with Japan would be over in late August. One day, Lt. Commander Les Warwick celled Clarence and I into his office. This was the same officer that sent us to France, he was a brilliant officer. At one tIme, he had been a fighter pilot, he told me he had shot down 16 Japanese planes. He walked with a bad limp, one of his legs had been broken bad, and he could no longer fly for the Navy. The Navy told him he could leave the Navy if he wanted to but he choose to stay in. The Navy needed good Officers and he was one of the best.

The Lt. Came right to the point with us, he told us again that we had done a good job in France. This next assignment would be even more important and much harder to pull off. He also said, if anyone can do it, it’s you two. He said, Tom I want you to head up the team, you will have 4 L.C.M.s. At this time I did not know the other 2 Coxswains. He told us there is no need at this time to meet your gunners. The L.C.M.s have two 50-mm. guns, they are 50 feet long, all steel, they use 2 gray Marine engines. 1 had been using these crafts since coming overseas.

The next day we were on our way to Okinawa, in 3 days we would be going to Japan, everything was moving along fast. We left with a large convoy, our L.C.M.s were aboard a L.C.T. I noticed 4 Destroyers, two heavy Cruisers, 2 Aircraft Carriers and other ships.
Lt. Warwick came down to our compartment, he cam right to the point. He told all 4 of the Coxswains we would get our orders the day we arrived in Okinawa. Our convoy arrived in Okinawa that night, he gave us our sealed orders. Our L.C.M.s were afready aboard the L.C.T.s the next morning we left, headed to Japan, we would be going to southern Japan.

Our orders told us we were to go ashore, hit the beach, unload, back off and get back to the L.C.T. as fast as we could. The Navy had prepared a good meal for us, we had steak and eggs the last good meal for us. This could have been a last good meal for some of us. We met with Lt. Warwick on more time, he told us there are not suppose to be any Japs in this area. We had not seen any Japanese ships since leaving.

The Japanese never dreamed the U.S. would be coming in the south, 12 to 15 miles north were good beaches, they figured we would land there. As to where we were landing, it was full of rocks, no beaches of any size. We had special trained Navy and Marines on our L.C.M.s and a jeep on each craft. We got within 3 miles of the shore, The L.C.T.’s unloaded our L.C.M., I led the way. We headed toward the shore, we got within I mile of the shore, the sun was just coming up, I could see the shoreline. The waters were really rough, large rocks everywhere. We all tried to avoid the large rocks, bouncing off the smaller ones. As we got closer to the shore I had a funny feeling something was wrong, but we had our orders, get at least one craft ashore. It was starting to get fight out and 1 noticed the shore, it looked like all big rocks. All of a sudden, shells started going off. I thought to myself, the Japs had found out of our landing. How I don’t know. Our large ships were firing toward shore, all hell was breaking out, I kept going toward the shore, trying to find a place to unload. Lucky no one hit any mines. I figured the Japs hadn’t had time to mine the waters here, as only a nut would try to land here! I looked to my tight, one L.C. M. had taken a direct hit, then another got hit, now there were only 2 of us, one of us had to make it ashore. I just wanted to get close as possible to unload then to get out of there fast. I hit the shore about 20 ft. out, I could get no closer, and the rocks were just too large. I dropped the ramp, the men all got out helping the jeep as best they could. All this time our gunners were shooting towards the shore. I looked for our other L.C.M., I could not see it. I noticed a man in the water, he had on a life jacket, I got as close as I could. One of our gunners took a boat hook and pulled the man to our craft, the other gunner helped the man aboard. Little did I know this was 01 Clarence. I looked for others in the water but could se none. I had my orders to get back to the L.C.T. as fast as I could. I headed out to sea, my L.C.M. had been hit, but was not taking on much water. I knew if 1 did not take any more hits 1 could make it back to it. I was praying all the time, also for god to watch over all the men. I thought to myself, I had lost a good buddy, little did I know the man we had pulled from the water was Clarence. My thoughts were of all the men, little did I know that many of the men did make it ashore, how many I never found out. I had done my job.

All of our big ships were tiring toward shore and there was aircraft flying over all the time. I asked my gunner if the man we had pulled from the water if he could talk. All of a sudden, a man stood up, I almost passed out, it was 01 Clarence he said nothing, he just looked at me. I did not have time to look for any others, I had my orders to get back as fast as I could. My craft was loaded aboard as soon as I got back.

Lt. Warwick was waiting for us and asked if we were the only ones left, as far as I know yes, I said. I looked for others but could not find any. He asked me to come to his quarters at once. They took 01 Clarence to sick bay fast. I was questioned by Lt. Warwick and the captain of the ship. I told them all I knew. All this time I could hear airplanes above, it was our own bombers out of Okinawa, they had left at the correct time all hell was breaking out, our Navy was really shelling the shore. If there was any Japs alive, I didn’t know how. I was wondering how many of our men made it ashore. I was dismissed and told to go dean up and get something to eat. I asked if I could go see Clarence first and was told yes. Just before I was dismissed, Lt. Warwick said to remember no on is to know of this mission for 55 years. So that’s what I did, I told no one.

I saw Clarence, he was in bed, he looked bad, he could say very little. He looked shell shocked to me, the Dr.s told me to leave and come back tomorrow to see him. I knew if I could be around 01 Clarence for a few days or months I could bring him out of the way he was, get him back to the real world.
We stayed around the shores of Japan for 3 more days, all the shelling had stopped. All the large ships had pulled out and headed for someplace else, where I did not know. Our small ship made it back to Okinawa, along with many others. We stayed there only a few days then we were put aboard a large ship. We used to call these ships Kaiser coffins, they were large cargo ships, build for the war. Built by Henry Kaiser, the same man who built the Kaiser cars. I owned 2 of these in the early 1950s.

Our ship made it back to the Philippians in what seemed like weeks. It was so long ago I can’t remember. Before going back to my unit, I was again told to say nothing of this mission for 55 years. I asked if any of the men made it to wherever they were headed and they told me nothing but did say, if our craft had not made it ashore, this war would have lasted much longer than it did. I head no more of the missing men, Clarence was sent back to the U.S., I never saw U. Warwick again. In September our unit was split up, some of us went to Japan, Korea and China, I got to go to China. The war ended in late August, we were all happy it was over. In China I had a good assignment, still running L.C.M.s. I kept busy hauling sailors and others ashore. Big ships were coming into China each day, many of the docks were badly damaged from the war and many of the ships could not tie up, they had to sit out in the river.

I stayed in China until spring of 1946 when I was sent to California and then to Minnesota where I was discharged. I never saw Clarence again until late 1978 or 1979. One spring day this rider road into my store, Old Tom’s cycle, I started this company in 1958. This rider parked his motorcycle in the drive way and took off his helmet. I was outside talking to some other riders, at first he said nothing, then I looked at the rider real close. I almost fainted, it was my old buddy Clarence! We talked for what seem like hours and before he left he told me he had moved to Seattle and would be back in a few days. In a few days he rode back to my store, we went out for lunch, we must have of talked for hours. He told me he had been a Police Officer in Tennessee and rode motorcycles. He had gone back to school and taught at a big Texas college. He had worked for the FB.I., the A.T.F. office, and had been an income tax inspector. He flew helicopters and did work in Alaska and many other places. I learned later what a good pilot he was. I was told he was one of the best, We did I know that someday I would be flying with him. We renewed our friendship, he stayed in Seattle and is still here. We rode to Sturgis, S.D. to the big rally a number of times and many other places. Clarence still rides, I see him quite often, he’s not in the best of shape but he still gets around pretty good and still rides. He has been hurt by many car accidents and was hit on his motorcycle a few times. One time he was hurt in Montana, his daughter had to get him. When I did see him, he really looked beat up, he hurls a lot but never complains.

We are both hoping to ride to Sturgis this year, it’s 2004 as I write this. I’m not in good shape myself, I walk Ike a drunk, but still ride just not as much as I would like to. But I did get over 12,000 miles in 2003. For 2004, I don’t know, I’m riding a big motor scooter as I can’t throw my leg over a motorcycle but with God’s help, I will be on a motorcycle again soon. If not the scooter is just fine.