I was born and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio and it was, in my opinion, the best place in the world for a boy to grow up. Located on the Ohio river, it was, and still is a pottery town of some note.
It is the place where Pretty Boy Floyd the outlaw was taken after he was shot to death by the FBI just outside of town and layed out in the Sturgis funeral home for all to see. For more on the history of East Liverpool and a very good telling of the Pretty Boy Floyd story, see The Carnegie Public Library web site.
|Most of the memories of my childhood there consist of wandering in the woods with my B.B.gun
and one of my various dogs or a stray dog if I was between dogs at the time. I didn't know it then but I know now that I was emulating my dad. Along with food from the supermarket, we also ate rabbit, squirrel, groundhog and raccoon he shot and which my mother used to say was chicken. The pellets of buckshot you found yourself chewing on from time to time proved otherwise.
On one hunting trip, Dad shot a groundhog and it fell, wounded into it's hole. We had to dig it out and found that the groundhog had been nursing a litter of young. I reached into the hole to grab one of the babies and found myself sitting on the ground several feet from the groundhog hole, a result of the backhand my dad had delivered. I was stunned but felt better after he explained that the mother groundhog was not yet dead and could have bitten me trying to protect her young. It is one of the lessons I learned at my fathers hand so to speak that I remember to this day.
On the left is a picture of my father and the groundhog we brought home that day. We named himJohnny Chuck and we raised him from a baby.
After Dad died in 1962,I quit school and got a work permit. My first job was "Hot Walker" at a race track in Newell, West Virginia. I was more or less assistant to the groom and did all the work he wouldn't. "Mucking" stalls and feeding and watering the nine horses kept me busy from dawn to dusk so as soon as I could, I joined the Navy.
|I joined the Navy and arrived at Great Lakes on the day I turned
17. I was stationed for most of my enlistment aboard the U.S.S. Kankakee (AO 39) out of
I joined the ship in Rota Spain and spent my first seven months sailing around the Mediterranean Sea. I was a Seaman Apprentice on Deck Force and we worked a lot harder than I thought was necessary. I made up my mind to be a Signalman because it looked like an easy job. As it turned out, it wasn't all that easy and the hours were long and they used to wake you up at all hours of the night to identify other ships we passed in the night.
This is a picture of me leaning on one of my signal lights.
I spent 3 years aboard The Kankakee and was a member of its last crew. It was a great experience and I have the most vivid memories of that ship, my shipmates and the ports we visited.
When this picture was taken, I was about 19 or 20.
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The music is, "Eugenia" by Scott Joplin
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