Sunday, April 21, 2013

The other night I watched the movie 'The Best Years of our Lives'.

Great movie.

Dana Andrew's character reminds me of my father. He was another kid with a few brains and a high school diploma that they ran through a program, pinned a bar on his collar and put him into some damned expensive machines. They paid him pretty good money, too.

Dana Andrews played a bombardier that had been a captain and went through the same thing my dad did in a way.
The war was over and they dumped a lot of these guys into a pretty competitive labor market. Some of them had jobs to go home to, some didn't.

Dad had been a musician in high school and played calrinet and saxaphone. He was pretty good, actually. GI Joe had just gotten home with a little mustering out pay and was looking for a good time so dad played in a band for a while after he was discharged.

However, Dad was single when he got out so he didn't have relationship adjustment problems to deal with.

The First Sergeant had been married for quite some time before he was drafted and seemed to slip back into his routine a lot easier than the other two.

While the sailor that had lost his hands had to get over the loss of his hands he had a girl to come home to and pretty much knew he'd wind up as a working class guy eventually.

I wonder in a way if the guys that had been promoted ahead of their times with little education to fall back on didn't had a disappointment that lasted them for decades

You put a kid in a uniform and put a bar on his collar and give him both the responsibility, the pay and prestige for a couple of years and then discharge him and it's quite an adjustment.

In one of the dopey Rambo movies, Rambo griped that as a soldier he could run a million dollar piece of machinery but on the outside he couldn't get a job parking cars.

I think that down inside he never got over it because during the Cuban missile crisis he was scared. He was under 40 and looking at what very well could have become another World War.

Several years later he told me about this. He told me that he was terrified of being drafted back into the army as a private. He knew there were no more B-29s left to fly and thought he was too old to retrain.

I pointed out that he had gotten his degree in '57 and it was likely that he'd be recommissioned and given a job in logistics.

His degree was sitting in a drawer and he had never mentioned it to me. He was somewhat surprised I knew about it and I'd bet he'd forgotten about it as he was feeding 5 kids as a mechanic.

He blushed for a minute. "I'd forgotten about that," The look on his face told me he felt foolish.

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