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Guest blogger: fran
Posted By On August 27, 2010 @ 7:00 am In Uncategorized | 101 Comments
I still don’t know quite what to comment on other than odd bits of hockey lore that most of those recalled have already been passed on, I actually got to SEE very few Rangers games in those days ‘cause I couldn’t always afford the train fare from New Haven. But I LISTENED to nearly all of them on radio with Ward Wilson, and Bert something or other, prior to the TV.
Most of my recollections are life experiences culled over the many years, and I’ve led a rather adventuresome life. My 82d birthday arrives in early November, and I don’t feel 82, my friends tell me I don’t look 82 ( HA), and I tell them I don’t feel 82…. I feel… 81.
I never played hockey as a youngster. Too poor; only rich kids could afford skates. Child of the depression, but when I’d finished my tour of duty with the USMC, ( I was a radio operator (Morse Code) in a cargo hauling squadron VMR 252 Marine Air Wing) and when not flying was stationed at the Naval Radio station NKT in the radio shack in the control tower at Cherry Point. But when I got out in 1949 (just prior to the Korean War outbreak), I’d just been transferred TAD (Temporary Attached Duty) to the 2ndMarine Division (gravel crunchers…and I was an “Airedale” … aviation units only supposedly, but with the Corps you never knew.)
By then I was a Corporal (whoeee big deal), but it was NCO and in the Corps which was notably stingy passing out rank; a Corporal pulled a fair amount of authority. My job was to train a bunch of raw Boots just out of Parris Island and teach them to be radio operators. What a joke. Twenty kids still so shook from the “yes sirring” all over the place that they’d been indoctrinated with that I had to “unscare” them first of all. We were issued our 782 Gear (M1 Rifle, Bayonet, cartridge belt Canteen and first aid packet. I was really down, I thought that I’d be beyond all that grunt stuff.) brought to the water and boarded a WWII LST, the old 664 boat … and I almost bought it one night in a storm at
sea when the stupid ship broke a clutch and could only turn in circles, and left by the entire convoy… these were the last war games prior to the outbreak of the Korean War. And it was the entire 5th Naval district. (Even included the old Battleship Missouri — Mighty Mo — awesome vessel).
I couldn’t sleep in the below decks — stink of diesel fumes, paint, B.O and whatever — so I fashioned a small folding cot bulkhead, to the 40 mm gun tub just behind the bridge, and slept in the open air, til we ran into the storm, and I woke up with waves higher than the ship. She rolled and I was afraid of going over so I clambered down the ladder soaking wet, and held by my elbows, cause I didn’t trust my hands, and had to wait the roll of the ship between each rung descent, so that when the ship rolled my way I was over the water, and then laying on the bulk head for a down step. I made it below and never came back up for the next two days.
So we conducted our assault on the island of Vieques, off of Puerto Rico, came back to my home squadron and got discharged. G.I/ Bill, went two years to University Southern CT, and instead of staying there and getting my degree I went off adventuring… to Chicago, and a fun year there. I’ve held a zillion jobs, of all kinds, taxi driver in Chi, Mosquito killer in the swamps of Southern Jersey, factory job at Winchester Repeating arms ( my Dad was a foreman there), factory work — ugh. I got bored and thought about re upping in the Corps, but fortunately dropped that idea fast, because one thing that the public might not know about the Marines… they are ALWAYS at war. Just don’t always know who the enemy is. But my buddies were all joining the reserves, and I figured why not? Again fortune saved me. All who went into the reserves were shipped over to Korea … and several of them stayed there – forever.
And so it went. Drove an 18 wheeler as a gypsy driver from Florida to New England and NY State and some hairy events in that activity. etc. etc. But then I was home with my family, single, and involved in hockey. Never a good player, but had fun, and became a rink rat. And that is the outset of my “hockey career” such as it was.”
I became a super fan. Couldn’t get enough of the Rangers and their farm club in New Haven the Ramblers.
Hi kids, it’s Carp. I really have enjoyed fran’s stories, as many of you have. So it was pretty special to give this a read last night and post it.
Forty-four days until Opening Night.
So many 44s. First and foremost, I guess: Hammerin’ Henry Aaron, the legit home run king still. Of course, Reggie. One fave from way back in football, Hall of Famer LeroyKelly of the Browns. John Riggins.
Chris Pronger. Ugh.
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