MY GANG

            When I was a kid inMichigan’sUpper Peninsula, “my gang” was: Roy, Don, Barney and two guys named Jack. Beginning in grade school, we all attended the same elemen-tary, and middle schools in the township and then “graduated” to high school in town. 

Royhad a lot of health problems when he was young.  Though he was fit for ROTC in high school and joined The Army, he was discharged in 1943 due to his poor health.  Even so,Roylived a long life. He died when he was seventy.

Like the rest of us, Don enrolled in high school ROTC and after graduation entered The Army.  He survived war duty, but died shortly after returning home.  

The first Jack served in The Navy during WWII, got married and moved to California.  During our 20th high school class re-union we received a note from his wife reporting he, too, had died.

Barney was in the Army Air Force during the WWII, survived and became a civilian pilot — working mostly for a federal agency in the southwest.  He returned to our home town later and worked part-time as a bartender at the local American Legion.  Barney died just eight years ago.

The remaining Jack studied to become a butcher and meat market supervisor.  He and his wife lived about fifty miles from our old home but recently moved back.

During the height of the war inEuropeI heard from my mother that another close friend, Wally, was killed inFrance.  Once while I was inParis, I inquired at the Army Graves Registration Office as to the whereabouts of Wally’s grave. The clerk told me that someone else had just asked for the same information.   I stepped out of the office into the wideChamps Elysees Avenueand began calling, “Wally Danielson, Wally Danielson!”  I hoped to find the other person looking for his grave.  Unfortunately, no one responded.

Some years later when he moved back, I was talking to him about being in theParisgrave area.  Jack said, “I was there, looking for Wally’s grave, too!  It was me you were trying to find!”

            Last of “my gang”, Jack died last month.

            Now it’s just me and my memories.

 Le (Dec.’10) adds, “I miss my gang.”

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