Great Jobs: Chapter 7-So Who Needs A 4F ID?
It wasn’t too long after getting rejected by the Army, no less,
that ‘the day of infamy’ happened. And, I was sure the Army meant it
when they said they would call me ‘if the Japs ever invade South
Saint Louis’. Well they hadn’t got that far, but they had invaded
Pearl Harbor, and I truly wanted no part of the army, just in case.
And, two of my best pals from High School, Johnny Strotz and Louis
Dickson, had already joined the Marines. A great choice, I reasoned.
Bob Green and I were on a Grand Avenue Street Car returning home
that Sunday, when we heard the news. Street Cars in those days had
radio news broadcasts over loud speakers.
“Well Bob, first thing in the morning I am going down to the
Marine recruiting office”. I said.
“You’ll never make it, Francis”. He could call me Francis, we
were pals, beside that my mom had introduced me as Francis whenever
the families first met. I was stuck with it as far as me and Bob
“I got it worked out, ever since that JB deal, I have been
memorizing all the eye charts, same as when I got my drivers
“Well, good luck, I’m sticking with my Police recruit job. Should
graduate in 6 months and I’ll be a police officer.”
So, first thing Monday morning, December 8, 1941, I hit the Marine
Recruiting Office. And, I got through all the tests, even the eye
test. But then it happened.
‘Ok kid, sign here.’
And now I had to put on my specs to find the line to sign on.
‘Where?’ I asked
“Right there.” The recruiting officer pointed.
And without my specs I missed the line by about a half a page.
“Hey son, can you see at all?’
“Yea sure I can, just nervous, I guess.”
“Well let’s just check that eye chart again.”
So he went back and pulled down another chart for me to read, and
that did it.
He didn’t say to come back when South Saint Louis got invaded, in
fact he didn’t say anything. Just shook his head.
Well, I thought I would try the Navy next, but that proved no
better. I was seen entering the office with specs on, so I could
find my way around, but when asked about why I needed them in the
first place, I could not give a reasonable answer.
I gave up for the time being and finished my year at Rankin Trade
So that 4F was going to stick for the time being.
But I beat it eventually.
Be sure to read July's other episode "Breaking Ice on the Mississippi" in this
the next episode in this
series, check the August publication.
Click on author's byline for bio.