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Great Jobs: Chapter 7-So Who Needs A 4F ID?

By Leocthasme

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 were concerned.

“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 license.”

“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 School.

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 issue
And for the next episode in this series, check the August publication.
Click on author's byline for bio.


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