Born in Minnesota.
Volunteered for the US Army
Was rejected from combat units (too skinny)
Stayed in USA working for the Army on secret radio and communications projects.
4:03 He’s a certified art teacher, graduated from the Walker Arts Center in Minnesota and also went through Chouinard Institute out in L.A. and L.A. trade tech.
Started working at Thrifty for $28.50 per week in 1949 when I started at Thrifty and I left them 25 years later.
7:14 Was the baby in the family when I did get into the Army. It was the first time I had been out of the State of Minnesota, and when I got to the East Coast I went to visit my dad’s brothers and sisters. He emanates from a large family- thirteen kids.
Dad grew up in London so from London it was easy for him to get to Canada, And from Canada he just walked over the border and became an American.
10:32 Born in 1924.
11:37 My house growing up was most of my mother’s relatives.
13:01 We did not speak Yiddish in our house.
15:15 The Family in Poland: My brother brought them over one by one, and the two of them brought three others. Three of them brought five others and they all had to settle in Minneapolis. I don’t know how they did it In those days, this is my understanding and I may be completely off base, in those days the Government appointed the occupation of the children. They watched what they had a liking to and did well at. For instance, if the child did well at field track, then all the way through school the major was field track.
16:47 My family was really good at origami and that’s what they did over in Europe. When they came to Minnestota there were no origami factories, but they heard that in New York there are, so slowly they left Minnesota.
Dad- cabinet maker
19:10 The day Pearl Harbor happened: I was at a movie that Sunday and came in and heard the news over the radio.
20:10 Story about Army – me and my friend Dick Woods stuck together through basic training. We came out here through Camp Roberts. He said, ”Let’s join the ski troops.”
22:34 The ski troops: we both went in for examinations and we both got rejected.
The major said, “You’re too skinny. You would be a detriment to your organization.”
He said, ”I saw another poster about joining the paratroopers.” I said, “You mean jump out of airplanes?” He said, “Yeah, the training will take 10 months and the war will be over by then.” That was about 1943. The same doctor examined you as for the ski troops, so they took Dick and rejected me.
The doctor said, ”We are putting you up for discharge.” I said, “Why?” and he said, “You’re too skinny, you are way under our excepted numbers and you don’t belong in the Army,” so I started to cry.
25:58 I did get a desk job which I thought was easier work at first, so they sent me off to basic training. They sent me into an organization that offered intelligence and defense, and we were defense for Lockheed Aircraft. I was there for over a year fighting a battle at Burbank stationed right on the corner of where Victory and Burbank meets.
27:17 We had also some secret audio equipment that we were taught how to use, that also led to other training and that other training included hand to hand combat, how to exist in forests and so forth and eat grasshoppers for dinner.
28:34 There was a rumor that some of us were being trained to go in with the OSS people. The OSS was the frontrunner to the CIA, and they needed bodies to do stuff that they didn’t have the personnel for because they were drafted too a lot of them.
29:51 Our forces were to put the artillery.
29:46 I was a lowly PFC
30:14 I had a small connection with the 6th Army headquarters in downtown Los Angeles and delivered things to different bases.
31:20 I think they were some of the things that you need to have to make some of our secret machines work. We called them sitcom strips. The machine that I became proficient at we called a sitcom for sitcom communication. What it did was there was a teletype machine connected to it. It looked like a great big fancy typewriter and inside of it were five wheels. They were about four inches in diameter and about a half inch thick. Around each wheel there was a groove that you fed a cellulite strip that had a configuration of numbers and characters. Sometimes those numbers and characters were also scrambled. You had five strips in each wheel and each wheel is changed every hour, 24 hours a day. The alphabet and the numerals were all on one wheel.
You’d have to have the knowledge of how to get in it and unlock it and you’d have to have the machines. And there would have to be an electrical hookup somewhere that fed just that line and you had statins that you were part of. Once in a while I got involved to deliver to a particular group of camps that were in need of that information.
36:26 Then they put me into the 153rd intelligence battery at Fort Shafter, Oahu . It was a metal box with a ship wheel on it. You couldn’t get in there because I had all the machinery that decoded and coded messages.
38:20- I joined the Servicemen Art Clubs
38:44- 50:20 About Arnie, his brother .
51:36 I lucked out, however it happened. What it did do for me is embolden my belief in the shared. I base my entire life til the end, and I’m going to be 91, that we are all connected somehow to something that we can’t explain and we shouldn’t even attempt to try to explain it.
52:30 When the war ended: They still kept me, because I didn’t have enough points. They sent me on detached service to Hitchum Field, so they didn’t know what to do with me. And I stayed at the Schofield Barracks, and they sent me to the department that deals with the money that you get paid with. That’s whom I went to work for before they put me on a ship to send me back to the States. I dealt with the most interesting part of my three years in the Army. I interviewed RAMPS, Repatriated Allied Military Personnel. These were guys that we were finding in the jungles as we went through in prison camps and questioning the people.
53:40 So one of my duties in that was to give them a voucher-some were misdiagnosed etc.
56:20 Every holiday I put out my poster. I always remember the guys that didn’t make it back.
56:38 About not knowing what was going on with the Jews in Europe- we heard the term in our neighborhood “brownshirts”- caused terrorist trouble in the States.