SAMPSON BEGINS TO CLOSE DOWN
Working in Disbursing At the Separation Center 1945 - 1946
Joseph W. Brownell Cortland, New York
Following my discharge at Lido Beach in the summer of 1946 I returned to college. When I should have been working on Chemistry I sat down and wrote up my Stateside Navy memories. (I am not a chemist today!) My writing style left much to be desired but except for a couple of souvenirs those pages are all that remain to support my rather fallible memory. I had taken boot camp training in the summer of forty-five at Great Lakes. That fall I was shipped with others to Sampson and ended up working in the new Separation Center.
Early next morning we pulled into Buffalo where we were to change to the Lehigh Valley or, as it was known to the fellows, the "Leaky Valley." The main line train we had just come in on was quite late and we had but ten minutes to make connections with the Lehigh. A bus that was parked outside the station offered to get there in time and he did, with a few seconds to spare.
The Lehigh Valley was something new to most of us who were right off the main line of the New York Central. The line, of course, was mainly freight and they only ran a few passenger runs each day and only one of them was much of a train. The one we drew was draughty, but we could not shut the doors to the platform and as a result not only cold air but smoke and soot spread itself around the car, The trip was slow and with several stops. When at last we did roll into Geneva, the town nearest to Sampson, we were all stiff from the cold air and hard seats.
Waiting for the train was a gray Navy bus and the SP on duty directed us to it. He explained that since the Greyhound bus line was on strike the Navy had to supply its own transportation system into Geneva. The bus was old and of the type used for school busses. By the time it had made the rounds of the city streets and stopped at the hotel where the bus depot would normally be there was a full load on board so the driver headed back to the base.
The route to Sampson was down the Eastern shore of Seneca Lake and the lake came into view each time we rose to the top of a hill. The base was set back from the road a short way and lay at the shore of the lake. A wooden sign near the entrance to the highway proclaimed it to be the United States Naval Center, Sampson, New York.
A few hundred feet from the highway was the main gate with its guards who checked all the liberty cards, leave papers and orders of everyone coming onto as well as leaving the base. The guard directed us to wait at the gate until he could get us transportation to the Separation center which was only one of the units which composed Sampson. The bus on which we had just come was turning to the South to the hospital unit whereas the SepCen, as it was called, was to the North of the gate.
A truck picked us up after a short wait and took us to the drill hall at S unit but after chasing a number of men around there we discovered that we should have been taken to the K unit and the offices of the Separation Center. The driver of the truck was still about and took us over to K unit although it was only a stone's throw from S, but our sense of direction was in no condition to follow someone's directions by now.
There were originally four buildings in K unit (the former service school complex) but only two of these were being used by SepCen and these two long buildings were connected end to end with a short passageway. These were K3 and K4 and at the personnel office in K3 we were informed that we were to draw duty at the disbursing office in K4.
I had only a vague idea as to what disbursing meant but soon found that it meant pay, and the disbursing office in which we were to work figured all the remaining pay a separatee had coming to him upon discharge and paid him either in check or cash. The disbursing office was just inside K4 near the passageway The main (disbursing) office was a long wing of the building filled with typewriters, adding machines, calculators and other clerical machinery as well as a crowd of enlisted men, WAVES, and a few civilian girls.
The warrant officer who took charge of us told us that we were to be split up into several groups of two or four and would go to various parts of the office. He named the different divisions and to me they meant very little, but Roy LaLonde at my side nudged me and said to get us both down for the machine unit. Roy had seen something of separation centers when driving captains around the Great Lakes, and being a good goldbricker like myself, proposed that we pick the machine unit as it was likely to mean less work.
Despite its rather formidable name the machine unit contained no machines which were unlikely to be found in a business office. There were four or five large Addressographs and a couple of table models. Against one wall were two machines which embossed Addressograph plates. Two typewriters and a mimeograph machine rounded out our equipment. We didn't know how to operate anything except the typewriters but some of the men offered to show us how to run the others when we turned up for duty the next morning.
The remainder of the day we spent getting bedded down, which was no easy problem. Our sea bags had not come yet and no one knew just when they would, so we drew blankets and mattress covers from the H warehouse until our gear arrived. We drew our billets from the first lieutenant's office at the S drill hall. They turned out to be consecutive bunks in S5 upper.
Roy drew the lower bunk and I the upper. Doc Gamble was two or three bunks down the line. Eating was a rough blow to us as we were fresh out of Great Lakes chow halls where there were always plenty of lines open and seldom any waiting. In Sampson, however, it turned out to be something of a different matter. There were only two or three lines open in the big box-like chow hall and there were long lines protruding out the door and into the cold air. As snow came the lines doubled and tripled up in the small ante room just outside the scullery.
Liberty we were told, was good as there was a long liberty (three days) every ten days and during the working interval we received several nights of overnight liberty -- that is, the liberty cards were distributed at the close of the working day at about five o'clock and collected at eight the following day.
Duty nights were not to be too hard since there were more recreational features here than at the Lakes. For instance, the Ship's Service had a bowling alley and the library was as good as that in any Great Lakes Ship's Service. Best of all, however, was the fact that there was always a movie being shown somewhere on the base. The show would change every three days and if you missed it one night you would be able to catch it again the following night, The first night of showing was at the drill hall for the separatees and ship's company. The second and third nights the show changed to Sullivan's theater near the main gate for the officers, ship's company, visitors and the civilians who worked on the base.
On the second day, which was to be our first day at work in the disbursing office, we were given liberty sections and our liberty cards were made up. Roy and I were given section six and our cards were white with yellow bands and the numeral 6 superimposed on them. Section six had just had its long liberty so we were to wait ten days before getting our first chance to get home. Consequently we settled down to work in the machine unit. The chief storekeeper in charge of the unit would not be back from leave for a few days and the unit was in charge of a third class whose name was Chuck Hadden.
All the other men in the room were seamen first class with the exception of Eddie Morris who was currently doing a long stretch in the brig after being reduced to seaman second.
Charlie Buske, Bud Bolin, Shorty Casterline and Rodger Gay were all about eighteen and just out of some of the last boot companies to go through Sampson. They had come over to set up the present machine unit and taught us all we knew of it. Carl and Bill were two other third class storekeepers who were around for a while but both of them shoved off before we got to know them very well. Brodt and Bradly also worked in the unit and Brad was lucky enough to have a car on the base.
Chuck, being in charge, showed us the various operations which we were to perform on the machines. The whole purpose of the unit was to print the separatees' names on lists of roster sheets, vouchers, pay lists, and check records and other different papers which required the names of these men, especially when they were in a list form.
Each group of separatees went through the process in a company of about thirty-two men. Since the number of men going through the building every day was so vast it was impossible to type all the names on these papers and so we used Addressographs. These machines printed with soft metal plates which were embossed with letters similar to typewriter keys. When this plate was pressed against an inked ribbon which in turn was pressed against the paper, the material was printed.
Each man had an Addressograph plate in a holder with a sample label on the holder so that the plates could be filed in long metal trays. When a group of new plates came in as a company there would accompany them a list from the control desk which gave every name and its initials correctly spelled. A sample of the list was run off by Shorty and checked against the corrected typewritten one for mistakes in the plates -- which were frequent. If Shorty found a mistake he would have to make a new plate and insert it in the holder in place of the old one. A company control list was put out, which was merely a list of names of each company for the main office to use at its convenience. Due to the large quantity of these sheets they were run on the mimeograph to duplicate them.
Charlie Buske would then take the tray for that company and list all the names on a Public Voucher sheet. These PVs were then sent to the PV section in the outer office. Bud Bolin carried the company along by making out a pay list. The pay was not computed but the names of the company were listed on a blank for the convenience of the paying unit.
Roy had an Addressograph himself when Eddie was not around - and that amounted to the great majority of the days of the week. He numbered check records which did not have to be done at any particular time as long as he never fell behind, so he generally found time to sleep behind the cabinet door in the corner. My own job was to make a single impression of each man's name on a 12m form. This was the last process done and after this the company tray was retired to the old trays department of the file rack where they awaited being torn down for re-use.
For perhaps two hours in the morning there would be no companies and we stayed close to the unit doing very little -- if anything. Around the corner in the second wing of K4 was a recreation room which was supposed to be used only by separatees but since few of them even knew of its existence, most of our boys made use of its idle facilities when spare time occurred, not only in the morning but at various intervals throughout the day.
After the first few days we became more accustomed to Sampson and its different units. Our sea bags came in somewhat late and damp but very welcome. After returning the bedding to the H warehouse I set about finding a lock for the locker door next to my bunk. Roy had one of his own as he had used lockers in Great Lakes, but I had lived out of my sea bag up to this time. One of the men near my bunk heard me discussing it, and gave me one he drew from a warehouse. This proved to be more than a break since it turned out that there was a great deal of pilfering in the barracks.
As a living space S5 was certainly a misfit. It was kept warm throughout the winter and that was about all. On the second deck there were four rows of bunks with rows of lockers between each group of two. The building was inspected but once a week and was swept only as well as the sweeping detail desired to exert itself.
The smoke tables in the front of the room were crowded at any time of night by card players but there were only two games played. Poker was the game of the day on payday when enough men could afford it, but mostly the men played blackjack and little else. The money involved seldom ran to more than ten cents a bet in blackjack and poker pots sometimes went as high as five dollars in a flush game, but most of the men didn't have enough to gamble with such big money.
At the time we left the Lakes we were carrying sea bags which contained no hammock but did have the small hammock mattress rolled up in the top of the bag. This was extremely uncomfortable to the man who had to carry the long heavy bundle. Upon arrival at Sampson, however, a new order came out which substituted large mattresses for the little ones and following this exchange sea bags would no longer carry mattresses.
The new mattress covers which were given us to cover these thick beds were so heavy and coarse that they were generally referred to as burlap. As the only things with which we had to wash the monstrosities were small buckets it was an evening's job to wash and rinse them.
Consequently, the house unanimously adopted the following plan for using these covers. There are, incidentally, four sides to a cover such as this. In short, they are: upside, downside, inside and outside. A new cover would be placed on the mattress and at the end of the week the mattress would be turned over. By the end of the second week the cover was turned inside out and to start the fourth and final week it was tuned over again, This way the burlaps lasted four weeks rather than one.
Our mail was supposed to be kept in the MA's quarters but generally placed on the smoke table of the lower deck. Rubin, a third class signalman who was one of the MAs, occasionally dropped into the barracks at night with an armful of ice cream packages which he had picked up from one of his friends in the chow hall. About the only MA duties were getting the barracks awake and asleep which meant little more than turning on the lights in the morning and extinguishing them at night.
Although the lights went out at about ten thirty at night activity did not cease. There were never more than a third of the men in the barracks at night due to the fact that so many were off the base on liberty and if there was a game of blackjack going on at the smoke table when the lights were turned out the men simply picked up the cards and money and proceeded to the shower room where they could continue unmolested. The lights were on all night in the shower room due to the fact that the lights were never put out in the head.
Sleeping late in the morning became custom. Roy and I never got up until about ten of eight as the muster at the office was held at eight and we were willing to forgo chow to get the extra sleep. Occasionally we were caught for morning colors by attempting to sleep just late enough to start out the barracks door at eight. The flag staff was on the far side of the barracks and just in front of the drill hall. There was no color guard but two seamen raised the colors while a third sounded off on the bugle.
The K buildings were to the rear of the barracks and on the far side of a small gully. These gullies seemed to repeat themselves again and again down the lake shore. The level of the base was several feet above that of the lake and this small plateau terminated only at the shore itself but the small creeks which flowed into the lake had long since cut deep ravines across the width of the (Naval) Center. A small footbridge connected the S unit with K and looking down over the rail going to work one could see the muddy water of the creek underneath. Scuttlebutt had it that the chow gang scooped up this questionable liquid and served it as coffee in the chow line.Rather than walk down the road to the entrance of K4 we generally passed directly through K3 and down the corridor to our own building. In K3 were the medical offices, photography lab, Red Cross and interviewers. By eight o'clock there would often be lines of thirty or more men waiting outside a door. It was seldom that any separatee was late for his own processing.
Thanksgiving came on the second week we were there. There was no special liberty given but it was generally understood that there would be long leaves for every one at Christmas time. To eat meant standing in line for an hour or so but it was worth it. Turkey, potatoes and gravy were but part of the long menu which finished up with ice cream and cigarettes. Following the meal we went up to the Ship's Service where there was a telephone center from which we could call home. The whole day was a holiday in which we did not have to go to the office so we were free to lounge about the library all afternoon.
On the following week the chief of the machine room came back from leave. He was Chief Storekeeper Douglas. Doug was young and got along with his men well. He gave us information about our duties that Chuck had not been able to explain. Other new arrivals on the scene were Gates, Moore and Pellman who were also ex-RTs who had been sent into the machine unit. Eddie Morris made his first appearance for us on that week for he had been in the brig when we arrived. After a few weeks Eddie came to the machine room to work permanently.
There were very few men going through the center for the last few days of November and we often hung about the room with little to do. Games of battleship sprang up one day and before long a whole complement was engaged in a series of conflicts with one another. Brad showed how salty he was by wiping out all comers with a consistency that was alarming to the other fleet admirals in the room.
Doug was annoyed with the boredom also -- he made paper hats of horrible design and sent them via Shorty to a WAVE in the outer office who had voiced her desire to be able to wear civilian hats again. The whole room fell in with the idea and gathered around Doug as he prepared the multicolored mess and neatly packed it into a box and gravely handed it to Shorty. Shorty assumed a position of a bell boy and holding the box at arm's length proceeded to the outer office. The office gang followed and watched the delivery by peeking around the office door. Behind the filing cabinet in the corner was an old stool that was completely hidden when the door to the cabinet was open. At almost any time during this calm before the storm either Roy or Eddie could be found catching a little sleep here on the stool.
On the first week of December separatees began to come in faster and by the second week we had hit a new high in production. At the peak of the rush, which was to get men home by Christmas, I was doing 12s as fast as I could open cartons of blanks. During the rush however, we ran out of ready-made blanks which had the required number of carbons inside. We had a plentiful supply of standard 12s but this meant the tedious job of cutting and stapling by hand. In the end CWO Connley ran to all parts of the disbursing office handing out 12s and carbon paper to anyone who looked as if they had any spare time to work with. For the first and last time the girls in the outer office spent two straight hours of work without once taking their knitting from the desk drawers.
Long liberties were the talk of the office. At all times there were two or three men out since there was always a section out on liberty. By the end of ten days our section (6) was going to have its first long liberty. A snow storm the night before caused rumor mongers to start scuttlebutt that there would be no liberty party until the storm was definitely over, but our requests for liberty were sent through and on the morning of the day we were to leave they came in from the main office signed and ready for the gate. The long liberty generally consisted of an afternoon followed by two full days but when our liberty cards and leave papers came through early in the morning, it was the custom to take off as early as possible.
Roy and I picked up our gear and checked out of the barracks at the same time and decided to hitchhike together since we both lived near Watertown and could go that far together. The busses were still out on strike and there were only two ways to get to Geneva. Either we could hitchhike or we could wait for the shuttle bus that went into town to meet a train every couple of hours. Since the shuttle had just left we started our walk down the road past the fire station, old OGU, Sullivan's Theater and the bus station which was of no use to us now.
Our papers were checked at the gate and we walked to the road where we stood in the open taking the wind full off the lake and thumbed rides. The hitching was slow due to the lack of traffic on the road, but when we reached Geneva there was open road on the Syracuse route and it was clear sailing. In that city we generally climbed onto a Wolf Street bus and started hitching from the factories near the end of the street. In Watertown we split up since Roy was going to Clayton and I was continuing up route three to Oswegatchie.
After a full day at home it was time to start back and on the third day I hitched from Watertown to Syracuse and caught a train to Geneva. Arriving back at Geneva that night I saw no sign of Roy and waited until a shuttle came by the hotel where the bus station would ordinarily be. Roy wasn't in his bunk when I got back to the barracks but next morning he was underneath, sound asleep -- a condition in which he remained the rest of the day. He reported to work at eight but retreated immediately to the stool by the filing cabinet where he would not be disturbed.
In the midst of all the work which had grown worse while we were away, we still had to stand watch. This was something unheard of among those of us who had come from Great Lakes
ships company and who considered watch standing as something for boots., Nevertheless, all the seamen stood watches in the barracks and the K buildings. Watch notices were posted on the bulletin boards before the duty section was to take over so they knew when their watches were to be. There were only three watches. The first extended from eight to twelve, the mid watch from twelve to four and the morning watch from four to eight. True to form I usually got the mid watch to which I was well accustomed by now.The barracks watches were exceptionally dull since there weren't any things on which to sit. The most memorable of these, however, was in S8, a separatee barrack in which there were no separatees. There was, however, a phone booth and I sat down in that for comfort. A little after midnight, fifteen minutes after I had assumed the watch, one of the MAs came in with a stack of pies which he had picked up in the chow hall. They were all pineapple -- and good, as I well know, since I ate one of them whole after which I curled up in the booth and went to sleep. The petty officer of the watch merely poked his head into the building and shouted for me. I would wake up, sign his clip board and go back to sleep again.
The K buildings were all wood and the floors creaked to such an extent that a man could safely go to sleep knowing that should an officer enter the building he would be brought awake immediately by the creaking of the floor. In the lower floors of the K buildings there were desks with a Center phone on which the watch had to call the security office every hour or half hour. This restricted the man on watch somewhat but he generally had a table to write on and some men even took radios to K4 and plugged them into the outlet nearby and listened to platter jockeys during the mid watch.
On one mid watch I drew a barracks near the POW compound in H unit across the grinder. There was no one in the building except the MA whom I found in the upper MA room. It was Rubin, who had been transferred from our own barracks some time before. We went to his room and ate while he studied for his second class signalman's test.
The POWs nearby were all in bed by then, of course, but there were a few guards walking the platform around the towers. The prisoners were exceptionally well off and had little reason to escape. We seldom saw them except at the chow halls where they cleaned the floor under the watchful eyes of guards. Some of them made small ships inside whisky bottles which they sold to the men on the base.
Just before Christmas Shorty was in trouble. He dropped off to sleep on watch and was caught by an officer who happened to be checking up. Shorty got a captain's mast and lost his Christmas and New Year's leave as punishment. While waiting for his mast he came to work every day but spent his off duty hours at the PAL or prisoner-at-large barracks. Pursuant to regulations he had his hair cut in a recruit haircut and took a great deal of ribbing from his mates due to his appearance.
In the meantime the rosters were coming through faster with each succeeding day. Every morning when coming into the office I would find a couple of rosters which had not been sent in the night before and after these were finished there would be a lull of an hour or so after which the roster lists came in groups.
The boys developed the habit of going into the recreation room around the corner and playing shuffleboard or shooting pool. Doug, whose sense of humor was always present, rigged a paper and string flag hoist in the window facing the rec room and pasted on it three paper flags. These were white, yellow and red. The white flag flew when there was no work and it was safe to remain in the rec room. Upon seeing the yellow flag the pool sharks knew that there was a roster or two in the office and the men doing the first few operations had better run in and start them. Red, or baker flag, meant a full house of rosters and all hands were to report to the unit on the double.
A few days before Christmas week the rush fell off and men began to plan on a week's leave. Since the SepCen was run right through Christmas we had to split into two groups so that one received a leave during the Christmas holiday and the other left for New Year's. As splitting up was something left for the individual units to tackle, we decided to draw lots and in doing so, Roy drew New Year's while I was dealt Christmas. As the vacation period approached we decided to fix up the machine room in a somewhat brighter dress. Consequently, we turned up one morning with long strips of crepe paper and tinsel and climbed the stanchions in an effort to string red and green paper across the ceiling.
Doug, who was something of an artist, cut a paper town complete with railway and placed it on the typewriter table. Our antics at first caught the officers a little off balance, but after we were there a while even the most conservative of them smiled as they passed our door for we were always up to something. Mr. Connaly several times brought visiting officers in to show off Doug's flag hoist and our Christmas decorations. We even caught Mr. Casky admiring them one day, although he wouldn't admit it.
Half of us shoved off just before Christmas, leaving the work for the rest of the gang who, save for Shorty, would turn it over to us on our return. The roads were full of sailors that day and they split up into groups going North and South and upon arriving at Geneva we split a second time, East and West. The weather was cold on the trip to Watertown and there I decided to continue on a regional bus which was not affected by strikers. Christmas that year meant hurry-up for as soon as the holiday was over it was back to Sampson to relieve the other gang. Because there were only half as many men on base we had to spend twice as much time standing watch for the following week. At the end of that time all the boys were back again - well, not quite all. Eddie had overstayed his leave a little, but this was a common occurrence by now and we paid little attention to it.
Things never did get back to a status quo following the December rush and holidays. The bus lines started service again in January and liberty could be extended to take in some of the nearby cities overnight, but we never had much trouble keeping up with work for the separatees never again came in such great numbers.
Carl, Bill and Chuck left shortly, leaving several seamen and Chief Douglas. Work was so slack that we developed new ways and means of cutting up and did little else. For lack of anything better to do once we loosened the valve screw in the drinking fountain in the hall and sat watching the look on the victims' faces as water shot to the ceiling as they stooped to drink.
Pellman spent most of his time across the hall where some of our equally unoccupied buddies spent the day making model planes. On one occasion Pelly finished a glider on which he had spent some time. As he went outside to test it the whole of the machine room gang as well as most of the main office rushed to the windows to watch, making the lieutenant wonder what the Navy was coming to.
One weekend Pelly brought his model gas engine from home and within the next week there were half dozen in the barracks. Those who were not inclined to aviation grumbled but the boys mounted their engines on the shower room bench and let go. At one time they had two going at the same time making an ear-piercing sound in the enclosed head.
On our free nights Roy and I took off for Seneca Falls which was but a few miles from Geneva. When it was close enough to payday to be extravagant we might go on the bus to Rochester but this was a long trip and we did not get back until late at night or, rather, early in the morning. The buses made a regular stop inside the center on their way up and down the lake. About the time we fell asleep on the bus late at night it would pull up at the main gate and the guards would shout "Liberty cards," as we piled out of the bus with our gear. The long walk back to S unit was cold in the winter and sometimes we would stop in at a barracks in between if it was heated.
By the first of February all the WAVES were gone from the outer office and we had gotten two civilian men in the machine room to help us. They were from Waterloo, near Seneca Falls, and commuted every day. Doug began to think of Florida as his separation date was coming soon, but found time to help teach two or three of us some of the fundamentals of the disbursing department.
We were striking for our third class storekeeper rate. Actually this rate had a "D" affixed to it which meant that we would become disbursing storekeepers. The rate would mean a raise for us from sixty-six to seventy-eight dollars a month as well as being relieved of watches as no storekeepers were required to do duty as petty office of the watch.
Mr. Casky in the outer office gave the small quizzes which tested our knowledge of the disbursing system and gave us two books to study from. Gates, Garretson and myself were to be found at any time off in a corner studying our notes and comparing the quizzes that Casky had just given us. At last he gave a final examination which was rather simple and sure enough, when the orders came out our names were on the list for SKD3c, to take effect on the first of March. We went to town on the first occasion to buy our rating badges and tear the watch stripes from our jumpers. On the first watch of the month we sewed on our new "crows" and strutted.
We felt that we were crossed up in one respect however. Storekeepers had never had to stand watch until the time we got our rates but now the disbursing office had to supply a petty officer to stand watch in the office all night long. We griped some about "watching the money" but found that the watch was not as bad as expected since no one checked up on us and we could go to sleep in a chair as we pleased.
There was a certain amount of company, too. An old cat had taken refuge in the office some time before and none of the officers insisted that she be thrown out. In very short order there were a number of kittens and no rest in the outer office as long as the kittens were hungry. Mr. Casky said things under his breath but the kittens kept on squalling through the work day. At night they were no better but kept the watch some questionable company.
Doug left before long and Garretson followed, leaving Gates and myself in charge of the unit. There was no work to speak of any more since the center was to be shut down in the spring. Card games were in evidence at any place in the room. Near the window there was almost always a game of hearts while in the center of the room where there was a bigger table the gang played poker or blackjack.
The men in other parts of the office got into the habit of dropping into our room to play cards during any dull moment and as a consequence the room was always full of poker players. Mr. Casky gave the games a wicked look at night as he came in with the liberty cards but Mr. Connaly never failed to precede any officers that might be looking around, telling us to get the money off the table -- there was an inspection party coming.
At last Roy received his orders to report to Bayonne, New Jersey, cleared out his locker and left. At about the same time Brad and the older men were ready for separation on points and even the younger ones were getting their orders for new stations. Even Gates went, leaving me with five boys, Caster line, Moore, Smith, Buske and Morris.
Bud Bolin had already gone over to ship's company disbursing to work. We had little if any work to do and could hardly muster enough men for a good card game. Shorty and I decided one day that we were tired of looking at four walls and set out to make use of some of the machinery in the room.
We drew up an outline for a souvenir booklet somewhat like a class yearbook. Shorty cut the stencil for the cover while I did the text and we ran it off on the mimeograph machine. We called it the Machine Room's Lost Weekend and put in it a short history of the Machine unit.
While the printing was in progress the room looked as busy as it had several months before. As soon as we would run off a stack of pages Shorty would place them in a pile on the center table and when all the pages were on the table we grabbed one of each, placed them together, stapled them and cut the book to the proper size. Copies immediately went to all parts of the office and the boys in the outer office were greatly impressed. Casky seemed to overlook the whole affair but one of the storekeeper watch had it that a copy had been seen on Casky's desk at night.
Two of the civilian girls in the main office who never let grass grow under their feet caught on to the idea and before long were making a book to cover the whole office. Tina and Marie spent two or three days coming into the office to use our mimeograph machine and ask us questions concerning the production of our own material. Before long they came through with a thick copy of We Present which was filled with all the trimmings.
In the middle of one morning one of the boys from the main office came in with the news that there was a draft list posted in the main office. Sure enough, there was a crowd around a desk where someone was going through a thick book of draft lists. I was on a two-man draft to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where there was a V-12 unit. The other man on the draft was from the outer office but I did not know him. After thinking it over for awhile I went into the machine room to talk it over with the boys. They were going to Lido Beach, a separation center on Long Island.
We decided to go up to the personnel office and see if we could find out when we were to leave. There was quite a crowd there and among them was my new partner, Stan Weitz. Stan was getting delayed orders and since that left me alone I was told that I, too, might get delayed orders if I wished -- that is, I would be given my orders and told merely to turn up at the new station on Friday and since the day was Monday the interval of time amounted to a small leave.
The yeoman asked me if I could be back in a half hour to pick up my orders. Of course I could! I tore down the steps to the main deck and over to B unit where we were now living. I took my gear down in record time and threw it into my sea bag and overnight bag. Following this, I toted the heavy bag to the Railway Express Office in the old OGU building and left it to go back to the personnel office.
I was given my orders and found that Stan, who lived on Long Island, had already left. On the way down the hall I stopped into the machine room and said "Good bye" to the boys. I would probably see them again if I went to Lido for my own separation, so it did not take long to go around to each man. After leaving the K buildings I went back to B15 to pick up my overnight bag and hit the road for a couple of day's rest at home before reporting to RPI in Troy.