My Old Man

If you watched the Scenes from My Life video, you saw my old man. He was born July 3, 1901. I very recently came across a document from the Port of Philadelphia. It states that he was discharged from the Navy. The date was June 7, 1922, just short of his 21st birthday. When he was sixteen his mother Jenny (nee Anderson) lied about his age so he could enlist. He was a fireman, which means he shoveled coal into the boilers. Did you ever see the movie The Hairy Ape starring William Bendix and Susan Hayward from 1944? That’s what he did. Once he shoveled next to an older sailor who could not keep up with the work. My old man made him sit down and rest while he did the shoveling for the both of them. An officer caught him and put him in the brig for a week. My old man was really, really tough. He was discharged from the H. F. Alexander, but before that he was on the Arkansas. I have a document that shows he was aboard the U.S.S. Arkansas on January 24, 1921 when he crossed the equator. They listed his height wrong. He was 5’9″, about my size.

He had two tattoos. One on his chest which was a floral design as I remember. The one on his forearm did not read R. C. G. It read Are Sea Gee. He told me he made that up and he seemed very proud of the fact.

Sid hears some thumps…

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