Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 40 Number 2
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett

     LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of the Sebewa Center Association,
OCTOBER 2004, Volume 40, Number 2. Sebewa Township, Ionia County, Michigan.
Submitted with written permission of Editor, Grayden D. SLOWINS:


FRONT PAGE PHOTOS OF: Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine & Tractor Show, Fort Meade, FL.


Sunday, March 14, (2004); 47 degrees on a sunny morning, high of 81. Attended church & coffee time in camp, walked to Western Steakhouse for buffet………While I was gone for a walk, Director Susie ARMBRUSTER called Ann with updates on the Ionia Presbyterian Choir………

Monday, March 15, 40 degrees & quickly became hot, muggy, rainy 79 degrees. Visited Wally & walked in the park while Ann wrote letters & entered genealogy on the computer. Wally quit farming at the end of 2000, before his 70th birthday in June 2001……I sold the last sheep in January 2002, a few days before my 70th birthday………Called Ken CARR and won’t call again until we get home.

Tuesday, March 16: Yesterday we met a couple who were always swimming or sunning by the pool. Ann asked about their flag flown below the Stars & Stripes. It was a white cross on red and as we suspected, it was Swiss. They have been coming here for four years………They are from Canton Bern, near Eggiwil, (SWITZERLAND). He was originally from Groningen near Interlaken and she from a mountain Canton in the northeast, where they speak Romence, the closest thing to a true Swiss dialect. She also speaks French, English, and the Swiss-German. The kids also have to learn book-German in school, for writing papers, etc.

Told her about my ancestors from Wengen & Eggiwil, and our visit to Interlaken, Wengen, & Wenger Alp in 1989.

Thursday, March 18………Guy ROBERTS joined the conversation. Born at the east end of REEDER Road, south of Ionia, he attended Lyons-Muir Schools until age 16, then spent over 20 years in the US Navy. After various jack-of-all-trades repair & mechanical service jobs, he now lives & works part-time here in the park…..He is a first cousin to Mark, Jerry, Terry, Resa &others, who grew up on the Chester DIVINE farm on DIVINE Hwy. in Portland Township. He was a childhood acquaintance of Clement FEDEWA & was telling people about Clem winning the lottery, buying his daughter a new car, himself a new pickup………then planning to keep on farming until it was all gone – but he died first.

Thursday, March 25: ………reached Louisville. Wisteria is a vigorous twining vine whose woody stems become several inches thick and bear blue-purple (lilac) flowers in dense drooping clusters, seen along the roads in the South. Yesterday we saw farmers tilling & planting crops in north Florida and one field had corn up………Also new strawberry beds set out on ridges with paper strips between. Rye was heading out & being pastured by cattle in Alabama. Good stands of wheat. Pastures thru-out the South are native grasses, not legumes, and are still short.

One irrigated field was being cut & blown into big trucks for haylage. Forsythia is in blossom at Milepost #0 in Tennessee. Tennessee farmland is better than in Kentucky………Milepost #2…….Lawns need mowing and daffodils are out along the roadsides. Shorn sheep with lambs in pasture………

Friday, March 26, 62 degrees at Louisville and 65 degrees when we reached home. Sprinkles in night and mostly overcast. Up 6:00 AM, home by 4:00 PM, warm & pleasant. Drove thru hard rain all thru Indiana. Home to sunshine & soft wet ground with the frost all out. Mileage going to Starke was 1193. Mileage in Florida was 528. Mileage coming home was 1187. Total trip 2908. Final reading 27233.

Starke Florida KOA is our second home and the residents are our extended family. We have groceries, clothing, hardward, videos, restaurants & library all within walking distance………Also new strawberry beds set out on ridges with paper strips between. Rye was heading out & being pastured by cattle in Alabama. Good stands of wheat. Pastures thru-out the South are native grasses, not legumes, and are still short.

One irrigated field was being cut & blown into big trucks for haylage. Forsythia is in blossom at Milepost #0 in Tennessee. Tennessee farmland is better than in Kentucky………Milepost #2…….Lawns need mowing and daffodils are out along the roadsides. Shorn sheep with lambs in pasture.

- Jan 13, 1943-December 31, 1943:

As soon as I could on January 13, 1943, I sent a wire to mother and also to Gertie to say I was back in San Francisco. I wrote Gertie a letter the same day saying her wish has now come true. I was in the Signal Corps and no longer in the Infantry. I had a room in the Hostess House at Fort Mason close to all the offices and the post exchange. I got my first months pay as a 2nd Lt. of $150 plus the 10% ($15) overseas allowance and my initial uniform allowance of $150. I spent $125 of that immediately at the post exchange for an officer’s uniform and insignia.

I was able to get a 10-day leave granted by the San Francisco Port of Embarkation. (Special Order #15 par 7, Jan. 15, 1943.) On Jan. 18 I sent a wire to Gertie and one to mother from Chicago saying that I would be home Tues., Jan. 19, 1943 for 10 days. It was wonderful to be home and to be with Gertie but the time went very fast.

On Jan. 29, 1943, I arrived at Fort Monmouth at 8:00 in the evening. The next day I was settled and assigned to Co. F 802 Signal Training Regiment, Ft. Monmouth, Red Bank, NJ. The OBMT Unite (Officers Basic Military Training Unit) I was assigned to was composed of all officers commissioned directly from civilian life, mostly electrical engineers or telephone specialists. This was to be basic training in how to march, pitch pup tents, wear the uniform, customs of the service and how to salute and etc.

We would drill each day in our fatigues. Then at meal time fall out and go to our barracks and change to class A uniform for lunch in the mess hall, then back to the barracks and change to fatigue uniform to fall out when the whistle blew for formation. This was easy for me. I could change and lace up the leggings in a hurry. It was such a hassle for some of the officers to change uniforms and then lace the leggings back up that they would not go to lunch and still they were slow getting out the formation.

One day when the unit fell out for formation, the commander ‘Iron Lung’ McClung said to the unit. He could not figure out how GIBBS could take his time eating lunch then leisurely walk to the orderly room and pick up his mail and go to the barracks; then when the whistle blows to fall in, he is the first one out of the barracks properly dressed in fatigues with his field equipment.

Drill plus the training was long hours. Many times we were up before daylight for drill and classes, then evening classes till after dark. On Feb. 3 we were on the range firing pistols and Tommy Guns. It rained all day and we were soaked and it was cold. I got a bad cold as a result.

On Feb. 12, 1943, I had a physical exam that shows that I am fit for full duty. At this time I was taking Atabrine instead of quinine.

On Sunday, February 14, we were on the rifle range near the ocean by Sea Girt from five in the morning till six in the evening. It was very cold and windy. The temperature was 9 degrees. This was the first and only time I ever had water freeze in my canteen. The canvas canteen carrier on the cartridge belt was padded for insulation. At the end of the day my face was red and wind-burned.

We completed the basic course and on Feb. 20, 1943, I moved to 8 E Santander Apartment, A.P. Area, Ft. Monmouth, Red Bank, NJ. This was in the Asbury Park area where we were now in the Company Officers General Course from Feb. 22, 1943 – April 2, 1943. Classes were in Convention Hall, Asbury Park and the mess hall was in the Marine Grill on the Ocean Beach. Quite often however we would have lunch in a little Greek restaurant in Convention Hall. We would ask the owner what pies he had for desert, just to hear his reply. He would say Opple and PineOpple (I have written it the way he would say it).

During the Company Officers Course we were up at six had eight hours in class then studied till 11 P.M. On March 13 we took the AGC test and my score was 137. The top classification was 130+. Our entire class average was 127. This was very high but to be expected from this group.

Late in March I did not feel well. I thought it was malaria again. I went on sick call and the young medical officer was rather arrogant. He said there was no malaria fever in New Jersey and I was just trying to get out of duty. This made me rather angry. A short time later at the Santander Apartments I passed out. I do not know how I got to the hospital March 24, but I think by ambulance. The doctors there did not know what was wrong. I was about half conscious part of the time in the ward. Then they finally put me in a separate room alone. They must have thought I had something contagious. I would sometime come to but I would be alone in the little room. Then one day I was conscious when a young nurse came in. I told her I knew I had malaria fever. She must have convinced a doctor as they gave me fluid in the veins. In a short time I felt normal and they took me back to the ward. The fellows there could not believe my recovery. They said they thought I was dying. I was finally discharged April 8. The doctor gave me no quinine then to take. He said the army did not give medication after release from the hospital.

The order for those in the Company Officers Course had been to report April 3 to Harvard University. I was not released from the hospital until April 8 so I had to get to Harvard as soon as possible. I did get there the same day I got out of the hospital April 8. I took the train to New York City, then had to take the subway to another train station. I was fortunate in that I did not get lost. I was however concerned when going on the subway. At Harvard the Electronic Training Group had a five-day head start so there was a lot to make up in the intense training course. This was at the Graduate School of Engineering. It was mainly an electrical communication refresher course that was very intense with classes nine hours a day with about four hours additional study each night. I had secured a room in the home of Mrs. Shane at 25 Wendell St. about three blocks from Harvard University in Cambridge. It was a 3rd floor room with the view out of my window being an apartment building fairly close. Not touch but fairly close. One other officer, Lt. Clarence CONRAD, also had a room in the house. We ate in one of the restaurants nearby that was frequented by students.

The subway entrance at Harvard Square made a trip to Boston across the Charles River very easy. Stops on the subway at Washington Street and Scully Square were near the historic sections of Boston. We did not have much time for sightseeing except on Sundays. During the week with classes nine hours a day and then study in my room till about 11:00 P.M., I was ready to sleep. The classes in Pierce Hall continued till the end of April then we were to have classes in Cruft Lab.

On April 25, 1943, I bought a 10” K & E Log Log Decitrig slide rule at the Harvard University book store. This was the standard for use in engineering calculation at the time. This was before there were pocket scientific calculators or personal computers.

On April 30, I started running a fever and having chills. I knew it was a recurrent attack of malaria fever. I wanted to get it treated immediately so I took the subway from Harvard Square over to Boston and to the 1st Service Command Hospital. There, a Navy Ensign Medical Doctor who was familiar with malaria started me taking quinine. I was in the hospital for five days but allowed to go on a pass to get my books for study. At the time I was released on May 6, I was to take 10 grains of quinine day for eight weeks. The Ensign said to take one tablet a day till they were all gone. He said this was against policy to take medication after leaving the hospital but that was the only way this would ever clear up. I think the large bottle of tablets he gave me contained one thousand tablets.

From May 6, I was in the Cruft Laboratory at Harvard. We were now getting some very warm days and I ordered a new summer blouse, trousers and hat. We were now in school three nights a week until 10:00. The laboratory was in the second basement below ground level. Part of the work was here and part in a classroom.

On Sunday, May 30, I went to Boston with Lt. Jankowski. There, we went to the Old North Church. At that time we were allowed to go up in the tower where the lanterns were shown for Paul Revere to start his ride. From there you could see the Charleston Harbor, Bunker Hill, and the nearby home of Paul Revere.

The interior of the Old North Church was just like it was in colonial days. The church had no heat in the winter and those that came to church brought their own warmers and wore heavy clothes. The pews were in sections with partitions part way up. The minister had a high pulpit where he could be seen. I noticed one of the sections had a brass plate with the name GIBBS. I expect this may have been one of my ancestors.

At the first of June, I mailed home my pay check of $147.95 for May. Base pay at the time was $150 per month plus $60 rental allowance plus $43.40 subsistence for 31 days with a dependent making the total $253.40. Deductions were insurance $6.70, war bond deduction $18.75, allotment to mother $80.00, leaving the check I received $147.95.

By June 5, 1943, the new summer blouse, trousers and hat arrived. I was glad to get this uniform as the orders to change to summer uniform specified June 2 so for three days I had only cotton shirts and wash pants to wear.

On June 18, I received the Knight Radio that mother sent. This was the radio I had on my desk at college in 1935. It seemed good to have a radio again I could listen to. In the evenings, I studied at the desk in my room until I would have to stop and rest for a while. Sometimes I would walk to the neighborhood tavern about a block and a half away and listened to the juke box for a while before going back to the room to study. The most played record on the juke box as I remember was the Mills Brothers singing ‘Paper Doll’.

On Sunday afternoon, June 19, I went up to Gloucester on the bus to see the fishing boats and lobster boats. It was a pleasant change. I remember the statue there to the men who go down to the sea in ships.

About this time the postal department started adding a number after the name of a town. It is now, Cambridge 38, Mass. This is the forerunner of the Zip Code.

July 4, 1943 was a quiet Sunday. I had written mother, that I received a prayer book from the “Clare High School Hustlers”. In that letter I said we were now studying things that were completely out of the range of possibilities when I went to school.

On Sunday afternoon, July 11, 1943, Lt. Conrad and I took the subway from Harvard Square to Boston and up to Revere Beach. We never saw so many people on a beach. It was solid people as far as you could see. A newspaper reporter we got to talking with there said they estimated 90,000 people were there.

Each week-end I tried to see some of the historic places. On July 18, it was Lexington. There we saw some of the carefully preserved bullet holes in homes from the Revolutionary War. We visited Buckman Tavern that was kept as it was during the Revolution.

On July 27, we finished the final exam at Cruft Lab at Harvard and did not have to be back until the morning of August 2 to start in the Radar School at M.I.T.

I left by train for home. It was a short trip as I arrived back in Cambridge on Sunday evening August 1, so at best I was probably home two and a fraction days. This trip was a last minute decision when I found out I could get there and back on time. I was sure glad to see Gertie even for a short time.

The classes at Massachusetts Institute of Technology were not on the campus but in Boston in a building across the street from Griffins Wharf where the Boston Tea Party took place. Classes here were conducted around the clock. Sometimes I was on the night shift. The area near the water front did not have any desirable places to eat at the night lunch break. There were a lot of unsavory characters in that area at night but usually there were several officers together and no one bothered us. I never had much of an appetite eating in those all night places.
To be Continued.



Last update November 10, 2013