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The Book of Fives

The Book of Fives

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The Book of Fives

Longueur:
253 pages
3 heures
Sortie:
Nov 15, 2020
ISBN:
9781662402388
Format:
Livre

Description

The violence of war turned my body into a powder keg. Overrun by Vietcong on a fire support base near the Cambodian border brought about my first hand-to-hand combat of my tour. After being extracted by helicopter, worse problems began. Shot down and captured by the enemy and placed in a tunnel prison. B-52 bombers nearly buried me but actually were the catalyst for my escape. I returned home to realize that a pedophile’s abuse to my family almost destroyed it. The abuse to my family lit the fuse. Drunk drivers took away family members and then my whole reason for living. This action by drunk drivers resulted in an explosion. It was time to set right some of the wrongs caused by a legal system that just doesn’t work anymore. I traveled the entire United States in retribution.

Sortie:
Nov 15, 2020
ISBN:
9781662402388
Format:
Livre

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The Book of Fives - Oscar Danell

explosion.

Five Seconds

The story of an old man, I believe, can only be told by the old man. No one else knows everything this person has seen, everything he has endured, everything he has loved, and all the mistakes he has made. Being born in the late ’40s alone was so different than any young person today can grasp. Born into a home without running water, no indoor plumbing at all, no bathroom. Just to go to the bathroom, you would have to leave the house, winter or summer, and journey to the bottom of the yard to the outhouse. A small building with a single door and a seat inside. Usually two holes to sit and hopefully a roll of toilet paper. Spring and summer you may sweat a lot but, during the winter, you were challenged. In the middle of the night, actually no matter what season, you were challenged. There was no hot water tank. When you wanted a bath, you went outside to the pump with a bucket and you brought water into the pantry. In the pantry, there was a gas stove. Luckily for us, there was a gas well on the property and we could heat water. Set the bucket on the gas stove, warm, and dump into the galvanized tub you just sat in the kitchen. Not much privacy, but you needed a bath.

The only heat in the house was a coal burner in the middle of the living room floor. The only heat upstairs was through a register in the ceiling of the living room and the theory that heat rises. No blowers, no fans, and nothing automatically brought the coal in from outside and into the burner and kept it from going out. This was your job. This way of living leads to a lot of cold times and a lot of messy soot all over everything. Lots of blankets in the winter and lots of cleaning all year long.

To do laundry was the same ritual, pump water outside, bring it in to heat on the gas stove, and dump in the bathtub. Nothing was automatic, all done by hand, then hung on a clothesline to dry, difficult at best, during the cold months.

The phone we had was a rotary dial phone. Everyone’s number that we needed to call was a three-digit number. If you needed to call anyone farther away, than just a few miles, you had to call the operator. She would dial it for you. When you picked up the phone you had to wait to see if anyone else was on it. There may be several homes on the same line. If no one was on it, you could dial, and at any time, your neighbor could pick up their phone and listen. Not much privacy there. We didn’t make very many phone calls. There were a good many arguments over nosy neighbors listening in, to be sure.

Toys just were not part of the program. We had a dirt pile that provided hours of entertainment, creating things in the dirt. We did have a ball and a bat, but only one glove. It was not too important because the ball was so soft. My brother and I used to go up in the woods and play quite a bit. There was an old abandoned split rail fence around the area we played in. We helped ourselves to the rails and made a fort. Not much to look at, but great for two preteens.

We moved from this house when I was twelve years old into a house that actually had an inside bathroom and running water. I believed we were becoming rich. It was situated on a farm of about three hundred acres. It did not take long for me to wonder onto the farm and asked if I could do any chores, hopefully for a little pay. From age twelve and soon to be thirteen until the day I graduated, I worked on this farm. Also, two others close enough for me to walk to. These six years taught me more of the things I would need in the future than any school ever taught me. I learned about machinery—how to operate it, how to maintain it, in general, how to work. The farm had around a hundred head of cattle and three hundred hogs. The cattle were, at first, mainly milk cows. There was a lot of work every day just dealing with that. Then the government stepped in heavily, with laws (pasteurization and homogenization), more rules, and ways for them to steal your money.

We switched to beef cattle. We grew most of the food necessary for the animals to eat. Then we butchered the animals for most of the food we ate. We butchered in the winter every two weeks in the garage under one of the houses. We sold the meat to the public right from the garage. Then the government stepped in again and made more rules about who could make money without the government having their fingers in it. We quit butchering and running our own meat store. We sold pigs to the volunteer fire company, and they butchered them for sausage and sold to the public. Again, until the wonderful all-knowing government stepped in. They claimed it was safer for the public for them to be involved. Yes, with all their chemicals and preservatives and, of course, the money they were missing out on the other way. Got to love that government, always thinking of us.

I worked every day after school, every weekend, every holiday, and then all summer long at all three farms. When I finished working for the main farm, I would walk over the hill, about a mile, to another farm and feed his animals every night. This was tough in the winter, but I never missed a day. The main farm worked all year round. We cut down trees in the winter and made barrel staves for a whiskey company. As I mentioned, we butchered in the winter. We also hauled Christmas trees for another tree farm out to Akron, Ohio. This was a cold, cold duty. The truck we had didn’t make a lot of heat, and without any interstates like today, it was all two-lane highways. Usually, my pay for these trips was a meal purchased for me during the return trip.

I didn’t make much money, but I did stay very busy. My brother ran a gas station that was only a mile up the road from the house, so I spent a lot of late evenings there. I even ran it for him if he had to do something else. This is where the little gang began. Not much of a gang, just myself and about five really close friends. We spent a lot of time together, hanging out, going to swimming holes, going to the drive-in movie, and sneaking in. My buddies and I loved sneaking into the drive-ins. We very seldom were caught, and if we were, they would just say, If you can’t afford to pay for a ticket, stop at the gate and just tell us that. We would usually just leave and sneak in again from a different direction. We walked in over the hill, we hid in the trunk of the car, etc. My older brother was so honest and timid he would never sneak in, but then he also had a paying job being able to afford a ticket. I very seldom got paid on the farm even though I worked so much. My brother was so worried about being caught that after we sneaked in he wouldn’t even allow us to sit in his car. It used to really piss him off when we would sneak in when it was a dollar a carload night.

The four guys that I normally sneaked in with remained friends the rest of our lives. Matter of fact, five of us served in Vietnam, and at one time, four of us were there overlapping each other’s tours. I only ever saw one of them while I was there. The look on his face the day I walked into his hooch was incredible. You don’t really expect to see some from home when you are 12,500 miles away from it. We spent a little time together before I had to get back to my base. I had been sent the addresses of a couple of other guys from home but never had good enough timing to actually catch up with them.

I got good grades in school in everything but math. I loved history, geography, chemistry, and English. I got into a few fights, nothing major, usually over something stupid. I liked school enough I really didn’t want it to end. I chased a lot of skirts, but none lasted very long. I would walk this girl to the bus a couple of weeks, then another one the next couple, just high school crap, I guess. Then in my senior year, this all changed. I was walking down the hall to my next class, and it was a very crowded hall, always was. There was one of the people that belonged to one of the many clubs that are formed in all schools, and he was taking pictures for the yearbook. Hey, the Yearbook Club. Just in front of me, he stopped and took a picture of two girls coming the opposite direction. I looked over to see who he was snapping, and I made eye contact with one of the girls. I did not know her, and I don’t remember ever seeing her before, but something magical happened. I only made eye contact for five seconds and my life changed forever. I had never seen anyone more beautiful. I bumped into the people in front of me because I was looking over my shoulder at my future wife.

It took the rest of the day and into the evening to find out who she was, where she lived, and all the important things a man needs to know about his future wife. Her name was Angela. I went home from school that day and told all my friends at the station that I was going to marry this girl. There were three immediate issues: (1) Angela had a boyfriend. I told you earlier in high school those things change quickly. This one did. I called the unlucky beau on a rotary phone at the fire hall next to the service station. Dialing his three-digit number and did not care if anyone was listening. I dismissed him from any current obligations he may feel he had toward this young girl. He knew me very well; his brother happened to be one of little group at the station. He told his brother and the brother said, Better let it be. This was the same brother I would bump into while in Nam. One problem solved; (2) Angela was a freshman and only fourteen years old. I was a senior and seventeen years old.

In high school, unlike later in life, the age difference was going to be an issue. In high school, a senior dating a freshman is known as cradle robbing. This was going to create some serious situations with a lot of people. I didn’t care to much what people in school thought. My parents didn’t much give a shit what I did. I was hardly ever at home, usually only to sleep. I did care what her parents thought. As it turned out, they were not very happy about it; 3) The third problem was, she did not feel the same as I did about the eye contact. Later in life, she told people, jokingly, that she saw the next few weeks after the eye contact as stalking. I was able to bring her around to my way of thinking. Like most young girls or guys, a senior paying attention to a freshman always has a special lure to it.

I walked Angela home from school every day. She lived only a few blocks away. This meant that I would miss the bus every day and had to hitchhike home. I didn’t mind this at all. I just needed to be around her. We met at dances, at basketball games, and at every opportunity we had. Things got very, very close and I believed she did feel the same as I did about where this relationship was going. I dated her through my senior year, much to her mothers’ dismay. Then the high school gave me a great present. On my eighteenth birthday, the high school gave me a diploma—eighteen years old, graduated, and ready to move into the big wide world.

I didn’t like it much at home. I was there as little as possible. I was sick of the way things were working out at the farm. Forty, fifty hours a week and usually ten or twenty dollars a month. There had to be something better out there. I can’t remember if I saw an ad in the paper or on the black-and-white television we owned, but I had seen something about DeVry Tech Electronic School. I always thought of going into electronics. I wrote to them, and they sent me their information. I finally saved enough money for a bus ticket, and I was off to Chicago. Right off the farm, no experience at city life. I had never even been in a city at this point. It was scary, but I had made my mind up that I was going. I wasn’t going to miss home life. I hardly had any. I was going to miss my girlfriend. I just didn’t realize how much. It would be three more years before she graduates. Maybe I can start a life and come and get her after her graduation. Either way, I am going to marry this young girl.

I took a Greyhound bus to Chicago, getting off in the Loop downtown. I wasn’t bashful, I wasn’t naive, but I was quite nervous. I took a city bus to the school and got signed in. They had a room at a private house arranged for me. Several people would rent out rooms to school attendees. I got to the house and wasn’t especially comfortable. It was an elderly Polish couple. I think they were more nervous about me than I was of them. I knew I had to find a job right away, along with the school, or I wouldn’t survive here. This couple had been through this before. They actually introduced me to their neighbor that owned a small tool and die shop not too far away. Having worked on the farm and being around machinery, they were happy to try me out. I worked on, of all things, parts for milk machines. I ran a lathe, a drill press, and various saws. I fit right in with the plan. Unfortunately, this contract they had was soon filled, and before a new one came up, they could not afford to keep me. The owner felt bad, but he told me of a company that was always hiring, and since I was going to electronics school, they would probably accept me right away.

I went to apply at Motorola. They were a little farther away from the house, but the city bus system was pretty good. I was learning my way around fairly well. I changed school around from afternoons to daylight. I worked for Motorola eleven hours a night and went to school seven hours a day. On the weekends, I was pretty numb and just rested. I moved out of the house with the old couple into an apartment. Then I picked up a buddy from school for a roommate to share the expenses.

My roommate Rich and I did spend some time together on the weekends. We caught a Beatles movie one weekend. They were really popular at this time. Another weekend we were asked by a fellow student if we would be interested in an airplane ride. Neither of us had been in a plane before, so we said sure. It turned out to be a four-seat plane. The pilot was trying to become a commercial airline pilot. He needed so many hours in different-size planes before getting a license. He would take three other people with him to fly, and they would split the cost of the ride by the hour. We took off from a small airport west of Chicago. It wasn’t long until we were flying over downtown. I made the mistake of asking, What’s that building down there?

The pilot, on the opposite side of the plane from me, could not see the building in question. He turned the plane on its side for a better view. This stirred me up a little. I was still able to take a few pictures. Then the pilot, Jerry, said, It is really boring to just get up here and sit. It is much more enjoyable to land at a small airport and continue to taxi and take right off again. This turned out to be true. Coming into one small airstrip, there was construction going on right across the street from the runway we were going to land on. There were guys up on scaffolding laying cement blocks. Jerry came so low to the building that the workers were scurrying down their ladders for fear of getting scraped. Jerry didn’t say a word, just taxied and went back up again.

Downtown Chicago

This time, Jerry said, still boring, so he did something very memorable—at least to me. He shut off the engine. The plane slowed like coming to a stop. Then the nose of the plane went up in the air. Shortly after, there was a horn sound that went off and we went from staring into space to a nosedive toward the ground. Going down, I felt like there was no weight to my body at all. Then finally, Jerry pulled out, starting the engine and leveling off. When he pulled out, I felt like my jaw was going to meet my feet, feeling totally compacted into the seat. I was ready to go back to point A, land, and put my feet on solid ground again. Rich and I never rode with Jerry again.

This is so weird to me. Check this out. I went to Chicago, off the milk farm. I went to work for a tool and die company making parts for milk machines. When this contract was filled, I went to work at Motorola, making handheld radios for military use in Vietnam. After I was in Nam for a while, I had to use one of the radios that came from Motorola. I had a roommate from Sue City, Iowa. When I left school, I told him goodbye and figured I would never see him again. I would later hear him yelling my name when he saw me walking down a dirt road

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