Oct 10 2010

Fred and Jonnie

Published by at 7:38 pm under The Fam

Me: How did you meet Grandpa?

Grandma: Oh, in Big Rapids. I lived there, you know, and he was going to Ferris. Well, I worked in Big Rapids and I would eat lunch every day with a friend at this place called Johnny Rockets – it was a place that was popular with the college kids. Anyway, he came in with a friend, and we kind of got to talking. They had a canoe, and they used to go out into the lily pads where the bullfrogs were sitting. And they’d take their paddles and whack the bullfrogs on the head! (laughs) And they’d bring the frogs back to their boarding house and their landlady would cook them frog legs. Anyway, they asked me and my friend if we’d like to go out in the canoe sometime. And we said, “Yeah, that sounds OK, we’d like a canoe ride”. Well, then the next time we saw them, they said “Oh well, you know, we broke a paddle” and we said, “Oh, that’s just a big story”. In the meantime, my friend and I moved to Lansing to work. You know, this is when the war was starting up, and all the work was in Lansing. So, I lived there, and I went to the pharmacy to mail in my income taxes, and there was a guy I knew who worked there. And he said that Fred was asking about me, and that he’d like to get to know me. He’d like to know where I lived. And I said, “Well, I don’t believe that!” But he did come around, and we went out, and things just took off.

Me: Did he finish college before he went to the war, or -

Grandma: No, he finished college first. He got a – a what do you call it?

Me: A deferment?

Grandma: Yeah, a deferment. He finished his college and then he went into the Army, and they put him right in with the fighters! I mean, here he is, college educated, a pharmacist, medical background, but they didn’t need that, they needed people on the front lines. But, he didn’t spend much time in the service. He was wounded, you know. D-Day plus 16, he was in…(she tries to remember the name of the French town), anyway, he was wounded. He was shot through the neck, and then he was in the hospital. And the Germans kept sending over those bombs, you know, the buzz bombs.

Me: Was he in the hospital in France, or in London?

Grandma: London.

Me: Wartime London is no place to be. I can’t believe the hospital wasn’t bombed.

Grandma: Well, he was in the hospital for, I think, six months. The bullet went in here (she indicates the side of her neck) and then out the other side. They said it was so close to severing a major…(she laughs a little) but it worked out. He came home on the hospital ship.

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