Epilogue, Life after WWII
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Orv's WWII Autobiography
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Life goes on.
After the war pics
On October 14, 1945 I received an honorable discharge from the army. Getting settled into civilian life was not easy. I found difficulty relating to the everyday, mundane activities. I found it difficult to express myself in regards to my war experiences. I guess my verbal skills were lacking, and some painful emotional feelings would surface. I wanted badly to be able to move on in civilian life and forget the war years. This is what I and most GI's dreamed about, peaceful pursuits, finding one's calling in life, meeting someone to share family life through the joys and sorrows of civilian life.
The local state employment office in Hopkins, Minnesota offered veterans guidance. My brother, Vernon and I decided to go through the testing program for job placement. One day at the employment office we saw a notice for a job at a steel processing plant nearby. We checked in at the plant and were hired on the spot. Oh, how wonderful? We would begin working that same night at midnight. This was our first job.
Vernon and I were assigned to a fenced in, lighted, outdoors yard where there were large amounts of cast iron. Our job was to break the large cast iron pieces into small ones. This setting reminded me of the Buchenwald Concentration camp. After about two hours, both my brother and I decided this wasn't what we had in Mind for a civilian calling.
In high school I had taken the college entrance tests given by the University of Minnesota. However, my parents were very poor so I had very little hope of a college education. However, I had learned that I could attend college on the GI Bill. This I began looking into very seriously. In the meantime I met and fell in love. I had never been a very serious student, and after three and a half years in the army I did not feel I had the ability to complete four years of college. However, Mary was very encouraging and somehow I did get through my undergraduate studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.
At some point along the way I decided to choose the Lutheran Ministry as my vocation. I was accepted at the Chicago Seminary and did attend three years of theological studies. During the third year I conducted services as a student pastor. Dr. Joseph Sittler called me into his office one day. He wanted me to go through the ordination ceremony. Well, this was a difficult decision for me. I told him I did not feel I was ready to make this decision at that point. I had real concerns about my own abilities, I did not feel ready.
I left the Chicago Seminary without being ordained. The next year I continued my studies at the Northwestern Seminary in Minneapolis. At this point I was appointed to be an assistant at one of the churches in Minneapolis. I was the liturgist and sometimes preached. As time went on I found myself more convinced that I would like to work with young people in education.
I looked into what was available throughout the United States. There was a big demand for teachers in California. Mary and I and the kids packed up all our earthly possessions in a homemade trailer and headed west.
I guess this was a good decision. I acquired three different California educational credentials, The General Elementary , The Disability Learning, and The Supervisors and Administration credentials. This gave me an opportunity to move around in the education system. In the thirty years in California education I taught all the grades through eighth grade, worked in the Educational Handicapped program and did some administration work. I guess my favorite was in the classroom, fourth through sixth grade. These have been very satisfying years for me; not without trials and tribulations.
I am happily retired, Mary and I do lots of travelling, mostly visiting with our twelve grandchildren. Mary and I have gone back several times to visit some places I was during WWII. Visiting Omaha Beach and the graves of my buddies lost during the Battle of the Bulge were very emotional experiences. Sometimes I find it hard to believe it all happened to me. It must be a dream! Speaking about dreams, I no longer have the bad war nightmares, and I am able to articulate myself about those war experiences without breaking emotionally.
I have much to be thankful about. Life has turned out much better than I could have Imagined!
I just wouldn't feel right about not remembering the 926 Signal comrades who had their lives cut short.
Capt. Harvey R. Clugston, our medical officer, seriously wounded Dec 16, 1944 by an German 88 shelling, Died Dec.17, 1944.
1st Sgt. Clarence E Cochran, seriously wounded Dec. 26, died Dec. 27,1944. German bomb at Roux, Belgium
The following were billeted in the classroom with me,probably within 20 feet from me:
M/Sgt Lloyd W. Hunt, Olin E. Fritz, Robert D. Baldwin, Santiago H. Gonzalez, Talisfor Buizeika, Robert P. Bivins all killed by the Flying Bomb, V-1, nicknamed the "buzz bomb", the night of Dec. 28, 1944 in Liege, Belgium.
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