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U.S. Navy School of Music (Part II)

Life at the School was well regulated. We held "watches" as we would at any Naval command. Usually after school hours. To the left with me is my good friend Carl Gottlieb. As you can see that I'm not so tall standing only at 5'-2" and weighing about 120lbs. I've been told that technically I could get out of the Navy for being so small. I would consider no such thing!

A couple of months after arriving at the school barracks the command renovated our spaces into four-bed units with larger and more attractive lockers. I was put in charge of my unit ensuring that we all performed our required chorse. This is when I started cartooning. Everything went well amongst us, except Dick Sholstag.

Dick was a unique person. His dad was a well known trumpeter out of Boston, Mass. And Dick was just as good. However, he would drive the officers crazy. Dick would sometimes run down the center of the barracks with his arms wide yelling "I LOVE YOU!!" and grabbing some unsuspecting officer in a bear hug.

What do you do????

Dick was one of those guys who can take any situation, turn it up-side-down and make you cry with laughter. One time at the base theater, an old WWII quanset hut, they were showing some move that was so serious it was really getting depressing. Dick was not one to miss an opportunity. Precisely at the right emotional moment in the film, Dick let out a laugh that shocked the heck out of everyone around us! He got us laughing, too. Soon Dick had the entire theater laughing! Nobody knew why they were laughting. Dick just had one of those infectious laughs that you had to laugh at or with. Definitly one of the of the funniest moments I can remember at the school.

Next to me in the photo on the left is David Thew, saxaphonist, and a good one also. We were the two "Frenchies" and I certainly dressed the part! I wore that stupid black and gold sweater all the way through college? Oh, boy.

We always managed to keep two gallons of wine in my locker. This is the first time I ever got straight "A's" in anything. I learned to relax. I soon discovered I could play much better after a few hits....er....glasses of wine. Yep, that was it.....wine.

Our music theory instructor was Charles Brown and he looked like Charlie Brown, too! The face, glasses. It was him!

Above right you can see Bill Wish concentrating on a game of badmitten. Bill was also the local barber for many of us earning him some extra cash and saving the rest of us a long trip and a wait at the base PX.

Also to the above right is John Anholt posing with me in front of my locker and my Valentine Day gift I just recieved from my mom. We all enjoyed the candies. Thanks, Mom!

I look at these pictures and I realize how small a person I was. What's funny is that I felt just as big as anyone around me. I guess that's because everyone treated me as an equal. I am so very gratful that they did. I can't remember kinder people than those I met in the Navy. What a wonderful experience.

Laundry day (upper right)....we all have to press our uniforms. I honestly don't remember how our clothes got washed. Did we send them out??? Isn't that funny? I forget but I do remember we had to do a lot of ironing which helped warm up the School of Music barracks during the winter I was there.

Music was our life at the school and we'd not only listen to it but study its composition, the arranging and especially the playing styles of the performers many of whom were our school mates!

Music was everywhere in the barracks. All kinds. One fellow was a superb oboeist and made custom reeds for the Navy fleet. The stereo in his locker was the first I had ever seen. He didn't play Beethoven on it. It was more like Lead Zeppelin and acid rock. I was astounded! I couldn't reconcile the two opposing forms of music. I had a lot to learn.

Several firsts in my life happened while at the Navy School of Music. First was seeing Fall, the change in seasons with all the beautiful leaves and trees. Second was chasing fireflies in some field after consuming large amounts of (3.2) beer with some buddies after romping through the forest in the back seat of somebody's old car. I think 1.0 beer would have done the job then! I was happy.

Third was going to an off base party hosted by one of our married types. Lots of beer (again) and sailors and only my friends wife to admire. No girls. What a stupid party! But that was soon forgiven because he had something I'd never seen nor heard before.....The new Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album on a real stereo! As the music played I sat in bliss in a corner all to myself with headphones on. I've never had used headphones. It was amazing! Again I was happy.

Did I mention this was the first time I ever got straight "A's" in anything??? I probably should mention that I drank with my friends nearly every night and went to bed in a happy stuper.

I think I found the secret to a happy life.

   
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