[Marxism] new blog post: A Lucky Man, Episode 2
mikedjyates at msn.com
Mon Jul 12 21:03:01 MDT 2010
Full at http://blog.cheapmotelsandahotplate.org/2010/07/13/a-lucky-man-episode-2/
Like everyone else, Clyde Yassem remembered what he had been doing on December 7, 1941. Sleeping. His parents and two of his younger brothers rushed in to awaken him and tell him the news. He didn’t think much of it at first, but as what happened became clear, he could see that it had electrified the town. People talked of little else, and within a few days, young men were driving, taking the train, or hitchhiking to the next town up the river to the military recruiting offices. A patriotic fever swept the nation, and everyone was now paying attention to events in Europe and Asia. There were no Japanese-Americans in Clyde’s town, but the many families of German ancestry found themselves suspect by their neighbors. Some teenagers had vandalized the German Beneficial Union club, after a report in the big city paper said that the GBU was a hotbed of homegrown Nazis.
So many young factory workers were enlisting that the management began to keep workers on the job for ten and sometimes twelve hours a day, something it hadn’t done since 1929. Thanks to the new federal law, hours over forty a week had to be paid at time and one-half the regular hourly wage rate, and this meant that the men, including Clyde, were bringing home record paychecks. But Clyde was as caught up in war fever as anyone else. He had a good number and might not have been called up in the draft the government had initiated. But he wanted to join up and fight the Japs. So, in May 1942 he visited the naval recruiting office. A friend had told him that you had a better chance to survive in the Navy than in the Army or Marines. He just made the weight minimum, and when the doctor asked him about the red marks on his knuckles, which were scars left from the tuberculosis which had attacked his bones as a child, he told the doctor that he had fallen. Remarkably, the physician didn’t probe further....
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