July 29, 2009

No Sympathy For This Devil



  1. In 1971, I was stationed at Fort Hamilton in NYC under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

    Undoubtedly the most handsome man on post was a white PFC.

    Undoubtedly the most beautiful woman on post was a black woman.

    They were married. He was one of the guards that I posted as sergeant of the guard. In casual conversation, it came out that with their baby, they couldn’t go out and see NYC.

    I told him that if he liked I would babysit, that I had five younger brothers and sisters and I had a clue as to how to handle a baby. We agreed on a night.

    I showed up, great baby, had him/her laughing its ass off in about a minute. When they headed for the door, I asked them what they were planning on doing. They planned on walking around the neighborhood outside the base and they had not been around there before.

    I lined out on paper, a trip that I figured would take about 7 or 8 hours, gave them the subways to take, where to get off. They thanked me profusely and then told me that they only had enough between them for a burger, fries and a soda.

    I pulled out some money, a $20 if I remember rightly, and sent them off. They came back about 2AM after being gone for 8 hours. Very profusely thanked me. Apologized for being late. Checked the kid. Told me what a great time they had and thanked me and thanked me and thanked me. I gave them my number at the office that only rang on my desk.

    The military has forms for every type of requisition and I requested service at my desk for every single phone in the office (eight to ten) since NO ONE ever answered their damn phones, as long as I was at it I requisitioned a private line. So they could call if they needed a baby sitter.

    She got a job in the PX so I babysat a lot. Missing my baby sister probably contributed to that.

    When the dude was on guard duty, he told me that I was the only person that talked to them.
    I almost cried. They were great people and to be shit on like that.

    Then I read about the homicides of the marine and his wife and I did cry.

    Whatever happened to MY country?

    Comment by regulararmyfool — August 2, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  2. Good question, regulararmyfool, and I wish I had a good answer. My incomplete answer is that most people turned into “I got mine, you get yours,” selfish, spoiled yuppies, but that doesn’t cover everything.

    Yours is a sadder story than what happened to my friend who married a black woman in the mid-70s in Chicago. Even though they were living in one of the supposedly most liberal parts of the city — Rogers Park on the Northside — they still ran into overt and covert racism. In restaurants, waitresses would sometimes ignore them; once when they went to rent an apartment, the landlord was already to rent it to my male white friend, but then he saw his wife come up the stairs and suddenly ‘remembered’ he had another couple coming to see the place. These kinds of slights and insults continued throughout the 70s. I’m glad to say things are better now, at least in that area.

    I briefly dated a black girl in the ’60s and there were few places we could go and feel comfortable; it’s what finally broke us up.

    Comment by RS Janes — August 2, 2009 @ 4:57 am

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