History Items of the Canal Zone

[an error occurred while processing this directive] visitors since 11/02/2003.

George Chevalier's and other's Memories of the Zone
cronicled by
Dale C. Clarke from Iguana

General Rambles Nov, 2003

I feel I must pass this on. Never have I been so engrossed and moved by a story of WW11 as I have been by "Flags of Our Fathers" by James Bradley. This is the history of the battle for Iwo Jima and in detail covers the lives of the six men who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi as shown in the photo by Rosenthal. The author is the son of one of those six men. Every Marine should read this book and when all are finished I know you will feel the sobering flow from this work.

I believe that my husband has read that book. He is very big on military reading. I think that it was on the Commandant's reading list a few years back.

"Some women get all excited about nothing and then they marry him." -Cher

I HAVE JUST LISTENED TO THE TAPE VERSION AND IT IS REALLY A must READ OR listen to. Many things I did not know. But I was only born in '37 and remember the headlines. But I did go to Panama in 45 another story on a United Fruit boat out of New Orleans.
It is great.
Jungle rat

You and I share a common birth year. I remember rationing, lack of sugar, spam, Dad smoking Mexican cigarillos because he couldn't get Camels and a lot of kids around the area without fathers. At eight years old when the war ended, the stories out of the western Pacific didn't catch my imagination as the Lone Ranger and Tonto did. I have tried to read all available data since then but there is so much I guess I'll die without seeing more than a small fraction of it.

Remember, if you wake up with no flames around you, no smell of sulfur and no dirt on your covers, you are in business. God has given you a new day to make up for your shortcomings. Ciao
Bill Johnson

I am afraid so.
added to that list was making butter out of the white majorine and add the red stuff. I forgot what it was.
rolling tin foil from the gum rappers.

Right, grease with red stuff still didn't taste like butter, but we could then pretend it did. Saving the tin foil was our duty as patriotic Americans. Gas stamps and boots in the car and bike tires until you could read a newspaper through them. Fun times, what?

Yep we painted the bike tires with white wash to make them side wall. They gave us some as they painted the bottom of the palm trees. We watched for them to come around. Cards to make them sing on the spokes and plastic hanging out of the handle grip to make it really cool. Ware them very thin and then patched the inter tube so many times I wondered if it would last again. We had our own great parades with the wagons we pulled of the little people

I'm a few years younger but we kids still used cards on our bikes in the mid-50's in order to make a coarse engine sound and hey, if you didn't have those colored plastic streamers coming out of the handle bar grips, then you just weren't "with it". My poor mom used to wonder where all her clothes pins were going until she discovered them on my bike holding the cards.

I remember one Christmas when I was 9 and living in Rodman, I got an "English Racer" bicycle for Christmas and a toy rifle with a rubber bayonet knife on it--yippee! I thought I had died and gone to Heaven, I was so excited. Of course, I still got the obligatory dolls from my mom and from distant stateside relatives, but they sat collecting dust. After all, you can't play "soldiers" or "cowboys and indians" with a doll unless you use it to swing it at somebody's head. I was fond of paper dolls though but only because I could design my own "clothes". My bike was the envy of many kids as they had the "fat" kind of bikes while mine was the adult "slender" kind with a narrow frame and tires. But it still had the streamers...I couldn't omit those and I was positive that it helped me beat those fat bikes in impromptu races.

But when I wasn't playing with the neighborhood kids, I was usually hiking up to the base library to see what was new in books--I would check them out by the armload. A couple of years later, a family friend gave me a couple of old Nancy Drew books and that was the start of my long-lasting affair with mysteries. We also had a neighborhood "parades" too and occasional "plays" where us bigger kids (8 - 10) would round up the younger kids and make them be our audience.


We all had .22 rifles in our houses. If the kids wanted to go hunting, they could ask their parents, tell them where we were going and they would ask us to bring back what we shot. We didn't shoot anything that couldn't be eaten. One of my friends could shoot the heads off bob-whites with that single shot .22 and .22 shorts. I was lucky to get 2 of 3 cotton tails. Of course the same criteria couldn't be used in the CZ since Panama was another country. I'm sure you-all missed a lot that way. One thing you didn't miss was the Jungle experience. I had a rough time during my tours there keeping up with my boys who loved hiking the jungle trails. That's how I learned to ride them on my suzuki.

Ain't it wonderful what children will do to amuse themselves and learn about the world around them? Each generation invents the world through fresh eyes. Our great grandchildren will probably not even recognize the world we lived in as real. I know I have a hard time with Uncle Grover plowing with a pair of mules even though I helped him.

LOL Bill

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