As mentioned already, my father is in a Army light bomber squadron in the Pacific theater serving as the senior sergeant in charge of its armorer section. Those guys that prepped and load the bombs as well as the machine guns on their planes.
One day, back in the 80's, I'm driving home from another state where I'm been on business. My route to my home took me near where my mother and father lived, so I stopped at their house for a short visit.
Some more background first. Dad had met my Mom before he joined the Army Air force. She was the manager of a bus station cafe in the small Arkansas town she lived. Before joining the Army Air Corp, Dad worked for a beer distributor, living about 50 miles to the west of where my mother lived. Anyway, she will take a train to where Dad was stationed in Georgia and they will marry a couple of months before his squadron was shipped to the Pacific. Dad's in the Pacific and my older brother is born.
So, I'm visiting with my father and mom is in another part of their house. I'll ask Dad a question about being in the Pacific. "Dad, what did you and your guys do for fun in the pacific....play baseball, volleyball, football or something?" He smiled and quickly said, "We played poker." Mind you, I could remember a fair number of times growing up when Dad got together with his buddies to play poker, but his answer of Poker for fun in the Pacific kinda surprised me. Dad will explain, "son most of the time we were on some island with no where to spend the money we were paid." What money we got each month was useless. So, most of the guys in our squadron and the guys in the other squadrons on our airfield, began a poker game on the day we were paid. Which for you none military guys, was the first of each month and you were paid in cash too.
Dad told me the poker games could last for quiet a few days. They only ended when one or two guys had won everyone else's money. Mindful of my Dad's love of playing poker, I'll ask him if he'd ever been a big winner in the Pacific poker games. Keep in mind my mother had been absence from much of our conversation, but had walked into our room and overheard enough of our conversation to realize what it was about. She was standing behind my Dad and he did not know she was in the room with us.
Dad replied to my question about winning one of the Squadron's monthly Poker games by telling me of winning big for two or three straight days in the games, winning about $1500. But his luck turned on cards drawn and lost almost all of his prior winnings. With these words, my mother made her presence known to Dad and unloaded on Dad. Won't repeat my mother's words, they were quite colorful, so to speak. Basically, Mom yelled, there I was living with my mother in Arkansas with our baby Larry (my older brother) trying to live on your army pay and you didn't think to send us any money before you lost it....more yelling I can't repeat, before she stormed out of the room.
Kinda felt sorry for Dad, but asked him, well why didn't you send her any of the money? Dad just shook his head and tells me. "Son, even while I was a senior sergeant, I was an enlisted man and we could only send home the amount of money I was paid in cash...your mother already got most of my pay check, I received very little of what I was paid. Besides that, in the pacific we were paid in paper money of whoever owned the island in the Pacific before the Japs captured it. In other words, if he was on a Dutch owned island before the Japanese captured it and we'd taken it back, he was paid with Dutch paper money made by the U.S. treasury department during the war. So, it was worthless in the U.S. "Your mother couldn't have spent any of it if I'd been an officer and sent it to her." Yep, officer's could send more money home than they were actually paid.
Last edited by huffmanite; 03/22/17.