It was hard to go back and get to work, but I guess it was the best thing for me.
Every morning we would have reveille at 5:30 AM. We would fall out by platoons We would either have calisthenics or a long run. The run was for five miles, and at the end of the run we went through an obstacle course. This was; swinging across water on ropes, scaling a twelve-foot wall, crawling on our belly under some wire, then through some long tubes, and so on. We had two Chief Petty Officers who were in charge of our fitness, one was named Paycheck and the other was Belicheck. They would run along beside us yelling “faster, faster” and generally harassing us. After the obstacle course, we entered the track and ran for another quarter mile, then back to the barracks, shower and fall out by platoons and march to breakfast. This continued for a year.
I met a lot of interesting characters while I was at Lafayette in the Navy. One was a fellow named Mojo Maceri. Mojo was from Tupelo, Mississippi and he loved a party. Everyone liked Mojo and he was always the life of any party or get together. One thing about Mojo however is that, I never knew anyone who hated exercise more than Mojo. We had desks for study in each room in the barracks/dormitory that were closed on one side and open for your knees on the other. The closed side was toward the door of the room. There was a foot rail about 12” off the floor in the knee well on the other side. Mojo would get someone back in the platoon formation to holler “here” when they called Mojo’s name at roll call after we had fallen in formation to do our 6 AM run/ calisthenics/obstacle course for the morning.
Mojo would cram himself up in that knee well and perch on that foot rail under the desk. Shortly after we fell in out in from of the barracks the “Officer of the Day” would check each of the rooms to be sure everyone was out of bed and out of the barracks. Mojo would balance on that little rail until the inspector had passed and then crawl out and go back to bed and sleep for about a hour until we all came back from our exercise. Mojo finally got caught and they nearly killed him making him run extra for the next week or so. Mojo, however was not giving up. We had a huge tree at the east end of the barracks with limbs that came close to the window at the end of the hall. We lived on the second floor near that end of the hall. Mojo would again ask someone to call out “here” for him and he would crawl out the window into that tree and then climb up out of sight of the window and sit up there in the tree until he heard us marching off for our morning run. Mojo finally “washed out” and was sent on to some duty station as an enlisted man.
In 1943 Mom had been taking engineering classes at St Mary’s University in San Antonio at night to qualify helping with the war effort. She was accepted by the Navy Department and was ordered to report to the war department in Washington, D. C. She wound up designing CIC’s (Combat Information Centers) for ships. She did the aircraft carrier Franklin Roosevelt and was sent to the Navy Yards in Virginia to do the final inspection of the CIC after it was installed. I was so proud of her. A little ole teacher from San Antonio doing such an important job for her country during the war.
After the war was over she returned to San Antonio with Navy Commendation in hand and resumed teaching in Thomas Jefferson High School the rest of her working days. She retired at 65 to our farm at Leon Springs north of San Antonio. Later she moved to Alamo Heights in San Antonio and lived across the alley from her sister Helen(Cot) where they spent many days together until she passed away in July 1977.