I was all ready to leave the A.S.T.P. when, one fine day, we were called out and given our school assignments. Mine was Northeastern University in Boston! After almost five months away from home, my sweetheart, and my parents for the first time; and with Boston only a free train ride from home…Goodbye Ft Benning and officer's training school--hello weekends at home!
It was on one of these weekends, December 23, as I recall, that I came whistling up on my mother's front porch ready for Christmas. I found that my father had just expired from a coronary infarct and was still there in bed and Shirley and my mother were sitting there in a state of shock. Bad Christmas as you can imagine.
My brother Malcolm was able to get leave. We arranged a funeral quickly and I wired my outfit requesting an extension of my pass. We filed a claim for my father’s group life insurance and were informed that his employer had deducted premium money but never paid the insurance company. We went to an old-time lawyer and he told us the employer was filing for bankruptcy and we might as well forget the insurance. (I later learned that he was the employer's attorney).
My mother had no source of income, so I filed an allotment and she got part of my $50 per month Army pay and part of Malcolm's also. My other brother, Clark, had his wife, Doris, to support.
When I got back to Boston I found that the Major heading up our unit had recorded me absent without leave (AWOL!) and was about to put me in the stockade. He finally listened to reason and I just went back to classes.
I was in Boston for a few more weeks when one morning there was a notice on the bulletin board ordering us not to leave the dormitory. The war was at a stage where they decided that we would not be useful as engineers before the war ended and the A.S.T.P. was terminated.
Five nights later we were on maneuvers in the 101st Infantry Regiment 26th Infantry Division (known as the Yankee Division). From a dorm room in Boston to pup tents in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.