“Down Memory Lane”
By Lover Boy
This all happened when we were in the Marithime [sic] Alps. The regiment requisitioned a WHOLE resort hotel, servants, entertainers, the WHOLE SHEBANG–for rest and recuperation purposes for the men.
It was our privilege to go on a 5 day pass to this rest camp as we called such places that the outfit acquired for us. It was located in a town called MENTON. My first visit there, I fell in love with the singer in the cocktail lounge, I mean, I FELL! I made up my mind then and there that I was going to marry her.
I told my buddies about my love for her and that I was going to propose to her the next time I go back there on leave. I was in love with her so intensely that I was the topic of conversation throughout the entire company.
Finally my turn for R and R came up again and my buddies all wished me luck. They all hoped and prayed for me that she would accept me.
Upon reaching the hotel I found her and proposed to her at once. She was very nice and told me that she will marry me when the war was over. I said “No! It might be too late because tomorrow I may get killed. But that I can die with the satisfaction that I died accomplishing the most desired thing in life! She said, “No, But I’ll fix it so you will be safe and return to me after this war is over. Then we can get married.” I said, “How can you fix it?” She took out her calling card from her purse and scribbled something in French which I did not understand. She said that whenever I got into any kind of trouble, if I produced this card everything would turn in my favor. Realizing that this was her polite way of giving me the brush off, I went back to my unit the very same night.
Getting off the truck and hiking back up to my foxhole, I met the platoon Sgt. He knew from the looks on my face that things did not go in my favor. He asked me and I told him the whole story. He said he knew a little French so he wanted to see the card. After reading it he beat me up so bad I had to run from his attack. He threw the card at me so I picked it up and went to see the CO. He wanted to know whether I had been beaten up by the singer’s boy friend. When I told him it was the Platoon Sgt. and told him the whole story, he wanted to see the card. After reading the scribblings he got red in the face, ordered me about face and gave me a healthy boot right in the rear and I went flying out of his tent. I made up my mind then and there that I must keep the card as a souvenir and never show it to another person.
That very sane night out on a patrol I got captured by a handfull [sic] of Jerrys. They took me to their rear and after the usual formalities, I was confined in a stockade. Their rear was not too far from our own lines because of the lack of action at this particular front.
Dreaming and thinking of home, my buddies and what-nots, I started thinking about the card. I called the guard that was walking his post in front of the stockade and asked him if he could read French. He replied, ‘Ja” So I handed him the card. He looked at me angrily and walked away only to come back with his superior.
They took me to their CO and they exchanged a few words and started hitting and kicking me. All three of them against me and they finally kicked me out of the building and left me there.
When I came to, I found myself still outside the building unguarded; so I waited until nightfall in the same position and escaped. I made it back to our lines safely, and reached in my pocket I found that the Jerries had stuffed the card back in, put it carefully in my wallet, swore that I’ll never show it to another person again.
Back again in Honolulu, after all these years, I ran across a very very close friend who had been away on the mainland going to school. I related to him this particular experience about the French girl and about the card. He being my very close friend, offered to solve the mystery by translating the writings on the back of the card. I refused and told him I wouldn’t even show it to my father if he could understand French.
Through much arguing and talk, it was finally agreed that I would stand by the entrance to our home with the door wide open. He would stand on the opposite side of the table. It was agreed that I would throw the card on the table and run like hell out of the house. If it was not as bad as all that, he would call me back to explain I what was written on the card.
Everything was set; he stool on the opposite side of the table. I opened the door and took my wallet out-and to this day I cannot locate the card!