Armored Sentinel (Temple, Tex.), Vol. 27, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, July 25, 1969 Page: 21 of 28
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you CAN NEVER
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tcith Buck O'Brien
The generation gap though highly publicized
nowadays is nothing new. Papa Adam never
did dig Cain's hangup about Abel.
But people under 30 cart get together and
talk (rap) with people over 30 sometimes if
conditions are right.
You could find the right conditions at a
stateside bar where a couple of young service
men on leave have struck up an amiable con
versation with a vet of World War II.
At first the boys who have served in Vietnam
are wary. They don't want any old-soldier talk
from this guy who was they think a hero at
But when they get to exchanging gripes they
find out that though weaponry may change
radically the complaint department doesn't
vary all that much.
We listened in on such a confrontation the
other night and what really grabbed the kids
was the older guy's remark "What really
bugged me the most was the language barrier.
I could never understand what the natives were
*XPFC SMITH SERIAL NO -ER-36-2&-36/'
"That's always tough" agreed one of the
others. "Where were you stationed? Italy
Germany .. Japan?"
"Hell no!" said the old timer. "I was in
And he proceded to detail some of the odd
things that happened to him in a country called
England where "nobody speaks English!"
It all started when he tried to make a phone
call and the operator told him "You're
through." He spluttered that he was not through
and indeed hadn't even begun to talk.
Eventually he learned that the operator meant
his call had been put through and he was now
connected to his party at the other end.
Then he had trouble shopping. When he asked
for a belt the clerk brought out a girdle. When
he requested garters he got the frilly kind girls
should have specified sock suspenders.
And if he wanted suspenders he must call them
Eating out gave him some trouble too. He
found out if you want roast beef you order a
joint. To get French fries you callfor chips. If
you actually want potato chips the word for
them is "crisps." A pie is a tart.
"It's easy enough to catch on that they call
ameiican AIMEI reacts FMTHES: Published by W. B. Bradbury Co.. a private firm. Opinions expressed by the publishers and writers herein are their own and are not to be considered an official express* by any Military Depart**
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gasoline 'petrol' because that's short for 'pe
troleum' and besides it doesn't mean something
else to us" he said. "But how about things
like 'bowler?' Would you like to go to a.horse
race called 'The Kentucky Bowler?' Wouldn't
you thing it was some guy knocking down
tenpins? But a bowler is what they call a derby
"One time I was in a pub (saloon) and I
nearly got into a fight with our noble allies that
would probably have broken off diplomatic
relations" said the old soldier. "I was a little
jittery for some reason or other and my hand
shook as I picked up my half a bitter. (Half
pint of ale.)
"A chap next to me said 'I say you're father
"I said 'Who you calling nervy you bum?'"
"We were squaring off when a bi-linguist
intervened. He explained the other guy only
meant I was nervous. He also explained that
I hadn't called the chap an ass which is what
'bum" means over there."
The young GI's agreed with the vet that
World War Two must have been pretty terrible
and they had just joined in singing a medley of
"By the Time I Get to Phoenix' and "Lily
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Armored Sentinel (Temple, Tex.), Vol. 27, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, July 25, 1969, newspaper, July 25, 1969; Temple, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth255033/m1/21/: accessed December 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Casey Memorial Library.