Hellcat News, (Fullerton, Calif.), Vol. 57, No. 11, Ed. 1, July 2004 Page: 12 of 20
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one. Hope Jim improves so that we can enjoy their company in
Bill and Kay Giannopoulos [C] won't be attending cause his
heart is giving him problems. They too will be missed.
On a happier note, Janice and Howard Bullwinkle [C] plan on
being with us. They still love to golf and always plan a trip to San
Antonio for a week after any Texas reunion. It's one of their favorite
cities where they get in a lot of golf too. We enjoyed San Antonio
when the 12th Armored had a reunion there, especially the River
Walk, beautiful flowers and the Alamo with its history.
Earl Norris [A/714] was very thoughtful in sending me some old
pictures he collected through the years and made copies of. I'll use
them in the column when I can. He and Lisa are two busy people.
Were planning to be at the Western, Smoky Mountain and Eastern
Chapter meetings and then head back home in May. They are a
wonderful couple and are such an asset to the 12 ADA. Know we
will see them in Abilene.
Good to hear from Bernice Kastrup, widow of Henry [A], but
disappointed that she won' be in Abilene. Her granddaughter will be
having a big wedding about then and Bernice will be having out-of-
town company before that. She is fine and keeps busy as always.
She says hello to all from her.
Our birthday clubber, Cliff Woycke [C], writes from Cince with
not much news but Happy Birthday wishes to Emily Davis [A],
Laurence Olson [C], Ruth Schuler [B], Jerry Sus [C], T. Roger
Scott, Hugh Silsby [A] and Cliff Woycke. Also Mel Treves [BN/
HQ] and Bert Swenson [B]. We hope they have many, many more
They will be going up to their lake cottage and says he hopes it's
still standing. Know how you feel cause you never know what
might have happened over the winter. Colleen is feeling fairly good
and has to see her oncologist less and less. Marge still has to go to
hers every two months and so far so good.
Heard from my good buddy, Paul Hoffman [HQ] and he has
been having surgery in preparation for three tooth implants. It will
be six months before they can install the new teeth. Paul, from your
explanation of this procedure, it sounds painful as heck and nothing
I would like to have done. I have had false teeth since 1946 after
my service days. Says his medical exams have gone well. Had an
EMG to try to find what is causing the walking problem with his
left leg. He still walks his daughter's dog, Heidi, three or four times
a week even though he says he is a little gimpy but what can you
expect from an 80 plus old man. Paul said that, not me. He likes to
kid. Thanks for your good comments about the column and work
involved with being your Unit Rep. Says he keeps in contact with
Dave Monesmith and Wayne Dozier, mostly by mail, and what
great guys they are. I heartily agree with you, Paul. He lives in Fort
Wayne, IN, now and recalls that was the hometown of Gerald
Bright [A] and wishes he were alive so that they could be in contact
with each other. Years ago when Dot and he drove to Ft. Wayne to
visit their kids, Gerald and he would sometimes have breakfast or
lunch together. Says he misses the guy and I know the feeling cause
he and Eunice were wonderful people.
Paul's daughter's neighbor, who is an old International Harvester
employee for 43 years, is going to take him to the old plant some-
time. He has heard so much about it through the years so would like
to see it. He was one of the original 12th Armored Division
ordnance members when first drafted and then was transferred to
another unit. He thinks the plant is pretty much used for storage
facilities today. So good to hear from Paul, and he knows how I
need mail. Ever faithful buddy. Hope all goes well with your teeth,
Bob McMenamin [BTN/HQ] also knows how I need mail so
sends interesting things from the war days, such as this. On Nov.
21,1944, he wrote to his parents they were pretty well dug in where
he was and is pleasantly surprised that everything is quite comfor-
table. The most unusual part was the officers were allowed to billet
in private homes, so many of them had the best beds to sleep in
since being in the army. It is all part of "reciprocal aid" which
means reverse lend-lease. The local mayor records all the names of
people accepting officers and will see that the French government
reimburses its citizens later on. The enlisted men are also under
cover but do not have private rooms except in a few cases. Since he
was one of the few in the Battalion who spoke French at all and one
of the first here, he was assigned the job of securing the rooms. It
proved very interesting and was quite an education.
The second room he obtained was a large one with one of the
widest double beds he had ever seen, with a big table and spacious
closets. Some things were a little tacky but it was very clean so he
decided to take it for himself and Major Malcolm. The owner was
a florist of modest means, but a very nice man and family.
Madam was 42-45, very stout, with a ruddy complexion and a
big motherly smile. Her husband is more slight, quite a talker and
speaks a little English which made for easier relations as he didn't
have to depend on his linguistic abilities. Their 21-year-old son
joined the French Army after the liberation and was away training
most of the time. He is rather quiet and plays the accordion in the
local dance band.
The next is a girl about 18 or 19 who acts much younger. The 13-
year-old twins were his favorites and reminded him of his two
sisters at high school age when they all had fun together. The two
girls are quite different. Audette was tall, very pretty, big blue eyes
and fair complected. Genevieve is smaller, darker and more
talkative. One night he gave each of them a package of gum and
they were so tickled. Later on he passed out his last candy bar and
it was like Santa Claus coming. It was the first chocolate they had
tasted since long before the liberation. My generosity was nothing
compared to theirs and every night when he came in at 7:30 or 8:00
p.m. he had to join the host with a cup of coffee and a sip of
Calvados (substitute for cognac which the Germans stole and which
is much like our applejack).
Sunday night he had dinner with them - just couldn't get out of
it even though he knew they had been saving up all week in order
to have enough with which to make a spread on the weekend. There
was baked rabbit with a delicious gravy, roast beef served cold with
a special sauce of which they are particularly proud, cheese with
their delicious French bread and then cider with the meal and coffee
and Calvados afterward.
It was served in courses and the custom here seems to be to take
a long time eating, mixing a lot of good conversation in as the food
is served. It's not a bad habit either. Madam also did my laundry
even though I never asked her to. He had supplied her with soap
and for that thev will do almost anything. Soap, cigarettes and
John and Bonita McNaull [A/134] at the Reunion in 2001 held in
Abilene, TX, site of this year's Reunion.
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Twelfth Armored Division Association (U.S.). Hellcat News, (Fullerton, Calif.), Vol. 57, No. 11, Ed. 1, July 2004, newspaper, July 2004; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth410537/m1/12/?q=12th%20Armored%20Memorial%20Museum: accessed August 7, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.