Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trading Camels for Lice

Here’s another page from my dad’s World War II journal:

When our ship arrived in North Africa the day before Christmas, we were several miles south of the city of Oran.  We marched into the city with full packs and with whatever equipment was necessary and were herded into what was once a livery stable and told to bed down for the night. As there was only a cobble stone floor to sleep on, I knew this was going to be a rough night, so I nosed around and spotted the Arab caretaker who had a little room off to the side of the stable, which contained a flimsy bed with a straw mattress.  My Buddy, Kenny, and I proceeded to negotiate and finally arrived at the bargaining point of a pack of Camel Cigarettes in exchange for the bed for the night. I was awakened several times during the night by an itching sensation, but I was so tired, I paid little attention to it and went back to sleep.
 When I awoke in the morning, both Kenny and I were covered with red blotches all over our bodies. We, of course, made fast tracks to our Unit Doctor, who as soon as he saw us, began to laugh and said “you guys thought you were so smart; now you have body lice, so I’ll have to send you to the Delousing Clinic.”  If anyone has had the experience of a Delousing Clinic, they will understand the uncomfortable and miserable couple of hours that are spent in this tent-like enclosure, and I think for a month, my whole body felt like it was on fire. Of course my buddy Kenny blamed me for making the deal, but you can bet we never again tried to talk someone out of his bed.

1 comment:

  1. He was almost as beautiful then as he is now...my favorite man!