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David Royko Psy.D


Another voice, and a "poem," from Dad's Blaine year


I received this via e-mail July 12, 2011:


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David,


I'm taking the chance that Mike Royko was your father. If so, he was stationed in Blaine, WA with the 757th AC&W Squad with my first husband, Charles "Chuck" Jumisko. I did not know him well but besides being stationed together, Mike and Chuck also played baseball on the Base team. However, like your father, Chuck passed away, in 1975, and I re-married and returned to Blaine from Bellevue, WA.


The reason for my note is to let you know I have one of Mike's writings and would like to send it to you. It's a take-off of "The Night Before Christmas" with the characters changed to some of the guys he was stationed with. Even then we all figured he'd do some writing someplace---such a gifted man he was.


Please let me know if I'm "talking to the right man" and I'll be happy to send the original poem on to you.


Sincerely,

Theo (Jumisko) Hull


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I let Theo know she found the right man, and she not only sent Dad's "Ode to a Comode" (below), she sent the following reminiscences:


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July 15, 2011

Hi, David.


...I was a very young lady of 19 when I met Chuck (almost 21) and most of his friends. You might guess that Mike's sharp wit and sense of humor were a bit intimidating to me but I appreciated it all the same.


Yes, Blaine was a quiet little town of about 2,000 people and the last stop on the I-5 before entering Canada. Birch Bay is about a mile from the base but it was a resort area and was pretty much closed down after September. There was little to do for any young people so a lot of the airmen found a ride into Blaine just five miles away. There was a movie theater which I worked in, or the bar in the Cafe International. Due to boredom, many of the guys spent too much time there and I imagine were reminiscing about home, etc... Your Dad was one of them. He did not seem happy and often appeared to be melancholy. Now I understand why! BTW, he didn't spend all his money at the International as it seems to me that some of the younger men ran out of money soon after payday and your Dad was kind enough to loan them some. Maybe he'd been through the same thing! I can only imagine his joy and excitement when he was transferred to the Chicago area and therefore, closer to his Carol!


The guys worked shift work at the base so they tended to spend off -time with one another. Chuck was in radar maintenance and had just returned from Korea when he came to Blaine. About six months later, it was discovered that he should have gone to Sacramento to work on airplanes (needless to say there were none in Blaine). We were married in July and reported in at Sacto in August. I do recall some of the names of Mike's friends in the book but did not know them well.


Have you been contacted by any of the guys from the 757th who knew Mike? The only reason for giving me credit for his poem would be if by chance one of Chuck's buddies would read it and we might get in touch.


By the way, I thought you'd find it interesting that there were many, many marriages of local girls and airmen; two of my sisters and several girlfriends among them. Quite a number of men remained in Blaine for one reason or another, and many women became scattered across the country when they married. With Canada being so close, a number of men married women from there...


Sincerely,

Theo


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Thanks so very much, Theo, for Dad's "Ode," and your own words that make the time-period live a bit more.

July 23, 2011


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(Scans of original pages at bottom.)


"Ode to a Comode,"

by Mike Royko, 1954, Blaine, Washington.


All spelling and grammar unaltered. "Re-up" meant to re-enlist. "Blanchard and Davis" refers to a legendary college football duo of the 1940s.


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RADAR MAINTENANCE SECTION

THE FIGHTING 757TH

P.O. Box 548, Blaine, Washington


TODAY


SUBJECT: The forthcoming wild drinking bout whick will be laugingly referred to as a "Party"


TO: The Great White Father and His gang of Wild Eyed, Frothy mouthed enebriates


ODE TO A COMODE


Listen my children and you shall hear

How the troops of this section

Did drink all the beer.

Twas early evening 19th of July

And the troops cried out

We are dry, we are dry.

To the house of the chief

In droves they did swarm

With the fear in their eyes

That the beer would get warm.

And the chief did await them

his eyes all agleam

for he had contrived

a naferious scheme.

He would ply them with liquor

And then they would sup

falling prey to his scheme

to make them re-up.

First to arrive as the evening grew dusky

was the troop known as Sam

and he cried "Suck a Husky"!

Then arrived Smitty

with Browny on his right

the Blanchard and Davis

of this Radar Site.

Then showed up Miles

So gay he did prance

little did he know

we would soon take his pants.

Look, there is Nagy

with his cheeks blushing red,

just three or four beers

and he'll be safely in bed.

What is that smoke?

Who can it be?

It's Leo the Lion

Chief of the S.O.P.

Then the crowd grew hushed

Their voices fell low

Here comes Audy

the great hero.

All the troops did arrive

and tilted the cup

till the chief cried out

"Let's all re-up!"

The crowd grew wild

and moved with a start

they fell upon him

with death in their heart.

And Royko did turn

and run like a deer

I didn't see shit

I ain't even here.

But the articles of war

were brought to his ears

and he was sentenced

to 6 7/8 years.


So remember, new airmen

don't drink too much brew

this terrible fate

could happen to you.


Henry Wadsworth Longroyko


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