. . . For Three Buddies
About a week ago my hometown newspaper told me online that Al had passed away. His obituary brought back memories of five weddings of army buddies in England during World War II.
These guys had met at various dances, mostly USO sponsored, the loves of their lives. Possibly there were five young ladies back in the states who cried when they learned their boyfriends had forsaken them and fallen to the wiles of four British girls and an Irish lass.
Such things did happen to American GIs far from those they loved back home. Except that I had a strong passion for keeping a promise once made, I could have been one of the hundreds who found love and marriage on foreign soil
But back to the memory Al's passing had resurrected. Al was from my hometown, a short-built Portuguese guy with a great sense of humor. (More another time about his humor) The others I have mentioned were Dewey, Sal, Sol and Peter.
For reasons that in the next paragraphs become a bit personal, I am not using last names.
Al fell in love with Jessie, Dewey with June, Sal with Annette, Sol with Nellie and Peter with an un-remembered London girl.
Here's where the story first gets somewhat personal, American GIs were getting paid in WWII just $21 a day, once a month unless they ranked higher than private - and then not much more.
How did a GI live on that much, paying for his $10,000 life insurance policy, send a little home to his folks, have enough left over to buy fish and chips now and then and also finance a wedding?
Al came to Old Newsie one evening and said "Jessie and I want to get married and we have gotten the OK from the Army but. . ."
"How much, Al" said Old Newsie, who at the time has gotten the nickname "the banker" by reason of being a non-drinker, non-smoker and a mostly stay-in-camp guy lending shillings and pounds to other guys at six percent a month. (In most cases that was a moneymaker)
In later conversations, Dewey and Sal posted their wedding finance needs as well. Two others borrowed for like purposes. Here's where it gets really personal. Those two paid the banker his due but, Dewey , Sal and Al just never seemed to have the moola to reline Old Newsie's pocketbook.
All three now are deceased veterans. Long ago their wedding finances were forgotten by both this blogger and them. At this writing, however, it suddenly dawns on me that should I suddenly get those loans repaid today, at six percent a month since 1944, might not I be rivaling guys say like Donald Trump for high living?
So much for another true story from a long ago past. Oh, by the way, in case any of you have a wedding loan in mind right now, I am no longer known as "the banker".
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