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Interview on experiences in World War II

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RICE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY


RICE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

WORLD WAR II VETERANS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

INTERVIEWEE: Beryl Von Drumm

INTERVIEWER: Marian Poe

DATE: May 22, 2006

LOCATION: Bushton, Kansas

(Mrs. Drumm was also present for the interview.)


POE: You were born?

DRUMM: I was born December 6th, 1924.

POE: And where was that?

DRUMM: I was born in Longford, Kansas. Clay County.

POE: Okay.

DRUMM: My mom and dad was Frank and Esther Drumm and I had three sisters and one brother. Teresa is the oldest and Norma and Marjorie, actually the only one alive, that's myself. And Russell was my brother. So I have two that have passed on, Russell and Norma. Teresa is in Texas in a nursing home. She's the oldest. I attended school at Longford Rural High School. I graduated, let's see, it would have been 1943 actually, in May. I decided to go into the Navy. The U.S. Navy. So I enlisted in the Navy in January, well, 1943. I'm not sure of the date right off hand. I think it's the 12th. And I went to boot camp up at Great Lakes. Kind of cold up there at that time. Then as soon as I got out of boot camp, I had a little leave, come home. They put me on a train to Birmington, Washington, along with a bunch of other ones. I became a member of the USS Pennsylvania Battleship, Number 38. Well, I was just a Seaman to start with. And consequently, they had just got back from a tour. Then the battle was - we went sailing up to Kiska. These are the Aleutian Islands.

POE: Oh, okay.

DRUMM: And it was pretty rough up there. Rough from the standpoint of big waves and whatnot. But the Japanese had left mainly there, so back we came to San Francisco. And the USS Pennsylvania was a ship that really, for the most part, went out from San Francisco. We had... USS Pennsylvania is an old battleship. She was also always carrying an Admiral on that ship, so all the other old battleships took orders probably from that Admiral. And then, of course, later on there were new battleships built during World War II. Anyway, the Pennsylvania went from that day on till the end of the war. Actually, we went to all sorts of campaigns. I can tell you some of those...

POE: Yeah.

DRUMM: In fact, I've got a whole book of all this stuff. See?

POE: Oh, wow!

MRS DRUMM: The Pennsylvania.

DRUMM: Here's the Pennsylvania [showing her something off camera].

POE: Yeah.

DRUMM: Well anyway, what else should I tell you? Then on December the 7th, of course, 1941 was Pearl Harbor Day. Well, my birthday was one day before that.

POE: Hum… So where were you…

DRUMM: As a senior then in high school, why, we thought we was pretty smart marching up the what's the name?

MRS DRUMM: Hall?

DRUMM: Up the hall - We didn't really do too much of that. But I always can remember pretty well because it was the day after my birthday. I didn't know anything about it until later, I guess. Well, the Pennsylvania had to be, was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor. And consequently, she got one bomb, I think, down through the mess hall and, well, took quite a lot of damage at that time. Bunch of ships, of course, was down. Like the Oklahoma was on the bottom. The Arizona was on the bottom. And some of the other ones were beached, like the California and the West Virginia. Out of the eight battleships in the harbor, there was only three of `em, the Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Maryland, that just received minor damage. So later then, of course, she served in Task Force One, consisting of seven old battleships and carried the Task Force Command Vice Admiral, W.C. Pye.

POE: Did you have, while you were on the ship, did you have occasion to any interaction with him?

DRUMM: Not with that gentleman, no. I probably went by him several times [chuckling].

POE: What job did you have while you were on the ship?

DRUMM: Oh, I was a Seaman.

POE: Okay. So what did you do as a Seaman?

DRUMM: Scrubbed the deck. Swept the deck. And you always had a gunnery place to go to. I was in the 3rd Division and I was in the turret of a 12-inch gun. I mean, it was 12 inches around. And we were on the bottom layer. There's another one turret up above that and there was two on the bow, also. And we had a bunch of other guns, too. We had about four 538's, I guess they were called. And some machineguns and etc. We could put a lot of bullets out, that's for sure.

MRS DRUMM: You helped load them, right?

DRUMM: Huh?

MRS DRUMM: You helped load `em?

DRUMM: Yeah. I was a - all the time I was on her I ran a, well, like pushing a thing on the shell. They'd open the breach of the gun and I'd push the shell in. And then there'd be people down there, at least one people that had powder that were about so big around [indicating size with arms]. They'd push two of those in. And, of course, they had to wait until I got that thing back before they did that. So it was kind of interesting. I never done anything like that in my life, but I got on to it. And I guess it was because, in one case, I did do some of the pushing in the powder at different times, too. You had to be pretty strong to - that thing weighed quite a little bit - to give it a shove. I remember one time when nobody knew whether the gun fired for sure. And I couldn't really remember either. So we got put out of commission for a while, but we had three other turrets that were okay. That was just one thing that happened that should never have happened in the first place. Should have been more alert, I guess [chuckling].

POE: Did you have any engagements with the enemy whenever you were on ship?

DRUMM: Oh, yeah.

POE: Okay.

DRUMM: We had a lot of those. As much as anything, why, the old battleships pretty much bombarded the different places. For instance, at Enewetak, we bombarded that place and practically knocked hills and trees and everything else down. And every other place: Guam, the Philippines, two or three other places. At least two or three other places. So we really put a lot of firepower into the Japanese places.

POE: Did the Pennsylvania sustain any damage from any return fire?

DRUMM: Not very much.

MRS DRUMM: After you got off, it did.

DRUMM: Yeah.

POE: But not while you were there?

DRUMM: Well, there was a bullet, maybe, might hit the side the ship or something, but other than that, no. One other thing that happened, I happened to be sleeping on deck. It was hot. I mean, down where the sun shines, it is hot. And down below, why, it was hot down there, too. So I was sleeping up on deck one night and somehow or other, people got confused on what they were doing. And there was a powder, well, shells and powder, they called `em what? Well, they hauled this kind of information. A small ship. And dog-gone-it if they didn't scrape us; hit us right along side. Just about the same place, well, probably from here to the other side of our house. I'm glad it didn't explode [chuckling]. That's about the most thing I had anyway, probably, the closest thing.

POE: So you weren't wounded in any of the battles?

DRUMM: No.

POE: Or any other you know, [chuckling] slipping down the stairs or anything else?

DRUMM: No, I sure wasn't. My book here is just full of a lot of stuff.

MRS DRUMM: Well, she may not want what you're giving her.

DRUMM: Anyhow, we went through the Gilbert and the Marshall Islands, both of them. Kind of hard to remember those things. We had a few torpedoes at us, at lease one or two, which we're able to miss. Because we had a lot of people that were looking all the time, up in the mast. That was their job, to be looking. To see what kind of thing that came. Some of `em, of course, were looking at the air, too, for airplanes and whatnot. We had a few that did those kinds of things, I guess. But they never did hit us.

MRS DRUMM: You did some things after you got off the Pennsylvania, too.

DRUMM: Yeah.

MRS DRUMM: I knew you then, when you went to Guam and China.

DRUMM: A lot of those bombardments of those islands took a long time. I mean, it was day and night. We really puckered `em is what you could say, I guess. Probably the last thing that happened to the Pennsylvania, after I got out they went over to Okinawa. And they no more got over there till a Japanese ship came over the mountain and dropped a bomb, a torpedo, I think, and killed, I think it was 19 sailors, back on the stern. I worked on that area. This was about the time when they were planning on probably invading the Japanese Islands. So they got a lot of guys like me cocksman, Second Boatsman Mate, like I was. They shipped us off of the ship. I was at, got off at Pearl Harbor and then they was supposed to be training us on that. I did a lot of training on not too much of a boat, at that time. Not really too much. Because soon after that, why, the war was pretty much being over. So consequently, after that time I was shipped to Guam. And in Guam, I really run a ship. I'm talking about a small boat with two Grade 3 Grey Marine engines in `em. I usually had a sailor with me and I was a pilot boat operator. So any ship that came in, I went out and put a pilot on it. This pilot is a man. Before they ever left I put them on either at dock, tied up to an anchor, or they was on their own anchor. It was all kinds of ships. Submarines and those kinds of things were hard to get at. Imagine a person jumping from about here to that wall [pointing to a wall across the room]. That's what they had to do, a guy that had to get on a submarine. I had to get up there as close as possible. And an aircraft carrier was hard to do because they you can get to the ship all right, because they crawled up a Jacob's ladder, a rope ladder. But you had to be careful what you were doing or, you know, you'd just knock somebody off in the water. Never did lose anybody and didn't hit anybody. So I was kind of proud of that, at least. And I did that in Guam for quite a while. A lot of this is right after the war, so consequently I took fishing parties out and whatever. Seemed like everybody wanted to go fishing [chuckling]. That was just a later time. And I spent time in China, too. I was a Skipper of a refrigerator barge.

POE: I'm sorry, what kind of barge?

DRUMM: Refrigerator barge.

POE: Oh, okay.

DRUMM: It was - everything on there was refrigerated. We had meat and we had to be pulled by a tug. So that was kind of an experience. One time we got out in the middle of the ocean, not too far out, and the ropes, the line broke. I'll say ropes, but the lines is what it was. So we had a little struggle there trying to get hitched up with the tugboat again [chuckling]. But it was kind of fun. The Chinese could steal you blind. They could. We had a couple on the deck that helped with cleaning up and whatnot. One of `em had a little baby girl, I guess, he said. He tried to steal some sugar, instead of asking for it. We would have give it to him. So one of the other guys fired him, told him to get off. We weren't out to sea at that time. We were hooked up to a dock. Went to Australia.

POE: Where'd you go in there? Where were you there?

DRUMM: Where were we there?

POE: Uh hum. Where were you, in Australia?

DRUMM: Sydney. It was nice place to go. They always every time they had that kind of a thing, why, you always had a picnic or whatever. They used to have a dance. I never could dance, so it didn't make much difference to me. [Chuckling] There was a girl there whose name was Beryl, just like my name was. I didn't try to dance with her, but I knew she was there. [Speaking to Mrs. Drumm] Did I ever tell you that?

MRS DRUMM: No. You don't usually talk too much about your experiences.

DRUMM: No.

MRS DRUMM: This is a new thing. Usually you've been pretty quiet about it.

DRUMM: Huh?

MRS DRUMM: I said you've never said too much about your war experiences.

DRUMM: [Chuckling] It was an up-an-up date.

MRS DRUMM: You played on a football team. Navy team.

DRUMM: Well, now later I stayed on in the Navy. So as a consequence, I was sent back to - when I was at Guam then, we had a football team. I like football. And I played on the first team and we won the championship of Guam that year. And then we flew over to China and played a Marine team. Unfortunately, we got beat 2 to nothing. Had a good coach by the name of [inaudible]. He was from the University of Washington. It's in here some place [referring to his book]. He was a nice fella. He kinda liked me anyway [chuckling].

POE: What position did you play?

DRUMM: End for the most part. Well, I did work on a smaller boat too, later on. Or earlier I should say, when I was playing football; usually in the afternoon and whatnot. In the mornings the planes came in and they wanted a Commander or Admiral, whoever, to go onboard or be taken off and that was my job to go get `em, in the smaller boat. So it was kind of a better job than what I was doing. Cause I was doing - the other kind of a thing that I was doing was putting on and off Skippers, at all times of night. I mean, 2pm, 11pm, midnight or 3am or whatever. It was kind of tough [chuckling]. It got tougher because the other guy, there was two of us, he wrecked his boat and I wouldn't let him run mine. So consequently, I had the duty all the time. Seemed like, anyway. But I still wake up early, don't I?

MRS DRUMM: Yeah.

DRUMM: Like five o'clock. Don't have any better sense [chuckling]. I finally did get out, though. When?

MRS DRUMM: '49.

DRUMM: I guess it was six years later then, in January of `49. And then I decided I'd go to college. So a few days after I got home, went down to K-State and enrolled. Played some football down there and went through school, I guess, in about three years. Going through…



MRS DRUMM: Year round.

DRUMM: …year round.

POE: Did you take advantage of the GI Bill to help you with that?

DRUMM: Yes.

MRS DRUMM: He sure did.

DRUMM: Yeah, it was a big help. Sure was.

POE: Would you say that it enabled you to go to college or…?

DRUMM: Yeah, it did.

POE: Okay.

DRUMM: I probably would have went anyway, but it did help.

MRS DRUMM: You would have worked and done something.

DRUMM: Yeah, I worked at a job. Housing authority, really what it was. Well, we did certain things. For instance, in the dormitories, you always had dressers and tables that people had cigarette butts on `em and whatnot. I'd take `em back and take the varnish off and re-varnish `em and take `em back. I did this mainly in the summertime, though.

MRS DRUMM: You picked up garbage one summer.

DRUMM: That's the first thing I did [chuckling].

MRS DRUMM: That was after we were married.

DRUMM: I was a garbage man [laughing]. It's kind of funny because I was strong at that time and I'd just about lift up that other guy if he had a hold of it, too, and throw him in there. I didn't, but this guy kept teasing me about it all the time.

POE: So when you got out of service did you come back to Kansas or…?

DRUMM: Yes, I did.

POE: To Clay County?

DRUMM: Uh hum.

MRS DRUMM: Well, no. You didn't live in…

DRUMM: I didn't live there, though.

POE: Right.

DRUMM: But my folks did, and then I'd go home to…

POE: Yeah.

DRUMM: Go home on weekends, usually. Especially when somebody came on board [looking at his wife and chuckling].

POE: And what year did you marry?

DRUMM: [Speaking to Mrs. Drumm] What year did we marry?

MRS DRUMM: `49. He got out in January and we got married in April.



POE: Okay.

DRUMM: April 15th. Can you believe that?

MRS DRUMM: Back in those days it wasn't income tax day like it is now.

DRUMM: So on April 15th we got married.

POE: So were you acquainted then while you were in service?

MRS DRUMM: Yeah. I met him while he was in the service.

DRUMM: I guess probably, what? A year before?

MRS DRUMM: Oh, quite a while before...

DRUMM: I went to school with her sister.

MRS DRUMM: I graduated from high school in `49, er, `47 I mean. And I met you before I graduated. You was home on leave.

DRUMM: Yeah.

MRS DRUMM: And you were in the service two more years after that.

POE: So did you correspond - did you write back and forth?



MRS DRUMM: Oh, yes [chuckling].



DRUMM: Yeah. Lots of letters after that, before that time [chuckling].



POE: And you corresponded with your family.

DRUMM: Yes ma'am.

POE: So you had lots of communi- Did you get your mail? I mean, was it like batched? Did you get a whole bunch of letters at once or did you get mail on a regular basis or…?

DRUMM: It wasn't too regular, not really. It was just - we were in places where you just didn't get any mail for probably three months or six months at a time.

POE: So you spent a lot of your time either onboard a ship or in the harbor ferrying people around?

DRUMM: Right.

POE: While you were on ship and when you were in the harbor, how was the food? Did you… any comments you would care to make about that?

DRUMM: Well, it wasn't the greatest [chuckling].

POE: [Chuckling] Okay. That's…

DRUMM: Breakfast was stuff, take a piece of toasted bread and put beans on the top of it. There was other words for that [chuckling]. Maybe your husband or somebody will tell what that was. That isn't very nice. And there was times when, oh, I can remember times - time after time, you'd get in line and before you'd even get anything, air raid would come on and you didn't get nothing. Except you went to your general quarters area. That happened lots of times. Or maybe you'd get about halfway done and the same thing would happen. This was particularly down in, oh, in Guam and etc., the Philippines and so forth. It wasn't no picnic, anyway.

MRS DRUMM: Well, they fed you good in China.

DRUMM: Huh?

MRS DRUMM: They fed you good in China, didn't ya? [Chuckling] He said, ``I think we ate dog.''

DRUMM: Well, I think that was right.

MRS DRUMM: Cause somebody, they'd have a dog and it'd disappear.

DRUMM: One thing when we was on that refrigerated boat, though, the Skipper of that, we had ham as good as what you'd ever see and every kind of piece of meat you could think of. So it was good.

MRS DRUMM: And some of those of those party trips you took `em out on. You said that people had good food. When you took `em out, like on a Sunday.

DRUMM: Oh, yeah. It was usually an Officer and his family who… it got a little rough somedays. I still don't own a boat [chuckling]. I don't own a boat.

POE: [Chuckling] So as soon as you got out of the service, you didn't…

DRUMM: I really never did, actually… never really had any lessons on the thing. I just learned by myself. I kind of indicated that, I think, earlier. I probably didn't say it that way, though. But that's right.



POE: So you didn't actually have any military training on handling boat?

DRUMM: No. I just picked it up myself.

POE: You had military training on gunnery…

DRUMM: Right.

POE: …and things like that and deck swabbing.



DRUMM: Right.

POE: When you were - what did you guys do whenever you weren't under, you know, when you weren't in quarters and whatnot. What did you do for entertainment whenever there was a quiet period?

DRUMM: A lot of the guys played poker. I never did play it. I can remember one Mexican kid, he was just a young kid, boatswain mate, oh, two or three of `em usually played whenever they could. That Mexican kid cleaned them out a lot of times. He knew what he was doing when he was playing cards. I never played any cards. Not with that bunch, I'll tell you, for sure [chuckling]. I read. When we got in I bought a bunch of Zane Grey's books. I still got Zane Grey's books, but they aren't the same ones.

MRS DRUMM: No. They aren't.

DRUMM: There just, another whole issue of `em that I got out here now. Plus a lot of other ones.

MRS DRUMM: He always did a lot of reading.

DRUMM: I done a lot of reading, of all kinds of books. That's what I usually did.

POE: Oh dear okay, we're gonna have to stop this for just a minute.

DRUMM: Okay.

MRS DRUMM: You're taking pictures of him, huh?



[Marian changes the mini-disc in the digital camcorder]



POE: Now we're back on the air. So, continue.

DRUMM: Continue. [Chuckling] What do you want to hear now?

POE: Oh, just about anything you want to talk about. Oh, friendships - did you make any friends while you were in the service that you continued past when you got out of the service?

DRUMM: One or two probably, but I really have never seen `em since. I tried a few times. I seen a kid called `Harr' out in California. Went by their house one time. I guess we stayed overnight, didn't we?

MRS DRUMM: Uh hum.

DRUMM: I think we stayed overnight. We wanted to stay longer, but they had a houseful and it was during a vacation time for them anyway. I tried another kid by the name of Burrows, I guess his last name was, there in Indianapolis. But I never did get a hold of him.

MRS DRUMM: Well, you used to get Christmas cards sometimes, but not for years. We'd send back and forth cards.

DRUMM: A few that way, I guess. Yeah.

POE: Did you ever join a veteran's organization, like VFW or American Legion or any of those?

DRUMM: I was in the American Legion.



POE: Are you still?

DRUMM: No, I'm really not.

POE: Okay. What kind of activities did you participate in whenever you were in the American Legion?

DRUMM: I tell you what - I joined the American Legion when I came back home. This was during war time yet. And then they never contacted me since. So I just haven't joined `em. Now, I do go to the Veteran's at Salina.

MRS DRUMM: For medicine.

DRUMM: I get my medicine and whatnot. Been doing that for a number of years. So it's helped quite a little bit. I went first to Hays. Then I thought, well, I know Salina better than Hays. So, my friend next door is a veteran in the Navy, too.

POE: And what's his name?

DRUMM: Porter.

MRS DRUMM: Joe Porter.

DRUMM: He was from Oklahoma.

MRS DRUMM: [Chuckling] He could probably tell you some good stories.

DRUMM: Joe Porter.

POE: [Laughing] I'll need to get a hold of him. See if I can get him on my interview list.

DRUMM: I think he might do that. He's kind of interesting.

MRS DRUMM: Real interesting to talk to. He's funny, he may not want to do it.

DRUMM: He was on a repair-type ship. He used to repair things. He keeps me going, anyway.

MRS DRUMM: He may not want to do it though, Bob.

DRUMM: Yeah, he may not. That's right.

POE: Now, you wrote something up after… Did you write the thing you were reading from earlier or did somebody else write that?

DRUMM: Somebody else wrote.

POE: Okay.

DRUMM: [Picking up some papers off camera] This?

POE: Yes.

DRUMM: Yeah, somebody else did that.

POE: So did you - sometimes people who read a lot, write a lot. Did you keep any journals…

DRUMM: No, I didn't.

POE: …or write anything afterwards?

DRUMM: This book and that really tells a lot about what the Pennsylvania did.



POE: Uh hum.



MRS DRUMM: Well, you didn't tell her they sunk it, eventually.

DRUMM: Oh, yeah. The last thing they did was, at Enewetak - she got torpedoed in China and they tied her back. Lost 19 men. I wasn't on her at that time and this was right towards the end of the war. And they brought her back and they finally decided to strip it of everything they could. And they took her down to the Enewetak Islands and sunk in with an atomic bomb. It was an old ship. They wanted to see what the bomb would do, I guess. So that's where she rests, right now.

MRS DRUMM: Probably not much left of it.

DRUMM: [Chuckling] I don't think so.

POE: While you were on the ship, I know ships are referred to as "she's", do, I mean, there was a - you get attached to your ship, right? Whenever you're a seaman?

DRUMM: Yeah.

POE: So, were there ever any reunions of the Pennsylvania?

DRUMM: If there were, they never contacted me.

POE: Okay.

DRUMM: [Chuckling] Let's put it that way, I guess. I kind of wonder now, lot of the Navy people that were on like a destroyer or some of the lesser type ships have reunions. I know of several people that went to `em. But if they ever had one for the Pennsylvania, I don't know about it. My name is not in the book, for that matter.

MRS DRUMM: They may have missed you.



POE: Hum…



DRUMM: They did that after the war, I guess. And a lot of people went on and off of that ship. They got some training and then they'd move `em on another ship.

POE: Did you get any medals or citations?

DRUMM: Well, I think probably one of the things that I would be yes. The answer is yes. We got the commendation - what's the name of it? Unit Commendation...

POE: Unit.

DRUMM: …for service, because we were in the war all those periods of time and more than any other ship. And consequently, we got a Unit Commendation. So I have that kind of a medal. Plus, I don't know, five or six more. I've got `em someplace [laughing].

POE: Did you have any photographs from that time period? Did you take any pictures or get any from any of your friends?

DRUMM: No. They wouldn't let you take a picture at that time. As far as I know they wouldn't. Maybe some of `em did.

MRS DRUMM: You mean when you were on the ship, you mean?

DRUMM: Yeah.

MRS DRUMM: Well, you had some later.

DRUMM: Some of this was later.

POE: Yeah. On your - I'm just sort of bouncing around here, but you said that while you were onboard ship, for recreation you read. After service, you went to school and then what occupation did you have when you got out of school?

DRUMM: Well…

POE: What did you major in?

DRUMM: I was in physical education and things like history. American history, world history and courses of that nature. So consequently, I coached football and basketball, girls' basketball, track. You name it, I coached it.

MRS DRUMM: In a little school.

DRUMM: In a little school. And then I went to - first out of school, I guess - let's see... I think…

MRS DRUMM: Alta Vista. No, no. Alton was the first one.

DRUMM: Went to Alton, Kansas. I was coach there of everything, there. Of course, I taught phys ed and biology and American history and government and I don't know what the heck else. I think I taught a class every period. Small school, why, you get loaded down. And I ended up coaching girls' basketball, as well as boys. Also coached track, baseball, eleven-man football; usually where I was. Then we moved to Alta Vista, Kansas. South of Manhattan. Was there, what? Three or four years?

MRS DRUMM: Three, I think.

DRUMM: And then I decided, heck, if I'm gonna get in this situation, I just as well become a Principal. I took some courses. I was going and working on campus anyway, and I'd take classes usually in the daytime or morning or something of that nature. And worked toward a Principalship. I got hours so I could be an Administrator and went to - I shouldn't ever forget that. A little town…

MRS DRUMM: Well, you went to Emporia and got some hours.

DRUMM: Well, I got hours that way, too.

MRS DRUMM: And then he went to Cedar Point.

DRUMM: Cedar Point. Just a little `ol place. You ever hear of it?

POE: No.

DRUMM: It's on Highway 50. It's in... I don't know what the county is....

MRS DRUMM: It's between Newton and Emporia.

DRUMM: Western. It's just a small place and it was kind of fun. Well, they were about ready to quit school there anyway, other than maybe a grade school. So, I got with Sabetha, Kansas. Up in northeastern Kansas. I guess we stayed there about, I don't know, five or six years. Then came down here. So, I finally retired, I guess what? My memory is kind of shot anymore, okay [chuckling].

POE: So you were the Principal here at Quivera…?



MRS DRUMM: Yeah.

DRUMM: I was the Principal here…

POE: Quivera Heights.



DRUMM: …of K thru 12.

MRS DRUMM: Seventeen years he was over there.

DRUMM: And I helped set up the Quivera Heights.

MRS DRUMM: It was Bushton, at that time.

DRUMM: It was Bushton High School and we already had the… oh, most of the kids probably from Lorraine, Kansas came there and Hollyrood then was next. Finally decided just to unify all of them, so I helped arrange the fact of trying to get that done. We had the kids do and serve a lot of the voting on what the name would be and etc. And it was kind of interesting. And Hollyrood kids and Bushton kids, of course, they didn't like each other too much, you know? Cause we participated in all sorts of sports against each other. Hollyrood was usually pretty good in basketball. Bushton was probably better in football. And times, of course, why, they each had their chances of doing pretty well. I remember having some girls there in Hollyrood that, like I told them, "It wasn't my idea in the first place and I don't blame you for being mad or not very happy about the whole situation." But they survived [chuckling].

POE: What year did you retire?

DRUMM: 1987.

POE: And how have you been - what exciting things have you been doing in your retirement besides going to the local games [chuckling]?

DRUMM: [Chuckling] Local games and whatnot. Oh, I don't know how exciting it is, but... I put in a big garden. Not anymore. I'm kind of on the downhill now [chuckling].

POE: So gardening and you still continue to read and...

DRUMM: Yeah, I do some of that. I haven't done much this year. And we've traveled to Texas. And usually stayed, what? Three months or so?

MRS DRUMM: Three months.

DRUMM: Until this year. We went down and we stayed a month. Mainly because both of us were sick.

MRS DRUMM: We had that crud. That lung stuff.

DRUMM: We could not get rid of a cold or whatever else we had. We were spitting and fuming and whatever. We decided to come back home. We still got a trailer down there that we're trying to sell.

MRS DRUMM: He's supposed to be selling it.

DRUMM: But, I don't know whether I will or not [laughing]. But we had a lot fun going down there. I could play golf. I like to play golf. I belong over here at Claflin, but I don't... I went one time. I haven't even play golf over there.

MRS DRUMM: This year, no.

DRUMM: I just have my cart over there. Come to think about it, I'm spending my money this year [laughing]. I've been a member of the Lyons Club, I guess most... probably Sabetha and down here, too. Lyons Club quit here and I didn't go ahead and go to Hollyrood where I could have. Well, I served the community in a lot of different ways and I didn't think I wanted to do that. But it's been fun for the most part.

POE: Anything else you want to add or comments you want to make? One question I wanted to - whenever you were on shipboard or in the harbor, you weren't injured in anyway. Were there any casualties on the boat or in the barracks or wherever you were?

DRUMM: No, there wasn't, that I can think of.

POE: That's good.

DRUMM: Oh, we might have had a - somebody got maybe burned if somebody was welding or something. If you had other welders, you know, come onboard ship to do welding, you always had to have somebody there to watch `em with an instrument to try put the fire out if that was needed.

MRS DRUMM: Fire extinguisher.

DRUMM: From that standpoint, why, there may have been a few incidents like that. I remember one or two, maybe.

POE: So, anything else that you would like to add?

DRUMM: I don't think so.

MRS DRUMM: You're active in church, you were.

DRUMM: Oh, yeah. I'm a member of the Methodist Church up here, United Methodist Church. Went through about all of the chairs that they have up there [chuckling]. I refused, here this last year.

POE: Pass the baton on?

DRUMM: That's right. And we still go to the church here. We have a lot of good friends there. We're not too much the type, I guess, to go out and raise cain or anything like that. We're not drinkers for one thing, as some people are.

POE: One of the things I've heard from several veterans is that cigarettes were cheap and they didn't smoke, so they exchanged them for other things whenever they were on shore leave. Did you run across anything like that?

DRUMM: I didn't.

POE: You didn't?

DRUMM: I've never been a smoker. My dad was a smoker. He about burnt the house down a couple of times at home [chuckling], before the war. I don't know what he did during the war. Well, he'd put a cigarette on the back porch, you know, and forget what he did, I suppose. I can't say I didn't try smoking, but it just isn't for me and wasn't for me.

POE: So you didn't use the cigarettes as a bartering tool for any local commodities?

DRUMM: No, sure didn't.

POE: Okay. [Chuckling] Any final words of wisdom?

DRUMM: [Chuckling] Words of wisdom.

POE: How do you think that the service, that your experience - you were in six years. That's a long time. How do you think that those six years have influenced the rest of your life?

DRUMM: Well, it made you know how to go ahead and fend for yourself, but do things right and watch what you're doing, so you didn't get into any trouble. I never did end up in the brig. I didn't get drunk or anything like that to end up in the brig. I didn't do anything else to [inaudible]. I wasn't in one, at least, that's for sure. And some of `em can't say that [chuckling]. But you know, you had people over you and they'd tell you to do something, you do it. You do the job right, why, that's fine. That's the way it ought to be, cause they had the authority to do it. Nowadays, I don't know whether you find that all the way through, or not. I don't think you do. I doubt it. I could probably rattle about something else, but I don't know really what it'd be [chuckling].

POE: [Chuckling] Okay. Well, we're going to…

DRUMM: I'm kind of proud of my medals I got, though. I really am. That's a lot more than some people got, I guess.

POE: Okay. Are you through?

DRUMM: [Chuckling] I guess so.

POE: [Chuckling] I mean, feel free to keep talking. I've got lots more tape.

DRUMM: I'm a man of few words, aren't I?

POE: [Laughing] You are.

DRUMM: Huh?

POE: Yes, you are a man of few words.

[Marian turns the digital camcorder off and the interview is concluded at this time]







Item Description

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