Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,728 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While at a wedding last night I had the pleasure of sitting next to a 90 year old gentleman, he looked like he could Sammy Davis Jr's brother. Learned that this gentleman starting riding motorcycles at age 15 when he purchased a 1939 Indian from a dealer in Bloomfield NJ, as he did not know how to ride when he picked up the motorcycle he drove it home in 2nd gear. At age 16 he enlisted in the navy obviously lying about his age. He served in Pearl Harbor and through out the pacific theater! He drove motorcycles while in the service, he told me that the military Harleys where different from his Indian and he had to learn to deal with the different shifter and clutch set up. After serving for 6 years he returned to NJ to raise a family. He shared many great stories with me throughout the evening, that old dude could dance! I think he danced with every woman there and was loving every minute of it! Rare that you have the privilege of hearing first hand accounts of military service from one of the members of the greatest generation!
 

·
Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
Joined
·
14,370 Posts
Sounds like a very interesting man.
 

·
ZAMM Fanatic
Joined
·
2,730 Posts
Only a limited number of occupations were available to African-Americans in the navy during World War II. They include many menial occupations such as being a porter or a cook. I'm sure this man suffered enormous discrimination. It speaks to grace that he did not mention all that he must've endured while serving our country. I am glad those days are now behind us for the most part and people of all races color in religion can proudly serve the armed services
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,168 Posts
Sounds like a good evening for both of you. I just recently got a picture of my dad on a bike during WW2. He landed in the first wave on D-day at Normandy with the Canadian forces. He was a tank gunner with the first Hussars and was in the first battle at Le Mesnil Patry.
You can see he believed in riding ATGATT since he even has his rifle with him on the bike. He is only 2 years older than the guy you were talking with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,728 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Only a limited number of occupations were available to African-Americans in the navy during World War II. They include many menial occupations such as being a porter or a cook. I'm sure this man suffered enormous discrimination. It speaks to grace that he did not mention all that he must've endured while serving our country. I am glad those days are now behind us for the most part and people of all races color in religion can proudly serve the armed services
I am sure that is true, although he made no mention what so ever of racial discrimination. He did say God was looking out for him, because of all the horrific things he witnessed he came home alive and uninjured!
He told me that once he was in all the other men told him not to volunteer for anything, he didn't listen and volunteered for everything! His life is a testimony to what it means to be a true hero!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,728 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds like a good evening for both of you. I just recently got a picture of my dad on a bike during WW2. He landed in the first wave on D-day at Normandy with the Canadian forces. He was a tank gunner with the first Hussars and was in the first battle at Le Mesnil Patry.
You can see he believed in riding ATGATT since he even has his rifle with him on the bike. He is only 2 years older than the guy you were talking with.
That is a great picture! Grateful that we had these brave men serving at that time!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
943 Posts
I always loved listening to the old-timers reminisce about anything! It was better entertainment than any TV or movie or anything else.

My Dad was from a large family and got sent off to work the fishing boats when he was 13. He also worked as a butcher, a projectionist, a mechanic souping up cars for the rum-runners during prohibition. He rode a motorcycle in the 40s, was a pool shark, and had a cracked sense of humour.

We had family and friends who served in WW2 and Korea and they hand a great many stories to tell. I even had an aunt who was a dispatch rider for the French Resistance during German occupation. The ones who experienced the wars didn't talk about the bad stuff but all had lots of stories about the funny and crazy antics of war years.

There were also the old farmers who had been farming since the days of horses and the women who washed clothes on a washboard, chopped wood for heat, and cooked on a wood stove.

I learned WAY more from the old people than I ever learned in school and it was all from the human side - not just a collection of facts.

The saddest part of it all is that they are all gone now and I have become one of the "old-timers"!
 

·
Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
Joined
·
14,370 Posts
I was talking to my eldest Brother last night (he is 84) He said my birthday was a big day for him as well. He graduated from H.S. (Colegio Santa Maria in Lima, Peru) 66 years ago.

My next oldest brother (81) graduated from the American High School in Mexico City.

The Next (77) from a private Catholic school in Austin Texas. (St. Edwards)

Me a public school in VA, as well as my sister (60) and youngest brother (59). Fairfax County, VA
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
23,691 Posts
You keep going north where liberals thrive. That ain't good. You best head south soon Critter.
 

·
Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
Joined
·
14,370 Posts
I keep trying but that grandson is a huge anchor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,728 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My parents are both off the boat dutch man, growing up in Holland during the Nazi occupation. My mom often had to share her bed with Jewish children my grandparents were helping escape from the Nazi's. She witnessed a B17 bomber crash across the street from her home. My father's cousins were very involved in the Dutch underground unfortunately the SS caught them and executed the young men in front of their home.
These accounts are powerful, I have asked my father to write as many of his memories down as he is able to recall. He has been doing this methodically for the past several years. I love reading first hand accounts of these historical events.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top