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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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A TRUE WAR STORY

WHEN I JOINED THE ARMY IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR WE WERE USHERED IN
AT CAMP DODGE, IOWA. MY INTERVIEWER, A SOUTHERN LIEUTENANT,
DISCOVERED THAT MY FATHER HAD FOUGHT IN THE MICHIGAN CAVALRY IN
THE CIVIL WAR FOR THE NORTH AND THAT MY RELIGION WAS CATHOLIC.
SOUTHERNERS HAVE A TENDENCY TO DISLIKE US CATHOLICS. MONTHS
LATER AS I WAS SHOVELING COAL OFF A TRAIN GONDOLA, A MAJOR STEWART
ASKED ME WHAT I DID IN CIVILIAN LIFE. I EXPLAINED THAT I WAS AN
ACCOUNTANT. THE CAPTAIN HAD ME TRANSFERRED TO HIS OFFICE WHERE
I SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLACED TO BEGIN WITH. WHILE CHECKING FILES FOR
HIM I FOUND MY ENTERING INTERVIEW. IT SAID "THIS MAN CLAIMS HE WAS
AN ACCOUNTANT BUT NO DOUBT HE IS A FIRST CLASS LIAR. NOT TO BE
TRUSTED, APPEARANCE IS VERY TACKY." AS A BLOND, BLUE-EYED
INDIVIDUAL FROM A GERMAN BACKGROUND THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY A HIGHLY
SUBJECTIVE FALSE REPORT RESULTING FROM SOUTHERN PREJUDICES.
IT TOOK A YEAR WHILE IN FRANCE FOR THE REMARKS TO BE DELETED
FROM THE RECORD. THE CAPTAIN STEWART MENTIONED IS THE FAMOUS
JIMMY STEWART'S FATHER WHO WAS IN COMMAND OF MY ENTIRE ARMY
EXPERIENCE. JIMMY STEWART ALSO WROTE TO ME AFTER MY NEPHEW
WROTE TO HIM ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES WITH HIS FATHER.

Submitter comment: MY GRANDFATHER HAS THE CLEAREST, MOST HONEST BLUE EYES AND IS
ALWAYS GROOMED TO PERFECTION SO THE INTERVIEWER MUST HAVE
REALLY BEEN LIVING IN THE PAST WITH THE BACKWARD PREJUDICES.

Where learned: CAMP DODGE ; IOWA

James Callow Keyword(s): GIFT-GIVING

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B479

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