One of the more interesting was a telegram he received 76 years ago today.
It is dated February 21, 1938 and was sent to him at the U.S. Army base, Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas by the U.S. Senator from Florida, Claude Pepper.
He knew Claude Pepper from his days in Taylor County, Florida where my dad was born.
Pepper was born in Alabama in 1900 but moved to Perry, Florida in the 1920s after graduating from Harvard Law School. He opened a law practice and in 1936 was elected to the U.S. Senate. They were only 12 years apart in age but when he sent this telegram he and my dad were at opposite ends of influence.
My dad had been in the U.S. Army for only two years, while Pepper was near the height of his power. He was a close friend and ally of FDR and known as one of the most liberal members of Congress.
That came to hurt him a few years later when he was voted out of the Senate after his opponents accused him of being a Communist. Both he and my dad had the nickname "Red," for different reasons. Pepper made a comeback in 1963 and served in the US House of Representatives for 26 years.
|Telegram from Senator Pepper|
Dad had learned to fly several years earlier. He had to drop out of college because he ran out of money. Starting college in 1930 was bad timing considering the depression that was just getting underway.
|Daddy at Randolph Field 1938|
If he had been born a few years later when they were trying to fill the cockpits of all the new planes being built to send to WW II battle areas, he no doubt would have made it without any problem.