Monday, February 18, 2013

The Boys Tell Their Stories

I'm preparing a paper and a presentation for the 2013 Arizona History Convention, to be held in April in Las Cruces, NM, on the camp newspapers entitled "The Boys Tell Their Stories." As we lose the CCC enrollees and their voices are silenced, these newspapers and the stories the CCC boys tell in these publications become even more important. Some of the common features of the newspapers are jokes are the enrollees' love lives (real or imagined), poems (many of the enrollees obviously saw themselves as poets), and words of wisdom. Here are some tidbits I've enjoyed "listening" to:

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can!
(Oasis, St. David, AZ)

"From a Longer Term to a Rookie," by Chester Watkins. 
What’s the matter bud? You’ve been griping a lot these last few days. Don’t let this place get you down. You are a man now. So why not take things as they are handed to you—do that to the best of your ability. Here if you take advantage of the educational o9pportuniteis offered you, the practical experience and the opportunities of making many friends, you will profit in the end. It is a good old world after all. (The Live Oak, Nogales, AZ)

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I praise the Lord my clothes to keep.
They were issued me to keep warm,
I know they take them but mean no harm.
So, if my clothes from me they take,
I hope I die before I awake. (Basil Brand, 3840 News, Patagonia, AZ)

“Tommie Gavagen says he is going to take his bed with him next time he goes to Phoenix. When he came home the other day, the boys in barracks four had removed the springs that held the mattress, and put strings instead.”  (The Veteran, Madera Canyon, AZ)

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