Don Locke: Lookin Thru Bifocals
What did they do after they came home? The veterans of war...what did they take-up as a means of livelyhood as it were.. Ill try to share with you one that I know. With veterans day coming up I’m hoping to get this to you on time. I’m asking my editor to stick me in at the head of the line of those bifocals I’ve already turned in. I’ll start with World War Two and my hometown - Greenville, and DON POTTER.
Don was a B-17 bomber pilot during World War Two, flying bombing raids over Germany. Don was originally from Kansas. He had that retiring personality most Kansans have...not given to telling all you know with both barrels blazing at once - like most of us here in South Central Kentucky, myself included sometimes.
Eastern Kentuckians are that way. They don’t “blar” a lot. Our son has a reticent personality like that. Had he not been born in Texas he could have been a Kansan or an East Kentuckians.
Don was one of our local jewelers back home. He came sometime after the war - in 1945 or 46 maybe. He did marry a local. She was some younger than he Don spent his last years in a local nursing home. His wife would pick him-up frequently when she went on a short shopping trip.
The last time I recall seeing Don was when Betty and it were on the way home from Greenville: we made a milk and bread stop at a mall grocery next to Greenville airport.
Don was in the mall parking lot standing with one foot in his car, resting on the open passenger - side door, listening to an old DC-3 airplane warming up over at the airport.
The DC-3 had the same engine as the World War- Two B-17 bomber, but the DC-3 only had two compared to the B-17s Four. However the sound was there the B-17 sound.
Anyone who has ever flown a particular piston plane can identify the engine sound, not so with jets, they all sound alike - loud and louder.
Don Patton: an old pilot from World War Two, listening to the same engine that were on his old bomber and remember a time that was an infamous time no doubt, but a time in which he survived. And like most who have “seen the elephant”, he was slight to the talk of it. I never knew why Don chose Greenville as a stepping place after the war...so far from Kansas.
*A Civil War phrase: “Have you seen the elephant yet?” (Combat) “Seeing the elephant” has the conitation that once you have been to the circus and seen the elephant, you are forever changed - never the same person again.