Page 3 - OCT RAPNEWS 2016
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M.A. BEESON COMES TO that.” was never heard. Camp Livingston began to receive
                                                                     POWs.

ALEXANDRIA                                                       During this time I had a wife and two sons. But I had to go to
                                                                 Lafayette to be inducted into the Army. Now that was a real
By Dr. Patsy K. Barber                                           experience! We went into a cubby hole, took off our clothes,

                                                                     and put our personal belongings in a little bag they gave to
“We had lived in Indiana for 10 years when we came here, you. Then we followed footprints on the floor. Doctors were
but I have never been without a job. Sometimes I helped out in a “staging area”. Your name was called by a
an organization and did not make anything. Were we lived I representative of one of the branches of the military, and
could buy a quarter’s worth of tokens to ride the seven miles each one had a quota for the day. You literally got on a box
to work for a week. We’d stay around the organization until to be observed. After you dressed, you were told if you were
2:30 or 3pm, and if we hadn’t gotten a job, I’d walk home. accepted and what branch of the service you were in. I didn’t

At that time things got better and we bought our first           like the idea of being drafted because they were sinking
automobile, an Essex for $35. A new Essex was $395. I            everything we put on the water. I was inducted into the
overhauled it and that is when my wife learned to be a           Navy.

mechanic. Not a “shade tree” mechanic, it was a back alley       Meanwhile, back at home, the vehicles used in training at
mechanic. And I worked on others. She cleaned the parts          Camp Livingston were left in the woods. I went to the
the next day and I took parts that needed a machine to work      Commanding Officer. I could collect them if he would get me
with me. When we weren’t busy I worked on them.                  a deferment, which we did. There was a building 200-300

We were very fortunate. I didn’t miss a meal. But some were      feet wide with room for two rows of vehicles. When I first
a little late. We had one child at that time, and groceries for  went there, they gave me menial jobs, so I would read
all of us was $2 a week. It was more groceries than you          service orders and other things. I would proceed to do the
could carry, but we had a baby carriage. We carried the          work, then ask the service manager to check me out. Stayed
baby and put the groceries in the buggy. We had nothing,         there a year or more, then they transferred me to “test” where
but not many had more than we did.                               I checked vehicles that had been worked on in the motor

                                                                 pool. We were working night and day, and when finished
My brothers wanted us to be with them although there was a they were taken to the Port of Embarkation in New Orleans.
critical shortage of housing. Anyone opening a private home The vehicles were as good as the day they came out of the
to renters was a new idea, but may did so did we after           factory.

evaluating a couple for a few days. We began to allow them
to prepare meals in our kitchen.

Meanwhile, we were pleased to be in Alexandria due to the

fact that I had two brothers here. One worked at Alexandria
Mattress Co., making $2.95 for a mattress that sold for $25.

King-size mattresses were $500. During the same time, Red
River flooded and got over the Murray Street bridge. Each

morning before I went to go to work at Camp Livingston, Nell
and I decided where we would meet if the levee broke. The

water was at the top of the levee. Later the Corps Of
Engineers raised the levee five feet and raised the bridge as Eisenhower consulting during Louisiana Maneuvers.

well. The main headquarters for the maneuvers was Hotel
                                                                 Bentley. Eisenhower and others stayed there. One morning
When we arrived in Alexandria, there were so many soldiers       there was something yellow all over the streets. Crisis! The
on the sidewalks, you had to move out to the street to get       enemy had put out poison. The older people told us it was
                                                                 nothing more than pine tree pollen.
around them. I think there were about 250,000 in training
here at one time. Everything was toward the invasion of

France. The American people were behind the President.           Continued on page 4
We worked 12 or more hours a day. “We don’t want to do

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