Monday, December 21, 2015

Dad in Brown County

Loren Marsh on the front porch of his cabin in Brown County, Indiana, 1946-48.

Blog updated 12-22-15.

At a family gathering this past weekend, my sister gave me a packet of photos that had been stashed in our uncle's barn.  At first she tried to tell me this picture with our Dad was from the Philippines during WW II but I knew right away from the log cabin, the trees and the hills in the background that it was from my home, Brown County!  I was very excited to find this photo of my Dad, Loren Charles Marsh, sitting on the front porch of his Brown County cabin where he lived while attending law school one county over in Bloomington, Indiana.  Despite the numbers "44" written on the back, the photo must have been taken sometime between 1946 and 1948.

I got this email from my brother with updated and corrected information:

Hi Charlene,

1.  Dad tried to join the Navy after Pearl Harbor, but was rejected due to eye sight.  He graduated from University of Chicago in June, 1942 and was drafted into the Army after that.  He was not considered I-A.   I think he was I-B because of his vision.

2. He taught radar, which was secret and highly classified, in Norfolk, Virginia his first two years.  He told me that the army forgot about his classification sometime in 1943 or 1944 and shipped him to New Guinea and then the Philippines.   He said when they were at sea, they had to be very quiet and keep all the lights out.  Dad said he should have stopped smoking and used the cigarettes to start a laundry. He said he could have made a lot of money.  <<Side note:  Mom wouldn't marry a smoker so Dad quit before they got married.>>

3.  Dad did have appendicitis in the army.   I think it was around 1944.  I'm pretty sure he was not sent home.

4.  He also told me he got one combat star as he was on an island that had action on the other side.  I think I have it and some of his other WWII stuff.  In a soldier's parents' homes, a blue star was displayed for active duty and a gold star for a son killed in action.

5.  There were 16,000,000 men from the US in WWII and 250,000 were killed, which is around 1400 per week or 5600 per month.   Obviously, this was not advertised widely.   Grandma and Grandpa were very worried about Dad being killed in the war.
6.  He also told me that generally the Marines would go in first and the Army followed.  If the Army saw action, that meant the Marines were losing.
7.  He returned in January,1946.  He said he returned to the "world" by sailing under the Golden Gate bridge in SF.   He said the first thing he drank was milk and it was great.   Of course he had a beer after that.   He said it took months to get everyone out of the army.  After he landed in CA, he took a train home to Indiana.
8.  After he returned, he signed up for the GI bill, was admitted to IU Law School and went 2 1/2 years, graduating in 1948.  After graduation he returned to Muncie, met Mom, got married, started a law practice, and had us.
8.  As you may know, I have videos of Grandpa discussing WWI and Dad discussing WWII.  I need to get them edited, maybe with John Marsh's help.
9.  Dad died in 2007 and is buried at Butler, a military cemetery in Springfield, IL, dating back to the Civil War.

P.S.  Dad's favorite poet was JW Riley and artist TC Steele.

James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916)
Theodore Clement Steele (September 11, 1847 – July 24, 1926)

Love, Keith

Dad would speak fondly of his time in the Brown County Art Colony where he enjoyed hob nobbing with the artists and seemed to be particularly fond of Jack (Georges) LaChance.  He also knew Marie Goth, V.J. Cariani, and C. Curry Bohm, among others.  I am very proud to continue the legacy of Brown County artists that my Dad always spoke so highly of and was thrilled to be a part of in the hay day of the 1940's.  As far as I know, this is the only picture of him in Brown County during this time period.  I do not know who took the picture.

Loren Marsh in either New Guinea or the Philippines during World War II.

Sometimes I wonder if Dad retreated to Brown County to decompress after the war.  Commuting to Bloomington every day could not have been easy back then given the bad roads and distance and winter weather.

My Dad was a gentle, kind, friendly, sensitive soul so it doesn't surprise me to see all the photos of him socializing with the indigenous peoples and even holding their babies.  Growing up, whenever I would hear people disparage and joke about cut throat lawyers, I was always a bit mystified because my Dad, a lawyer, was such a good guy with more integrity in his pinky finger than most people have in their whole body! And it wasn't just a naive, starry eyed daughter's opinion.  Many folks have come to me in later years to tell me what a great guy my Dad was and all the wonderful things he did to help them.

If anyone has any additional information or corrections please contact me.  I plan to update this blog as I get new information.  

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Thanks for reading!  Happy Trails and Merry Christmas! 


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