By ANDREA HOEHNE
Pharos-Tribune lifestyle writer
On having seven sisters:
“It wasn’t bad really. When you’re farmers you need a big family and we all worked.”
On the worst chore on the farm:
“Cleaning out the stalls of the horses and cows. You had to clean out the horse manure and stack it outside the barn. Eventually they’d haul it away and put it on the fields (and garden). It made good tomatoes.”
On living on the farm:
“We grew every vegetable you can think of. We never had trouble (growing anything). We raised green beans, corn, potatoes, sweet corn. We milked our own cows, and butchered our own pigs. We practically lived off of that.
“They had a huckster wagon and he had sugar and coffee. My mother traded eggs for sugar and coffee. We hardly ever went grocery shopping.”
On hard work:
“Oh, there was a lot of times you’d say, ‘I’d like to get off this farm.’ There was a lot of hard work, which never hurt anybody. My dad was the hardest workin’ guy. And he expected us to do the same. And we did.”
On getting shot down:
“I was in the Air Force for five years... Late in ‘42 I took an exam for aviation cadets, and passed the test, and they shipped me back to the states to go to school. Then I became a pilot of a B-17. Course by that time it was World War II. I flew bombing missions over Germany until I got shot down in April of 1944. We were on a bombing mission to Hamm, Germany, and we were on our way back. I got shot down in Brussels. I bailed out, and my plane caught fire.
“I was standing there, and of course there’s a whole bunch of soldiers. They put me up against a wall. One said to me, ‘Sprechen Sie Deutsch?’ I said, ‘No.’ And he hit me in the face with his gun. You know, there was a bunch of people standing around, and they were showing off.”
On escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp:
“I was in a German POW camp for several months — almost 11 months. In the spring of ‘45 myself and two others escaped. We cut a hole in the fence at night. Every night the British would bomb Nuremberg. They would shut all the lights off, so they wouldn’t get bombed.
“We made a set of wire cutters out of hinges on the barnyard door, and cut a hole in the fence. We just ran and ran and ran for hours. We had a pretty tough time for that month-and-a-half we were out. We left with about half a loaf of bread. If you could make contact with the Polish laborers they would give us something to eat. We managed to get along. We would dig potatoes and rutabaga out of people’s gardens.
“We eventually made our way back almost to France.”
On chatting with German soldiers:
“We were hiding in the trees and we heard German voices. Well, another guy said they were American soldiers, but I said, ‘No, they’re speaking German.’ Well, we got up closer to them, and they were three German soldiers. Their guns were by the trees, and we just kinda stood there. Then we got to talking with these guys. They knew a little English, we spoke a little German. We talked to them for two or three hours.
“One guy showed us a letter from his brother in one of our POW camps. He said they were treating him real well, and he asked if he surrendered if we would send him there (laughs).
“Everybody kept their eyes on the guns cause we didn’t know what they were gonna do.”
On getting married:
“I had known her since I was 16 or 17. Well, they gave me leave, so I was home for about a month, and we got together. She was working at the Pharos-Tribune then. We probably went out every night almost. I had to go back, I was transferred out to Arizona. I was an instructor in a B-25 Air Force training school for Chinese cadets. I was there for a while. We decided to get married, so she came out to Arizona, and we got married (in August of 1945).
“I decided to exercise my right to get discharged, and we moved back to Logansport.”
On becoming a U.S. Deputy Marshal:
“Another (Logansport) policeman and I found out they were having civil service examinations for U.S. Deputy Marshals. We went to Lafayette to take the test, and evidently we both passed. He said, ‘Let’s go take this test,’ and I didn’t know what it was — neither did he.
“In those days you didn’t get a job unless they had a vacancy, and nobody ever quit. Finally, in 1954 a man in Hammond retired. You didn’t get any training, you got that later on. I was working in East Chicago, and it was a one-man office.”
On becoming a U.S. Marshal (higher than a deputy marshal):
“The guy that was the marshal (of New Orleans), he was a real politician. There was an election, and he was a Republican, and a Democrat got elected. I think it was Carter. Anyway, he said, ‘I’m not gonna work for any damn Democrat.’ And he just stopped coming to work. I called Washington, and said, ‘Listen, this guy hasn’t shown up to work for about a month.’ So they appointed me the U.S. Marshal.”
On meeting Bobby Kennedy:
“I talked to Kennedy on the telephone. We were in Chattanooga, and we were having a trial on Jimmy Hoffa. That was Bobby Kennedy’s thing in life, was to put Jimmy Hoffa in prison.
“We had a witness up on Lookout Mountain. I was the only one in the office, and the phone rang. I happened to answer it, and it was Bobby Kennedy. Then he came down. They were great for touch-football. On Saturday we all had a touch-football game. There was a photographer there for ‘Life’ magazine, then there was a picture in ‘Life’ magazine... Boy, we heard about it.”
On making it to his son’s basketball game:
“One year when we lived in Griffith. The year (my oldest son) was a senior, it was the sectional or regional (basketball game). One afternoon we had a jury trial and I told the judge, ‘My son is having a basketball game over in East Chicago, and I’d like to go.’ He tapped (the gavel) and said, ‘Gentlemen, Mr. Marshal has to be somewhere. We’ll be adjourned ‘til tomorrow.’ And we all went — the judge went, too. That’s the kind of guy he was. They won (the game).”
On advice to future generations:
“First thing I would say is, stay off of drugs. That’s gonna ruin our generation to come.”
By ANDREA HOEHNE
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This Week's Circulars
Anspach, John J., 84, Logansport, visitation hours will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at the Vineyard Community Church of Logansport, 715 E. Broadway. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Gundrum Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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