Mixsonian Morris

Morris Returns Home

On January first Morris writes in his journal, “New Year’s Day – Don’t feel very good, G.P.D.L.N.”   The acronym meaning “Got Pretty Damn Drunk Last Night” which was interesting in that once returning home, Morris never drank alcohol again.  On January 18th Morris writes “One of the luckiest days of my life, going back with LSM-44 to the States.” Finally, after fifty days of being anchored in Guam, LSM-44 headed to Pearl Harbor on January 30th at 5 PM and on February 8th, Morris’ one year anniversary at sea, crossed the international date line then arriving in Pearl Harbor on the 12th where they laid over until for two weeks then sailing to San Pedro California arriving on March 1st.  Morris had hoped to be discharged soon but that was not to be the case remaining on LSM-44 through the end of April.  He did go with a couple of his buddies to Los Angles on a 48-hour pass where he got a hotel room at a special rate for sailors of $1.00 a night.  Another time he had liberty and was happy writing “three days of nothing to do but what I wanted too.” While on liberty, Morris went to Hollywood but not thinking much of it writing to his mother saying, “It’s not what you think it would be.”  Morris along with five of his buddies, packed into a private car and the driver took them on a tour of Beverly hills.  The driver pointed out Anne Revere walking on the street and they stopped and talked to her, the driver explaining she played the mother in the movie National Velvet which Morris had shown to the crew on the deck of LST-1041 when he was in the Pacific.  Morris didn’t remember Anne Revere, but he sure did remember Elizabeth Taylor who played Velvet Brown. They stopped at the homes of several other stars and where they got out of the car and walk around their yards catching a glimpse of Eddie Cantor at his.  On the way back they stopped at the CBS radio station in Hollywood and watched the live broadcast of the comedian Jack Kirkwood on the Ivory Soap show.  It all was quite amazing to Morris who a little more that a year before was a poor farm boy who had never been more than sixty miles from home.

By the end of March Morris he wrote, “I’m really getting tired of the Navy now, as I want to go home and can’t. Just laying round and doing nothing really gets you.”  Finally, in May he got orders for him to be stationed in Jacksonville Florida and took a troop train arriving in Jacksonville two days later where he spent the last few weeks before being discharged. Upon discharged he received $52.28 in pay and a $5.00 millage allowance for his trip from Jacksonville to his home in Micanopy.  With $57.28 in his pocket and his dream of going to South America long forgotten, Morris took the train to Williston where his dad picked him up in the wagon pulled by Cabbage.

His dad, never showing much emotion, choked up a bit and his eyes got misty as he gave Morris an awkward hug before Morris threw his bag into the back of the wagon and gave old Cabbage a pat on the neck before they drove home.   After a year of living with the modern conveniences of indoor bathrooms, electric lights, telephones and heating, Morris was thought he was returning to his childhood home that hand no such conveniences.  The outhouse stood at the back of the property, heating was done by the wood stove in the kitchen and the single fireplace in the living room, only cold running water to the single sink in the kitchen and lighting by kerosene lamps, or so he thought.  Wilbur and Morris arrived at their home at dusk, Morris getting out of the wagon to open the gate noticed brighter than normal lights coming from the front windows of the house and the open doorway where his mother stood.  Wilbur drove the wagon through the gate, Morris latched the gate shut and Wilbur said “Go on.”  And Morris walked quickly over to his mother who was walking over to him and gave her a big hug before she turned him loose and said, “Let me look at you.”  After looking him over good and seeing he was OK, his brother Arnold came over and gave him a big hug. 

While Morris was greeting his mother and brother, Wilbur drove the wagon around back and unhooked Cabbage letting him loose in the field.  Rosalie, Morris and Arnold went into the house and Morris was surprised for he had never seen it so bright before.  A few months before, Wilbur had electricity put into the house with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling in front of the stove, another bare bulb over the dinning room table and an electric outlet in the living room and another in Wilbur and Rosalie’s bed room both which had simple table lamps.  Gone were the nights of reading by the light of kerosene lamps.  It was good to be home.


Updated: 12-08-2021