Friday, September 21, 2012

Larry Leonhardt recalls some events from childhood

Recollections of Larry, as recorded in Sept 2012 in a visit to Sandi (Bruce, Leonhardt) Lough in Phoenix AZ.

"He said he didn't remember much. He had a visual picture of Vera but not of any specific time. He remembered going to the food line with Mom (Joyce) and waiting for hours to get grapefruit and corn flakes. He said mom got creative with the grapefruit putting cinnamon and sugar on it then broiling it. He doesn't like grapefruit or corn flakes now. He also said they drank a lot of goats milk - mom said it was for their mother. Larry said that is why they are both so healthy. The only memory of the orphanage was getting a bath. He had a vague memory of the elementary school in Denver.

Both mom & Larry talked about the house they lived in on Filmore Street in Denver where they lived after moving from Redfield Lakes (the Dannenhauers sold the ranch). Grandpa Roy got a job at Gates Rubber (that must have been awful for him) and Grandma Jo ran the Filmore house as a boarding house. Grandpa was "daddy" just as mom says. The boarders included several secretaries and one soldier. One secretary and the soldier wound up marrying. Jo & Roy lived on the top floor, the boarders on the main floor and Larry and mom lived in the basement (cellar as he called it ).

The Filmore house was owned by the same man who owned the Broomfield ranch. That led to the family moving to Broomfield. While living there, mom and Larry went to Arvada High, taking a bus. (I didn't know that before). Mom transferred to East after her freshman year. For some reason the bus wasn't available so Larry got a car to drive. When it broke down, he stopped going. It was about that time he decided to join the navy reserves and was supposed to go to a monthly meeting in Golden but because the car broke down, he didn't go. One day, a big car came to the ranch and a man in full military dress got out and asked him why he was awol.  Larry said, he didn't know what awol meant and that he didn't know that not going to the meetings would get him in trouble.  So Larry was told he had a choice - either go to jail as being awol or join the navy as a regular. Larry says,"I didn't have to think much about that one" .

So he goes to San Diego in the navy and from there to some island (starts with a T).  He has a good story about how this sea landing plane has no wheels so it is pulled out to the ocean by ropes. He learns how to fly the plane and then also gets a pilots license from the island that they are on (but it isn't a US pilots license).

When his stint is over, he goes back to Broomfield and starts college. He has learned that in order to fly you will need to stay in the navy for 4 years but if you go to college, it is only 2. He has gotten his GED while in the navy. It is at this time that he learns of the Air Force - it was part of the army before and he was not going to get shot up serving in the army (a part of the story on joining the navy). So he is taking classes at CU and doing some bronco riding in the rodeos, when he reads about an opportunity to teach horseback riding in Michigan, so off her goes there. He continues to take college classes. After what sounded like a long time, he finally gets this acceptance to join the air force.

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