It was hard to go back and get to work, but I guess it was the best thing for me. Every morning we would have reveille at 5:30 AM. We would fall out by platoons We would either have calisthenics or a long run. The run was for five miles, and at the end of the run we went through an obstacle course. This included swinging across water on ropes, scaling a twelve-foot wall, crawling on our belly under some wire, then through some long tubes and so on.
We had two Chief Petty Officers who were in charge of our fitness, one was named Belichick and the other was Paycheck. They would run along beside us yelling “faster, faster” and generally harassing us. After the obstacle course, we entered the track and ran for another quarter mile, then back to the barracks to shower and fall out by platoons and march to breakfast. This continued for a year.
I met a lot of interesting characters while I was at Lafayette in the Navy. One was a fellow named Mojo Maceri. Mojo was from Tupelo, Mississippi and he loved a party. Everyone liked Mojo and he was always the life of any party or get together. One thing about Mojo: I never knew anyone who hated exercise more than he did. Mojo would go to extraordinary lengths to avoid effort.
We had desks for study in each room in the barracks/dormitory that were closed on one side and open for your knees on the other. The closed side was toward the door of the room. There was a foot rail about 12” off the floor in the knee well on the other side. Every morning, we would fall in formation to do our 6 AM run/ calisthenics/obstacle course. Mojo would get someone towards the back in the platoon formation to holler “here” when they called Mojo's name at roll call.
Meanwhile, back in the barracks, Mojo would cram himself up in that knee well and perch on the foot rail under the desk. Once we were all out of the barracks the “Officer of the Day” would check each of the rooms to be sure no one was left behind. Mojo would balance on that little rail until the inspector had passed and then crawl out and go back to bed and sleep for about a hour until we all came back from our exercise. Mojo finally got caught and they nearly killed him making him run extra for the next week or so.
Mojo, however was not giving up. We had a huge tree at the east end of the barracks with limbs that came close to the window at the end of the hall. We lived on the second floor near that end of the hall. Mojo would again ask someone to call out “here” for him and he would crawl out the window into that tree and then climb up out of sight of the window and sit up there in the tree until he heard us marching off for our morning run. Mojo finally “washed out” and was sent on to some duty station as an enlisted man.
Back at home, Mom had been taking engineering classes at St Mary’s University in San Antonio at night to qualify helping with the war effort. She was accepted by the Navy Department and was ordered to report to the War Department in Washington, D.C. She wound up designing CIC’s(Combat Information Centers) for ships. She specifically worked on the layout for the Aircraft Carrier Franklin Roosevelt and was chosen to perform the final inspection. She was the first woman to be sent by the Navy Department to inspect the CIC on a carrier before it was commissioned. I was so proud of her. A little ol’ teacher from San Antonio doing such an important job for her country during the war.
After the war was over she returned to San Antonio with Navy Commendation in hand and resumed teaching in Thomas Jefferson High School the rest of her working days. She retired at 65 to our farm at Leon Springs north of San Antonio. Later she moved to Alamo Heights in San Antonio and lived across the alley from her sister Helen (Cot) where they spent many days together until she passed away in July 1977.