Monday, February 14, 2011


Upon his return to his North Hollywood, California home Bill resumed his studies at UCLA, majoring in English. He continued to live at home and commute to the UCLA campus which was about 10 miles away.

Sometime in the fall of 1946, on a blind date arranged by his folks and their close friends, the Cottles, Bill met Marilyn Massie, a coed at UCLA who lived about a mile from Bill. Marilyn was not particularly impressed with Bill at the time, later noting that he was very shy and did not have much to say about what he had been doing for the previous 3 years. Bill did not call Marilyn for a second date. Some weeks later while walking between classes at UCLA Bill ran into Marilyn and invited her to join him in the cafeteria for lunch. This time, in a more relaxed, neutral environment Bill and Marilyn hit it off.

Nature took its inevitable course, and on August 31, 1947 Bill and Marilyn, with another couple eloped to Yuma, Arizona where they were married by a justice of the peace. Due to circumstances, I believe mostly because of the strong will and maternal dominance of “Mudder”, Bill and Marilyn kept their marriage secret until the summer of 1948 when it was no longer possible to conceal an obviously pregnant Marilyn. On Friday, August 27th, 1948 Marilyn prematurely gave birth to a son, Gregory Lawrence Taylor. He weighed 5 ½ pounds.

With the birth of their first son, Marilyn dropped out of UCLA while Bill continued his studies which culminated with his graduation in June of 1949. During this time Bill, with the encouragement of his father-in-law, an old navy man, enlisted in the Naval Reserve with which he served for 2 years.

On November 27, 1950 Bill and Marilyn’s second son, Philip Steven Taylor was born. To support his family Bill took a position in the credit department at Los Angeles based Richfield Oil Company. He would remain employed in the credit field for the next 25 years.

Bill enjoyed writing and wrote a number of short-stories which he submitted for publication, but to my knowledge none were actually published. He also dabbled in art, another of his talents. He particularly enjoyed silk screening. On several occasions he silk screened Taylor Family Christmas Cards. One time, to my delight Bill painted a picture of “Popeye” on my school notebook. When he was the “Den Father” to my Webeloes Cub Scout group my dad silk screened a drawing of the group onto tee shirts for all the guys. This was in 1959 when nobody had ever seen a tee shirt with silk screened drawings on it.

In the mid 1970’s Bill went to work as a Contract Administrator for the U.S. Defense Department where he remained for 10 years until his retirement in 1984. Prior to this time Bill, who was a teetotaler during his army days, developed a drinking problem which plagued him for a number of years. It can never be know if his combat experiences contributed to Bill’s alcoholism, but some studies have indicated that the incidence of the disease is no higher among combat veterans than the general population.

In early 1983 Bill came to grips with his drinking problem and after a 30 day hospital stay became an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He would remain sober for the rest of his life. As a result of his sobriety and program of recovery in AA Bill decided to become a certified drug and alcoholism counselor.

Sometime in 1985 Bill began to experience weakness and muscle spasms in his extremities. After a number of erroneous diagnoses it was determined that he was a victim of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Bill fought the incurable disease with great courage but to no avail and he died peacefully on June 29, 1987. He was 61 years of age.

In closing this tribute to my father I would like to add a personal note. Bill was a loving and wonderful father. Like most families we had our problems. For a period of time during my adolescence we battled a great deal, but as I matured I discovered that my father wasn’t as clueless as I thought. In fact, he was a man of great wisdom. I see many elements of that wisdom in his letters. As I stated in the introduction to this blog, Bill spoke very little about his World War II experiences. I believe that, like most combat veterans, he wished to put that part of his life behind him. On several occasions he spoke of what it was like to be in combat. The remark that remains with me beyond all else is when he said that as much as he might like to explain combat, it is impossible to really convey what it is like to face death on a daily basis and to kill another human being. I still have not fully come to terms with this remark, but I think that Bill did. Either way Bill Taylor, my father, is and always will be my hero.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

About Telegram 2

This Western Union Telegram sent from Ft. Bliss Texas is Bill's final communication home to his parents from WWII. He encounters no difficulties on the final leg of his trip and arrives at Union Terminal in Los Angeles as scheduled on Tuesday April 16, 1946. After 30 months of service to his country Bill is home.

Telegram 2- April 14, 1946



745 PM.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

About Telegram 1

After 20 months of service in Europe Bill returns to American soil at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. By war's end Camp Kilmer had become the largest processing center for troops heading overseas and returning from World War II, processing over 2.5 million soldiers.

Telegram 1- April 9, 1946





Monday, January 31, 2011

About Letter 287

After almost two and a half years of writing this is Bill's final letter home from World War II. Things have "all come about very suddenly. In four days we are supposed to leave for port, which means that within 15 days we should be aboard a ship." Bill notes that "generally it takes about a month in the pipeline but he is hopeful that "I may be in it in less than half that time."

Letter 287- March 14, 1946

Heidenheim, Germany
March 14, 1946

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Well, you see where I’m now stationed. We came down here yesterday from Giessen and I’m certainly surprised in the difference between Giessen and Heidenheim. Things are tough up there but here you’d never know that there even was a war. No bomb damage (there’s an American owned munitions plant here), plenty of food in the shop windows, clothing—everything. I can see now why the people up there are bitter about these people—“Catholic scum” they call them. That’s an example of their intolerance, but these people here are very pro—American, now claiming that they are good Catholics and that they never liked Hitler, etc. (the usual line). Up north they at least admitted that they were Nazis.

Anyway this has all come about very suddenly. In four days we are supposed to leave for the port, which means that within 15 days we should be aboard a ship—that my friends, is fast moving—very fast. Generally it takes about a month in the pipeline but I may be in it less than half that time.

I probably won’t have much time to write for the next couple of weeks so don’t expect much mail. In fact, I may not be able to send more than a couple of letters before I get home. I won’t make any promises, but that’s the story.

I hope you’ll excuse my poor penmanship but this is the first letter I’ve written by hand in a long time.

That about does it for tonight. If you want to find Heidenheim on the map, it’s in the Schwabish Alps east of Goppingen.

Best Love,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

About Letter 286

Bill tells his folks to stop writing him as "By the time you get this letter I should be well on my way home." A large shipment of troops are leaving port on the 28th or 29th of the months and Bill hopefully says "if I'm lucky I will be with that shipment." He is making the rounds of people he knows to tell them goodbye. The first thing that those who are German say to him is " I wish I were going too, you lucky guy."

Letter 286- March 11, 1946

Giessen, Germany (Hesse)
March 11, 1946

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I’m writing you today to tell you to stop writing to me. By the time you get this letter I should be well on my way home. Yesterday we were informed that we would be leaving for our carrier unit or casual packet sometime this week. The fact of the matter is that we may leave tomorrow or we may leave sometime late this week. At any rate it can’t be much longer than that. There is a large shipment of troops leaving port on the 28th or 29th of this month and if I’m lucky I will be with that shipment. Of course, everything is too indefinite to tell for sure. That’s the same old thing that makes me love the army so damn much. You never can tell when they’re going to do something. A fellow will get ready to go somewhere ten times only to have the date set back and then when he expects it the least they come rushing in with the orders for him to be ready to move in about five minutes.

Anyway they called yesterday morning and wanted to know if any of us wanted to stay over here. I like the way they go at it. They call up and with an unusual sweetness of voice say that if we wish there is no reason why we have to go. Ha! This army kicks you in the pants for years and then they think that you will fall in love with them if they merely pat you on the back once.

I received a letter from you yesterday dated the 27th of Feb. which made pretty good time considering how the mails usually go over here. I doubt very much that you waited a whole week between letters, but that’s the way I usually get them. So they wrote to you about the book of the Regt. during combat. I really want one of those but the dirty so and so who wrote to you also wrote to me and I already ordered one. It shouldn’t be too long now before I get a book from division also. It is 400 pages and is called “The Story of the Century”. With all three of the books that we will have you should have a pretty good idea what in hell I did over here. What’s more I should get an idea what in hell I did over here. I’ve often wondered just what in the devil was going on.

Yesterday they said that we’d be leaving here Tuesday or Wednesday so I spent a good part of the day saying goodbye to people I know around here. The first thing that those who are German said was, “I wish I were going too, you lucky guy.” Of course that’s the same thing the Americans said too. In fact I have a sneaking suspicion that these people are slightly envious of me around here. Now, however, it seems that I may be stuck around here for some time to come—maybe a week or so. It’s really hard to say.

I really have a hard time believing that this can be true. I’ve nothing but bad news for so long that I’m not conditioned to good news. I need some sort of refresher course in it or something.

The weather at last is beginning to break up around this neck of the woods. You might know it. It’ll probably be nice as can be from the time that I leave until next winter. Right now the weather is warm and just a bit foggy. It’s a lot like home about this time of year. For all my complaining though this has not been a hard winter for Germany. We’ve had very little snow and not enough cold to really make things bad. It really would have been bad if it had. The people here are not starving yet but they are not eating as well as the people in the other parts of Europe no matter what these idiot reporters for PM and other such publications say. The only thing is that they don’t moan about it so much. They’re just happy that things are as good as they are.

Well, I guess that about does it for now.

Best Love,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

About Letter 285

At long last Bill's name is turned in for redeployment back to the States. His 19 month overseas deployment will soon be over. The men in Bill's company celebrate the news by getting "high as a kite". The one exception is Bill, who doesn't drink. To his chagrin he is the only one sick the next morning. Disgustingly he exclaims, "Hell, if I knew that I was going to feel so bad this morning anyway I would have gone on a real toot."

Letter 285- March 7, 1946

7 March 1946
Giessen, Germany

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Oh Happy Day! Oh World of Joy! Today I was informed that yesterday my name was turned in for redeployment. Yippie! Now all that I have to wait for is my orders. Oh, I wonder how long that will be. I hope to heaven that they will come down next week before the company must leave for Munich. I’m afraid that if we are in transit when they come through everything will be a mess. However, if our orders come through the Lieutenant is going to have one sweet time trying to get down there with only 3 men and three vehicles. Ha, I should worry. Out of the eight men in our company 5 of us will be leaving all at the same time. I think that that will about settle the hash of the1297th for once and for all. The two men that the Lieutenant will have are new and unexperienced in this work and any replacements will be as green as grass. Of course I’m not shedding any tears though. Once I’m out of here t’hell with all of it.

This morning I felt a little sick so I asked the Lieutenant if I could lie down—ate too many French fried potatoes last night. So I just got to sleep when Weber, the jeep drier came dashing in and threw me out of bed. Of course I appreciated that very much but before I could strangle him with a blanket he told me about the shipment. You know suddenly I felt like a new man. My stomach didn’t feel like an old sash weight anymore. Alles war wunderbar.

All I have to sweat out now is about 747,000 little details like who, how, when, where, why, and sundry other trivialities, but at least I know something for definite and that will be something.

Boy! Do I get mad. Everybody in the company last night with the exception of myself was as high as a kite but guess who had the hangover this morning. Yep, that’s right. Honestly, I haven’t drunk anything stronger than beer since VJ and yet I’m the one who must suffer in the morning after. Hell, if I knew that I was going to feel so bad this morning anyway I would have gone on a real toot. Oh well, C’est las Vie or sumpin’.

I’m afraid that these next couples of weeks are really going to be the longest in a long time. As long as I wasn’t sure about the thing I could be as philosophic as Zeno himself. But now I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat all the time. It’s a good that I cut my fingernails short or I’d probably gnaw my hands off.

I’m afraid that I can’t think about anything else except coming home right now. I don’t kid myself though. There’s a lot of difference between getting orders and getting off the train in L.A. but I’ve got to start somewhere.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got to say for tonight. I haven’t received any mail for several days now so I guess that they have everything in a muddle again.

Best Love,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

About Letter 284

The word is that Bill's Labor Supervision Company is moving to Munich. He doesn't think it will have any effect on his homecoming. Giessen is having typical spring weather"you know, a half rain, half snow, all slop kind of weather." Yesterday a Jerry asked Bill if he could join the American army if there is another war.

Letter 284- March 6, 1946

Giessen, Hesse, Germany
March 6, 1946

Dear Mudder and Dad,

I’ve got something odd to tell you today. That is that we’re moving to Munich. It came very suddenly and surprised us all. Of course, it’s a week away and many things can happen between now and then. I’ve always wanted to see Munich but at this time I’m not interested in seeing anything but home. All this, however, will have no effect on my homecoming. Maybe it would delay me a couple of days but not more. We’re being transferred from the 8th Labor Area to the 9th so I can’t tell you what the setup is supposed to be. Personally I hoped that we would stay here until we got our redeployment orders but you never know what the army is going to do next. From Munich it will be a helluva lot farther to port than from Giessen and that will probably mean more horsing around on forty and eights. Actually we will probably no more than get there then four or five men out of our company of eight men will be on their way. I doubt very much, however, if the brass ever took that into consideration. They’ll wonder why after they sent our company down there there will be no one left. Well, I know that I don’t give a damn.

I’m waiting for the mail right now and I sure hope I get some. Once I leave here I’ll probably never get anymore until I get home. The last one that I received was written on February 20th. I’m actually getting to the point at which I don’t give a damn about anything.

Well, by the time I write again, however, I should know for certain what we’re going to do. Now the only problem is getting home before they start another defugalty over here. Boy! It just seems that we can’t have any kind of decent peace. There’s a lot of things going on over here that I’d like to tell you about but I’ll just have to wait until the time when I get home.

We’re having a nice slice of sloppy spring weather here right now—you know, a half rain, half snow, all slop kind of weather.

Since I wrote the last paragraph, I’ve read the “Stars and Stripes” and listened to the news in German over the radio. What a mess. All I hope is that I can get home for a while before they start another fracus over here. From the news it is obvious that Britain and ourselves are working very hard to win the confidence of the krauts or anybody else who might have any sort of a grudge against our friends, the you know whos. Boy, oh Boy. What a life. Yesterday one of the Jerries asked me if it would be possible to join the American army if we have a war. That left a beautiful taste in my mouth. I don’t know what’s going on but God knows I’m sure sick of the whole damn setup. I always feel like we’re sitting on a powder keg playing with dynamite caps.

And with all the trouble in the world I look at the newspaper and see that they’re still making with the strikes back home. Bah!

Well, that’s about all for today. I hope that I can tell you something more definite about what we will be doing by the next time I write.

Best Love,

Monday, January 3, 2011

About Letter 283

It's Sunday and Bill remains homesick and "on pins and needles" about word on his redeployment stateside. Taking Rosemarie's advice that "work is the only cure for the blues" he has saved up his workweek chores for Sunday. The food situation in the British Zone is critical with news that the rations are being cut by two thirds. Bill notes that "that is starvation and nothing else."

Letter 283- March 3, 1946

Giessen, Germany (Hesse)
3 March 1946

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Well, here it is Sunday again and here I am waiting on pins and needles for something to happen. This waiting is really beginning to get me down. If only I knew something for sure it wouldn’t be so bad, but the way things are now I can’t say anything for sure. Replacements are beginning to come into this area in droves so it shouldn’t be long but on the other hand with the terrible food shortage that is beginning to be felt over here they are probably going to need more troops than ever. It makes me so damn mad to see the damn inefficiency that is causing all this trouble. Democracy is sure making a great showing for itself. They announced in the paper today that the food rations in the British Zone is to be cut to about a third of what the British ration is. That is starvation and nothing else. It’s easy enough to say that the Germans have brought it on themselves but starving women and children will certainly be a great advertisement for the champions of the “Four Freedoms”. The Germans are really getting scared and if things get in the American Zone like they are in the British Zone it’s going to take a helluva lot more than 300,000 troops to keep the people in line. All I hope is that I can get out of here before things get to that stage.

One of the fellows in our company has just come back from Italy where he says the situation is terrible. Everyone says to hell with democratic processes and that they need someone in government who will do something. That’s the sort of thing that reminds you of 1933.

I received another February 20th letter from you today so you can see that my mail situation is somewhat better at present. However, I believe that your letter had something to do with that. Yesterday we received a packet of mail from New York with a special airmail ticket on it so evidently the 1297th is getting a little thought for once. It’s a pleasant feeling after all this time.

These Sundays really get me down so anymore I save up some work during the week to take care of on Sunday. Rosemarie, the girl I told you about in my last letter claims that work is the only sure cure for the blues that she knows of. I’m prone to agree with her although I’m one of the laziest people in the world. Anymore if I don’t have something constructive to keep me occupied I feel like the fifth wheel on a stationary engine. I’ll tell you one thing. If a couple of years in the army doesn’t make a bum out of you nothing will. Either you do nothing or they keep you busy doing something that amounts to nothing. As father Gabriel Heater used to say over the radio on the days when the Jerries kicked the royal living daylights out of us, “Oh Yes, there’s great news coming out of Europe tonight.” I guess it’s all in the way you look at it, and the way I look at it the situation sticks—that’s a slight misspelling.

That’s about all for today so here’s hoping that I’ll know something by the time I write again.

Best Love,