Sunday, March 31, 2013


 Easter Sunday 1910
Egmomd aan Zee
Julius ((Gari) Melcher (American)

Note the separate pews for  the men and woman. JAMA cover 3/27/13


Saturday, March 30, 2013


March is going out like a lamb. Except of course  for the NCAA Madness. Last night's Michigan/Kansas finish was one more great episode in the best tournament I have ever watched. This weekend's quarter finals should continue the excitement.

I have received the agenda for Monday night. Since the Library was closed yesterday, with company visiting today I may not have time to go over the support material at the Library. My report Monday morning  could be  only a recital of all the meat that will be before the Council.  I would expect that this Council will blast through everything to meet its time limit.

The Rivers" Council has unfortunately in an endeavor to meet that objective eliminated the time reserved by the McWilliam's and Mapp's Councils for the public to express their opinion on proposed legislation before the Council could consider for inclusion.  at the business meeting. TPBD

Friday, March 29, 2013


Did I make the right choice Thursday night?

In Oz March Madness continued in multiple forms. There is a rumor that the Mayor is going to run on the Republican line. A preview of Monday’s Agenda Setting Session reveals that at the start of the year’s second quarter we will have the “Mayor’s Budget”.  Unless there are special sessions of the Council the revised budget will not be adopted until the May meeting. After six months in June we should have State approval.

In anticipation of things to come; on April fool’s day the Mayor will have to reveal her election plans. We may find out if the reports are true about our gem of a Public Works Director Eric Jackson entering the Mayoralty race in Trenton. It would be Plainfield’s fate to lose the best Department Director of the past 8 years. According to today's news he is not one of the four candidates.

Needless to say there has also been a suspicion expressed that our silent City Administrator, Eric Berry after a year is still considering Plainfield to be an interim position.  Perhaps some answers lies in testimony before the Charter Commission about the City Administrator’s role by former Administrator Brash and ex Corporation Counsel Williamson.

Yesterday I wrote that I was in a dilemma about Thursday evening. Well, I certainly made the right choice last night. The Miami/Marquette game was a blowout. In fact I deleted the DVR copy after I got home.

Williamson and Laddie’s discussions at the Charter Commission were two of the most thought provoking ones.

One of the most important questions this Charter Committee faces is the role of the Corporation Counsel and if the Council should have its own legal resource.
Williamson who would be the qualified authority on the Corporation Counsel’s role served the city for years starting with the Latimore Administration as part time City Solicitor or part time Corporation Counsel before leaving for a period of time. He returned as full time Corporation Counsel in 2006. He noted that it was Mayor McWilliams who made the position a full time job.

He noted that the Corporation Counsel serves the City including both Mayor and Council. eHe He admitted that when there was a conflict between Administration and Council that although Corporation Counsel was to be impartial at times it would appear to be difficult. His role is to provide the best legal opinion; favoring neither party.

In response to a comment that at times he as Corporation Counsel appeared to be acting as the Mayor’s spokesperson; Williamson stated that it often appeared so but that he was expressing the Mayor’s opinion which he concurred with before the Council. He stated that often he had expressed the Council’s position before the Mayor; and agreed that because that was not in a public venue, it would be unnoticed. He felt that the Corporation Counsel could fill both roles although at times for various reasons he would have to recluse himself. He remarked that the most important role was to advise the City Administrator in his duties.

Williamson expressed no firm conviction on the effectiveness legally and economically as a full time position versus a part time one. He did feel however that the present 3 Departments as constituted were unwieldy in Administration and Finance as well as Public Works and Economic Development. He believes that there could be a better arrangement.
Laddie Wyatt has physical problems and difficult walking yet despite falling earlier in the day and being in pain she insisted in appearing. She had served the city as “Municipal Clerk” (the official state designation for the position) for over 25 years. 

The position is a state sanction one; with a state designated term in office. The posts of Tax Collector, Assessor and CFO are also state designated and sanctioned.  
None should be subservient to a Department Director but independent as the Clerk’s office had become under her administration. She noted that the Municipal Clerk’s position is not understood by many Mayors or Councilors.

She felt that the present Charter is a good one as originally intended. The Mayor’s position was a part-time one and basically policy maker. The person responsible for the day by day operations of the city was the City Administrator. Under the present day the role of the City Administrator seems to have become subservient to a “powerful Mayor. Whether that has been true from before the McWilliams era was not made clear, but it may have been initiated in the Rick Taylor era.


Thursday night presented a difficult choice; the first 4 games of the sweet 16 round including Miami and the Cinderella teams Wichita St/LaSalle games. There was also a Charter Commission meeting with presenters former City Clerk Laddie Wyatt, PMUA Director and former Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson and also former Financial Director Ron West.
My preference would be to watch the basketball games but I was especially interested hear Laddie’s remarks based on her 23 years as City Clerk. Fortunately, I could “tape” the ball games so it turns out to be a no brainer.  
Since I would not have time to write about the meeting for Friday morning; I will continue my “golfing days story” with a description of some of the Courses other than the West Nine and Ashbrook where I flailed away.
Another 18 hole privately owned public course, Oak Tree, was In nearby Edison. It had several interesting holes including a par four that had a short 50 yard drive through a “shoot” in the trees to a fairway that was a sharp dogleg to the right. I could not drive over the trees, as any good golfer should be able to do. I did however make a habit of hitting the trees lining the “shoot”. By the 80s, it had become a county course. A few years ago Union County closed it as a golf course in favor of a park.
          In the summer when at the lake, Helen and I would go to Schroon Lake Village where there was a 9 hole public course. It was unique. There was a long steep uphill par 4 first hole bordered on the right by a dirt road that led away from the lake and up the mountain. To the left of that green was the tee for the par 3 second hole, that could not have been more than 100 feet at the most long. However, there was no fairway, just a 9 iron or pitching wedge drive over a canyon to a postage stamp green. Needless to say, in our hands almost all tee shots landed in an impossible resting place at the bottom or else were way over the green into impossible rough.
          The 3rd was a par 4 from the elevate tee, which offered a beautiful view of the lake, to a precipitously lower downhill fairway. The second shot should be a chip to the green. Since there was nothing but fairways to the left; par should have been a given.
Next there was a series of six par 4s one next to the other over the crest of a hill. Over/back three times. It was a blind drive on these 6 holes. This part of the course was wide open the direction altering for each hole.
          I lay claim to the fact that I probably am one of the few if not the only one to play Bermuda’s exclusive Mid-Ocean Golf course and the Castle Harbor course at the same time.  Bob and Jean Reis and ourselves were vacationing at Castle Harbor and were playing on the Hotel’s golf course. My hook drive landed on a Mid-Ocean Fairway which was parallel to the hole I was playing. I took two shots towards the Mid- Ocean tee in order to reach the Castle Harbor green.
          One summer we drove to Prince Edward Island with Jean and Bob Reis. Helen and I had been to the Island on our 1949 belated honeymoon trip (three kids); it was about time) and had fallen in love with the beach. We were aware of the adjacent beautiful provincial golf course.
          The front nine was an inland course: hilly with elevated greens and deep traps. In front of one green there was a trap so deep that to get out it required a shot backwards to the fairway. Being in the deep rough or woods on the front nine was not too bad, since when looking for lost balls the girls would pick and eat strawberries. The 9th was a long par 5 with a postage stamp green on the side of a hill. In front of the green, there was a deep 30ft wide valley that had to be crossed.  Behind and slightly higher than the green was the original “Anne of Greengables” house. This also served as the club house.
          The back nine was a true seaside links. The nine holes ran counter clockwise around a peninsula jutting into the St Lawrence Bay. We often played with a Canadian whose left arm had been amputated. He was great company and a better golfer.
          On that trip, we played other courses included one at Moncton. This course had a hole which was a dead ringer for the tree hole at Oak Ridge. It required a drive through a narrow fairway surrounded by woods. Twice my tee shot hit a tree landing at least twenty feet behind us.
          We also spent two days at a Bed and Bath near the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews New Brunswick. We would dine at the hotel, where the service was as fitting and perfect for a top Canadian Pacific Hotel. The hotel had two golf courses, one a tournament caliber 18 hole course, the other was supposedly a par three course with very narrow but long fairways.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A BONUS ? Reprint of March 09 blog

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Soldier Boy- Soisson-le-Petite camp March 1945 The leather jacket was not standard army issue but was an airforce flight jacket that I as an officer was issued when I joined the division. Shortly thereafter no more were issued to infantry officers.
To recapitulate after landing. Koller had started the jeep as soon as we came to a stop. The jeep was attached by rope to the nose release and as soon as it moved forward the nose lifted up and we were able to drive out. The pilots were out of sight. If they had been in the cockpit they would have been lifted up with the nose segment.

We drove the Jeep out of the glider over to the other glider with the trailer. The nose of that glider was resting in the plowed field and we had difficultly lifting the nose to pull the out trailer. While we were occupied, a German soldier came out of the woods dangling aluminum anti-radar foil from upraised hands.

I could not be sure that he wished to surrender. I told my men to scatter. To my dying day I will be convinced that they all seven "scattered" in a straight line behind me. Probably the only time that they thought that the Captain would protect them. However, the German was a youngster who was overwhelmed by the airborne assaults and had had enough of the war.

We had no idea where we were. Nothing resembled what I had studied on the aerial photo maps. I showed the German where we wanted to be. He pointed out where we were; on the wrong side of the canal. He agreed to lead us to the canal and to a crossing near the farmhouse. Being lazy, I “permitted” him to carry my heavy medical bag and field pack. With my “prisoner" as guide we took off in file, the jeep towing the trailer, supposedly in the direction of the Issel canal.

We reached what look like an overgrown brook and followed a dirt road on the bank for a short distance. Suddenly, we noticed American soldiers lying prone sheltered by the canal's near bank. It was our A Company whose Captain yelled out “Doc get down. We are in the midst of a fire fight”.

However, we had heard no shots, so we went down the bank, waded across the ankle high "canal" and up the other side while Koller drove the Jeep and trailer over a little bridge. We soon reached our destination, a farmhouse that had been designated for use as our aid station. Irby was already there with the other half of the aid station.

Even though it was spring, the large fields surrounding the farmhouse were filled with haystacks. For several days, we kept unexpectedly flushing out German soldiers who had hidden in those haystacks. They were hungry, scared, but happy to be alive, and wanted to surrender. A few had even hidden in the farmhouse attic which supposedly we had searched upon occupying the house.

One day one of our men went to the attic with a comrade. He saw a German soldier's hat behind a trunk and thought he would scare his friend. He yelled "Achtung"; to his amazement, the hat began to rise and there was a German ready to give up. Needless to say, that for all of us, each episode was a shock and surprise.

In the afternoon of day one, there was an air re-supply mission. The planes were Liberators. They flew very low just above the tree tops. Unfettered, the crew pushed the supplies out of an opened door. As they flew over, unfortunately, one of the men fell out of his plane. Our re-supply included British plasma as well as dehydrated British tea with milk. We did not like the tea, and did not have the equipment to use their plasma. One cannot help but admire the men who flew such a hazardous mission.

Five or six days later, a British Commando unit relieved us. We had not touched the chickens that were running around but it took them about five minutes to “police (cleanup) the yard”. We mutually agreed to celebrate our Anglo-American unity with a drink. Their captain refused our offer of our medicinal Old Grand Dad bourbon. Instead, he insisted on their “Teachers” Scotch. “The real stuff that you Yanks don’t get in the States”. All we could find in the house were water glasses. My colleague, Irby, suggested that I do the honors while he remained sober.

After repeated toasts with refilled glasses, I felt no pain. That was my second and last “bombed” episode in Europe. Unfortunately, I had to ride in the Jeep cross-country to where the regiment was repositioning to attack across Westphalia.

Another view of a glider at Wessel, all istruments had been stripped for reuse.

Not a good landing

This is the waterway we were to capture and secure the bridges over it. The road on the left bank is where we traveled to reach A company's position. We were lucky!
The barn complex of the farm which was our aid station.
This was a C46


As an anecdotal fill in I thought rather than stories about WWII my exploits as a golfer would perhaps be of interest. I must admit that I never reached Tiger’s level even when he had hit bottom. I am talking about golf not social life.

In fact Helen and I found a greater challenge in competitive duplicate bridge at the national level than in the “Country Club” social life. Moreover dancing was not one of my favorite avocations.

However, in our mid 30s we began to play golf. We had taken a few lessons with a group at the JCC, and had a few more from a driving range pro.

There were several public courses available. In the summer before dark after dinner, we often would play nine holes on the nearby “West Nine”.

This very short wide open 9 hole course after dinner is owned by the then “restricted” Plainfield Country Club. It had been part of the club’s original eighteen, but was not up to standards. Also, these 9 holes were on the wrong side of busy Raritan Road.

Although still occasionally used by club members mostly when the main course
was closed, it was open for the use of the proletariat. The greens fee was higher than the county courses.

There were only two shallow sand traps and it was so wide open that only unplayable ball to any hole green  was one out of bounds. Since the present
1st fairway was parallel on its left to Woodland Ave., for years cars were often an accidental target. In the 90s a high screen was erected along the road for a short distance past the 1st tee.  Par could not have been more than 33 for the 9 holes. 
A professional could shoot 18 holes in the low 60s without difficulty.

Helen was an excellent putter. She also accomplished something I never did.  One day, while I was working, she had gone alone to the West Nine. Upon her return she informed me that she had gotten a birdie! Apparently she played with two men; one a priest. On one of her drives her ball had hit a bird flying across the course.

I also would play at Ash Brook. This very long county course had been built on swamp land, thus some of the fairways were always spongy. There was one par 5
hole, the 7th, that had a long fairway from the tee to a sharp dog leg to the right, followed by a short uphill shot to the green. It was possible for long ball hitters to drive over some trees to land just below the green. Unfortunately, for me, I had a love affair with the pond that was at the angle of the dogleg. I was too stubborn to stop trying.
At Ash Brook I had a standing monthly game; a threesome with  Doctors Humphry and Langston, two of the “colored” physicians on the hospital staff. Both were dedicated golfers with low 80 handicaps. One would hook every tee shot the other would slice. Even from the rough or the woods they were always on the green in regulation, and were good putters. I on the other hand never knew where my ball was going. If any hit resulted in the ball going where it was supposed to I wanted to know what I had done right. I would be lucky to break 100. But we enjoyed each other’s company.

Despite being a duffer; I was also invited  by   colleagues with private club affiliations to play on all the area courses including the PCC, in addition to Echo Lake, Twin Brooks and Shackamaxon. Shack had a famous par 4 postage stamp  island green. Shack and PCC were sites of PGA tournaments. I never broke 90.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I was scanning a backup hard drive and came across this picture of Berlin in the summer of 1945. This is the large Victory Reviewing Stand the Russians erected  on Unter Der Linden near the Tier Garten.
" Uncle Joe" ;FDR on the left and Winston on the right. 

I was in Berlin as Battalion Surgeon of the 376 Parachute Field Artillery Battalion of the 82nd Div. . Our motor vehicles consisted of two Jeeps (TE) plus a Dodge Ambulance which had been picked up abandoned by the 28th in the Bulge. Since the Detachment was only 5 enlisted men and myself at that time; I had a drivers license, which is the basis of a latter story.

At that time Penicillin was available for treating VD. However  because there was a lucrative market in the sale of penicillin; for GC we had to get a positive smear before we could get the drug. That meant we had to make the slides and send them to the hospital in Berlin's lab. We would get the results the next day.

The hardest duty I had was  sick call for the Division Brig and would have to see each day's goof offs.

One day a GI who had been in the brig from Africa for more time than on duty appeared with the most obvious signs of Gonorrhea.{ A liberal Jail!}. I still had to take the smear before I could treat him and told him to return in 48 hours. With that he strongly protested that every other 6 times He had GC he had immediate treatment. {Note Penicillin but a sulfonomide plus intra-urethral injections of Argyrol.}.

I explained that orders were orders and my hands were tied. We proceeded per regulations and since  bacterial resistance had not developed to the new antibiotic one injection "cured" him.

Apparently this character had an influential family so when he complained about his bad treatment some one had put pressure on their Senator.He filed a complaint about being denied proper treatment; and several weeks later I was favored with a visit from the Inspector General's office.  The presentation of a copy of the order from Berlin Area Command quickly settled the issue.

Since you know that I was during the combat times one of two Medical Officers with the 1st Battalion 194 Glider Inf. Div.; you may wonder  how I was a member of the 82nd. That is a story unto itself.   

Monday, March 25, 2013


I have been informed that some could not  find the CG4A picture in my blog. Others had no trouble. I am copying  pictures I googled with an accompanying text and hope it is visible and of interest. There are several pictures and text from various sources in this blog plus a link to Wikipedia on Operation Varsity. The pictures may/or may not  come through. Let me know..


The 15-place CG-4A glider's wingspan was 83.6 feet and its overall length was 48 feet. In the CG-4A, the floor was made of honeycombed plywood, a construction technique that provided strength with minimal weight. The load-bearing capacity of the floor enabled the CG-4A to carry 4,060 pounds, which was 620 more pounds than the glider's own empty weig The entire nose section (including the pilot's compartment) of the CG-4A swung upward creating a 70 x 60 inch opening into its cargo compartment. This made it possible to quickly load and unload the glider. Types of cargo were fighting men, a jeep with radio equipment and driver, radio and operator plus one other soldier; two soldiers and a jeep trailer loaded with combat supplies; a 75mm pack howitzer with 25 rounds of ammunition and two artillerymen; a small bulldozer and its operator.
The CG-4A could be towed at a maximum safe speed of 150 miles per hour with a gross weight load of 7,500 pounds. It was often towed at a slower speed of 110 to 130 m.p.h. The gliders were usually towed behind a C-47 tow plane on a 300 foot nylon rope. 1" in diameter. between the early gliders and their tugs was a telephone wire wrapped around the tow-rope. These lines often shorted out while being dragged along concrete runways during take-offs. Two-way radios eventually replaced this system.
The instrument panel contained an air speed indicator, an altimeter, a rate of climb indicator, and a bank and turn indicator. All of these instruments had originally been manufactured for use in powered airplanes where engine vibrations would keep the indicator needles from sticking. The glider pilots flying their vibrationless aircraft frequently tapped all indicators to be sure they were giving correct readings.
The outside appearance of the CG-4A gave an illusion of simple construction. The final production models actually contained just over 70,000 parts.
A total of 13,909 CG-4As were manufactured by 16 companies during World War II - more than the number of B-17, B-25 or B-26 bombers; P-38, P-39 or P40 fighters, or any of the C-46, C-47 or C-54 transport airplanes manufactured during that same time period. 

Rhine crossing

The last major operation involving gliders was the crossing of the Rhine in 1945. To avoid the long delay in relieving the airborne troops which had been a major cause of the failure of Operation Market Garden, the landings were made close to the German front line defences. The landings took place in daylight once again, and heavy German anti-aircraft fire took heavy toll of the vulnerable gliders. Most Allied casualties were incurred by the glider pilots(Wikipedia)

Picture below is on a training exercise

File:Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base Jeep Coming Out Of Front Cargo Door - 2.jpg 

File:Jeep being loaded into waco glider.jpg