Biography of Dominick N. August
CCCMan, Company 1230, Camp S-100-NY, Masonville, NY
8th Air Force, USAAF
CCC Camp 1230, S-100, Masonville, New York was located in Upstate New York in the foothills of the beautiful Catskill Mountains in a valley between two wonderful towns, Deposit and Masonville and a village called Sidney, population of about 4500 where most of us went for relaxation. I want readers to know that New York State had a few great CCC camps. The C's paper loves the Midwest and the Far West most of the time.
My stay there from 1938 to 1941 was a home away from home. I came from a family of seven brothers and four sisters. You can imagine our parent's difficulties during the depression. At one time, there were five brothers in the C's. But with all this effort we still lost our four bedroom house and land. It all sounds quite familiar to those of you who went through the depression, right? Later on we had six brothers in the service scattered all over the world.
I was shipped from Schenectady, N.Y. to the Masonville camp. The work at camp was the same as many CCC camps - planting and cutting trees, building roads, water holes, blasting shale pits, fighting fires, etc. The bean sandwiches and peanut butter toasted over a fire in the woods were very tasty. The guy elected to boil coffee did just that most of the time. We knew he put somebody's socks in it. Sound familiar to you?
In my barracks we had a guy we called Indian, real name Steve Karos, who always slept with a double bladed axe under his pillow. We were all very careful around his bunk.
At one time I was put on latrine duty with fellow camp Ralph Senese. We were down about 6 feet digging on a real hot day when a bucket of cold water hit us. There was some laughter up above and I came charging up out of there. A couple of old timers, Joe Cycon and Ed Stelmack, who had six months on Ralph Senese and me. It was an initiation and we got over it after a while. You all know about the pick and shovel details, right? How about all the tree planting and how many seedlings got left under rocks. You all remember that?
I rolled over two trucks and one ambulance, none of them my fault. You know how that goes. Captain Schuyler, camp commander, was very understanding. He was an old Army man.
We had the best drinking water bar none. There was a huge water tank across the road, two miles up in the woods. Mother Nature's Spring Water.
The canteen was a great place for us with our monthly coupons issued. Mike Pepe always managed to give us a little extra as well.
We had a First Sergeant, Ed Beckman, from the old school. He was whistle crazy. He blew the whistle all the time, mostly at night.
We mostly were out playing football on Sundays. Now to play football among ourselves was real exciting. A bunch of us would sign up for church service every Sunday and end up at the local ball field and play hard tackle football. We had Jack Stingone, who was Quartermaster Sergeant who was kept quite busy issuing us clothes and shoes due to this activity. Sgt. Stingone was a great buddy of ours. We also did a lot of laundry by hand. Football was eventually off limits due to the cuts and bruises the camp nurse had to doctor up.
Our Mess Sergeant we called Tandy. He always kept extra snacks for our baseball team. Our camp had a great baseball team. We played town teams and other camps.
We also had a good boxing club. We traveled all over and won our share of fights. I went on to do a lot of fighting in the 8th Air Force and did quite well.
For other recreation, we would go to town in 2 Stake trucks, everybody standing in the back. The last mile into town was down a steep hill and we had 2 drivers who got a charge out of putting the trucks into neutral and coasting down the hill at great speed while we bounced all around and yelled.
Our trips to town were always exciting. At first, we could see the shades being pulled down, no one on the streets and lights out. But as time went on the town accepted us very warmly. We enjoyed the roller skating. One time I went up to pick up the boys at the local roller rink with a carryall truck. When I got back to camp a Troop C car pulled up. He said I took out all the lights with me that decorated the entrance under the portico at the rink. Little did I know my truck was a little too high and picked up the lights as I drove through. Not my fault.
We also enjoyed the one movie house in town which had a balcony that was always crowded with us CCC boys and girlfriends we got to know. I for one ended up marrying my young lovely girlfriend in 1946 and we still are going to movies. But no balcony in 1999.
We had it made in the Triple C's and never really knew it. I remember the things and people during my stay in the C's much better than my years in the service. Most likely it was my fault. Getting into the holidays got me thinking of the close friends and wishing I could talk to all of them. Most everybody is gone now and I'm selfish in reliving their touch in being near me again.
Yeah, we need another FDR. The government could build some kind of a retreat for CCC retirees to go for 2 weeks a year. Perhaps some of you were stationed at this camp the years from 1938 to 1941. Please drop me an email. Good luck to all.
----- Dominick N. August
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