Biography of Gaylord Clinton Jolly, Jr.

CCCMan, Enrollee, Camp Luzerne, Michigan

   My husband's father wrote this account of his time at the CCC camp. His name was Gaylord Clinton Jolly, Jr. At the time of his enlistment he lived in Lansing, Ingham, Michigan. Gaylord died in 2002 and was a resident of Callaway, Minnesota. Here is his story:

   "In 1934, I joined the CCC and was sent to Camp Luzerne, north of West Branch, Michigan where I was paid $5.00 a month and $25.00 was sent home to Dad and Mother. I will never forget the stop over at Camp Custer. We got off the train and it was raining and cold and we were standing in water. I had low worn out dress shoes on, holes in the soles and the water was running in one side and out the other. We stood in the mess line in the rain for about a half hour. We came out of the mess hall with a full belly and was handed a barracks bag. It is now dark and we stand in line and they passed out clothes, shoes, overcoats, and shirts. We went from tent to tent collecting and filling the barracks bag with clothes, on top of all of this they topped it off with Army blankets and showed us to a tent where we were to sleep for the night on an Army cot. I changed clothes in the dark and put everything on I could wear - dry socks, pants and shirts and the overcoat, made up my bunk and went to sleep and froze all night. When I arrived in camp I weighed 118 pounds and at the Rec. Hall they were having boxing training bouts so I had to show them how tough I was. So I got into the ring with another fly-weight. I was noticed by an ex-professional that had tired of fighting tank bouts and starving to death so he joined the corp to get something to eat. It was decided I should be on the camp boxing team as a novice and my first fight would be on Saturday night. I was scared to death. Well I won and got a silver glove and $3.00 and thought I was headed for the big time. Now at home we got one small piece of pork steak or hamburger or a hot dog for dinner. In the CCC we got three pork chops, three or four hot dogs and a pile of beef roast that would feed all us kids at home. All the pancakes, sausage, ham and bacon you could eat. Well eat I did and filled out that size 14 1/2 shirt. Soon weighed 126 pounds and had to move up to feather weight on the boxing team. Having a love for sports I made the baseball team and played center field, at bat, I was the lead-off man. We traveled all around the north playing baseball on Saturdays and Sundays riding in the back end of an Army truck. For uniforms we had baseball pants, sweat shirts and a cap, we looked like the "dead end kids." I was liked by the Forest Rangers and learned much about forestry, how to run a stake line from one section marker to another. I didn't always hit the section marker but came close and learned how to correct the mistake. I learned how to use all the surveying instruments. Clyde Soper, a Forester, had charge of all the surveying and we made maps of all the lakes and proposed camp grounds in the Huron National Forest. The crew was Stewart Hultz, Bob Haskel and myself and now and then another helper. I worked in the fire tower a number of periods and one fall Duke Helmbolt and I had charge of the Old Baldy fire tower. Old Baldy tower was near South Branch and Mac Lake. I had saved up over $400.00 from my time at the CCC camp and came back home to the farm which was located east of Okemos, Michigan on March 17, 1936."

----- jolhaun83 AT comcast.net

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