I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

William T. Johnson's Second Year at PC

Summer Quarter, June-August 1942

With the country at war and with us in ROTC we knew that we would soon be called up one way or the other, either through the draft as enlisted men or by appointment as officers, so to get in as much education as we could, most of us signed up for summer school. For some reason, the college changed from a semester system to a quarter system. My sophomore year started about the middle of June 1942. I don't remember the courses I signed up for exactly, but one course I enjoyed was Spherical Trigonometry taught by Dr. Herbert E. Spencer. It turned out to be easier to understood than the trig I had in high school. Another interesting course was Dr. Neill G. Whitelaw's Astronomy. My room mate, Harris Johnson, decided to move upstairs with an older friend, Charlie Williams, and I inherited a freshman from Anderson, Oren Jones. I remember the campus as being very pleasant that summer. I continued to go home as often as possible. After the hazing I got as a freshman, I chose not to be guilty of it myself, and I saved my two freshman room mates as much grief as I could.

Fall Quarter, September-December 1942

Oren's friend from Anderson, Dave Humphreys,had spent the summer in Smythe Hall and wanted to live with us. So we got a bigger room on the third floor so Dave could move in with us. My most memorable event this quarter was picking cotton. Apparently a cotton grower had lost his laborers because of the war and asked for help by students. I remember riding to the cotton field in the back of a truck together with other students. We were offered pay at the rate of $1.00 per hundred pounds picked. On hand were cotton sacks and scales. The going rate had been $0.60 per hundred. That afternoon I earned $0.25 and never considered a career as a cotton picker. The Army Air Corps cadets had arrived, had taken over a dorm, and drilled in the streets. I never knew anything about their classroom training. This quarter I probably had a course we called "atomic physics", economics, and beginning Spanish.

Winter Quarter, December-March 1943

I had enlisted in the Enlisted Reserve Corps and was numbered in one of the country's number systems and received Army Serial Number 14 183 363 (my roommate Dave Humphreys got 14 183 364). In later years I figured out the meaning of this number. The first digit, "1", stands for a volunteer joining the Regular Army or the Reserves. A "2" in that spot would have stood for the National Guard and a "3" or "4" would indicate Selective Service. The second digit, "4", meant that I was in the IV Corps Area. Our Military Science textbook contained a US map showing the nine corps (pronounced "core") areas. Georgia and South Carolina were both in the IV Corps Area. In subsequent years I saw many other numbers, most of them beginning with "2" or "3". My National Guard unit was given a block of numbers, perhaps 100, beginning "24781". We eventually enlisted enough recruits to use up this block and were given another block of somewhat higher numbers. I saw the ASNs of some California men beginning with "19" or "39". I have little memory of the courses I had in this quarter.


  1. William, I can see why you did not become a cotton picker. I have some questions. With the wars that I have seen this country involved in, there has been a real political divide over the necessity of the wars. Could you comment on the feelings on campus and at home about WWII both before and after Perl Harbor.

  2. Oops, I do mean Pearl Harbor.