Some *rough* writings about my grandpa I did 8 years ago WITH TYPOS

What follows are rough drafts of some biographical work a friend and I did on Arthur Rowland, my grandfather. I’ve left the writing the way I found it – flawed and authentic. Maybe there’s a story here, who knows. Enjoy

Arthur J. Rowland was born on (Insert date) in the Bronx. As a boy Arthur grew up in a harsh period known as The Great depression. His family was poor but this didn’t stop him from being a child. Every site and sound is an amazing experience to a young boy after all. On a particular day in the early 1930’s was no exception. Arthur walked into a catholic church and saw the crucifix of Jesus towering above his small physique. “Holy macarel, what did they do to him?!” he exclaimed with a tone of innocence, little did Arthur know this guiltless comment would mean much more later on in his life. Growing up where money was scarce made him resourceful and he knew that money was important, especially if he needed to take care of himself and his family.
At the age of (insert age) Arthur landed his first job as a an assistant to a butcher making 25 cents a week(?). His quick wit also gave him the idea to sell newspapers such as the Daily Mirror for slightly more money than originally bought. Sometimes people were generous to the young lad and gave him the paper back or even gave him a whole nickel for just a single paper. Now you may laugh at a nickel but for a boy in the 1930’s it was almost as good as winning a week supply of comics and ice cream fudge sundaes. Though he was indeed a resourceful young man his wit didn’t always help him for the better. In an effort to save money he would regularly hitch rides on a trolley, but eventually the long arm of the law decided to finally reach for him. Intent on getting home after doing what he does best (being a boy and causing mischief of course) he was abruptly shocked as a police officer pulled him to the curb and said rather sternly, “You little son of a bitch, If I find you hitching a ride again I’ll run you in”. He was given the proper official spanking of the law and was sent on his way. Ironically, he was late in getting home and his mom decided to give him another whack just for being late. “I would never dare tell her what the policeman said or I wouldn’t be here today” says Arthur knowing his strict mother wouldn’t put up with any nonsense from him.
With all this income as a child he was able to impress the “ladies” with fancy 15 cent dates to the Ice cream parlors. However, one such girl, Bernice, became his first love. I thought this was particularly interesting. As stated earlier, Arthur’s was from a poor family however Bernice was a french girl from an upper class family in which they fell in love. Bernice and Arthur dated for over four years and he gave her the nickname of “Bunny”. Finally breaking up when he had decided to enlist in the army and take part in something we like to call World War II.
World War II
Arthur, fearing where he would end up if drafted by the government, enlisted for active duty in the United States Navy. It was 1942 and the second World War was in full swing. After breaking up with his girl and saying goodbyes to friends and family, he was shipped off to Chicago. There, he began his training at the Great Lakes Naval Station.
His dapper, wavy hair was mowed into a crew-cut, and he was issued clothes. Newly molded, he was then thrust into the daily cycle of waking up before the sun, training, testing, eating, and sleeping. It was so cold there his Drill Instructor remarked, “You boys, I don’t know how ya can take it, my wife visited me up here and I couldn’t get it up!” The wind coming off of the Great Lakes would slice through your innards and graze your heart with a little touch of icy death. Despite the harsh conditions and rigorous drill, Arthur excelled.
He did so well in fact, that after Boot Camp, he was sent to two schools and trained as a diesel mechanic. Arthur was promoted an outstanding three ranks to Petty Officer, First Class. At this point he was getting paid a luxurious $136 dollars a month – a far cry from the pay he received as a butcher boy he had been in the Bronx he had left behind.
His first assignment was at the Naval Base in Virginia. There he was taught how to operate and maintain landing craft that required only three men to operate.
It was on one of these very craft, where Art and his two fellow conspirators decided to get lost. It was a sunny, breezy day and the sun warmed his skin and his heart. The boys pulled their landing craft onto a Virginian beach and dropped the ramp. They strolled onto the beach as conquerors and found some girls from New York to flirt with.
There was an element of blow-back from this excursion, as their superiors punished them with latrine duty for a few days that he considered well worth it. From Virginia he was sent to San Diego, and from there he went to Hawaii. He was happy to be going to the Pacific in some regards; he had a lot of German friends in High School and even knew the language. Going to Europe would mean fighting people he was familiar with. The Japanese, although he would become acquainted with them later, were a much more alien people – not as easy to relate with.

Arthur J. Rowland, Motor Machinist Mate First Class went to war.

He served on a modified Landing Craft that volleyed radio signal from the ship to the shore. There were two 50 caliber guns mounted on the top, and one on the back, where there was a ramp to offload. While participating in the brutal Island-hopping campaign that America was waging with Japan, Arthur witnessed things that would haunt his dreams for the rest of his life.
It was his crucible, and the crucifix he had been awed by as a child he clung to then. All around him there was unspeakable carnage, and he has never to this day come to terms with how man was capable of inflicting others with such unspeakable pain. Bodies littered the water, and eels found that they made a good nest and source of food.
On the beaches and surrounding hills, flamethrowers cleared out tunnels; incinerated bodies littered the island and the stink of burnt flesh saturated his nostrils. During the aftermath of one such battle, he was walking up a hill and picked up a stick.
The stick turned out to be a charred human arm bone and he threw it in disgust. He has tried for many years to wash that from his hands, scrubbing his hands under the sink.
He was in Okinawa when the atomic bomb dropped. He didn’t see it, nor hear about it when it happened. When the news came and he realized what it meant, the war was suddenly over. He looked around at the force assembled and knew he probably wouldn’t survive if there was an invasion of the homeland.
“All those lives were saved” – Arthur J. Rowland

Arthur and Charlotte
Arthur’s mom was a cleaning lady that worked on Wall Street. She was very proud of her eldest son, and held him responsible for his siblings. She found a Polish co-worker one day who had a single beautiful daughter. Together, they decided to play cupid. They arranged a meeting and reluctantly Arthur agreed to meet the daughter during his leave after boot camp.
So it was that one fateful night he accompanied his mother and a girl that was a friend of his to a dance. He wasn’t very interested since he was seeing someone at the time. His girl-friend however playfully coaxed him across the room and told him that he just simply had to meet this girl. When he first saw the girl the first thought that went through his head was “whoa!”
Needless to say Arthur’s girl-friend ended up going home with his mother whilst Arthur ended up staying over at Charlotte’s home. It wasn’t what you would think however, as he spent the night in her brother’s room.
Arthur shipped off soon thereafter, and although he had cut his ties with Bunny since he feared dieing; a new love had found him, one that when fostered would become stronger then any other. Truly the love between Arthur and Charlotte would grow through the war. This relationship served Arthur because everyone had girlfriends, and he didn’t want to be the one without notes to open.
Her correspondence with Arthur helped sustain him throughout the war. She sent care packages and photos. One such photo still has her writing on it today.

Arthur Darling,
This photo was taken at my sister’s house by one of her friends at the railroad. [Unreadable]
Love, Charlotte
p.s. I am looking forward to receiving that telephone call.. [in reguards to him coming home]
When the war was over Arthur married Charlotte who was a virgin and had saved herself for Arthur. He was very surprised when he found this out since she was such a beautiful woman and had so many friends. He was truly taken aback. Together they created three baby boomers in the years of 1949, 1951, and 1954.

Arthur and Charlotte 2

After Arthur and Charlotte’s marriage, they vacationed in the New York town of Goshen. It was a nice trip during June and they had a honeymoon suite waiting for them. There were a lot of other honeymooners at the resort they stayed at and Charlotte seemed to find a way to mingle with them all.
One morning Arthur went to the racing track that was next to the place they were staying. Horses were trotting around with their trainers. Arthur figured he would give it a run, and he did. He ran one lap just for the hell of it.
One of the men there lightheartedly berated Arthur. The man asked, “How could you do that when you’re on your honeymoon?” As usual Arthur laughed it off and returned to his wife to enjoy the remainder of their getaway.
When their honeymoon was over Arthur and Charlotte had to face the hard reality of the lives awaiting them. They started their married life in a cold-water flat in the Bronx. There were no apartments available. Their flat was located in an eight family house that had been renovated to accommodate returning veterans. The rent was $30 a month, which was roughly half of the earnings Arthur received from his newfound job at the Post Office. There he was paid 90 cents an hour.
Arthur would spend the days with his wife, and then work the night shift. Together, they would explore New York City and take advantage of all it had to offer. The subway cost a nickel, and they used those nickels to the fullest. He would take her to places such as: the museums downtown, the Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, and China town for dinner. There was always something to do in New York City.
They didn’t take long to dive into the baby making process. Their eldest child, Constance was born in 1949, and their only son Arthur jr.(date) would be born shortly thereafter. It was after this delivery when Charlotte wrote one of the more memorable letters to Arthur. Women typically stayed five days in the hospital after delivery, and it was on the third day after their son was born that Arthur received a note he would remember forever. In this note, she explained to Arthur that she had decided to name their son after him because the baby reminded her of him when he breast fed.

Moving to Long Island
In an ironic twist of events, Arthur’s mother didn’t like Charlotte. The woman who was responsible for them meeting would end up being a driving force in the couple’s decision to move from the Bronx to Long Island. For their part, Charlotte’s family was not there for them and the two love-birds decided to fend for themselves. They then proceeded to move their fledgling family to the quiet hamlet of Bohemia, Long Island.

Arthur received a transfer from his job to the nearby town of West Islip. Neither of the families visited, and they were able to raise the children the way they wanted.

Soon Art was able to obtain his dream job of being a freelance photographer. He was able to make a second job out of his life-long fascination of being behind the lense of a camera.

Since he acquired his first camera at the age of 13, Arthur had wanted to make a living by selling pictures. Art had attended night school at the school of modern photography in Manhatten, courtesy of the military’s GI bill. There he ended up taking advanced courses right up until his entrance to the post office. Years later, he was finally able to pursue his life’s dream.

Art borrowed money from the bank and bought himself a press camera and gear. The best part of borrowing money is that he would pay a small amount of interest on the bank loan and then get a good discount on what he spent it on. Then he would immediately give the bank a chunk of the money back. He was always wheelin’ and dealin’.

After his day job at the post office, Arthur began taking pictures and selling them.

His first gig included photographing horses. Arthur went to the library as he had done all his life and found books with horses and studied how the photographs were taken. He went back and successfully completed his first job as a professional photographer.

The venture was surprisingly successful and Art soon found that he always had a dollar in his pocket. His second career took off and people hired him to take pictures of anything from children to accidents. He especially excelled in wedding photography and was soon so popular in the field that he had to refer all other proposals to fellow photographers.

This was the golden age of Arthur’s existence. He worked happily knowing that as long as he won the bread, his beloved wife would rear the children. Their children were well disciplined, always neat and clean. He took great joy in taking the family out to eat once or twice a month while teaching his kids table manners, and how to behave in public. Although he was tired all the time from working two jobs, it was for good reason.

Arthur watched his children as they took care of their own schooling through loans, and never lost focus as they went on to be successful and professional people. His three children transformed into two teachers and a nurse. They all got married in church and had nice receptions.

Arthur and Death

Arthur, now 84 years old, has experienced many hardships and fascinating stories throughout his life; however, there can be no denying that he is in the twilight of his years and must face the powerful and ultimate experience no man can escape, death. Arthur, a Roman Catholic, has a very interesting viewpoint on death. He believes that death is an unaware nonexistent environment. It may be odd coming from a Roman Catholic, but Arthur has had to face many adversities with death in his life.
When Arthur was a child (age needs to be elaborated) he was learning how to swim at Orchid Beach located in(needs to be elaborated). As he was practicing he swam too far out and reached a buoy to try and get some rest unfortunately he could not stabilize himself due to the rotation. The water encroaching down his throat caused him to take in too much water. He passed out. The next thing he knew he felt as though he had woken up from a forgotten dream. As he gained consciousness he began to argue with the lifeguard that was in the process of saving his life. Apparently, he believed that he was asleep and the irritating lifeguard was trying to wake him up prematurely. His best friend growing up was with him as well, and was laughing at him due to the entire situation. I guess when you’re an innocent child everything is funny.
As Arthur grew up he experienced the atrocities of world war two, which many of our generation have not experienced on such a grand scale (compare the pacific campaign with the last death from the last 3 wars). Not only that but most of his immediate family had met with an even more horrible killer, cancer. (facts about cancer). Arthur has watched many of his friends and family members die from cancer. In one direct experience he dealt with his mother putting up a terrific battle with liver cancer. (facts about live cancer maybe?).
On a day he could not forget, his mother called him and nervously spouted “Arthur, you have to take me to the hospital”. When they reached the hospital, she directed him to the fourth floor, unbeknownst to Arthur what was in store. As Arthur and his mother inched their way up the fourth floor, they came before a glaring sign which read, “ONCOLOGY (Cancer)”. Without saying a word his emotions flooded outward and crashed like a wave at his mother’s stern composure. She shrugged her shoulders in an awkward silence. Arthur knew his mother to always be the strong woman as he contemplated the visual response. He knew the battles she would have to face from here on out and felt sad as he blankly stared at the sign watching him intently from the hallway ahead.
This was one of his first brushes with cancer but it would not be the last. Everyone seemed to die of cancer around him. Arthur was the oldest of his siblings yet all of them were taken before him by the unseen killer within a 5 to 8 year time span. It was a noticeable margin between the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Even though his experiences with death were troubling and trying at times in the end Arthur has learned to accept this. He realizes that death is a part of life and through direct experiences he has grown to except this belief. Arthur does what makes him happy and lives for the moment. So although a Roman Catholic, his outlook on death is fundamental in his outlook on living life and continuing to live it for many years to come.

**Arthur has since passed.