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Ingle Men Respond in World War II

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2017. It is the 76th anniversary of Japan’s attack on the US in Hawaii. 4,000 miles from Japan and 2,000 miles from the US, the Japanese attacked the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. This surprise attack began at 7:55 a.m., and five additional attacks followed throughout the day until 9 p.m. More than 2,400 American sailors, soldiers, and civilians died during the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded.

Officers' wives head to their quarters after hearing explosions and seeing smoke in distance. Mary Naiden, the woman who took this picture, is said to have exclaimed, "There are red circles on those planes overhead. They are Japanese!"

Nearly 20 American naval vessels were destroyed in the attack, including eight massive battleships. More than 300 airplanes were also lost.

At the scene of the attack, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing raid.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation at a joint session of Congress the next day calling December 7 “a day which will live in infamy” and called on legislators to approve a declaration of war against Japan.


All over America, civilians reacted to this news that seemed so very far away.

In the streets, people buy newspapers reporting the Japanese attack on U.S. bases in the Pacific Ocean.

Ernest Ingle enlisted in the Navy, but ended up in the Marines. His service was mainly in China and Burma. A plane dropped him and his fellow Marines into China; then they fought their way down the Burma Road.

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The Burma Road linked Burma with southwest China and was the only overland supply route. American soldiers walked and traveled in trucks on this high, rugged,  mountainous road; two of Ernest’s drivers were shot. Switchbacks made it impossible to find cover from the Japanese, and there was one stretch of 21 solid curves.

This road was 717 miles long and was built to bring supplies to beleaguered China, to help them resist the Japanese invasion. Not much of the original road survives today, but parts of the route can still be traveled.

Fighting the elements, the jungles, and enemy diseases, including malaria and dysentery, those Marines kept the Japanese at bay, as well as keeping this road open; they protected China from their enemy.

Buck Ingle proposed to Nora, and she accepted before he went into the Navy.  She wanted to wait until he came back from the war to get married, so they did. Buck was stationed on a LST/Landing Ship Tank, and his battle station was a gun.

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They were ships built during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying tanks, vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto shore with no docks or piers.

Rather than being a deck gunner, which was his assignment, Buck wanted to be a cook.

One day his ship was attacked by a kamikaze pilot, Japanese military aviators who committed suicide by crashing their planes. One of the cooks was killed, and an officer asked Buck to replace him.

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Only a few days later, another kamikaze pilot hit the ship, and the ship sank. Buck had a severe head wound and floated in a life raft for eleven days before being rescued. After returning home and marrying Nora, he had several surgeries on his head because the scar tissue kept returning. Eventually he died from the wound.

Oliver Ingle left Union, SC to hitchhike to Ft. Jackson in Columbia to enlist in the Army. He followed in the footsteps of his older brothers, who had also enlisted.

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On June 2, 1917, Camp Jackson, a new Army Training Center was established to answer America’s call for trained fighting men the early ominous days of World War I.

The initial site of the cantonment area consisted of almost 1,200 acres. The citizens of Columbia donated the land to the federal government, thereby initiating the long tradition of respect, cooperation and friendship between the city and the installation.

Named in honor of Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, a native son of the Palmetto State and the seventh president of the U.S., Camp Jackson was designated as one of 16 national cantonments constructed to support the war effort.

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Starting out on Hwy. 176, he hadn’t walked far before a car slowed down ahead of him. Running to catch up, Oliver jumped on the running board. There was a loose strip of metal molding that ran through his leg. The stranger took him back Union. Undeterred and with a healed leg, he arrived at Ft. Jackson to enlist on his next hitchhiking trip. Because he was disabled, the army declined his services. He worked for the rest of World War II in the cotton mill, making sure that cotton was available for the soldiers.


The Greatest Generation, as they have come to be called, fought hard against their enemies. All were not on the battlefields, but all were against tyranny. With their victory gardens and sacrifices with rationing, some did their duty by doing without.

Bas relief of farmers harvesting wheat

Sir Winston Churchill said in the midst of World War II, “Never in the field of conflict has so much been owed by so many by so few.”

On this Pearl Harbor day, I am grateful for those men and women who fought for my freedom. Aren’t you?

Depression Hobos and Aunt Annie Mae

The two-story boarding house proudly graced the corner of Green Street and Boyce Street in Union, South Carolina. It faced the Union Mill.

     Painted white, like all of the other mill village houses, the windows sparkled in the June sun. Annie Mae Bobo was an excellent cook, but she also took pride in keeping her household spic-and-span.

     Her eight male boarders felt blessed to pay room and board for one dollar a week. Two men shared each of the four upstairs rooms. The bachelor’s ages extended from sixteen to nineteen.

     Annie Mae and her daughter Noddie, a family nickname for Norma, washed the sheets and swept the rooms once a week. She provided her own handmade quilts for warmth in the winter. Opening the two windows in each room brought in fresh, and sometimes cool, air in the spring and summer. Available for spit baths and shaving were a pitcher, bowl, mirror, and towels.

          A single, light bulb in a brass socket, dangling from the ceiling, provided pale light at night. Two, black wires loosely crawled up the walls and across to the socket from the switch beside the door. Green tape partially held the two wires together.

     The outhouse was only yards from the back door. That forty-yard dash was not inconvenient to anyone, and it was a two-hole necessary house.

These are the opening lines of the short story, “Annie Mae” in my new book, Tales of a Cosmic Possum. (available October 14, 2017) Annie Mae was one of my husband John’s aunts, and she had a open heart. She often reminded her children, as well as all within earshot, to “do right by the good Lord, he’p yer own kin, he’p others ye meet along the way.”

Hobos lived a life on-the-go; most of them traveled from one job to another by train.

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In the hobo villages, family safety was a concern, and ingenuity was the answer.

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Finding food was a constant problem. Hobos often begged for food at a local farmhouse. If the farmer was generous, the hobo would mark the lane so that later hoboes would know this was a good place to beg. They took jobs no one else would take.

Hobos created items to sell for some spare change. This cup was made from a tin can, a hollow stick, and some copper wire.

The Hobo Code was quickly learned; it was a survival tool. Life as a hobo was difficult and dangerous. To help each other out, these vagabonds developed their own secret language to direct other hobos to food, water, or work – or away from dangerous situations. The Hobo Code helped add a small element of safety when traveling to new places.

The diverse symbols in the Hobo Code were scrawled in coal or chalk all across the country, near rail yards and in other places where hobos were likely to convene. The purpose of the code was not only to help other hobos find what they needed, but to keep the entire lifestyle possible for everyone. Hobos warned each other when authorities were cracking down on vagrants or when a particular town had had its fill of beggars; such helpful messages told other hobos to lie low and avoid causing trouble until their kind was no longer quite so unwelcome in those parts.

Since Annie Mae and her husband Roy’s house wasn’t far from the railroad, their home would have seen many of these hobos. This couple had little in the way of worldly possessions or ready-money, but they believed in and daily lived out the Golden Rule.

Matthew 7:12 (NIV) “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and Prophets.”

Whether a cup of cold water from their well, several apples picked from the apple tree in the back, or a left over biscuit from breakfast, Annie Mae shared what she had. She loved her neighbor.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Perhaps the question for me and you today is “Who is my neighbor?” Annie Mae would tell us anyone we meet “along the way.”





Buffalo Mill in Union, SC


Construction for Buffalo Mill began in 1900, and the two seven-story towers were completed in 1901. The engineering firm of W. O Smith Whaley was the designer. The Romanesque Revival detailing was popular during this time. The typical industrial design included arches and brick work.

This large complex of buildings included the main mill,  mill office, power house, ice factory, company store, warehouse, and company bank/drug store. Besides operative and supervisor houses in the mill village, a baseball park and school were built.


Power House


Clock Tower


Ice Factory


The stain glass dome, Terrazzo floor, and marble fountain were a touch of elegance to the office building.


Thomas Cary Duncan founded Union and Buffalo mills. He was known as Union’s pioneer capitalist and industrialist. He connected Union and Buffalo mills with his own railroad. Hundreds of families moved to Union from North Carolina and Tennessee and spent their lives working in these cotton mills. This investment introduced the textile industry to this land that once was hunting grounds for the Cherokee.

Thomas Cary Duncan

T. C. Duncan inherited Keenan Plantation from his grandparents, which he renamed Merridun. Remodeling this family property became important. Adding to the piazza resulted in 2400 square feet of porch space. He refurbished the 7900 square feet Georgian floor plan which included a stunning curved staircase, large foyers on both floors, a music room, parlor, library, dining room, kitchen, 7 bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and a third story cupola. Frescoed ceilings in the music room and dining room, mosaic tiles and turn of the century stenciling and faux graining in the main foyer, and beautiful chandeliers enhanced the mansion’s beauty.

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Image result for photo of inn of the merridun union south carolina

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Perhaps you are wondering why I have shared this information with you today, and it really is back-to-the-past.

My husband John grew up in Union, South Carolina. His father, mother, as well as extended family members, worked in the Union and Buffalo cotton mills. This May, 2017, you will be able to read about their lives in my new book, Tales of a Cosmic Possum.

And on my fiftieth birthday, John treated me to dinner at the Inn at the Merridun with some of our friends. What a fun time it was! The house was lovely, as you can see by the above photos.

Below is one of the best chocolate muffin recipes I have ever tasted, and the owner of the Inn shared it with me. Since Valentine’s Day is in just a few days, I thought to share it with you. I believe you will like/love it. As you know, chocolate is my favorite. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Makes 24 regular muffins or about 7-8 dozen mini muffins

I had the privilege of having this recipe included in an innkeepers’ cookbook – Chocolate for Breakfast and Tea. As much as I love chocolate, I’m not always fond of chocolate muffins or breads—this is one exception. They are rich and moist, and our guests gobble them up.

½ cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line muffin pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt all at once. Mix just until ingredients are blended. Stir in mashed banana, chocolate chips and walnuts.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean—be careful not to hit a melted chocolate chip! Cool for 5 minutes; then remove muffins from tins, and place them on a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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