Our graduation was celebrated with a parade. We stood at parade rest with two other training companies and listened to a speech by the base commanding general and then “passed in review” while the band played “Hey Look Me Over.” That brought back an interesting memory.
“Hey Look Me Over” was written by Carolyn Leigh and Cy Coleman for the musical “Wildcat.” I saw “Wildcat” in Philadelphia starring Lucille Ball when I was in pre-law. We had gone to debate health care (yes, we were debating nationalized health care way back in 1960) at Temple University. (I was against it and won, arguing that we needed a plan to fix the private insurance system but never allow the federal government to take it over – but that's another story.) We met Ms Ball after the show and had a delightful evening with her. Unfortunately, “Wildcat” closed after only 171 performances on Broadway. However, it left us with the perfect song to accompany a military inspection.
The PX sold only “green” beer – a variety that was canned before fermentation was completed. It only contained half the alcohol of regular beer. Today, we call it “lite” beer. Off post, it was called “watered down” and a bartender could be hurt if caught adding water to the drinks at a bar.
Of course, none of this was any problem for me. I was already past twenty-one. Well, it did create one problem when we received our first passes to spend a day in Augusta, Georgia. All the other guys wanted me to buy booze for them. That's just the kind of trouble I didn't need. Ultimately, I bought a pint of rum and promised to share it when we got back to the barracks. Somehow it was “lost” before we reached there.
In any event, we marched to a post theater following our graduation parade and Captain Sevcik, our company commanding officer, congratulated us, then began reading the role call of those who had been promoted. When he came to “Durish, John T.” he paused, looked up confused and asked, “Who the hell's Durish?”
It made me happy. I had stayed under his radar for eight weeks.