Saturday, September 10, 2011

1940s- Leroy Heldman

Back in the early 1940s, when corn was “as high as an elephant’s eye,” we boys pictured here (I’m fourth from the left in the third row) were all set to go from our small hometown of Jasper in southern Indiana to Kentland, where a hybrid seed corn had been developed, in the northern part of the state. Our job was to detassel the corn so it wouldn’t pollinate itself. It assured that the corn would produce a superior seed.

There were 78 of us, all ages 12 to 14, and for some it was their first trip away from home and their longest time away from home at four to six weeks. We had fun in our spare time, which wasn’t much since the job had to be completed in a short time period.

The company would send lunch wagons to the field and blow a horn to let us know when it was time for a lunch break. One day a foreman who never wore a watch said, “I can tell the time by the sun, so don’t worry about lunch.” Well, we were at the other end of the cornfield and didn’t hear the horn, and we missed our lunch that day. Some of the kids made sure to buy a watch that night so it wouldn’t happen again.

My buddy thought it was a good experience and went on this job three years in a row, but one summer of this kind of work was all I wanted. Corn detasseling is still done by hand, since a proper way to do it by machine hasn’t been found.

Pictured in the front row, from left, are Devin Hoffman, an unknown boy, Charlie Kruger, Ray Kummer, Al Nordhoff, Bill Dudine, Bill Wright, an unknown boy, Clete Seger, Popeye Merkley, Bob Werne, Bill Fischer, Bob Rohleder, Bob Merkley, an unknown boy, Bob Wendholt and an unknown boy.

In the second row, from left, are an unknown boy, Wes Liebring, Maurice Hoffman, an unknown boy, Jack Schneider, , an unknown boy, Ron Elliott, Bob White, Bill Weber, Buzz Rumbach, Jim Mundy, Sy Hech, Tony Dehn, Bill Fischer, Jim Gardner, Bill Kuper, Pete Armstrong, Bill Nordhoff and a Schroering boy.

In the third row, from left, are Jerome Bettag, Joe Lampert, Jim Troxler, Leroy Heldman (me), George Sturm, Russ Bauer, Chuck Alles, Bernard Frick, Orville Voerste, Joe Sunderman, George Hoffman, Jack Heldman, Bill LeMastus, Munk Kunkel, Dick Lampert and Denny Schroering.

In the back row, from left, are Gerald Pfaff, Hubbie Gardner, two unknown boys, Albert Fleck, Wes Terwiske, an unknown boy, John Irons, Jim Sermersheim, an unknown boy, Dimp Stenftenagel, Jack Fritch, Charlie Sermersheim, an unknown boy, Jerp Becher, Dick Behnert, an unknown boy, Don Bergham, Ed Brerhold, an unknown boy, Albert Fehribach, two unknown boys, Carl Burk, Gene Kunz and Wap Fritch.

—Leroy Heldman
Knoxville, Tennessee

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I scour the internet to find photos of nude, partially nude, and affectionate men from the past. I am especially interested in photos of soldiers away on active duty.