Mr. Spaulding and His Charges: Part I


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Last night I posted the prologue to this six-part series about Mr. Spaulding and his experiences with explosives.  It will be easier to understand the six-part transcript if you first read the prologue.  If you don’t already know who Mr. Spaulding is, you might want to read the other posts about him.  The “L.” below is me, Louise (class of ’73), one of Mr.  Spaulding’s former students.

* * * * *

L.:  When you were in the military, was that the first time you had been exposed to explosives of any sort?

Mr. S.:  No.  I trace it all back to when I was a kid and fireworks were illegal in Iowa. I never had enough money to buy what I wanted so I gradually learned to make my own.  When I was a senior in high school I was tinkering around with some chemicals.  I had a nice mixture made up.  I made a wrong move and I had quite a bit in a metal can.  I was working up in my room, stupidly.  I got a little touch of acid in there, which I shouldn’t have and it went “whhoooshhh,” just like a flame thrower came out of there.  I managed to burn a lot of skin off both hands.  It was hanging in black shreds.  That didn’t make me very happy.  That was about two weeks before I graduated.  So, when I attended graduation ceremonies, I had both hands bandaged up, like a mummy.

L.:  What you learned about explosives up to that time, was it pretty much self-taught?

Mr. S.:  Yes, that was just chemistry.  They didn’t have any chemistry in high school where I went.  Otherwise, explosives learning I picked up on my own in Guam because there were explosives lying all over the place.  Japanese, American.  Unexploded ammunition, and so forth.  It was just a paradise to me.  I learned how to basically disarm them, take them apart and remove the explosive portion, thereof.  Then I could trade them off to other guys for their beer rations.  We had a beer ration of four cans a day.  Everybody had a beer ration card.

L.:  Was the beer for you?

Mr. S.:  Yes, or for anybody I wanted to give it to.

* * * * *

Part II, of six parts, will be posted by tomorrow evening, September 17th.

Mr. Spaulding enjoys hearing from readers via the comments option that is at the bottom of each post.  If you do comment, the only person seeing your email address is  me.  Although the comment section asks for a web site, it not necessary to enter one.

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One Response to “Mr. Spaulding and His Charges: Part I”

  1. Peg Says:

    These descriptions are fascinating! Mr. Spaulding, you have quite the capacity for word pictures–“flame thrower,” “black shreds,” bandaged like a “mummy.” You make it so your readers can just envision your stories! Plus, it’s a treat to see inside your earlier world–as a kid with firecrackers, “tinkering” up in your room as a high school near-grad, your paradise of disarming explosives in the service . . . and trading them for beer rations!

    Peg, RHS 1969

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