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Torts and Dry Martinis: An Autobiography

Richard G. Clark

February 2021

I was told that I was born in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, on August 29, 1918. This book covers my 69 years that I graced the blue sphere floating in space, called Earth. Grove City, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio,  is where I raised my family and where I reside today albeit 6 feet under. I know this perfectly picked quiescent spot well, as it overlooks the house on Conner street where I started out with my beautiful wife of 44 years.  I began my career as a teacher of history and finished being a small town lawyer.  This book merges my passion of both.

My granddaughter has obviously determined that my autobiography may be worth a read by those who enjoy historical non-fiction, WW 2, Ohio State University, the Sigma Nu fraternity life and a good dry martini.


There had always been a miraculous method of stretching a three-day pass into five days off, if one were a "first three-grader" and a friend of the squadron sergeant major. One got assigned for squadron duty as Charge of Quarters (C.Q.) on Tuesday night from six o'clock until seven o'clock Wednesday morning; a day off followed such duty, so the three-day pass was for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday was a day off.  I wanted to see the district basketball tournament at home because Grove City had a good team, so early in March I availed myself to the "three-day pass."  My friend Forsman had taken one look at Major Perry and got himself transferred to squadron headquarters to replace the departed sergeant major.  Evelyn and I were staying with my mother and Forsman knew it.  On that Friday the telephone rang in the apartment, and it was Forsman.  He was horrified.  "Dick, my God, that damned Perry just sent word up here that you are available for reassignment," he said.  "Buck, you mean I'm fired?" I asked.  "I guess so, " he replied.  "I thought I ought to tell you.  Maybe you should come back or do something." " No, screw him," I said.  "Buck, I'll be in Monday, and we'll think of something.

I was shocked.  I did not tell Evelyn much about it, but I knew that there was a good chance that I would be shipped out, perhaps overseas.  I thought, the hell with it, enjoyed the tournament, and had a good five days.

On Monday morning following my "three-day pass," I went to work, early as usual, determined to act as though  everything was as it usually was after I had been away for a few days.  As the others came in, I tried to act normally, but I felt an air of tension --perhaps imagined.  By the time Major Perry arrived, I was at least pretending to be busy at my desk.  He nodded, and went to his own desk.  Eventually, I have no real idea now how much later, the major said in a loud voice, "Sergeant Clark, report to my desk at once."  I stood, walked back to his desk, now two rows removed from mine, squared my shoulders, saluted, and stood at attention.  He said in a nasty tone loud enough for all to hear, "Sergeant, you disappoint me. Your taking off duty for five days on a three-day pass is irresponsible on your part.  You were being considered to become the colonel's sergeant major.  Now I have made you available for shipment.  I'm going to give you twenty-four hours to find some other spot for yourself on the Field, and if you don't, I'll see that you are shipped out immediately.  I don't think there is much room at Wright Field for tech sergeants trying to transfer.  What do you think of that?"  He should not have asked. His tone, his sarcasm, his god-like attitude had me so angry that I lost all reason, and blurted out, " I think you're a no good son of a bitch, sir." "Sergeant," he sputtered, "for that I will probably have you court martialed.  You are dismissed." I saluted, did a proper about-face, and left the office amidst complete silence.

I went to the men's room, remembering to enter the door marked "men."  I rinsed my face in cold water, smoked two or three cigarettes, and tried to calm down. What to do?....see page 226 for the answers