The Memoires of
Byron W. Mayo

FORWARD by Byron R. Mayo



ONE Family Connections My great-grandfather, Louis Martell, emigrated to the United States from French Canada following the American Civil War, searching for fame and fortune.

TWO The Innocent Years
They called me Billy. Willard Mayo was the name—taken from my great grandfather.

THREE Life on the West Side
My mother’s lover, Clarence Neff, was a vain, gimlet-eyed, good-looking sonofabitch, with a shock of slick, dark hair combed straight back

FOUR Hard Times
“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” Lyrics by Yip Harburg, 1932. At the time of the crash, my grandparents were living on the second floor of an aging two-story wooden tenement on Portland’s lower east side.

FIVE The Beat Goes On
“Life is just a bowl of cherries. Don’t make it serious. Life’s too mysterious…” George White’s Scandals, 1932

SIX A New Deal
“Just around the comer, There’s a rainbow in the sky. So let’s have another cup of coffee. And let’s have another piece of pie.” Irving Berlin, 1932

SEVEN Fun and Games
Somebody told me later that Otto Larsen and Eddie Daniels ran a tight ship when they were at sea.

EIGHT Reality Check
What’s the matter with us? No country ever had more and no country ever had less.

NINE The Baggage of Youth
At the hospital on that critical night, the doctors stitched up my left arm—and they rushed.

TEN The Adolescents
In the beginning, I thought the worst part of my new job was crawling out of bed at three o’clock in the morning.

ELEVEN The Adolescents II
The pursuit of girls took an awful lot of time and energy during my last two years of high school.

TWELVE Fast Changing Times
When we were kids, we imitated him by holding pocket combs under our noses and stretching our arms out in a stiff salute.

THIRTEEN On the Horizon
Adolf Hitler, the triumphal conqueror, now controlled the bulk of Western Europe-—from the Pyrenees to the Arctic Circle, from the Atlantic to beyond the Vistula. Great Britain now stood alone.

FOURTEENTH After Pearl Harbor
Adolf Hitler made two enormous blunders that led eventually to the downfall of Nazi Germany.

FIFTEEN Join the Marines
The first American beachhead landing of World War II came in the early fall of 1942 when U.S. Marines stormed ashore at Guadalcanal.

The location turned out to be in barren desert country west of the Algodones dunes, a few miles outside the grubby, sun-baked town of El Centro.

Our squadron went on the attack in support of the Third U.S. War Bond Drive. We bombed El Centro with “Buy War Bonds” leaflets.

EIGHTEEN South Pacific
During our 17 days at sea, heading due south across the equator and west beyond the Fijis, the sun was high and burning hot, tempered by sweeping, afternoon rain storms. It was January in the tropics—the cyclone season.

AFTERWARD by Byron R. Mayo