GROWTH AND MOVEMENT
Army Life In Fort Knox
Every citizen [should] be a
soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and the Romans, and
must be that of every free state.
Thomas Jefferson in a Letter
to James Monroe, 1813
the summer of 1942, Clarence decided it was time to join the army.
In August, he contacted the Selective Service board to apply for
Volunteer Officers Candidate training. On August 8th,
his application was approved.
earliest correspondence concerning Clarence and the army is a
letter from Irwin M. wishing Clarence a "victorious return." Then
on October 20th Clarence received this response from
the Louisville, Kentucky office of Alcoholics Anonymous - a response
to one of his letters:
Co. B, 8th Bn. A.F.R.T.C.
very glad indeed to have your letter and are looking forward to
having you attend our meetings.
at the Kentucky Dairies Auditorium, Third and Kentucky Streets,
at 8:00 o'clock, and if you can possibly get away would like to
have you with us next Friday. Jim McC. is our leader here.
kept up with his meetings and, by mail, received news of what
was going on with Cleveland A.A., and he received the Cleveland
Central Bulletin. There were many Ohio members in the armed
forces, and the newsletter was a means for these members to get
A.A. news from home.
this time Clarence had married Selma Kitterer who was living in
Cleveland during Clarence's army service. Selma was related to
Theodore A. Kitterer, Minister of the First Evangelical and Reformed
Church on Arlington Avenue and Thornhill Drive. She was also related
to Superintendent Rev. Armin A. Kitterer of Evangelical Deaconess
Hospital. Evangelical Deaconess was one of the early hospitals
to which A.A. members were taken for "drying out."
members at Deaconess hospital were paying $8.00 per day for private
rooms plus medications and extras. Any A.A. member having a semi-private
room could have another A.A. member stay there "without additional
charge for room and attendance."
a letter to Dorothy, his ex-wife, Clarence described a typical
night in the army as follows:
I went to Elizabethtown to do a little shopping & relaxing
& staying at the U.S.O. all night. I went to a picture show,
with lots of blood spilled. A cowboy picture, vintage 1909 &
a Sabotage picture without vintage. I ate lunch in E. Town today
and had a fine meal. Our grub here at camp is, as a general rule,
terrible. Poorly cooked, poorly served & many times not enough.
They specialize in grease here, & I shouldn't be surprised
to see the ice cream served in grease if we ever get ice cream.
part of his 14-16 hour daily routine, Clarence was receiving Officers
Candidate training. He was made a squad leader, "which," he wrote
Dorothy, was "in essence a corporal, with a squad of men to mother,
leach, be accountable for and report on."
his letter to Dorothy, Clarence also asked about the dinner that
had been held for Bill Wilson. Clarence said:
haven't heard much news on the Sunday party for Bill W. Next time
you write, I will appreciate a sort of detailed report I do know
that they had 450 for dinner & another 300 afterward... what
finally happened re: the matter of Bill & Doc's remuneration
from the Foundation."
and Dorothy kept up with their correspondence throughout Clarence's
stint at Fort Knox. Dorothy relayed news about their son and about
A.A. doings. Selma was not involved in any A.A. matters and knew
little about A.A. news.
the army, Clarence made plans to go into business with Hank P.,
who was Bill Wilson's partner in the office in Newark. Bill and
Hank left had several arguments, over what Hank said was Bill's
leaving him out of the "glory" for writing the book. And there
was also a lot of talk about Hank's having an affair with someone
at the office. Hank left A.A.
was married to Dorothy Snyder's sister. After Clarence's tour
in the army, he was classified 1A in the draft on July 17, 1943
and on August 30, 1943 the Selective Service finally responded
regarding Clarence's application to be an Officer in the army.
They referred it to another department.
worked with Hank selling porcelain mugs and figurines all throughout
the 1940's. After Hank's divorce from Dorothy's sister, the business
finally went under and Clarence's association with Hank dissolved.
The last correspondence from Dorothy regarding the fiasco with
I lank was in 1947. Hank never really stayed sober and died drunk
and on pills.
is some possibility that Hank convinced Clarence to join the army
but there has been no documentation to that suggestion.
left the army, he returned to Selma and to Cleveland A.A. He continued
his work there in helping to carry the message. Clarence always
believed in doing his best, whether it was in the army or in business
or in his avocation, which was working with alcoholics.