Union County, Blairsville, Georgia Holiday-Winter 2018-2019 - Page 5

Union County GA Magazine Continued from page 4 Ira made the decision in 1947 to make the Army a career. Ira recalls with great detail all the places he went, how he got there and how long he stayed at each place. In the Army Ira saw quite a bit of the United States, Germany, Korea, Philippines and Panama. Ira recalls when he made PFC, later when he made Corporal and his promotion to E-7 and then E-8 in Panama within two months. “In Panama, with the war over, the thought occurred to me, this is a good time to go home. But I don’t want to go home. There are 10 million young men looking for jobs,” said Ira. Growing Up Clyde and I.T. Harkins are a fifth generation family in the Cooper’s Creek, Baxter, Suches and the surrounding area. When asked what it was like to grow up in Suches, Clyde chuckled and noted, “I didn’t grow up in Suches. I grew up in Baxter down here on Cooper’s Creek. Suches was way up here back then.” Baxter had its own post office in those days. “We had about five or six post offices when I grew up over here. We grew up in Cooper’s Creek.” “It was bad, but it was all right. We hunted all the time. We brought meat in from the mountains. Turkeys. We didn’t have deer then. I killed my first deer in 1940. Hogs ran wild in the woods.” In the summer, blueberries were picked and turned into jelly and they were canned. There were grapes and blackberries. Ira . Holiday & Winter 2018-19 Clyde “If you got out early enough to beat the hogs, you’d get a pocket full of chestnuts,” said Clyde. Clyde admitted that at times he had dealings with the game warden. “I do not know how my life would have been without a good mother,” said Clyde. “She was a good mother and a good grandma.” There was a saying, “Root hog or die poor.” It's an expression used in the Southern USA that means that you must look out for yourself as no one's going to do it for you. School took place in a one-room school house at a nearby church. “I didn’t like school at all. I liked arithmetic. I was good at arithmetic. Most of my teachers were good and I got along well with them,” said Clyde. “I got a lot of whippings in school. I think they got mistaken sometime because I got some I didn’t need.” Returning home following the military life, Clyde finished school at Woody Gap on the GI Bill. Clyde worked some with the forest service and with the CCC at age 15. “I was the smallest in the camp. I weighted 109 pounds,” said Clyde. His first job was Lake Winfield Scott putting sand on the beach. Back then he described himself as a “heavy . www.unioncountymag.com Harley Ralph equipment operator” using a wheel barrow and a shovel. He worked on some of the roads in the area. “We didn’t have nothing much,” said Clyde. “But we did well and had plenty to eat all the time. Sometimes it was cornbread and milk.” His dad fattened the hogs. One of the biggest problems was money. When you went to the store, you needed money or hen eggs. “We didn’t eat too many eggs in the Depression, I sold them. We didn’t have any luxuries.” During Christmas, there may be one or two oranges and peppermint stick candy. “Christmas was a big deal.” At home I.T. needed transportation. Someone carried him to Gainesville and he looked at three cars. One was a 1947 Hudson Terraplane for sale for $60. Ira had $60. They replaced the carburetor and fuel pump and the deal was made. Eldo Eldo earned a Purple Heart when his left leg was nearly tore off by an explosion in the Philippines Island. He spent time in Guam and Leyte in the Pacific. He was a rifleman and had significant combat time. Harley, Ralph The twins went to basic training Page 5 Eldo Stella Mae together, then were split up. The Navy had a policy of not putting siblings in combat together. Harley was a gunner and saw 11 major operations from Alaska to Okinawa. Ralph was a gunner on a merchant marines ship. Stella Mae Stella was an X-ray technician in the Air Force. She left the service and became a military wife for 30 years. Keeping in Touch Five brothers from one family in a war is a rarity. All wrote regularly to home to let their mother know they were fine. Clyde’s mother had said that when she heard from one, she knew there were four more she would want to hear from. The brothers thought of each other. “It was on your mind all the time, is your brothers making it?” said Clyde. Clyde recalled the words of the president during WWII. “Roosevelt was president and he said that ‘War is Hell’ and that he hated war, Eleanor hated war and his dog hated war. ” The Harkins quintuple were not fond of war, but they answered the Call to Duty when the nation called. Clyde and I.T. are appreciated in the Suches community for their service to their country and for being a part of the community where they live. 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