Dad's disdain of talk radio somehow filtered down to me

06/15/2008 3:49 AM

10/20/2014 11:26 AM

On more than one occasion I've used this column to bash talk radio, especially Rush Limbaugh for the staccato fire he aims at us villains in the evil mainstream media.

So it was with a great deal of amusement that I learned my disdain for talk radio is inherited, handed down from my father, George F. Day.

The discovery came not long ago as I was paging through my father's World War II scrapbook, looking for clues on his travels in the Pacific Theater. One of my brothers is headed to that part of the world on business. He hopes to visit some of the territory that Dad got to see traveling in the wake of Gen. "Dugout Doug" MacArthur so many years ago.

Dad spent the latter half of the war in New Guinea and the Philippines. When he wasn't taking shelter from Japanese bombers or getting airsick in Army transport planes, he was holed up in a radio shack, clacking on a telegraph key as an officer in the Signal Corps.

As the war wore on in 1945, Dad was on the beach somewhere on the island of Mindanao, setting up his part of a radio transmission network for which he would be awarded the Bronze Star. At some point, he found time to dash off a note to the Armed Forces Radio Service, complaining that he and his GI buddies in the jungles weren't getting enough music over the shortwave.

There was no copy of what Dad wrote, but he saved the two- page response he got from Capt. Robert E. Thomas, the AFRS officer in charge. Thomas noted that the AFRS shortwave channels broadcast several music shows such as "Dinah Shore," "Music Hall," "Hit Parade" and "GI Jive."

"It is true that more talk shows have crowded our schedule," Thomas wrote. "We are aware of it and are doing everything humanly possible with the facilities on hand to correct or temper that situation."

Thomas added a handwritten postscript, wishing Dad luck in "getting back here" and inviting him to stop by the San Francisco studios whenever he returned.

Dad did return, his skin still yellow from malaria when he courted my mother, the "city slicker" who got the coal miner's son from Pennsylvania to settle in Cleveland. My father's experiences in the Army left an indelible imprint on him, and indirectly on me.

Dad always figured that he survived the war because he avoided the infantry. Because he could type, he said, the Army gave him a telegraph key instead of a rifle when he enlisted.

Never one to forget those years in the jungles, he ordered me to take typing lessons when I was in sixth grade. I didn't recognize it at the time, but that's when my writing and editing career started to form.

Dad's been gone 15 years and Mom almost as long, and I appreciate all they did to set me on the road to whatever success I've achieved.

Thanks to my father, from the safe haven of my keyboard I can handle whatever flak comes my way.

Managing Editor Dan Day can be reached at 209-578-2332 or dday@modbee.com.

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