William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt.4 - Fort Wainwright, The Hoagie Deal

August 26, 2015

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After settling in at my permanent duty assignment at Fort Wainwright I proceeded to establish an agreement with my cube mates...

I was in the 2nd Battalion, 15TH FIELD ARTILLERY.  In the barracks there were three floors, each floor was divided into cubicles with approximately thirty to forty cubicles per floor, and each cubicle accommodating three men. My cubicle waslocated at what might be referred to as the back portion of the third floor.

As you entered the third floor you would walk approximately 50 or 60 feet down a common area that separated the floor in half with cubicles distributed on either side.

The fact that our cubicle was located at the end of the floor, next to the outside wall, provided us a bit more space. Having the only window on the floor created an attraction, adding to the ambience of what was quickly becoming the place to hang.

Although I had yet to begin the hair business, I could see the potential shaping up. After a few days of getting acquainted with my cube mates I proposed my idea of cutting hair. Because of the great location of my cubicle, I could extend the area that would best accommodate my needs to the common area without being overly invasive.

I proceeded to enroll my cube mate, from Vermont, to keep an eye out for the food truck that would come by most every evening. We would invest in four or five cokes and one or two hoagie sandwiches. The men could purchase a quarter slice of a hoagie sandwich, and a soda, with the haircut. My other mate, who I believe was from Ohio, managed the music. Now of course there were perks -- A portion of a hoagie and a soda for each, which they were happy to receive.

I was only cutting a day or two each week and maybe only one or two heads a day. However, as the word got out, it wasn’t long before I had to set a schedule that would work for my mates as well as my customers.  On busy evenings the food service worked well. On slower evenings we just played it by ear. We mixed the music from Frank Sintara to Mic Jager. Most evenings we had The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Drifters, The Coasters, and Dion Warwick, which were standard favorites. Some nights it was only jazz. On these nights the music consisted of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Ahmed Jamal;  And of course, Dave Brubeck, just to name a few artists we enjoyed. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, were on the folk scene, along with Peter, Paul, and Mary. We could not leave out The Brothers Four from Seattle, The University of Washington -- The Green Leaves of Summer...

As bits of and pieces of information accumulate, “The Void” continues to expand, like a universal magnet flirtatiously courting, yet not rushing its destined collaboration with the gap.



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