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Bill Thayer

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May 21

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Collected Works
of Ducrot Pepys

Ronan C. Grady

Newburgh, N. Y., 1943

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p76  May 28, 1943

Monday. Tomorrow we graduate. There are scenes of great excitement all about me. My sane wife is noisily having hysterics over in a corner as the excitement of the occasion combined with the fact that my other wife has just jumped up and down upon his, my sane wife's, new officer's cap, have had an adverse effect upon him. My other wife did this because he just found out that he cannot wear the red beret he likes so much and is therefore jealous of my sane wife's cap. At present, I feel nauseatingly sentimental and am going to drag out my old memories acquired during my cadet career and see just what has happened to me during aforesaid career. It began in Beast Barracks, not one of the happiest months in my life incidentally, where I was converted from a pale, thin, slightly hungover civilian to New Cadet Pepys who spent every spare minute cowering in his alcove whimpering. During this period I also made the acquaintance of my wives. I doubt that I shall ever forget the first time I saw my other wife. I had just returned to my room from my second shopping trip to the Cadet Store and discovered him sitting in the middle of the room keening in a shrill voice. He was distressed because they had taken away his yo‑yo. My sane wife soon joined us but as he did not slow down enough for us to recognize him it was not until several days later that I knew who he was.

Following Beast Barracks there was Summer Camp. The main things concerning which I remember are coming to a slow boil in a rain coat and having to be freed by means of a hacksaw and acetylene torch from the first full pack I rolled. My first maneuvers left me with a deep hatred of grasshoppers which used to hold wild orgies in my little Boy Scout tent. The academic  p77 period in my first year brought with it my first real contact with the Sword, which has been firmly embedded in a place far from my heart ever since. The Gymnasium course broke first my spirit, then my heart, and finally six ribs and my little finger. I was put upon both C. E. gymnasium and swimming. I escaped from the first in due time but it was necessary to wait until I grew gills to get off the latter.

The remainder of my first year was spent in my working like a small yellow dog to avoid death at the hands of either the Tactical Department, the aforementioned Sword, my charming roommates, or the upper classes. Unfortunately, I succeeded, and at the start of my second year was a Yearling in Summer Camp. An obviously inauspicious beginning for any sort of a year. This second summer was livened up by the introduction of our class to the first of the new, or once‑you-get‑them-down-kick-them, type of West Point summers.

The summer was closely followed by maneuvers which were closely followed by the Tactical Department which were closely followed by long-term sentences without parole. The remainder of yearling year swept gaily by with riding, the English department, and you-know‑who to keep our backs, minds, and upper lips nice and stiff. However, all good things must come to an end and so did yearling year. Our flying friends left and we others passed a short but destructive furlough and then made several jaunts about the country which I am ashamed to say were enjoyable. Following our jaunts we tortured fourth classmen for a period and once more departed on a maneuver, a thing which we also enjoyed although in a masochistic way as it was akin to a sevenday picnic in Hell. We returned to a re‑ or dis‑, depending on how one looked at the situation and whether one's company acquired the title "H" or not, organized Corps and survived through cow year to earlier graduation. At last we were First Classmen and at last we were recognized. There will be a short pause for loud, raucous, laughter. Now, however, we have almost finished First Class year with its sorrows and its joys and its sorrows. And, tomorrow we will graduate. Tomorrow will be happy. And yet, and I find this hard to believe, I almost think that I shall also be touched. If I may become loathsome and quote: "My very chains and I grew friends". Well, I must off to Graduation Hop.

Tuesday. In the future anyone failing to address me as Lieutenant Pepys will be severely dealt with. At Graduation they actually gave me a diploma and a commission. Some error in the records probably. One that they will be quick to correct.

My wives are also very happy and are showing it each in his own way. My sane wife is getting married and my other wife is behaving in a manner I do not care to discuss.

I was amazed to see two new Yearlings walking back from Graduation and walking out of step. Now when I was a cadet such things were not allowed. But times have evidently changed. However, good luck to all, and so say all of us.

[image ALT: A head-and-shoulders drawing of three young men in military uniform, with prominent visored hats, each bearing in the center a device featuring an eagle. The man to our left looks more like a drunken child, and he is somewhere disheveled and his hat is on almost completely sideways; although a Second Lieutenant's bar shines on his right shoulder, he is walking a yo‑yo with his left hand. To our right, the man is weeping as he gazes on a very shiny breastplate which he holds up in his left hand. In the middle, the third man, somewhat thinner than the others, smiles but his eyes are serious: he clutches a diploma in his left hand, on which he wears a large ring with a center stone. It is a cartoon of three Army officers on their graduation day at West Point.]

"Goodbye and Good Luck. . . ."

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Page updated: 16 Aug 12