By Preston John Hubbard
Apocalypse Undone recounts Preston Hubbard's four-and-a-half 12 months odyssey from a tender, idealistic CCC employee to a miles older, bothered guy filled with contempt for struggle and people who make it. He survived the Bataan demise March; imprisonment at Camp O'Donnell, the place the dying price exceded four hundred an afternoon; a jungle paintings element on Tayabas Isthmus; the hunger nutrition of Manila's Bilibid criminal; a 17 day voyage to Japan on a Hell send; and a jap POW camp bombed by means of American planes.
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After we had pulled out of the Denver station, two other Army officers came into our car and informed us that they were on duty maintaining the discipline of new Army recruits on the train. At first they were courteous and walked along the aisle of the car talking to the recruits. At the time, a poker game was in progress in a small lounge at the end of the car, and the two visiting officers nonchalantly sauntered in as if to join the kibitzing. Before long, the officers had taken seats at the gaming table, joining with the flow of cards, liquor, and chatter in a manner indicating that they were accustomed to socializing with enlisted personnel.
I asked why he was not on a work detail, and he informed me that only the stupid permitted themselves to be caught in the trap of make-work projects. The next morning, when we fell out to be chosen for a work detail, I stuck by Bob's side. When the first big party was drafted, we quickly joined the group, bringing up the rear. As the leader disappeared around the first corner, we absconded. We did this two or three Page 14 consecutive mornings. It was so easy it was boring; furthermore, it was tiring just trying to think of something to do to kill time, like lounging on the south beach enjoying the view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate.
In those days few women wore slacks in public. In fact, the only women I had seen wearing pants in public were west of the Mississippi; in the East, women were not so bold. Certainly, I was not going to submit to the conductor's edict without a struggle. On the occasions when he plucked me and my friend from the sides of our girlfriends, we set Olympic records getting back into action. Finally, the conductor, weary and bedraggled, gave up trying to protect the civilian passengers from the Army scum.