I liked the Air Force because I knew the Air Force procedure. I liked the uniform, I liked the outfit they used to come in in the morning, they had a parade there. Everybody was in uniform.
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My father was in the First World War and he was in the Russian Army. He was a prisoner in Germany and he came all the way back to Russia, to his hometown. And my sister was born in Russia, Bessie. And the Russians came into the town, you know, the Red Bolsheviks, you know. And they came in, they saw my father with his boots and he took up the tailor trade and he wore a nice [indicating suit]. They said, “are you with us or against us?” And my father was there with the guns, you know, says “I’m with you.” So he says, “alright, take your jacket off and take off your boots.” And the guy put them on and he says, “but I’m with you.” But the other guy says, “I’m here longer than you are, I needed a pair of shoes, boots.”
And I liked the Air Force [Royal Canadian Air Force] because I knew the Air Force procedure. I liked the uniform, I liked the outfit they used to come in in the morning, they had a parade there. Everybody was in uniform.
Some of my friends were joining up. And I went down on Queen Street [in Ottawa], they had the recruitment. It was a nice little building that just made on Queen Street and you come in there and the doctor would examine you and give you an eye test and he’d check your eyes. He says, go down to the exhibition on Bank Street and the Army was there. And you walk in there and there was, like the cattle used to be there before, you know what I mean, and there was a place where you sat down but when you went to the RCAF recruiting centre, it was all modern.
There was a General from the First Contingent and they needed men and he says, “what do you see?” I said, “I see the big E blurred. He says, take your glasses off, what do you see?” I said, “I don’t see anything. He says, put your glasses on and read the article.” And I read the last line, made in Canada, yeah. He says, your eyesight is good, report Monday morning, this was on a Friday, report Monday morning at the Ottawa station, you’re going to Toronto, you’re going into the Army.
Listen, I ate, it was strictly kosher when I came from this. It was the first time I was ever away from home. When I went to the Jackson building, that was the first time I had toast and coffee and I used to eat in the morning. I used to go downstairs and get the breakfast for the girls.