The Long Ago Events


1929, in Detroit, Michigan, a future 17-year-old who would leave high school and follow in the footsteps of his three older brothers and father was born. With the permission of his father, a World War I veteran pilot, John Dimitry was allowed to leave high school in 1945 and join the army. John joined as the war was ending and therefore never saw any action. After training, he became a second mate on a U.S. Army landing ship, a ship that was regulated to be at most no longer than 200 ft. The ship was home to a family of twenty-five soldiers, in which they sailed to Florida and to Cuba. John had a short presence in World War II, only serving from 1945 to 1946. John would later continue his service in the army by serving in the Korean War. Much like his time in World War II, John never saw any action. He spent his time stationed at the Presidio Base, an old Spanish fort, in San Francisco California; it had taken him seven days traveling by bus and train from southern Virginia to reach the base. John said that they served the best food in the 6th army at the Presidio. When asked if he cooked the food, he replied, “No, I did not. I consumed the food.” John remembered with a chuckle that the general of the 6th Army, Mark Clark, a three-star general, would always come to the Presidio to eat, because the food was so good.  

After the Korean War, John went on to college. He attended Springhill College in Alabama. The college only had about seven hundred students, of which 100 percent were white males, much like the army at the times he served. Now, John says, the school is about 33 percent black and hispanic, and about 50 percent of the student population are women. After graduating from college, John went on to become a history teacher at a junior high school in Michigan. When asked how he got from Michigan to Groveland, he paused for a good long while. He finally said that he cannot quite remember, but he does know that “as you get older, you cannot quite recall the long ago events.”

John, now 87, lives in Groveland. These days, he enjoys reading and listening about the recent election, as he finds it very interesting. He is very curious about Donald Trump and his past relationships; he especially wonders what exactly happened with his previous marriages.

John himself is married. After thanking us for talking with him, he said, “I’m going to take my half a cookie, and go find my wife.”