General James M. Gavin

b. March 22, 1907. d. February 23, 1990

Memorial Day is traditionally the day of honouring those who lost their lives during wartime. Since I never knew anyone personally who died during a war I’d like to dedicate this Live Electronic Demonstration to a 5 star General I once knew.

In the early 1970’s when I was a little boy I was sent away to a work camp every summer to caddy. Carrying golf clubs on a private, very exclusive island on Cape Cod named Oyster Harbors.

I got to observe and encounter how very wealthy people live and wasn't very impressed with their lifestyle. However, we the caddies worked and lived in very primitive and militaristic conditions. Nowadays, it would be considered child abuse but we were just chasing greenbacks, not golf balls.

Probably the most interesting man I caddied for many times was a retired 5 star general who was involved in World War II. He was an advisor to President John F. Kennedy and also appointed as the Ambassador to France by JFK in the '60's. After the Kennedy assasination he was the Chairman of the Board for Arthur D. Little, Inc. in Cambridge, MA. I caddied for him during the early '70's and he was very disillusioned about the Vietnam War. The only General to protest the U.S. involvement in a war which he felt would only lead to escalation. He told me his life story and I still remember the tone of his voice 30 years later. He was starting to write his memoirs which correct the official military history of many of the events which he was involved in during World War II. His name was James M. Gavin. His humility was admirable. He appeared to be a man suffering from a profound existential crisis. Plug his name into a search engine for an illuminating history lesson. You can start here.

In December 2000 I was performing in Evansville, IN. Walking through the Hotel / Casino lobby we noticed all these museum display cases containing a lot of war memorabilia.

I started telling my friends I was with, Benny Blanco (blancodisco/QE2) and Derek Plaislaiko (Detroit Bachelor DJ’s) about how I used to caddy for this famous paratrooping General.

As we were admiring the Hitler and Mussolini bowling pins I wondered aloud if they had any of Gen. Gavin’s memorabilia. I turned around and there was a big case containing Gen. Eisenhower’s uniforms. To his right was Gen. Gavin’s articles, my old friend, a great man and a true American legend.