Sunday, April 6, 2014

Interview with William Jarrell Looney, 5 July, 1982

Notes from Interview with William Jarrell "Bill" Looney, Marietta, GA July 5, 1982 by Teresa McVeigh. He recounts his father's life, his early life and time in the Army during World War II.

(After his mother died) Mortimer Looney was raised by old maid aunts--the kids were split up.

Earl Mortimer Looney came there [Lexington, GA] as a school teacher. He taught all age boys--math, English, and literature. He specialized in math. When they got married he was 30 and she was 20. He was born and raised in Fayetteville, AR. He got a business degree from a business school in Arkansas. His father moved to Lexington, GA.

Father and mother married and lived in Lexington. Hogan Jackson, a wealthy shyster, had a chance to open a bank in competition with a Dr. Horseley’s bank. The money was from Dr. Horseley and his brother ran it.

Father ran the bank in Boaz--he was head cashier. The bottom fell out of the cotton market (about 1921) . The tragedy was that the owner wanted all mortgages foreclosed and people put out on the street. Father refused to do that. Hogan Jackson fired him. The family moved to Atlanta where he got into the real estate business and sold real estate in Florida. Earl and Elizabeth got jobs in Atlanta. Carrie Tiller Jarrell lived with the family. It was the only place she could go; her brother wouldn't take her in.

The real estate boom in Florida busted. Dad moved back to Atlanta and he had cancer. (He had worked in a bank in Atlanta before Boaz.) They moved back to Boaz because Carrie wanted to live there. Dad wanted to die there; he was unable to work by then.
He had cancer of the prostate. It was too far gone when they found it about three years later. He was 57 when he died.

(After Mortimer Looney died) Carrie [Tiller Jarrell], Mary, Bill, and Dobby Looney came to Atlanta and lived with Earle and Elizabeth Looney. Earle was working at the Federal Reserve Bank--he had a banking degree from a business college. Elizabeth was working at Texaco bookkeeping. They didn’'t move right back to Atlanta--they stayed in Boaz [AL] for a while. Carrie had dizzy spells. She fell trying to catch a baby chicken and broke her hip. They had to stay there two years--Mary nursed her. Then they moved to Cornelia because Uncle Henry [Jarrell] said he'’d help look out for Carrie. She lived with him in his two story house. He was a dentist. The children went to grammar school and Carrie always had to walk with a crutch after that. Dobby went to Snead Seminar in Boaz [Alabama]--a "Yankee sponsored college for poor Southern people."

Henry drank a lot, smoked a lot, and chased women. Carried died and was buried in Cornelia in Hillcrest Cemetery on Level Grove Road. (Uncle Henry is buried there, too.)

They moved to Atlanta in with Elizabeth and Hal Daniell, (Myrtis Jarrell came to live with them) in a big house in Ansley Park, right below the Governor’s mansion. Dobby went to business school. Bill went to Boy’s High. Then Bill went to Boaz to live with Aunt Mary Tiller (Luke’s wife) and he finished high school there. The teacher was a friend of the family there. Mary was at Elizabeth’s being the housekeeper for the whole crowd. Earl was at the Federal Reserve Bank for about 23 years. He and Irma married about 1935 or 6. Elizabeth had a good job at the Sewell Hat Company. They moved to Red Oak, GA, then they built a house below College Park.

Bill went into the Army in 1942. He went to Ft. McPherson for induction and basic training in College Park, Atlanta, GA. It was the Ordinance Battalion Co. S. 4th Battalion 302 Ordinance Battalion. Then he went to Camp Sutton in North Carolina for training.

He shipped out to Casablanca on the Louis Pasteur, a French luxury liner. It had marble staircases, marble swimming pools, and brass rails. The pools were full of cots. The ship was packed solid with the 4th Battalion and all its trucks. They crossed the ocean alone with no escort. It was a 7 days crossing.

In Casablanca they lived in a pup tent city until they went to Italy. They were winding up the desert war--Rommel was about beat. That area was cleared. Rommel was in Oran, in Saudi Arabia.

A Liberty Ship--an old bucket type ship with no name--took them to Italy. They stopped in Sicily. They didn'’t fight--the war was already past there. At Anzio--they fought there. General McAuliffe was in charge. He was demoted and sent somewhere else. Patton may have taken over then and several British officers. They took Rome. Bill toured Rome thoroughly because he was there a good while. He saw the Coliseum, St. Peter’s, the Monument to King Victor Emanuel, the Doge’'s Palace, Renaissance paintings and sculpture. Anzio was a terrible battle, then it was a rough ride to Rome. They stayed a while in Rome in tents to recoup. Then they followed the troops up to Caserta, a small outpost.

They later went to Germany.