(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL
After lunch on a recent first Thursday of the month fundraiser are, from
left, Betty Bryant and her daughter, Carol Ann Chason. Standing is one
of the servers and Cosby Volunteer Fire Department members and
fundraisers Debra (Giles) Parks. The next dinner will be served on June
6 so mark your calendar.
|Published: 7:29 PM, 05/10/2013
||Last updated: 7:29 PM, 05/10/2013
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
This month may go down as record pollen producing year in
our hometown, as a pale yellow veil obscures the glowing paint on most
vehicles. It seems that nary a day goes by that I don't bump into someone
sneezing, coughing, complaining of sore throat, itching eyes, and assorted
One highlight last week was the Cocke County Shrine Club
paper sale that I covered for the Plain Talk news department. We have made many
friends among Shriners going back to the era of Albert Mathis and Roy D. Brown
to current friends like fellow Kiwanian Jim Barker, who sees that children get
transportation to Shrine hospitals. Jim will turn 80 this year but remains
active in many community programs. He started in Masonry in 1971, became a
Shriner in 1975 and when he moved to Cocke County in the early 1990s joined
t5he local Shrine Club where he has been president, before Jimmy Clark, and
also paper sale chairman like Brady Barber is this year. With this weekend's
Sunday being Mother's Day, I pondered who might be the mom with the most
children, a mother still living and always surrounding by her sons and
daughters on Mother's Day? I would like to hear from you on this. Because I
have talked with many war veterans for this column it is important to note two
significant days in May that tunes our hearts to soldiers: Armed Forces Day,
May 18, and Memorial Day, May 27.
May brought liberation
We have been visiting with World War II veteran John
Payne, who was a prisoner of war in northern Germany for about six months from
December 1943 until early May 1944. I've interviewed several POWs over the past
four decades and many endured torture and horrifying prison. John was more
fortunate and had to like rutabagas, confined quarters, and boredom.
"There were thousands at the camp. I think 7,000." There was nothing
good to remember except liberation day. He has never forgotten the lack of food
and never took a shower. They did get news from outside because certain groups
of men built and secretly monitored news of the war, especially the encouraging
progress the allies were making in 1944. He still fondly recalls the Red Cross
parcels with Camel cigarettes, Hershey's chocolates, and other goodies. There
were 24 soldiers in his barrack, no bigger than 12 by 18 feet.
They did get to play softball but also spent long periods
every day on their bunks. These were in multi tiers for a few dozen men in each
of the barracks.
One incident sticks with him most. While in their bunks
towards the end of imprisonment by the Germans, a rifle shot went through the
barrack wall and struck the soldier next to him in the shoulder. Yet, the
solider survived and John was able to find out about the B-24 engineer after
On May 1st the Russian front swept into Germany
overrunning the prison camp. While the prisoners were glad to see this happen
they remained there for two more weeks. John finds it more than coincidental
that the B-17 that flew him and others out was one of the same bombers he had
been in as a gunner. He landed at Camp Lucky Strike on the coast of France.
From here he shipped aboard the Admiral Mayo troop transport to the states and
was reunited with Jackie Payne in Boston. He must have been overwhelmed with
emotion when the train brought him home to Memphis and all his family and
friends were there to salute this hero, the last of POWs living in Cocke
Building a life after war
John and Jackie (Mary Jacqueline Norfolk) lived
south of Memphis about a mile from the Mississippi state line and they built a
frame home shortly after the war ended in 1945. His best job and career was
with the US Postal Service as a rural mail carrier at a small office where a
woman was the postmaster, directing two carriers. Their daughter, Jackie, was
born during this time. Of course you know she met and married Dr. A. J. (Jake)
Garbarino and ended up in Newport.
Subscribe to The Newport Plain Talk by clicking SUBSCRIBE.
Sign up for Breaking News emails from The Newport Plain Talk by clicking EMAIL ALERTS and inputting
your email address next to "Add Me" near the top right corner.