Collecting blood in Oakland, 1942

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#1
Start with the second column...

Buk-blood.jpg


I quickly lost that job, just as I lost many others. But I didn’t care - with one exception. It was the easiest job I ever had and I hated to see it go. It was during World War II. I was working for the Red Cross in San Francisco, driving a truck full of nurses and bottles and refrigerators around to various small towns. We collected blood for the war effort. I unloaded the trucks for the nurses when we arrived and then I had the rest of the day to walk around, sleep in the park, whatever. At the end of the day the nurses stuck the full bottles into the freezers and I squeezed blood clots out of the rubber tubes in the nearest crapper. I was usually sober but I pretended the blood clots were tiny fish or pretty little bugs which kept my lunch down.

The Red Cross job was a good one. I even had a date lined up with one of the nurses. But one morning I took the wrong bridge out of town and got lost in a skid row section somewhere with a truck full of nurses and needles and empty bottles. Those skid row guys were aching to rape the lot of us, and some of the nurses got nervous. It was back over the bridge for us and around some other way. I’d gotten my towns mixed up, and when we finally got to the church where the blood donors were waiting we were over two hours and fifteen minutes late. The front lawn was filled with angry donors and doctors and church officials. Across the Atlantic, Hitler was gaining with every step. I lost that job right then and there, unfortunately.
 

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
#3
It's interesting that he's listed as a "shipping clerk." Was driving the blood truck a volunteer job? A part time job?

Seems that the Red Cross is mostly staffed by volunteers, which would explain the shipping clerk part. Though volunteering isn't exactly part of the Bukowski persona that we know.
 
Top