KAPOOKA ’69 By Kevin James Jorgensen, Recruit
I was getting ready for March Out, Kapooka 1969. We’d been issued the old battle dress winter uniforms a few days before and were putting them on for the first time. Platoon Sergeant was going around, checking everyone and making sure they had nothing in their pockets. He came to me, feeling my pockets and asked, “What’s this?” There was a small piece of cardboard in the top left-hand pocket.
“Dunno, Sergeant. I didn’t put it there!” I replied. He got it out, read it and showed it to everyone present. It was a piece of cardboard with a girl’s name and address on it and an invitation to write to her. She was 17.
“Take off the jacket,” he ordered. “There’s the answer,” he added, pointing to the label. Above the label was the year it had been made – 1943. He told us he’d never seen one himself but had heard about them from other guys finding them over the years. The girl was in all likelihood one of the factory workers who made the garments during World War II and it was just a way of finding a pen pal or whatever among the boys going off to war. We realised she would have been 43 in ’69 – the same figure as the year of manufacture. The irony was I was also 17 but I was a 17-year-old with a lot of other things on my mind, like a march-out parade. I discarded it. Regretted doing so years later when I was a bit older and a bit wiser. Can’t put an old head on young shoulders!
Your harbour for the night is the spot where you got tired of
marching that day.