Old Man Jack-ism #7



I have been remiss in visiting Old Man Jack; when I arrived there today, I made sure he heard my Mustang he loved to ride in so much…  I hope his now silent neighbors didn’t mind too much.  As I neared his resting place walking on very sodden soil, it was clear I was his last visitor from some months ago.  The grass had definitely encroached on his gravestone; even the hole where the water decanter should be seen was covered up.

As I trimmed away the overgrown grass, I fondly remembered a “Whhhoooo-eee!” Old Man Jack let out once.   That one time, he had an extra emphasis on the “Whhhoooo”… with even more of a sopranic “eee” at the end.  He then proceeded to tell me about how his old man kept him in line as a boy while handing me something from his past.  More on that later.

And that word’s made up, you know…”sopranic”.  But for that moment, he was definitely Julie Andrews. 🙂


In our chats in his cluttered garage, Old Man Jack used to tell me how he used to “tussle” a lot while growing up in Glendale, CA.  You know.  Fight.  He wasn’t embarrassed to say he took a lickin’ – once in a while.  He frequently said one reason why he took a lickin’ was that he was a runt so he took up body building for protection – as well as for the girls.  He had flashed his trademark grin while gently shaking his head fondly left and right as while talking about his youthful adventures; you wonder what crazy memories flashed in his mind filled with life’s wisdom to power that grin.

He reminisced that his dad was also a bit of a trouble maker, especially when he had a bit too much libation but that he was the family enforcer.  Old Man Jack said his dad was also a sailor – a baker in the US Navy to be exact but he also had worked as a barber.  They were together out in the SW Pacific during the war but on different islands.  He said his dad would once in a while send him a cake and cookies on a B-25 Mitchell that was making some kind of supply run.  Old Man Jack instantly became the most loved sailor on that island when the cake and cookies were unloaded… provided the pilots didn’t eat them along the way.

lee whitty garrett Sept 1 1945
Old Man Jack’s father was Lee Whitty Garrett and can be found on line 11 corroborating his story. You can clearly see he was a baker on the destroyer tender USS Markab’s Muster Roll, dated Sept. 1, 1945.  He survived the war, too, and was on his way home.


On the way to visit him at his resting place, I decided to listen to the news.  Well actually, the only time I can hear the news is while in my Mustang is stopped at a light – the exhaust isn’t exactly quiet (listen below)… and in that brief instant, the newscaster reported again about a pro sports figure and an alleged “beating” he gave his son.  I turned it off as I am tired of the media making a circus out of every perceived “socially incorrect” behavior.  Of course, I wouldn’t know of the intimate details of the allegations.  Can’t trust the media, you know.

Don’t get me wrong.  I sure as hell don’t condone BEATING a kid.  No way.  But… I believe there is nothing wrong with a spanking – or a “whippin'” as Old Man Jack’s generation used to say.  Because of the social pressures exerted by a faction of our culture, taking a hand – any kind of hand – to your child means police show up at your door – at least here in California.  “Positive reinforcement” goes only as far as your front door.

There is nothing wrong with a good spanking, in my opinion…  Or, when I was going to junior high school, it was called a “swatting”.  There was our PE teacher, a Mr. T.  He had a swat board the size of Rhode Island made out of balsa wood thicker than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps.  It was even taped at the handle to enhance the grip for his elephant sized hands AND he had several large holes drilled into the paddle section to increase the device’s aerodynamic characteristics, i.e., more paddle speed, more pain.  I’m positive he had its aerodynamics tested in a wind tunnel.  If any of my male high school buddies are reading this, they know exactly what I’m talking about.  I think the paddle section was even painted black.  All the PE teachers carried one of their own design.

Believe me, the threat of a swat kept MANY a kid in line…  meaning they really gave it a thought before crossing that line and risk getting caught – and greeting the aerodynamically enhanced swat from Mr. T.  One benefit was it taught respect – the hard way.

Frankly, the prohibition of spanking – in my opinion – has contributed to the growing disrespect and behavioral problems being shown by many of today’s younger folks.  A kid never gets a well deserved licking, i.e., pain, if you did something bad.  All a kid gets now is a painless lesson in positive reinforcement or detention.  No pain, you gained.  You learned it was OK to whine, too.


But back to his “Whhhoooo-eee”…

As Old Man Jack belted out the whhhooo-eee, he handed me this; it has been hanging safe and sound in my hall closet since he gave it to me:

Its two feet long and is used to sharpen a barber’s straight edge razor.

It’s a barber’s leather razor blade sharpening strop (not strap).  Specifically, a “Scotch Lassie”; it was his father’s:

His Scotch Lassie with Old Man Jack’s second love in the background – the F4U Corsair from WWII.

While I wasn’t clear if this was the one that was used or not, Old Man Jack got a whippin’ with this on occasion from his dad…the same one who sent him cakes and cookies out in the Pacific during a vicious war.  From a couple of the stories he told me, it sure sounds like he deserved the whippings and therefore, the reason for his whhhoooo-eee.  And you know what?  Old Man Jack turned out to be one helluva respectful and forgiving man.

Remembering he was giving me that trademark grin while handing it to me, he said something to the effect of, “Koji, I’ll tell ya…  The thought of getting another whippin’ from my dad sure kept me from getting into more trouble…but not ALL the time.”  Knowing Old Man Jack well by then, it made me grin, too.

With that, he said it was time for him to part with it, to move on and that he wanted me to keep it… if I wanted it.

Knowing how it was an intimate guiding influence of how this great man turned out to be as he was, of course I did.  I think he was glad.

But I sure miss his trademark grin and I think he misses my cigar in return… but not the whippin’ I gave him when he challenged me at stop lights in HIS ’68 Mustang on our way to breakfasts.

He hated getting whipped, you know.


29 thoughts on “Old Man Jack-ism #7”

      1. Heck no! Then I wouldn’t get any more stories. When’s the next one????? I know without a doubt you have more Old Man Jackism’s and other tales a waiting to be told!

  1. Hearing about Jack again is like a letter from a long lost friend. Thank you, Koji for bringing his dad into the story as well. For the record, I had a whoopin’ or two in my day and I would sometimes still get into trouble, but – NO – I never saw the inside of a jail cell – I agree, nothing wrong with a well chosen whoopin’.

  2. What a lovely contrast, Koji – the macho world of muscle cars, war, and whoopins with paddles and strops interwoven with the obvious respect and affection you feel for Old Man Jack. Thank you for sharing this, as well as the seductive rumble of that Mustang. Yowza.

    1. Thanks, hillbillyzen13! Yes, I cared greatly for Old Man Jack; he was the last of his friends and very much alone after his wife passed away. I can only hope I filled a void for him since he lost his first born (a son) at childbirth. His name was Steven.

  3. Agree 100% on the discipline issue with kids. My wife and I do not agree.., fortunately for our four children, or they would have trouble sitting occasionally. I was also disciplined by my father. Not abused. Just swatted. With his belt. One of those 1970’s “Barney Miller” wide-arse belts too. So I remember it well. I also behaved. My grandfather, from yet another generation all together, used to ‘discipline’ me and my older brother with a switch. A small branch of a tree. Green and stripped of it’s leaves. Across your backside, it was certainly an attention grabber and only took one good swack and that the point was driven home really quickly. Today’s youth has other issues. Now I sound like my parents. Don’t all generations look at the younger generations as ‘having it easy’ or ‘not respecting their elders?” Ok, back to the other issue. With Common Core in the schools and knee pads, bike helmets, foam playgrounds and ‘no losers’ here at sports.., we are definitely setting them up to fail in the real world. The real world hurts. People get fired. Others get promoted. People lose at life. Ther are also winners. We need to address how our kids are going to handle NOT getting a trophy for SUCKING at baseball. Or NOT having a standing ovation when they SUCK at singing. What are they going to do when someone fires them or tells them ‘bad job’? They will NOT be equipped to handle losing. I watch my two young boys play video games. If they ‘die’ in the game. They just get to pick up where they left off and continue on. In ANY game. Again, not the right lesson. They should have to start over from the beginning. In board games.., if one kid wins.., then the parents always say.., ‘ok, who comes in second’ and third, fourth etc. Again, not good life lessons. There are winners and losers period. There is obviously a gray balance here between having some winner obsessed freak kid and one who is well adjusted.., but let us at least equip them for rejection.

    OK enough of my rant!

    Peace out!

    1. Rant? Heck, it’s well written without animosity. Good stuff! Some good memories from your childhood. If girls misbehaved back then, they got a ruler to the back of their hand or the like but it was still good discipline back then. And the switch – lol. Those too! But the key in what you said was “not abused”. Totally agree, sir.

      Yes, the real world hurts as you point out. Contributing to that is how some of the powers in society blame a lot on mental illness and that they cannot be held responsible. It proliferates. Crazy.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I especially enjoyed this post, Koji. It reminds me a little of my father, who also served in WWII. While in the Army, he did some boxing. He got me boxing gloves when I was a toddler. He would get on his knees and we’d swat at each other. That is not the only reason that I respected my father, but it did add a reason to be respectful. Also, when I was in tussles growing up, my mother would get upset but Dad would just say, “I don’t want you starting fights, but you better finish ’em.”

    1. Thank you for the visit, sir, and you illustrated well the role of two parents… I’m sure your mom gave your pop a licking when he didn’t carry out her orders! 🙂 I’ll tell you, my poor dad sure got the brunt of mom’s barking!

  5. This is wonderful….I think it’s nice that Jack’s memory is so honored by you…thanks for sharing him with us! (and thanks for letting me know this was here!…and it’s at the TOP so folks can see it..hurrah!)
    I loved this…
    I don’t know how you can have a car that that’s LLLLOOUUUDDD!!!

  6. vroom vroom – I am sure he heard you pull up – 🙂
    and I never saw a scotch lassie – very cool – not sure how I feel about spanking – cos I feel as if there are better ways to manage behavior…

    the cigar shot at the end was cool – and side note – by brother had a 67 mustang (maroon)
    awesome post and ❤ to Jack

    1. A ’67?!?! Old Man Jack’s was a ’68. Your brother doesn’t still have it, does he? Yes, there are many ways to manage behavior… Right now, though, I think things are getting a little out of hand when you see children looting alongside adults…

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