Footprints In The Sand by Sam Wintroub

The History of Luna County 1978

I was born in Kupel, Russia, July 30, 1895, and immigrated to the United States with my family in 1910, settling in Omaha, Nebraska. I was selected for service with the United States Army on September 17, 1917, and within a few weeks was sent to Camp Cody, New Mexico, arriving there October 15, 1917, where I was stationed with the 34th Division, more commonly know as the Sandstorm Division.

The recruits were assigned to luxurious tents, no wooden floor, no sideboards and eight men occupying each tent. The sand was blowing day and night. Upon arriving at our new station, we were sent to wash up and get ready for evening chow, good Irish stew that we gobbled down. Then it was off to bed.

Reveille sounded and I leaped out of bed, scrambled into my uniform and reached for my shoes, nowhere to be found! The sand had blown all night long and somewhere buried deep in that tent were my shoes. I finally managed to locate one but the other was nowhere to be found. Out for roll call and, you guessed it, Sam was in the front row with one shoe off and one shoe on. As the Captain was inspecting the ranks, he stopped short in front of this half-shoeless soldier and his first words were "What in the world do you call that?" I told him the truth; I could not find my other shoe in the sand - a likely story! "Sergeant, take this man's name; wood pile brigade all day Sunday.

One Sunday afternoon I was at the Jewish Welfare Board when six nice Jewish ladies came in bringing cakes, cookies, fruit, candies and cigarettes. The ladies were from Silver City. The next Sunday the ladies returned and this time, in addition to three gallons of apple cider, more cakes, cookies, candies and cigarettes, they brought four pretty girls, what a welcome sight. We enjoyed a nice afternoon visiting and playing checkers. Bless them for the warmth they passed on to the lonely soldiers.

After leaving Camp Cody in July 1918, I was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, I married my sweetheart Ethel Raduziner, also from Omaha, Nebraska. The next day Uncle Sam sent me on a honeymoon by myself, to France, and I returned to the States and was honorably discharged in February 1919.

Our first daughter, Esther Claire, was borne in Omaha in 1920 and our second daughter, Phyllis, was born in 1925. In 1941 we moved to El Paso, Texas, and have lived here ever since. Our daughter Esther Claire married J. B. Brown, a farmer in Chamberino, New Mexico, in 1943, and they were blessed with three lovely children, David, who is now farming in Chamberino, Susy, who is teaching in Ysleta, and Judy, who is working in Albuquerque.

About fifteen years ago my wife, my daughter Phyllis, the three grandchildren, and myself drove up to Deming to see if I could remember any of the city. Imagine my surprise to see some of the old building near the station still standing.

Little did I dream on that October morning when I stood there with "one shoe off and one shoe on" that I would be living half of my lifetime in nearby El Paso, Texas, also a part of the great Southwest.

� Text appeared in "The History of Luna County".
Copyright 1978 by "The Luna County Historical Society, Inc. Deming, New Mexico.

Sam Wintroub - Camp Cody

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