Sam by A. C. B. [Alvah Cecil Bessie]

October 19, 2018
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Samuel Spiller, August 1938. The 15th International Brigade Photographic Unit Photograph Collection; ALBA Photo 11; ALBA Photo number 11-0056. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Samuel Spiller, August 1938. The 15th International Brigade Photographic Unit Photograph Collection; ALBA Photo 11; ALBA Photo number 11-0056. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Volunteer for Liberty, V.2, No. 31, September 5, 1938.

[“Sam” is Samuel Spiller—Chris Brooks]

The kid looks and acts about eighteen but when you ask him how old he is he says he’s 23. “”so you’re 23 are you?” said the grumpy Company Adjutant,” You look about 16.”

The kid grinned and blushed and showed his missing tooth  “Now comrade” he said, “you know if I hadn’t been 21, I couldn’t have come to Spain.”

“Well” said the Adjutant, “why the hell come here for anyway?”

“Hell” said Sam, “I wanted to. I didn’t like the way things were going back home. My folks didn’t approve of me.”

“Didn’t approve of you, why?”

“Well, I was making only 10 a week in the curtain factory, an’ I was talking up a lot of time organizing the workers.”

“How long you been in the infantry?”

“Four months.”

“What you do before that?”

“I was a year in the garage at Albacete.”

“You’re an automobile mechanic, huh?”

The kid grinned, “Well sort a.”

“Then why’d you come into the infantry?”

“Well, they were cleaning all the Internationals out, so here I am.”

The grumpy Company Adjutant felt unjustifiably annoyed by the kid –but he couldn’t help admiring the lad. During the action the kid was a runner he’d figured would fall down on his job; the one runner who, as it turned out, excelled all the others.

He’d come dashing up to the Commander in the middle of a hot fire and shout “Now, don’t get worried. The fascist bastards are just worried; they’re nervous and jumpy. So they started to fire.

He’d talk continuously day and night, making superfluous and unnecessary comments about everything that took place. Was the avion overhead? “Christ” said Sam, “Those … bastards are back again.” Bombs? “They’re dropping their! …” Sam announced. Artillery? “Boy,! They’re giving it to us” he’d yell in the Adjutant’s ear. “Christ! They’ve got our range; boy we’re going to get it now!” He was scared stiff; he was scared as a rabbit, but that didn’t prevent him from carrying out his job. To the contrary, he displayed the only sort of courage that has any significance –he was scared to death but he did his job regardless. No fire was hot enough to prevent him from being at the Commander’s side even when it was not necessary. “Maybe Aaron needs me” he said; “I gotta find him.”

“You young squirt you, “ said the grumpy Adjutant “you’ll stop calling the Commander by his first name.”

“Now comrade” said Sam, “don’t get excited, everythings going to be O. K.”

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