William E. Boston
U. S. Army
Korean War
Dates of Service: 07/10/1952 - 05/07/1954
Infantryman, 32nd Infantry
Audio Samples

Bill was born in Dalhart, Texas, "in an upstairs apartment above the grocery store where my dad managed a meat market," he explains. Although the Great Depression had just begun, his father was able to stay employed throughout the 1930s. Bill was born to Murray Boston and Merle Young Boston. They remained in Dalhart for only about six months when Merle, homesick for her native McLean, Texas, and the family returned there where her mother and four sisters lived. McLean, William says, is on US 66, 70 miles east of Amarillo. Its population, he says remains its size when he lived there--about 900 persons engaged primarily in ranching and farming. There the Bostons lived in a two-room house with an outdoor toilet. "We took one bath a week and that was on Saturday night," in a "number twelve washtub full of hot water." William was an only child until a younger brother, Charles Eugene, was born eight years later. In McLean his father managed a meat market for Cooper's Grocery, working 60 to 70 hours a week for $25 a week. "But we always had something to eat and a lot of people didn't have that back in those days," he remarks. Bill wore second-hand clothes and recalls Christmas as only a stocking with an apple, orange or candy in it. "I got a tie one Christmas. A ball and jacks one Christmas. Just didn't have any money," he recalls. The house faced north, and often, in snowstorms, no one could get out the front door. His mother cooked on a gas stove, while a stove in the living room heated the house. In At age 10 he got a paper route. In summers he rode buses to Whitesboro, Texas to his grandparents' home, where he learned agricultural chores. When he was a freshman in high school his father arranged to buy two houses, and Bill's paternal grandmother and grandfather came up to live in the house behind them. A hedge separated the two houses. In summer Bill slept by the hedge with his dog. The family raised a victory garden during World War II. When the elder Boston was drafted into the U.S. Navy in " '42 or `43", William plowed and maintained the garden of corn, potatoes, beans, black-eyed peas, and other vegetables. On through school he worked at several jobs: soda jerk, movie projectionist, and janitor at an oil company. "I never got to keep a dime of it. Mother took it all the time. We had to have it to live," he recalls. At his drugstore job was a "fringe benefit". Its owner, Roger "Tighteye" Powers and his wife, a teacher, were childless. "I became his son," Bill recalls. At school Bill, like most of the boys, studied home economics. He also played basketball and football, and played in the band as a drummer and saxophone player. He played in the band at West Texas State University in Canyon, after graduating from high school in 1948. He completed college with a degree in English, speech, and physical education in 1952. He was drafted and sent to basic training in San Louis Obispo, California at a renovated World War II camp. He was then sent on to advanced training in repairing telephone switchboards. He arrived in Tokyo in January of 1953 at a "repple", or replacement depot. There, instead of sending him on to Korea, he was tasked with teaching English to Puerto Rican soldiers. After three months of teaching he was sent to Uijambu, Korea, where he was assigned to the 32nd Infantry Regiment, which was stationed just south of the 38th Parallel. There he was attached to headquarters as a telephone switchboard repairman until the war ended in the spring of 1953. Soon after returning from the army he met Sharon Alexander in Amarillo, 20 miles north of West Texas State where he was taking summer school classes. They married on December 26, 1954. (The couple would have three children and three grandchildren.) Bill, completing school on the GI Bill, taught for a year then went to work for Commercial Credit, a finance company. He was transferred to Lubbock. There he soon went to work for Traveler's Insurance Company, for whom he was employed for 40 years. He was transferred to Alexandria, Louisiana where he managed the office, then to Shreveport in June of 1971. He retired in February of 1991. In 2000 Sharon passed away. Bill sings in the Broadmoor Methodist Church choir and he works out for an hour at the gymnasium most days each week.