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War Tapes: Excerpts From Interviews with John Barry

John Barry, 1924-1990 Lee Barry, brother of author Alyce Barry, interviewed their father, John Barry, in the late 1980s about his experiences in the South Pacific during World War II. John died in January 1990, a few months after the taping sessions concluded.

Lee's taped interviews with John are mentioned in Chapters 5 and 6 of Practically Shameless, and excerpts are described in more detail below. Practically Shameless is dedicated to John's memory.

Tape excerpts are in mp3 format with length shown in minutes and seconds.

Excerpt 1. Alyce's note: "Dad would have wanted this one to go first; you'll hear the reason." (Practically Shameless, pages 61-62: "During Dad's interviews with Lee, he said that he had been terribly shy, introverted and anti-social in high school. 'I have never been a joiner,' he said.")

Excerpt 1: Making these tapes (length 4:30)
Excerpt 2. Born shy, and anti-social in high school.
Excerpt 2: Shy and anti-social (length 1:14)
Excerpt 3. The native man on Okinawa. (Practically Shameless, page 63: "On Okinawa, he once had to order his platoon to open fire on a native man who was scrambling up the side of a ravine to get away from them. . . .")
Excerpt 3: The native man on Okinawa (length 9:38)
Excerpt 4. Digging in for the night. (Practically Shameless, page 63: "At dusk on the island of Guam, when it was time to dig in for the night, the Marines would walk forward from their position, shooting from the hip without aiming. . . ."
Excerpt 4: Digging in for the night (length 2:36)
Excerpt 5. Corporal Gollnick. (Practically Shameless, starting page 62: "Another of Dad's friends, a corporal from Texas named Raymond Hugo Gollnick, was killed on Okinawa right in front of him. . . .")
Excerpt 5: Corporal Raymond Hugo Gollnick (length 6:10)

Alyce's note: This excerpt is from an interview done in late January 1989. In May of that year, I attended our town's Memorial Day parade with Dad, and he mentioned once again this longtime resolve to contact Gollnick's family. At home, I drafted a letter from Dad to the Gollnicks and handed it to him the next day, saying, 'Change this however you want.' His eyes welled with tears, and he thanked me profusely. He edited the letter and sent it off. Within a very short time, his phone rang — a member of the Gollnick family was calling from Texas to thank him for the letter. The family had been misinformed about the manner of Raymond's death; I believe they'd been told he died in the hospital.

Excerpt 6. Visit from Captain Don Gladish, a friend from home and a homeopathic physician. (Practically Shameless, page 68: "When I listened to his stories about the War, I heard a man trying hard to be big enough to meet its challenges and reveling in occasional opportunities to show his 'clout,' as when a church member who was a Navy Captain paid him a call in front of his friends.") Alyce's note: "Don became Uncle Don when he married Mom's sister Alice. Our parents were raised in a small church community and grew up knowing each other. Uncle Don became our family physician and obstetrician."
Excerpt 6: Visit from Captain Don Gladish (length 2:06)
Excerpts 7 - 9. Other excerpts, on topics not mentioned in the book.
Excerpt 7: In a Navy hospital on Okinawa, Dad listens to a barbershop quartet during an air raid (length 4:45)

Excerpt 8: Men hitting the beach: "They were not cowards" (length 1:11)

Excerpt 9: Corn fritters (length 2:18)


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