Denise Sullivan

Author, Journalist, Culture Worker

Stone Free

“Because I didn’t have a cent in my pocket, I walked into the first recruitment office I saw and went into the Army….I was in the Army for about 13 months, you know, because I got tired of that and it was very boring, and so I pretended that I hurt my back, you know, and I really did break my ankle. So I got out like that, you know…Anyway, my discharge came through, and one morning, I found myself standing outside the gates of Fort Campbell, on the Tennessee Kentucky border with my duffle bag and three or four hundred dollars in my pocket.  I was going to go back to Seattle, which was a long way away, but there was this girl there I was kinda hung up on. Then I thought I’d just look in at Clarksville, which was near; stay there the night and go home the next morning.  That’s what I did, looked in at Clarksville.  I went in this jazz joint and had a drink, liked it and stayed.  I came out of that place with 16 dollars left, and it takes a lot more than that to get from Tennessee to Seattle.  All I can do, I thought, is get a guitar and try to find work here…I remember that just before I left the Army, I’d sold a guitar to a cat in my unit. So I went back to Fort Campbell and slept there on the sly that night.  I found the guy and told him I just had to borrow the guitar back.”


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