MEMORIES OF KMI, 1962 - 1964
by P Craig Tindall
My how fifty (50) Years goes by yet my recollections of KMI are vivid and filled with now fond memories.
Being somewhat of a young lad with a lack of focus and heading down the ‘wrong road’ my loving parents decided a Military School was my calling. After reviewing several glossy Military School brochures, my Dad said how nice it would be to live in Florida during the Winter. We visited the campus Spring break of 1962 and Dad felt he had found my new home… I would Thank him years later for his love and sacrifice as $4,000+ a year tuition, room & board was a lot of money back then.
After taking a (2) day train ride from the Northland to Louisville I arrived at Nirvana, as it was presented in the color brochure, to KMI in rural Lyndon, KY. My attitude still was not in sync with my new environment and thus my 1st “Rat” Year, as a Junior, was memorialized with:
1) Learned that Reveille meant you got up; S/S/S and reported for roll call formation.
2) Learned that NOT following Blue Book Rules had personal & peer consequences.
3) Learned what a Demerit was as I accumulated many the Fall of 1962 and soon became the Lead man walking the Saturday Beat castaways with S/Sgt Harris.
4) Learned that if you got caught with or using that evil sin of alcohol you paid the supreme price of banishment, as in expulsion from KMI, as I witnessed a Cadet in ’63 being cabbed out the front gate with his bags for that mortal sin. Thus the Caveat of “Don’t Get Caught” become real-time etched in my brain
89. Cadets who shall drink or be found under the influence of alcoholic beverages, or bring or cause same to be brought within cadets' limits or otherwise in their possession, shall be expelled from the Kentucky Military Institute or less severely punished.
6) Learned that being at ‘sick call’ with Maw Fowler was worse than walking the Beat.
7) Learned that Seniors loved to polish their Class Rings on the back of my Head.
8) Learned that Florida was indeed much nicer to live in that the cold Northland.
9) Learned that Southern Bells in KY and bikinis clad young ladies in FL were very good for my eyes and testosterone.
10) Learned that an Honor Code and Character, did indeed, Make The Man
So in the Fall of ’63 I returned to my now “beloved” KMI and, as a reward for my mediocre academic prowess and accumulation of 100’s of Demerits during my “Rat” Year, I entered my Senior Year as a PFC while my Classmates were Officers and Senior NCO’s. Guess Col. Simpson felt, for my Dad’s $4,200 contribution, that’s the least he could do.
So now it was my turn to indoctrinate the “Rats” and polish my Senior Ring. Being that my attitude was more in sync with the KMI regimen, I befriended the PMS Staff and was chosen for the MP squad for Sunday dress parades and the The Gasparilla Pirate Festival -Tampa, FL.
Photo below was taken in Venice, FL January 1964. I was 3rd from the right with S/Sgt Brand USA PMS Staff far left.
In that ’63 Fall I meet my 1st Love, a cute young lady from Saint Matthews Seneca High School. My heart and testosterone were in high gear. Now that I wasn’t Walking the Beat, our Saturdays were filled with fun, frolic and yes that evil sin…
We stayed week-ends at an unnamed Faculty Staff’s apartment and enjoyed ourselves often being deeply In Love…
Soon we were off to Venice, FL and due to my gallant efforts and attitude adjustment; Col. Simpson decided to promote me to Cadet Sergeant in the mid January promotion list.
Memories of my Senior Year ’63 – ’64 includes:
77. The guard will consist of one Officer in Charge, one Cadet Officer of the Day, one Commander of the Guard, Sergeant of the Guard, and one Private of the Guard, and such other cadets as the Commandant of Cadets may deem _necessary and proper.
78. It should be understood by all, that cadets on guard duty are on their honor to perform all the duties of their office faithfully. Cadets on guard are expected to conduct themselves in a dignified manner and present a soldierly appearance at all times.
81. The members of the Guard are required to remain in or in the vicinity of the guard room at all times.
1) Learned what racial discrimination was as Public Bathrooms were marked White & Colored… a very dark period in our Nation’s History.
2) Learned that wearing a KMI uniform was received with respect and a good way to meet young ladies. Vietnam had not yet discredited the Military…
3) Learned that going thru the rear west fence over to Westport High School was a good way to meet young ladies.
4) Learned how to slide a nickel thru the pay phone for a free call.
5) Learned that on 112263 an Evil Force exists in this Country, even to this day.
6) Learned that the majority of my classmates came from family money as several received new rides (GTO’s, etc) at Graduation and always had a lot of pocket money on Liberty.
7) Learned that Derby week-end was Louisville’s Mardi Gras on steroids.
8) Learned how much I didn’t know about life and the Old South, which I become enthralled with having lived in the deep South now for over (40) Yrs..
9) Learned that living by a strict Code of Behavior was good for one’s well being and spirit.
10) Learned that traits engrained in one’s formative years often determine life’s outcomes.
1) Learned that a (24) Hr train ride from Louisville to Venice was a good time to reflect and get to know you Classmates.
2) Learned that sun, sand & the Gulf was a far better way to spend Winter than shoveling snow. Ladies in bikinis at the beach during winter was vigorous for one’s health.
3) Learned how to visit the San Marco building roof top, to star gaze, by wall/attic access.
4) Learned that living 24/7 with Classmates is much different that attending a Public School.
5) Learned that watching Ringling Brothers Winter home activities close-up was special.
6) Learned that being an MP was far more fun than marching around the Parade Field.
7) Learned that a long distance Love relationship was challenging for a (17) & (16) Yr. old.
8) Watched the USA Vietnam military advisory role on nightly TV slowly build into a undeclared War. We all know how that worked out.
9) Watched the Beatles USA open on the Ed Sullivan Show and the rest is History.
10) Watched myself become a responsible young man with a new attitude and focus on Life
Upon reflection it is obvious that my (2) Year experience at KMI was the Cornerstone of my redirection in Life. It prepared me for:
1) Fraternity Pledging in the 60’s involving light hazing and Hell Week.
2) A (6) Year Tour, as an MP, in the United States Marine Corps Active Reserves.
3) Honor, Duty & Country all of which are built upon Character.
4) Adapt, Improvise & Overcome which had its foundation at KMI and allowed me to have a very successful (40) Year career as a Real Estate Broker even today in Destin, FL.
Sadly, these admirable, time honored traits are becoming distant and/or forgotten in our Country today; the results of which are strewn around us on a daily basis and with our National political system having become a cesspool. Thankfully, a few of us had the unique opportunity to Learn and Live by these and they have served us well in life.
Godspeed to all KMI Graduates that you may continue to be blessed by your KMI experiences and share them as guiding light principles with your children and grand children.
Best Regards To All
P Craig Tindall ’64
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