Barker, Carl

Carl Barker is a lifelong Mainer.  Born June 26, 1928, he grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, which he recounts through some fascinating specific memories, including that he slept in a drawer.  As his father was a grocer, the family did not go hungry, but Carl remembers that he did not see a round orange until later in life (his father would bring home the spoiled produce with sections cut out).  During the war, Carl made a point of having a good time; he reasoned that he would soon be in it, and the carpe diem philosophy only made sense.  As it happened, the war finished just as Carl enlisted, so he spent his tour of duty in the occupation force that went to Japan.  Carl was off to Yokohama, where he served in a Graves’ Registration Unit ; it would be his duty to identify the remains of the American airmen who had been shot down over Japan during the war.  Carl did this for one year, and then returned to his life in the U.S.  He returned to Portland, where he resumed his education under the G.I. Bill, and set out to make his life in postwar America.

Carl was interviewed for this project by Scott Masters, who was visiting his own parents in Portland, Maine.