A Stop At Suzanne's: And Lower Flights
by Greayer Clover
George H. Doran Company 1919
|Lt Greayer Clover|
So who was this man and why was he so recognized? A Stop at Suzanne's: and Lower Flights is a memorial volume to Greayer "Grubby" Clover — who died in an accident on 30 August 1918 as, I assume, he was readying himself for the Saint Mihiel battle two weeks away. He had just won his wings shortly before and was on a cross-country flight to the French base at Romorantin when he lost control on his landing attempt. Grubby's father, Samuel, had been an L.A.-based newspaperman who apparently waited to move to Virginia until his children were done with high school to run a paper there. Probably because of his father, Greayer was able to publish several articles about his wartime service in newspapers and magazines. After he was killed, the family gathered all they could on Grubby and packaged it together as a tome for posterity.
The volume is separated into three main sections. After a short introduction by Samuel Clover that gives an overview on his son's life and death, the book begins with all the articles Greayer published from France. A small middle section includes letters and other tributes received from Greayer's friends, college administrators (Clover began at Stanford before transferring to Yale, representatives from both sent their condolences), and others. It ends with letters he sent home from Europe.
(Courtesy of Clergeau Fund
(AD Loir-et-Cher) - Rights filed.)
However, there is much more to like. After "Suzanne's," Greayer's last published story, we move to his first and proceed chronologically. Greayer volunteered to drive ambulances shortly after the U.S. declared war, but then when he got to France he realized he could get into action faster if he drove ordnance and supplies to the front, so he enlisted for six months in the camion service. He has many stories of close calls, feeling proud of his work (early on), as well as jaunts taking unapproved trips. When Grubby's service in the field is up he offers his services to the flying corps. After much frustration at being passed over he was accepted and we read about the ups and downs of flying school.
|Lt. Greayer Grave|
St. Mihiel Cemetery
You and your family stood to him for the outrages practiced upon your country he wanted to save, to restore, to free Belgium from the iron monster that now occupies her soil. That is what all America wants, and it is what we have sent our precious sons to do for you. I want every opportunity that you can get to fit you to serve your king, when he comes home again, and to take a useful part in the building up of a new world that shall have more kindness and more justice.
I wonder what happened to this boy, and I also wonder if the Clovers ever visited him as the mother said she wanted to do in the letter.
By the end of the book I was left with great sadness. You can read about the statistics, and even in books on combat it is tragic when men you have grown to like die, but this work is truly a memorial. One really gets to know this world traveler — from Los Angeles to Stanford, to Yale, to France; serving in the camion "Bastard" section; and then experiencing the glorious freedom of flight. Today he lies in Saint Mihiel American Cemetery. If I ever visit France, I want to say hello and wish him well.