A World War II Wager

bettingIt’s such a small folded scrap of paper I’m surprised it has survived 70 years. I found it tucked among family photos and letters. Actually, I didn’t find it on my first rummage through the pile. It fell out of a stack of pictures I had set aside for scanning. When I pulled an image from the bag, out dropped the paper, as if through a crack in time.

It’s the marker for a bet, a wager made by U.S. Army Private Clarence E. Fisk on what date World War II would end. Fisk wasn’t feeling too optimistic when he scribbled the note. He promised to pay $50 only if it ended on or before April 14, 1947.


dad in army023I assume he made the bet with my dad, Gunnar Lendroth, who also served in WWII. Fisk’s army records (LOVE the Internet) indicate that he enlisted on November 10, 1943. By that time, Dad had been posted to India where he worked in the photography corps. Was Clarence Fisk one of his army buddies? Or did this marker change hands in a floating game of craps, which Dad dearly loved to play?

I’ll never know, but perhaps the bet remained uncollected because everyone was so relieved that the fighting ended two years earlier than Fisk predicted. Or maybe Dad hung onto it just in case he ever again crossed paths with Clarence Fisk!