A Grandy Story; WWII as a 13 year old girl
Every week on my way to the gym I use my 25min drive to talk to my grandmother. She is getting to an age where she has not many peers and I’ve gotten to an age where she does not feel that I’m a little girl. To that end we have had many conversations and today she told me a little bit about her life in WWII and I think that I am going to write it here so I don’t forget and to share it with those who might want to read it.
The conversation rolled into the topic of WWII with me telling her that her generation is referred to as “the Silent generation” (Ironic since she is nothing of the sort) but me telling her it is most likely because of all the men come home after war and expected to buy their white picket fence from Sears and settle down to re populate the world and “not to talk about” that nasty few years they were “someone else” in the army. My grandfather volunteered to be in the Army and served in the 82nd airborne and we all know the general story of his time and a few little things like how hungry he was that he would eat a boot with onions, but he did not talk about the war with us. Not with his girls, and 3 of 4 of his kids and 11 out of 12 grandchildren are girls…. I’m always slightly annoyed that he would talk to my boyfriends about it, boys long gone from my life, have a piece of his story that I will never have. SO that is one of the many reasons I’m going to write down every interesting Grandy story there is.
“During the war my father was too old to volunteer so he quit his job and took one with the USO and moved the family to where he was needed. I was 14 and my father ran the dance halls so I would dance with the boys. They didn’t want to go to war, they were just out of high school and pulled from their homes and put into basic and for 6 weeks they were not even allowed to leave base. I was looked after by all the other older girls who were probably 20 or 25 and I never got in trouble but I saw all these boys desperate for something normal again.
We moved 3 times in 2 years and all I wanted to do was move home to Sayville again. I started Seton Hall as a freshman but then we left and I wanted to get back to at least graduate. One place we lived, Montgomery Alabama, was a flight training camp and the city was so crowded that we could not find 2 rooms to live in. For 3 or 4 months we lived in one large room in a house that had a very big old bathroom and I slept in the bathroom! For months until we could find something that is where I slept. Imagine, 14 and sleeping in a bathroom! There was room for a bed and it wasn’t that bad but still… I did move home again and my mother came with me, you can’t move by yourself at 16, and I graduated from Seton Hall. I did all the moving I ever wanted to do during those years and I never left Sayville again.
Looking back it was an adventure. I learned so much from the boys, the soldiers, abut the war and what was going on. Too many kids my age didn’t know anything and think I understood Charlie better for it (my grandfather). …. My father came back a year and a half or two years later but that is a story for another day.”
This is not verbatim but it is her story of 2.5 years roaming around the south doing USO work. I’m not sure how I would have reacted in the same place but her father was from an Irish military family and I’m sure he felt that he should do something~ I hope I do hear more about this someday 🙂