Thursday, October 13, 2011

WWII: Let's Go Sign Up!

Of course being a Baby Boomer I'm curious about what brought us to the post-WWII era and what the Great War was all about. Mom has shared many of her memories from that time and I'm about to launch into some of them here, especially the letters she and Dad received from their brothers off to war. Some are funny, some sad, but all give a glimpse into life at the outbreak of  war and the uncertainty about what tomorrow might bring.

Just a side note at this juncture: if I'm talking about living relatives on the blog you'll not see a last name or location in order to protect their identity. And if the given name is too distinctive and the person might be spotted based on it then I'll be shifting names. The deceased can fend for themselves;) Ha!

When the war started, Mom says that all of the young men ran down to the local recruiting office to sign up. Dad and his brothers, Mom's brother and brother-in-law all joined. Dad joined up even though he had a job at a munitions factory. He hid a physical trait from the recruiting officer but was found out when he got further down the line. You see Dad had an accident when he was two years old and burned his hands on a hot stove.  Here's a tracing of Dad's little hands done by his Grandmother two days before the accident.

Unfortunately Dad's hands never healed correctly and he was unable to have full range of motion with his fingers afterwards. See how the little fingers in the tracing above look normal? After the accident they were sort of webbed slightly together at the base. It never stopped him from doing anything he wanted to... except join up at the start of the war!

He was found to be ineligible for service and so he returned to his work at the munitions factory. Mom was probably secretly thrilled to have him back;)

Off the boys went and that's when the letters started coming. In the group of them Mom and I looked at recently you could tell the boys were writing brother-to-brother and letting it all hang out. No shiny coat of false bravado, even though they were each patriots of the first order and we're all very proud of them. These letters are real.

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