1940’s … Entertaining the troops , WWII
I was 10 years old in 1943 so I‘m sure I didn‘t comprehend all the horrors of war, but I certainly was caught up in the patriotism and excitement that prevailed and when my folks asked what I wanted for my birthday present that year I didn‘t hesitate to say “I want a British sailor”.
I had read about the Union Jack Club in Boston where the officers and enlisted navy men from England gathered in hopes that they would be invited into our homes while awaiting repairs to be made to their ships at the Naval shipyard.
So, off to Boston we went and returned with two lonely and shy sailors. Little did they expect to be thrown into a household of 5 girls ranging in age from 10 to 18 but it wasn’t long before we were all laughing and playing jokes on each other and just becoming acquainted.
But, late that night, I was awakened by an unusual sound and I tip-toed downstairs to see my mother cradling the youngest sailor, barely 16, in her arms. He was sobbing his heart out and I can just imagine the comfort that it gave him to have my mother there for him.
He was just the first of the 126 sailors that we welcomed into our home during the war years and some of them even became “regulars”, taking the train out from Boston whenever they were in town. The war ended and so did our contribution to it... but we kept in touch with many of the boys and one of them and his wife even came back in 1976 for my mother's 80th birthday celebration.
Those days are long gone but Paddy, Burt, Happy, Ron and all the rest of the boys will stay with me forever.