Saturday, May 05, 2012

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.


Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Ginnie, what a wonderful story. I'm sure those sailors derived as much joy from being with a family as you did in getting your birthday wish, again and again.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

This is a great story, Ginnie! I was born in April 1940, so only 1-1/2 at the time of Pearl Harbor. All I remember about the war is my daddy leaving just before Christmas 1944 (drafted even though he had two children and another due in March) and when he came home and met my baby sister for the first time.

5:44 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Ginnie, you are a wealth of wonderful stories!! What a lovely thing to do for them and for your whole family.

6:08 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

I agree with Beatrice. I have to add that this post made me teary eyed.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Nice anecdote and pics.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Laughed out loud at your "wanting a British sailor." You certainly found some cuties.
How wonderful what you did for boys so far from home. Your whole family should feel proud.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Ginnie,

This story touched my heart. Your family did a fantastic work in giving some solace and comfort the sailors and in doing so you have earned their life long friendship. They will never forget your family.

Have a nice day,

9:48 AM  
Blogger Joseph Pulikotil said...

Oh I forgot to tell you about the jack fruit. It is probably the biggest fruit in the world. It has a very thick skin but the golden fruit inside is deliciously sweet. For more information you can refer to wikipedia.

Best wishes,

9:51 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I loved this story. And I love that it was repeated all over the country. What a wonderful world it was.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Hughes ap Williams said...

Were the photographs taken in NJ?

5:48 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

What wonderful parents you had Ginnie and you were a very gracious young girl! This must have been very comforting to the many soldiers that stayed with your family! Great story!
Love Di ♥

5:31 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

In answer to Hughes: the pictures were taken in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

We had military guys in our house too during both WWII and Korea, but unfortunately, I do not have the photos my Dad took.

My EX husband's family spoke German and housed a number of German POWs on their farm during WWII. They did not want to be repatriated after the War.

Long time ago, wasn't it? Dianne

8:07 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

How wonderful, Ginnie. Your family was certainly special and your mother so caring. I'm sure that he missed his Mum.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Big John said...

As an ex-RAF airman, I'm interested in the sergeant. Was he British or Canadian ? I know that a lot of RAF aircrew trained in Canada and the US.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

As usual Ginnie, your post makes me smile. I just love that your home became "home" so many a young fella who was so far away from their family home. It was fabulous for you and your family to get to know so many people from abroad too.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Hi, Ginnie - this is the "other" Ginnie. Love this story, and what a great family you had to open your home to the British sailors.

7:11 PM  

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