We had an amazing Women’s History Month as we traveled across Illinois telling the story of my mother and the other WACs who served during WWII. And because this is the Bicentennial of Illinois and I am a Road Scholar again we also told the story of many women who served in Illinois.
Many people shared stories of growing up during WWII even if they were children. Some people talked about the food rationing and growing up on farms. One man talked about how his father was not allowed to serve in the military because he had to continue growing the food on his farm.
There were so many interesting and remarkable stories. One woman talked about a WAC she knew who was in a WAC recruiting movie–probably the same one as my mother (It’s Your War, Too)–and how her mother would go to the movie theater just to see her daughter in the movie. We met a 93-year old woman who worked in Washington DC doing coding and translation of Japanese. One woman talked about being a nurse in the Navy during WWII…..she signed up with a friend but the friend didn’t pass the physical and so she continued on in the service without her friend. One man talked about his father who was a B-17 pilot but because he ranked second in his graduating class he became the instructor and never left the USA. There was one woman whose father was stationed in Europe the same time as my mother and she wondered if her father may have been one of my mother’s boyfriends in Paris…wouldn’t that have been a coincidence?!!!!! But I did not see her father’s name in any of my mother’s letters.
One woman talked about her father who served in WWII and how she never heard any of his stories until she started taking him to reunions with his war buddies–and then the stories just flowed. And that is the story of The Greatest Generation!!!!