Daddy worked part time at a grocery store

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Connection

At the end of WWII, Mama and Daddy were at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.  Both had been stationed in the Pacific during the war, Mama in Australia, Daddy in New Guinea.  Mama was mad about being assigned to San Antonio as that was where she was initially trained as a physical therapist and she didn't want to go back to the same old place.  Her hospital company had been sent to the Philippines after Australia, but she was sent back to the states (first to San Francisco and then to Denver) because they thought she (and some others) might have tuberculosis

She told the story better than I can, so here it is from the interview I did with her on New Year's Day 2000.

They thought that we already had active tuberculosis.  And oh gosh, the way they tested.  They made you swallow a tube and then they would flush out your stomach.

How long did that last?

Several days.  We stayed in bed.  I remember, a shopper from a big department store came and took orders and shopped for you.  And I wanted some yarn and some knitting books.  I had sent a whole foot locker full of Australian yarn home but I didn't have it at that point.  I wanted something to do.  It was driving me crazy being in bed.  I shared the room with another gal, she was from Texas.  We enjoyed each other but then they called a board review and made us put on uniforms and present ourselves and they said there is nothing wrong with you.  Go back to work. But, before you do that, take off 6 weeks leave.  But not all at once.  Three weeks one time and three another.  So, the first three weeks, I  went to Prescott, where my folks were and stayed there and enjoyed it.

They were in Prescott or Jerome?

They were in Prescott then.  They had left Jerome.  After there, I had to report to El Paso and they couldn't decide where they were going to assign me.  They talked about all kinds of different places and I said any place but Fort Sam Houston.  Not that I didn't like it but I just wanted to see a new place.  My orders came in, Fort Sam Houston. But, before I could go to Fort Sam Houston, I had to go to California to a redemption center and we had Hollywood personalities every night to entertain us.  Jack Benny, people of that ilk.

Ok, so you ended up back in San Antonio.  Tell about meeting daddy.

I opened a physical therapy clinic there.    It was the biggest I had ever seen.  It was bigger than the one at the hospital where I had trained.  Got that organized and, where my clinic was, the building was real long and there were 2 sections, connected by a room.   There was a door on the back and a door on the front.  My desk with in this middle section, it was where people made appointments and that kind of stuff.  Then I wasn't actually doing much physical therapy, just doing the operation of running the clinic.  I don't remember how many girls I had working, 8 I think it was.  Plus all the corps men.  That's background, let me go back.  Prior to that, I was looking for another man.  The one that I had was still overseas.  I had started looking and I saw Daddy.  I don't remember where I saw him first.  Anyway, he would ask me if I wanted to have a "dope", which was what Southerners called a coke.  There was a PX right across from my front door.  So I said yeah.  He would come in the back door and say "here I am" and went right out the front door.  I had to put somebody in my place before I could follow him out.  This went on for several weeks, and then I decided to run my clinic on Sundays and I told your dad that I was going to have to do that, so of course he showed up on Sunday.  We finally ended up.  I had a friend, who was a gal, who I had helped get married.  She had a car and she knew that I had found somebody that I was interested in and so we worked out a deal - and he must have left word so that we would hear - we had gone to this camp that was nearby that had a swimming pool.  We got our bathing suits on and went and, sure enough, there was your dad.  Not in a bathing suit, just sitting around.  And so, I talked with him some and then the gal, Stella, we had figured this all out.  The girl said that she had to go back to the dorm to get something and he said that he would ride with us.  She drove, I sat in the middle, and he sat on the side.  When we got to the dormitory, she got out and left us for about 30 minutes.  Then we went back and he sort of asked for a date.  I think the next Sunday we went to town on the bus and then took another bus that went out in the country and went to a museum sort of thing, went all through it and stuff.  Coming back, we got to the road and realized the bus system was through for the day.  So, we started walking down the highway, figuring somebody would pick us up, and, sure enough,  a truck did.  We ended up in downtown San Antonio.  I think we went and ate and then got a bus home.  Then these trips became kind of regular.  But, it was fun and you how much you enjoy things like that.  This was in the summer.  By November, this must have been  1945 because we got married in 1946.

So, what was it that attracted you to him?  He came from a really different background.

I don't know.  Maybe that was it.

What did you like about the way he looked?

I though he was pretty!

Did that make you a little bit nervous that he was from the South?

Nothing made me nervous those days.

What about the idea of moving back to Georgia?  Did you all ever discuss staying out west?

Once, I said that we could stay in Arizona.  He said no, that his life and his family were in Georgia.

So he felt responsible.  His father had died.

And his mother died when he was really young.

But his dad died when he was in the military, right?  So he felt responsible for those sisters, I guess.

I think so.

So, you decided to get married.  When did you tell your parents?

I'm not sure.  I think that I had told them ahead of time so it wasn't a big shock.  Then we called them from the big hotel right after we got through with the supper party.

You mean after the wedding.

Yes, it wasn't a real wedding.  The people that he lived with who lived on the edge of the post.  Nice people.

So you called your parents after you got married?  Did you get married in a church?

Yes, at a Methodist Church in San Antonio.  I had earlier joined the Episcopal Church in college so that I could stand up with a couple whose baby was being Christened.  I wasn't joining the church in my mind.  I was just qualifying to stand up with them.

I don't know much about Daddy's war experience other than he earned some medals and he contracted yellow fever.  I remember that he had a slight limp that became evident when he was tired and he attributed it to the yellow fever.  I also know that he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston because he was in charge of a group of soldiers who had been injured.  I guess that's why he was hanging around the hospital.

As for the connection, if it hadn't been for San Antonio and Daddy's hillbilly flirtation via Coca Cola, not a one of us would be here now.

 Daddy being Daddy

Mama being Mama with someone other than Daddy.
I don't think our father had any idea what he was getting into
 but she fell for him hard and they seemed to have a good marriage.

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