War is Declared

FDR delivers the declaration of war request to congress.

FDR delivers the declaration of war request to congress.

World War in 1941 was not the same as the relatively little dust up in the Middle East in my lifetime.

In 1990 our president didn’t ask us for any sacrifices. In the forties everyone gave up something, often they gave up a lot. Lucy talks about some of the privations they endured. There was only one of them that I can really relate to.

In 1973, during the Vietnam war, I was called up for a draft physical. We stood around in the Fargo Army physical exam facility all day, just like Ken did in Lucy’s letter. Fortunately for me the outcome was a little different. I plan to write an entire story about that day in the near future. Let’s get back to the forties.

Lucy writes:

Being newly married, then have the threat of war was not easy to deal with. We would have to leave our little house – by the way – Ken was working on a car at the garage and a customer stepped on the starter and Ken lost the end of his finger. The insurance from that paid for our house – along with overhauling cars in the yard.

Now back to the war. Brothers Pat & Lew joined the Navy – leaving five children at home. Ken & Stan were both recruited but were not excepted — 4F — When Ken went to Fort Snelling, he said “Men were standing around naked like animals and were killing cockroaches under the pictures on the wall. He didn’t shave the whole time he was there and looked awful when he came home. I stayed at Mother Thurlows as she didn’t think I should be alone. The eternal mother-grandma. Ken got a job at the airport and was trained in the airplane maintenance dept. They transferred him to Minneapolis where we lived for one year. We lived in the nicest 2 bedroom house. The people who owned it had left for the coast for defense work and had left everything, dishes, linens, furniture. People were so upset. We lived there for one year. We would go down to Lake Street once a week to a movie. We were just so glad to be together. Nothing else mattered. When we first got to Mpls we had a sleeping room and the lady cooked our meals. That was so boring – only lasted one month. One year in Mpls then on to Billings Montana.

Lucy Letter 025

FDR photo from the United States National Archives.