Chapter 1944, age 1-2

Public themes and events
* Before World War II, American clothing fashions non creatively followed Paris fashions.  With the onset of Nazi army occupation, Paris was suddenly cut off  and American clothing manufacturers were forced to make fashion design decisions for themselves. These decisions were regulated by strict war time limitations on fabric use, i.e., dresses could have no more than a two inch hem, blouses were allowed only one patch pocket… Then at the end of the war, U.S. “fashion designers” turned everyone’s head by announcing that, “All yesterdays clothes are absolutely out of date and from now on  women can only wear the New Look.”  It was said at the time, “If American women humiliate themselves like a herd of ludicrous cattle, their Twentieth Century emancipation is just a empty boast.” The Paris oriented, but American centered fashion industry grew, changing styles each year, before long styles were changing with the seasons.

12 January 1944: “Larry, age 17 1/2 months has 15 teeth.”

5 March [Hazel]:  “Larry started to say his own name ‘Wary’, said it so many times that day.”

D-Day 6 June: The invasion of Europe Allied troops landed on the shores of France today in a great invasion of Europe. The defending German military was able to slow the Allied expansion only until July 20, when their resistance was broken.

The apartment flat in Berwyn
Between 1 July and 30 September, my parents moved from Brookfield, IL. to the 2nd floor, front corner apartment, in this three story brick building, located at 3042 Clarence Ave., Berwyn, Illinois. We lived here from roughly 1943 to 1946, part of which time my father was in the US Navy.
Years later, I found that my Grandparents, Glen and Elsie Pierce, had been the previous tenents at the apartment, having lived there for several years. The apartment was their home during the school year, when Glen taught school. During the spring and fall, Glen and Elsie commuted to the farm on weekends and lived there during the summer.  By this time, Glen had retired and  moved to the rural Coloma, Michigan farm. Glen and Elsie sublet the apartment to my parents and generously gave  them some of their furniture.

25 July: I’m two Years Old!

August 1944: Paris was liberated by the Allies. The war in Europe was going well, the once mighty German war machine was being slowly pushed back towards its homeland, its days were numbered.

August [Hazel]:  “Shortly after Larry’s second birthday his Dad went in the Navy.”

9 September 1944: The date Robert F. Pierce was inducted into the U.S. Navy.

1 October [Hazel]:  “Daddy sent Larry the ‘New Testament’ on Oct 1,’44 from Great Lakes U.S.N.T.C. (United States Naval Training Center) where he was in training.”

This is Robert’s 23rd birthday. His military address was ;
Robert F. Pierce, Company #1793, U.S.N.T.C., Great Lakes, Illinois,(U.S.N.T.C.=United States Naval Training Center)

Frank Sinatra
On 12 October 1944, popular singer, Frank Sinatra, sang to 3,600 squealing teenage girls at  the Paramount Theater in New York. Following this, Sinatra signed a contract with Columbia records, his income leaped into the millions. Adults were mystified and outraged saying: “We can’t tolerate young people making a public display of losing control of their emotions.” Although Sinatra was listed “4F”  (unable to serve in the Armed Forces)  due to a punctured ear drum, he was resented by a great many people. While he made millions of dollars at home, American lads were giving up their lives on foreign beach heads.

“Wary” talking [Hazel]:  “When Daddy was home on his first leave from the Navy, Nov. 22, ’44  Larry woke up in his crib one morning and before he said another word or even got up said, ‘Daddy lazy bones’. This remark awakened Daddy thoroughly cause he was drowsy and never expected anything like that from ‘Wowie’. He calls Mommy ‘lazybones’ in the morning too.”

[Photocopy at left: A WWII War Ration Stamp book issued for me; examples of inclosed stamps laid out below. My mother, Hazel M. Pierce, signed the book in my behalf.]

November [Hazel]: “Larry goes around everywhere singing, ‘Super Suds, Super Suds’, just like they advertise on the radio. Sounds so funny!”

November [Hazel]:  “Larry likes Daddy to pick him up and throw him all around in the air or drop him on the bed. He likes this rough and tumble.”

Susan Anne Pierce  [Hazel]:  “On Thanksgiving Day Nov 23, 1944 Larry became brother to a little baby sister, Susan Anne. Susan who had tinted light golden red hair lived only a day and a half before she left us. It hurt us all.”

Newspaper announcement: “Susan Anne: Mr. and Mrs. R.F. Pierce, 3042 Clarence Ave., their stork gift at the MacNeal Memorial Hospital, November 23.” Susan, referred to as a “Blue Baby”, died the next day in her incubator at the hospital.

My ol’ Raggedy Ann doll
3 December 1944  [2 yr. 4mo]  [Robert]: “Larry has a Raggedy Ann doll which he calls ‘Raggy’. He has had it almost two years now and won’t go to bed without her or hardly anywhere else without Raggy. Raggy is almost all worn out and very dirty however he loves her better and more than any of his other play things.” Note: The doll was a gift from Christmas 1943, eleven months earlier.

13 December: Bob is transferred to the Navy’s Fire Control School at Seattle Washington.

Penicillin saves Robert’s life
During his tour of duty in the Navy, Robert caught strep-throat and was hospitalized in serious condition. His doctors later told him he would have died if he had not been treated with the newly developed miracle drug, Penicillin.

17 December Julie (Wilkinson) [my aunt, wife of Bob’s brother Jack] wrote Bob a letter, saying:”…Jack is in Holland. How I wish this whole thing were over and everyone would be back together again…”
Julie’s letter missed her brother-in-law, Bob, at the U.S. Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, but caught up with him at his new assignment at:

N.T.S.C.H. (FC)
Lake ?noc?? (undecipherable), Seattle, Washington
Bob was stationed here for twenty weeks.

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Filed under Autobiography, __2. Childhood: 1942-1963

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