My Uncle Charle's was kind enough to make a few corrections and additions my my Mom's memories of World War 2 so I typed them up and decided to post them.
Received your letter regarding your childhood. I need to
make a few small corrections. I would have e-mailed this to you but you never
seem to get items I send and I am playing it safe.
First off I was not drafted into the Army. I enlisted
shortly after Betty and I were married. During my time in the Army (WW 2 –
Korea) I was in three different components. When I enlisted in early 1942 I was
in an Ordinance Division, then in an Infantry Division. When in Korea I was in
an Engineer Battalion. I was a 1st Sargent in control of 180 men.
Your dad (Dewey) was not studying to be an Engineer. He
worked for Warren-Little and Lund. He was an accomplished man of many talents.
After WW 2 he took me to work with him and was the one that started my life
over again. I was not much of a so-called ‘Happy Camper’ when I came back from
the war. Your dad was someone I could depend and lean on.
I don’t remember hearing about your mother crying so much.
Guess it was a part of the time when we all cried for some reason or other.
Times were difficult back then.
I knew about ‘The Lights Out’ during WW 2 but I was not in a
place where people came to the door to notify you. Seems we were always in the
dark during my stay in the service. And again I heard about the Rationing but I
was overseas while you and others did without.
The subject about military men coming to your home was never
mentioned or brought up to me after I came home. I knew nothing about it. Betty
never mentioned anyone nor did your parents. Betty did mention that she had
someone from the Navy over (when we lived in Europe) during the time I was in
Korea. That was it.
Betty to me was the most beautiful lady I have ever met and
always will be. I loved her so much and I always will.
The picture of Betty was painted for me when I was in Korea.
It was painted on a rice or bamboo type (roll up) mat (shade?) Painted by a
Korean artist who copied it from a snapshot that I carried with me. When he
first painted it and gave it to me it showed Betty completely nude. He thought
I would like it better. I told him to take it back and at least put a bathing
suit on her. He did because the way it was I didn’t dare bring it home that
way. Joanne has it.
When I came home from the wars I had two Beautiful kids
waiting for me. You and Joanne!
Any other questions you may have just ask and I will try to
My Mom was about 2 years old when the USA joined World War 2 so I asked her to write about her experiences as a child during that time.
My family was just coming out of the depression, which
ended about the year I was born, 1939, and barely got their feet on the ground
when WWII involved the USA, about 1941*.I was four old (1943), when my sister, Betty May Manutkus, who was 17
years older than I, had to bring her baby, Joanne, to live with us since her
husband, Charles, was drafted into the Army Engineer Corps.He was stationed in Africa and then
Europe.I have his interesting
biographies on his experiences in WWII and the Korean War.
Life was very tense in our home especially when my
brother, Gene, went into the Navy and didn’t behave very well.He was very rebellious, but always my
hero.I was sheltered by most of his
My mother’s step-father, George Ramsey, lived with us and
was a buffer.He had a calming effect,
especially for me.Especially since Dad
withdrew from two strong-willed women and two needy, fussy little girls.Mom seemed to be crying a lot.Dad was also studying to become a heating and
air conditioning engineer.That must be
where I got the idea to go college.
I remember scary, but exhilarating air raid drills.A man in a special uniform would come to the
door and tell us to turn out our lights to practice in case the Japanese
especially, would try to bomb us.I
think we hung little starred flags in the front window to signify that we had
two service men. So many things were rationed – sugar, gas etc.We saved fat, tin cans, tires, etc. and
donated them to the military war effort.Dad grew a Victory garden to sustain us.Mom was always using coupons to get our allotment of restricted
items.Mom still managed to take me
downtown on the bus (of course we dressed up in those days).I still remember flirting my little head off
with all the darling sailors.Maybe
because they reminded me of my sailor brother, whom I missed?
Military men were invited to our home and I’ll never
forget Reiny(spelling?).He was as
handsome as Robert Taylor, my most favorite male movie star.He looked a little like Dad back in those
days, only with black hair instead of brown.
My sister, Betty was gorgeous and Charles had a picture
of her in a bathing suit.So [he] let a
friend paint a copy of her on a fighter plane.She was as pretty as the movie stars they usually painted.
Because of all the trauma in and out of my home, very
mean neighbors kids and mean first and second grade teachers, I couldn’t read,
even though Mom took me to the library and got books to help me and even hired
a young girl to help.
When we moved out in the country and I went to a little
two class room country school, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Lewis, was so kind
and patient and took the time to help me learn to read.Years later at her 100th birthday
party she commented on what a shy backward little girl I was.I’ll always be grateful that she helped me
overcome the horrors of WWII and disgusting neighbor kids.The kids in Glenrose were every bit as
disgusting, but at least they lived on the other mountain.Dad went after their dadswhen they bothered me – my hero!
So it wasn’t just the citizens in Europe and Asia (South
Pacific) who suffered.
I believe that this is Betty at Eagle's Nest, Cherry Lane, Glenrose. I know that the guy in the middle is John Dewey, and Joanne confirms that the other two men are Charles and his son John. (My Mom thinks that they are Dewey's Brothers Jim and Jess) Leona with I believe Sally and I'm not sure who the man is, I originally thought that he was Charles, but Joanne has cconfirmed that he is not Charles.
I believe that this is Grandma Leona's Women's Group again Michelle with Leona Paul (Me) with Leona at Camlu retirement homes Zenas, John Dewey, Leona and Paul at the dining room at Camlu. John Dewey, Leona and Paul
I'm not quite sure why I have this freaky little grin on my face, looks like I'm about to eat someone or do something violent or something. This was my 9th grade school picture. Not quite sure who this baby is. These three children are ether Gene or Betty's children or grandchildren. Skyler Collins Gene's Grandson Kristen Lea Holly Nicole Mantkus
Not sure who these boys in the cowboy costumes are, but their names are on the back of the photo. Eugene S., Russell M., Arnold H., Gene S., Miss Murrey. I'm assuming that the Gene S. is my uncle Gene Shafer and the rest are classmates/friends and their teacher? Joanne Mantkus Bechtel Leona Grimm with George Ramsey (Gobby) holding baby Joanne