Posts made in December, 2012

Great Grandfather Arthur

Posted by on Dec 28, 2012 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Historical Portland, Media, Portland Maine, Vintage Style | 2 comments

My quest for family history on my mother’s side is turning up photos.

My Great Grandfather Arthur is Seated

This portrait is of my mother’s maternal grandfather and his brothers, here all pallbearers at their father’s funeral. Seated is her grandfather Arthur Edmund Thurlow, then L to R are his brother’s Winfred Scott, Harry Wesley, and Frank Eugene Thurlow.

For a time Arthur lived with his wife in the home of my mother’s cousins. On Sundays Arthur walked over to mom’s home on Forest Ave. (the house is still there, see below) with his Bible. The Berry’s owned the larger house below, they had a son and a daughter. And Arline’s house was in the back.

Her parents did’t have a car. Her dad had a truck at one point.

Arline’s Parent’s Home
Forest Ave., Portland, Maine

They’d be in the kitchen when Arthur visited because the children had their Sunday bath in a kitchen tub. Arthur would bounce Arline on his knee and sing her a little jingle. Mom loved it because the song was different each time, funny and surprising.

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Christmas Eve WW2 1944

Posted by on Dec 25, 2012 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Holiday, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, South Pacific, Vintage Style, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 2 comments

It’s Christmastime 2012.  I pull a World War II Love Letter:
Morris wrote Arline just before Christmas in 1944. This letter’s stationary is thin like rice paper. The other side writing shows through so much it’s hard to read. I re-typed the letter, the only one I needed to. Mose’s world, his friends and family are galaxies away from the South Pacific.

“…Today I received my priceless Christmas present. I got 20 letters cards etc. from you, mother, and Henry. I have been looking forward to this ever since I left San Francisco. Darling I have read all these letters over twice and I will probably read them over many times more. I think that three of them are Christmas cards so I put those into my Val-pak and I am not going to open them until Christmas. Tomorrow night is Christmas eve but you would never know it here. I am writing you this letter on scratch paper because I am by a docked ship helping to guard all of the things. 50 thousand cases of beer.

I saw an LCI tonight with a Christmas tree but I don’t think there will be any where I am. When practically everybody else is in the same fix however you don’t mind it. My spirits are very good dear. I have resigned myself to no optimistic expectations and complete patience and if I can keep these resolutions things out here will go a lot easier…”
~Love Letter of WWII, 12-23-44

Dad’s Holy Bible

I’m nursing Arline after her fall. There are several family bibles here at mother’s. One sings to me. It was given to Dad by his Uncle Ralph as a birthday present in 1934, “The Holy Bible Self Pronouncing”, a King James version with uncanny selections of emphasis. I open at random: “The Virtuous Woman” Proverbs 31:10.

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Bowdoin Library September 1942

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Photo, Vintage Style, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

The year before Morris enlisted in the navy he toured the Bowdoin College library. Hubbard Hall housed the library then. In a letter Morris expressed appreciation of the Bowdoin College Library at Hubbard Hall, its architecture and collections:

Hubbard Hall, Bowdoin’s Library in the 1940s

“The library is really beautiful. It has over 400,000 volumes many of which are over 500 years old…It has quadruple squires and a beautifully decorated interior.” ~Love Letter 9/26/42

The library donor, General Thomas H. Hubbard, and his architect, Henry Vaughan of Boston spared neither time nor money to secure every material for the structure.

Vaughan described the style in 1901:

“The architecture of the new Library is 17th century Gothic. It was the last age of Gothic in England and was followed by the Renaissance. Many of the College buildings of Oxford and Cambridge are in this composite style, as you might call it.”
Check out the “Bliss Room” interior via link below.

For 60 years this building was the center of the Bowdoin institution, a rendezvous for both instructors and undergraduates, a place for study and investigation, for instruction and literary recreation. It housed the most valuable collection of books in the state of Maine! I wonder if it does still. In 1983 a new library, The Hawthorne Longfellow (both men were Bowdoin graduates of the class of 1825) was completed. The old Hubbard Hall is now home to the Government and Legal Studies, Economics, and History departments, as well as the Arctic Studies program.

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Midshipman’s School 1944 Graduation

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in 1940s Life, Media, Navy, Photo, V-12 Navy Program, WW2 | 0 comments

Going through a trunk filled with Father’s war memorabilia. This photo of Dad’s graduation at Notre Dame Midshipmen’s School hit me hard. A striking photo. I grabbed his magnifying glass, hunting for his face in a mass of rows.

I feel an intense pull. Dad is third in from the left, in the second row up.

Midshipman’s School Graduation c.1944

The original photo reveals a depth of feeling in the faces. Some of the men’s caps seem too large on their heads, tipped and slightly skewed. Fascinating, the subtle nuances in each “stern” face. Dad’s visor casts a shadow over his dark brown eyes. I sense something. To me he looks as if he had been crying shortly before this shot was taken. Such a dark time. He didn’t choose this exactly. The draft was otherwise hanging over his head so he enlisted. I feel like a mother might about her boy, protective. He looks like my brother Jeff did as a teenager. I never had a family member go to war before and he is leaving us now here.

Just for today I feel like my family member is going to war. It’s happening in these letters.

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High School Graduation 1942

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, High School Years, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style | 0 comments

This is vintage style. Deering High School in Portland Maine had a five year program in the 40s. My dad, Morris, was a year older than my mother, Arline. He did the five year program in order to graduate with his love. That’s what he told her anyway.

High School Graduation

Arline is modest about her age…late 80s. She’s so peppy however that her physical therapists say they are worried she’ll “over do it” going home tomorrow after three weeks in hospital post broken hip from a fall. In high school she was one of the “sports girls” as she puts it.

Mom and girls had to merge into all boy squad

Mom and girls had to merge into all boy squad

Arline organized the first female cheerleaders at Deering High School in Portland Maine.  Dad was a jock, played Varsity football, baseball, basketball and track. The girls had to merge in with the all boy cheerleader squad. It was a challenge for Arline to convince the principal to let girls be cheerleaders.

Looking forward to being your nurse mom, traveling back to the 40s this 2012 Christmas.

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