Navy

Calisthenics at Bowdoin College in WW2

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Media, Navy, WW2 | 0 comments

When college coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited.

Newspaper Article on Bowdoin WW2

As teams coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited from slim pickings

In 1943 Bowdoin College boys were required to take rigorous calisthenics 5 hours a week.  It was normal for boys just out of high school to be weak in reading and writing. Ordinarily the college would greatly focus on upgrading writing and math skills, english, foreign language, history, debate, American literature and the classics.  But in 1943 best efforts at Bowdoin were strained by the war. Bowdoin’s tradition of liberal arts, Christian morality and preparing the intellect for a common good created great thinker leaders of democracy.

Young men like Mose were already heavily burdened with extra classes plus training for sports. Morris played baseball, football, tack, and basketball. Even though Mose wasn’t yet enlisted in the navy the cause of the war subjected Bowdoin fellows to a new curriculum that included extra physical ed classes to ready them for war.

Sportsmen aged 18-21 instantly dissolved from Bowdoin’s varsity teams. Freshmen like Mose were added on the fly. Mose loved to play ball. He must have still managed to have a good time.

Morris’s freshman year at Bowdoin in 1942-1943 was a critical time in American history. The college had to comply with the Army-Navy requirement to get the boys fit for war. No part of campus life remained untouched by war. This film shows an idea about the mentality of bootcamp style military calisthenics.

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Preparing for Notre Dame Navy Training

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, V-12 Navy Program, WW2, WW2 Letters, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Excerpt Letter 6-13-44

Excerpt WW2 Letter 6-13-44

Tonight I pulled a letter from Mose at Bowdoin College in 1944. June 13th will be 72 years since it was written. The boys at Bowdoin just saw a film on Midshipman training and “it really inspired the fellows about to leave”. The course curriculum has all been transformed to concentrate the young men’s minds on the needs of war. Morris has reported his grades. He got an A in Naval Strategy. During the war Mose served on an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific.

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Scent of a WW2 Love Letter

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, South Pacific, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Arline sent Morris scented letters during WW2. The collection is stored in a new cedar chest, smaller than the hope chest. I had the box made just for the letters. The hope chest always smelled so good when I would peek into it as a child. The new chest’s cedar scent is fresh, holy, pungent.

Cedar Chest for WW2 Love Letters

Cedar Chest for WW2 Love Letters

Arline as a teen had little money for things like perfume. I asked her a few years ago what perfume she wore. She didn’t remember much about perfume or her make-up. In her photos she doesn’t look made up at all. But Morris mentions her lipstick. She probably did use scented powder in the letters. How wonderful for any person serving overseas to get a scented letter. “Half way around the world” Mose wrote back.

Scented WW2 Love Letter

Scented WW2 Love Letter

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WW2 Inoculation Cartoon and Poem

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Media, Medicine, Navy, Poetry, South Pacific, WW2 | 0 comments

In 1943 Morris was a freshman at Bowdoin College. Once enlisted in the U.S. Navy they gave him inoculations. It’s in a letter. Here’s a poem from the ship’s magazine. I don’t think this piece is about inoculation. It does demonstrate the idea of creating and treating sickness. Big sigh ahhh.

WW2 Inoculation Cartoon

WW2 Inoculation Cartoon & Poem

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WW2 Radio Dispatcher

Posted by on Oct 11, 2015 in All Blog Posts, Media, Navy, Photo, South Pacific, WW2 | 0 comments

George Barrett WW2 Album

George Barrett WW2 Album

I just got back from visiting my mother, Arline, in northern California. She and I were housesitting for my brother. I took Arline to see a neighbor, her friend, Lola. Lola’s 94. It was the first time I’d been next door to Lola’s house. She lives with her son, Richard Barrett in a beautiful hilltop home.

Lola, Richard and I got to talking about Lola’s courtship with her husband. They met after the war. Richard told me his dad, George Barrett, was a radio dispatcher in the South Pacific during WW2. His dad saved many mementos. Richard lent me his WW2 album with privileges.

What a collection! I couldn’t begin to say what I like best and found most interesting.

George Barrett 1940s Vintage

George Barrett 1940s Vintage

A radio log from Okinawa. August 15, 1945. George was on duty.

WW2 Radio Log Japanese Surrender

WW2 Radio Log Japanese Surrender

My brother told me that Morris told him that right after the announcement of Japanese surrender, he went AWOL. A crew invited him to fly over Japan and tour the damage. “Hey buddy, come check it out!” It’s in his letters. I’m not sure I realized he went AWOl for the chance. He was commander of the ship. His commander was often gone. What did it matter now?

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Father’s WW2 Love Letter from Subic Bay

Posted by on Jun 21, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, South Pacific, Vintage Style, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

It’s Father’s Day today, Summer Solstice of 2015. In October 1945 Mose writes Arline from his ship. WW2 Love Letter below. He’s anchored in Subic Bay. This is fun because I can google and see where he was. Mose is censor for his boat’s mail. Many envelopes from this period bear a navy censor stamp with his initials MAD. It’s probably not urgent to keep secret where he is now, which he otherwise carefully instructed Arline about on the eve of his disembarcation from San Fransisco. He mentions a milestone, one year ago he graduated naval school. In  six months he’ll be a lieutenant. I read the letter. I walk my dog. I send love to Mose across time and space.

WW2 Love Letter from Subic  Bay

WW2 Love Letter from Subic Bay

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