International Women’s Day was yesterday. To honor it last year, I made a post about my daughter. Today, I’ll honor my mother.
My mom grew up on a farm in southern Michigan. The closest “big town” was Sylvania, Ohio. As soon as she could, she left the farm and found work in Toledo. While there, she also sold War Bonds for WWII and was a “War Bond Captain.”
But this wasn’t exciting enough for her.
So, she answered an add in the newspaper recruiting secretaries for Washington DC. in May 1945. She hoped a train to DC and was put up in a rooming house with other “girls” answering the add.
Her first position was working in the Pentagon for the Deputy Inspector General of the Army – General Elliot D. Cook. Realizing she couldn’t get a raise in pay grade, she went to work for Congressman Herbert Meyer from Kansas. After that she returned to the Pentagon working for General Wade Haislip, Vice Chief of Staff for the Army. When General Haislip retired she went to work for General Maxwell Taylor. [If you haven’t heard of General Taylor before, I suggest you look him up. A hint would be “The Screaming Eagles.”]
While working at the Pentagon she was “farmed out” to various generals – many gave her military press release photos. She was even invited to the White House by the First Lady, Mrs. Truman, and was able to collect a couple of photos of the President awarding the Medal of Honor.
Ultimately, she met my father while he was working at the Pentagon in the Officer Assignment Division. Dad told me that she had higher security clearance than him because of her work with some of the upper generals – and a better parking place. 🙂
She even took dictation from General Eisenhower, but told me that she didn’t like him much – apparently he was very arrogant and once, after telling her to destroy all copies of a letter he dictated, he later, angrily, claimed he wanted her to have saved a copy. General Taylor stuck up for her saying “if she said you told her to destroy it, then that is what happened.”
With my Dad being in the Air Force, she was able to travel around the world and raise a family. She returned to work once we kids were in school.
It takes a lot of guts to hop a train and travel across the country to an unknown location and create a new life. My mom was strong, worked all her life and taught me many things. I certainly learned empathy and compassion from her.
Maybe I inherited a bit of my wanderlust from her too.
I was blessed with good parents. Not everyone has that fortune.
Here’s to all women out there. They make this world a much better place to live.
Photo: This pic was taken in the late 1930s or early 40s. I’m lucky in that I also picked up a lot of the family photos along my journey. 🙂