I decided to write the story of my life, despite the fact others have published stories about me. For examble, there’s a website called “Story of My Life” and the editor published a story about me a couple of years ago, including a number of pictures, which are still on the internet.
After leaving life on the farm in northeast Georgia, I moved to Atlanta, and went to work for Sears Roebuck mail order house on Ponce De Leon Avenue in their accounts payable department. I worked there about a year, and enrolled in some classes in radio broadcasting. At the time I thought I wanted to be a radio broadcaster, however while at Sears, they sponsored me in the contest for Miss Atlanta, which changed my direction.
I did not win the contest, but as a result of being a contestant, began receiving offers as a photographer’s model. I never considered myself pretty, but I photographed quite well. Aside from my day job, I began modeling twice a week for the High Museum of Art on Peachtree. I would sit for two hours at a time for their class of art students. As a result photographers would contact the High Museum for models for ads.
The first one was from a roving photographer for the Atlanta Constitution, who wanted a model for a Lovable Bra ad. At first I was reluctant because it entailed being photographed from waist up in a bra. This was in the forties, times quite different from today. However the session was about an hour and I could use the extra money and agreed to pose for the ad. I did not know it would be in the newspaper every Monday for a year.
I changed my day job from Sears Roebuck, to a job working in Marietta Bell Bomber Aircraft, where they were making B-29s for the war. Thousands were employed there, mostly Georgians like me, fresh off the farm. I was assigned to a job operating a copy machine, which I found boring and asked to be transferred. As a result Bell Aircraft sent me to engineering school to learn about aeronautical blueprints. Upon completion, I stayed a few weeks assisting the instructor, when I was re-assigned to the Engineering Department.
I loved that job because every day when new deviations came out, it was my job to go on the assembly line floor and explain the deviations to the assembly line worker. I continued my job of part-time modeling in the evenings.I even did some photographs for Bell Aircraft. I recall one assignment was standing in front of a B-29 propeller, holding a handkerchief on the propeller.
As I recall I worked there a couple of years, when I met this tall, handsome B-29 pilot, married him, and after the war, he left the military, and we moved to Clewiston, Florida, his home town, and started a crop-dusting business, flying a Cub to spray crops.
I went to work for the United States Sugar Corporation in Clewiston, and in the next five years had a couple of children. My husband was the only child of parents who were 40 years old when he was born, and had given him flying lessons when he was eighteen years old. He was a natural born pilot. I recall frequently hopping on a Cub plane and flying around over the Everglades to watch the alligators. Sometimes we would land on his uncle’s farm for a visit before returning to the Clewiston airport.
I recall the times I would join him and his buddy in a swamp buggy and go into the Everglades ‘coon hunting. I just watched and sat in the buggy, as they enjoyed the sport.
One year, the day before Christmas, he and his cousin flew into the Everglades to go deer hunting and crashed the plane. The next day was a cold rainy Christmes day, and he was lost in the Everglades. He and his cousin spent two days walking out of the Everglades, while air-sea rescue found the wrecked aircraft but could not find the occupants. As it turned out they were not hurt, but returned very tired, cold, wet and hungry.
Five years after living in Clewiston as a reserve officer, he was recalled back into the Airforce when the Korean conflict turned into a full-fledged war. He was assigned to Keesler Air Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, then temporary duty in Texas for training in helicopters.
We bought a new house in Biloxi and I worked as manager of a local photographer’s studio. Thousands of young military were stationed at Keesler, and the studio had a thriving business photographing the young airmen. I would drop the children off at a babysitter on base before going to work, and everything was going well in my life, when he received orders to go to Korea for a year.
Suddenly, he received notice both his elderly parents were quite ill, and the air-force offered him a hardship discharge to return to Clewiston to take care of his ailing parents. As an only child no one else was there to care for them. My husband loved flying and being in the military, and wanted to stay in to continue on orders to go to Korea and do his duty as an air-sea rescue pilot to support this country.
I wanted to support him in his desire to remain in the military, and felt a duty to support him, in his re-assignment orders to go to Korea to fight for this country. I informed him I would return to Clewiston and take care of his parents, so he could remain in the military and proceed on orders to go to Korea.
I gave up my job in the studio I loved, my new home and moved back to Clewiston to take care of his parents and he proceeded on orders of re-assignment in Korea.
He wrote almost daily, relating stories of how he flew behind enemy lines picking up the deceased and wounded. This was in the fifties, and after a tour of one year duty, returned to Clewiston on leave, and decided to place his parents in a nursing home in Deland, Florida, where they remained several years.
He was re-assigned to Sewart AFB in Smyrna, Tennessee. We settled into military life there, and I loved living in Tennessee. Not too far away from Atlanta, and I could drive home to visit my family periodically, when in 1956, he received orders for re-assignment in Japan. I could join him after six months. I moved back to Atlanta to an apartment, to wait the six months before joining him in Japan.
During that six months, there was a lot to do to prepare myself and the children for a move to the Orient. Not the least of which, was all the requirements for immunizations. I grew up quite healthy without immunizations, therefore such shots required, like cholera and smallpox made me very ill. But I survived and six months later prepared to leave the US, for the next four years.
CONTINUED IN PART THREE
Let Freedom Ring
Just me AC