Put Flowers on Tomb of Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier  (Source Wikipedia)
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Source Wikipedia)

The previous post described how some of Aunt Marian’s items were donated to the Pennsylvania Military Museum in the early 1980s. When the donation was made, her sister Ruth wrote a letter that described  Marian . Here’s another portion of Ruth’s letter:

She never married, which she explained by saying the man must have been killed in World War I. Therefore he must have been “the unknown soldier” in Arlington, Va! So she would make a point of visiting the tomb and drop a flower there every time she was in Washington, D.C. (We had a sister 2 years older than Marian whose husband was in World War I that lived in Washington, D.C.) 

Florence was the sister who lived in D.C.  I keep going back and forth on whether I think Aunt Marian actually had a boyfriend who died in WWI. I tend to think that she didn’t, but that it was a fun way to joke around with her sisters. What do you think?


Older Children Care for Younger Siblings in Large Families

Photo of Ruth—She was Aunt Marian’s youngest sister. This photo was taken 15 or 20 years before Aunt Marian enlisted in the WACs.

Some of Aunt Marian’s items were donated to the Pennsylvania Military Museum in the early 1980s. When the donation was made, her sister Ruth wrote a letter that described  Marian. It said in part:

Marian was born near Montgomery, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Se was the 6th of 11 children of a farm family. She became a second mother to me, the youngest, as she was to all her nieces and nephews.

My mother used to say that in large families each of the older girls would be paired with one of the younger children. The older one would be responsible for providing the day-to-day care of her younger sibling. Mom always used the example of how each older child would get one of the smaller ones dressed and ready for church each Sunday morning.

Marian was about 10 years older than Ruth, and it It apparently worked that way in the Solomon family.


Downtown Montgomery, Pennsylvania

DSC09856Montgomery was nearest town to the Solomon farm.   When Aunt Marina was a child, she probably made the 5-mile trip into town with her parents in a horse and buggy.  By the time she was an adult,  the family would have had a car (a Model T??).DSC09859

Today Montgomery is a shadow of place it once was. Many of the factories closed years ago–and most people shop at malls in outlying areas rather than downtown. DSC09855When my husband and  I recently visited Montgomery,  the front window of the Montgomery’s Pharmacy contained a display that showed the town’s proud 125-year history.  Aunt Marian was born in 1899–so she would have known the town when it was in its infancy.DSC09863




Farm Near Route 15

DSC09845The farm where Aunt Marian grew up is located very near U.S. Route 15, which is a major north-south highway in Pennsylvania. The intersection near the farm is right before the road starts to ascend the mountains south of Williamsport. (An aside: Williamsport is where the Little League World Series is held each year.)

When I take photos of the Solomon homestead, I’m always surprised how near it is to various commercial establishments that line the highway. It is probably less than half a mile from the farm to a Family Dollar  store, a Subway, and a surplus outlet.DSC09850


According to Joan Wheal Blank in Around Montgomery:

Now known as U.S. Route 15—a major highway that extends from South Carolina north into New York—the section referred locally to as the Montgomery Pike opened in October, 1930. Before the road was improved, tolls were collected at the top of the mountain to fund any repairs or grading that was needed to make the dirt road passable.

The Farm Where Aunt Marian Grew Up–Now and Then


I don’t think linearly.  As I struggle to get my head around who Aunt Marian was, and what she was like, I think about the years she was in the military—but I also think about the first 45 years of her life.

Aunt Marian was the born on a farm near Montgomery in southern Lycoming County, Pennsylvania in 1899. She was the 6th of 13 children. I have a few very low quality pictures of the farm that probably date from the 1930s.

Solomon farm 2

It’s changed a lot over the years. The barn is long gone—though the silos are still stand silently guarding the landscape.

When I recently walked past the farm, if I squinted a little, I could almost see a pre-teen Aunt Marian laughing and chasing her siblings around the yard playing tag on a lovely spring day . . I could also almost see a huge vegetable garden at the side of the house waiting to be planted as soon as the soil dries out a little. . . and cows in the pasture. . . and . . .

The WACs . . . They did 155 Important Army Jobs

WAC Air Traffice Controller
Source: Facts You Want to Know About the WAC (1944)

After I did my previous post on WAC uniforms, a reader asked about the types of work that WACs did. Well, here’s the answer. According to a 1944 recruiting brochure:

The WACS . . . They do 155 important Army jobs

Already the WACS are doing 155 vital Army jobs. Some of these jobs are arduous. Some may seem routine. But every one of these jobs is essential to winning this war.

Thousands more women are needed in the WAC to take over these jobs. Women with special skills and business experience are needed. Women who have had no special training, who have never worked before, are needed too. The WAC will train them for Army jobs. And many of the skills they learn will prove valuable after the war—in a career, or in running a home.

Facts You Want to Know About the WAC (1944)WACs packing parachutesList of WAC jobs

Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)