1943 WAC Recruiting Ad

1943 WAC recruiting ad

As I sort through Aunt Marian’s memorabilia and artifacts, I keep asking myself, “Why did she join the Women’s Army Corps (WACs)?”

Good grief, Aunt Marian was in her 40s—and had lived her entire life in rural central Pennsylvania. She lived with her parents and helped on the farm until her father died in 1943.

Aunt Marian had 8 living brothers and sisters when her father died, so she probably needed to find another home and job.

She was a woman with an 8th grade education—and it seems like the typical jobs for a middle-aged woman with her background would have been working in a factory or as a store clerk. But it was the middle of World War II—and recruiting ads like this this one may have motivated her to enlist.

25 thoughts on “1943 WAC Recruiting Ad”

    1. That makes sense–she probably saw her sisters’ lives going in lots of different directions that may have seemed more interesting than her life up to that point in time.

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  1. “Aunt Marian was in her 40s—and had lived her entire life in rural central Pennsylvania. She lived with her parents and helped on the farm until her father died in 1943”–I think this might say it all! Where else could she have had this sort of adventure and new experiences, without a lot of money and with the safety net of the American government?

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  2. I laughed and laughed at your comment that “good grief, she was in her forties.” When I quit my salaried position in order to begin my own business, I was 44. That was (ahem — you do the math) 24 years ago. As the old saying has it, the best was yet to come!

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    1. You’re absolutely right! The best parts are still to come. Your comment was a good reminder that I also made some major changes in my career direction in my 40s. I hadn’t really thought about the changes in Aunt Marian’s life within the context of my own–but I now realize that I should have.

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    1. I like how you framed Aunt Marian’s life.I have tended to see discontinuity between the two segments of her life–but really there may have been a lot of continuity as she shifted from caring for her father to helping others in the military.

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  3. At first I wondered about her decision at age 45, but in light of the other circumstances, it does make sense. My husbands aunts were very patriotic-minded and wanted to do whatever they could to support their servicemen.

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    1. I always find it interesting how some people talk about wanting an adventure–but never get beyond talking about it; while others actually are very adventuresome and make major changes.

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    1. I agree, farm life can be hard. My general sense is that it wasn’t really an option for her to stay on the farm after her father died–and that it was sold during the estate settlement process.

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      1. I’ve found in life that some of our best decisions are made for us. They require us to step outside our comfort zone and discover something we didn’t know we had in us. Sounds like that might be the case for your aunt.

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    1. Some people talk about having a “middle age crisis” when they are in their 40s that sends them heading into totally new directions–maybe Aunt Marian had similar feelings that led her develop a plan to join the WACs.

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  4. Families can sometimes hurt each other feelings when it comes time to break up their parent’s home. They will argue over stupid stuff and fight over who should get what. It probably was hard to have to give up the home she worked hard to maintain. I suspect she took a chance on this in order to support herself and for the independence from the family that she had been tied to for so long. Women didn’t earn enough for the most part to live independently in small rural towns. She could save her money and learn a skill that she could use later. So who wants to be an old maid aunt helping all her relatives raise their kids and clean their houses. She stayed because she liked it better then going back to Pa and they had a place for her in the service. She simply made a career out of it as long as she could.

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