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?
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.
Aunt Marian did many different things during her 19+ years in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs). I’m still researching what many of them were, but I do know one thing that she did—she worked in a commissary. Amongst the memorabilia of Aunt Marian’s that I found was this newspaper clipping from January 27, 1956.
The clipping shows Aunt Marian working at the Fort Ord (Monterey Bay, California) Quartermasters Sales Store. Aunt Marian’s handwritten note says:
My boss had me do this. The other girl was not on duty. I have on a green sales jacket.
Before leaving the WAC Book that was printed by Miller Brothers Company department store in Chattanooga, I want to share one last page.
The latter part of the booklet contained pages where the WAC could enter her schedule. Instead Aunt Marian used it as an address book. It appears that she asked the other women to write their contact information in the booklet before they all left Fort Oglethorpe and headed in different directions.
What I really want you to notice is the note one women wrote, “Good Luck, ’45.’” Aunt Marian was 45-years-old, and older than most of her peers. I think that we now know her nickname at boot camp—45.
Aunt Marian lived the first 45 years of her life in central and northern Pennsylvania. When she enlisted in the WACs she was living with her sister Ruth in northern Pennsylvania at Lawrenceville. After her enlistment she headed south to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia for basic training.
Aunt Marian had lived with her parents on the family farm near Montgomery Pennsylvania for most of her life. The executrix’s notice that was posted in the paper a year or so before this clipping indicated that Aunt Marian lived in Antes Fort after her father’s death (with a different sister—Martha). She apparently had moved from the home of one sister to the home of one sister to the home of another prior to enlisting.
Fort Oglethorpe is located in the northwestern corner of Georgia near Chattanooga Tennessee. I think that trains generally transported troops during World War II, so Aunt Marian probably took a train the 800 miles or so from Pennsylvania to Georgia.
Was this the furthest Aunt Marian had ever been from her home state? Was she excited? . . . scared? . . . a little of both?
The National Archives has an online database that contains World War II Enlistment Records. I found Aunt Marian’s records and discovered that she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) at Elmira, New York.
Aunt Marian probably lived with several of her sisters after her father died. She was the executrix of the estate and the newspaper notice listed her address as Antes Fort (Lycoming County), Pennsylvania, which is where her sister Martha lived.
She apparently later moved from Lycoming County to the home of her youngest sister Ruth in the northern Pennsylvania town of Lawrenceville (Tioga County). According to Wikipedia, about 450 people lived in Lawrenceville at that time.
The nearest enlistment center to Lawrenceville probably was across the state border in Elmira, New York.
A mystery has emerged. Did Aunt Marian attend high school?
My previous post described the requirements that women had to meet to join the WACs. One of the requirements was two years of high school, but it could be waived if a woman did well on a Mental Alertness test. In that post I described how her sister Martha wrote a brief biography of Aunt Marian which said that Marian didn’t attend high school:
She attended the Mountain Grove Country School–an elementary School. She did not attend high school.
Yet the enlistment record indicates that Aunt Marian attended high school for two years.
Was her sister wrong? Did Aunt Marian actually attend high school?. . . .or did Aunt Marian lie on the enlistment form to increase the likelihood that she’d qualify to be a WAC? . . . or were the enlistment records of women who did well on the mental alertness test altered to indicate that they attended high school even if they hadn’t?
Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)