Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Celebrating Our Marriage

On November 22nd my hubby Keith and I celebrated our marriage of 45 years. WOW! (And they said it wouldn’t last. HA!) So, what does it feel like being married to each other all these years? Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, how should it feel? Marriage consists of both physical feelings and mental perception. And feelings are not tangible. Marriage is a place, a dwelling wherein two hearts are devoted to one another and live & love each other unconditionally which consists of what I call the 3-Cs of marriage: Communication, Compromise & Caring.  
Marriage is a process of steps & experiences a couple travels before they say "I Do" and I have previously posted about these. Please revisit the posts dated June 18th "Here Comes the Bride" and June 20th "First Date, the Proposal & Engagement Ring," and June 26th "Wedding Plans."    
So on this 45th year of our marriage, here are pictures & mementos that reside in our Family Museum that gently remind us of our days & years together. What is particularly interesting is that these things are from our honeymoon, which I recently discovered in one of those many boxes. I can't believe I saved all this stuff!

Before we got married, I worked at the Board of Trade Building for an insurance company. In the building was a travel agency and because it was so convenient, I booked our honeymoon through them. Here is the itinerary for the whole trip. Both of us were new to travel beyond our home towns, so all of this was exciting. The invoice shows the air travel cost a total of $263.28 for two tickets and the cruise $310. Can you believe how cheap it was then compared to how much it costs now to fly and take a cruise?   
Our first night was spent at the O'Hare Inn near the O'Hare Airport in Chicago. It was a very cold night with snow and temperatures falling near zero. We couldn't wait to get on that plane and fly down to warm weather and sunshine. Next morning, we flew down to Miami and boarded our ship, The Flavia.

In 1963 the Flavia commenced her around the world service. In 1968 she was withdrawn from that service. The same year as our honeymoon, 1969, the Flavia was owned by the Costa Line and began a new successful career, operating year round 3-4 day cruises from Miami to the Bahamas until July 1977.
Neither one of us had ever been on a cruise ship before. We did not know what to expect, so holding hands and walking up the gang plank, we enter a new world of not only being married but sailing away on a large body of water to a distant land we only read about. Once onboard, we showed our boarding pass and were given the ships deck plan and told to go and find our cabin. Located on the second to the bottom deck of the ship, our cabin was #P-84 on the Portofino Deck. Two twin beds separated by a night stand, we knew immediately that this simply will not do. So before we went to bed, we took the mattresses off the bed frames and laid them on the floor together. Now that is more like it. After all, this was our honeymoon! And we had a porthole, allowing a tiny view of what was out there. The one clear memory I have of the pothole was how the water level was at times higher than the window. Kind of scary, it was. Some what settle in, we ventured forth, investigating our surroundings. Then the whistle blew long and deep, letting us know that we were about to leave the Port of Miami. Climbing six levels of stairs, we reached the Sun Deck where many of the passengers stood watching the ship pull away from the dock. How exciting that was. Then we all mustered to the dining room to meet the crew and get instructions on lifeboat procedures. We all sat at our designated table with our life vests on. After that, they passed out the daily program and brochures about Nassau. When we were there, Nassau was still governed by British rule. The island was clean and orderly, and the traffic police wore white shorts and shirts, their appearance very commanding and reassuring to the two of us novice travelers. We couldn't wait to explore, but first, dinner. And what a dinner it was!
Escorted into the one and only dining room, we were seated at table #9, which is where we sat for every meal. Every menu was a work of art. This cover was by Pablo Picasso. The food choices were outstanding. For example, we had a choice of Spaghetti all'amatriciana, slices of stone-bass, chicken, hunter style, roast prime ribs of beef, potatoes, sauces, salads, dressings, assorted cheeses and of course, dessert.  And if that wasn't enough, there was always a midnight buffet. We both gain weight on this trip and there were no gyms, spas, or rock climbing to help you lose it. But we walked it off as we explored Nassau, its downtown and markets. I was not good at bargaining like you are suppose to do, but I got a basket and still have it to this day.

Mostly we loved the beaches and going to the Bahamian Club and the Paradise Island Casino. Here was the very first place both of us ever set our eyes on topless dancers. We couldn't believe the uninhibitedness of this performers and the elan in which they carried themselves. Most of all, their costumes were gorgeous! Can't remember much more but I did save my cocktail napkin. There is so much more to tell but I think Nassau today is well known and visited often by the plethora of cruise ships that dock there every day. We had the opportunity to return to Nassau about 12 years later, but by then many changes occurred because on July 10, 1973, Nassau became a free and sovereign country ending 325 years of peaceful British rule. We recall noticing the changes and were somewhat disappointed, but Nassau will always be a fond memory for us. Check its history and offerings at
A last word on the Flavia. In 1982 Costa sold her and changed her name to Flavian. Sold again in 1986 to another Hong Kong shipping company. Tragically, this once proud Liner languished for 3 years. Then the inevitable occurred. On Jan 7, 1989, she caught fire. For ship lovers, it was indeed a tragic end for such a remarkable ship.

Many years have gone by and during that time we went on a couple more cruises, travel to many US States and several European cities. Forty-Five years later, here we are older and wiser and still having fun!                        
On our 45th Wedding Anniversary, our kids gave us a surprise party. Tiffeni had taken a picture of our wedding cake to the local baker and she duplicated it and placed our now rusticated original wedding cake top on the new cake. Charlie got the champagne and flowers and paid for all of our meals. What a guy and gal! Now we have new memories to put into our Family Museum.

And as today is Thanksgiving Day, my family and I wish you and yours a very festive holiday.





Friday, November 14, 2014

My Dad * His Story - Part III

Dad wrote, “After I got my discharge paper in hand on Dc. 30, 1945 and the last stop at the release center, I had to go to the pay master office. There I drew out all of my money I had saved for many months, plus my flight pay and discharge money and sea pay. All together I came home with well over four half thousand dollars. Then he stamped my discharge papers. Also the navy paid my transportation to come home. When I got home, I went to get my car that I stored away at John Larry’s big barn. After a day at home I went up to see Edward Larry, his father was already gone. I guess he died when I was in the navy. There, I got my car, cleaned it all up, drove up to Carrolltown to Westrick Garage, got it State Inspected and applied for State license. Six days later I received the plates. Two days later I drove up to see my buddy George Owen up in Carrolltown, which I haven’t heard from him for many months while I was overseas. His two sisters were gone to New Jersey, his mother had died about a year before. So I asked one of the neighbors there and got to learn he was killed in the invasion of France. He was inducted into the Army way after I was in the Navy. Learning of that accident made me feel awful bad.

After his discharge and returning home, about two weeks later he drove up to the old Sterling Six Coal Mine. Before his discharge he wrote how when he used to go home on leave from the navy, he would go up to the coal mine and talk with some of the bosses that he had worked for. He told them how he had gone to mechanic school and studied everything about the airplane.

Dad wrote, “There I got talking to my old bosses who I had worked for on and off for many years. They asked me if I was out or discharged from the Navy and I said, “Yep, sure am!” “Good,” they said. “We got a good job for you, take your pick; run a motor, there is a job open for water pumper, electrician and few other jobs.” I looked up with a smile and said, “no way will I ever go back inside of those dirty coal mines!” That really surprised them.  

My father wrote his memories in an erratic manner. He would jump from one memory to the next, making it difficult to follow the story line. But I went with the flow and pieced together his thought process, as in this story about changing his surname after he was discharged from the navy. 

Dad wrote (to an Agnes?), “I had filled out some legal papers for change of name. I adopted my father’s mother’s maiden name before she married. The name couldn’t be changed not until I had established a residence for at least 6 months where ever I was to live. Chicago was my place for I was to get married there, work and raise a family. After 6 months was over, I gave all of my papers that I received from the navy to a civilian lawyer, went down town Chicago, had to face the judge. I had everything done according to the law. Now, dear Agnes, you know the story how my name was changed to what it is now. About eight months later, I married with my new name.

This next paragraph sheds a bit of light on Agnes. She was his lost love.  

He wrote, “Towards the end of the first year of school, I used to build up my most desired hopes to get you dear Agnes on a date to Sunset (Ballroom). That was in 1938. But for some unknown reason I could never get to you. I do remember quite well in trying with no luck. Maybe someday you might want to enlighten me as to where you had been hiding at that time.   

Starting in 1946, he lived and worked in Chicago and reunited with Dorothy.     

About six weeks later, Dad left home for Chicago. He wrote, “With a sad and somewhat broken heart. It took me three days to get to Chicago. When I arrived I was very fortunate to get a room for a few days at one of the hotels. I didn’t care much for the place at all, so next few days I went out and drove around to some nice beautiful residential places looking for private rooms for rent. The second day out, I found a private home in Marquette Park that had a sign in the window, Room for Rent, to a single person. The people were very nice and friendly. They were German-Lithuania. They spoke very good English and I spent lot of time with them, talking where I came from, how I had worked in those dirty dangerous coal mines, and about my navy life. Later I was told they had a son in the Navy aboard one of the aircraft’s that was sunk by Japanese planes and he was lost in sinking of the ship. When I had moved in their son’s room, I made them feel much better and took away some of their dull moments thinking of their lost son. They had three daughters and all were married and away from home. I had stayed with them for nearly seven months.
Could have stayed much longer, but the first job I had gotten at Sunbeam as a die-setter went on strike. I didn’t care at all to participate so I left and went far up northwest of Chicago and there I found a job at Ekco Products Co. on April 3, 1946. There, my first job was the same; die-setter, later there was an opening for tool & die maker. I had stayed there for quite a long time. They are the company the makes all kinds of kitchen utensils. If you look at some of your kitchen utensils you’ll find some stamped, Made by Ecko Products Co. When I got married they gave me just about everything for use in the kitchen. Pots, pans, cooking vessel, forks, knives, spoons, egg beater and some other things. These very good gift was worth well over hundred dollars at that time. After nearly thirty seven years of our marriage we still use some of those things quite regularly!”              
Ekco Spoon                   Muffin Pan                  Egg Beater                                  Peeler

(A footnote on Dad’s job with Ekco: there he was, an educated and trained tool-and-die maker and aviation machinist making pots & pans and kitchen utensils. I am sure he must of felt frustrated working on such menial tools when he could be working on airplane engines.)

Nearly year and half later, on June 21, 1947, dad married Dorothy.

This is all Dad wrote about his wedding . . .  
When the Italians married their daughters, they sure know how to put up a big beautiful wedding. Well over hundred people attend our wedding. (But not one member from Dad's family.) 
. . .  and The Honeymoon: 
For our honey moon we drove to Washington DC. In my 1936 Chev. First we stopped at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania for a day. The next couple of days drove down to Washington DC. Took in many interesting sightseeing places. Spent nearly a week there. After all of that we drove up to Gettysburg Battle field to see civil war National Park and spent day and half there, and then on to New York Long Island where my sister Eldona lived. Spent two days there and after that, we drove back to my parent’s home. All in all our honey moon was quite exuberating.

Back to Agnes . . .
Once again, dad’s writing jumped, I think, about 40 years later, about the time he started to write his memoirs while living in Florida, writing on saved half-sheets of faded blue paper to Agnes.
Dad wrote, “Now if it wasn’t for the Barnesboro Star Newspaper which I have been getting for a longtime, I wouldn’t be writing to you Agnes. There is only one issue per week and there are times I don’t get one for some time later, it got lost in mail somehow.
But there is one time that still stands out in mind. I don’t know what propelled me to go up the hill to your old homestead, maybe to get a haircut, from time to time your brother Joe used to give me a haircut. Anyway, when I got up there I found Magdalyn making sandwiches with fresh garden pick tomatoes."
Dad ended his communication with Agnes by telling her this: “Nearly year & half later I married a beautiful girl who at that time look(ed) pretty much like you, Agnes. Had a very nice beautiful church wedding. You can see in some of the pictures that I had sent you. About sixteen months later our son Edward was born Sept 1948. Twenty one months later our daughter Elizabeth was born. Next about four years later I bought two acres of nice beautiful land just outside city of Chicago. Town called Mokena.”
This part of my Dad’s story stops here. Yet there is so much more to tell . . . another twenty-five years or so . . . and one day I will complete the story about my father.  Till then . . .
I hope you enjoyed reading this story about my Dad and hopefully it will encourage you to write a story about your father or any of your family members. If someone does not write their stories, their history will be forever gone. Photographs are great to have, but the written word makes the picture come alive.
“You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of the struggles waged at home and abroad. Of sacrifices made for freedom’s sake. And tell them your own story as well – because (everybody) has a story to tell.”        
                                                                                                                       George H.W. Bush           
                                                                                                State of the Union Address 1990


Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Dad * His Story - Part II

Dad never talked about his time in the Navy.    

As a child I saw photographs of him in his uniform and on top of his dresser there was an 8 x 10 picture of him standing by an airplane, dressed in pilots gear. For the longest time I thought he was a pilot, but later found out he was a mechanic servicing the navy bombers on base and on the aircraft carrier, Enterprise. With an enlistment date of 1-13-42, Dad’s naval career was his launching pad to a better life than what his parents could have ever imagined.
Dad's Boot Camp was at USNTS Newport, RI. Then he was sent to USNAS Jacksonville, FL where he had this picture taken with his younger brother Julius on August 23, 1942.

Among my dad’s papers was a faded and badly stained blue notebook, filled with class instructions, notes and diagrams. For some reason there were no dates on these papers which made it quite frustrating to keep a chronological timeline on his navy career.

On April 14, 1943, one year and three months after enlisting, Dad received a Navy Training Course Certificate having completed the Navy Training Course “Aviation Machinist’s Mate Seaman Third Class” from N.A.S. Jacksonville, FL.  Five months later in September 1943, he completed another training course, achieving “Aviation Machinist’s Mate Seaman Second Class.”

During this time, Dad listen to the radio, enjoying the “wonderful dance music coming from Chicago that put him on “cloud nine.”

He wrote, “I just couldn’t get enough of the good listening. I had made a promise to myself that if time should ever arise I’ll not lose any time in getting to Chicago and get to see and dance at those big beautiful ballrooms.”
Then he got his chance . . .

Dad wrote, “I was already with the Navy two years and graduated two aviation engine schools. About the time I was getting to graduate the second school, I heard there was a large far-advance school in Chicago, so I had asked the Personnel Officer in charge at school, what does it take to get to Chicago? He looked at me in an amazement way and said there was very little he could do and that made my blood run cold in my veins. I just cannot forget that moment of time. Then he approached me and said that he looked over all of my personal records from the time I enlisted into the Navy and all of the examinations I had taken to get into the Navy, and that I had the capability and could be eligible for more advance learning. Before we parted he said I would have to see my Naval Air Commander from the PBY air squadron to which I was attached to before I had gone to that second school.

After graduating I felt there could be a good chance for the advance school in Chicago, but also knew there was a Navy rule to wait six months after leaving the school. During the waiting time I kept to myself in obeying all the rules working and observing everything in flights. I was one who was in a squadron of twenty PBY planes that patrolled the Atlantic coast line all the way down to many small islands like Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The PBY stands for Patrol Bomber and Y for observation equipment plus sub-machine gun and bombs to look for German submarines.
About seven months that had gone by and the weather was too cloudy to go out on patrol, I said to myself this is a good time to see the Naval Air Commander Officer for the Chicago school. As I walked up to his large office, I stepped into the doorway and made a strong military salute like I was trained in the boot camp. He looked at me and said, “Come in Sailor. Sit down.” After sitting down he said,         “What brings you here?” Holding onto my tense moment and not to show any excitement, I said, “I would like to go to the school in Chicago for more learning in aviation engines.” He gave me a strong look and said, “Didn’t you just get back from school here on the base just shortly?” I said yes I did. “Well, he said, there is a lot of sailors here that hadn’t any school at all.” I said maybe they are not trying. That’s all he had to hear and he will check in sometime soon and told me to leave. I gave him another salute and left with a big question in my mind. Was there any good of see him?

About two weeks later I got a report to go and see him, at that moment I didn’t know why. I had thought something had gone wrong on our air patrol. As I stepped in the doorway, I gave him another salute and sat down. He said, “You are going to the Chicago school,” and signed his name, Arthur J. McCoy to the request forms for transfer to Chicago Engine Aviation School. I saluted him for the last time and went down the long stairs like I had wings on. In three days I was on my way to the Chicago school.
After checking into the school and much to my astonishment, it looked like I was in some big college. What a big surprise that was.  It was some two weeks later before I started the class and during that time I had time to get acquainted with the school and some of the Chicago city streets all by streetcars. My biggest desires were to check out those big beautiful Ballrooms and they were something, big and beautiful beyond my wildest imagination.    
The closet one to the school was the Trianon. It would be too hard just to try to explain the beauty of the big place. I had gone dancing there at least once or twice every week. After about two months of going there I met a beautiful Italian girl, Dorothy Albano, who became my wife (3 ½ years later).  
During my six months of school and going too many places of interest, we got well acquainted and took a liking for each other. Just before I had graduated I said if I survive the war and be in good excellent health, I’ll come to Chicago, which I did.      
After he graduated and went back to Jacksonville, FL, Dorothy wrote to Dad 17 letters, dated 1-16-1945 to 6-1-1945. When I found this stack of letters, the old string tightly binding them together was very endearing, I could feel how precious these old letters were to my Dad. I wish there were more.    
After graduating the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Chicago with good marks I got rated as AMM3/C (Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class) the school, I was sent back to the big Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and attached to the large P.B.Y. (US Navy medium to heavy twin amphibious aircraft used for maritime patrol, water bomber, and search & rescue) sea planes squadron. There, my job was to check in some of the planes that came in and some others to check or just good looking over before they went out. After being with the large squadron for about two months, I put in for engine school there on the base. First I had to pass an examination on some math and English which was quite easy all because I had plenty of before enlisting into the navy. About a month later I went to the engine school for four months.

 After graduating and was sent back to the same PBY seaplane squadron. This time I was assigned to one plane and had to fly every time it went out. Every month I would log anywhere from 50 to 120 hours of just flying, patrolling all east coast of Florida from Jacksonville all the way down to Cuba, South East Islands, some like Puerto Rico, Dominion Republic, Bahamas. Sometimes we would land there and come back the next day. After nearly three years of duty with the PBY Squadron of just flying, I had logged over 2,000 hours of flying time.
Dad must have enjoyed this Thanksgiving Dinner because he saved the menu. Now how funny is that! 

One of the most difficult things about writing someone’s story taken from an at-random scribbling’s and writings, is piecing the story together in a cohesive manner.  Such as when Dad wrote,

“It was the second week of February 1946 when I was discharged from the Navy. Believe me I was more than happy that I came out with good excellent health and not a cripple. Although there was one time I had a very close call . . .
Early one morning on the 20th of March, 1945 at about 5:30 a.m. there was three separate waves of Japanese suicide planes called Kamikaze. I was on that mighty big aircraft carrier called USS Enterprise, somewhere out near south east of Philippine Islands when we were attacked. The very last wave got us. A Kamikaze hit us down about 50 feet below the top of the flight deck in the middle of the ship. At that very time I was stationed way down, to the back end of the hanger were the air plane engine room was. Right after the hit there was a great big explosion. The impact was so great, whatever was not secured properly was thrown around and then a lot of smoke kind of dark yellow color.
The electric lights went out, I could not breathe, burning of the eyes. I somehow made it up to the other part of the ship where there was lot of air and no smoke. After when most of the very hot fire was put out by the fire fighters, we were called out to start cleaning the big mess. Anything that was loose, overboard it went. The fire was so hot. It’s hard to imagine how hot a fire can get. That Japanese pilot who hit us, there was no part of him found, he just burn up in his suicide plane. The damage was very big. The reports made said nearly over 100 hundred airplanes and over 500 sailors killed, some burn up alive. Ship was out of commission. 
We made it back to San Francisco in about one week or there about on our own power. There the ship builders put the big ship in dry dock and went to work to fix it. All of us sailors were put up at Alameda Naval Air Station, those who were hurt went to the hospital. After about a month & half we were put back aboard with new replacements and went out again. It was something like 11 months later the war with Japan was over. Boy oh boy, was I glad I couldn’t wait until we got back to San Francisco.
By this time it was the month of January 1946 already. It was the first week of February that I had arrived in New York at a Navy discharge center to be released from service. It took five days to complete all the process that we had to get through and a complete physical examination before I left for home.”  
That was it. Nothing more. Never heard any of this story until I found his writings.
Just before Dad was discharged from the Navy, he received a letter from his sister-in-law Peggy Yuknavich, living in Spangler, PA. 

Peggy had not heard from Dad in a while until she found his address had changed and Dad’s mother gave her his new one. She wrote about his brother Julius and his wife and baby girl, and how much she missed her husband (my dad’s brother Jack) who was stationed in Seattle and couldn’t get home. Peggy wrote how she felt terrible after getting her daughter Peggy Joan excited that her daddy was coming home. Peggy also asked how Dorothy was, being that Dad never mentioned her anymore.
(There were several gaps in those 17 letters dated Jan 1945 to June 1945 from Dorothy to Dad. None from him to her. Maybe because Dad was on the Battleship Enterprise which was attacked.)
Peggy goes on to ask if Dad will settle back in Bakerton, PA after his discharge. She also sent this picture and one of her daughter, and thanked him for the book “Kitty” he sent to Peggy Joan.
Next Post: My Dad * His Story - Part III




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Dad * His Story - Part I

I also thought it romantic, not in the sense of love, but as in history, that I was a coalminer’s daughter, like Loretta Lynn, until I actually went into the blacken depths of a coalmine. (This part of the story to follow.)

My father, William Edward (Yuknavich) Sommers, was born on October 19, 1916 in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, to Lithuanian Immigrants. His mother Anna, was stoic and artistic. She tended to wife and households duties and made clothes and carpets for the family. His father Anthony was a farmer and coalminer. Dad reluctantly followed his father’s footsteps into those mines and knew from the start that there had to be a better world and more to life than working for the Sterling Coal Company shoveling tons of coal. 

Soon after dad bought his first car, a 1936 Chevrolet Master Deluxe 4-door sedan, he wrote, “it had a very good radio and excellent heater.”
In this family photograph, Dad is sitting with his youngest brother, Joseph, on the front bumper of his car. 
Dad left home in September 1937 and drove to Detroit, Michigan where he got a job at the Chevrolet plant.
He was fortunate this time (I will explain that later) in getting the job because his cousin’s husband was a foremen there and got him the job. After a few paychecks, he enrolled in night school classes for tool & die making. (Both careers require talent in artistic, artisanal, creative and math-and-science areas. Job-shop machinists can be any combination of toolmaker and production machinist.)

Once he completed 40 hours of classes, his cousin said to him, “now there are two choices, which of the two are you going to choose from. You either can stay as a coal miner and there isn’t any advancement or continue to go to school and learn a trade.” Dad chose the second one.
In May of 1938 he was laid off from the Chevrolet plant because new car orders were filled up for that year. So not to spend any money to look for a new job, he went back to Pennsylvania and Sterling #6 Coal Company as a coal miner, but only for the summer months. In September that year, he went back to Detroit, however, he could not get his job back because he made a “big mistake” by stating he was from Pennsylvania on his employment application. He was told that “they don’t hire nobody out of state, just the people from the city.”
About a week later, Dad got a job at the Packard Motor Company.
 It was a better job and paid more money. Again, he went back to night school for five more months, the same amount of time that his employment lasted. Once again he was laid off and went back to Pennsylvania and coal mine Sterling #6.

While Dad was back home he signed up for another school, this time a machine shop course for three months. There were two classes: one for learning how to read blueprints, the other to learn how to operate machines, such as lathes, milling, shapers and others. Since he already knew how to read blue prints, he went with learning how to operate machines.

He wrote, “All of this effort of my consuming time and money sure paid off after I got out from the Navy.”

Dad sidetracks a bit to tell a story about roller skating and learning how to dance.
Soon after started night school, he met a “very nice guy” named George. They learned together how to run and operate the machines. Dad wrote, “George was a very good roller skater like me and a good Ballroom dancer and I wasn’t.” 
Over the weekends they would go to many skating rinks in the area:  Johnstown,
Indiana, DuBois, Punxsutawney, Edinburg, and Cresson. They used Dad’s car “for it had a very good excellent radio.” Driving home the radio picked up W.G.N. Broadcasting from Chicago, playing well-known big band orchestra music from places like the Trianon, Aragon, and Edgewater Beach ballrooms. He wrote, “We would pull off to the side of the road and just sit there listening to all that good beautiful music until they signed off.” 
I can imagine these two guys, sitting in the car, listening to the radio, talking and dreaming about all the things they wanted to do with their lives. 

Later, Dad said to George, “I wish I somehow could learn how to dance, and if I ever did learn and if ever in some distant further I should ever get to Chicago that’s the place I sure will go.” George replied, “I’ve two sisters and I do know one of them will teach you the basic steps like the Fox Trot.”
So after school they would go to George’s home and “sure enough the younger sister put on one of the records and she began to give the basic steps.” Dad wrote, “Wasn’t long after I got to learn.” Later Dad asked her to go on a date to the Sunset Ballroom. She said ok. George, his date & sister and Dad went together and had a very nice time. Dad wrote, “She was a little taller then I and much older but very congenial type of a girl. By the way her first name was Irene.” 

From February 1939 to January 1942, he must have worked in the coal mines until he enlisted in the United Sates Navy.
Choose a Career in the U.S. Navy 
“The Navy brings a man in contact with men.” 

U.S. Navy Recruiting Sub-Station  Post Office Building, Johnston, Pa.
Next Post:  My Dad * His Story - Part II