After World War II

A story by Jeanie Henry

  The whole world seemed to change after WWII. Most of us drew a sizable sigh of relief. In my family my 2 brothers came home — one from Europe and the army, and one from the navy. I had gotten married in March of ’44 to a  naval officer — the captain of a PT boat who had been seriously wounded off the coast of Sicily in 1943 and sent home on a hospital ship. He was in St. Alban’s Hospital on Long Island for 8 long months and then expected to go to the Pacific, so we had a quick war-time wedding at home - when he recovered - but he wasn’t called for almost a year during which time our first son was born. When my husband finally left, I stayed with my parents until he came back and then we moved to our own place and life slowly returned to normal. We took down the black-out curtains and turned on all the lights. We gave up our rationing cards and bought gas for the cars. We got shoes - and real stockings - and then butter and meat and sugar, all of which had been scarce - as well as paper in all forms. I remember getting a recycled birthday card which had already been sent to 2 other people and we felt so lucky and so thankful for so much. My husband got a job with an older lawyer in Waterbury, CT and I gave up my Red Cross nurse’s aide job and took up housekeeping and being a mom - with a vengeance. Eventually we had 3 boys and daughter. We bought a home and I got very involved volunteering in our church and community so I was extremely busy. Life was good, especially so as the war was over and we could count our many blessings with gratitude and thanksgiving. I recently read an article which claimed that, trauma is terrible but it can also bring growth, and some people report stronger relationships and increased spirituality and a deeper appreciation of life.

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