Have you ever found yourself in a close relationship with someone who shares your first name? For me, it was my roommate during freshman year of college. Someone in the housing office probably thought it was cute to assign us to a room together, or it could have been random happenstance. We coexisted well enough, but were certainly never bosom buddies. And, I don’t know about her, but I was frequently asked if I felt confused about our shared name situation. The harmless inquiries still strike me as mildly obtuse.
I supposed in some scenario — if we had a visitor perhaps — we might both look up upon hearing our name. But, clearly, I always knew that if I wasn’t talking to myself, there was only one other Katie I could possibly be addressing. As the diversity of names in the U.S. continues to expand (i.e. the proportion of people who have the most common names is declining), perhaps more people exist who have never met someone who shares their first name. That’s certainly not the case for me.
This postcard traveled from the itty-bitty town of Galilee, PA to Great Lakes, Illinois, home to a massive Navy installation which trained a staggering number of sailors for service in World War II.
The front of this card features an aerial image of Camp Chicopee, a traditional summer camp which was located in the rural northwest corner of Pennsylvania near the New York state line. The camp was in operation until the late 1960s (source), but based on some Google Maps sleuthing, the land has since returned to private use and little trace remains of the buildings depicted in this photo.
Regarding supervising campers, I can personally relate to the sender’s sentiments. I myself worked as a camp counselor for one summer in rural Vermont when I was 19, and can attest that keeping a group of 8-year-olds entertained and out of trouble is no easy feat no matter the era. Though, for the recipient of this card, I’m sure a Navy life wasn’t much of a picnic either. Continue reading “Summer Camp and Boot Camp [1943 – Galilee, PA]”→
When it comes to spending your time in the Service on a remote island during World War II, I would wager that most folks first think of the Pacific Theater. However, the American military boasted a robust presence in the Atlantic as well, including places like Bermuda and the Azores. Based on his handwriting, it appears this sender served as his own censor before sending this postcard to Delaware in mid-1941. The Lend-Lease policy would have been the dominant policy at the time, prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ subsequent official entry into World War II in December of 1941.
American military presence in Bermuda was established as a naval operation in 1918 during The Great War, World War I. Being part of the British Commonwealth, Bermuda hosted American installations in conjunction with British military bases during World War II as well, and an entirely new American naval base was built in 1941. The island’s remote location in the Atlantic, more than 600 miles of the East coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, lent itself to use as a stopping point for land-based (as apposed to Naval) aircraft, and Kindley Field was operated by the U.S. Army Air Corps in Bermuda for that purpose from 1943 to 1948. As the flight range of aircraft increased in subsequent years, the need for the stopover point diminished, and what was then known as Kindley Air Force Base closed in 1970. Use of Bermuda by the U.S. Navy continued until much more recently, but Naval Air Station Bermuda (NAS Bermuda) also closed in 1995. (Source: Wikipedia)
A nice place for you to stay when you come to Bermuda.
Lt. L. M. Dobson
Postmark: American Base Forces A. P. O. 802 – August 14, 1941 (Bermuda)
To: Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hudson, Georgetown, DE
U.S. Military in Bermuda
Footage of aircraft and watercraft filmed in Bermuda in 1941.
The aerial photo below shows Bermuda in 1970, at the time Kindley AFB was closed.
Based on how it’s referenced in this note, I can only imagine how the stationary Virginia used in her previous correspondence to Bernice must have looked. Apparently duty in Fort Myers, Florida is not all sun-bathing and nights on the town. Working Kitchen Patrol all night, which is what I can only assume the sender means by K.P., does not sound like a pleasant way to pass the time. It seems Bernice survived the nighttime duty though. I hope he did get a glimpse of a bathing beauty before leaving the Sunshine State.
The place of origin for this card, expansive Buckingham Army Airfield located near Fort Myers, Florida was in operation from 1942-1945. Known for its “Flexible Gunnery School,” the installation provided a variety of new technologies for training aerial gunners including sophisticated gunnery ranges, dummy target aircraft, dummy ammunition, and high-altitude training. If you want to learn more about all of the fascinating military training methods that were pioneered at this airfield, I highly recommend the Wikipedia page. (Source: Buckingham Army Airfield Wikipedia)
For better or worse, little remains of the hundreds of buildings and runways that constituted Buckingham Army Airfield. It was closed immediately after the war, was purchased by a land developer, and became a residential area.
Here I am again and a very sleepy chap at that. I just got up after working K.P. all night so you can guess how I feel.
That was some stationary you wrote on the other time. Where in the world does a person think up things like that. It’s straight stuff though. Here is the picture of the bathing beauty but she surely must be in some other part of Fla. I haven’t seen her yet.
Postmark: Fort Myers, Florida – August 7, 1943
To: Virginia Andrews | 410 Elizabeth Street | Durham, NC
Apparently Leonard’s department store was quite a place to see in its heyday. This store, located in Fort Worth, Texas, was a modern marvel before its time, even including at some point an indoor monorail. I found out about Leonard’s by way of Pvt. Luis France who sent this from Texas to a friend in Durham, North Carolina.
Leonard’s is now home to a museum about its spectacular history.
I am on my way back to camp from furlough. I am sorry I didn’t go through N.C. I wished I had gone by that way. Was fine being home again. I had a swell time.
Will write later.
Postmark: Fort Worth, Texas – Jan 28, 1944
To: Miss Ruby Lou Atkinson | 515 Chapel Hill St. | Durham, N.C.
It would be interesting to know whether or not Harry did end up in a desert theater, once he was deployed overseas.
How did it feel to get back to army life after your furlough. I expect it was lot of fun. I am learning to be a soldier now and maybe I’ll make a good one sometime. It is hot down here and so I ought to be able to stand desert service after this training is over.
Answer soon. Harry
Sent to: Pfc. Homer E. Baugh
1590th 318 [?] S. G.
Barksdale Field, Louisiana
Sent by: Pvt Harry Hawkins
Battery B 195 A. A. A. A. W. Bn.
Camp Stewart, Georgia
Postmark: Camp Stewart, Georgia – June 28, 1943
2nd Postmark on the front: Harding Field, Baton Rouge, Louisiana – July 5, 1943
This postcard was sent during the Korean War by what I assume was a junior enlisted sailor. He gives us no details about his assignment other than what we can see from the the San Diego, CA postmark. Carl writes such an endearing note home to his parents in Tennessee. The handwritten names on the cartoon are my favorite part.
Dear Mother and Daddy
How are all of all there fine I hop. I went to church today. It not much to do here today so I thought I would write you a line. I will send you a picture this next weekend. by for now
To: Mr. Mrs. J. T. Knight
308 Madison St. N
Nashville 8, Tenn
Is this a novel or a postcard? It’s amazing how little or how much some people write.
The real question is: What does Tommie do for a living? Considering the rental cars, restaurants, sightseeing, and gambling, he seems to have a lot of time for living it up.
What do you think?
Hi- Greetings from The Bahamas
Don had to go to Atlanta to attend some business meetings so I tagged along and we flew to Jacksonville, rented a car & and drove down the coast of Florida & then flew here for a week. Just love it – weather has been terrific altho last nite we did have a little rain. Have been going to the beach. Rented a car so have done some sightseeing and at nite have eaten at some very good restaurants, seen a couple shows & done a little gambling. Slot machines don’t pay out as well as Reno and they don’t have nickel or dime machines so it does get a little expensive. Hope you’ll get to Portland to see sometime soon.
To: Mr. & Mrs. E.E. Toivonen[?]
Postmark: Freeport, Bahamas – Feb 24, 1967 [Bahamas 11c stamp]
Image: The Bahama Islands, Lucaya/ Freeport [Bell Channel Marina, Lucayan Country Club, Lucayan Beach Hotel]