It’s Your America!

Friday, May 11, 1945

Here’s how we know it’s really over, says Daddy: 45,000 troops will return from Europe by the end of this month. Then they’ll be coming home at the rate of 10,000 a day. That’s 3,100,000 by the end of this year! Grandpa’s right, Daddy says. People are already behaving as if the war is over even if we’re still fighting in the Pacific. And since Daddy was already remanded back to the states from the Pacific because he had to have his gall bladder removed, he expects he’s due for demobilization soon. That means it’s time to end this daily account of my family’s war. In due time I will become a big sister and we will move back to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Daddy will buy us a house and get more medical training thanks to the GI bill. Americans will stand up to the Russians while helping rebuild a war-shattered world. And there will be peace, prosperity, civil rights at last for African-Americans, and more changes no one can anticipate.

What better day than the Sabbath to end a project begun on Sept. 11, 1942 – the day my parents got married. Light the Sabbath candles and be grateful for the men and women who gave up their lives so we could live ours in this wonderful free country.

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The fighting ends, the infighting begins

Thursday, May 10, 1945

The combat may be ending overseas but it’s a real slugfest in San Francisco. Up for grabs is the shape of the world that will emerge from this war. The Soviets are already tightening their grip on Eastern Europe and have staked a claim to much of Berlin. As so many Americans predicted, we would have to face off against Stalin the minute the Nazis were defeated.

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Pivot to Japan

Wednesday, May 9, 1945

It’s not really over, not with the war against Japan still to be settled. This phase of the war brings us into contact with a much different culture from the European heritage. Their way of fighting war and treating prisoners of war is far more brutal. They will be very tough opponents. But Grandpa’s letter captures to sense of finality, of breath finally being let out: “Our citizens are little by little relaxing from the war effort. True the papers and announcers are warning us not to relax because there is still a stiff and lasting war ahead of us. But the Dicks and Toms and Harrys can figure out for themselves that a war with Japan plus a war with Germany was much more than with Japan alone.”

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V-E Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 1945

We were so excited with Grandma’s visit and the news that I’m soon going to be a big sister, we didn’t follow the news the way we usually do. And now it really is over in Europe! Today the Germans signed a document of unconditional surrender. Americans are thrilled, Britain is ready to celebrate a two-day holiday. The French are ecstatic and even the Russians are happy.

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Meeting T Rex

Monday, May 7, 1945

Here’s what’s funny about Grandma’s visit. Daddy wrote: “Last week we worked every day and night cleaning the house. I picked Mom up at the station, and what do you think was the first thing she did when we got her settled? After all that work, she polished all the silver, did all the shopping, and made 10 pounds of potato salad, and then she said she felt fine. — which goes to prove that work is just a habit to some people, and they have to do it whether it needs doing or not. Some people seem to get more energy to do work when they work. (Oh I forgot – she washed the walls, too. Only now Mom is sorry, because there isn’t much work left to do. I’m afraid she’ll try to do it all over again.)” But we still had time to take her to the Denver Museum of Natural History and I met my first T Rex.

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Grandma’s here!

Sunday, May 6, 1945

Grandma’s here! Now I know why Mommy made that banana refrigerator cake. Daddy picked Grandma up at the railroad station last evening so she was here when I woke up this morning. Daddy wrote to his family back in Brooklyn: “Mom really looked swell when she arrived. She really enjoys travelling and works just as hard riding on a train as she does at housekeeping and it seems to make her happy instead of tired, which is a good way to go about it. No matter how much I enjoy a train ride, I am tired at the end, even it is just the subway.”

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Banana Refrigerator Cake

Saturday, May 5, 1945

Eisenhower says the enemy is whipped! Millions of Nazis are surrendering. But our victory has brought a new problem: we are now feeding millions of people in Europe. The Nazis destroyed farms and field. They killed livestock. They took anything they could carry and left people starving and destitute. So we’re still living with rationing and now Mommy says she has to be more clever in the kitchen than ever before. Today she made a banana refrigerator cake. Now she knows the bananas didn’t grow in our Victory Garden but they weren’t expensive and they are very healthy.

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