Margie Labedz was the daughter of a World War I veteran who did her part in WWII as a member of the Victory Troubadours, a group of singers and dancers who entertained at local veterans’ hospitals. She also remembered other activities on the homefront such as rationing and air raid wardens. Her future husband, as well as her brothers and her two sons, have served in the military. Labedz is a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary.
Albert Souza remembers the end of World War II, growing up in the 1950s, the Camelot years of John F. Kennedy, when the Beatles performed in Boston, and the turmoil during Vietnam and Watergate. In 1961, Souza was married with a child on the way when he came close to being drafted into the Army during the Berlin crisis.
This interview was recorded by students at UMass-Lowell.
Ted Zicko was born and raised in Natick. As a child growing up during World War II, he remembered rationing and seeing Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour at the Common during a bond drive. After the Korean War started, he enlisted with the U.S Air Force and spent four years in Intelligence as a linguist (Albanian language), forward observer and photo interpreter. He is a recipient of presidential citations from the United States and the Republic of Korea.
Sadie Stepner was born in Boston in 1914; her father operated the stables in Franklin Park. She remembered Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, as well as life during the Depression and World War II. After the war, she and her family moved to West Natick, and became one of the first families to join Temple Israel.
Mary Ida Murphy was born on Prince Edward Island in Canada in 1914. Her family ran a large farm about 100 miles from Charlottetown. Among her earliest memories was a neighbor heading off to fight in World War I; her three brothers served during World War II in the Canadian Armed Forces, as did her husband, who was born and raised in the United States. Mary Ida talks about raising her family both on PEI and in Natick, Mass., where they moved in the 1950s.
Virginia “Ginny” Kirby Sullivan McGowan is the daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother of veterans. Raised in Newton, she worked at the Raytheon defense plant on radio tubes for the military – in those days, top-secret work. She and her sister, Patricia, also performed in USO shows throughout the region, often with their father, Frank Kirby, a professional piano player; they would often visit hospitals and perform for wounded soldiers.
Shirley Henderson was 13 and living with her family when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She recalls life on the homefront during the war, from being a monitor for ration cards to going to Sunshine Dairy on “Cowboy Nights” and getting the latest war news from the newsreels when she went to the movies.
Effie Erickson grew up in East Natick and graduated from Natick High School in 1938. She talks about life as a secretary and nurse’s aide during World War II, and also about her first cousins, the Liljas (five sons joined the Marine Corps; four fought in World War II; two – George and Ralph — were killed in action). She also talks about her husband, George Hall, who worked at the atomic bomb testing site at Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Louise Stone spent most of her childhood in Natick, and was working as a secretary in Boston when the war began. Her husband, Edward L. Hale, was drafted into the Army and stationed near New York City. In order to be closer to him, she moved to a rooming house in New Jersey and worked as a secretary on the Manhattan Project for about a year and a half. Louise tells of her experiences in wartime New York and Boston, from commuting on the subway to rationing.
Dorothy Capone has several relatives taking part in World War II – from an uncle wounded at Anzio, to a brother who served in the Navy, a cousin-in-law who sailed on the Bowdoin looking for German submarines in the Artic, to relatives in Italy who lived in caves after the Germans took over their community.