Effie Hall


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.



Effie Hall at the Veterans Wall, Morse Institute Library


Effie Hall taking part in a paper drive in Natick during WWII.


Where Effie and her husband stayed in New Mexico.

Louise Hale


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.



Louise Stone, high school yearbook photo


Louise Hale, work photo


Edward Hale in uniform

Dorothy Capone

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.


Edward DiTullio

The Bowdoin

Joseph and Richie DiTullio

Joseph DiTullio

Zecil Gravitz

In 1942, Zecil Gravitz had just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in chemistry. She began work at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia researching “fluxes,” part of the process in building battleships. She would join the Navy WAVES in 1943, working at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and in Philadelphia as a chemist, and later as an expeditor.


Zecil Gravitz in uniform


A couple of songs from the WAVES book.

Zecil Gravitz in her WAVES uniform.

Zecil Gravitz in uniform, along with her service cards.

Zecil Gravitz’s notice of promotion.

Joseph Barisano


Joseph Barisano joined the U.S. Army shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He spent most of his time with Military Government, driving officers around. He earned four battle stars while serving in England, France and Germany.

A poster honoring Joseph Barisano, aka Ray Barron.


Joseph Barisano at the Bedford VA Medical Center, 2017


Thomas A. Hunt


U.S. Army 1954–1956


While lying in bed at night, Thomas Hunt would hear squadrons of bombers fly over his home in New Canaan, Conn., and knew the types of planes from the engine sounds they made. This is just one of the stories Tom recollects about his boyhood days before and during World War II. He talks about his brother, Bob, who served in the Marines and was wounded at Okinawa, and about his own experiences serving the U.S. Army in West Germany during the Cold War in the 1950s.


Robert Hunt, Thomas Hunt’s brother, who served in the Marines.

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Rose Sammartano Bates


Rose Bates was born and raised in Natick, the daughter of Italian immigrants. She has lived in Natick all her life and remembers many of the local businesses no longer in existence. During World War II, she took part in rationing programs and was a nurse’s aide. After the war she married Robert Bates, a World War II Navy veteran.


A group photo taken in Natick Center in the late 1930s


Vito Sammartano, Rose Bates’ brother, on the Veterans Wall, Morse Institute Library, Natick


Rose Sammartano with a group of nurse’s aides during WWII. She is in the second row, second from left


Robert Bates, Rose’s husband, on the Veterans Wall, Morse Institute Library, Natick

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Marcia Bloom Zwecher

U.S. Army 1943–1945


Marcia Bloom answered the call for women to serve and spent 2 1/2 years in the Women’s Army Corps. A shy young woman, she learned how to handle herself in whatever assignments she was given, from drum corps to military police and even as part of a radar crew in Orlando, Fla. Many of her stories are humorous, although she did experience some discrimination because she was a woman. While in service she made many lifelong friends. Marcia talks about her husband, Otto Zwecher, who fled from the Nazis in Austria and became an interpreter for the U.S Army during the war, and about life in Natick after the war.


Marcia Bloom Zwecher at WAC graduation


Marcia Bloom Zwecher at Fort Devens, 1943


Training how to use gas masks


Marcia Bloom Zwecher, center, heading home, 1945

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