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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Janet Muriel Mead to her mother, 26 August 1944

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Object ID: WV0389.4.002

Description: Mead describes several inspections and a military review parade, and expresses pride at the admiration shown by civilians and military observing. She also tells of her roommates and how being in the navy is teaching them to show consideration for different people. Other topics include stenciling names into their uniforms, shipping her civilians garments home, telegrams she received, wanting her parents to visit, and the busy daily schedule.

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Collection: Janet Muriel Mead Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

Dearest Mom,

It's been a wonderful day--and it isn't even ended! We started out bright and early by attiring ourselves in our new uniforms, and finishing our rooms for Captain's Inspection. At 6:15 we came to company position in front of our building and then was inspected--ties, shoe shines, stocking seams, hair, etc. Ensign Coffey was very pleased with us. Then we went to mess--our section carrying the Navy E. Was I proud to hup them--Yi! Yi! Then our section stood for colors this morning. After colors we came back for C. Inspection's. For that we stand shoulder to shoulder in our own room, at attention, and eyes straight ahead. Lt. Talbot (j.g.) was senior inspector, and she went out without finding fault, but she did say we were a pretty nice looking bunch of girls. She not only inspected our room, but our entire appearance. We quickly mustered for review. There were 14 companies (3920 girls besides officers) on the field. There are a great deal of rituals connected with "passing in review," but they all have a very definite meaning. Civilians come in hundreds to watch, & then is when your hunk of pride really goes into action--on the double. They stand and gap until you think their eyes will pop out--and their mouths freeze on them, and when you march by them their comments are real worthwhile. Today 2 sailors said, when our section marched by--"They sure are okay, aren't they!" When you hear a sailor make a comment like that, it does more good than hearing the Captain say--"Ship shape."

When we finally returned from review, we sat in our windows & watched the girls in Regt. 38 be inspected for "shore liberty." You should have heard the noise when their commander said, "Fall out & have a good time." Over across the street from our building, (also their's), their friends, folks, and relatives waited for them. Oh, golly, it was wonderful to see the girls leave with them, so that made 3 times today we got lumps in our throats and spashes [sic] on our ties. We noticed one soldier in particular waiting for someone, and of course we wondered--why, and who! He was very tall, exceptionally handsome, well-decorated with service ribbons, & obviously the main attraction here. We held our breaths--finally it happened! Yes, he called her "Sis" and gee, whiz--were we ever let down!!

At present we are waiting for paint to stencil our clothes, so we can't leave the building until it's finished. It takes quite a while as we stencil everything including hose, gloves, etc. We pack our civies & ship them out Tues. We have to send them C.O.D. express, so I thought I would tell you before. They are automatically insured so we don't have to worry about them.

I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint little Judy--I'm am [sic] not going to be student company commander. They gave the section leaders all an equal chance, but there's only one girl who wanted it. Her position has definitely gone to her head, so therefor [sic] she is becoming pretty well disliked by everyone. I don't envy her--her position as there is really more pride in having a good section as good sections make it simple for a Co. leader.

Guess what! Yes, I received two telegrams last night. I practically ignored taps on account of them. The best news was to learn that Raymond Nash was safe (which Aunty had already told me). The saddest news was about Courtney Taylor, the cadet that was killed. He was a pretty nice guy, and it helped a lot to renew something I've been trying so hard to ease. The girls here are wonderful--especially Helen. She is from W. Va., an auburn, very attractive, and has a very charming personality. Her likes and dislikes correspond very closely to mine as she likes her quiet times, her crazy times, we like to do the same things, and she like--yes--ice cream just as well as I do. There's hardly a day goes by that we don't manage to have it twice a day. The other 2 girls--one is the old-maid type, and Anne is a goon constantly--she sings and laughs even when she is writing letters. The old maid type, Virginia, has a sister in this apartment, too. The Rosecrans girl that was in college when I was (the bleached blond[e] whose father was the youngest Brig. Gen in Mich. and who was killed 1 yr. ago) is also in our apartment. We get along with her swell, and I do believe the Navy has helped us all in our attitude and consideration for other people.

I'm getting a grand tan, and I have a perfect "V" (which stands for "Victory" on my chest and neck. My little nose and cheeks are sunburned, but it looks good & healthy with powder on. You can see where my watch and ring belong--perfect identification.

The kids are all wondering how I manage to ramble on and on, but it seems like I just keep finding things to talk about. They are all things I think might interest you--if they don't, for heaven's sakes tell me so.

What a mess--somebody just stenciled her name on another girl's--blue jacket & raincoat. As long as paint won't come off--it sounds like somebody will catch heck--and how!

I sure wish somebody could come out--you & Daddy most of all, but I hardly think it's worth it. If I'm lucky enough to make radio school it shouldn't be too long before I get to see you. Besides it's close enough so that it would make just a nice trip for you. You both need one--and I mean it. Is it a promise if I can't get home?

I want to send the letters home in my package that I have received up to date so I want you to read any & all that you want to. I know there are some you will especially want to read--Tom's, Ruth's, etc.

Will close and start stenciling our clothes now. Thought you might be interested to know we left the barracks at 6:30 a.m. yesterday & returned at 6:40 p.m. last night. We used 20 min. for each meal, and every other min. was planned . That is a regular day!

Love to you all, Your Janet