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I am Now a Civilian

Posted by on July 18, 2017

October 26 and 30, 1945. Stanley has been officially discharged and is writing from home where he exults, “Yes sir brother, I am now a civilian.” As the situation was when Stanley had his 30 days R&R after getting home from England, he acknowledges that it will be his duty to keep up the correspondence from the home front as Anna “has sort of been busy with the two tots.” He mentions that in the next few days he will be busy with “a lot of rad tape” including going to “the Draft Board, Internal Revenue…Ration Board, Unemployment Office…” where he will see if he “can get some job as an apprentice somewhere.”

Stanley starts off writing that “it sure feels good to be free again but deep in your heart you sort of miss the whole gang you knew for a while. You say to yourself well it wasn’t so bad in there. You had a good time together with a whole bunch of pretty good Joes. I guess I do sort of miss it all and feel sort of out of place at the present time but I guess I’ll get over that sooner or later.”

He details his trip home, leaving Abilene “in the afternoon of the 18th of Oct and reported in (at Shepard Field, Texas) about the 19th of Oct. We slept overnight on the road…” It wasn’t until the 22nd that they started to get processed out. “They had a backlog of about 300 men to get out before us. So we just laid around and rested… Monday finally came so we started in with orientation, checked our service records, had X-rays, blood tests and urinal test. In [the] afternoon we had personnel affairs counseling…if you wanted some legal advice or…some information regarding the Veteran’s Administration and Civil Service.”

He continues that on the 23rd they had a “final check on our records and final pay including the first payment of mustering out pay and also travel pay at 5 cents a mile from separation center to place of induction. They gave me $85.00 travel pay.”  He took a train out of Wichita on the evening of the 23rd, arriving in Chicago at 7:15 PM on the 24th and catching a train to Albany about 3 hours later. He got to Albany “about 3:05 the 25th of Oct.”  He mentions that while on the train home he saw “the remains of two separate train wrecks. One was somewhere near Galesburg, Illinois… The other was somewhere between Buffalo and Albany.”

He writes that when he got into Albany, “I said to myself pop should just about be working now and if he is on the same platform I should be able to see him. As soon as I got off the train and started to go down the platform sure enough there was pop looking around with a big smile on his face. … I got home…just in time to celebrate two birthdays, Anne’s and Terry’s. They had a small party at the house and we celebrated the birthdays and also my home coming.”

The platforms at Union Station in Albany, NY as they appeared in the 1940’s. It was here that my grandfather worked, saw his two sons off to war, and saw Stanley return on October 25, 1945. Photo credit: Albany Group Archive

He reflects, “It sure feels funny brother to be home all alone without you. Brother when you get back you and I are going out and celebrate somewhere… It has been three years now since I saw you last. I do hope that you come home faster now.”

Before closing he writes, “It sure feels good to sleep in a good soft bed and you won’t have to worry about somebody walking in their sleep or someone when you are sleeping opens all the windows so you freeze in the mornings.”

He closes, “God bless you brother and here’s hoping something new comes up so that you can come home for good.”

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