Back to 1942 . . . . and "such a day I never encountered before!"

I know, it's been a while!

Doing a little research (oh the time I get lost in this!!) I happened on a very interesting book
by Meghan Winchell on the USO hostess.
In it, she explains what mom and the girls were doing and what
was felt at the time.
Good Girls, Good Food, Good Fun The Story of USO Hostesses during World War II

Meghan K. Winchell

"USO service was appealing to young women because they wanted to do something to contribute to the war effort and they wanted to meet servicemen. Many of the men their own age were in the service, so dancing on Saturday nights was fairly limited except in relation to the USO. Plus, the USO fashioned itself as a respectable organization. Young women could feel safe socializing with male soldiers and sailors in a chaperoned environment like the USO dancehall. In a word, USO service was fun. The USO wanted junior hostesses to take their work with servicemen seriously and many did. Nearly all of the hostesses I interviewed and those I read about enjoyed the time they spent with servicemen -- dancing, playing games, chatting, and laughing. USO service was both a service and a pleasure. 

  In some clubs dating was not allowed, but the most common rule was that junior hostesses were not allowed to leave USO premises with a male soldier or sailor. The USO understood that young men and women were going to date, but it did not want the clubs' reputation to suffer. Appearances were very important to the USO and that is why girls were not allowed to wander off with soldiers. This rule also made it possible for young women to say "no" to a persistent soldier if she was not interested in him. The rules served as a kind of protection for junior hostesses. Girls who broke the rules were asked not to return to the club, but instances of rule-breaking were not that common. The women I interviewed pointed out that nearly everyone who volunteered for the USO knew the organizations' positive reputation and did not want to tarnish it."


With this insight in mind, shall we see what mom and the girls were up to
the week of May 6, 1942?


Pershing Square, Los Angeles, 1942
How exciting, she just happened upon it on her downtown
excursion for lunch or shopping?
And all the people celebrating! 

I had to laugh a bit, she is a bit scattered in this diary entry, trying to
get all the details of the goings on, but left out a lot of details.
She noted that the Doyle's got an invitation, then what,
it's the next day and she's offered a job, but then turns it down.
Why? 

and  then The Ambassador Hotel
and " such a day!"


Could you imagine this celebration 
and then the lights go out!


and up on the rooftop with the soldiers in the pitch black!

A USO hostess just carries on dancing in the dark!




" the soldiers aren't safe in the light, let along [sic] the dark."
Poor girls, getting home late and  "we weren't having a good time either."
A USO hostess! 
Good girl, mom!

Comments

Dorothy said…
Love this post! What a mission they had to attend to all those soldiers!:)
Katie said…
The background info is GREAT!
Dorothy said…
From Grandpa:
Tell "La-jan she hasn't posted anything from your mother's diary/boy friend's letters since January. "Moonlight Serenade", "String of Pearls", Alvino Ray----this doesn't do much for younger people, but it is part of our history.
Tell Janet to put more of the diary/letters on line as she has time.
Hope Katie , Lauren and Eric are reading them
Dad