Memories of the 1940s and of Being a Wave

WAVESWar was looming in this country in the early 1940s and Europe was in dire straits. Because of the strict gasoline rationing, my mother, sister and I moved from the country to an apartment building in White Plains, NY within walking distance of the railroad station. I was commuting to attend business school and my sister to her job at New York Life Insurance. While living in the apartment, I volunteered as an Air Raid Warden there at night, making sure that all blinds were closed and no light was visible on the outside. As new residents we could not get a telephone until the war ended.

After graduating from business school, I was hired as a secretary in a bank in White Plains. There I met George, a wonderful young man, and we became engaged. George joined the US Army Air Force rather than waiting to be drafted and became a bomber pilot. George was sent to the Pacific area. I left the bank and applied for overseas duty at the Red Cross headquarters. I thought that I could request assignment to the Pacific area so that I could be near George. I was told that I was too young, but was offered a secretarial position at headquarters instead.

Several months later George’s parents received the dreaded telegram: “Killed in Action”. Eventually I went to the Marine recruiting office to enlist but was turned down because they had reached their quota. I then went to the Navy and was accepted immediately into the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services). A few weeks later I was told to report to the Fordham Armory in the Bronx, NY. From there, a group of us were marched across the street to Hunter College for a head-to-toe examination including a mental exam. We were then sworn in for the duration of the war and outfitted with uniforms, including lisle stockings. Our basic training consisted largely of marching and saluting. I was given three choices for assignment, and I chose air traffic controller. I was given the title of yeoman; that is, an enlisted service member assigned to clerical duty. We were housed in an apartment building close to Hunter College – four to a room with bunk beds, and we ate at the Hunter cafeteria. During this time we were honored with a visit by President Roosevelt in his open-air limousine as we stood at attention.

WAVESWeeks later I was sent on a long train ride to Oklahoma A&M to prepare for office work and to learn more about the Navy and the war. We were given daily briefings on the Allies’ progress in both the European and Pacific theaters. Two months went by and I was on another train ride to Quonset Point, RI for my assignment. I joined 10 other WAVES, each with a different specialty, assigned to the Anti-Submarine Development Squadron housed in a huge quonset hut. I had the feeling that the squadron felt compelled to accept us to replace men for active duty. I was assigned to the Commander, a southerner, a big man recovering from battle wounds. His face was badly scarred. He wasn’t comfortable having women in his squadron so he watched over us constantly.

Quonset Point was a new base. We had a comfortable dormitory, four to a room and we ate at the base mess hall. We used metal trays with sections, sliding the trays along the serving area. The servers often missed the proper section. We had no choice of food. As the squadron was involved in the development of sonar, the building was well guarded and all correspondence was marked “confidential”. We also had a British officer assigned to our office. On one occasion I accompanied the Commander to a naval conference in Florida, and I stayed in a Coast Guard women’s barracks. Whenever we could, we flew with the pilots on their practice flights around Block Island while testing the sonar equipment. The USO would occasionally put on great entertainment for us, including Bob Hope and his troupe.

As the war wound down, our squadron was transferred to Opa Locka, FL. I was given the choice of being discharged or sent to Key West. I chose discharge, but first went shopping in Miami for civilian clothes. After two years wearing a uniform, I selected two of the brightest, frilliest dresses I could find – and never wore! I was given $100 severance pay and a train ticket home. While in service, my monthly pay amounted to $50. Adjustment to civilian life was not easy. So much had changed. Many homes displayed gold stars in their windows, and so many men returned with serious injuries both physical and mental. I am sure that many suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder although that terminology was not used then.

It was a sad time but it brought us all together for a common cause – the protection of our country. Most able-bodied young men throughout the country were either drafted or enlisted to serve. Women, too, did their part by joining the service, working in factories, selling war bonds or collecting pots and pans to be melted down (even our Civil War cannons were taken from our village square to be made into weapons!)

I was pleased to meet a fellow WAVE here at Pine Run, Mabel Billings. We enjoy reminiscing. Another WAVE, Margaret Lawrence, recently deceased, lived at Lakeview.

— Isabel Ramm

Sparking memories

Writing instructor Frank Levy, an adjunct professor in the English departments at Rider University and DelVal University, leans in to help Izzie Barth and Pat Fey edit their stories.Rekindling memories is an easy first step to charging emotions for the purpose of writing. That is why Pine Run’s creative writing class always starts with discussion about family, history, hobbies, travels, and other rousing topics that promote a dynamic exchange of ideas. “Listening to others’ stories in the group has really helped me develop as a writer,” says artist Izzie Barth. “We bolster each other, and I find that writing as a creative outlet is almost as satisfying as painting, but it takes up less space. I’ve also learned an awful lot about the computer since joining the class.”
Another Villager, Pat Fey, also a novice writer, expressed why she braved the sessions. “I like to sing, dance, and make up stories in my head. So, I took the class because I thought I’d create a lively legacy for my grandchildren. Everything in my stories is 98% true…after all I want to make each scene and situation interesting. The class has helped me build better stories with rich descriptions and relatable emotions particularly about childhood rituals such as parental rules, spin the bottle, and a first kiss. I don’t do any prep work, but I try to put a visual image in my mind to spur my thoughts and break through any writing barrier.”

The writing class is one of the many inspired groups that gather on
Pine Run’s leafy 43-acre campus.

Our community has plenty of talent to tap in more than 50 resident committees and clubs. Having professional direction, far ranging choices, and peers to springboard ideas, is a powerful motivator for joining in the fun.

Lola & Barbara First Grade

Teacher Lola Glass and student Barbara MolesworthDoylestown Public SchoolWhat are the chances that an elementary school teacher and her former student would be living in the same retirement community? It was recently discovered that Lola Glass of Chestnut Cluster was the first-grade teacher of Barbara Molesworth of Quince Cluster. Lola’s husband, Larry, met Barbara at a Pine Run “Keep on Learning” presentation about Doylestown’s Intelligencer reporter W. Lester Trauch. Larry and Barbara were both looking at a photo of the old Doylestown Public School – which was located at East Court and Broad Streets. Barbara said that she had gone to elementary school there and Larry said that Lola taught first grade at the school before they were married. They were astonished to discover that Miss Lola Deibert had been Barbara’s first grade teacher!

Lola grew up in Danville, PA and was a 1952 graduate of Bloomsburg College where she earned a teaching degree. A Doylestown school superintendent was recruiting teachers, and because Lola wanted to live closer to a city and to her current boyfriend/future husband, Larry, who was living in Germantown, she accepted a position.

Barbara (bottom row w/doll) & friendsBorn “Barbara Lane”, Barbara Molesworth is a Doylestown native and grew up on Kreutz Avenue in the Maplewood community. Her mother kept all of Barbara’s report cards and her first-grade report card was signed by Lola with comments written for each quarter. From the first quarter: “Barbara does nice work in school” and from the second quarter: “Barbara has begun to talk out loud and get out of her seat too much. Otherwise she does fine work.” Third quarter: “Barbara still talks too much – does nice written work.” And finally, from the fourth quarter: “Barbara did very nicely in first grade.”

Lola had 33 students and no teacher’s aide. Because Lola enjoyed singing and playing the piano and organ, she occasionally taught the children in her class new songs, and when she had recess duty, she taught them new games. When the children were restless in her class, she would lead rousing games of “Simon Says” to expend their excess energy so they would be able to focus on schoolwork once again.

Entire first-grade classBy February 1953, Lola was engaged to Larry and near the end of the school year, the principal took suggested that perhaps Lola should be considering a new career path such as business. Lola married Larry in July and went to business school in September, but ultimately enjoyed life as a homemaker, mother of three kids, and more than 30 years as a church organist and choir director.

Barbara finished sixth grade at the Borough elementary school and continued her schooling at Lenape Junior High School and Central Bucks High School. She graduated from Empire Beauty School in Allentown and had a successful, nearly 40-year career as the owner and operator of Cross Keys Beauty Salon. Barbara met her husband Bob in 1964 while she was working at Ed’s Diner in Doylestown, they were married the following year, and enjoyed 50 wonderful years of marriage.

Teacher, Lola and student, Barbara are thrilled to have discovered one another at Pine Run and enjoy reminiscing about “School days, school days, dear old golden rule days!”

— by Lola Glass assisted by daughter Sandi Harden

Summer season highlight: A Newcomer Event in Larch Cluster

Larch PartyThe bejeweled platters sparked a great party!
Part of what makes Pine Run such an extraordinary community are the people who’ve chosen to make it their home. Neighbors delight in diverse conversations with peers who have journeyed colorful histories and still keep an enthusiasm for life. Casual parties and more formal gatherings of newcomers offer ample opportunities to engage in discussions that are both down to earth and uplifting.

Pine Run’s culinary team loves to plan parties. Whether large or small, each event includes inventive elixirs and edibles made vibrant with color, texture, and delicious tastes!

Larch PartyLarch PartyLarch Party

Larch Party

Larch Party

“Legacy” Tea Table Takes Residence in our New Community Center

Legacy Tea TableVillager Irv Thompson, the creator of the gorgeous new table made from the wood of Pine Run’s felled Zelcova tree, describes his design:

“The design for the tea table legs was inspired by a painting by artist Bill Smith. The painting was done as a single brush stroke depicting the female torso – from neck through lower back, around buttocks to upper leg and thigh – one stroke, never lifting the brush! Beautiful!”

Our photos certainly depict how well suited this stunning artistic creation is to its lovely new home – located in the sitting area right inside the front portico entrance at our new Community Center. It will not be long before we will all enjoy this exciting space!

Ginger – Our First Border Collie

Ginger - Our First Border CollieMy introduction to Border Collies began when my sister-in-law and her husband got a black and white one, Mac. I couldn’t believe how smart they were. At that time we had two other dogs, Barney and Sam. They were dogs that have stories behind them but intelligence – not much. Well, because Mac was such a handsome specimen, he was called upon for stud service and with that came the offer to my in-laws to pick a pup from the litter. The in-laws were not interested in having another dog but they asked if we wanted one. Well yes – no. We couldn’t make up our minds. When we finally said okay, they only had the runt left. But we still said okay.

The runt was smaller (runts usually are) but also brown and white (not the usual black and white) and also shorthaired, not long and silky. But we were not going to be showing her and beside that she was cute. What she did carry from the breed was – she was SMART!

She had a special kinship with kids that had special needs. She always latched on to any youngster that had a physical or mental need. We always had lots of children coming to visit on the farm so she always had a good time.

One young girl stands out – Susanna. She had Down’s Syndrome. By this time we had named the dog Ginger. Well, she always went right to Susanna when she came. One day (her birthday) we were all eating cake and ice cream when we suddenly saw Ginger with Susanna. One spoonful for Susanna and the next spoonful for Ginger and so that is how the ice cream was eaten. To this day (Ginger is gone and Susanna is in her late twenties) whenever I see her, she always says, “I miss Ginger.”

Ginger was also very protective of small children. I remember one time I had my granddaughter, Trisha, staying overnight. She was about four. At the time, her family was living in Idaho and they were in town for some special reason and I was to keep Trisha overnight. This was her first overnight stay without her parents. Of course she didn’t know me very well because of her living in Idaho, so I wasn’t too sure how she would be. She was going to sleep in our guest room. It had twin beds. I thought she might wake up during the night and would not know where she was, so I thought that I should sleep in the other bed.

Sure enough she woke up during the night and was crying. I got out of bed and went over to her bed. They were antique beds so they were pretty high up. I knelt down so that I would be at her level to comfort her but Ginger wedged herself between me and Trish and when I went to touch her, she growled and snarled and would not let me touch Trisha. My husband came to the rescue and took Ginger out so that I could get to Trisha. Well, to this day, 20+ years later, Ginger is still top dog to Trisha.

I wonder whether Ginger knew that she was not a perfect specimen Border Collie! She had this special gift of understanding. Because of this gift, she was still TOP DOG for us.

— by Jutta Eisele

Honor Tour Trip

Honor Tour Trip – Bill Kurz and Ernie Cohen, MDOn Monday, May 7th, 2018, several hundred Vietnam Veterans departed on the Bucks County Tour of Honor. They filled five large buses and departed from Parx Casino at 6AM. The group reached the World War II Memorial at 9:45AM in DC. Upon exiting the vehicles, they were surrounded by hordes of children of all ages who fought to thank them, congratulate them and shake their hands. The emotions of these kids were obvious, and no doubt reflected values learned at home regarding courage and love of country. The next stop was Arlington Cemetery and then the Air Force Memorial. The final visit was to the very painfully moving Vietnam War Memorial.

The buses then departed Washington, DC, to return home. Upon reaching within miles of the casino, they were joined by hundreds of vehicles whose function was to escort the buses and ensure an open and clear road on I-95. These included hundreds of police cars, firefighting equipment, helicopters and personnel manning the gear.

Each of the many bridges under which the vehicles passed was covered with emergency responders in uniform in full salute to each of the veterans. This final sequence of events on our return was explained by the officials involved in the event. It was to make up for the terrible greetings these veterans received on their return home after the war. Many of us were cursed, spat upon and even our children heard their fathers labeled as “baby killers”. On several occasions, we were told to avoid wearing our uniforms in public to avoid them being defiled. Grateful thanks are due to the many emergency responders for their working throughout the entire event and avoiding any unpleasant incidents. They are dedicated professionals who constitute a great source of pride in living in Bucks County.

None of us who took part in the event will ever forget it.

— By Ernie Cohen, MD and Bill Kurz

Manhattan Sail-Away

Manhattan Sail-AwayAs the Sagafjord sailed from her pier
Skyscrapers caught the sunset.
Helicopters whirred.
The lady of liberty glowed green then gold.
Next to me on deck
a young actor from the ship’s cast
stood clenching his fist.
  “I will star on Broadway,” he vowed.
       “I WILL” The band played.
City lights beckoned,
luring like sultry sirens.
     New York
        … NEW YORK

— by Kay Winters

History and Development of Burpee’s Big Boy Tomato

Burpee TomatoesI joined Burpee in 1954 and worked during the summer months with Jonathan Burpee harvesting Big Boy in a field near what is now Delaware Valley University (Del Val). Two men, Ovid Schifries, PHD and a geneticist, and Ted Torrey, farm manager and plant breeder working at Fordhook Farms in Doylestown, PA, developed Big Boy. They crossed a popular home garden variety with a large male tomato. They grew out the plants, made some selections, grew out and made more selections and then harvested the tomato. Then they grew them out again to make sure that the cross was fixed and “Big Boy” was born! The name, Big Boy, was used when Ovid Schifries said, “Let’s name it Big Boy for Jonathan, who was big for his age.”

Big Boy started a revolution in hybrid tomato development. Big Boy was a big hit and continues to be popular with home gardeners.

— Joe LaTorre

Not My Two Cents

As most of us here at Pine Run are between 65 and Death, I offer these words to live by written by someone else. They appeared in Harry Newton’s daily blog called in “Search of the Perfect Investment”. In these days of fighting political parties, threats of war, guns in schools and all other horrors, I found it calming and insightful. I hope you will also. Let’s be good to ourselves as well others. (Editor’s note: This is a very abridged version of the original article.)

  • Regardless of age, always keep love alive.
    Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor and remember: “A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.”
  • Be proud, both inside and out.
    Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well maintained on the inside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.
  • Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style.
    There is nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you – keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.
  • Don’t abandon your hobbies.
    If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer… or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it. Try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.
  • If you have a strong belief, savor it.
    But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.
  • Laugh, laugh a lot. Laugh at everything.
    Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what’s not to laugh about?
  • If you’ve been offended by someone – forgive them.
    If you’ve offended someone – apologize. …It doesn’t matter who was right. …Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

Editor’s Note; A long time ago a friend told me there are two rules to a happy marriage: 1. Your wife is always right. 2. In case of an argument, go back to rule #1.


— Nancy Lee Rogerson