V-J Day and Peacetime Living

August 14, 1945 – I don’t remember many details of that historical day, rather I have memories of a haze of indescribable joy and celebration. I remember going with friends down Broadway to the Plaza and mingling with the mass of humanity……much hugging, kissing, singing, and……relishing the joy of the long awaited moment with friends and strangers alike.
It was a coincidence that for me the war began and ended in the vicinity of the downtown San Diego Plaza. The joyous mood of this day was quite different from the puzzled, half-scared mood four years previous when I had watched servicemen leaving the Plaza area going back to their bases on Pearl Harbor day, my first day in San Diego.
In the months following V-J Day the military men and women began to come home and the country turned its thoughts to peace. I’m sorry that Vernon’s military records have been lost. I don’t remember the exact date of his discharge but do remember that he came home in the winter of 1946. So finally I was able to welcome him to the little home on Kenyon Street that I had been making ready. He knew what to expect from the pictures and sketches that I had been including in almost daily letters. Looking at those pictures these many years later, it seems like such a modest little place….but it was home, sweet home to us.
Vernon lost no time taking advantage of the GI Bill to get started on the education that he would need to earn a living. The short time that he had in the Army Air Corps had convinced him that aviation was his love. So the first thing he did was study for, and earn, his private pilot’s license. The next afternoon he wanted to celebrate the ability to take a plane up all by himself – so he invited me for a ride. We flew all over the San Diego area. I loved the beauty of looking down at the city and the Pacific shore line…….until I began to get alarming signals from my tummy. Very soon I knew it was a question of my purse or his hat…..so the next day the new pilot went shopping for a new hat!
In the following months he went on to earn a commercial pilot’s license, instructor’s license, his aircraft and engine (A&E) mechanics license. This gave him the equipment to both fly, teach others to fly, and to do the mechanical work necessary to keep planes in the air. It was a vocation he loved and a good share of the rest of his life he used these abilities to support his family.