Collapse of a Dream...What Next?

An exciting possibility presented itself – the opportunity to be a U. S. Air Corps Cadet. It seems that there was a need for more pilots, navigators, etc. This was Vernon’s dream, so he took all the tests for entry into the program. This was a challenge for a soldier with no college background. We held out breath for the results – he passed! (He was smart!) We were so proud and excited. Soon the transfer came through, to Oklahoma Baptist University.
For several months the pressure was extreme, intense study and very little leave time. Vernon worked hard, he made good grades and was on the verge of graduation when the blow came. The winds of war had shifted and the powers that be decided they had enough pilots – the program was closed and all the men were transferred to the Quartermaster Corps. Vernon was devastated with disappointment. I suffered with him.
However, as I look back through the years, I can see that there were blessings hidden in the experience. It was the foundation of his flying dream which made it possible to achieve in the years to come. Thanks to the G.I Bill he completed training after the war and earned licenses as a pilot, instructor, and aircraft and engine mechanic. This enabled him to earn a living doing the work he loved. In my opinion, the G.I Bill represents some of the best work Congress has ever done. There’s no measuring the good it did in giving education and training to returning service men and equipping them to make world contributions to our country.
The war was raging in the Pacific and we were expecting orders overseas momentarily. Every day together was precious. The orders soon came – to Fort Frances E. Warren in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in preparation for overseas assignment. I followed. When I first got there I took a job cleaning house in return for a room and kitchen privileges. I looked for a better housing situation and work, and soon found both. Once more my civil service background helped. I got a job on the base in the offices of an Army Dental Clinic. You didn’t see “Now Hiring” or “Help Wanted” signs in those days. Jobs and housing were scarce. The service wives who worked off-base in local stores, restaurants, etc. considered those of us with civil service jobs lucky. But even so, it’s amazing how little we all had to live on. Most of the time my temporary war-service appointments were classified as CAF-2 (clerical, administrative, fiscal) which paid $1440 per year.

June in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Dental Clinic #3

Waiting for a bus

Our home in Cheyenne during the summer of 1944.
1220 West Second Street