Ruth Kinman used the power of letters to keep romance alive while serving as a WAVE during the war.
My sister, who is 13 months older than I, she decided she was going to go into the WAVES. And I hadn’t thought anything about it. But she decided and she joined. And then this young man I was going with, he was drafted into the Marine Corps. So I thought, “I’m not going to stay here by myself. I’m going to go into the WAVES too.” So that’s why I enlisted.
Ruth stayed in touch with her young Marine, Carl Gaerig, throughout the war. But it wasn’t until the war was nearly over that they began talking seriously about marriage.
He had been discharged because he had been wounded, had been in the hospital and recovered. Then he came to Washington, where I was stationed and so we decided to get married. When we decided to get married I had to get permission from my superior to wear a wedding gown and veil and all that. And my mother came to the wedding and Carl’s mother came tot he wedding from Duquoin, Illinois. It was quite a spectacular occasion for us.
This was in September of 1945, after V-J Day. Shortly after the wedding, Ruth was discharged. She can Carl moved back to Illinois, where they both went to college. We met them aboard the WAVES National Convention Cruise in 2006.
We’ve been married 61 years now, I don’t know where the years have gone.
This photograph was taken of Ruth in 2006 aboard the WAVES National Convention Cruise. It comes courtesy of Mel Kangleon.