Romance often moved quickly during World War II. Phyllis Jensen Ankeney grew up in the same neighborhood as her husband-to-be. She remembered admiring his Navy uniform after he enlisted in the service, but romance didn’t blossom until after she had joined the WAVES and they were home on leave together.
He got pretty upset when he found out I had gone in the service (laughs). He didn’t think a woman shouldn’t be there either at that point. But anyway, we came on home on leave together, not knowing it. He came from the South Pacific and I came from Florida. We happened to come home at the same time. We went together for the few days we were at home. Other than that, I had not dated him. And he said that we’d get married — that I’d get a ring for my birthday in January. This was in September. We were married the seventh of October.
We talked every night. And he wanted to get married. I said, “I don’t have any leave coming, If we’re going to get married you’re going to have to come here.” So he came right on down there. But we did have a church wedding in Pensacola. A Lutheran church. No family, no one around. Just the ones from the base that came in. The minister had a youth class there on Sunday night and he asked if I would invite them to be at the wedding, so I did.
They ended up moving back to their home town after World War II and Phyllis got pregnant almost immediately after she was discharged. Her husband did get called up into the Navy again, during the Korean War.
The photograph comes from the collection of Phyllis Ankeney.
With the approach of Valentine’s Day, we’re turning our focus to romance during World War II.
Margaret Anderson Thorngate, who we’ve featured before in these posts, met her husband Fred during the war:
I was a member of the Fourth Interceptor Command. That’s when they had that — no radar in those days, so you looked for airplanes in the air, at sea, whatever. I belonged to that. Another girl and I had the duties on Sunday afternoons, which we picked because they we could sun ourselves on the sand dune where the observation post was. And so Fred was stationed in the beach club down the street, down the little ways. He came trotting up one day, when I was — one Sunday afternoon when I was sitting there in my black bathing suit watching for airplanes (laughs). With my glasses picked him up right away.
Margaret and Fred wrote back and forth to each other during the war, while he was stationed overseas and she was in the WAVES in California. Eventually she agreed to marry him. So in late summer 1945, he got a leave between assignments, so he returned to California.
He came back from overseas and we were going to get married. I met him at my aunt’s in Glendale. He rang the front doorbell and I ran out the back. I was scared to death (laughs). And she (Margaret’s aunt) made me — she made me answer the door and I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t talk! Absolutely, for 20 minutes I couldn’t say anything. And he was just laughing. I thought, “This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in your life! You’re going to marry somebody you haven’t even seen in two years and barely know!”
They were on their honeymoon when the war ended.
Something worked about their unconventional romance – Margaret and Fred are still married.
The photo comes from the collection of Margaret Anderson Thorngate.
While in school to become a teacher Jean Clark met her husband, Louis.
He was in one of my psych classes and he was a year ahead of me. He had grown up in Corvallis (Oregon) on the farm there, and he decided that he needed to earn some money, some extra money for school, so he joined the National Guard. He was the youngest of six in his family and he had four brothers who were in the National Guard. He wanted to be in and as soon as he was 16 he joined the National Guard. He was still in in college, at Monmouth. In 1940, the United States decided to mobilize the Guard because of the trouble in Europe. So he spent a year in training. In the meantime we had developed a sort of a relationship. When I was teaching at Brownsville (Oregon), we became engaged in 1940. So I was waiting for him to come back from his training.
They got married in July of 1941. Jean was just 19 years old.
This photograph comes from the collection of Jean Clark.