Attention! Big Chuck Wants Your World War II Stories! (UPDATED)
For 2 years I have been opening up the World War II file every morning right after the 8:30 a.m. news. The stories are totally fascinating to me and I get many nice comments about this segment. The home front, the heroes, the villains, the battles, the humorous stories, the sad ones, the rationing at home, the victories overseas, the generals, the privates, the hardships and the inspirational vignettes. These stories always seem to elicit many comments from my listeners.
So now it is your turn!
I would love it if you would send me your own World War II stories. Were you a kid in the 1940s? Do you remember growing a “Victory Garden” with your Mom? Did your Dad or Grandpa go off to war, and later told you stories about his time in the military. Did your Mom become a “Rosie the Riveter?” I want any and all stories and memories of that time you would care to share with me. And then once in a while I while feature your very own memories in our World War II File on my show.
Email me your memories at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off a letter or note to “Big Chuck”, 34 Chestnut Street, Oneonta, NY 13820.
I look forward to hearing from you. Don’t be shy!
Dear Big Chuck; Enclosed is my very own sugar rationing book. I remember going to the one room schoolhouse in Toddsville with my mother to get it. Miss Chaplin, my teacher, is the one who made it out. It was for 5# of preservatives and 1# of corn meal a week. Mom told us if we skimped real hard on our sugar rationing we could save up enough to bake a cake! I also remember collecting milk weed for the troops. We had an “A” for our auto rationing and we had to put it in our windshield to get gasoline. 41 men left Toddsville to serve in World War II. As of today, only two are still alive. Jim Cleary and Leslie Parshall. Thanks for your stories.
Merritt H. (Toddsville)
Good Morning Big Chuck: My father was Harold McDonald. He was from Norwich. He served with Patton’s army during the Battle of the Bulge. He survived it and came home to his wife and family. Mom and Dad moved to Florida in the 1950s and he died there at the age of 85. Thanks for your stories. They were all heroes.
Aggie C. (Stamford)
Hi Chuck: This is about my Dad, Phil Bresee. He was stationed in the Mariana Islands on the island of Tinian when the Enola Gay took off from Saipan to go on its mission to bomb Hiroshima. He was in the weather service and his duty was to clear planes to land and take off as well as accurately forecast the weather. He cleared the Enola Gay to take off on that historic day, August 6, 1945. He had no idea what was going on other than it was something very big. He was also on duty the next day when he cleared her to land. It is interesting to think what might have happened if Phil Bresee hadn’t been there to clear them for takeoff due to the weather. Dad is now 90 and living in the Thanksgiving Home in Cooperstown.
Dear Big Chuck: My grandfather was named Eddie Armstrong. He was brought up in Chenango County. He always told us kids that he remembered the horrors of war. He served in the Battle of the Bulge. One night his company was attacked by the enemy in the middle of the night. It was snowing hard and he and his buddy, a young kid from Arkansas hightailed it off the battle field after they both ran out of ammunition. They later found out that they a\were among the only two survivors of his whole group of fellow soldiers. He and that young farm boy from Arkansas stayed in touch for decades after the war. They considered themselves two of the lucky ones. They are both gone now. God rest their souls and thank them for their service.
Annie K. (Norwich)
Big Chuck: I was living in Colorado with my grandparents. My grandfather had fruit orchards and was a beekeeper. During the winter months, he did his part on the home front by working in the San Francisco shipyards. He left Colorado in mid-October and returned in March in 1942, 1943, and 1944. He stayed with his brothers in San Francisco.
I remember the rationing of shoes, tires, gas, and sugar. We did not have access to newspapers so everyone was glued to their radios for news of the war.
Bill M. (West Laurens)
Big Chuck: I remember my mother telling me how difficult it was during the war to make ends meet (she had 5 children and Dad was off to war). She told me how she once got all the neighborhood kids together to gather up scrap metal for the war effort. I wasn’t born yet, but she took my brothers and sisters around Unadilla looking for pieces of metal to donate to the military. Can you even imagine doing that today. I was born in 1945 in the Hospital in Sidney. I am glad I didn’t have to go through the hardships during the war. Thanks for your very enjoyable stories every morning!
Mary Alice R. (Gilbertsville)
Dear Big Chuck: My step father-in-law was a WW II POW. He loved sharing what happened to him. His name is Myles “Bob” Sinnott. He was a gunner for the US Army air corps and was shot down. He has told stories of how you didn’t want to eat sometimes because you weren’t sure how long the meat had been dead and just laying there after being bombed. Also he shared how when he finally was released he went home near Utica only to find the door locked. Knocked, to only have strangers answer his knock. He was able to find his grandmother still living in the area and she let him know his parents had moved to Owego where they could find work. They had no way of telling him that they had moved, not like it is today. He received an honorably discharge from the US Army Air Corps. He proudly served his country from April 1, 1943, until November 10, 1945. He served with the 305th B.G.M.A., had fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a recipient of the Purple Heart. He passed away at the age of 85 on December 8,2009. God bless our veterans past, present and future!!!
Melba J. (Sherburne)
Big Chuck: I was on the U.S.S. Stafford, a destroyer escort. Our ship was the first ship to enter Nagasaki harbor after we dropped the A-bomb on the city. What I saw was just terrible. Bodies, twisted steel, smoke. I will never forget it. We went in to rescue American prisoners of war that were held inland by Japan during the war. Luckily they all made it out. It was an unforgettable time for a 19-year old Gunners Mate, 3rd class. Just terrible. One good thing..the armistice with Japan was signed on my birthday, September 2, 1945! I was born on that day in 1926 in Sidney.
Bob Howe, (Oxford)
Big Chuck: I have a box of old letters my Dad wrote during World War II to my Mom. Both are gone now but I cherish these letters so much. My Dad got to see a lot of the world during the war, and Thank God, he stayed out of combat. He served in the U.S. Army in Italy. He was an eye doctor so he treated a lot of wounded G.I.s Like most other vets, he almost never talked about his time in the service. Thanks for your WW II memories each morning.
Wanda K, (Cherry Valley)
Dear Big Chuck: We so enjoy your World War II files each morning. Here is one for you. When I was a kid during World War II we used to pull our blackout curtains shut tight in the evening. This was so “the enemy bombers couldn’t find our house” we were told. And we lived (at the time) in little Factoryville, Pennsylvania! Sounds silly now but it was very serious and scary back then!
Roberta W. (Schenevus)
Big Chuck: I was stationed Dover, England during the war. I was a radioman. Man when D-Day happened in 1944 that place sure got busy in a hurry! Luckily for me I stayed nice and comfy during the invasion in my little radio shack near the famous White Cliffs of Dover.
Edwin R. (West Oneonta)
Big Chuck: That bus mentioned (to Scintilla) was driven by my maternal grandfather, Morris Cleverley Sr. who resided at 29 Center St. Unfortunately, I never met him. (The bus is in the below email)
Greg D. (Sidney)
Hi Big Chuck: We enjoy your WW2 File every morning. I especially enjoyed today’s story about picking milk weed pods. I was a student at Laurens Central School during WW2 and I remember picking milk weed pods and taking them to school. The school gave us the bags. I don’t remember being paid.
I also remember going with my Mother to the designated place to get our ration books. I don’t think I ever knew just how the ration system worked, but I know sugar, and gasoline were 2 of the things rationed. I remember something about shoes too. We also had red and blue ration tokens – about the size of a dime. Cars had stickers to designate how much gas that car was allowed. I think the stickers were blue with an A. I think there may have been red stickers too and maybe other letters.
An old bus took Scintilla workers from our valley to Sidney. I think that same bus ran for all 3 shifts. My father ran a garage and had to work on that bus occasionally. I think he had to try to get the work done before the bus had to make its next run. He also bought a vulcanizing machine so he could vulcanize patches into tires. I think tires were rationed, if they were available at all.
I do remember the first time I saw marshmallows in a store at the end of the war. As a kid, I was very excited. Because of the sugar shortage, we didn’t get much candy.
Thanks for your WW2 File each morning.
Fran T. ( Laurens)