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LORNA (MACLAUGHLIN) STEVENSON

USNR, SKD 2/c

768 23 61

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I was born in Collingswood, NJ (5 miles from Philadelphia), January 17, 1924. Out of high school I attended Strayers Business College in Philly, then got a job with Smith, Kline and French, a pharmaceutical company, in the order department.

As my brother was in the Marine Air Corp (a Naval Academy grad), and my sister in the Navy Nurse Corp., I was determined to join the Navy too! I had my physical before I was 20, and went down on my lunch hour on my birthday, to be sworn in. Funny thing is when I told my boss (who was hard of hearing) that I had joined the WAVES, she shouted out YOU WANT A RAISE? Was I embarrassed . . . . . . .

On February 14, I was off to Hunter College, NYC, most of you know how that was. We all had lots of fun, thought everything was a lark. Found I loved to drill and sing, etc. Testing resulting in either mechanics (which I like) or business. I went off to Milledgeville, GA. We took over the Georgia State College for Women for 3 months. Some of us were invited to a medical school fraternity party and thatís where I met my husband-to-be, a real Georgia cracker!

After storekeeper school, I was stationed in New York City for 10 months. Lots of fun and things to do. I worked in Brooklyn at the Armed Guard Center, we paid the sailors when they came back from overseas. We lived in an apartment complex in Manhattan.

When it was possible to sign up for overseas, I was ready to go. We went on a troop ship which carried three thousand sailors and armed by Marines. They gave the women the hospital quarters, three bunks deep. As it was war time the ship was blackened at night, quite impressive.

I was stationed at Pearl Harbor, lived in a Quonset hut. I worked in the Bank of Hawaii in Honolulu selling war bonds, always worried that the Asians could never cash those bonds with the names we wrote on them. We had a terrible time understanding what they said! I got a fungus infection while there on my hands and feet and was sent to the menís hospital daily to soak them in jensen violet, or they wrapped me up in whole penicillin taken from a jar in the refrigerator!!! When the war was over I marched around with my feet in waxed paper, banging garbage can lids.

We became engaged in Hawaii, Rick was stationed there too, waiting for the invasion of Japan. I was discharged in March 1946 as a SKD 2nd class, sent from Honolulu to Washington, D.C. All the cherry blossoms were in bloom, a beautiful sight.

Rick was stationed on an aircraft carrier in Bremerton, so I flew back out from New Jersey and we were married June 1, 1946. The ship and I moved from there to Tacoma and Seattle where he finally had enough points to be discharged. We lived in Minneapolis for 2 years where he did his residency and I took Home Economics at the University, both on the G.I. Bill. We settled in Spokane, until October 1952 when Rick had to go back in the Korean war. We were off to San Diego with 6 month and 18 month old babies. He went to Japan for 8 months. I stayed there with other navy wives until he came home and once again was discharged in May, 1954. We had three more children, all born in Spokane, two girls and three boys.

I have always had many hobbies, knitting sewing, gardening, golf, hand-made pottery, I transcribed Braille and I like to go to Coeur díAlene lake in the summer.

Rick died of bladder cancer nearly 10 years ago. I have 10 grandchildren in Spokane, Seattle and Scottsdale, AZ.

 


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