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West Side Stories 

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In October of '43, Vince wrote from Florida and said he had permission to live off base, so I could come down. Well, I knew it would be easier to get away from the family if I said I was taking a three-month leave instead of saying I was quitting my job and going down there for the duration.

All the servicemen were in for the duration of the war, whether they signed up for two years or three years or four years. They were in until it ended.

I went to my immediate supervisor, Miss Henny--we used to call each other Miss and Mrs. in those days. I told her I wanted a three-month leave and would she please tell Mr. McDonald, who was the big boss.

So Mr. McDonald comes over to my desk and says, "I understand you're pregnant."

I said, "I'm what?"

He said, "Well, Miss Henny told me that you're pregnant and you want a leave." He pulls out the wastebasket and turns it over and sits down on it. And he spends about an hour or more telling me that what my husband wants is for me to stay on that job. Make that money. Put it in the bank. Have something for us to start on when he gets out.

I said, "I think what my husband wants is for me to come down to Florida and live with him."

When I got home that night I was boiling mad that she had told him I was pregnant. Then I got a letter from Vince which said, "I'm sorry I built you up like this, but now they tell us we can't live off the base." He was a sergeant by then, but you had to be a staff sergeant to live off base. So I didn't move down until March of '44.

But you know, I was so happy--'cause I could go back to work the next morning and tell Miss Henny, "I'm not going anywhere."

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