"Philly in the 1940's  ...  My Trip down Memory Lane"

 

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Fran and Bill Miller

 

"A very handsome Bill Miller married my very pretty Aunt Fran (Frances McCauley) on May 10, 1940 .. and perfectly matched best describes the relationship they shared.  Together .. they showered me with much affection .. even took me out on their dates (I sat in the rumble seat of their automobile). At age 3 .. I was the Flower Girl in their lovely wedding at St. William's Catholic Church in Philadelphia.

All of us (including my Mother, Aunts and Uncles) lived with my maternal Grandmother at 6726 Rising Sun Ave. in Northeast Philly. In 1942 .. Uncle Bill shipped out for overseas duty with the 1st Marine Division of our United States Marine Corps  .. to serve Our Country during World War II.  My Grandmother immediately and proudly displayed the symbolic One Star Flag in our parlor window .. indicating we now had a member of our family serving in the Armed Forces.  Even though I was just a wee lass at the time .. I vividly recall the overwhelming sadness all of us felt surrounding the sudden absence of Uncle Bill's presence in our everyday life.  Personally speaking .. I missed his dynamite smile, sparkling personality .. and overall caring nature.

My Mother's given name would be "Mary" .. but she was a regular "Rosie the Riveter" on the assembly line at Brown Instrument Co. on Germantown Ave. in Philly.  Rain, sleet or snow never kept her from reporting for duty each and every day during those war years. Mom was a hard working gal .. both at home and on the job.  As a youngster (eldest of 12 brothers and sisters) .. and being raised during the depression era .. she would quickly learn the value of a buck .. how to make it stretch .. and the importance of being a real pro when it came to shopping with limited "ration tickets" during the war.   Indeed, my Mom would remain an excellent role model for me throughout her life.

My Victorian Grandmother (Mary Veronica Mann) was quite the Grand Dame !!  In addition to being the Proud Matriarch of an extremely large family .. with Pennsylvania roots steeped in rich history .. she also made a valuable contribution to the war effort in a most meaningful fashion.  For a full description of her patriotic deed, please click the link "In Search of .. Tommy Logan" in the lower portion of this segment.

Even though just about everything was rationed .. and the overall financial budget quite limited in our household .. my family still managed to muster up a few extra coins for a little bit of fun.  My most favorite form of entertainment would be spending an entire day with my Grandmother in downtown Philly on Market and Walnut Streets. Early morning would be spent touring all of the gaily decorated department store windows at Lit Brothers, Gimbles, Wanamaker and Strawbridge & Clothier. Our lunch break would always be at the famous Horn & Hardart Automat .. where the shiny chrome and marble interior .. intoxicating aroma of freshly brewed coffee .. and a variety of culinary delights teasingly tucked behind coin operated glass windows .. greeted us at the revolving door entrance. After lunch, we would walk over to the Earle Theatre for an afternoon complete with a live Stage Show featuring celebrity performers  ..   followed by the Pathe News  .. and a newly released movie selected by my Grandmother (which usually had a theme based around a Song and Dance extravaganza with dazzling costumes .. or sentimental overtones such as "The Best Years of Our Lives").  At days' end .. we would hop on both the Market Street Subway and #26 Fox Chase Trolley bound for home.   Nanny (my grandmother) was forever on duty throughout that long transit ride .. but a weary me fell sound asleep in her protective, maternal lap.

One particular day in 1945 .. my Aunt Fran called me down from upstairs and told me that someone wanted to see me.  Needless to say .. I was absolutely thrilled to see Uncle Bill .. all spit-shined and squared away in his Marine Corps uniform .. standing in our dining room.  Even though 3 very long years had passed since the last time I had seen him .. my Uncle Bill was still that one in a million type guy .. who never lost his natural ability to make everyone who knew him ..  feel like one in a million. 

Bill and Fran Miller relocated from Pennsylvania to Florida in 1962 .. which would remain their love-filled home for the next 35 years. They sadly parted on July 20, 1997 when Uncle Bill passed away at age 76.  My Uncle Bill is buried at the Veteran's Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.  Aunt Fran continued to reside in Port St. Lucie, Florida until her passing at age 86 on September 16, 2008. Her one, burning desire of being once again with Uncle Bill was fulfilled ..  as she is now buried next to him with a grave marker which says quite simply  .. "United with My One True Love".  For sure .. in my book .. this "perfectly matched" duet shall forever remain TWO of God's very finest creations !

In addition to my reminiscence of wonderful times spent with Aunt Fran and Uncle Bill .. other fond memories of Philly in the 1940's would have to be the Music all of us would be drawn too on a daily basis.  Parades were quite popular.  Living on a main street offered many rewards .. especially to those of us who sat on the curb or on our front porch .. anxiously awaiting our well executed Drum and Bugle Corps and colorful String Bands to display their talents on the primary parade route.  And when the parades had passed by .. there was the sheer magic of our parlor radio .. which had a soothing way of encircling our entire homestead with foot-tapping, romantic, sentimental melodies of the era.  In other words .. we had our very own Stage Door Canteen .. and it was pretty neat.

I do believe the familiar quote ..  'It was the best of times and worst of times'  ..  pretty much sums up the overall ambience all of us experienced during the 1940's.  To those of you who remember when .. please join me in a musical trip down memory lane. To those of you who were not yet born .. please take a minute and listen to a small sampling of sounds which captured the hearts of both myself and your beloved ancestors".  - - Helen More

 

Our Hit Parade

 

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"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" .. Andrew Sisters

 

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"Boogie Woogie Medley" .. Tommy Dorsey

 

 

"Begin the Beguine  ..   Artie Shaw

"Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me"  ..  Duke Ellington

"Georgia on My Mind"  ..   Carmichael & Gorrell

"Getting Sentimental Over You"  ..  Tommy Dorsey

"Here's That Rainy Day"   ..  Stan Kenton

"I'll Be Seeing You"   ..  Kahal & Fain

"In the Mood"  ..   Glenn Miller

"Moonlight Serenade"   ..  Glenn Miller

"Stardust"  ..  Hoagy Carmichael

"String of Pearls  ..  Glenn Miller

"Take the A Train"  ..   Duke Ellington

"The Christmas Song"   ..  Mel Torme & Robert Wells

"Unforgettable"  ..   Irving Gordon

 

 

 

" That's the way it was .. at my home .. in the 1940's"

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Helen Marie Melly 

Northeast Philly .. 1946

 

"In Search of  ...  Tommy Logan"

 

Proudly Presented by:

Helen Marie Melly More

Marlborough, Massachusetts 

10 November 2017

"Happy 242nd  Birthday to Our United States Marine Corps"

Visit  .. "From the Halls of Montezuma"

 

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Veteran's Day .. 11 November 2017

"I dedicate this chapter to All who served with our Armed Forces during World War II"

 

Listen to .. "Military Salute"

 

 

 

Acknowledgements:

Big Bands  -   Masterful Midi Sequence Composer:  Gary Wachel

Music from the 1940's   -    Lisa's Nostalgia Cafe

 

 

In addition .. please select any portion of the following  underlined   Chapters:

 

Civil War  - Pennsylvania Regiments

The Blue Uniform         My Family  ..   A Call to Arms          "Dear Mother" ...  1862 Letter             A Proper Burial

Roll of Honor ... Our Fallen Lads            The Drummer Boy           Medal of Honor - Sgt. Pursell  

104th PA Regiment        Battle of Fair Oaks         69th PA - Irish Brigade of Philadelphia

72nd PA - Sgt. George Leidy Hess

"The Gettysburg Address"

"Dear Mrs. Bixby" ... 1864 Letter - President Lincoln

From the Halls of Montezuma - U.S. Marine Corps

"Pledge of Allegiance"

My name is ... "Old Glory"

September 11, 2001  .. "Let's roll"

Vietnam  ..   "The Brotherhood"

Appomattox .. "The Blue and Gray"

 

 

Please .. Visit My Facebook

 

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