Allen’s Airborne enlistment poster (Skit Nite) is an art form I never get tired of admiring, especially leggy women. It also put me in mind of a story that’s been dancing around in my head for a long time. It actually started on a military note, World War II, well sort of, then swerved way back to Mexico, then back to the Army and Korea, then ending up in Russia and the Balkans, with short stops in a host of other countries.
And it was because of those long-legged women “with no visible means of support”….
“what they do just a’walking down the sidewalk of a city, makes me think about some stray cat gettin’ fed. She’s got a whole lotta motion in her soul, but her soul’s not the palce she lets it show” (Billy Ed Wheeler, “Blistered“)
But if I started with my direct military involvement with these women, I’d have to start in the middle of my affair, and the back story is important. So, I’ll begin at the beginning, with Betty, circa 1942, before I was born.
You see, in ’42, when my Dad shipped out to North Africa, and I was still only a gleam in his eye, my pregnant mom moved to Hamilton, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati, to be with her family. And Dad’s sister, (Aunt) Betty, just out of high school, tagged along.
There was all kinds of work to be had around Cincinnati during the war, for it had quickly become the major east-west military rail center in the US, with thousands of troops arriving and departing in every direction to postings in the east, south and midwest[…]