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Forum: How Did The War Affect Us? [STICKY]



Created on: 07/11/12 04:41 PM Views: 2332 Replies: 2
Are there any sociologist types among us, or just people who are good at organizing questionnaires and dealing with the results?
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2012 04:41 PM

Are there any sociologist types among us, or just people who are good at organizing questionnaires and dealing with the results? Nancy Self comes to mind. There must be more. I would love to develop this idea with others.


We were all conceived in 1943. How did the War affect us?


Of course, there were all sorts of situations. Dad overseas, family lives with grandparents. Family with babies lives by a U.S. military post. Mothers alone with little kids, most likely. The tension of worrying, and reading news stories.


Occupational exceptions—Ann Bottger Morris thinks St. Louis with its big industries will be full of them. That would be life as usual but with ration stamps and scrap drives.


I have a hunch that sometimes the war put us in odd places. A college classmate, unfortunately, was at Los Alamos and has cancer. My dad was too old to serve overseas. Seems to me he could have kept his job in packaging, as an occupational exception. But he joined and was an officer with the Quartermaster Corps (very unglamorous) in Charlotte, NC. I wonder if being German-American made him more enthusiastic about joining.


Then when my parents returned to St. Louis, there was a housing shortage. My parents used my grandmother's insurance money and went in on a fourplex in Clayton with a friend. Quite a classy apartment, in the Glenridge school district. When I was there, thru 4th grade, I think it was 85% Jewish because there were three kids in class on Yom Kippur. Great teachers! I liked it a lot. It was my old neighborhood. Nobody else in my family felt that way.


Now I understand there are quite a few Asians at Glenridge.


(Books have been written about German-Americans in WWII in Minnesota.)


I never thought much about World War II, even though my parents were very patriotic. Except I did play refugees with my Storybook dolls—I don't know where that came from! Why didn't I talk more with my dad about it? For awhile I guess I was just another snotty young adult, thought I could have been a lot worse.


Now I wish my dad were around to talk about it.


Ann and I had a few questions jotted down.


My concern is, I'm great at asking questions and getting a lot of information, but terrible at organizing the results.


:Let me know what you think.


Thanks for working on the reunion!




Mary Hoffmann Hunt
(906) 483-4605

RE: Are there any sociologist types among us, or just people who are good at organizing questionnaires and dealing with the results?
Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013 09:24 PM

When the topic said 'how did the war affect us" I thought war meant the Viet Nam war because that really affected me and choices I made in life.  would like to hear how Viet Nam affected others.

Are there any sociologist types among us, or just people who are good at organizing questionnaires and dealing with the results?
Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 09:49 PM

Carolyn, I would certainly like to know about hjow the Vietnam War affected us all, too. It is a huge topic, and based on the response to my Waorld War II query (one response!), I think it is beyond most of our ability or interest in describing. But it is so IMPORTANT!  

Why don't you and others try to make this a topic of discussion? It's way more significant that getting the location of Jon's Drive-In.


Jim Tice fought in Vietnam. He seems to be able to deal with bad stuff with a lot of equanimity.Don Hunt (my ex) was drafted by Webster's draft board because he failed to enroll in the University of Michigan for the summer semester. Half his artillery unit went to Vietnam, half to Germany. We were married in Bad Kissingen, home of a very small base near the Iron Curtain, six weeks after I graduated from college in 1966. Talk about dumb! But living in Germany a year was a great experience feor me.

Vietnam seemed really, really far away from Germany. Those soldiers I met who had been there liked it (this was 1965) because it was fun, I think, with readily available marijuana. (!)


What was really hard for me was coming back to the U.S., to Michigan and Ann Arbor, where I had never lived, and being in the middle of the antiwar protests on campus. The sanctimonious  student protests were directed as much against the soldiers as the government.....and those soldiers had been my neighbors. Also the fathers of the students in classes at Wurzburg American High School, where I did my student teaching.


The slurs and insults on the soldiers made me sick...and angry. One really sweet student in the junior English class I taught had her fiance killed in Vietnam, and I got to watch her dissolve in tears for weeks. Wrenching. I basically tuned out of the war coverage, except for seeing McNamara's body count bs on TV. I hated the bomb scares in the library, and I have never been in a march (except for holiday parades more recently as a Houghton County Democrat, showing the colors.) 


I am about to watch that TV history of the Vietnam War as remedial learning. I think I can handle it. "Apocalypse Now" is one of my son's favorite movies. Jim Tice says it bears little connection with reality as he saw it.


I have the greatest contempt for McNamara (he was "too smart by half," as the British say....a person who didn't know the meaning of humility or honest doubt). Kind of like Hillary, to whom I think I could very well be related, on my Welsh side. The kind of people who defer to smart people like him are no leaders at all. Orchestrating the deaths of so many soldiers by crunching numbers.....without, of course, having any skin in the game.


Ironically, in Ann Arbor during the War we walked by McNamara's former home, a 1920s Tudor house on a winding street, on our regular Sunday walk. He lived there when he was president of of the Post WWII Whiz Kids. He was in a liberal discussion group with Neil Staebler, an old-time liberal politician and Ann Arbor businessman with a huge heart and concern for tellling it like it is. (Neil gave my infant career in grassroots journalism a big boost, incidentally.)' I love biography. McNamara was from a lower middle-class Irish Catholic background in San Francisco, and ashamed of it, it seems. In Ann Arbor McNamara belonged to the First Presbyterian Church, the biggest and most influential Protestant church in town.  

Edited 02/08/14 09:52 PM