Grandma Dineen’s 1943 Diary

With her husband already in San Francisco and her three sons off fighting the war, she boarded a train in Omaha and headed west with her young daughter to join her husband and start a new life.

It was a remarkable journey by a remarkable woman.

My grandparents were living in Omaha when my grandfather was recruited by Bank of America to come to work in San Francisco. It was wartime, men were off fighting – and women didn’t work in banks!

It wa supposed to be a temporary position. They ended up staying. Grandpa died in 1953 and Grandma in 1970.

The forward to the diary is written by my Aunt Kathleen – their youngest child and the one who was dragged across the USofA at the ripe old age of 11.

Foreword by Kathleen Dineen Kelly

Jack and Nita were married in Dec. 1942 in Gainesville, Texas where Jack was stationed. My parents were present for their wedding. It was only a week later that my Dad left for S.F. and a new job.

He left on Jan. 4, 1943, his birthday. My Mom was left to see Tom and Dick off to war, close and rent their house, pack all the stuff, see to the cleaning, fix whatever went wrong … all of this in the midst of a very cold winter.

She then traveled half way across the country to make a home for my Dad and me … a place where she knew no one and times were hard with the war on and her worries about her “boys”.

I think it’s fascinating to read about how many letters were written during that time. Postage was 3 cents then. The servicemen got it free.

Towards the end of the journal she seems to have made some friends and I’m sure that helped her loneliness. Imagine her making my whole school uniform by hand! Her sewing machine had been left behind in Omaha.

The Telenews theater she speaks about was near the bank where my Dad worked. It showed at least 90 minutes of news continually. Most of it concerning the War. Maybe she felt closer to her sons by watching.

The Shields family from Los Angeles were old Omaha friends that had moved to California a few months before we did.

Don’t you love the Febr. 29th entry?

In those days San Francisco was loaded with servicemen. My Dad was always bringing some lonesome kid home for dinner. I don’t know how she fed everybody with rationing and government freezing. The Bay was full of war ships and troop transports. Quite a sight to see the convoys go out under the G.G. Bridge.

The John Massey she talks about was another old Omaha friend who moved to S.F.

Bill Dineen was a shirt tail cousin of my Dad’s who was the Fire Chief at the Presidio. These others like Ed Mulick, Walter Lemm, Mike Holovak, Chuck Dugdale were all servicemen who spent a day or 2 with us before shipping overseas. A lot of these kids were Omaha boys.

The poem at the end was stuck in the last page of the log. Enough to bring tears to your eyes. Anyway, it should give you a glimpse into the life of a very moxie lady. Be glad you have her genes.

January, 1943

Jan. 1: The Tofferis, Bonaccis, Whites, Julia Murphy, Gene & Maggie Purchase, the Pierces gave a surprise party for Dad. Lots of food and beer and a $6.00 purse) to buy him something. Dad quit the Treasurer’s office yes~after 18 years service.

Jan. 2: Elizabeth (Ba) and Frank and family came from Lincoln to see Tom. Roads awfully icy. Ruth, Lawrence, Marnie and Sid, Joe and the children,  Mayme and Leo came over tonight. It was very icey.

Jan. 3: Lawrence brought things up to send to Jack and Nita. Joe came over this evening and we had Tom’s birthday cake. Joe would like to make the trip with Dad.

Jan.4: Monday. Dad left at 6 a.m. today for San Francisco and a new job. Had 152 gals of gas and took the southern route. Hate to see him go alone. The roads are a sheet of ice.

Jan 5: Trying to pick up. Closed the sleeping porch yesterday and Dick and I moved beds. Walked to the Hinky Dinky for groceries. Boy, was it slippery.

Jan. 6: Washed today. No news. The boys went out and Kathleen and I thought Dad might call from Jack’s (in Texas). No luck.

Jan 7: Thursday: Took a specimen to Dr. Connolly and he said Kathleen’s kidney infection had cleared up. We’ll see if regular food makes a difference. No word from Tom. Roy Peirce called to see (if we’d heard).

Jan. 8: Ironed. No word from Dad or Jack. Bill Nedley came over tonight and Bill, Tommy, Dick and I played Pitch. My first time. Dick popped corn and.1 made cocoa.

Jan. 9: Dick and I shopped. Walked from the A & P home. My feet soaked. Tommy took Kathleen and I to the basketball game. Creighton 65, St. Louise 25. Mr. & Mrs. Beck brought us home and we had ice cream at REEDS. Had a letter from Dad this p.m. He was at Jack’s.

Jan. 10: Sunday. I went to church at 9. Had a ride both ways. Kathleen went with the boys at 1 2. This afternoon I went to Holy Hour at St. Cecilia’s. Walked both ways. Ruth gave me Nita’s picture to put on the piano next to Jack’s. Tom put Peg’s next and then asked her which girl she liked best. She said The one on the end because I have to live with her’ Meaning herself.

Jan 11: Dick went to the dentist. Tom had exams. Dick’s papers aren’t back from Lincoln yet. Had a card from Dad. Have all my best linens washed and ironed and ready to pack.

Jan. 12: Dick and I cleaned the basement. Tom had 2 exams. No news from Dad. Keek Bonacci called. She wants me to go to the wrestling matches tomorrow. Kathleen and I alone. Boys out. Had a letter from Jack. Wrote Jack, Stella, mayme Pendergast, and Dad.

Jan. 13: Mending sox. Retreat starts for Tom. Dick will make it this afternoon. Ruth called, also Mrs. Beck. Went to see the gals rassle with Frank and Keek. Had a beer with Otto Beck and the Bonaccis. No mail from Tom. Alma and Joe stopped by. Helen and Jim Peirce called.

Jan. 14: Took on the attic today. Air Mail letter from Dad. He is at George and Betty Shields in Los Angeles. Joe and Alma stopped for pass. Worked on my scrap book tonight.

Jan. 15: Washed. Maggie called. They are moving to Papillian. Mailed Jack and Mayme’s letters. Stella and Clair’s letters too. Dick went to work for the White’s today.  Ruth, Keek and Lucille called. We had postcards today from Dad in Arizona.

Jan. 16: Leo Tofferi brought me some bread and milk and I went to the market for meat, etc. It is getting very cold and the wind is strong, Tommy and I went to the basketball game. Frank Hronek took us down. Swell game. 4000 attended. Creighton 32 and the Okla. Aggies 24 Mr and Mrs Beck and I had hamburgers and coffee. No news from Dad.

Jan. 17: Sunday. Didn’t get to go to communion. Tom didn’t shut the front door tight and a strong wind blew it open. The stoker had to be shut off as the motor was awfully hot. It was 6 below zero when I stopped at the drug store. Dick went out for dinner. Art O’Leary and Kad called. Sure awfully lonesome.

Jan. 18: Dad called from San Francisco last night. It was swell to hear his voice. The car. broke down and he sold it. No address for him yet but he will send one on tomorrow.

Jan. 1 9: 15 degrees below zero and the fire out. Dick and I nearly froze. Got it going but it didn’t work well. Andy and Lyle fixed it this evening. Joe & Alma stopped by.

Jan. 20: The fire is out again. Andy and Lyle worked and finally got it fixed. Jack has the flu. Dad sent his address. The Draft Board called Dick. He takes his exam tomorrow.

Jan. 21: The furnace working OK. Mayme called. It isn’t so cold today. Dick took his physical and mental tests for the Navy. They will let him know Monday if he is taken. Looks like his eyes may be the cause of the delay.

Jan. 22: Friday. Went to Dr. Connolly’s office. Kathleen OK. I got a shot. Awfully lonesome. Lucille called. She said Leo would take me to the store in the a.m. if I called but I had too much of a headache.

Jan 23: Met Dick at the store. Boy, is it cold. Tom went to the Phalanx Ball and Dick went out with Teen Seitz. Kathleen and I listened to Creighton vs. Great Lakes game. Score was Creighton 55, Great Lakes 63. 10 below zero.

Jan. 24: Kathleen and I went to St. Margaret Mary’s at 1 2 Mass. Otto Beck brought us home . Jim Pierce invited us to chicken dinner . It was swell. Roy came and got us and brought us home. It is awfully cold and windy. Mrs. Porter called to see how we were.

Jan. 25: Mailed an air mail letter to Dad. Today I got 2 letters from Jack and one from Nita. Dick at at the recruiting station all day. Has to report Thurs. a.m. for induction and then be sent to Idaho Thurs. night.

Jan. 26: Dick helped around here. Took out the clinkers from the stoker and burned junk. Tommy is working for Chip Bowley on the Infantile Paralysis Drive.

Jan. 27: Elizabeth & Frank came up from Lincoln and bought Grampa’s bed. They are being transferred here. Mayme, Leo and Jimmy were up for awhile. Navy Rec. Station called this a.m. The Omaha quota is full. Dick is sure disappointed. His papers are to be sent back to the Draft Board and he may have to go in a week via Ft. Crook

Jan. 28: Mama came over today and had lunch with Dick, Kathleen and me. We went over stuff in the basement and she said she wanted the old tables, chairs, etc. Dick took her to the streetcar.

Jan. 29: A man came for the stuff for Mama. Dick helped. Then he helped Mama. He went to the show with Justine Seitz. He was only gone about 15 minutes when the Navy called. He has to report at 8 a.m. for induction. It makes me feel sick inside.

Jan. 30: Sat. Baked a pie. and cake this a.m. Dick at the Navy Recruiting being inducted. Had dinner and afterwards Joe & Alma, Keek & Frank came over. Also Kad. Tried to call Jack but no luck. Mayme, Leo, Helen, Herman, Ba and Frank at the depot to see Dick off. So hard to have him go. Train left and I went with Joe and Alma and had coffee. Joe brought us home. Tommy also saw him off.

Jan. 31: Sun. Kathleen, Tom and I went to 12 Mass at St. Margaret Mary’s. Mr. Beck brought us home. He wanted us to come to their house but we were invited to the Tofferi’s for dinner. Leo came and took us home. We miss Dick and Dad so much.

February, 1943

Febr. 1: Monday Washed today. Miss Dick and Dad so much. Tom wants to play basket ball 2 evening a week. He says he doesn’t feel like sitting around the house. Tom and I played 4 games of double solitaire. He beat me. Had a letter from Dad and also Nita.

Febr. 2: Western Union called. Dad sent me some money. Bought Kathleen some valentines. Tom had a date with Peg. Kathleen and I at home alone. Joe stopped for a few minutes. Will see about Dick’s watch deal. Mayme called, also Keek. Had a nice letter from Claire.

Febr. 3: Swell letter from Dad and one from Jack. Ironed. Tom, Kathleen and I went to St. John’s to have our throats blessed. Stopped at Mayme & Leo’s. They took us out to Ba and Frank’s and then brought us home. Lydia called and also Lucille.

Febr. 4: Dick’s birthday. Got a letter from him .. the first word we have had from him. Kathleen and I home alone for dinner. Dick hasn’t sent us an address so I can’t send him a cake.

Febr. 5: Tonight we wrote letters and listened to the Creighton vs Aggie game. Creighton 40, Aggies 38.

Febr. 6: Kathleen went up to school and made a Valentine box. Tonight Frank and Keek and the Hoods stopped and took us down to Maggie’s in Papillion. Miss our dear Daddy so much. It’s no fun without him. Got home awfully late.

Febr. 7: Went to 10 Mass. Kathleen went to the show. Tommy went out. He is lost since the boys have gone. Husers brought us some milk and stayed awhile.

Febr. 8: Got letters from Dick and Dad. After dinner Mayme, Leo and Jim took Kath and I over to Marne’s house in Council Bluffs.

Febr 9: The temperature is down to 5 below. I sent Dick a cake. Had go downtown to get Kathleen some warm mittens. We are alone tonight and listened to the radio and played solitaire.

Febr. 10: Joe was over tonight. We had a letter and Kathleen had a Valentine from her Daddy. Kathleen and Carol dressed up and had lots of fun and giggles.

Febr. 11: Tonight Tom, Kath and I went over to Jenkins Open House for John. He leaves on Monday for the Army. Afterwards we stopped at Nell Hronek’s. Her Frank leaves the 25th for the Air Corps.

Febr. 12: Slept clear thru the alarm this a.m. so Kathleen didn’t go to school. This p.m. she collected junk for the scrap drive. She was trying to get brass and copper but didn’t have much luck.

Febr. 13: Went to the b.b. game. Creighton 67, Tulsa 25. Pinky Knowles made a basket from the foul line. Saw John Albers and he asked for Jack.

Febr. 14: Went to 10 Mass. Peirces stopped for a few minutes. Herman came and picked us up. Went to their house for dinner. After we went over to 8a’s for a few minutes. Took Carol home and visited at Joe’s for awhile.

ebr. 15: Kathleen and I both sick. Guess it’s the flu. Tom brought Peg’s engagement ring home today. He is working and has to leave for the Army soon. Creighton 49, Drake 47. Listened to the game on the radio.

Febr. 16: Tuesday. Nothing exciting today. Just packed and washed.  Listened to the radio.

Febr. 17: Joe and Carol stopped tonight. Tommy out.

Febr: 18: Had a letter from Jack and also one from Dad.

Febr. 19: Friday. Chick Connery brought some wallpaper samples and we picked out paper for the’living room, dining room and hall. Went downtown and got Kathleen some shoes. Also a 3 star service pin for her and Dad. Mailed Dad’s.

Febr. 20: Tonight we went to the bb game. Creighton 45, Drake 26. Afterwards Keek stopped and got Sunny. We had a beer and then Keek and Sunny went home.

Febr. 21: Sun. Called the man to paper the house. Will paper Tuesday. Kathleen and I went to 12 Mass. Kathleen went to the picture show. Tommy played basketball. Jack and Nita called from Gainesville.

Febr 22: Went downtown and got Kathleen new shoes. Her first teen-age. The Tofferi’s came over and spent part of the evening.

Febr. 23: A Mr. Neturg papered the living room, dining room and halls. The breakfast room looked like heck so bought new paper. Also, Joe picked me up and we got paper for the upstairs rooms. Kathleen has a cold and backache tonight. Just changeable weather!

Febr. 24: Wednesday. Finished papering house. Paid Mr. Neturg $20.00 for his labor. Then I started to clean the mess up. Was a big job. But, the house looks very nice. Only hope I can rent it now.

Febr.25: Thurs. Nothing to do but get things cleaned up and get at the packing. Don’t know what to do with all the stuff.

Febr. 26: Kathleen got excused from school for the Benson/Prep game. I walked over to get our ration books and then to Frank and Keek’s for dinner. Frank got home at 6:30 awfully tired. He took Kathleen and me home on his way to work.

Febr. 27: Sat. Had a swell letter from Dad and he has a place for us to live. Went downtown and met Lydia and Alma. Had lunch at the Gypsy Tea Room thanks to Lydia. Went down to the Western Union for the money Dad sent me. Had Alma and Joe come over. Tom and Peg going to a Formal dance. Tom gave Peg her ring.

Febr. 28: Sunday. Kathleen and I went to 10 Mass. I advertised the house for rent. Weather was bad and had just a few people to look at it. Terribly lonesome Sunday.


March, 1943

March 1. Monday Answered phone or door all day. People want you to give them everything. Lots of them are just plain curious. It’s a great life. Tom played basketball tonight.

March 2. Snow and colder than heck. Took a cab and went over to Papa and Mama’s for dinner tonight. Only night that Tommy could go. 5 below zero.

March 3. Kathleen got special delivery from Dick. Tried to call Jack and Nita so Tom could talk to them but no dice. Tom went to a Bingo party and Kath to bed. I wrote letters.

March 4. Went to basketball game with Mrs. Beck. Kansas U. 33 Creighton 56. A sellout. Picked up Kathleen at Mayme’s after the game.

March 5. Friday. The girls in Kathleen’s class had a surprise party for her. I was invited but had advertized the mangle. Need the money so had to stay home. Peg, Tommy, Kathleen and I went to Ba and Frank’s for dinner. It snowed like heck.

March 6. Tom leaves today for Camp Dodge. Alma and Joe came over and took us down to the depot. Took Kathleen to their house afterwards. Tonight we went over to the Bonacci’s. it was Frank’s birthday. Gene and Maggie stayed with us all night and left at church time. House is awfully empty.

March 7. Sunday. Advertised house. Snow and cold. Had a few calls on the house. Maggie and Gene had breakfast with us then left. No one called all day. Kathleen went over to the Bonacci’s after church so I was alone all afternoon.

March 8. Sold the piano to Dorothy Hughes for $60.00. Kathleen went over to Mrs. Jenkin’s for a recital. Wrote letters and listened to the radio. There are strings on the sale of the piano. If we move back we can buy it back.

March 9: Tuesday. vyent downtown and paid bills with the $60. We had lunch downtown.Hot roast beef sandwiches. Had a letter from Tom.

March 10. Ash Wednesday. Still showing house. Mr Hargleroad said I wasn’t asking enough rent for it and didn’t get the right people. Ruth and Lawrence Bates took Kathleen and me to church. Must be losing my mind … we ate meat for dinner.

March 11. Mayme, Leo, Jimmy and Jack Gentleman were over tonight. Had so many calls on the house I was between the door bell and telephone all at one time. Lots of real good prospects this time.

March 12. Friday. Rented the house furnished to Ken Morrison of St. Paul, Minn. for $75 a month. Had about 100 calls for it. Joe and Alma and came over tonight and were going to take us for a ride but the phone and door kept us too busy. Sent a wire to Dad.

March 13. Joe stopped again tonight. Kathleen and I wrote letters and listened to the radio.

March 14. Sunday. Patty, Joe and Carol came over and picked us up. Went to So. Omaha for Mrs. Crellin. Had a nice dinner at Alma’s. They have sure been swell to us. Kathleen stayed all night.

March 15. Cleaned and scrubbed the house. Express picked up boxes to be shipped to S.F. Cost $13.52 for 300 lbs. Joe picked us up and we stayed with him and Alma all night. It was very cold and Joe had to take a rug off the floor to cover us all. My blankets were packed.

March 16. Tuesday. Kathleen and I got permanents today. Had lunch with Hazel at King Fong’s. Had hamburgers in the evening. Kathleen went to Joe’s and I went home to get bags. Joe took me out to Mama’s and then we spent the night at Joe and Alma’s.

March 17. Wednesday. Joe took us to the depot. Mayme, Leo and Jimmy were there too. Arrived in Kansas City where Stella met us at the depot and  spent about 1 hour with us. Took the train at 5:1 5 from KC. Swell train. Changed at Oklahoma City. Bum train then. Arrived in Gainesville, Texas at 6: 10 a.m.

March 18. Kathleen slept nearly all morning. Jack called at noon. What a thrill. Nita and I wrote letters. Jack was home for dinner. It was really nice. Betty and Bob came up for awhile. I went to the U.S.O. with Mrs. Hutton. Jack had to go back to camp.

March 19. Nita washed and I packed my bags while Kathleen slept. In the afternoon Bob took us out to Camp. Saw the chapel and Jack’s barracks. Jack came home for dinner and took us to the train. Train was late so we waited until 10 o’clock for it. That didn’t give him much time to get back to camp.

March 20. Changed trains at Ft. Worth. Lots of Kansas Univ. boys on the train. Train very crowded. We rode all day through Texas plains and bare hills … and more hills. Arrived at EI Paso about 6 o’clock and changed trains again for Los Angeles. A better train this time.

March 21. Sunday. No Mass today. Just rode. Beautiful country. Desert is in bloom and such beautiful colors. Arrived in L>A> at6 p.m. Took taxi to George and Betty’s house ($2.50). Had lunch and beer and gabbed. Then went over to Bob Beck’s They have a very cute house. Maryanne Sheilds is sure growing up fast.

March 22. Went to the store and after lunch we went over to Wilshire Drive and bought Kathleen a coat and a housecoat for Dorothy Huser for her birthday. After dinner George took us for a long ride and down to the ocean. We also saw the camouflaged aircraft plants. Saw Will Rogers home too.

March 23. Tonight we talked to Dad in S.F. Swell. Today we went downtown. Shopped awhile then went to the Clifton House and listened to the singing waiters and the beautiful organ music. It is a very beautiful place. Fountains and flowers and birds. We had dinner there at the cafeteria. Went to the depot to make reservations for S.F. Then went to Olvera Street and bought Kathleen and Maryanne Mexican dolls.

March 24. George took us to the train this a.m. Really travelled in style. A beautiful train and the scenery the same. Mountains and ocean, fruit trees in bloom as far as you could see. Went through tunnels too. Arrived at SF at 6 o’clock. Dad met us. Our poor daddy is quite thin but still he’s the best.

March 25. Thurs. Busy today getting lined up. Nothing has arrived but our trunks. Went to the store and bought something to eat. No butter and it is “frozen” until Monday. It was good to get here as I don’t think I could have taken it much longer. Tommy is at Camp Roberts, CA. which is just 199 miles from here.

March 26. I am getting things going a little. Kathleen is very tired so I won’t send her to school until the first of the week. Went up to church. It has a shrine to St. Jude. It is called St. Dominic’s and has dominican nuns.

March 27. Went down on Fillmore street and bought chicken as the meat they had was very poor. After dinner we went down on Market street. Also went to church at St Boniface downtown. A very beautiful Franciscan church. Never saw so many servicemen in my life. This street is different than any I every saw. There are four streetcar lines running on it. The cable cars comes down the street and turns on a turn table.

March 28. Went to church at 9 a.m. Had breakfast then went down and took a cable car out to the Fishermen’s Wharf. , Had prawns. It is quite a sight~” When we came back we took a bus out to the Sloup’s. They live in Corte Madera. He is working in the ship yards as a welder. He looks fine. Their children are sure cute.

March 29. Monday. Kathleen and I saw Sister this afternoon. She starts school tomorrow. Tuition is $1 .10 a month. Visited at church. Tonight Dad, Kathleen and I took a long walk to a park out on Scott street.

March 30. Kathleen started school today and I started to get things lined up a little. Went to church and the store. Dad, Kath and I went for a long walk after dinner.

March 31. Dad brought home Bill Dineen with him. He stayed for dinner and we had a long talk.

April, 1943

April 1: Thursday. Paid the rent $27.00, storage $3.79, Katheen’s book $5.00 and to the Red Cross $2.00. Went up to church and then to the store. Took a walk after dinner.

April 2:

April 3: Sat. Went downtown and bought Kathleen a blue beenie~ Went to the depot to see if Tom would come in. No luck.

April 4. Today we went to Chinatown. Walked all through it and Kathleen bought a back scratcher. We stopped at Old St. Mary’s to say a prayer for the boys. Then  took the streetcar out to the ocean. There is a cliff house built high on a cliff. Across is a big rock full of seals. Also a big amusement park there.

April 5: All our freight came but one box of canned goods. They left the box on the sidewalk and Kathleen and I unloaded it a little at a time and carried it upstairs. Swell service. Box was broken and some of our stuff was missing.

April 7: Dad, Kathleen and I went to the Telenews theater tonight. Someone gave Dad passes. There was one whole hour of news. St. Dominic’s is only 3 blocks away so I can go for a visit every day. It helps so much as I know no one here and miss the boys so much.

April 8: Sent Joe $16. Paid the gas $.86 and water bills $1.75 Went downtown and Tom got a cashier’s check for me.

April 9: Went down to the SF Freight Co. to see what happened to our canned goods. Walked about 8 blocks from the streetcar.

April 10: Kathleen and I went out to Golden Gate Park this afternoon. Went through the conservatory and afterwards to the S.P. depot but no Tommy. Went down on Market Street and walked up to Civic Center.

April 11: Sunday. Today we walked out to the Yacht Club on the Bay. Then to the Presidio where we saw Bill Dineen. A 40 block walk. Took the streetcar home. Had dinner and listened to the radio.

April 12: Mon. The canned goods came today and boy was it a life saver.

April 13: Dad, Kathleen and I went to the Telenews tonight.

April 16. Friday. Went downtown and sent Joe $27.10 to pay on the refrigerator and Tom’s insurance.

April 1 7: Went downtown and bought Kathleen a white felt tam. Went to the Depot but no Tommy. After dinner went down on Market Street for awhile.

April 18: Went to 8 Mass with Kathleen. Dad went to 11. In the afternoon we walked out to U.S,F. campus. Made a visit at St. Ignatius church and then walked over to Golden Gate Park and home.

April 19: Monday. Went downtown and bought material for Kathleen a white middy. Also film for the Kodak. Came home and made the middy by hand.

April 20: Kathleen and I went to the Telenews. Dad had to work late. Sewed on the middy until nearly midnight.

April 21: Wed. Went downtown and bought Kathleen two windsor ties for school. A blue one and a white one. Walked up Market to Van Ness where I got the streetcar and came home.

April 22: Thurs. Kathleen in the Holy Thursday Procession. She wore a white pleated skirt and middy and white shoes. I made them by hand. This afternoon we went over to the Mission district and went through the stores. Stopped at the bank and came home. Dad had to work late.

April 23: Good Friday. Went to St. Ignatius for Tre Ore. Took the pledge to the Cross. Alter on the side was draped in black with an empty cross. Christ is in B.V.M.’s arms. Very beautiful. After dinner Dad, Kathleen and I went to the stations at St. Dominic’s. Also went to confession. Had our first letter from Dick since he left Farragut. He is at Norman, Okla. going to school. We were so glad to hear from him. Also had a letter from Tom which had been sent to Omaha first.

April 24: Cleaned up the apartment and went down town. Thought sure Tom would be home so went to the depot. No Luck. Came home and had dinner and listened to the radio.

April 25: Easter Sunday. Dad, Kathleen and I went to Mass and Communion at 10. Had breakfast. Baked cupcakes. Got dinner ready then took the streetcar out to the zoo. Spent the p.m. there. Took a streetcar home by way of a tunnel. Got home about 6:30 and had dinner. Wrote letters to Jack, Nita, Tommy and Dick.

April 26: Mended nearly all day. Went to church for a visit and to the store. Had Easter cards from the Whites, Maddens, Jack and Nita. Bill Dineen stopped tonight and stayed for dinner. Dad was late … 7:30. Listened to the radio.

April 27. Ironed all Kathleen’s dresses I had lengthened. It rained all day. No school for K. Easter vacation. We didn’t have a calendar so we made some. Had a swell letter from Alma, and Nita. She also sent some snaps.

April 28. Washed. Went to church for a visit. Stopped at the post office and store. Did part of the ironing. Dad gets a $10.00 raise starting May 1 st. Received a box of candy from Nita. Mayme sent a picture of the Sacred Heart. Took a long walk tonight. 38 blocks. Wrote to Nita.

April 29: Thurs. Ironed. Cleaned Closet. Went to church. Letter from Joe. Tom late tonight. After dinner took a walk … 30 blocks. Gone 1 hour.

April 30. Went downtown and got a flour sifter. Bought groceries. Had a grand card from Mayme Dineen of Darian Wis. Also one from Dick with his picture. Sure glad to get it. Also paid the rent and got Kathleen’s shoe repaired. Bill was $1 .75 It sure costs like the dickens to live. Dad was late and didn’t get home until 7:30. So we listened to the radio and wrote letter to my darling Dick.

May, 1943

May 1: Saturday. Had a swell letter from Jack Also one from Keek and Lucille. After dinner we went downtown. Lots of servicemen but no one we knew. Went by the Stage Door Canteen where there was a line of service boys waiting to get in. Went up to church and said my novena.

May 2: Went to 1 0 Mass. This afternoon we went to the Ferry Bldg. and saw a large physical relief map of California. It was a wonderful thing. The map showed mountains and forests and cities. All in natural color. After dinner we went to church for the May crowning. Came home and wrote letters.

May 3: Monday. Finished my work at 10:30. Went to the Post office, Church and store. After lunch I fixed Kathleen’s dresses longer. Pressed them. Also, ironed all the things I washed today. Had letters from Mayme, Ba, Jim Peirce, Nita. Wrote more letters tonight. Had smelts that were given to us. Liked them fine.

May 4: Washed again and went to church. Kathleen and I went downtown and got a frame for Dick’s picture. She waited for Dad. Had a swell letter from Dick. Tonight we went to the Telenews. Got some more passes. Also Dad was able to get some cigarettes. Wrote to Dick. Pretty full day.

May 5: Ironed. Took Dad’s suit to the cleaner and went to church. No mail. Baked a pie. Haven’t heard from Tom since 1 st of last week. Took a walk
ocean was chilly. Wrote to Jack and Nita. Also Tommy.

May 6: Mended. Finished the baby shoes I was making for Bernadine. Went to church and to the store. Grand letters from Jack and Dick. No word from Tommy in over a week. Tonight we went to the Telenews. Saw a news clip of a captured Jap film bombing Pearl Harbor. Also the fall of Corregidor.

May 7: Wrote letters to Jack, Tom and Dick this a.m. Also washed Kathleen’s coat. Went to the post office and mailed the boys letters air mail. Went to church and the store. There was a flood in Omaha and was in the paper. Dad got a swell letter from Jack and a picture. Tonight we listened to’ the radio. Had sardines.

May 8: Had a g,and letter from Dick. No word from Tom. Went to church. Downtown with Kathleen and Dad. Went to the depot as I was so sure Tommy would come home. I stayed home while Dad and Kathleen went shopping. Got me two gardenias and white silk gloves.

May 9. Washed, ironed and went to church and the store. Had a nice package from Jack and Nita. A beautiful luncheon cloth and several pkgs of ready mix. With the food shortage it was very welcome. Had a nice letter from Dick … God bless him. No word from Tom. Afraid he is sick.

May 10. Had a telegram from Jack this morning. Went to church and Communion for the boys. This afternoon we went out to the ocean. Beautiful day. Wore my corsage from Dad and the gloves from Kathleen. Wrote the boys tonight.

May 11: Had a beautiful mother’s day card from Mayme Dineen. No word from Tommy. Tonight Kathleen and I went to the Telenews. Stopped at the bank and waited for Dad. Wrote to the boys. Kathleen got a beautiful scarf from Dick.

May 12 to 17: No entry

May 18. Tues. Had a nice letter from Dick. .Also some hangers from Dad. Kathleen and I went to the Telenews tonight and came home with Dad. Got home about 10:45

May 19: Enrolled Dick and Nita in the Apostolate of St. Jude. Wrote to Dick and sent some birthday cards. Two letters from Tommy.

May 20: Wrote to Keek, Jack and Nita tonight. Made Novena to St. Jude. Kathleen was home this a.m. with a bad cold.

May 22: Sat. Went to the depot to meet Tom but he wasn’t there. Went to church when I got home then Tom arrived. He brought John Durkin with him. We went to the bank to see Dad. Then walked up Market Street. The boys went to the Stage Door canteen. We got home and talked until 2:30 a.m.

May 23: Went to church. Had breakfast then went to Chinatown and took the cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf.

No entry until:

June, 1943

June 12: Sat. Tommy came alone this evening. It is sure swell to have him here but wish he could come more often. Baked beans for him.

June 13: We went to church and out to the Presidio this afternoon. Went to the depot with Tommy about 6 o’clock. Hope to have him home on leave for a few days. Poor Dad he just has such a hard time with the boys gone.

June 20: Sunday. The Sloups were over for dinner. Went out to the ocean and rode the Chutes. Boy!! Came back and had a lunch and the folks left. Took some pictures.

No entry until:

July, 1943

July 4: Sunday. A rainy Sunday. So after church we just listened to the radio and read.

July 5. Kathleen and I went to the Powell theater this afternoon. Rained nearly all day.

July 7: Kathleen and I went to the Warfield theater stage show and saw the movie Two Senoritas from Chicago.

July 8: Kathleen and I went to the library and returned the books. Walked home.

July 9. Letter from Tommy. He is going to Seattle and then probably Alaska. Nice letter from Ba. Dad and I went to Roddy’s Fishbowl for a beer.

July 10: Sunday. Went to Daly City this afternoon. It was very foggy out there. Came back and had dinner and listened to the radio. Wrote to Tommy, Dick and Jack.

July 11: Letter from Jack. Got a card from Alma. Our Omaha tenants are back in their rent. Wrote to Mr. M. air mail. Lady told me to see Adams school on Ellis street for free school on business. New classes start Aug. 9.

July 12. Letter from Tommy. He arrived in Seattle OK. Letter written July 10. His address is APO 7061 ac/0 P.m. Seattle, Wash.

July 16: The Sloups came for dinner and we went out to the beach again. They are going to buy a house. Had a wire from Jack and Nita. They are spending his leave in Omaha.

July 17: Dad, Kathleen and I went to church tonight.

July 18: Today we went out to the Presidio to see Bill. Went through Letterman Hospital. Those poor kids …. some of them are so young. Kathleen went to the movies.

July 19. Mon. Washed, ironed and went downtown to meet George and Betty from Los Angeles. John Massey came by and we all had a few beers and an old fashioned gab fest. Talked till the wee small hours.

July 20: Went out to Golden Gate Park Fleishackers and the zoo. Kathleen and Maryanne rode the train and the donkeys. Also went out to the Cliff House. Saw a ship display and a large convoy coming in. Sat around in the evening and had a few Tom Collins as it was a special event.

July 21. Went over the Oakland Bridge to Oakland. Saw Univ. Cal. at Berkeley, Sloupes in Richmond. Took the ferry boat to San Quentin prison and then home over the G.G bridge. Stopped at the Presidio and in the evening we went down on Market street. Stopped at Lefty O’Douls and Harringtons.

July 22: Went through Chinatown and Old St. Mary’s Went downtown and took the cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf. Had dinner at Fisherman’s Grotto and took the cable car sure has been a swell week.

July 23: Card from the post master in Seattle with Tommy’s new address. #17131219 APO 939. George and Betty left early this a.m. Dad stayed home to rest. Bill Dineen stopped by for awhile.

July 24: Dad was too late to go to church. Kathleen and I went to the Powell theater and she waited to come home with Dad. He had to work statements so she walked home from down town alone.

July 25: Sunday. Took a long walk out California Street.

July 26: Monday. Red letter day. Letters from Jack, Dick, Nita, Hazel and Keek. Also one from Marne. Alma had a goiter operation July 22. Also heard that Bob Roach was killed in the war.

July 27: Kathleen and I went to see “Turned Around at the Downtown theater. Kathleen came home with Dad. Bill stopped by for awhile. Ed Mulick, a sailor from Omaha, was here for dinner and the evening. He talked of everyone in Omaha. He will be stationed here for about a month. He has been up at the Aleutians and the South Pacific. Bill stopped for awhile.

July 28th: Wed. Bought a three piece suit today at Cosgraves. Also a red hat. Sent Alma a card and hanky today.

August, 1943

Aug. 7th: Mrs Shumaker and Alice were here (friends of Ed’s from Omaha). We went to the beach and afterwards they had dinner with us. Sure swell people.

Aug. 15th: Today Mrs Shumaker and Alice, John and Dad and I went over to see Nora Donahue at Berkeley. She is in a cast and staying with her niece.

Aug. 22: Sunday. Today John Massie, Tom and I went over to the Presidio. Bill Dineen wasn’t there so we walked around down by the Yacht Club.  Watched the fishing boats go out through the Gate. Really a sight. Met the Jackson’s from Omaha.

August 28: Tonight we went up to Mrs. Kendalls and I put in a call to Jack. Waited 3 hours and then heard his dear voice. He will leave any day for overseas. Nita and Jack sounded so close but were so far away.

August 29: Today we took a bus to Mill Valley and then walked up steps and steps and mountain trails to Muir Woods, about 10 miles. Lots of big trees. John and we had chicken and baked beans after we got there. Dad was pretty stiff.

September, 1943

Sept. 4th. Letter from, Jack. He leaves Omaha for Camp Patrick Henry. Must be there by now.

Sept. 5th: Sunday. Tom, Kathleen and I went over to the Sloup’s new house. It is very cute. We caught the bus back to San Francisco at 9 o’clock and I stood up all the way. Didn’t have dinner until 10:30 tonight.

Sept. 6th: Washed today. We expect Jean and her friend this week from Milwaukee. Wire from Jack. He arrived Ok at Newport News, Virginia.

Sept. 7th: Tues. Ironed and cleaned up the place. Will go to the Ferry Bldg. to meet the girls when they get in.

Sept. 8: Tonight we went down on Market St. Had some pictures taken. Had a beer around and Kathleen had a coke. Bill was $2.60 at the “Backstage”. We also stopped at the Bank for a bit.

Sept. 9: Thurs. Tom didn’t have to work so we took the girls out on a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf. Had shrimp cocktail and beer. Got home about 5:30 and John M. stopped. We went up to “Here ’tis” for a beer with him.

Sept. 10: Jean, Barbara, Kathleen and I went downtown. Shopped. The girls got reservations for LA for Tuesday. Bill Pryor from Milwaukee came for Barbara. Dad, Jean, Kath and I went out for a beer and then talked.

Sept. 11: Took Jean and Barbara to the Bus Depot then Kath and I went to see THIS IS THE ARMY in technicolor at the St. Francis theater.

Sept. 12: Jean and Barbara have gone to Vallejo. John, Dad, Kath and I went to Kezar Stadium for the Eucharistic Congress and Prayers for Peace. After we went to G.G. Park. The begonias were beautiful. John stayed for dinner.

Sept. 13: Jean and Barbara came back at noon. Went downtown and bought Kathleen brown corduroy slacks. Kathleen went to the picture show. After dinner we packed a lunch and went to Roddy’s Fish Bowl for beer. Kathleen started school today.

Sept. 14: The girls left this a.m. for Los Angeles. I washed and cleaned up the apartment. Kathleen had school all day today. I think she likes it better now.

Sept. 18: Kathleen went to the movies. I went downtown. Nearly had a fight with a woman in the bank for saying disparaging things about sailors. Dad had to work until 7 as the man he was training was $25 over in his accounts.

Sept. 19. Went out to Fleishhacker’s with John Massey. Was warm today. Got home about 8:30. Had dinner. Dad wrote to Tom, Dick and Jack.

Sept. 20: Hot as the dickens. Mended nearly all day. Mailed letters to Tom, Dick and Jack. Dad got home real early but it is too hot to do much. Letter from Mayme Pendergast. Walter Lemm is on his way here. Received letters from Ba, Kad and Claire.

October, 1943

Oct. 6. Packer gave Tom some nice steaks. Later, Tom brought Chas. Dugdale and John O’Flaherty home for dinner. They leave for overseas the last of the week.

Oct 7: Walter Lemm and Mike Halovak were here. They are leaving for the So. Pacific so both were pretty low.

Oct 8: John was here for a fish dinner. We received a wire Jrom Milwaukee that Jack Pendergast had passed away.

Oct 9: Tried to contact Walter to tell him about Jack P.

Oct. 10: Took the bus to L.A.

Oct. 11: Staying with the Shields. Mal Lindleaf came over to Betty’s tonight. We all had a grand visit. Betty, Kathleen Tom and I went downtown.

Oct 12: Today is a holiday so George took us to Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano. Picnic lunch at Long Beach. Also we visited a ghost town at Knott’s Berry Farm. Got back about 9 o’clock. Wonderful visit to the old Mission.

Oct. 13: Had lunch in Hollywood, drove all around. In the afternoon we went to C.B.S. and saw Mary Astor, Charles Ruggles and the Andrew Sisters, Misha Auer.

Oct 14. Tom and I went downtown and walked all over. In the evening Geo and Betty, Tom and I had George’s birthday out and went to a night club.

Oct. 15: Friday. Went out to Glendale. Law the Little Church of the Flowers. A Beautiful stained glass window of the Last Supper. In the evening we went over to the Johnson’s.

Oct. 16: Took the bus back to S.F. We had a nice vacation. The bus wasn’t crowded and we saw a beautiful part of the country.

Oct. 17: Just stayed home and rested after church today. Tom starts the night shift beginning tomorrow.

ct. 24: John M. came over and we went over to Buena Vista Park and up to the top of the mountain.

Oct. 31: Sunday. We went out to Mr. & Mrs. Wolfes for dinner today. Had a very nice time. Mr. Wolfe brought us home.

November, 1943

Nov. 1: Church. Kathleen and I went downtown.

Nov 3: Kathleen and I saw “The Meanest Man in the World” and Forever and a Day” at the movies.

Nov. 7: Ruby and Joe Picone picked us up at 9 o’clock and we went fishing and a picnic. About 1 5 miles south of S.F. Had chicken, beans, potato salad, etc. After we had another meal at their house. Then they came over here for awhile. Kathleen fell in the ocean when a wave hit her unexpectedly and she got wet.

Nov. 10: Wed. Two letters from Tommy. Also one from Chas Dugdale. I wrote some letters and sent a card to Carl White with a buck for his birthday.

Nov. 11: Thurs. Went to see THIS IS THE ARMY with Dad. Came home and wrote letters.

Nov. 12: Dad wrote to Joe. Received a picture of Walter Lemm and got a note from Miss Wilson. Got an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner from Helen Sloup. Got a letter from Mrs. Dugdale. Wrote to Tom , Dick and Jack.

Nov: 13: Kathleen and I saw CONEY ISLAND and HENRY ALDRICH GETS GLAMOUR at the movies.

Nov: 14: John came over and we went to Telegraph Hill. Walked along lots of back streets. Many old bldgs and homes. Stopped at St. Francis Church. Went to China Town and home to dinner.

Nov 15: Two letters from Jack and one from Nita. Today we saw BACK STREET and THE FALCON STRIKES AGAIN.

Nov: 16: Christmas card from Tommy. Also got a letter from Jack.

Nov 18: Two letters from Tom today. I wrote to Peggy. Sent Shields some snap shots.


Nov. 20: Letter from Jim Hughes. Kathleen and I went to the Powell theater tonight. Wrote to Tom, Dick and Jack. Also, Mayme, Claire and Chuck Dugdale.

Nov. 21 John came over. We had coffee and donuts. Went out to Lincoln Park and through the Legion of Honor bldg. John took us to Chopsticks in Chinatown for dinner. Bill Dineen came up in the evening and we had pie and coffee.

Nov. 22: Two letters from Jack and one from Nita. Jack has been moved further into Africa.

Nov 24:. Wed: Kathleen and I went the picture show. Saw TWO TICKETS TO LONDON and BAHAMA PASSAGE. Met Dad after the show. We had a letter from Walter L.

Nov. 25: Thanksgiving. Went over to the Sloup’s for dinner today. Our first Thanksgiving without our boys. No word from Dick in over a month. After dinner we took the youngsters to the park. After, we had pie and coffee and came home about 8 0’clock.

Nov 26: A swell letter from Marne and also the Tofferi’s. 2 from Jack. Dad came home after work and someone gave him a carton of cigarettes. Sent Dick’s Christmas package. Hope he gets it. Novena to St. Jude tonight.

Nov. 27: Dick sent us 3 pictures of the James E. Craig, his ship. No other word but we should have a letter soon. His new address is James E. Craig, D.E. 210 N.Y.N.Y

Nov 28: Kathleen and I saw MRS. MINIVER tonight and then met Dad after work.

December, 1943

No entries except mentioning movie titles of films she saw.

Code words to determine where the boys might be:

If the letter began with: After ……. Africa. It meant Italy. Engaged was England. Have, Hawaii, Frankly was France, Jack McGowan was Pearl Harbor, Bryan” Holmes was Australian, Cecil was the Solomon Islands, Gilland was Alaska and Mary was Panama.


My Ship Comes In

My ship came sailing in today
with such a precious freight

oh, she had been so long away
that I could hardly wait.

She had a stormy, troubled trip
and often in the night

I prayed that this my treasure ship
might safely greet the light