Letters from Bob: A GI Re-Entering Portland Life in 1945

By Carter, Sandy | Oregon Historical Quarterly, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Letters from Bob: A GI Re-Entering Portland Life in 1945


Carter, Sandy, Oregon Historical Quarterly


BOB HICKSON, JR., was a bright, gregarious youngster doted on by his parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and older sisters. He walked to Fernwood Elementary in Portland, Oregon, then Grant High School (class of 1939), swam at the YMCA on Sandy Boulevard, went to summer camp at Spirit Lake at the base of Mt. St. Helens, played piano, served as an altar boy, and sang a clear, sweet tenor in the choir at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal church in the Hollywood district. After high school, he took a few courses at Multnomah College and then, at the age of nineteen, enlisted in the Oregon National Guard.

In late summer of 1940, Bob reported to Camp Murray, south of Tacoma, Washington. His love of driving soon found him at the wheel of camp trucks and jeeps, and his love of music found him searching out the chaplain so he could assist at services and play piano or organ. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, Bob became part of the regular army and was transferred to nearby Fort Lewis. Many of the men he trained with at Fort Lewis, including his brother-in-law, George Donnell, fought in the Pacific theatre, but Bob applied for Officer Candidate School in Red Bank, New Jersey. He trained from March through May 1942, but failed to earn a commission. For the next three and a half years, he was stationed with the 41st Signal Corps in England and France, where his extreme nearsightedness, engineering aptitude, and skill at cryptography and teletype kept him behind the lines.

Bob met twenty-year-old Millicent Feakes, known as Micky, at a dance only two weeks after arriving in Liverpool in July 1942. He was immediately smitten. Micky was a British Signal Corps soldier and was stationed in London at Queen Anne's Gate during the Blitz. Bob wrote home, asking his mother to buy a wedding ring set. The two young soldiers were finally married in February 1944, in Micky's family's flat in Liverpool.

At war's end, both Bob and Micky filed for discharges, waited for their demobilization orders, and worried about how soon Micky would be able to go to America. The wait could be considerable. About 60,000 of the 100,000 British brides of GIs were still waiting for "Bride Boat" passage at the end of the war. The women were a low national priority in both countries, often reviled in England for choosing American GIs as husbands when British men would soon to be home again, needing wives. And when the women arrived in the States, many faced additional hostility from American women, who had been waiting for their men to return. It was a lose/lose proposition that many did not anticipate when they fell in love with American soldiers stationed in England. *

In September 1945, Bob boarded the Queen Mary and left England for home. Two months later, Micky learned that she was pregnant, which meant that she could have to delay booking passage until after the baby was born. Bob's father, Robert E. Hickson, Sr., petitioned his military friends and political acquaintances, including Oregon Senator Wayne Morse, to intercede and facilitate Micky's passage to the United States so the baby could be born in America.

As he waited for Micky's arrival, Bob Jr. wrote letters to her in Liverpool, where she was living with her family. He described his life in Portland and his new work as a driver for the Portland Traction Company. Portlanders still suffered from shortages, but they were optimistic after years of wartime rationing. Movies were an affordable source of entertainment, and public transportation was enjoying a heyday--a boon that would soon decline as manufacturers reoriented their production lines to meet growing civilian needs for cars, clothing, and furniture. Returning GIs and their young families filled the acres of post-war housing at Vanport City, a city that had been quietly built in the early years of the war along the embankments of the Columbia River. And many had to live, at least temporarily, with relatives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Letters from Bob: A GI Re-Entering Portland Life in 1945
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.