I was born in Milford Connecticut in 1925 the youngest of 4 children; two brothers Malcolm and Clark and a sister, Marge. I was totally unexpected, my mother was 40 years old. I was accepted by the family and probably spoiled to some extent. My Parents and siblings gave me a lot of attention and we spent much more time together than most families do today. We usually ate three meals a day together and listened to the radio together in the evening.
We were patriotic. The flag was revered and proudly flown from every home and in every parade. Every town and village held memorial services on 4th of July, Memorial Day and other holidays.
Etiquette was a regular subject in our home, particularly table manners. Sit up straight and bring the food up to the mouth, not the mouth down to the food-no arms or elbows on the table-don’t leave your spoon in the cup after stirring your coffee (one that my father forgot enough times so that there was a ritual song that we sang when he had a lapse.)
My father, Fred Green, grew up as one of 9 children on a farm in Cambridge New York He probably never got much education beyond grammar school because his help was needed on the farm. He went to work on the railroad in his youth and was so employed when he married my mother.
Dad's uncle Hiram Leonard had settled in Woodmont, a borough of the town of Milford Connecticut. Hiram suggested that Woodmont presented better opportunities for Fred than Cambridge and invited him to move there. So my father headed to Connecticut driving his team of horses and his wagon. Automobiles were just being introduced to the roads of New England and my father made more money pulling them out of the mud with his team of horses on his trip to Connecticut than he usually made working for the railroad in a month.
He started his own hauling business, 'Fred H. Green Express' in Milford delivering orders for department stores and moving people between their winter homes and their cottages on the shore. Milford was quite a Vacation spot and had several popular beaches on Long Island sound.
I remember times when he would come home on a Saturday night, payday, upset when he found out that my mother had spent more than $5.00 for groceries that week. This was for a family of six! In spite of it all we ate well and had a secure home. When war broke out, he took a job with a company that manufactured bullet dies and held the factory job when he died.
I really never knew my father as an adult, it is something I have always regretted.
At the age of 14 I applied for and got working papers and started my first part time job in a gas station. By the time I was a senior in high school I had worked in a couple of gas stations, a couple of factories, a drug store, the post office, a weekly newspaper and probably a couple of places that I can’t remember.
The best job I had was in the post office where Shirley Ford's father did the hiring and firing. Shirley was my high school sweetheart and became my wife with whom I shared 53 years of marriage until her death in 1998.
The post office was just down the street from the school, which made it handy. I don’t recall why I left it but it was great while it lasted.
I know I was working in the old Howe’s Drug Store when the war broke out. It was a Sunday Morning at Howe's; I was at the soda fountain sink washing glassware and cursing the guy who hadn’t cleaned up Saturday Night, when the radio gave the bulletin about Pearl Harbor.
The transition from peace to wartime was spontaneous. We had been attacked, we had to defend our country and there was no question about it. The immediate response, with few exceptions, was an outpouring of patriotism. Many people immediately quit their jobs and enlisted in the military.
I enlisted in the Connecticut State Guard. We were armed with double barrel shotguns and the only uniforms available for issue were one size, LARGE. I was 6 ft. tall and weighed about 160 pounds and someone else could have fit in the uniform with me. Never-the-less we drilled regularly, had target practice and marched in parades.
As the war progressed my brothers were both drafted even though they were in their 30’s and my oldest brother, Clark, was married.
We were at the tail end of the Depression; most of us were much less worldly and informed than people are today. There was really no question about your patriotism and willingness to serve either in the military or in the war effort. My father was a volunteer air raid warden. He used to go out in our neighborhood to check on conformance when they called for a blackout drill and call on people if their blackout curtains weren’t effective. My mother's contribution was rolling bandages for the Red Cross and serving as a visiting nurse.