This is a "short version" of the life of my parents during World War II.
Hoyt & Alma were married on Oct. 29, 1942 at the Nazarene Church Parsonage
in Konawa, OK. Alma's dad gave her $10.00 for her wedding dress and all
They lived with Hoyt's folks for a month and then moved to Ada, OK. where
Hoyt worked making $17.00 a week. They had 2 little rooms and a shower
for $5.00 a week and it was THEIRS. They spent most of their evenings
going to the movies and were happy to be "on their own".
Hoyt worked with one of his uncles in a garage and Alma baby-sit for his
children and kept house until he got his call for the Service (June 29,
1943). They had only been married for 8 months.
When Hoyt left for the Navy Boot Camp in Pendleton, Calif., Alma took a
job for the same relatives driving all over OKC for car parts.
Not long after Hoyt left, he wrote and wanted Alma to move to Berkeley,
CA., which was not to far from the camp where he was stationed. She had
never been very far from home and was scared stiff, but she packed up her
"homemade" chest that her oldest brother had made for her and some suit
cases, got on a bus and she was on her way - to who knows what!?
On the bus, she sat next to a girl a lot like herself. They took turns at
the window so they could throw up. They got so car sick they though they
both were going to die before they got there. It took 3 days and lots of
stops and changes. At one stop and layover, Alma met a girl that was going
to the same Army base in Calif. to marry some one she had never met.
They exchanged names and address and kept in touch for several years.
On the way and though the mountains, the brakes went out on the bus! The
driver told everyone to hang on to their seats and pray. Oh God, how they
did pray! Some how they made it to the next stop and changed busses and
got back on the road.
The next stop was Oakland, Calif. The bus went right by Camp Pendleton
where Hoyt was. He was supposed to meet Alma when she called the camp,
but he couldn't leave at the time. She was scared stiff and didn't know
what to do. She cried in front of everyone at the bus stop because she
had to get to her destination before dark, which was in the next city,
Berkeley, Calif., where she was to stay with some friends of her in-laws
that had moved there from Oklahoma.
While she was standing there trying to figure out what she was going to do,
she turned around and there was a tall, handsome sailor standing there.
---NO, it wasn't Hoyt, but he must have been her Guardian Angel. She told
him her husband couldn't meet her and she didn't know what to do. She told
him where she had to go and how scared she was. He picked up her suitcases,
took her across the street to the city bus stop and told her to tell the
driver where she needed to get off and to walk 2 blocks east and she would
be at the place she was to go. After she thanked him, he told her, "you
sure don't want to be alone on these streets at night." She found her
friends just before sundown. Thanks to her Guardian Angel.
Her friends took her to see Hoyt the next day. She rented a small room
with kitchen privileges in the same block they lived in. Hoyt got a leave
from camp and they got to spend the weekend together. He was to be shipped
out just a week or so after that.
On the day he was to leave Alma had only been to the camp once & saw one
bus leaving and just knew it was Hoyt's. She thought she had missed him,
but one of the guys on the bus waved and called out her name - "Hey, Alma!
He's still here!" It was a school classmate from the same town they were
from. Later Alma found out he was killed in action.
The desk sergeant called Hoyt's quarters and he came running down to the
front gate and Alma went running his way. The Sergeant told Alma....
"You can't go on base!" But she did anyway.
Hoyt & Alma spent a little time at the front gate, then he had to go.
His bus was the next one to go. ---- So after that Alma took a bus and
went back to Berkeley to her lonely little room.
Soon after that she got a job at the Heinz Ketchup plant close to her
little "home". She boxed the ketchup bottles as fast as she could or
they would fall in the floor. She was then promoted to the lab, where
they tested the ketchup to see if it ran slow enough. She laughs when
she remembers that now.
After that she got a job as a "Rosie The Riveter" at the
Richmond Kaiser Shipyard. She made
more money, so she got a better place to live. By this time, Hoyt had
been gone for 9 months to the South Pacific in World War II.
One day, she was just about to go through the gate to the shipyard and
someone called her name and when she turned around and it was Hoyt. She
dropped her lunch pail and her hard hat fell off as she ran to him and
for some reason, didn't work that day or the next.
He was soon shipped out again, so Alma went back to work at Richmond Calif.
shipyard and worked cutting steel to build bunk heads for the ships. Not
long after that, Alma found out she was expecting, so about three months
later she quit working because it wasn't a safe job for an expecting mother.
She wrote and told Hoyt he was going to be a father. He was thrilled of
course, but sad too because he couldn't be there to take care of her. He
told her to go back home to Oklahoma with his folks so she would be safe.
So she did. She lived with her in-laws until her son was born on Mar. 28,
1945. When the baby was 3 months old, they moved out to themselves.
Alma had bought a 5 room house that had a 4 car garage with it for only
$500.00 and a lot in town for $75.00. Her oldest brother helped her set
things up and get settled in. She used a little Kerosene lamp at night
until she could afford to have electricity put in.
It was Nov. of 1945 and Alma and her son, now 9 months old, were anxiously
awaiting the day Hoyt was to come home from the War. Hoyt had only seen
pictures of his son and was anxious to meet him and of course see his
beautiful wife, Alma.
They finally got the word that Hoyt was to arrive in Norman, OK. on
Dec. 1, 1945. She and her son along with Hoyt's folks, sisters & other family
members, took off to greet him. The little one had always been afraid of
anyone wearing a sailor's cap, but he went with "outstretched arms" to his
daddy....like he had known him all his life. Alma was thrilled that the meeting of
the two went so sweetly. It had been 18 months since she had seen her
"Sailor" and she was happy to present him with a beautiful baby boy
and a brand new home all waiting for him. Hoyt couldn't believe she had
done all this... but she was a farm girl from the start and able
to do anything she put her mind to.
The War was over and now they had to start all over again. Hoyt found
work and they settled in to make a home for their son, Richard H. Thompson and themselves...
and then in Sept. of 1946... I arrived... ;) The "after-war" baby and
author of this website, Sandra F. Thompson-Eskew, "Sandy". In 1951, another
daughter, my baby sister, Peggy L. Thompson, was born.