Reminisce Extra Magazine
My father, Donald Rauer, was a World War II Army veteran. Thankfully he passed along some of his wartime memories to me before he passed away in 2002.
Having grown up in Gloversville, New York, Dad joined the Army after graduating from high school in 1942. Dad served at Guadalcanal before moving to Tinian in the Mariana Islands. It was from Tinian that the B-29 Enola Gay departed for its bombing mission over Hiroshima, Japan. Dad even saw the plane after its top-secret flight.
When Dad was discharged from Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1946, he came home to Gloversville on the train. He had to call an aunt when he finally arrived at the station—his mother didn’t have a phone on their farm. Dad’s brother and one of his friends came down to the station to pick him up, and there was a lot of hugging and laughing. Later, there was a Labor Day celebration, and both Johnstown and Gloversville had a parade for the veterans. The American Legion threw them a big party.
Dad had a job waiting for him at the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville (FJ&G) Railroad office. During the war, women stepped in and filled the jobs of the men who had joined the war effort. When Dad visited the railroad office to tell them he was ready to return to work, he met the 18-year-old woman who had been doing his job while he was overseas. Her name was Florence.
Mom and Dad always said it was love at first sight. But there was a hitch. If Dad took his old job, Mom would have to be transferred to another office.
Thankfully Mom’s sister Jane had been working in the office, too, and perhaps sensing the budding romance, volunteered to take the transfer.
Mom worked side by side with Dad, explaining the work she’d been doing while he was away. The romance blossomed, and they were married the following year. Best homecoming ever!