We visited my parents' house this past holiday weekend and I found more neat stuff belonging to my mom's parents. I mentioned in a previous post that my Grandma, Dina Licciardi, served in U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve (also known as the SPARS) during WWII. I found her SPARS photo album in a box in her old bedroom closet. Unlike a lot of her family photo albums, just about every photo in the album was labeled - dates, names, places - everything. Obviously, Grandma knew that this was a special time in her life that she would want to remember always. These women (and men) were her 'family' for a couple of years; she lived, played, ate, and trained with people from all over the country - people she would have never met otherwise. I'm sure it was much like the college experience is today. My grandmother never had the opportunity to attend a university, but these ladies, some of whom she kept in touch with for the rest of her life, were her sorority sisters.
Because she saved so many photos, I've created an entire separate photo page on my website devoted to her time in the Coast Guard. (I encourage you to check it out!) After glancing through the album, I soon realized that this is not only an important piece of personal, family history, but that it is also a small snapshot of the nation's WWII war effort. She has photos of the training facilities, barracks, cadets doing calisthenics, her platoon and company marching, the SPARS band performing, not to mention photos of local hotels and other buildings, some of which are probably no longer around. She trained at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Facility in Palm Beach, Florida, and explored lakes and beaches in the area, with a few trips to Miami and Tampa as well. She entitled this photo "First day out! 4 Happy "Boots." The patch on the left is from her uniform - Yeoman, Third Class.
©2012, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder
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Emily Kowalski Schroeder