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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

All My Children: 1942

All My Children: 1942

Spring 1942. New Bedford, Massachusetts. "Portuguese mother with pictures of her sons, who are all in service." Photo by John Collier, OWI. View full size.

 

7 sons is what my Portuguese grandmother had, too

And 5 daughters. Of the 7 boys, 6 served in WWII (Army, Navy, and the Marines), and the eldest worked on Battleship Row in San Francisco.

Large families were the norm in the Portuguese communities of that era. My Uncle Manuel's wife, Eva, was one of 24 children.

Collette Family

My mother was the only girl in the family, with 9 brothers. Seven served in WWII, with one being killed in North Africa and another being wounded in the same campaign. My grandmother (Lily LaBarge Collette) lived in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. Some of the boys were in the Canadian service, some American. The other two brothers tried to sign up but were too old. Mom worked in a uniform factory. Pretty hardy group. They really were the greatest generation and I was so lucky to grow up around them.

Divided by a common language

I'm assuming that 'in service' has a different meaning in the US to the UK? In the UK if they were in the army (or whatever) the would be 'in the services', but if they were servants they would be 'in service'.

Where are they now?

The 1940 Census is now available on line. New Bedford, Mass. isn't very big, and was probably smaller back then, after the end of the sailing and whaling days. Can anyone mine that data for a lady of Portuguese ancestry with 7 sons? Might she have also been featured in a local newspaper?

I have been a Judge of Elections. There isn't much time, but on this Memorial day, I would like to take the names and a New Bedford phone book to call the ex-servicemen and thank them for their efforts before I was born so that I might have elections to judge.

Justifiably proud!

You can tell by their pictures she and her husband reared a fine group of young men, one apparently already married! No slackers there! Hope they made it home alive! Frames beautifully arranged, too, on the lovely 20's table.

Seven sons?

We are assuming there are seven sons, but these seven photographs could be of only two or three sons at different stages of their lives. If they are all her sons, then the poor woman must have a conveyor belt...

A nervous wreck!

Seven sons in the service in early 1942, she must have been a wreck, and she had to do it without any Prozac to boot. Yes, they were tougher back then, I think.

Lamp Base

As I was looking at this picture, I noticed the floor lamp. I remember one that was similar at my Grandparents' house when I was a child. There is a switch on the base. You could click it with your foot and a light would come on in the base.

 
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