The last days of the war.
Champaign, IL April - 22, 1945


From Miami Dad went to Champaign, IL where he was stationed. Mom left Miami on a train and went back to Masontown.

Dad was only in Champaign a couple of weeks when he was scheduled to have surgery on his nose to straighten it. When they took him into the operating room and injected his face, he had a reaction to the medication and they were not able to do the surgery. So they gave Dad the weekend off. He and Mom meet in Cincinnati, OH for the weekend.

It was about a month before Dad was able to find a place for them to live in Champaign. With all of the guys that were coming back from the war at that time, all of the housing around the base was full. It was difficult finding a place to live. Dad finally found a place on Clark St. It was a small place but at least it would be their new home. He called Mom and she got on the train for Champaign. She arrived there in mid afternoon on a stormy day. She got off the train and caught a taxi and instructed the driver to take her to Park St. thinking that was the address Dad had told her. When the driver pulled up in front a rundown shack of a house, Mom couldn't believe her eyes. Yet, if this was what he found, it would be home. At least they would be together. She paid the driver and he carried her suitcase up and set it on the porch leaving her to herself. There wasn't anyone there and the door was locked. Mom had no idea what to do. About that time she heard a voice coming from across the street saying, "I don't believe there is anyone home over there." Mom looked and saw a young mother across the street taking cloths down off the clothes line. Mom though that would be dangerous with all the lightning that was going on.

The woman invited Mom to come over to get out of the rain. This lady's husband was in the Air Force too and had recently been sent overseas leaving her and their baby daughter there until he could get back.

The lady offered the use of the phone to call out to the base to get word to Dad that she had arrived. When Mom called she was told that Dad was out working on a plane and couldn't come to the phone right then. They assured her that they would give him the message that his wife had arrived and to call her at this ladies number. Time went on and Dad did not call. When it got to be around 5:30 - 6:00, Mom once again called the base. They said that Harold was not there, he had gone into town to meet his wife. She said, "I am his wife." They had forgot to give him the message before he left.

Not knowing what to do, Mom decided to stay put where she could see the house across the street and be close to the phone in case he called back to the base and they gave him the ladies number.

The young mother fixed supper for Mom and together they watched and waited for Dad to arrive or call. The hours passed slowly and eventually it was getting late and time for bed. Still no word from Dad. The lady suggested that Mom sleep on the couch where she would be close to the phone. If it rang, Mom was to be the one to answer it. Mom didn't sleep much that night waiting for the phone to ring but it never did.

Meanwhile, Dad had left the base early looking forward to the reunion with his new bride. When he arrived at the house at Clark St. and she was not there, he was concerned. He waited for a little while and then walked to the train station thinking that perhaps she was out there walking to the house. When he arrived at the train station he was not able to find her there either so he walked back home. She still wasn't there. Where could she be? How could he have missed her? So he decided to walk back to the train station. Again, she was not to be found. The rain was pouring down and he had to once again make the trip back to the house. We are not sure just how many trips Dad made back and forth that night. Concern and worry turned into fear thinking of all of the possibilities for her to be missing.

The next morning Dad showed up at the base and told the rest of the guys about his fretful night. It was at that time they told him that Mom had called the day before and left a phone number where she could be reached. Needless to say, they were embarrassed and apologized for forgetting to tell him. They felt so bad that they gave Dad the day off. Dad immediately called the phone number that he should have had the afternoon before.

Mom grabbed the phone on the first ring and rejoiced when she heard his voice. At last they had found each other. Dad told her to go back to the train station and he would meet her there. After all, he knew exactly where that was by now. They both hurried as fast as they could to get to the train station for their long awaited reunion.

Mom was relieved to find out that the house she had keep her eye on for so many hours the night before was NOT the house they would be living in. Dad was relieved to know that his wife was safe and sound.

Little did the man walking the streets back and forth to the bus station that stormy night know that there was only one street separating him and the one he was searching for. Clark and Park run parallel with each other with only University separating them. The house numbers were the same so they were on the same block just a street apart.

They were only in Champaign 2 or 3 months before they were transferred to Langlie Field, VA. They went to Masontown on their way to VA.

Masontown, WV - May 2, 1945 May 13, 1945

Masontown - July 9, 1945

Hampton, VA

July 17, 1945

Dad went on to Hampton, VA by himself and found them a place to live. Mom took a train to VA. They were there until the war was over and Dad received his discharge Aug. 24, 1945. The day the war was over there was excitement in the streets everywhere. Dad put Mom in the shower with her clothes on and turned the water on. The war was over and they were going home. They went back to WV.

Oct. 45 They went to Davy, WV where my Dad's Grandfather lived. They took Arnim (my Dad's Dad) with them.

Out of the Air Force

Dad got out of Air Force on August 24, 1945.

Dad knew that he had to get work as soon as possible. He started working down in the coal mines in Delslow, WV just outside of Morgantown. He shoveled coal into the coal cars. This is the same mine that his dad and father-in-law, Otto McKinney worked in. Otto had been in charge of keeping the pumps running that kept the water out of the mines. A motor jumped the track and he helped lift it back on. The strain burst something on the inside of the eyeballs and he went blind. So he was not able to work at the time Dad was there. Dad realized the dangers of working in a mine so he was only there for 3 or 4 mouths.

He got a job running a stem shovel at a strip mine in PA driving back and forth every day. He realized that there was not much of a future working in the mines and the long drive was not good.

Dad found a job working in a furniture factory in Arthurdale where they were living at the time. He was working there when their first son David Nelson was born on December 9, 1946. David died the next day.

On August 22, 1948, I was born. The furniture company was not doing good and it finally got to the point that the pay checks would not clear the bank They eventually do go bankrupt. Dad asked Mom what she thought about him going back into the Air Force. She said, "Well, at least we would have a pay check and we wouldn't have to worry about the checks clearing." So Dad made the decision to reinlist in November 2, 1949.

Back in the Air Force

In May of 1950 Dad called Mom to tell her that they were going to Rapid City, SD. She said, "Where in the world is that?" Sheldon was 19 months old. Once again, Dad went on ahead to find a place for us to live.


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