Friday, August 6, 2010
Double Dating with the Draft Board.
I found these letters and article folded together in Charles J. McIntyre's belongings. I find them interesting from both a family history and a sociological 'America in wartime' point of view.
My Grandfather, Charles J. McIntyre never served with the armed forces during WWII or Korea for a couple of reasons.
Early in the war, his father was an elderly widower, in poor health who had no other children to care for him. Charles was trained as an accountant by trade but took a temporary position as a patrolman for The Boston Police Department to replace a man who went to fight over seas. In time the position became permanant and later in the war, it was deemed that he should not be drafted due to the nature of his job.
(I have a letter regarding that somewhere that I will find and post later)
I was surprised to learn that legitimately getting married would have been an excuse to avoid getting drafted but got some insight as to why after reading the letters that were saved with the article.
My Grandfather had to write a letter attesting to the fact that my Grandmother was "performing her household duties to the very best of her ability"and if she was working, why was she doing it and how much money was she bringing home.
I kind of get the whole, 'if she's working, maybe we can eventually draft him because he doesn't really have to support her' thing but I don't get the kind of vague threat that Uncle Sam might come knocking and if Claire McIntyre didn't perpare and perform just the right "duties" as a housewife then off to the war her husband would go. I really do wonder just what was meant by that question, if Grandpa Charley had sent a signed affidavit attesting to the fact that his wife kept a clean house but was a lousy cook (both true*) what then?
The letters are pretty easy to read but the most interesting part, the article, is not so i will transcribe it here:
NEWLYWEDS TO TELL DATE OF ENGAGEMENT
When a Roslindale boy meets a girl from now on, falls in love with her and marries her, he must have witnesses who will furnish him with a sworn affidavit concerning the legnth of time of the courtship, and the date of the engagement.
The newly married registrants of local board 36 yesterday were astonished to recieve the following form with thier questionaires:
"In order that this board may properly classify you, and insamuch as you have married subsequent to the 16th of October, 1940, it will be necessary that you file with us a sworn affidavit covering the following facts:
"1- The legnth of time of your courtship and the date of your engagement.
"2- The fact that you have established your own home: that your wife is dependent upon you for support; that she is, or is not, working, and following the duties of a housewife.
MUST SWEAR TO THE FACTS
"It will be necessary that you obtain from some person who has known you for some time a letter in the form of a sworn affidavit substaining the facts of your courtship.
"Your prompt attention to this matter is requested."
The draft prospects asserted last night that romance becomes a matter of affidavit hereafter in West Roxbury and Roslindale. No longer may sweet nothings be whispered in the canoes on the Charles River or under the grape arbors of suburban homes. For when "Jane" says "Yes," John must stop to jot down the date and rush to get a couple of friends to make an affidavit that it is an engagement.
Some of the prospective draftees may have had long courtships. Others may have had short ones. But, according to the rules, if they were married since Oct. 16, 1940, which was nearly 14 months before Pearl Harbor, they must file the statements of the legnth of thier love-making before they popped the question.
It may have been a cleverly devised question box to determine if there were young men in West Roxbury and Roslindale who became married-since Oct. 16, 1940 - just to escape the draft. Perhaps, under government regulation similar questionaires are being sent to draftees in other local draft board areas. But it certainly put a crimp on the activities of Cupid and there were rumors last night that (unreadable) the district were even going (unreadable) draftees asserted last night was just like living in a goldfish bowl, as far as West Roxbury and Roslindale are concerned.
In case, for instance, a young man registered in the district should meet a young woman, he must perforce write down her name, address, and the date of thier aquaintenship. When aquaintenceship blossoms into something more serious, it appears, witnesses are needed. When the engagement is clinched, then more witnesses are needed according to the board."
* My Mother has told me several times that her Mother (as great as she was in other aspects) was a lousy cook of almost epic perportions. One story stands out particularly in my Mother's mind because she got in trouble and was sent to her room in the middle of dinner through no fault of her own.
It was an evening when there were some tensions at the table and the food served apparently did not help the situation any. My Mother tried to do the right thing and just eat the meal but when she attempted to put her fork into the burger patty on her plate, it was so tough and over cooked that her fork would not pierce it and the patty slipped out from under her fork, bounced off the glass doors seperating the dining room from the living room and landed on the floor.
My Mother was then sent to her room and still seethes about the injustice of her punishment to this day...