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Chapter XV - War Draft, Tony Leaves for Service, Coolidge Street

Tony's first contract was for a one family house and he and his partner worked very hard on their first project. Their work was progressing satisfactorily when the draft was passed by Congress. Since he was twenty years old the law required him to be drafted. His partner, too, had received a draft notice so they applied for an extension of time to be able to finish their contract.

Meanwhile Tony did not want to be drafted in the Army because he was sure he would be put in the infantry because of his height. Before his allotted time was up Tony enlisted in the Coast Guard. That night I could not sleep. Here was my young brave boy leaving his home that he loved, to do his duty for his country. He seemed so alone.

I was hoping that maybe the war would end before we became involved. Had not the president assured us, before he was elected, that our country would not engage in the war. Surely drafting our boys was only a stand-by measure of security. Regardless of this assuring argument I was not able to sleep.

He had urged us not to get up the morning he was to leave because he had to leave at 4:30 a.m. and did not want to disturb our sleep.

At 4:00 a.m. I went downstairs and proceeded to prepare his breakfast. When he came downstairs he said, "Ma, what did you get up for?"

"I didn't want you to leave without breakfast," I said.

"But, Ma, I'm not hungry and I'm late!"

I was trying to hold my tears back. I wanted to be as brave as he was, urging him to eat some food. He asked, "Ma, aren't you going to eat?"

I replied, "It's too early for me."

He barely touched the food, took his clothes, kissed me and rushed out.

I closed the door after he had disappeared in the darkness of the early morning and threw myself on the sofa breaking into a torrent of tears.

There was a knock at the door. He was back. He said, "I have forgotten some papers that I must have," and he rushed to his room. On leaving he said, "Ma, don't cry. I will be all right," and he disappeared once again into the night darkness of early morning.

Then came Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941, was labeled the day of infamy. Congress was summoned and America entered World War II.

After the New Year, more than ever, I wanted to have our own place for our children.

Irma and Helen were doing very well in college. Lee and Edward were doing well in high school and so were Richard and Marie in grammar school.

My desire for a house intensified, so I began to scan the newspapers for a house for sale. A house was advertised on Coolidge Street. I didn't know where Coolidge Street was, but Helen did. It was March 25, 1942, when Helen and I, braving a strong March wind, went to see the location of the house. There were other houses for sale on that street. Helen and I singled out two houses and we were so delighted we started to run home. We got home and told my husband that we had found a place that he would like. He did not want to go and see the house because he was concerned that with the war going on and the children in school it would turn out to be another disappointment. His wages had been frozen and he did not want another loan. Helen and I began to urge him just to come and see the house out of curiosity's sake. Unwillingly, he came. When he saw the house and especially the back yard where he knew he could have a nice garden, he said, "if you think we can manage we will go and see the realtor."

The realtor showed us the inside of the house. We asked him how much a month it would cost us to carry the mortgage and he figured it would cost us $56.00 a month.

I said to my husband when we got home, "We are now paying $45.00 a month. That would mean $11.00 more a month and we surely are able to save that much for our old age."

We brought the ten per cent deposit to the realtor and told him to proceed with the purchase. The house was owned by the home loan, a government project to save homesteads. Payments had to go to the government through a bank. When the bank asked us to have a search, I said I was not going to have one because when the government took over the house there was a very extensive search and I felt I did not need one. By experience I knew how thorough the government was before taking over the property.

When we were trying to save our house in Florham Park I had applied for a home loan and was denied it on the grounds that we would not be able to meet the payments. Our family was too large and my husband was not working. I was crushed and that was when we decided to give up.

We closed the deal on our new house on the last day of April and took possession on June 1. Forty Coolidge Street became our home and a new start.

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