Eleanor was born on September 21st, 1926 in the town of Seaford, DE. She was a freshman in high school when Pearl Harbor was attacked and graduated in 1944. Her family lived on a farm in Seaford so she experienced the war through farm living. She was able to experience life in a nearby town obtaining a job in a drugstore after high school. Her town had a DuPont plant which manufactured plenty of supplies for the war and she witnessed firsthand the effects that the plant had on the people and economy of Seaford.
In this interview, Eleanor focuses on life in Seaford during World War II. She talks about how her school was affected by the draft, how the people of Seaford worked at the DuPont plant, hearing about Pearl Harbor, and what it was like living on a farm during this time. She describes what post-war life was like in the town and gives a detailed count of her husband’s time in Iwo Jima.
Pearl Harbor – Hearing the News
I was with friends riding in the park down in Salisbury, Maryland, and we had the radio on in the car. The announcement came on, and the girls kept talking. And they said Pearl Harbor, I said, “You know that’s us, that’s us!” We had one of the girl’s boyfriend was driving, and he said, “Shut up!” And he wanted to hear what was going on. And so that was that. It was a big deal. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.
Pearl Harbor – Memory of a Friend Present During the Attack
Years later, I had—one of the girls I was in school with married a GI, and we were having breakfast together one day, and I think it was Pearl Harbor Day, And he says, “You know, one thing I remember about today—he was in Honolulu, and he was in the Navy on a ship. And he said their ship got out of the harbor and got outside so that they would be harder to hit. And he said, “I saw a fifty cent piece laying on the deck,” and he says, “Why bother to pick it up? I’m going to be dead before night.” You know, that’s the reality of it. There were how many dead that day? Hard to tell.
Spotting Station for Aircraft
What I do remember, we had a spotting station for aircraft, and I remember walking out and doing time in that. And it was about two miles, a good two miles. And we walked out there and did our two hours or whatever hours. Never spotted an airplane, but we were there. And you were to report a plane, and then they checked to see if that was the right thing. It was kind of an exercise in futility, but it was something. Yeah. What you do. Help out.
USO Dances – Not Attending
Later after I was out of school, they had a bus that took them over to Fort Miles, and they did the dancing thing but I worked. It was alright.
Did you not like dancing? Or you just didn’t want to participate?
I just didn’t get into going. I worked. After—I worked before I got out of school, and I worked after I got out of school. And that was fine. I didn’t have anybody I wanted to go dancing with. The boys that I was dating were all out of town in the service.
Husband’s Experience in Iwo Jima
And he was on Iwo Jima, and he stayed. He was there for another, at least a year and a half after the war ended. And he was, among other things—Iwo Jima was such an isolated little island. And it was all volcanic ash soil, and to have fresh food, they set up a hydroponics unit, and he worked in that. And they asked him to come back after the war, and he said if he ever got back to the country, he was not leaving it again. He liked the river, he loved the river. He loved fishing and hunting.