A large part of the research and writing of my previous posts in 2013 was the romance and wedding of my Aunt Alveda and her husband Ziggy Napieralski, he a soldier in WW II and she a native of the Village in Taunton.They were married the year after the War ended in the Village in Taunton.
There are 5 posts following this one (newer posts) all related to this story.
The post I am writing today was occasioned by Melanie Capriotti whose mother, Jacqueline, (nee Tremblay) had been a telephone operator at Camp Miles Standish and who had met her future husband in Taunton. Meeting the daughter of that mother and collaborating with researching the subject was a fine experience and the way I love to write my posts. Knowing that her mother, in her 90's, would read and relive it is a joy. Jacqueline was born at home in Arlington, MA, 6th of 8 children. She graduated from Arlington High School in 1943.
In this case, we are not speaking of a Tauntonian or a Villager. We are actually speaking of a temporary Tauntonian, one who lived in Taunton in some of its most fascinating years. The young woman who came to Taunton during the war years was hired to be a telephone operator at the camp.
Many of us can remember the 40's when telephone operators worked like these women below in 1943, manually plugging in caller to caller. Imagine the size and importance of the switchboard at a large military camp and its importance.
Those young women would have been carefully vetted for that task, We are certain the gal whose story we tell here was as well.
I introduce you to Jacqueline Tremblay, this is her 1943 high school photograph.'Jacqueline was born at home in Arlington, Main March of 1925, 6th of 8 children. She graduated from Arlington High School in 1943. Below is her high school graduation photograph.
Jacqueline's story as told to her daughter breathes new life into what we know about Camp Miles Standish during the war years with a totally new aspect of those who served and worked there.
Like my Aunt Alveda and Uncle Ziggy, Jaqueline met her husband, George in Taunton. They
actually met on Taunton Green where each weekend there were band performances.
This is George's 1941 high school graduation photograph. George was born in nearby
Fall River, MA. in 1923, graduating from Durfee High School in 1941.
He passed away in 1946 in
Below is their engagement photo. George Mycock did not work at the Camp.
He was from Freetown/Assonet often going to Taunton with his buddies. That is how he and Jaqueline met. If she had not been working at the Camp, destiny would not have had its way. .George was 4F due to flat feet and a perforated eardrum.When he went to Canada on a family trip, he
wrote to his lady each day. She still has them.
Imagine all the other young couples who met at that Camp or its environs in those years..
It was a huge military complex and occasioned many visitors also
to the city of Taunton. Young people love meeting other young people.
Many of the young women coming to work at the Camp stayed with relatives or with those who would accept a boarder. Jaqueline was housed with the Widow Babbitt who was very particular as to the girls she accepted to board with her. Mrs. Babbitt lived at 5 Summer St. in Taunton.
Jaqueline recalls that she got along very well with her landlady and tells us that she would wash Jaqueline's hair for her and they would talk for hours.
Jaqueline also remembers her incredulity that they were allowed go to any restaurants in town and order whatever they wanted, just sign the check and it was paid for. Coming from a poor Irish family that was a quite a treat. She said that they were allowed to go to the the Officer's Club for dances but not allowed to go to the Enlisted Club. They were careful and watchful of the girls providing bus service to and from the Club. They were expressly forbidden from accepting rides from the men stationed there at the Camp.
The photograph below is of all of the switchboard operators at
Camp Myles Standish in 1943. It is a precious momento of the young women who
worked the switchboards at the Camp and kept it functioning smoothly. Some were from Taunton, others came from other places to gain valuable experience in this field. Women were a vital part of the war effort, as we know from such stories as Rosie the Riveter. They freed up the men for
combat in Europe and elsewhere.
Did the best I could in enlarging the left side of the above photo....perhaps it willbe easier with your magnifying glass...
Right sided photo enlargement
Hard for us, in this digital age, to think about telephone operators of the "old Days" and their role in peace and in war.
Communication at all times is paramount to keep a society running in an orderly manner. It is even more important in wartime. In researching this post, I came upon an obituary of another telephone operator in those war years: Margaret P. Stewart, age 90 years, a native of Haverhill, MA. During WWII Margaret served as a telephone operator at Camp Edwards, Otis Air Force Base and Camp Miles Standish. She was then employed for 36 years by New England Telephone Com. She was a member of the telephone pioneers of America. She may even be in the above photo.
Below is our gal with other switchboard operators at the camp. She is third from the right in the first row. Next to her was a good friend, Synnove Strom on her left. Synnove was from Norway and returned there not long after they all left the camp when the war was over.
Each time we receive another bit of the history of Camp Miles Standish, we build upon that fascinating period of history in Taunton. When the story is a personal one, it makes it even more interesting. I am hoping that some of our readers will be able to add to this, perhaps recognizing someone from the photos or adding another story.
When we dip into a bit of history, like following the the crumbs left by Hansel and Grettal we are led to so much more history. That is what happened to this post. It opened many doors. I invite you to peek into more history by perusing the links provided at the end of this post. They add to our knowledge of that time. I also include a link to the Telephone Pioneers of America and the Hello Ladies of World War I. I found it a wonderful read.
I thank Melanie Capriotti and her mother, Jaqueline Mycock for sharing memories with us.
*This is a very interesting video about more details of Camp Myles Standish Military Base.
This site has the above video but with the text.
History of Telephone Operators
The Hello Girls of WW I-Telephone operators in the military - a terrific read!