That’s quite a many, Marian!

Today is Marian Lee’s 99th birthday!  Not only that, it’s the 78th anniversary of the day she signed up to join the WAVES — the acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.  That was the military unit established on July 30, 1942 as the U.S. Navy’s corps of female members.  According to the enlistment announcement Marian had read in the Portland paper,  “You had to be 21 to join.”

Marian’s mind was already made up and, so, on her 21st birthday, September 4, 1943, she marched herself down to the enlistment office and joined up.  “Then I went home and told my folks what I had done,” she laughs.  “They were not any too pleased, but it was too late.”

Marian’s fondest desire was to “Join the navy and see the world!” as the enticing enlistment posters promised.  “In those days women weren’t  posted to anyplace where there was fighting so I only got as far as Washington D.C. ” she laughs.  And you can still hear a little bit of disappointment, even after all these years.  “I did enjoy my time in Washington D.C. though,” she remembers.  “I loved seeing all those old, old buildings.  I went into any where we were allowed.  Lots of places were off limits, though, during the war.”

Today at one o’clock, friends and family gathered in Oysterville for a “21 gun salute – canon style” in honor of Marian’s 99th birthday and of her service to our country as a WAVE.  The Honorary Oysterville Militia under the command of General Nyel did the honors with Capt. Sturges Dorrance setting the charge,  while Lieut. Harry Schleef readied the touch-hole, Lieut. Chester “Tucker” Wachsmuth pierced the charge and Lieutenant Diana Thompson (the birthday girl’s daughter) fired it off on the General’s command.




3 Responses to “That’s quite a many, Marian!”

  1. David and Erin Jackson says:

    Nine hundred and ninety nine short, but the one will have to do.

    We love you!

  2. DEBORAH WELLS says:

    Great story – Happy Birthday to her too! Deb

  3. Cuzzin Ralph says:

    Cuzzin Sydney, I well remember the time I was given the opportunity to set off the charge at one of the firings of the cannon. What a great way to celebrate the contribution of the WAVES in WWII at a personal level!

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