"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

- George Santayana (1863–1952)


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posted by S. K. Smith


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My mother-in-law Dorothy Smith wrote down memories about World War II.  My father-in-law had been in college ROTC and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the army.  He was scheduled to be discharged January 1942, but December 7, 1941 changed all that.  Again, I felt it was important to post her recollections before the “Greatest Generation” passes away. – S. K. Smith, March 24, 2009

 World War Two
before, during, and after

 Written by Dorothy S. Smith

(picture of Baltimore, Maryland  Amicus Club, circa 1940)


Hello to those of you who read my comments about the Great Depression.  And thanks!

Today’s memories came about because my son Hal found and processed film my husband had taken years ago.  These were of a group of friends, then young adults.  They were calling themselves the “Amicus” club – amicus being Latin for “friend.

The club was originally made up of teenagers who attended a Methodist church in Baltimore but one of the friends was Catholic – so it became a group of non-denominational friends.  My husband, Harold, was involved, and since we were then “going together,” I was included.  We were one of the first to get married

We were a great group for all sorts of things.  We rented a smallish boat, the “Miss Hattie,” since Baltimore is not too far from the Chesapeake Bay, we found ourselves a flag there that had been the inspiration for Francis Scott Key writing “The Star Spangled Banner” during the Civil War [sic] . [The War of 1812 – S. K. Smith]

Another time we had a picnic in the nearest mountain to Baltimore.  (I must find a map to see if the mountain is part of the range closest to Washington D.C)  Because that is where then President Eisenhower began the Presidential retreat – he called it “Shangra La.”  Only he also called it “Camp David.”  (His grandson was “David.”)  “Our” picnic spot was in the same mountain range – it was a public area miles away from Camp David.

Most of the people in this particular picture were members of the Amicus Club, but I recognized two as potential members, who came to the picnic but never really joined.  They were college friends, Ben and Caroline.  [They are circled in the picture – S. K. Smith]  He was outstanding in college - actually she was a nurse in a Baltimore hospital.

During World War II men who had taken advanced ROTC were commissioned as officers, so my husband was one of them.  He was in a group of men who landed in North Africa near Casablanca.  He also served for a short time in Sicily, then the troops were transferred to England, waiting for the invasion of France.  That was when he waded ashore on D + 4.  From there, there was fighting inland.  Paris was liberated.  The troops advanced to the Hurtgen Forest.

Meanwhile, Ben had advanced from England to Paris, where Supreme Headquarters was located.  I am not sure of his rank then.  But he wrote to Caroline to find out were my Harold was – I wrote immediately – (all this back and forth was postal.)  I learned later that Ben showed up, told Harold to get his things and they headed for Paris!  I think one of the things Harold was most grateful for was the chance to take a bath!

The war was finally over, but it took time for the troops to get home – they came as they had departed – by boat.  I don’t know were they landed but Harold got a train to get to Baltimore – I last saw him at Ft. Bragg was October 13, 1942 and the next time I saw him 3 years all but 2 days later.

We decided to take a real honeymoon (the first was a 3 day trip to New York.)  So we drove from Baltimore to California – a patched inner tube held up nicely – And arrived back in Baltimore on Christmas Eve. – a fine time to restart our life together.



 © March 21, 2009 Dorothy S. Smith


For first article:  click here
For second article:  click here



"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;
     that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
             2 Timothy 2:4  (KJV)