Aunt Grace only wore navy blue. She was a part of the Navy military reserves (WAVES) in WWII.
Aunt Grace, like me, was a firstborn with three younger brothers. They were also close in age like I am with my brothers. When her brothers all joined the military in WWII, Aunt Grace joined too. She joined in a time that it was uncommon and perhaps frowned upon for women to serve. But that never stopped Aunt Grace. She was patriotic down to the core.
She decorated her house with a nautical theme. She loved lighthouses, anchors, and anything with the Navy emblem on it. Strange enough, however, I have never seen her swim or ride on a boat.
Aunt Grace was proud of her time in the military. She bought everything that she could having to do with the WAVES. She bought mugs, shirts, and any military novels she could get her hands on. She wrote letters to the women that she served with, but I never had the chance to meet them.
When it was time for the WAVES 45th reunion, it was in our area so I went along. I was very young so I don’t remember a lot of the speakers or the meal. I just remember Grace smiling a lot as she drank her coffee. She bought us all reunion shirts. My grandma went out to eat one time wearing that shirt and a stranger paid for her meal with the note attached saying thanks for serving our country. My grandma never served, it was all Aunt Grace.
Over time, the WAVES group grew smaller and smaller. After Aunt Grace and her brothers passed away, my parents donated their uniforms to the local historical society. I never told her that I was proud of her, I was too young at the time to understand. I can’t remember ever meeting any other women of her time that served. When at events that veterans were asked to stand to acknowledge their service, Aunt Grace was always the only woman in the room that stood up.
Aunt Grace was uncommon.