On April 12, 1945, President Roosevelt died. That was one of the saddest days during World War II. The government offices were closed, and we were sent home. We sat in our rooms and listened to the commentators and funeral music on the radio.
All of Washington lined Constitution Avenue to watch the caisson carrying Roosevelt's casket pulled by six white horses. The caisson was followed by a rider-less horse with a saddle and boots placed backwards in the stirrups. Everyone was mourning Roosevelt's death. Could the war be won without our leader?
Later, President Roosevelt's body was taken to Hyde Park and buried in the garden. Vice President Truman was sworn in as President, and the War continued.
Toward the end of August 1945 we were told the Bureau of Ships was not allowing any more contracts. Work slowed down, but we were told to look busy. Every time the loud speaker in our building sputtered, we expected the end of the War to be announced. This continued for at least a month. On September I, 1945, I had just arrived home from work in the afternoon, when the announcement came over the radio. Japan had signed the peace treaty.
Everyone headed for downtown Washington. People were hanging on the outside of the streetcars. There were conga lines up and down F and G Streets. Ticker tape was hanging from the upstairs office windows on F Street.
Servicemen went up and down the streets kissing every pretty girl they saw.
My friends and I walked across the Ellipse to the White House. President Truman and Bess came out on the balcony and waved to the milling crowd.
Everyone came to work the next morning with broad smiles on their faces. World War II was over!
Soon, civil service workers were being laid off, and we said goodbye to our many friends and acquaintances.
We had made friends from all parts of the United States and gained a vast knowledge of the U.S. capital and Congress. It was an experience that enriched our lives and one that we would never forget.
Los Lunas, New Mexico
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.