Second World War: Patriotic Songs

Teacher recalls teaching her students patriotic songs during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

The Second World War began during my first year out of college, my first year of teaching. In Eagle Pass, Texas, a small town on the Mexican border, all my first graders came from Spanish-speaking homes. Although in most of their homes money was scarce, each week those children brought dimes to buy stamps for their War Bond booklets. With vigor they sang all the patriotic songs I taught them, including "Remember Pearl Harbor" and "Goodbye, Mama, I'm Off to Yokohama." 

I couldn't carry a tune, but angel-faced Romelia could, and her voice was loud and strong. I had her lead the songs I didn't have Victrola records of. The children especially loved "The Marine's Hymn," but it was a borrowed record that I had to return. I ordered the record, in which Tyrone Power narrated Marine history and a Marine band played and sang the hymn.

I thought the record would never arrive. Twice a week I'd walk down Main to the town's only music store to check on it.

The Hispanic gentleman who worked there would shake his head and say my record had not arrived. Finally I complained, "I ordered it weeks ago. Surely it should be here by now."

The gentleman spread his hands in a helpless gesture. "Well, you know these movie stars," he said. "Tyrone Power - he might sing. He might not sing."

Before our town's Army Air Corps station was completed, the young women of the town helped entertain soldiers at nearby' Fort Clarke by attending their dances. We were driven the 40 miles or so in a huge covered Army truck that transported 20 or more of us. Later, a USO was set up in Eagle Pass, as well as a Cadet Center, where we danced with the cadets in flight training at the new Army airport.

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