My father graduated from high school in May 1942. “Gene” as he preferred to be called, worked as a cobbler for DeLaporte Shoe Store during high school and through the summer, and went to work that fall for the Hannibal Rubber Plant, and eventually became a silk screen press operator for Hannibal Outdoor Advertising, while mother made a home for them in their small apartment on Bird Street, and then at 900 Pleasant Street.
My father’s sister, Ruth, organized and hosted an evening wedding ceremony for the young couple at her home two weeks before father reported for military service. They were married by my father’s older brother, Reverend Virgil Vaughn on November 12, 1942. Virgil was a student at Hannibal LaGrange College and pastor of Ramsey Creek Baptist Church.
Reverend and Mrs. William Thomas Vaughn, father’s parents, and Bill, his younger brother attended the service, along with Mrs. Katherine Conn, mother’s aunt. The rest of her family did not attend.
Photos of the couple, with Bill and Ruth, and the bridesmaids, were taken at Riverview Park, overlooking the Mississippi River the afternoon before the ceremony.
My mother’s wedding memories book tells much about their early days.
World War II spread to America when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. The United States declared war on Germany, Italy and Japan on December 11,1941 and on Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary the following June. My father enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve after high school, and was ordered to the St Louis Military Recruiting Station on November 26, 1942 to be shipped to San Diego Recruit Depot for basic training.
He was honorably discharged only a few days later, on Dec 18, 1942, due to a severe allergic condition known as hay fever, or rhinitis, which is caused by pollens of seasonal plants. Hay fever got its name because pollens are most prevalent during haying season.
A person with rhinitis is not well suited for any type of combat duty where exposure to pollens, or dust, could trigger an allergic reaction and subsequent sneezing, which could give away an entire unit’s position.
He returned to his young wife in Hannibal, Missouri and worked as a silk screen press operator at Hannibal Outdoor Advertising, and volunteered for duty with the Missouri State Guard as a radio operator. Many of my early memories about him are from his service with the State Guard and, later, with the National Guard.