Joan, who came from a working class family, would teach nature study as a camp counselor every summer to earn money. When she is 15, she is getting ready to go for two months to Arden Shore Camp, Lake Bluff, Ill.
Saturday, June 25, 1938
. . . Went out with Daddy tonight. Went [to the] store to get face powder. Daddy said may as well get what else I need for camp in way of beauty junk too. And did I—at least nine other things! You should have seen the look on Daddy’s face! He’s never going to risk that again.
Her poor father (my grandfather): I guess he never made that generous offer again!
She was not the only female to pack for a long journey. Two months at camp pales in comparison to the journey army nurses made during the war.
Slate recently published a fascinating article on what WWII army nurses packed as they headed for Europe.
In her article, Rebecca Onion writes, “Patricia Britton, whose mother, Laura Rodriguez, served from 1944 through 1946. Rodriguez , who was 23 when she enlisted, had worked for less than a year at a hospital in Gallup, N.M. when she entered basic training for army nurses in Texas. She received the list while making preparations to fly with her unit to Germany, in December, 1944. That late in the war, the number of Army nurses in the European theater was at its height (in June 1945, there were 17,345). The list, with its observations about the way things were in Europe, reflects the experiences of the nurses who had gone overseas before Rodriguez.”
Here is one of the sheets of typewritten information, suggesting what to bring.