Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bad Girls?

My Dad kept a diary during his service in WWII. I have it, I've read it.

My Mother kept every letter they exchanged as a young, married couple during the war. I've read the letters. They are newsy, funny, loving and lonely." They aren't particularly romantic. My Mom was a much better writer than my Dad, then again he was a much better pilot than my Mom.

In Dad's diary, he is more romantic than he is in his letters to Mom. I wonder why? He was better at expressing his longing for her to himself than he was to her. Later in life I asked Mom why? She didn't have an answer, although she was pleased to read his thoughts about her in his diary. 

Dad often wrote a line or two about his fellow pilots and their off duty adventures in London and Paris. His buddy Johnson getting drunk and crashing into the glass door of a bar in France. Getting thrown out of bed at a hotel in London during a German bombing raid when the bomb's concussion sucked the glass out of the hotel windows.

Several times in his diary Dad would write a line or two like this "C picked up a bad case of the clap" or "A is getting the last of his penicillin shots today"...

When I was 18, I ran into a 'bad girl" one night over Christmas vacation, when I got home at 4:30 in the morning Dad was standing in the kitchen in his underwear (he never wore pajamas, he said he got used to sleeping in his underwear during the war). The old man took a look at me as best he could in the dim light from the stove hood and said, "You smell like a French whorehouse." I was a rock solid smartass at that point in my life, I replied, "Of the two people in this room, only one of us would know what a French whorehouse smells like." Dad got pissed, on the other hand he didn't tell me I was wrong either. As I got older and closer to the old man, I often thought about asking him about it, but I never did.

I had a long time girlfriend at the time, both my parents really liked her and the "French whorehouse" incident was never connected to her. Then again she wasn't involved and she was a "nice" girl...little did they know. Maybe they just didn't want to think about it.

Years later, my daughter, she was about 20 at the time, asked my Mom whether or not girls "gave it up" for the boys during the war. My mother didn't respond right away, she got a small smile on her face and told my kid, "Well honey, they might not have come back."

Every generation seems to think they invented sex, mine, the 60's generation truly believed it and we have been blamed for a lot of societal changes...maybe that's true but we didn't invent sex...

I've downloaded this new book, haven't finished it yet but it sure as hell got me thinking about my parent's generation. Here's a quote from Amanda Littauer.

"Casual and diverse sexual practices on the home front stimulated a public recognition of the divergence between formal sexual standards and actual sexual behavior that outlasted the renewed conservatism of the long postwar decade and fostered the liberationist sexual ethics of the late 1960s and 1970s."

My mother and I had an informal, two person book club for years, I'd love to discuss this book with her.

Here's a link...


  1. Interesting how the book cover or poster in your graphic bespeaks what was an odd but active assumption at one time. A girl who smokes was likely to be a "bad" girl, more wild or wanton. Oh the naiveté of youth!

  2. My Mother and all her friends smoked, learned how from the movies in the 30's.

    My Mom once told me that growing up she thought that men who smelled like aftershave, whisky and cigarettes smelled extremely sexy.