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On Exhibit

WWII Homefront exhibit

My parents, Jeanne Thomas and Charles Beam, Jr. grew up together in Holiday, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. They married a few months after the end of the war - November 9, 1945. Jeanne was 20 and Charles was 22. At age 58, Charles' mother Nellie wanted to do her part for the war. She would leave on Monday morning and live in the barracks at Hill Air Force base (Hill Field). She worked in the parachute factory. Friday she would make the 40-mile trip home. Nellie said Italian prisoners of war also worked at the base. Jeanne worked for a summer at the bullet factory inspecting bullets. The factory was open 24 hours a day and she worked rotating shifts for three months. To conserve gas, which was also strictly rationed, she and another girl were picked up and driven the 20 mile trip. Back then, that seemed like a long ride. The total earnings for the summer paid for her entire first year at the University of Utah - $300.00. Meantime, Charles served in the Pacific as an Underwater Demolition Team member. Different submarines would deliver him to his assignments. Many times they were at sea for extended periods with nothing to eat but tuna fish and canned meat. He was forever grateful for Admiral Chester Nimitz who always made sure that there was fresh fruit, vegetables and milk waiting on the dock for the returning subs. After the war Charles never ate tuna or canned meat.