It was early summer of 1943, and I’d recently graduated from Bexley High School. My mother asked if I would like to be a Junior Hostess at a dinner-dance at Jeffrey Mansion. She was on a committee that was planning to reward the Army Air Corps Cadets Stationed at Capital University.
In order to save the City of Bexley from paying to have the mansion professionally cleaned – so it could be used as a USO Center – the cadets were enticed to do the job by being offered a party. The cadets, 18 and 19 year old young men, were from various southern states and had last names beginning with F or G.
While dancing with one of the cadets, I could feel someone staring at me. Finally he cut in and asked me to dance. This turned out to be my future husband – Sam Garrett of South Carolina!
A few days after the Jeffrey Mansion party, my parents, along with my brother and sister, left for a summer vacation at Lakeside. I stayed home with my Grandmother.
Around 9 am, the sound of “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder” woke me. The singing grew louder and louder. I ran downstairs to see what looked like the entire cadet corp standing in front of my house.
Jim Funderberg, one of the two cadet leaders, said “Fall Out” and dozens of cadets came to my front door. I panicked.. dashed up the stairs, tripped on my pink silk pajamas, fell flat on my face and slid down the stairs on my stomach.
The cadets thought this was the funniest thing they ever saw and laughed uproariously! I was never so embarrassed in my life. After providing them with drinks of water, they marched away again singing “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder.”
Sam and I married in June 1946.
Several other girls from the Bexley 1943 class also met their future husbands at that dinner-dance, including Mary Koch (Elmer Fritts) and Lorena McGarry (Tom Frith).
Sadly, the two cadet leaders, Jim Funderberg and Lloyd Gates, both had their B-17s shot down over Germany and were killed.
Adapted from article By Barabara Cadot Garrett Keating
Originally published in Historical Herald, March 2009
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