My mother, Violet, was born in Philadelphia. On her mother’s side of the family, she was a seventh generation Philadelphian, as she was descended from the Krefelders, the founders of Germantown. Her father was the son and grandson of German immigrants to Pennsylvania.
|Alice Robinson and children, c. 1933|
World War II intervened and spoiled this lovely family time. My mother (who had by this time changed her name to the more-modern Vicki) joined the Cadet Nurse Corps, and studied at Presbyterian Hospital to get her nursing degree. My uncle joined the Navy. Aunt Alyce took a job as personal secretary to the head of a department store. (Strawbridge and Clothier’s) but still found time to attend USO dances. At one dance, she met two nice Army sergeants from Wisconsin who were about to be shipped off to North Africa. She invited them home for Thanksgiving dinner. My mother was studying for exams, but Alyce was very persuasive and said it was her patriotic duty to take these young men, who might die, after all, on a tour of the City of Brotherly Love. One of the young men, Bob, was apparently quite smitten by Vicki, who had just turned eighteen. He asked if he could write her, and she agreed.
My father died young, so my mother was widowed at forty-two. I asked her if she wanted to move back to the East Coast, but she had a family, a job, and friends in Wisconsin. As she got older, she was adamant that she did not want to be buried with my dad and the rest of his family at the family grave in Spring Green, Wisconsin. “I want you to scatter my ashes off the shore at Cape May,” she said.