Dec 242014

Christmas Eve is kind of cool when you get calls from folks you had not heard from for a while and from folks that you are in regular contact with.  Both give you good feelings and especially when one shares something with you that opens the door to knowing another special person.  That is what happened when my friend Dwight Porter told me of his relative who was a great person, a WWII Navy WAVE and wonderful poet.   Her name is Helen Anderson Glass.   Dwight shared a poem she wrote on her first Christmas Eve in the Navy.  I wrote her and asked if I could share that poem with you.  Not only did she agree but she wanted to know about me, USS ORLECK and our Destroyer USS ORLECK Association.  She said she might someday even write a poem about the ship for “them” meaning you who served aboard her.  So tonight I am posting a couple of things.  First an article that is on-line telling of her wonderful life and her voluntary service.  The second thing is a Youtube interview she did that is very good.  There is a lot on-line about her if you Google her.  She has written hundreds of poems.  She is 92 years of age.

Tomorrow on Christmas Day I will share another of her poems (a Christmas poem entitled “That’s What We Want For Christmas” and a special piece she did for us.  You won’t want to miss that.  I will post it tomorrow evening.

Merry Christmas to all!

Bob Orleck



Twa’s the night before Christmas
Our first one away
From family and friends
And we cried as we lay

On our cot or our bunk
That served as our bed
With bobby pins or curlers
Entwined on our heads

We wanted to look sharp
when we went ashore
in our neat new uniforms
because we were at war!

We were those young women
That enlisted from every state
In the Army, Marines and Navy
who were not quite sure of our fate!

We decorated the trees
For the barracks and halls
Remembering home and the fun
Of making snowmen and snow balls

Instead of a Christmas goose
Plum pudding and mom’s pumpkin pie
Some would eat “G I” rations
Not questioning “Why?”

And when we said our prayer
That sad holiday night
We prayed that everything
Would turn out right

We prayed the war would soon be over
And in some way
We could look back
With fond memories of that day

When we sang Christmas carols
In the hospitals and the mess hall
And knew it really was to be
A very Merry Christmas after all.

(Helen T. Anderson AMM 3 /C- Dec. 24, 1943
NAS Miami-OpaLocka, Florida)
My first Christmas away from home)