"We used to polish the toes of our shoes with the back of our stockings when we were on parade."
Initially, I went down into Vancouver to get in with what, now what was it, with the air force building the airplanes or something. But they weren’t hiring. So I came back home and my mother spotted this ad in the newspapers a couple of days later, about signing in for the air force. So back out I went, my grandfather took me and was so proud to take me up to the, I think it was the Dominion Bank building to enroll me, although I’m sure he wished it had been the army instead of the air force because he was an army man.
Well, then I went back home and waited, and I think a couple of months and then I took a five month course in Vancouver and then went to [RCAF Station] Rockcliffe [in Ottawa, Ontario] for basic training. And from there, I went to the composite training school [rehearsals before deployment] in Toronto and that’s where we sort of finished off and learnt all the … And then discovered that I couldn’t be a steno [stenographer], with my left hand, I couldn’t write shorthand fast enough, so I became a clerk general.
It was always fun when we went to get our uniforms and everything. And you had to make sure they fit and you’d get your shoes and those Lyle grey stocking, bluey grey stockings that we used to have to wear. We used to polish the toes of our shoes with the back of our stockings when we were on parade, if there was a little dust, you’d see everybody, first one foot and then the other would go behind their leg to dust off the dust, make sure the polish was there.
And then when I was stationed finally in Winnipeg, I worked on the logbooks of the airplane and the air frame, the propeller and the engine, keeping the hours. I was attached to the flying squadron over at the Winnipeg airport. It was a lot of book work because we had logbooks to keep the hours of the plane itself, like the air frame and also the engine and the propeller. And you kept the log hours and after so many hours, they would have a checkup, and then when it got to be so many hours, they’d have a complete overhaul. The pilots took up from navigators to learn, and I forget what else there was. And they had the big [Noorduyn] Norseman plane, and that’s when they took up the students, three or four of them in the plane at one time. And it gave us girls all a chance to have a ride in the big plane, which was very nice.
But after I had gone, they finally let them go up in a single plane, just with the one pilot and a passenger in the back. I had gone by then so I didn’t get that thrill. Of course, I met my husband there. Well, he was a pilot and they were stationed in one spot, and we caught the same bus every day over to work. And he would sit on my lap, he couldn’t find another seat he always said.
So I was discharged on the 12th of June, 1944. Oh, I was pregnant, so they didn’t want me. Well, see, my husband and I got married in the service. They put me through a real vigorous examination to be sure that I was pregnant and not just faking it so that I could get out of the service. Because apparently that’s what some of the girls had done that didn’t like it anymore, I guess. So I really got the treatment, but I don’t regret it. I had a lovely little daughter. (laughs)