June 12, 1946
I have told this so many times my children and most of my family roll their eyes when they hear it start. My dad married my mom just before he was deployed to Italy in WWII. He was gone for 23 months (sometimes I tell it as 26 months)…truth is I can”t remember but I do know it was a month or two either side of two years.
The war in Europe ended May 8, 1945. Service men were sent home based on a point system that factored rank, time of service, time deployed and dumb luck. Dad said as a Sargent he may have been the only noncom above a Privates rank left in eastern Italy. But in September of 1945 he got his orders to return stateside. A mere 18 days of jeep rides, boat rides, other boat rides, several trains and hitchhiking from Abilene to Haskell Texas…he was home.
When people talk of the Baby-Boomer generation, I tell them I am the poster child as I was born 9 months and 20 minutes after dad got home. My mom who had been 15 when they married (and now 3 months shy of 18) had never moved out of her mom and dad’s house so the Gordon Eugene Gilleland family was officially homeless that October. With about $45 and no real property or prospects my parents did what young couples all over the USA were doing…starting a family. They truly were “The Greatest Generation”.