Page 6 - sample-amazing-grace
P. 6

Miss Kutschenreuter

war production going in the Milwaukee area,house-             As World War II wound down, eligible men in
wives and young women took on traditional male              uniform began coming home to Wauwatosa. The
jobs in factories, shipyards and breweries. Grace           taverns of suburban Milwaukee bustled with young
worked in her Uncle Leo’s jewelry business—her              men and women celebrating life after the clouds of
first exposure to the fine jewelry that would be her        war had lifted. At 27, Grace Kutschenreuter, stylish
signature as an adult. The government needed                and intelligent, would have caught the eye of many
Uncle Leo’s skills in a factory that made precision         returning vets. So it was that at one such gathering
                                                            U.S. Army Signals Corps
  Grace also volunteered as a “Gray Lady” for the
American Red Cross.With nurses being sent over-             Grace struck up a conversation with a
seas as part of the war effort, hospitals used              handsome young officer with dark brown eyes who
volunteers to fill the void. Formed in 1918 as World        had just returned from a four-year tour of duty in
War I ended, Gray Ladies (so called by soldiers for         the Pacific as part of the U.S. Army Signal (Com-
the gray uniforms they wore) provided friendly,             munications) Corps.
personal, non-medical services for sick, injured, and
disabled military patients in U.S. hospitals. Their           Grace and Ed quickly discovered they had much
duties included writing letters, reading to patients,       in common. They both grew up in Wauwatosa,
and serving as hostesses in hospital recreation rooms       attended St. Bernard’s grammar school at the same
and at information desks.They also provided hospi-          time, and had many grade school friends in
tality services at Red Cross blood centers. Grace           common, although Grace was a year older than Ed.
later took great pleasure in telling her family that
she had a 21" waist in her Gray Lady uniform.

  Several months after Nazi Germany had surren-
dered, Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces.
Americans celebrated V-J (Victory over Japan) Day,
August 14, 1945, with relief and joy.“When the war
ended we had a marvelous time,” Grace remem-
bered. “We girls went down to Wisconsin Avenue
and danced and celebrated all night. It was fun and
crowded. There wasn’t any drinking, just cheering
and yelling, ‘It’s over!’ I think all of Milwaukee was
down on Wisconsin Avenue that day.”

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