My grandmother wrote in her scrapbook:
"Billy was the first to enlist in the Naval Reserves at Peoria on December 8th-1941.
He left on December 18 for the Great Lakes Training Station.
Left for New York Receiving Ship on January 23. 1942. Called me long distance Friday morning to say good-bye."
"Dropped in on us at 1:00 A.M. Sunday January 18, 1942 for a 36 hr. leave. Gray and Mildred, Ella and Dorothy Cation were here for dinner and we took pictures. Left at midnight."
Bill was engaged to Dorothy Cation at the time of his enlistment. They married on the 21st of May in 1943 in Boston at the Navy Chapel. Dorothy returned to Peoria to stay with her mother while Bill returned to active duty. On their first anniversary he sent this to her:
Inside the poem was:
"YOU CALL THIS A MOP,And with that there is "A picture of me without you" and it is blank. Signed "Love, Bill".
TO ME IT'S A SWAB.
TO ME IT'S BRIGHTWORK, NOT BRASS, FOR ANY OLD KNOB.
YOU PUT RUGS ON THE FLOOR, I PUT SAME ON THE DECK.
IF IT'S POTATOES YOU EAT,
I EAT SPUDS BY THE PECK.
YOU CALL IT CATSUP, MY NAME IS RED LEAD.
I WAIT IN A CHOW LINE,
YOU JUST GET FED.
BUT LONGING FOR SOMEONE, AND MISSING HER SO.
THERE'S ONLY ONE WORD
FOR THIS FEELING I KNOW."