Florists in Albertville, MN
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Albertville Flower Shops
Albertville MN News
Nov 27, 2015
70 years later, WWII is still with Richard. But so is Delrose.
The Sound and the Fury" and it was also the year that Anne Frank, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly were born.
"Do you know where the Albertville Premium Outlets are?" Delrose asks. "That's where I was born."
"My mother had nine children in that house behind the mall," Delrose says. "Nine children and never a day in the hospital -- isn't that amazing? That was the tough old German in her. I'm number five -- and I still had to milk cows!"
In 1943, the world was at war. The U.S. government had begun rationing everything from shoes to cooking oil. Americans were dancing to songs like "I've Heard that Song Before" and "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to." And in the South Pacific, a young lieutenant named John F. Kennedy became a war hero because of the actions he took to save his crew after his boat, the PT-109, was downed by the Japanese at 2 a.m. on Aug. 2, 1943.
It was also the year that Richard turned 18 and signed up to fight -- just as most young men in the country were doing.
"I joined the Navy in the fall of 1943," Richard says.
This, despite a leaky heart.
"I've had some heart problems, I think, most of my life," Richard says.
That didn't matter during a fight to save the world.
"If you could walk, you were in," Richard says. "It took them a couple of months to activate me. Then I went to Farragut (Naval Training Station) in Idaho and I went to gunner's mate school. After my boot camp or whatever you want to call it, they sent me down to Milne Bay, New Guinea, for reassignment.
"I was striking to be a gunner's mate. To be a gunner's mate, you were supposed to weigh 145 pounds."
"He was only 105," Delrose says.
"But they said I was so damned good with my fingers and at the guns that they said they would waive that," Richard says. "I think I was the youngest, but I was for sure the smallest gunner's mate in the Navy."
His Navy uniform hangs nearby.
He points at it.
"Did you see my PT emblem?" he asks. "After six months in the PT boats, that was eternal, you wore that no matter where else you went. They said that was the most elite service in the Navy."
It was not easy to survive.
The Japanese "bombed us just relentlessly," he says.
He did his country proud.
"He had three battle stars by the time he was 19," Delrose says.
"I got out of the Navy on May 1," Richard says.
"1946," Delrose says.
RICHARD AND DELROSE
It was after the war -- 1948 -- when Richard and Delrose finally met. "I Remember Mama," a movie about a Norwegian immigrant family, was big at the box office; Laura Ingalls Wilder was still writing books ("These Happy Golden Years" was a new, award-winning best-seller in the "Little H... (TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press)