Gaylord Nelson Papers, 1954-2006 (bulk 1963-1980)

 
Contents List
Container Title
Box/Folder   6/18
No.   1255A/8-9
Szedziewski, Alvina,1992 March 18, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Biography/History: Alvina (Mogilka) Szedziewski was born on June 9, 1925, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has lived there all of her life. Her parents, of Polish descent, were born in Wisconsin. When Mrs. Szedziewski was nine years old, her mother died, and her father moved the small family in with her grandmother. When Mrs. Szedziewski began high school, the family moved out on their own, and she was responsible for the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping for herself and her father and older brother. She attended a Catholic grade school, St. Josaphat, and Division High School in Milwaukee. She is a lifelong Catholic. Mrs. Szedziewski was graduated from high school in 1943 and secured a job with an insurance company. She married in 1949 and continued at the insurance company until the first of her three children was born in 1951. During World War II, she was also involved in activities with the Red Cross and the USO.
Scope and Content Note

Mrs. Szedziewski describes the effect of the U.S. involvement in World War II on high school students, including dating, the shortage of men, and dances held for servicemen training at Great Lakes Naval Training. She discusses public transportation while dating, proper dating attire, and difficulties in balancing home responsibilities with her social life. She discusses what shopping and home responsibilities were like for a young high school girl. She describes a local store that supplied her and her friends with nylons on a sporadic basis.

Mrs. Szedziewski discusses her neighborhood and the ethnicity of the residents. She describes the importance of the church in her predominantly Polish neighborhood. She further discusses her volunteer activities with the Red Cross while still a high school student. She describes her first job--her duties, size of the office, and her co-workers. She corresponded with a few cousins who were in military service and tells of listening to the war news on the radio. In describing her high school years, she tells of the favorite local gathering place, her involvement in the Catholic Symphony Orchestra. She shares her personal thoughts on the war itself, and the process of the draft. She describes other high school students' reactions to the war and school-related activities.

Mrs. Szedziewski also discusses the support systems available to her as young girl faced with family responsibilities. She tells of learning to cook from neighbors and her frustration at the lack of assistance from nearby relatives.