Gladys Anderson was born in 1922 in Lisbon, North Dakota and had two brothers and two sisters. Her grandmother gave her mother a 300-acre farm in Nebraska where Gladys was raised. Her father grew wheat and corn and raised cows. [Annotator’s Note: Video and sound freezes from 0:02:20.000 to 0:02:47.] Her childhood was a typical one on a farm. She raised a little runt pig by bottle feeding him until it got older and fatter. Her father told her he had to take the pig to the market to sell him. She was upset about selling him, but her father gave her the money and she bought a bicycle with it. She rode her bicycle to and from high school every day. When Anderson was 20 years old, her sister took her to Chicago [Annotator’s Note: Chicago, Illinois] to visit their brother. Her sister decided to join the WACs [Annotator's Note: Women's Army Corps; women's branch of the United States Army, 1942 to 1978] and Anderson decided the join the WAVES [Annotator's Note: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service; United States Naval Women's Reserve] because she liked the uniforms better. She went down to the recruitment center and passed the test.
When she was 20 years old, Gladys Anderson joined the WAVES [Annotator's Note: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service; United States Naval Women's Reserve] while her older sister, Isabelle, joined the WACs [Annotator's Note: Women's Army Corps; women's branch of the United States Army, 1942 to 1978]. After passing a test, she was sent to New York for bootcamp. Her family and friends called her “Pinny” as a nickname. Her nickname was used while she was in the WAVES. She was sent to Madison, Wisconsin for Morse code training at the University of Wisconsin. She enjoyed her time at Madison. She was one of the top three students in her class. After the completion of her schooling, she was sent to work on Terminal Island, California decrypting messages until her discharge in 1944 when she became pregnant. She worked 72 hours and had 72 hours off. She lived in bunks with other WAVES and ate in a mess hall with them. Anderson and two of her WAVE friends took lots of short trips to the beach and other vacation spots. While out in her uniform, she was often asked what branch she was in and what base she was working at. After her time in the WAVES, she decided to stay at home and raise a family. She used the G.I. Bill [Annotator's Note: the G.I. Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, was enacted by the United States Congress to aid United States veterans of World War 2 in transitioning back to civilian life and included financial aid for education, mortgages, business starts and unemployment] to attend college in Burbank, California but became pregnant again and never went back to college.
After her time in the WAVES [Annotator's Note: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service; United States Naval Women's Reserve], Gladys Anderson decided to stay at home and raise a family. She enjoyed her time in the WAVES because she met so many nice women. She also enjoyed studying Morse code and being away from the family farm. She also learned a lot of structure and passed that mentality on to her children. She worries that the youth today does not know much about World War 2.
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