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Misitano Family - at Beginning of World War 2

In February of 1943, the soldier who wrote the letters included in this collection lived at 1500 16th Avenue in Altoona, PA, with his parents and 7 siblings:

Francis (father), age 51, employed at Pennsylvania Railroad shops in Altoona as a machinist and crane operator.

Frances (mother), age 39, homemaker, had been married to Francis since 1917. Both Francis and Frances had emigrated from Italy before their marriage, and had become U.S. citizens.

Anthony (Tony), age 25, had enlisted in the army in 1941, and was serving in the states.

Pauline, age 24, working in secretarial functions away from home.

Philip (Phil), age 22, had enlisted in the army in 1942, and was serving in the states.

Vincent (Jim/Jimmy), age 19, inducted into army on February 10, 1943.

Joseph (Joe), age 18, would be inducted into army on April 13, 1943.

Grace, age 15, attending high school

Francis (Frank), age 12, attending grade school, would later serve in the Air Force during Korean conflict.

Thomas (Tom), age 11, attending grade school, would later serve in the Marines during Korean conflict.

Wedding of Jim's Parents, 1917:

Mother seated, father standing on right
Jim and his mother, circa 1940:

Supplemental Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes:

Note that the full name of the writer of the letters in this collection is Vincent James Misitano. While people who knew him at school and work called him Vincent, his friends and family all called him Jim or Jimmy. It's not clear why this particular distinction was made, but the same one occurred for me, his son Vincent James Jr. Throughout my life I always had (and have) two names commonly used to address me, Vincent for school and work associates, Jim for friends and family.

I distinctly recall my first day in the first grade at Cathedral Elementary school in Altoona when Sister Mary Bryce asked her new pupils if they had a preferred name, such as Peggy for Margaret and other similar substitutions. When I asked to be called Jim, she mistook my request for sarcasm and wit far beyond my powers at the time and rejected the request out-of-hand, not noticing the middle name which justified the request. As this was my first time away from home life, I was still painfully shy and utterly incapable of questioning her authority and decision. I have thus spent the rest of my life since then with two names, as did my father.


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