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12/19/2013 10:42:00 AM
A Song for Christmas

Submitted by Merry Jo Johnson

Christmas for me was always about singing, and oh how I loved it! It all began when I was 8 years old and my father, an Army Chaplain, took me with him to the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps) campus in northern Minnesota. There I would play my red ukulele and sing Christmas carols for "the boys." In a few years we were stationed at Fort Snelling, MN and I sang carols in the chapel.

On Christmas, in 1940, we were at Vancouver Barracks, Washington and I sang carols while my mother played piano in the mess hall for soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division. I remember thinking how young and scared those boys looked so far from home. Little did I know that the next Christmas we would be at war and we would be at Fort Lewis, Washington. I later attended the University of Washington and on Christmas Day sang with U.S.O. at the Naval Air Station, Sand Point.

We then went to Camp Roberts, California and at Christmas many stars came to entertain the troops, like Judy Garland and Red Skelton. I was always in the chorus since there weren't many girls around there!

My father went to Camp Rupert, Idaho where there were German P.O.W.s and because he spoke German. I went to my sister's in Los Angeles and went to U.C.L.A.

On December 24, 1949, I was a stewardess with Northwest Airlines and on a flight from Portland to Billings, Montana with stops at Yakima, Kallispell and Great Falls, we all sang Christmas carols along the way. I didn't have much voice left by Billings, but I believe I helped a little by getting strangers singing Christmas carols together on a lonely Christmas Eve.

I have been singing most of my life and I miss singing in choir.

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