Flea Market Love Letters
WAVES: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service
In 1943, Hermine Yeretzian (pictured above, far right; Boston University Year Book, 1949) replied to the letter of a friend, Kitty Lehane, regarding her interest in joining Waves, or the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. According to the internet, Waves:
"was the women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve during World War II. It was established on July 21, 1942 by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 30. This authorized the U.S. Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of the war plus six months. The purpose of the law was to release officers and men for sea duty and replace them with women in shore establishments"
Hermine Yeretzian was born to John and Marie Yeretzian, nee Ananikian, on September 27th, 1922 in Massachusetts. Hermine was the eldest of John and Marie's two children, with a brother Armen following in 1926. According to this 1930 U.S. Census, John and Marie were immigrants to the United States from their native Turkey. In 1930, John was employed at a shoe factory as a "Pump Stitcher".
Ten years later, in the 1940 Census we see that Marie has joined John in working at the shoe factory. Hermine would likely enlist in Waves in early 1943, less than a year after the program opened. It seems to appear that some time following World War II John and Marie moved to California, where Marie died in 1994 after John in 1967. It appears that Hermine lived in California as well for a number of years, traveling fairly regularly for the period to locals like France and Bermuda.
From the records available, it appears the Hermine never married and thanks to her time in the service is recognized as a United States Veteran. She died in April of 2006.