Tribute to Doris Patton
Civilian Service: Defense Industry
Doris Jean Johnson Patton grew up as a farm girl southeast of Matfield Green, Kansas in the Thurman community. Upon graduating from Matfield Green Rural High School in 1942, I moved in with my sister and her husband in Wichita, Kansas, and enrolled in Wichita Business College. About the time of my course completion, my high school boyfriend, Chad Patton, joined the U.S. Army in December of 1942 and eventually became part of the 66th Infantry Division. When he left for basic training, I was hired in the Beech B-20 Accounts Receivable Office as a typist. Periodically I also did inventory in the evenings at the B-20 warehouse. This office and warehouse was not in the same location where the planes were built.
After I started drawing a paycheck, I moved to 1235 Waco Street. Life in the city was exciting to me. The Waco Avenue Brethren Church was close by on the corner of Waco and 11th. My friends from the office would meet at the park on Sundays for picnics or we would take in an occasional movie. Most evenings were spent performing the necessities of life: cooking, cleaning, sewing, laundry, ironing...and writing to Chad.
Everywhere we went we had to wait in line. We needed ration stamps to purchase almost anything we needed: sugar, butter, nylons, etc. We even waited in line at the bus station where we boarded a bus to take us to work. The only reprieve from the long lines was my trip home after work when I would stop by the Russell Stover candy store for a very yummy treat.
In June of 1944 my dear friend and co-worker, Maureen Beisel, got the mumps just before my trip to Camp Rucker, Alabama to see Chad. On the train trip down, I got the mumps. The visit was not as pleasant as it could have been. Fortunately, I did not give the mumps to Chad. It was during that visit that we decided that if we could get together again, we would get married. At the end of August, I boarded a train to Alabama and on Friday, September 1, 1944, I married PFC Chad Patton at the Division Chapel at Camp Rucker. Our ceremony was right before a Jewish worship service and people kept entering the chapel throughout our vows. When I arrived, Chad had a 3 day pass plus a weekend pass so we could get married. Then Chad's captain gave him an additional 8 day furlough because his division had just been given orders to ship out to Europe, so we took a train back to Kansas to see family and friends. After a wonderful week together, I did not see Chad again until April of 1946, almost 2 years later.
I continued to keep busy with my work and friends. One thing we did not have to stand in line for was to buy a fur coat. My friend Maureen bought a marmot coat. I decided on a beaver coat. I wrote Chad of my intentions and then wrote him again after the fact. When he got home from the war, he commented on getting several letters from me at one time because deliveries were not frequent in battle zones. He always opened them in order of the postmark date. After reading the letter that said I was thinking about buying a fur coat, he told his buddies as he opened the next letter that this letter would say I had bought the coat. Sure enough it did.
I received a Western Union telegram on March 27, 1946 from Chad from New York. He had just arrived in the states and would be in Kansas in a few days and then discharged. I quickly turned in my resignation to Beech stating the reason for leaving, "My husband is home from the war!"
Below is an excerpt from a Beech Department 76 Newsletter from 1945:
"B-20 Warehouse (1st shift) -- Beech bows to Matfield Green, Kans., for sending one of its most talented and attractive gal citizens to Wichita. Doris Patton came here almost three years ago and learned the role of a stenographer at the Wichita Business College before coming into the Receiving Section of Department 72. Only a few years past, in high school, she was an active member of the Pep Club, the Ethics Club and was very outstanding in 4-H Club work. She placed first with an angel food cake at the County Fair and worked on the judging team at the State Fair. If you didn't turn the dial, you probably heard her play a piano duet on a 4-H club broadcast from Emporia. She likes to play the piano as sort of a hobby, but to keep in good form (and that's what we mean) she roller skates. Doris used to take a lot of interesting trips to Alabama and Arkansas to visit a special GI who is now overseas. One day, two weeks before he left, she made a sentimental journey to Montgomery and changed her name from Johnson to Patton. As soon as Uncle Sammy kisses her husband goodbye, the Chad Pattons will take it from there and go back to the hometown to a happy future in farming."
Submitted by the Chad R. Patton Family