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Ilene Hall Joined the Army to Search for Her Husband During WWII and The 1st "Disneyland" on Lake Michigan's Shore, and The Man Behind It

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
July 8, 2022 3:05 am

Ilene Hall Joined the Army to Search for Her Husband During WWII and The 1st "Disneyland" on Lake Michigan's Shore, and The Man Behind It

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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July 8, 2022 3:05 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Ilene Hall tells us the story of when her husband, to whom she was married in March 1943, finished his training in the Army and was about to be shipped overseas and she decided not to put an ocean between them. Chris Siriano of the House of David Museum in Saint Joe, MI, tells the story of how a band of religious misfits ended up in along the shores of Lake Michigan and used their massive amounts of wealth to invent everything from the waffle cone, to food taken up into outer space by astronauts—all while creating an amusement park that even Walt Disney would take inspiration from. 

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

 

Time Codes: 

00:00 - Ilene Hall Joined the Army to Search for Her Husband During WWII

25:00 - The 1st "Disneyland" on Lake Michigan's Shore, and The Man Behind It

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Stories we tell stories about everything you on the show sports business to history and everything in between. Stories some of our favorite story well it's all about service, love and sacrifice.

Let's follow Eileen Hall's incredible journey across Europe as she searches for her husband in the middle of World War II. Eileen was a member in the women's Army Corps for what we got together with Eileen and her daughter Sherry, who both live in Canton Ohio is Eileen I'm from Canton, Ohio. I was born in 1011 23 and my mother and dad had a restaurant in downtown Canton and we had a hotel above the restaurant and that's where I was raised. We lived right across the street from McKinley high school so all I had to do was walk for high school was walk across the street go to school after my mother made it to my high school graduation and shortly after that she passed on and my dad remarried and I felt very uncomfortable at home. Different mother really working roller bearing company so it's a long time that 75 years ago. You know, so I'm trying to remember a lot of but I'll never forget, but in there I met a girl and we became friends and we worked in the stationary supply office and she had a boyfriend from Dalian, Ohio, and every time he came up to see her. He brought his brother, so she said you think you'd mind dating his brother if he brings them up nice.

I don't know well that was it because we just melted and it's just worked out so that he was being drafted. Like all he was going to be sent to Oklahoma so after my dad remarried. I just didn't tell comfortable at home so I said, I think I'll go.

I always want to go to California so I said, I think I'll go to California because I've always wanted to go there so I boarded the train and it stopped in Oklahoma and I thought well I'll just see you know him while I'm here. That's as far as I got married after I was there a few days we had to go through blood tests and it was really you know so and we were married in the Parsons office and then it wasn't long after that that he was sent overseas so I thought well since I'm married to a my go back home and see what I can do. You know, so I went back home and I decided to enlist in the service so I went in downtown Canton where they had their recruiting office and told him I would like to join the Army, Navy, what really wanted but you couldn't get in that one until later. So I decided to get in the Army.

If I could.

So even though I was married I had to get my dad's consent because of my age. I couldn't do it unless I had my parents consent.

So I went to where he worked and told him he said well if I don't do this you'll do something else crazy so he signed. He was a World War I veteran, so he signed and I took it back and after that I got into basic training in Daytona Beach, Florida. From there I was, I volunteer. They said as we were being interviewed girls that have already volunteered, said you'll be sorry and so but I volunteer for everything.

So I always got the pic of things that I wanted to do so.

I thought that was a good idea. From there I was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia for driver training and I let convoy through Georgia is one of our tryouts. You know, to see how we did so and then we had to grin gas chambers and take off of gas mask and stay for a few minutes then go out and get your breath again and then we had to lay down in fired shots over us. You know, to see how we react and then we had to go through other training abandoning ship.

We had little note to a top of the ship that would be good on the sides and a couple of the girls were just terrified of doing it so I helped along with them and then after that was all done I was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, and I was only there for a little while. The fellows in the barracks were used to having women there.

And boy every time we'd walk out everywhere. You guys walking with us so but anyway I volunteer.

They will ask for volunteers to go overseas so I volunteered, but there were too many so I wasn't going to get to go, but that the last minute, 1 gallon dropped out until I took her place and then it wasn't long after that that we sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey, and boarded the Queen Elizabeth and headed for France. So on a ship that in peacetime would accommodate two people there were 24 wax in one room and and then we went on and we landed at Glasco Scotland and the Isle of Clyde and there we were met with them.

Red Cross and Salvation Army, and they gave us food and and totally decided where we were going to go from there. It's some of us boarded the train and headed for Sutton coalfield England.

That's where I was one of the station for a while and we been listening to Eileen Hall's journey to find her husband in the middle of World War II. Great back story. Can't wait to hear more. Sure, you can either come back tomorrow. Eileen whole story here on our American story.

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There call your local State Farm agent for quote today doing household chores can Artie be time-consuming and tedious. And there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I can be overwhelming for anyone. If you want to get those larger laundry loads down right and get back to your life. Try all three clear maggot packs all three clear mega packs are bigger packs two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular packs of that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry all three clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and gentle on skin, which is great for any families sensitive skin needs my family.

We definitely have sentence again the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation as that's because this big pile of dirty clothes and all three clear maggot packs have your back purchase all three clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Geico asks how would you love a chance to save some money on insurance. Of course he would. And when it comes to great rates on insurance. GEICO can help like with insurance for your car, truck, motorcycle, boat and RV even help with homeowners or renters coverage plus at an easy to use mobile app available 24 hour roadside assistance and more. And GEICO is an easy choice switch today and see all the ways you can save it's easy. Simply go to Geico.com or contact your local agent today and we continue here on our American stories with Eileen whole story. What an adventure. This lady was my goodness. And so many other women who served in the war she wanted to be in the theater and volunteered for pickup. When we last left off. Some of us boarded the train and headed for Sutton coalfield England. That's what I was going to be stationed for a while so that's where I had to drive a G guy I went through the motorcar so I was allowed to drive a Jeep and up to 2 1/2 ton truck, so I drove everybody in Sutton coalfield in England had to list if they had a room available for GIs because they didn't want the women staying in room to say one of the men to be there so that's what I did for a while got them all done and then I was sent. I drove a major layer that four of us are drivers and I we all drove an officer, so I drove a major, so we were on call 24 hours a day for whatever reason they wanted us so that I had to drive in the fog so bad that I had my leg drive on the left side on the curb so I know where I was going and because of that my left leg is is not as big as my right. It took that much it throws you know, and I had to go back to the barracks and they put me behind the bakery so I could thaw out to my late so frozen from drive and so I we had gone through many air raids at night and one of the gals that if I'm going to get killed. I'm going to do it right here and so the rest of the site. We stay together so that was it because it will likely air raids after I left England I went to France and was with the post office. There is a driver, so every morning I drive into Paris and you could stay with this streets were empty except for people going through garbage cans trying to get something to eat people and dogs, and that's something I'll never forget. And as I drove to the post office and that I was yeah just as I drove in something cracked in the steering wheel and I couldn't steer, but I was already there so I was that life that was a blessing because if I done that out in the you know out on the streets. It would've been something else. I have faith I just felt be protected.

Whatever I did because I volunteered for some. My felt that's what I should do so. I just have a different life than some of the other wax. The Battle of the Bulge was going on then, and they were bringing the wounded into the hospital in Paris and our commanding officer was called from the hospital and asked him to send some wax down to help the dude were coming in so fast so I our commanding officer called me and said you know going to take some wax to the hospital so I got a ton and 1/2 truck and loaded it with wax and drove into the hospital and from the hospital and walked in and hear the GIs are all land on the floor. You could just walk sideways and so they we wouldst kneel down and talk to take you know all went and talk to each one and ask what where they were from disk items calm down before and then they finally found room for them all so but when I had time off. I was allowed to take the Jeep and I became acquainted with two fellows from Iowa and one was Patty's left leg amputated below his knee so he was going to be sent home and he said he hated to see go home without see in Paris and I said well I'll see what I can do. So I went to my commanding officer told the story. She says you take a Jeep and showing where you want to go. So where there were two wax in the back and me driving and him sit beside me and took them all. Paris so he was in no excited about that and we kept in touch for years after I got home so but I got a letter from my husband saying he was going to be sent to the CVI that the China Burma and I slot and I started crying and the officer was below me and she came up and wanted to know why I was crying and I said why my husband is going to be sent to CB area and I said I probably never see me again and she said I'll see what I can do. So she got me orders attached to Mark Clark's but he never knew I was part of his service so but that got me to the airport and asked if you know if anybody was gone Paris and there was a plane just out there that was going to be going to Italy and I told my story to the guy at the desk and so he said that plane right there, you can get on so they put down the bomb bay doors and I walked out and laid one on one side and one on the other lifted me up, putting in for the gun to radius and that's how I rode from there to Italy and I got off of the plane and I was standing on the road and I didn't realize right in front of me was the Tower of Pisa because I didn't realize it was that big.

You know, and so I walked out and I started hitchhiking along came British Guyana truck three soldiers in the back and one was they were attending to one and I said what happened. She said he got hurt, but not by fire. I don't know exactly how I got hurt and they're going into her own.

So they stop for water and the driver of the truck had to come back and stand in front of me so I could lead to the back because the people just came from everywhere. They want to touch me. I didn't know what to do, so they looked out for me and then we left and went on to Rome to the Red Cross. There and they put me up for the night. The next morning was a Sunday, so it was church so I went down and went to church and after a little while before church started fellow sat down beside me and he looked at my practices. You're not from around here and I said no. I told my story. He said I'll see what I can do so the next day the cat got permission from his officer. He was able to take me from Rome to Milano, and on the way it started to rain and the fellow didn't know how to do this the top to the Jeep so I showed them how to do that took me up and my husband was waiting for me so we had our honeymoon on Lake and I had our own villa attached to regular one which is owned now by George Clooney and I'm sure George Clooney doesn't know about. Write a letter to sometime if he ever gets it. The ability SSD yeah so yeah that was the fifth Army rest camp so we left from the harp on the DVD. Alexander headed for United States as we pulled into New York harbor all the lights came on and they took us off the boat and fed us the best Thanksgiving so and from there we had to go to Fort Dix to get released from the Army and then I boarded the train for Canton, Ohio and when I got to Canton. My husband and my my dad just welcome me home home 70s before I did, but other than that, why I think my experiences something not too many people have the opportunity to experience so that's my little story and I love to tell what and thanks for the opportunity to tell what that's it that's it. Thanks for the opportunity to let us know, and what a beautiful story about so many things particularly just pure sense of adventure off to Europe to fight Nazis searching for each other. Learning how to drive trucks and tanks supply lines defeat one of the world's worst enemies in history. Eileen Hall's journey to find her husband in the middle of World War II story here about Americans I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance.

I need my State Farm agent make sure my business days piping hot equal and confident their small business owners to help you best. State Farm is in your corner and on like a good neighbor. There call your local State Farm agent for quote today doing household chores can Artie be time-consuming and tedious. There's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done can be overwhelming for anyone. If you want to get those larger laundry loads down right and get back to your life.

Try all three clear maggot packs all three clear mega packs are bigger packs two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry all three clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and their dental and skin which is great for any families sensitive skin needs my family. We definitely have sensitive skin. The next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation as that's cause this big pile of dirty clothes. All three clear maggot packs have your back purchase all three clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. This is our American stores. One of the things we love to do a show is still history stories or next story comes to us from Benton Harbor, Michigan is a bit of local history you won't forget his own Monty Montgomery story Harbor, Michigan. There's an interesting story that started because of a Michigan eccentric media called him king, then they started calling and the teams are called King because he was mega wealthy Empire very much like a Michigan Roman Empire who had that much wealth without much success in America. I don't know very many people. That's Chris Soriano, founder and curator of the house of David Museum in St. Joe, Michigan, a museum dedicated to an interesting bit of local history that got its start because of the so-called came back Benjamin Pennell was born in Kentucky in 1861 to love very very poor family. He was the seventh son in the family.

Basically, with nothing was an intelligent child and loved to listen to the fire and brimstone campfire talks at night and that his father would give the townspeople by the time Benjamin was 14 years old. He was extremely book smart could basically memorize a book cover, and he was given the King James Bible Christmas on his 14th birthday and digested the whole Bible. And at that point he felt like she should be a messenger from God, but the missionary is 16 years old.

His wife and preachers through the cells up in the Midwest where he set Fostoria, Ohio the 21st of this first church was called the guardhouse congregation of people reversed in his faith, which was a Christian.

All so the vegetarian lifestyle very similar to the shakers is what he taught that if you believed all these things and were Christian and believed in God and Jesus have eternal life body on earth as it was in Fostoria. His daughter Patty turned 14 years old. Patty started her job first job in a fireworks factory in Fostoria, Ohio, and he announced to the congregation that evening that Patty is proud of her that she got a job and you could see the factory out the windows of the church. About halfway through the sermon fireworks factory caught on fire and actually blew up so it was very obvious that nobody survives the explosion to the people in the church and Benjamin and Mary went over to the window were quiet and within a couple hours authorities came banging on the church door wanted you Ben and Mary to positively identify the remains of Hattie's body and he refused to acknowledge that that could be his daughter because of the fact that there is teaching. If you believe this faith that that I'm sharing you live forever will never die.

You have eternal life of the body, so there's no way he was going to admit that his daughter was dead, especially to his whole congregation.

Immediately after that was that the townspeople had to get together and have a huge funeral for Hedy. She was a very popular kid in town. It was the most decorated funeral in the history of the town is not a small town after the funeral based on the church control Mary because it would take even in their own daughters. At that time.

Benjamin already had knowledge of the Albert Lewis Barsky considered the second-leading wagon factor manufacturers in the country behind Studebaker and they were here Michigan extremely wealthy, extremely successful with a lot a lot of intelligence a lot of connections with the biggest thing was they were already believing in this faith and when he arrived he explained he was what he was doing and accepted him.

So they gave Ben and Mary, $400,000.

At that time which was late fall 1902 to acquire the land and begin life that there life at the house of David, basically consisted of strictly Christian lifestyle.

They were all vegetarian.

They were celibate so they could come to the house of David, enjoying single, married, or married with 10 kids didn't matter live anymore with their spouse. So the men were separated and mansions different from the women, even different from the kids. The kids lived in a building called, which is also schoolhouse in a dormitory until her 14 years old. There was no basically no contact with the opposite sex.

If you wanted to have lunch or dinner with your spouse for 30 minutes in the married couple dining hall in the basement. The men could also not cut their hair, shave their beards. Despite these rules, countless people looking for new life to bouts of David, many of whom were wealthy industrialists, they acquired people from all over the world and the they didn't focus on highly intelligent, successful people, but they were a magnet to those kind of people so those people from all over the entire flock in when they joined in exchange of life at the house of David where you were given a place to live up gorgeous place to live your given housing, clothing in exchange for that you gave them possession.

According to the people that I interviewed at the house of David. They felt that the biggest day in the history of the house of David was the day that 85 Australians landed amongst them were husband-and-wife it on the diamond along with the world famous actors and actresses, musicians by the 1920s.

It's documented that the house of David had over $35 million in the bank a lot of dough today along with crew ships and trolley cars and bus lines in hotels and resorts around the world and the diamond mine and a gold mine in western Oklahoma in a coal mining, Kentucky. The reason for the call line was because during world war one. When the government tried to ration the use of coal is Benjamin just went down a coal mine because they generally how with coal with giant generated electricity so there was nothing that would stop listening to Chris Soriano is a curator and founder of the house of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

What a story you folks back more Benjamin Purnell story on Elmer Stewart.

I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance. I need my state for me to make sure my business people and company business owners to help you pass. State Farm is in your corner and on like a good neighbor.

There call your local State Farm agent for quote today doing household chores can Artie be time-consuming and tedious. There's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done can be overwhelming for anyone. If you want to get those larger laundry loads down right and get back to your life.

Try all three clear maggot packs all three clear mega packs are bigger packs two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry all three clear mega packs are also 100% free perfumes and dyes and their dental and skin which is great for any families sensitive skin needs my family. We definitely have sentence again the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation as that's because this big pile of dirty clothes.

All three clear maggot packs have your back purchase all three clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types of stores with Chris Soriano house Michigan telling the story of religious colony in town. The turn-of-the-century want to sit around and dissuade her paradise to come. They wanted to do something to occupy their minds and they were good at it you had a job given Benjamin what interview you and try to figure out what your talents were and she was amazing at finding out someone's highest best use. Even though maybe you didn't know it yourself if you have the financial wherewithal he had the power people and the ability to take someone to the greatest in the world is the greatest in the nation and skilled members of the house of David were able to create new inventions of the otherwise sometime in 1903 wanted. I came from joint swelling. That was the ice cream maker waffle called and then they introduced it to St. Louis 1904 St. Louis world's fair. There are people that say all this person later this person, but the house of David.

In fact didn't make the waffle cone started late because it had crew ships on the Great Lakes Crossing power system because they lost ships from early storms that sideways because he was so tall and thin. Back in the day ahead 100,000 acres of farmland, so the quality of the fruit very important to her will have the world's largest grower anywhere in the house of David had 100,000 acres of farmland, but they couldn't see the quality of the fruit is a superhot sweltering day. Maybe it was raining hard frost was coming so they don't have to invent some way of securing our investment so they built the world's largest coal storage building where people from the world's largest fruit market could pull off the house of David.

Cold storage building pennies. You could put your fruits and vegetables in the cold storage units which would take the temperature down to a point where it would stabilize the quality as long as you wanted to. From that day that you brought it there so the next day that the fruit market was really pop and dollars were big and the buyers were big farmers would fly over the house of David. Cold storage: they looked exactly like they did when they dropped them off and they invented anything cutting edge and so back in the 60s when Nassau was planning on sending people of the moon the astronauts they were trying to figure out a way how to make a full meal deal to going to outer space with the pressure and explode and screw stomach. If he does get in there and so they approach the house of David who in turn took that process with their own scientists down to the powder form so steaks, potatoes, whatever is on dinner plates made it into a powder form with an airtight in those little packets were what Nassau sent to the moon with astronauts house. David made the house of David's interesting travel wasn't just confined space in the sea.

It also extended to train miniature ones that you could write a in 1904 Benjamin and Mary Purnell traveled to the St. Louis world's fair.

There were so many reasons that they went there but mostly to get ideas on how to do things to with crowds of people. It was during that time that they saw and they traveled on a little steam engine trains built by the Cagney Brothers New York Mills steam engine trains in St. Louis were hauling millions of people all over this world's fair. During this whole year long event, so at the end of the world's fair.

Benjamin bought one of those little steam engine trains had it brought back Michigan taken apart every piece of it and they re-created those trains made him better, stronger, slightly bigger than they built just exactly like that from 1905 to 1908 by 1908, there was a fleet of 815 interesting white steam engine trying which were promptly put to work carrying passengers around the park, something the inherited is a simple resort called Eastman Springs. With the money. The wealthy backers gave them when they first settled in Benton Harbor. The reason that they had the amusement park was basically because of the Australians their desire to entertain. They wanted an avenue to be able to draw people and for the purpose of entertainment and because the 85 joined on the same day that will famous actors and actresses and vaudeville show people and musicians they thought what better way to use that Eastman Springs Park is to turn it into an amusement park so late in 1905 they started building around around the amusement park. They started building the amphitheater which was state-of-the-art world-class amphitheater and they wanted to they wanted to entertain people.

They wanted to get their message out through the form of music basically. So when you arrived at the park by your trolley car early bus line you just thought that you were going to go to a show, you listen to a band when in fact you got on their little miniature train to go into the park you bought you got the whiff of those waffle cones, cooking and homemade ice cream. You couldn't resist that like to kill ones10 so you got that for a nickel back in there.

We got entertained food Nichols to maybe a dime you could drive the little racecars you could go to the zoo. You can spend the night in the hotel you could eat at the vegetarian restaurant in his apartment.

It was for experience and for people to think of something more than just a phase. It was such a unique experience to see all these men with long hair and long, long, very humble people in it was actually an awesome experience. I went there was little kid.

We went for years and it was a good feeling. It was like an old grandpa standing there very kind.

They were very accommodating. We would answer any questions that you had help you with things is a unique experience and it brought people by the tens of millions. It was the leading amusement park in America only behind Disneyland and that was only after 1952 for that from the time it opened only until the early 50s.

This nobody had more people attending an amusement park in America more than the house is no Walt Disney came here to study the house of David and 1950, 51, and he actually bought the house of David steam engine trains were once took it back to Anaheim California with him where he created his own little railroad there is first and then later so it was a huge, huge success despite the continued popularity park. People didn't necessarily want to join us. As a result of the belief in celibacy. One by one the members of the house of David including Ben Purnell passed away to the point where they have a close and closed 74 people still wander through your allowed to go there walk around reminiscent of memories and stuff and keep you away but it was close as towing like a band to close everything down.

They still ran a printshop they still had beautiful statuary still participated in an Blossom parade floats in musicals and things like that and they all just wanted to enjoy life.

From there pretty good retail place in a way they touched American such unique ways. They left a beautiful Mark touch people in unique ways they what they created will live on. You know their inventions are so many things that live on past sin to experience it. But then we had to go home stay away live and they were happy all the way until the close her eyes. They really were. And you're listening to Chris is the founder of the house of David Museum in Benton Harbor story Benjamin Purnell Peter on our American story


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