LUBBOCK, Texas- One local woman in the South Plains is telling her story of life during WWII through a memoir to be published in the next year and a half called ‘Yankee in the Cotton Patch’.
Ninety-eight-year-old Betty Unfred from Pennsylvania said she remembered the start of WWII like it was yesterday.
“My mother and my aunt was there and I said, did I hear right? Did we go to war? [They said] ‘yes we did,'” recalled Betty. “It wasn’t a week until the town was literally free of young fellas, they had either enlisted or they were drafted.”
Betty said she immediately knew she had to do something to help the war, so she worked at the USO helping serve soldiers food.
“As the boys would come home be it injured or ok they would usually stop at a USO by a railroad station,” said Betty. “Those boys were so happy to talk to someone to tell them about their home, their parents or what have you.”
During WWII hospitals were in need of nurses on the home front so Betty decided to also volunteer as a nurse’s aid with the Red Cross for over a year.
“I helped put on plastic deals, for the broken legs and what have you and take care of patients,” said Betty.
Betty later met Joe Unfred from New Home who was a captain in the third armored division of the U.S. Army. She said during the war, her husband would send her souvenirs by mail which she displayed one day at a YWCA event.
“One woman came through and she looked at everything the two tables I had and says, ‘Would you tell me one thing? Did your husband collect souvenirs or did he really serve in the war,'” said Betty. “And I said, ‘Well, he’s still in war.”
Betty married Joe in 1943 and headed to New Home after the war was over. They headed to the South Plains on a train but were forced to ride in a cattle truck after a problem with the train.
“I had a nice black lace dress, black high heeled shoes,” said Betty. “When I got [to New Home], I did not look like the person I intended to look like when I met my in-laws for the first time.”
Betty said her experience in the South Plains upon arrival was something she would never forget.
“I have never met such friendly people,” said Betty. “They were the friendliest whether you knew them or not and I wasn’t accustomed to that.”
With so many stories to tell from WWII up until now, Betty said she hopes her story helps inspire others to dig into their history and tell their story too.