The Christmas Party at Camp Upton 1918

Published: 19 December 2023

By Margaret Franks
from The Telephone Review, Vol. 10, No.2, February 1919
via the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives web site


"Won't You Step into My Parlor?" "Off Duty" Girls, Caught by the Camera, Enjoying a Social Hour in the Living Room of Their Home in Camp. The Telephone Review, March 1918.

Telephone Operators Quartered in U. S. Army Barracks Transform Their Home at Upton Into a Santa Claus Paradise

CAMP UPTON!” called the conductor. The train came to a standstill, wheezing and coughing as its burden of khaki-clad ligures alighted and disappeared in the drab-colored distance. In the light of the waning winter day, everything seemed to be cloaked in the same color —a drear, cheerless brown —men, uniforms, earth, and barracks, and even the last shaking leaf clinging hopelessly to a tree.

After a wild ride through the piercing wind and air, already heavy with whirling flakes, we saw a welcome gleam of light streaming from what appeared to be an army barracks. It was an army barracks, indeed, but one transformed by the hands of young girls, the telephone operators who lived there while on duty for the U. S. A.

As we drew nearer, the Christmas wreaths and pert red bows bespoke of the comfort and cheer within. The door opened, and we were greeted with a rush of warm air freighted with the spicy smell of ground pine, and the delicious whiff of Christmas goodies was wafted in from the great kitchen where all was the hustle and bustle in preparation for the feast of the morrow.

As if by magic, we were drawn into the comfortable living room. Everything, from the tree, burning in all its glory and wealth of light and tinsel to the inviting easy chairs, breathed a welcome and sincere “peace on earth” to all who entered.

Twenty-five bright, expectant girls drew close about the tree in a big friendly home circle as the hands of the clock too slowly climbed toward the hour of nine. Nine o’clock meant relaxation from duty—gifts for each one and a party. To whom does not the mere mention of a party give thrills and expectation?

After what seemed eternities of waiting, the little mission clock on the bookcase proclaimed the time for the fun to begin. As the gifts were distributed, an appropriate rhyme for each girl was read, producing gales of laughter, and some tears, too, as some pet failing or virtue was revealed.

A Group of the Yaphank Traffic Force One Morning Just After Arriving in Camp Last Autumn. The Snapshot from Which this is Enlarged was taken by Sergeant Patterson. Mr. Orth, District Traffic Manager, is at the Extreme Right, and Miss Tompkins Third from the Right, Standing. The Telephone Review, December 1917

Read the entire article on the GG Archives web site here:

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