EXCERPT: Grace Vivian Reinert of Washington, D. C., who is one of the girls, says it’s really much simpler than that.
“The girls figure that they’re making the boys happy and that before the war is over the husbands will either be killed or glad to forget about their marriages.”
Grace speaks with authority for in her 22 years she has managed to be married four times, thrice to sailors. She married her first love a Kansas City policeman, when she was 14. They were divorced. Her second, a West Coast seaman, C. F. Corn, was killed at Pearl Harbor. (But he had made his $10,000 life insurance payable to his mother.)
And ifNos. 3 and 4 – Machinist’s Mate Kenneth Reinert and Seaman James McKinney – wish to get in touch with her she can be found in federal prison for the next three years or so.
Grace was picked up when Reinert and McKinney happened to meet and McKinney happened to meet and compare notes – and wives – in Washington. Each found that his allotment check was going to Grace. She was picked up and lodged in Gallinger Hospital.
~ Patriotic to Make the Boys Happy. ~
Before she escaped from that institution she explained the activities and motives of the Victory girls.
“It’s patriotism – for they give each husband a little happiness before he’s shipped. They don’t worry much about having more than one husband because the sailors are at sea most of the time, and the other servicemen are shifted from camp to camp.
“When one of these girls gets into San Diego or Norfolk (big naval bases) she gets a job in a tavern first thing. That way she meets a lot of sailors, and those young kids off the farms for the first time are easy pickings.”
In spite of their preference for “easy pickings,” Grace insists, most of the Victory girls marry for love. She did anyway. She also practiced what she preached. After her escape from Gallinger Hospital she was found in San Diego – working in a taproom.
Grace was returned to Washington declaring her undying devotion to both husbands. But Federal Judge Matthew M. McGuire was unmoved by her emotion. He sentenced her for bigamy and from six to 18 months for escaping.
[Ruth Reynolds, “Victory Girls and Their Boys in the Service,” Sunday News (New York, N.Y.), Oct. 17, 1943, P. C23]
For more cases of this type see: “War-Marriage Vampires”& “Allotment Annies"