From Soldier’s Mother to Canteen Worker

mother-canteen-worker-1918-copy1

Her only son slain in France while serving as a lieutenant in the American forces, Mrs. Mabel Fonda Gareissen has left her home at No. 490 Riverside Drive, New York City, to be a Y.M.C.A. canteen worker. In service to the living, this Spartan mother has chosen her substitute for mourning. To make it more appropriate, she is to serve the canteen attached to the regiment of her dead son, Lieutenant Scott McCormick, for the colonel and other officers of the unit joined in a request that the Y.M.C.A. detail her there upon hearing of her determination to work in France.

Taking her place with the mothers of France who, though bereaved, have worked to aid the men, Mrs. Gareissen made the following explanatory statement:

“Our sons belonged to a peace-loving age. They had to leave loved ones, drop prospects of careers, and prepare for the most infernal war the world has ever known. They have done this without complaint, with a determination to put forth the best and highest within them. American mothers, no matter how their hearts may bleed, must rise to the leading of their sons. And if those idolized sons fall, still they must rise, keeping ever before them their sons who have gone up and up. In other words, they must be worthy of being mothers of the boys of today.”

Mrs. Gareissen’s son, Lieutenant McCormick, was killed on January 17 last by hand grenade explosion. Before attending the first Plattsburg camp for officers’ training he was in the employ of Edmonds & Co., bankers. When the United States entered the war he was among the first to resign his business connection for the training camp, where he was commissioned and sent to France among the earliest.

A few days after General Pershing had cabled the news of her son’s death, Mrs. Gareissen decided to go to France and filed her application with the Y.M.C.A. War Work Council for canteen work. She kept the fact from even her most intimate friends, among them Provost Marshal General Enoch N. Crowder, until a few days before she left for France.

The Coshocton Tribune, Wednesday Evening, June 26, 1918

Other posts about canteen workers:

Diary of a WWI Canteen Worker

Canteen Worker Goes the Extra Mile for a Wounded Yank

No Fillings for the Whangdoodle in Bloomers

This last one, you need to scroll down to read about her daughter, who was the canteen worker.

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One Response to “From Soldier’s Mother to Canteen Worker”

  1. WWI: Snapshots and Snippets « YesterYear Once More Says:

    […] From Soldier’s Mother to Canteen Worker […]

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