SLO's first female postal carrier, World War II week by week

Posted by David Middlecamp on April 7, 2014 

A front page photo and story for the first woman to carry mail in San Luis Obispo, Telegram-Tribune April 7, 1944.


April 3, 1944

U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Marion Leland Wood was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart. The Arroyo Grande native died in action Jan. 5, 1943, in the Solomon Islands.

German battleship Tirpitz was damaged by bombing in Alten fjord in Norway. British carrier-based bombers carried out the attack on the Bismarck-class battleship.

Soviet Foreign Commissar V.M. Molotov announced that Russia had no designs on Rumania's territory as it pursued the German army. Some German and Rumanian commanders were turning their guns on their own units in an attempt to maintain discipline.

German attacks on the Anzio beachead were repulsed after bitter hand-to-hand fighting.

April 4, 1944

San Luis Obispo's City Council approved the formation of a planning commission. Post-war growth was expected to be significant and a group of civic-minded citizens were expected to assist the council with planning.

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted for a curfew law if the county took similar action. Juveniles under the age of 16 were expected to be off the street by 10 p.m. With the demands of war, both parents could be absent, allowing children more unsupervised time than in the past. While there was some sympathy for working parents expressed by the council councilman Joseph Leary suggested that parents drinking in bars be placed on a blacklist.

April 7, 1944

World War II would forever change the workscape. Women and minorities were allowed entry to jobs they were previously denied. In 1944 it was worth a front-page story and photo to document the first woman to carry mail in San Luis Obispo.

First Woman 'Postman' Does Excellent Job in S.L.O.

San Luis Obispo's first woman mail carrier, Myrtice Turley, wife of Sgt. S.A. Turley of Camp San Luis Obispo, shoulders her pack daily for a trek around the business district. It's reported that her smile, augmented by a "Texas drawl" transported from her home in Stephenville, Tex., is decidedly popular with the customers on her route.

Something New

She was a member of the Camp Rucker, Ala., post office staff before coming to San Luis Obispo, but had never worked a route delivering mail until she came to this city. She is enthusiastic about her job, since it gives her an opportunity to meet people and she doesn't mind the footwork or carrying a heavy pack. "When it gets too heavy I put a hankerchief on my shoulder under the strap," she said. She said she thought T.P. O'Toole, superintendent of mails, was joking the first morning he asked her to carry the route, but O'Toole said it was "no joke because I would have to carry it if she hadn't." Mrs Turley is a San Luis Obispo enthusiast and says she would like to stay her for the duration.

Knows Delivery Routes

She has become so well acquainted with delivery routes in the city that she can "throw mail for the carriers" now, E.H. Richards, assistant postmaster said. "Following the Army around I have come to realize the great importance people attach to the mail," Mrs. Turley said. Her excellent record as San Luis Obispo's pioneer woman mail carrier is commended heartily by Postmaster W.C. O'Donnell.

Lack of fall and March rains in combination with unusually cold weather was leading to a livestock feed shortage in Northern California.

Japanese forces were attempting a drive into the Imphal area of India.

Soviet forces were closing in on the Black Sea port of Odessa, one of the last Russian territories held by the enemy in Southern Russia. Germans were ordered to hold at all costs.

The Chamber of Commerce protested to federal officials that meat quotas in the region did not take into account the region's population increase due to expanding bases.

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