Lovey Miles James Part 2

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Everyone in Lovey’s family was involved in the war effort.   One of her sisters helped issue identification cards in the basement of Kawaiahao Church another trained to be a crane operator and one was a member of the USO’s Flying Squadron.   Lovey’s father William E. Miles established the Catholic USO Center at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral.

“The Catholic USO was on 1183 Fort Street at the corner of Beretania and Fort Streets” Lovey said. “These days you can see the cathedral from the street but back then there was an arch and a gate and you had to drive in the compound. The entire Columbus Building was set aside for the USO.   My father was the director and Father Winthagen was moderator. There was a big bar room at the end of the building facing Beretania Street.” Lovey said. “That’s where we held the dances. Downstairs was a game room billiards room and a check-in service where servicemen could leave bags and packages while they spent the day in Honolulu.  The second floor of the building was the reading room and library.  On the third floor was the CYO gym that my father arranged to be available to service men.”


On weekdays the Catholic USO hosted about 60 servicemen on the weekends there were several hundred. (This gym was the site of the boxing matches the young men at the Cherry Blossom Saimin Stand were to fight. See: February 2 2009 article in Hawaii Reporter entitled “Lovey Miles James on the Unsung Heroes of December 7 1941” Lovey was active in the USO effort.  She helped her father set up the USO library where servicemen not only read but wrote letters home. She helped with the paperwork and she modeled for fashion shows held at the USO. (Watamull’s donated the clothes.)

“Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Catholic USO,” Lovey said. “When she did I shook Mrs. Roosevelt’s  hand.  She visited everywhere she could.  She seemed to be shy and nervous with people. She had on her grey Red Cross uniform and when she talked she stood with one foot in front of the other and rocked back and forth.”

Lovey expressed admiration for Mrs. Roosevelt and listed some of the places the First Lady visited in Hawaii