The National Museum of
American Jewish Military History
1811 R Street NW, Washington, D.C 20009. | 202-265-6280 | www.NMAJMH.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
A Letter from June Carmichael
June 13, 2007
Dear Mary Westley:
About 10 days ago I finally visited your museum during the Annual Dupont-Kalarama Museums Consortium Museum Walk Weekend. Besides enjoying your exhibits in general, I had an extra special surprise waiting for me.
In your exhibit "Women in the Military: A Jewish Perspective" I came upon a group photograph in the corner of the room of a swearing-in ceremony held on the steps of a federal building. The text identified Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter (1895-1990) standing with her back to the camera, addressing the class. Had it not been identifying Colonel Streeter, I would have continued on my way.
But I kept looking at the photo and looking at the name and I was flooded with a very warm memory I find it hard to describe. This was Mrs. Streeter - at least that's how I always knew her. Mrs. Streeter who lived in a big house in Morristown, NJ - a bus ride away from Chatham, the town I grew up in. This was Mrs. Streeter who faithfully sent my mother a check every Christmas, after learning of my father's death in 1960 when I was 10 years old. I vaguely remember, once I had my driver's license, taking my mother out to her house. I had never seen such a beautiful green lawn and in ground pool before. She was retired and her grandchildren visiting so we only stayed a moment.
My mother sold the house in NJ after I graduated high school and moved to FL. Mrs. Streeter continued to write my mother a short note once a year on her blue monogrammed stationery. I can still visualize her small neat penmanship written with her cartridge pen. Even after my mother moved again, to CA to be closer to my sister, Mrs. Streeter continued to write and send a Christmas card up until 1990 when we were notified of her death.
I have no inkling how my father initially made Mrs. Streeter's acquaintance or why she had taken a quiet, continued interest in the welfare of our family. I believe my father worked on a WPA project related to cutting trees or road work before I was born in 1950. I understand now as an adult that her kind financial support around the holidays certainly made a difference to my mother.
Colonel Streeter must have known thousands of people during her military career and community service work. I only came to know about her military leadership after visiting the Women's Military Memorial near Arlington Cemetery. But I have never forgotten her. Thanks to your identifying text in the exhibit, I was reminded of her very kind actions once again.