Bob Taylor World War II Historian and Korean War Veteran

By Paula Green

When school students learn about World War II, they’re educated on the major events such Pearl Harbor and Normandy. Eighty-six year old, Bob Taylor did not serve in the big war, rather, he lived through it as an elementary school student. Bob is a volunteer with the Heinz History Center. He talks with school-age kids in his spare time and educates them on what life was like growing up during World War II.

Today, we can look up information on the web or watch the news. “Back when I was growing up, every night my family and I would listen to the radio; that’s how we got our World War II news. So WWII can be defined as the good against the bad,” Bob said.
“Many items were in short supply due to the war, so we had to ration. We had ration books. American were issued red stamps and blue stamps. You could purchase meats and dairy each month with the red stamps, and with the blue ones, you could buy canned, dried and bottled items. Every Friday, we had Stamp Day. We bought saving bonds, and we raised the Minute Man flag,” said Bob.
“We had a Victory Garden which we planted. That is what we mainly ate. We dined on homemade soups and fresh baked bread. We planted vegetables, and it was my job to clean the garden. I had to get rid of the slugs, and I also had to tidy up the chicken coops, which was a dirty job,” said Bob.
“I had a cousin who served in World War I, and he worked at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. He used to send me Dubble Bubble chewing gum. I was a popular guy. You couldn’t get that during the war. One piece of chewing gum lasted five or six days,” Bob said.
“One way we found to raise money was to have a scrap sale. We collected old cans and newspapers and then sold them. We also practiced air raids. The government made people believe that they were part of the war,” Bob added.
World War II ended in 1945, and several years later Bob joined the Korean War effort. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a Specialist 4th Class. Bob trained in Massachusetts, was sent to Korea, and finished his Army career at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Bob enrolled at California University where he studied education. He obtained his master’s at Slippery Rock University. Bob taught history for three years at Elizabeth-Forward. In 1962, he began teaching at Avonworth High School where he remained for 30 years until his retirement in 1992.
Bob grew up in Frank, Pennsylvania, near McKeesport. He currently resides in Beaver County with his wife, Linda McCormick. Northern Connection salutes Bob for his service during the Korean War and his dedication to enlightening students on World War II. n