This pillow case for an army mother from Camp Hulen in Texas features a poem surrounded by images of soldiers trainging. There are seven images of military life that surround the central words. There is a top row of images which from left to right are "Parade Rest," an Army insignia, and "Field Artillery Gun and Crew." Parade rest is a colored image of three long rows of soldiers standing in position. The army insignia has an eagle flanked by two long flowing american flags holding an olive branch and a cluster of arrows in its talons and a banner reading "E pluribus Unum" in its mouth. Above the eagle's head is a floating circle decorated with stars. The Field Artillery scene shows men around a large machine gun but not actively firing it.
Just under this top register are the words "U.S. Army" in black outlined block letters. The orange color that once filled all (or at least part) of the letters has considerably faded. Directly below this, in smaller black letters is the poem which reads: "Mother There's a dear little house inviting in a dear little place I know. And a welcome is always waiting when to that little house I go. For there lives the dearest lady the sweetest I ever met. And today, if I cannot visit dear mother, I don't forget."
Directly under the poem in fancy, gothic lettering is the name of the camp "Camp Hulen, Texas."
The the left of the Poem is a scene labelled "Anti-Aircraft Gun and Crew." Again a group of soldiers stands around the weaponry but is not actively using it. To the Right is a picture labelled "Night Firing. Mechanized Cavalry." This is the only scene without any visible people in it. It is a row of 5 tanks which appear to be rolling towards the viewer.
The next and lowestest register has three scenes. On th far left is a scene "Cavalry tank in action" which shows a tank about to descend a hill and four soldiers standing in the background. The middle scene has no label but is a single soldier walking along a camp with a series of ordered teepees and a flying american flag. The soldier has his gun resting on his shoulder. The last scene, in the bottom right hand corner, is "Field artillery in Action." This is the most active scene with a deep field so that there is one group of soldiers loading the machine gun and less clear groups of soldiers performing a similar task in the background. The orange stain might imply that this is not just camp practice but actually on a battle field.
All of these scenes have been stained with a combination of orange (for the ground, teepees, and skin), brown (for uniforms, the eagle, and tanks), and a blueish green (for the clouds and trees). the stain has faded and smudged. The pillow case also looks to have discolored since World Wat II. Although it is unclear whether this fabric was originally white or whether it was always slightly yellowed. The second piece of fabric that would have held the pillow in has since been removed.
During World War II it was a popular practice for members of the army to send pillowcases such as this one to mothers and sweethearts with poems and their training camp's name on it. Georgre Hontos most likely purchased this pillowcase and sent it home to his mother. Camp Hulen operated from 1925 until 1946, and at one time supported the largest concentration of troops for field training in the United States military. One of the camp's training specialties was anti-aircraft artilary which was Hontos' battallion function. The scene on the left of the middle level showed the type of weaponry with which Hontos was trained.
George James Hontos, was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 27th, 1920. The son of James and Cornelia Hontos, brother of Dimitra, Arthur and John, who also served in the United States Navy. Two weeks following the Pearl Harbor disaster, he was called to serve his country in the Army. He trained for six months at Camps Yulen and Wallace, Tex. On March 1, 1942, the 434th Coast Artillery Battalion (Anti-Aircraft) was activated. With this outfit, he was send to England. After the completion of training, they took part in the liberation of Africa. George died from a landmine left by the Nazis, trying to aid some wounded women and children in Tunisia, on May 24th, 1943. Private George J. Hontos was posthumously awarded the Soldier's Medal and the Purple Heart.
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Pillowcase, 1941 – 1942, The George J. Hontos Collection, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/6787. Accessed 03/02/21.