There seems to be some confusion concerning my mom (a Plourde) and her two sister's, with their involvement with the U.S.O. Yes, they all sang as a trio, but they called themselves 'The Hope Sisters'. I believe the confusion about the name of the trio ‘The Dolly Sisters’, stems from the fact that Dolly (Dorothy) is one of the sisters of the Plourde family of 13 siblings. But Dolly was not one of the ‘Hope Sisters’. Of course the members were Claire, Anne and Terese, who formed this trio, ‘The Hope Sisters’.
Now, ‘The Hope Sisters’ sang in every Union of the Nation except one, and from state to state they did travel. The one gentleman was correct; they did appear at the Frolics in Salisbury, Massachusetts back when the ‘Frolics’ was a beautiful venue. But, not only did ‘The Hope Sisters’ travel in the states, but also in places that were beautiful and in some places that were just the opposite. America was facing a dark time in her life, and that time was during W.W.2. Claire, Terese, and Anne would bring light, love, and hope from the States to thousands of our troops overseas.
‘The Hope Sisters’ sang for the troops in Hawaii, Waikiki, Eniwetok, Pelilew, Kwajalen, Saipan, Anguai, Tinian, Majuto, Iwo Jima, Guam, and Buster Island. My mom once showed me two photos of the (original) small American Flag that was raised on Mt. Surabatchi, after our troops took victory of the Island (Iwo Jima), before it was replaced by the monument and larger flag, which remain there today. I also have many photos of their tours, and the old ‘78’ one-sided hard plastic albums as well. There are sooo many stories with their travels, some pleasant and some not. But these three sisters (The Plourdes’) did what really mattered to them, even at their own risk, and that was to support our Nation and our Troops, during this time of war.
I hope that answered some of your questions, and I’ll leave you with this; I am so Proud of my mom and her two sisters… God Bless the Plourde Family!!!
Below is a little something my mom wrote about one of many of her memories.
‘A song from on High’
“Being from a large family, my sisters and I knew that Christmas meant love and togetherness. On that special day, friends and relatives would gather in our home in Massachusetts home to celebrate with a great feast, open presents and sing carols.
Although those memories will last forever, there was one very different Christmas that my sisters, Anne, Terese, and I have always cherished. As young ladies-ages 19, 20, and 21-we performed professionally as ‘The Hope Sisters’, appearing in clubs, and Veterans’ hospitals all over the United States. On a visit to Los Angeles in 1943, we were asked to go overseas with the U.S.O. We agreed, were commissioned Lieutenant Commanders with the U.S. Navy, and were sent to the Pacific theater. We sang for the troops on many Islands-including Saipan and Iwo Jima. On Christmas Eve, of 1944, we found ourselves in Guam with three other women and seven men in our touring group. What stands out most vividly in my mind is what happened after we’d finished our last show that night.
We’d headed back to our Quonset hut, which sat on a hill with a wire fence around it and guards on duty. An enclosure and guards also protected the men of our troupe, in a different area. As the night closed in, we girls started talking about what we’d be doing if we were back home. Most of those stories were happy ones, but we were sad at being so far from home.
Down below us were the quarters for the servicemen. As darkness set in, we saw lights being extinguished and realized that the men were getting ready to retire. One by one, we three sisters started toward the fence and looked down. As we did, our hearts ached at the loneliness those boys must have felt so far from their families and homes. With no forethought, one of us began humming; ‘Silent Night’. Before we knew it, all three of us began harmonizing in the dark.
‘These Singers Cared’
Tears were running down our cheeks as we realized why we were singing for these men; we wanted to let them know we cared. Meanwhile down below us, lights flickered on until the whole compound was lit up! Under the clear starry night, men quietly came out of their huts. At first they just listened…but then, in the distance, we heard their voices joining us in singing carols. The moment was beautiful. When we finally stopped singing that night, we saw many of those men embracing in friendship. Then they waved to us and we heard a resounding; “Thank you! Merry Christmas! from them to us, way up on our hill.
Although we’d been feeling a little low a few moments earlier, our spirits had lifted and we felt wonderful. It’s a poignant Christmas, I shall never forget.”
Mary Claire (Plourde) Kirk
Yes, your voice is an oasis, a refuge of beauty, and a gentle reminder that you are near.
Your voice is a sound that I love so truly. Knowing you are with me, I have nothing to fear.
The sound of your voice, like a song to my heart. Brings peace to my soul that will never depart.
A sound I will cherish, a sound that's so clear, a refuge of beauty, which I will always hold dear.
When I hear your voice come morning or night, peace sets in and fear takes its flight.
Those familiar sounds of which I take hold, that familiar sound that never grows old.
A voice that is angry, a voice that is mild, a voice I would hide in, when I was a child.
Now that I'm older, I look back at that sound, the sound of your voice, when you were around.
Like a boat to it’s mooring, a ship coming home, the end to a rainbow, a beautiful tone.
It’s such a lovely harmonic, an angles delight; towards the sound of your voice I take flight.
Overwhelmed by its beauty, it's sound brings me joy, a sound I would hide in when I was a boy.
My love for you mom and the sound of your voice, a song that's familiar, so here is my choice:
To always be close and always be near, close enough to your voice that I will always hold dear.
The more I'm drawn near, and the more we converse, deeply thankful am I, to hear the next verse.
It’s a sound so beautiful, and this much is true, I love you mom, and the voice that's from you...
'Your son' Don~
I wrote the above poem,
In loving thoughts for my mom…
My mom passed away Sept. 3rd, 2002
Her voice lives on in my heart~