Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Working on Wednesday: Alta Mae Slater (1917 - 1986), Teacher - Part 1, to April 1947

After attending the local grammar school in Niwot and Longemont High School, my birth mother majored in History, with minors in American Government, Latin, and Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She graduated in 1938.

[Alta Mae, seated second from right, 8th grade graduation. Courtesy of Olive Slate-Kennedy]

[Alta Mae at Longemont High, courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[Coloradan Yearbook, 1938. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.]

She's listed as a resident of Niwot in a 1940 city directory but isn't enumerated with the rest of her family in the U.S. Census of that year.*

When her youngest brother Jack was killed off the French coast in 1943, his obituary stated that Alta was teaching school in Arizona, but we haven't found any further information about the exact location.

By July of 1946 Alta was teaching school here in Coronado** and "hooked up" with a handsome young sailor who had just been transferred to the Naval Amphibious Base also in Coronado, awaiting his discharge so he could return home to Texas.*** I was born nine months later.

[Courtesy of James Turnbull]

[Source:The National Archives Publication Title: U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949; Fold3 Publication Year: 2012. National Archives Catalog ID: 594996; National Archives Catalog Title: Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 01/01/1939-01/01/1949. Short Description: Muster rolls of U.S. Navy ships, stations, and other naval activities, 1939-1949. Ship Station Or Activity: Eldorado-Hull Designation: AGC-11; Muster Date: 24-Jul-1946; Year: 1946]

*Could she have been visiting her paternal grandmother Rufina Ellen Tomlinson Slater and her aunt Opal as there's no sign of them in the 1940 U.S. Census either?
**What we little we know about Alta's life here in southern California comes from my birth certificate. The address listed here is that of the attending physician, W. B. Oster, who operated a home for unwed mothers.

[From my personal collection]

***We'll never know how they met. As far as we know Alta never told anyone in her family about this incident and its aftermath (although I think Pete must have known because she had a c-section which leaves a prominent scar), and Tracy, when my daughter spoke with him about 15 years ago, had no recollection of her at all. I'm sure it was a crazy time here in San Diego.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. More great photos! The resemblance to you is, of course, startling.

  2. Have you tried searching the Arizona State Library for information on teachers in the 1940s? I would think a teacher would have needed a license of some kind. I live in Arizona and belong to the West Valley Genealogical Society