Born to be 6 feet 2 inches
In 1912 and born to be 6 feet 2 inches, Julia McWilliams was delivered to Carolyn and John McWilliams. Her prestigious family included a Scottish father, conservative and stern, Carolyn, her mother, charming and audacious, and two siblings. Julia grew to be a free Californian spirit. Her mother’s sense of humor and sociable nature would possess her, as her father’s discipline would send her across the country to Smith College in Northampton, Mass. where wealthy men went to study and Julia hoped to marry one.
At Smith, she was a student council member, basketball player, and worked for the Dramatics Association. Julia graduated with no professional goals and listed her postgraduate objectives as “profession- undecided, marriage- preferable”. It was not until she moved to New York that Julia found a job. She had interest in writing and set her sights to write for the New Yorker. Unfortunately, they turned her down, and she eventually found a job as a copywriter for an upscale furnishing company. Her job as a copywriter taught her great typing and managing skills. Julia would later use this experience to defend her country. She was alerted to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and like many Americans, hurried to Washington, DC to help her nation. She eagerly applied to the Navy but was denied for being too tall. So, Julia did the next best thing, she used her typing skills to become a senior typist in the Office of War Information. She was soon promoted to junior research assistant for "Wild" Bill Donovan in the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S) now known as the C.I.A.
Julia the Spy, Meet Paul
The O.S.S was the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A). Julia worked her way from a junior assistant to a top-security director. When the opportunity arrived for staff to go abroad, Julia jumped at the chance. She moved to Asia, and worked in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). At the O.S.S, Julia worked on projects that included making shark repellent so they would not detonate underwater bombs. She would also have access to all classified dispatches that went through the South East Asia Command (S.E.A.C). While her location in Ceylon was fresh and exciting, Julia began to tire of office work monotony. But there was buzz in the O.S.S about a new member, which revived Julia’s interest. This new member of the State Department, whose good reputation preceded him, was Paul Child. (To be continued in the next Issue of Eat Life, Julia part 2)
Written by Brandon Johnson