Our church archives are rather sparse for the month of July, 1942. We know that our church’s schedule for Sundays was as follows: 9:30 Sunday School, 10:30 Morning Worship and 4 PM Vesper Service. We assume that our usual meetings were taking place, although for some reason the minutes of the Official Board are missing for July and August. The Girard News July 3rd edition also reported on a trip by the Fellowship Class of our church to the lakeshore for the past weekend. Sixteen members went along with a chaperone. (A very outnumbered chaperone, I would think.)
For the remainder of our Glance back at July, 1942, I will try to recreate what our church family was seeing, hearing, and thinking about in that month. For example, there was an ad in that same edition of the News for an appearance by Glen Miller, in person, and his orchestra at Yankee Lake on Rt. 7 in Brookfield, on Sunday evening, July 5th. You could buy your tickets in advance at Sammy’s Service Station for $1.25 per person. That sounds great! Glen Miller was very popular. The price sounds pretty cheap to our ears. But the biggest problem would be getting there. With gasoline and tire rationing in effect, a drive up to Brookfield might just be too far away. The Editor of The Girard News was now running a weekly column called “This Week On The Home Front” where he tried to explain how government rationing worked and how best to cope with it. He began with explaining how the government had responded to the market raising prices because of shortages caused by the war manufacturing suddenly dominating the entire economy. The government’s response was twofold: rationing and price ceilings. The price ceilings had only applied to commodities in its initial May 13th introduction. Now, beginning July 1st, the price ceilings were extended to cover services performed in connection with those commodities. Thus, the consumer was as protected as much as the government was able to protect against the suddenly shifting economy.
Next, he went on to explain how Girard’s housewives could approach canning season, which was just around the corner. The local War Bond and Rationing Board was the place to go to get a canning sugar allowance. “ She should have the following information with her when she applies: (1) The names of all members of her family having rationing books, (2) Number of quarts of fruit she canned last year, (3) Number of quarts of fruit on hand, (4) Number of quarts she plans to can this season, (5) whether sugar is to be used for preserves, jellies, jams, or fruit butters, (6) excess sugar she had on hand (that is the amount more than two pounds per person at the time she registered for her books, and any subsequent reductions).”
Also, “In the face of protests, Joseph B Eastman, director of the Office of Defense Transportation, is standing firm on ODT policy that travel to and from fairs is non-essential. He warned farmers that there would be no new rubber sources for the tires for their vehicles for three years. Said Mr. Eastman, “If convinced that postponement of fairs will contribute to the good of the country in time of war, the farmer will not give it a second thought. All he wants, I am sure, is to be convinced.”
The Editor went on to point out that manufacture of many sizes and varieties of the same item was now regarded by the government as a waste. Therefore, all should expect to find fewer sizes of the same item, as material for containers was needed for the war effort. Also, the government had reduced by half the various sizes of dental drills. You might notice this if you would need to have a cavity repaired. And cosmetic containers would be in short supply. Metal lids for cosmetics would be gone. Manufacturers were experimenting with wood, plastic and paper substitutes. The Editor also announced the current price ceiling for anti-freeze: $2.65 per gallon for permanent, $1.40 for non-permanent.
Reading just one week’s instructions on dealing with rationing and price ceilings, along with periodic announcements of scrap drives, blackouts, and compulsory registration – one can better understand just what our church families were experiencing 75 years ago. Of course, hovering over all their day to day activities was their biggest fear.
This fear for one Girard family was realized and reported on in the July 24th edition of the Girard News. The headline read “ROBERT DUPOLA KILLED IN INDIA – Girard’s First War Casualty Killed in Air Crash” Although he had been killed on July 13th, his mother only received the telegram from the War Department in Washington a few days before the News article on the 24th . He was Lieutenant Robert G. Dupola, son of Mrs. Dan Prodnick of Trumbull Rd. He was 27 years old. He was a bombardier in the U S Army Air Corps. He was the first Girard boy to give his life for our country.
On that somber note, we will leave our church family 75 year ago in Girard – July of 1942.