We left our church family in late April of 1941, seventy-five years ago, watching, with horror, the events unfolding in Europe, and wondering if the United States would get sucked into the war. On a happier note, however, they celebrated the marriage of Lois McCoy and Frank Ellis, and that couple would go on to be active members of our church for many years. Much of the material about our church is found in The Girard News, our town’s weekly newspaper, available on microfilm at Girard Free Library.
Speaking of weddings, the May 2 edition of the News announced the plans for a double wedding to be held in our church on June 21. Apparently it was a family affair with Miss Ruth Brittain and her brother, Roy, being married on the same day. Ruth would be marrying Fred Bullen, while her brother, Roy, was marrying Miss Mary Marks. The announcement of the wedding was made when 55 guests were entertained for a luncheon at Mahoning Country Club by Miss Brittain and Miss Marks on the previous Wednesday evening. It was to be an open church wedding at one o’clock, with Rev. Arthur Maly and also Rev. P. J. Sinner of the Trinity Lutheran Church presiding. I’m sure I will find more about this wedding when I research the News for the June Glance.
Meanwhile, the work of the church continued. On Tuesday evening May 6th, the Sunday School Board met at the home of Miss Evelyn Jones on E. Kline St. Her sister, Miss Charlotte Jones was associate hostess for the evening. Then, on Thursday, May 8th, the Official Board met at the church. Also on Thursday, the Mills Bros. Circus came to Girard under the auspices of the Fire Dept. There were two shows: one at 2 PM and one at 8 PM.
The Friday, May 9th issue of the News had a happy headline: “Home Building in Girard 320 per cent above 1940 during 1st Four Months”. The article went on to note that the City had issued permits for $57,000 in housing construction. I know that sounds like a small amount, but you could build a pretty nice house in 1941 under $10,000.
On Sunday, May 11, Rev. Maly’s sermon title was “A Woman With The Magnificant Obsession”. On Tuesday, the 13th, the Philathea Class met at the home of Mrs. Howard Rees for a special evening of sewing. Also, on Tuesday, the Methodist Sunday School Board held a short business meeting at the parsonage at 7:30 PM. Then, on Wednesday, the 14th, the Afternoon Guild of the Methodist WSCS met at the home of Mrs. E. O. Hood on E. Prospect St. There are some missing issues of the Girard News, so also, unfortunately, we are mssing the news of the meetings and the sermon titles.
However, thanks to Wikipedia, we can note what was going on in the world around our church family. On May 6th, 1941, Bob Hope performed his first USO show. He would go on to do 57 USO tours of shows between 1941 and 1991. All he had to give was laughter, but that was so valuable to our troops when they needed it the most. The other news from World War II was more somber. On May 10th, the British House of Commons was damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid. Also the war continued at sea with submarines torpedoing merchant ships was well as military ships, even hospital ships. On May 24th, the German Battleship Bismarck sunk the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, killing all but three crewmen from a total of 1,418 aboard the pride of the Royal Navy. Two days later, a Swordfish aircraft from the carrier Ark Royal crippled the steering of the Bismarck in an aerial torpedo attack. The next day the crippled Bismarck was sunk with the loss of 2,300 seamen.
Against this backdrop of awful news, the May 30th edition of the News announced that “111 Students Graduate Tonight“. We can only wonder what their proud parents were thinking about their children’s future.
That concludes our look back at the month of May, 1941 – seventy-five years ago in our church and in our town.
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