We left our church family in February of 1944, performing their usual work, family and church activities against the backdrop of bond drives, scrap drives, paper drives, blackouts, and ration coupons required for almost all necessities of life including gasoline, tires, milk, coffee, meat, shoes, and winter clothing. Everyone knew that something big was being planned to continue the war in Europe. Many of the young men who had recently been drafted or volunteered, were able to visit back home before being assigned to this unknown next part of the war. Our Sunday School Secretary had decided to note in the Sunday School Record Book the names of Service Men and Women who happened to be home that particular week. Last month I reported on those who were home during the month of February. Now, in the month of March, 1944, she noted on March 12th that “Howard should come home for a few days.” On March 19th, “Alberta is home for a week.” Finally, on March 26th she reported that “The weather is very warm. The sun is shining bright. Lieutenant Alice Gosnell is home and Alberta is home. Tommy Dorsey was at the Palace (a Youngstown theater) last night. Everything clicked. I got a raise.” Reading these 75 year old notes, I could feel her happiness on that warm spring Sunday. I don’t know where she worked for that “raise” she referred to. Anyone who is remotely connected with working in our church knows that the raise was not related to church work. The only church employees were the Pastor, Custodian, the Organist and Choir Director. No one ever got rich working for the Methodist Church.
More happy news, this time from the Society section of The Girard News: “Evelyn Bundy Weds Harry Bundy on March 5th”. They were married Saturday evening in the Methodist Parsonage, Rev. Arthur Maly officiating. Cpl. Bundy will return to Shreveport, Louisiana where he is stationed, and Mrs. Bundy will make her home with her parents for the duration.” So many young men and women got married before they were to be separated by the war – not just in Girard, of course, but all across our country. By the time the war was finally over, these young couples, married but living separately because of the war, would create an unprecedented need for housing. This need would be answered by new construction of large tracts of housing located outside of the already crowded cities, creating suburbs, and a new way of living with greater emphasis on the automobile. But that is something we know; it was to be discovered by our families of 1944 in the future, a happy time for those who made it through the war.
Back to our church happenings in March of 1944: The Friendly Class held its monthly meeting the evening of March 8th at the church. They had an outside speaker as well as a dinner meeting. Their speaker was I. W. Sherman from the Mahoning County Experimental Farm in Canfield.On March 10th, Group 3 of the WSCS met at the home of Mrs. J. B. Burtsfield for the first of a series of Vanishing Tea meetings. Twelve women were present. On Tuesday evening of the 21st, Mrs. Wormer was the hostess for the second in a series of Vanishing Tea meetings for the benefit of the WSCS. Fifteen women were present. The March 24th Edition of The Girard News announced that our church would hold special services every night beginning Monday, March 27th and ending Good Friday, April 7th. Services would begin at 7:30 PM each evening. Rev. Maly would be doing most of the preaching with Dr. Paul G. Mayer of Cleveland delivering the sermon on Monday and Tuesday nights. Special music would be provided. And George McElhaney would lead the singing.
With this special Lenten series of services, we will leave our church family in March of 1944. One final little historical note from March, 1944 -- On March 2nd, the 16th Academy Awards ceremony was held at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Casablanca won the Academy Award for Best Picture.