We left our church family in the month of May, 1943, heartened by better news from the war front, and a portrait of “Rosie the Riveter” by Norman Rockwell gracing the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, one of the very popular magazines of the day. The City held its Memorial Day Parade on Sunday, May 30th, beginning at 11 AM on the Girard-McDonald Viaduct where Sailors who had died in our Country’s service were honored. The Parade then proceeded to Liberty Union Cemetery where all other branches of the services were honored and Congressman Michael Kirwan was the speaker. (As a former Girl Scout leader, and Band parent, I remember vividly those Memorial Day marches. First we would gather at the War Memorial in front of City Hall where the flag, in a solemn ceremony, would be hoisted to the top of the pole, then lowered to half-staff, the playing of taps, the 21 gun salute, the march to the viaduct and up to the west to the place over the center of the Mahoning River where the wreath would be tossed down to the water, which would eventually flow down to the Ohio River, then down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico where it would become part of the sea. Then would follow the long march back down the viaduct to State Street and then north out of town to the cemetery, where the flag ceremony would again be repeated along with the playing of taps and the gun salute, and a speech by an invited local dignitary. To me, and my children, these Memorial Day services marked the beginning of summer. But in 1943, with many Girard families whose sons, or husbands, or fathers were away at war, and some Girard men already killed in that war, Memorial Day observances were much more personal.)
With the arrival of the month of June, our church family from 75 years ago, was also thinking about the beginning of summer. On Wednesday evening, June 2nd, the Official Board met at the church. They were making plans for the upcoming Quarterly Conference on June 16th, at 6:30 PM. Mrs. Swegan moved that the Friendly Class be in charge of the covered dish dinner for the evening. Motion carried. The Pastor Parish Relations committee recommended to the Official Board that Rev. Maly be returned to Girard for the coming year. Brother Howells moved that the recommendation by the PPR Committee be accepted. This also carried. The PPR Committee also recommended that Dist. Superintendent Dr. Secrist be returned to his position. This, too, carried.
The following Wednesday, June 9th, the Friendly Class held its monthly dinner meeting at the church. Mr and Mrs Thomas Weaver were chairmen for the dinner. The program, under the direction of Mrs. Wendell Thomas, consisted of piano selections by Phyllis Gosnell, songs by Tammy McLain and Charles Gilchrist, a reading by Barbara Parris, and a Women’s Quartet consisting of Mrs Rose Williams, Mrs Edward Clark, Miss Blodwyn Evans and Mrs. Stark.
As I had noted in earlier monthly reports on the past, life on the home front during WWII was constantly affected by blackouts and rationing. Coupons were distributed for most of life’s necessities such as coffee, sugar, meat, butter, gasoline, tires, shoes, etc. No cars or trucks were manufactured for civilians. Our family had a ‘29 Nash which my Dad drove to work and back home all through the war. That was about all the driving he could do with his gasoline allocation. We could occasionally go to a grocery store down on Mahoning Avenue. When he had enough gasoline saved up, we could visit his mom and dad out of town on Tippecanoe Rd. That was it. After the war, when new cars became available, and gasoline plentiful, my dad, like many American men. felt a pent-up need to drive . . . somewhere . . . anywhere! In the late 40’s and early 50’s, we kids were packed into the back seats and taken for long drives through the countryside, usually while listening to Jack Graney delivering the Indian’s game on the car radio. But those days would come about four or five years later. In June of 1943, President Roosevelt, our country’s great encourager, announced that he favored people having enough coupons for ammunition so that they could hunt in hunting season. My Dad liked to hunt so he would have been happy with that announcement. I don’t remember much about it. I was only five in 1943 and getting to know my new baby brother, John, born in February of 1943.
War news from June of 1943 continued to reflect the positive turn of the war from Africa where the allies had prevailed, to plans for the invasion of Europe. Winston Churchill had insisted that they must attack the “soft underbelly” of Europe through Italy. So GI’s in Africa were now preparing to cross the Mediterranean and head north through supposedly soft Italy. The Atlantic convoys to Europe were now successfully completing their crossings, with the U-boats greatly diminished. On a more somber note, a British passenger plane on a routine flight over the Bay of Biscay was attacked and shot down by 8 German planes, killing all aboard. One of the passengers was Leslie Howard, the actor who had played Scarlet’s forbidden love, Ashley Wilkes, in the very popular movie “Gone With The Wind”.
That concludes our Glance back at our church family in June of 1943, seventy-five years ago.