We left our church family at the end of July, 1940, pondering the effect that the new Military Draft Bill would have on their lives, and listening to Rev. Hilberry preaching on “The Violent”. For that information and for much of the details provided in this month’s Glance, I am indebted to the Girard News, our town’s weekly newspaper, available on microfilm at the Girard Free Library.
August 4th was the first Sunday in August in 1940. That would have been my late husband, Clyde’s tenth birthday. He would not have been in our Girard church at that time. He lived in McKinley Heights and he used to tell me that his Dad would drop him and his brothers off at the Methodist Church in Niles for Sunday School, which was located in downtown Niles at that time. Anyway, on August 4th, in Girard, our Sunday School had an attendance of 243 people counting teachers, scholars, and visitors. The Sunday School collection for that day was $12.42, reflecting the fact that our country was still in the grip of the great depression, although some men were being called back to work in our town’s steel mills.
On August 6th, the Friendly Class held a weiner roast in Liberty Park on that Tuesday evening. Glen McCoy and Lloyd Moncrief were chairmen of the event. Eighteen members were present. During their meeting they made plans for a Hike in Mill Creek Park on August 20th. That would probably be their last outdoor event of the summer.
Meanwhile, our church family and all America were bombarded with war news coming over the radio and in the papers. England was being bombed continuously by German planes. Ships were being sunk in the English Channel. Opinion in America was divided about what to do. America was technically Neutral, although most American sympathy was with England and France. General John J. Pershing, our World War I war hero was calling for all-out aid to Britain in order to defend the Americas, while, at the same time, Charles Lindbergh, our flying hero, was holding Isolationist rallies.
Last month I wrote about Tom Mix coming to Girard at the New Mock Theatre, and Guy Lombardo playing at Idora Park in July. Now, on August 7th, The Sons of the Pioneers played at the New Mock Theatre. This would have been another of my Dad’s favorite entertainers. His favorite song of all time was “Tumbling Tumbleweed” written by Bob Nolan of that group, along with another famous song, “Cool Water”. Whenever my Mom sat down at the piano to play a few, Dad would always request “Tumbling Tumbleweed”. Our family lived on the lower Southside of Youngstown. I wonder if he knew they were playing in Girard. That Wednesday would have been a work day for him so he couldn’t have attended, but I bet he wished he could. I was only two then, so I would have been oblivious to the whole event.
The August 16th edition of the Girard News had a nice article on the hiring of a new coach and Phys Ed instructor for boys in the Girard Schools. His name was Phil Koppel and he had previously coached at Newton Falls the previous year and at Brookfield before that. He would go on to teach and coach at Girard until his retirement, while living here and, along with his beloved wife, Dorothy, raising a wonderful, lively bunch of kids , all active members of our church family.
The August 23rd edition of the News had a front page story about a proposed five story modern hotel to be built on the corner of Liberty and State Streets. Well, we know that didn’t happen! But on a page further back in the paper was a story about the youth of our church and the Lakeside Annual Conference. Our Epworth League sent the following delegation: Marjorie Davidson, Marjorie Keller, Barbara Griffith, Barbara Emerick, Jean Merriman, Milly Jean Ebbert, Marilyn Miller, Val Jean and Hazel Muffley, Robert Crooks, Robert Miles, Jack Heinzman, and Robert Kingston. The chaperone for this group was Mrs. Rees Emerick. That is a pretty large group for one person to handle. Maybe kids were better behaved seventy-five years ago. Today we would have more than one person in charge.
On August 25th, morning worship was devoted to a Communion Service. Then on the following Wednesday, the Women of our church spent the day reorganizing. This was due to the union of The Methodist Episcopal Church (our branch of Methodism) with the Southern Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Protestant Churches. Then on the first Sunday of September, the morning worship service was mostly devoted to the launching of the Charter Meeting of the Girard Branch of the Women’s Society of Christian Service. Rev. Hilberry’s sermon was entitled, “The Guidance of God”. Our church family had no idea back in 1940, but 28 years later, in 1968, we Methodists would merge with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to become what we are today – The United Methodist Church.
This was our church in August, 1940 – 75 years ago.