Andover, Connecticut Newsletter #7
Sponsored by the Democratic Committee, Andover, Connecticut
January 7, 1944
To the Servicemen and Women of Andover, Greeting!
Christmas Eve found packages heaped high under the festive trees, gay lights strung from here to there, and the fragrance of spruce and good cooking mingled in the home. Santa Claus came to all those who expected him. Men were glad the holiday came on Saturday, so that they might have two days at once for odd jobs, visiting, and loafing. The women wondered if they'd ever come to the end of torn paper, tangled ribbon, and dropping evergreen needles. The children found that Santa had, in many cases, become exceedingly sensible in his choice of gifts, but there were still some grand games and toys with which to strew the home scene. A brutal cold spell kept the ice in first class condition for the enjoyment of graceful experts on skates as well as the tumbling beginners.
New Year's Day came and went--quietly for most of us. The gay lights and Christmas trees came down. Most of us went back to our regular chores with new vigor, but there's none of the usual afterglow left. All the gifts and good food and drink and merry-making in the world didn't make up for the fact that you weren't here. Better luck next year!
Most of the letters which we received during the past month contained a message of thanks for the Christmas packages from the Town of Andover. We have passed the word along to the committee, which was headed by Ramona Yeomans. The letters from overseas also sent a message of thanks to Alice Yeomans Moe, who footed the bill for air-mail delivery of the last issue.
The school children and their competent teachers put on a bang-up Christmas performance at Town Hall on the Wednesday evening preceding the holiday. There's a lot of talent, grace, and sparkling personality, as well as good singing voices, down there in the little red school house. The Hall was packed with adoring parents.
On the next evening, the small fry turned out in a body for the Community Christmas Tree. Hans Hanson made an excellent Santa Claus, complete with white whiskers and red suit. The program began with carol singing by the choir and congregation, and a prayer for guidance and peace by Rev. Tuthill. Then Santa appeared, and there was an ever-increasing roar of approval when the packages were opened. Much credit for the success of the evening goes to the shopping committee, of which Mrs. Ruth S. McBride was chairman.
Miss Eleanore Joslyn Covell, daughter of Town Clerk and Mrs. Ellsworth Covell and Sgt. Lawrence Dennis Sheehan of the Army Air Forces, son of Mrs. Ann Schatz were wed Sunday, January 2, 1944, at 2 p.m. in St. Mary's Church, South Coventry. The Rev. Charles M. Kelly performed the double ring ceremony.
The bride, who was given in marriage by her father, was attended by Miss Barbara Tedford, as maid of honor. The bridesmaids were the Misses Betty Tedford and Olga Stygar. Willis Covell, ARM2/C, was best man. The ushers were Thomas Anderson of Hartford and Peter Mortlock.
A reception and luncheon were held at Andover Town Hall dining room, immediately following the wedding. Word has been received that the happy couple have been basking in the Florida sunshine, where the groom has returned to duty. The bride will return to Andover in about three weeks.
Larry and Eleanore make a handsome couple and we wish them all the luck and happiness in the world.
About thirty of Larry's friends gave him a bachelor party at the Gasper Cabin on the Thursday evening before the wedding. The beer keg, which is an institution at the Cabin, was tapped until empty. Larry was presented with a purse by those present. Toasts to the groom were many, and those inside the Cabin forgot that it was viciously cold evening.
FLASH! FLASH! The romance of the scene of Sunday's wedding was just too much for Barbara Tedford and Sonny Covell. The love bug bit them severely, and they rushed off to the Congregational Church in Manchester on Monday, January 3, 1944 to hear the old, old words and take the old, old vows. So it's ARM2/C and Mrs. Willis Covell now. The bride and groom have gone to Norfolk, Va., where Sonny is on duty. They report chilly weather but glowing happiness. May the happiness continue through a long life together.
It's Dr. Ed Whitcomb from now on, for he writes that he is in a medical battalion, and finds that what he learned as a first aider at Andover Town Hall is kindergarten compared to his studies now. Ed, who was cited as one of the best truck drivers to be graduated from the truck driving school, had a chance to drive some lieutenants to Chaffee, Ark. While he was waiting for the lts., who should come running out of the mess hall but John Bonkowski. They had quite a chat, and Ed informed Sprout that Charle Michalik was in the same outfit with Sprout. They had been living 100 yards apart, not knowing of each other's whereabouts until Ed gave their positions away.
Hi Schildge has about a month to go before finishing his training as a full-fledged Merchant Marine. He reports that he had the fortitude to refrain from opening his Christmas present from the town until Christmas day. He reports further: "Nose in the textbook, waiting for action."
We expect to enclose a picture of your honor roll with this issue (Muffy Bartlett, photographer). If the prints are too late in arriving, we shall send them in the next letter. Major Nate Gatchell sent a check to cover the cost of printing the pictures along with the request that they be sent to all of you. However, other checks have popped up to do the same job. We shall, therefore, embalm the check, along with the letters we have received from far and near in response to these letters, and Nate will find himself forever unable to reconcile his bank balance, unless he can do the trick with several dollars worth of hearty thanks.
Nate writes that Eddie Sheehan is still in his outfit--a rough and ready soldier, doing a good job.
The picture of Rusty Friedrich (down under) which has reached home certainly should make the towns folk proud. He is dressed in his Marine uniform, and has a hand on his trusty dog. He looks every inch a fighting man. Rusty says he sees no cactus, no K.P., and he has plenty of liberty. He requests pictures, and we will try to oblige with some in the near future.
Lt. Ed. Gatchell says he's inclined to agree with Monk Wright about the Sea Bees. Bibber has been touring in Scotland in a colonel's car, (minus the colonel) and he says Glasgow has its own "Sweet Adeline", called "I belong to Glasgo'". Nate's letters get to him faster than some from off the beaten path in the U.S.A.
The Andover Newsletter is just the thing for a G.I. several thousand miles from home, writes Cpl. Lawrence Moe. He's very glad that his wife kicked in with air mail postage for the overseas letters. Thanksgiving found him receiving a bounteous meal.
The first thing Eddie Merritt did upon reaching England after several months of service in Sicily and Italy was to buy a pint glass of beer. He also had a glass of milk--quite an experience for him.
Ken Chadwick expected a furlough by Christmas, but learned that it would not be forthcoming until January. He doesn't expect to see action for a while, but he says he'll be ready when the time comes.
From Sgt. Edward O'Grady comes the news that he is down under with Nate Gatchell and Eddie Sheehan. He wishes everyone a very Happy New Year.
Writing on Christmas day, Pfc. Edward Sheehan states that Major Nathan Gatchell is just the same as he ever was--a swell guy, and very well liked by all of his men. Eddie, we'll try to get some dope on George LaChance for you, before the next letter.
You will notice that in this letter we have refrained from publishing addresses. This is so that we may conform with the code of wartime practices. We will try to send any addresses that you may request, by personal letter.
Speaking of addresses, will you please use the enclosed post card to send your correct address to John Yeomans, printer and mailing agent of this sheet. That will bring his files up to date, and assure prompt delivery to you.
A new and thriving enterprise on the home front is the serving of a complete hot school lunch. Editha Birmingham is chairman of the project, which is sponsored by the PTA. A pyrofax range has been installed in the basement of the school, and mothers from all over town will take turns cooking the meals. We hope that the program will promote good health among the pupils as well as high social standards and real enjoyment.
So many of you have mentioned Mr. Phelps candidacy for the gubernatorial nomination that we are sure you will be interested in learning that he has received the unanimous and enthusiastic endorsements of the Democratic Town Committee, The Democratic Club of Andover, and the Tolland County Democratic Association. All of which has led to a lot of favorable newspaper publicity, including pictures Of the favorite son of Andover.
Bill Merritt writes from the Navy Pier in Chicago that the Windy City is a swell place, and that he finds time on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays to investigate its mysteries. He says that he hopes Mr. Phelps will become Governor, so that when "I say I'm from Andover, Connecticut, my friends won't say, 'What's that, a disease'?" He sends his regards to Bill Grenon, Ed Merritt, and George Tedford, and all the other fellows in the service from the old home town.
John Kukucka, writing from Ft. Bliss, is pretty sick of spending Christmas a long, long way from home. He says, "Please hurry and help to win this war, so we can all come home again for good."
Lt. Joe Gasper was last heard from in Australia, but we are unable to give you any further information on him at this time.
Charlie Kukucka sent another breezy letter from Newfoundland. He says that ordinarily Superman delivers his mail in a big hurry. However, Superman slipped up during November, and he is willing to open negotiations for a contract with Charlie Friedrich now. He'd like to hear from any or all of you. Sounds to us like a bit of homesickness under the merry chatter.
Petty Officer 2/C Carol (Monk) Wright has been enjoying a 30-day furlough at home, after having spent eighteen months in active duty in the South Pacific. He had many a tale to tell--a sample, no doubt, of the experiences you are sharing now. He was wearing a bracelet, which he had made from a fragment of the first bomber to crash on his island. He did a lot of skating while he was here, and took part in a small but riotous hockey game at Andover Lake. Monk's waist has slimmed down, and he's in the pink.
Bob Grenonhas also been home on leave, and he took a powerful part in that hockey game. George LaChance also spent a large part of a recent furlough on ice skates.
Eddie Jurovaty came home on leave just in time to be of good use in helping his mother with the farm work, when Paul J. broke his leg and had to spend some time in the Windham Hospital.
Four aircraft workers from Andover narrowly escaped death when their car leaped off the highway and landed in an apple tree in Bolton, during a recent ice storm. The men are Ellwood Hudson (and it was his car that took a$200 beating), Arthur Lockwood, Bert Lewis, and Andy Gasper. Arthur L. is recovering from a severe concussion, but the others escaped uninjured. Other cars did some fancy figures that same morning, and still more piled up in the ditches of the Boston Hill Road during Christmas week.
The Andover Fire Department will give a turkey supper after their monthly meeting next Friday evening, January 14. The department gourmets, Harry Sheldon and George Nelson, are in charge of the banquet. There should be a lot more to report on that affair in the next newsletter.
The Boy Scouts had a Christmas party in the Library, and the Girl Scouts had theirs at the home of their leader, Pat (Mrs. Everett) Pease.
We are all keeping our attention on the progress of the war on all fronts. We are filled with hope, yet trying not to be over-optimistic. We must all do our part on the home front, and we shall try to keep news of the home town flowing to you regularly throughout the coming year. Our Happy New Year means Victory for you wherever you are.
Vera Cross Taylor and John F. Phelps