Andover, Connecticut Newsletter #8
February 9, 1944
To the Servicemen and Women of Andover, Greeting!
The season of longer evenings, seed catalogues, and diminishing woodpiles is at hand. Spring fever in Andover is frequently chilled by sudden severe cold waves. The skaters still have a lot of fun on the ponds and the lake, although a few crocuses have begun to peep through in sheltered places.
The "Who's Who" that we are sending with the picture of the Honor Roll was compiled by John H. Yeomans. There will be many more names added to the roll in the next month or so.
Perhaps we had better tell the bad news first, so that you can get that over with.
Dwight Watson, whose home adjoins that of Tom McManus in the Bodreau development at the west end of town, was killed in an automobile accident on Highway #6 one morning in January. His car was struck by a large bus, and Dwight lived for only a very short time afterward. He leaves his wife and two small children, for whom we feel the deepest sympathy.
Rusty Friedrich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Friedrich, has been reported missing in action. He is a Marine, stationed in the Pacific theatre, and we hope that he will reappear, safe and well, before long.
Well, the Andover Fire Department had a bang-up-turkey-and-all-the-fixin's dinner at the Fire House on January 14, 1944. About fifty members were present, and they sang the praises of the committee in charge, which consisted of George Nelson, Harry Sheldon (who broke a bone in his heel on the previous evening, and appeared in a cast), Russel Thompson, and Arthur Savage. After the dinner, there was a short business meeting and speeches (historical and otherwise) by various members. A collection was taken, to swell the coffers of the 4th War Loan Drive.
The town is full of new babies. Helen and Bill McCarroll presented John Drake McCarroll on January 23. Helen and Johnny are home now, and doing fine.
The John Yeatons of Andover Lake have John Merritt Yeaton, now. He appeared on January 25, weighing seven pounds, 3 ounces.
FLASH! FLASH! Ed and Ann Whitcomb have a son, now. He is Louis Bennett Whitcomb, and he was born on February 4, 1944. Papa is coming home on Feb. 29, we expect to see whether sonny is ready to help him out in future truck-driving assignments for Uncle Sam.
Billy Merritt is recovering from pneumonia at home. He had a tough time of it, but is coming along well now, thanks, in large part, to the competent ministrations of Aunt Hattie. He expects to return to Detroit very soon.
Clifton E. Davenport, Jr. was married late in December to Betty Jean Harding of Portsmouth, N.J. The ceremony was performed aboard ship, by a ship's chaplain, at Norfolk, Va. The bride and groom visited Mr. and Mrs. Davenport for a few hours on New Year's Day.
We have caught fleeting glimpses of Leslie Billings, M.P., Bill Dunnack, M.P., Ed Jurovaty, John Bonkowski, Morty Friedrich, and Andrew Kukucka, who were home on short furloughs during the past month. Tillie Kukucka had his beautiful bride with him.
Betty Tedford has een given a shower by the young ladies in town, in anticipation of her coming marriage. The lucky man is Staff Sergeant Donald Dowling of the Marines. The wedding will take place at St. Mary's Church, Manchester, on February 19. The matron of honor will be the bride's sister Barbara (Mrs. Willis Covell). We'll have more details for you in the next Newsletter, and, in the meantime, here's luck to Betty and Don!
Among the good letters we received this past month was one from Bob Grenon, He writes that he is stationed at Hunter Field in Georgia, and that he is keeping pretty busy playing doctor to a B-26 bomber. K.P. or guard duty comes about once every two months, so he thinks he is pretty lucky on that score. Bob hasn't seen his brother in uniform yet, but he hears from him often. After the war is over, Bob hopes to become better acquainted in Andover, but we think he did pretty well over the holidays--at least around a certain nurse whose initials are Wilma Savage.
Speaking of nurses, Cadet Nurse Betty Shepherd has been capped, and is therefore no longer a probationer.
Pvt. George LaChance's address changes about as often as a suit of underwear. How about a letter George?
Major Bertram C. Wright is kept busy as the commander of an antiaircraft battalion, and he doesn't get to see the old home town as often as he would like to.
Capt. Henry L. Hilliard hopes to see Andover before too long, and he has just completed 18 months of overseas duty. Henry directed a chorus in Christmas music for Protestant and Catholic services on Ascension Island, and his mother is keeping the printed program of the event among her souvenirs.
Pfc. Ed. Heimer enjoys reading about the different service folks from Andover. Drop him a line, boys, and get acquainted.
We are still receiving "thank you" for Christmas packages from the town of Andover. These messages are being passed along to the ones who did the shopping and wrapping, and they are glad to know that you enjoyed them.
Eddie Merritt is still in England, and they keep him very busy. He will appear among the pictures in Life Magazine during February or March.
Pvt. Walter Parks is still in Texas, awaiting classification in the Air Force. He has completed all his pre-cadet schooling, and is now working at headquarters as a clerk. Parks says he has it pretty soft right now, as he works eight hours a day, and then the time is his own. He shares a little room with another boy, who has been with him since they met at Fort Devens. Walter sends his best regards to the newlyweds.
Ship's Cook 3/C Alma Smith writes that her favorite pastime since receiving her Christmas package from the town has been "tea and cookies". She has a stove and refrigerator in her apartment and a nearby store where she can get all sorts of hot dishes put up to take home. Although her roommate is also a cook, all they seem to think about when they go off duty is food.
Down from Newfoundland, or "Newfie", as Cpl. Charles Kukucka calls it, comes a little note that prophesies that Dr. Ed Whitcomb will be grounded if he drives the Army trucks as he used to drive his father's. Sorry, Charlie, but we forgot to tell you in the last letter that the Army won't let Ed put any air in his tires. That's how they keep him on the ground. If Ed Merritt ever gets up around Newfie, Charlie is going to get him a Quart of Screech--the real fire-water that not even the rebel corn licker can beat. For Charlie, the newsletter serves two purposes. He reads it, and then passes it on to one of his buddies who is down in the dumps.
Pvt. Lewis A. Brown, Jr. was preparing for a class "a" inspection just as the last Newsletter arrived, so he couldn't read it right away. He hopes to shake Mississippi mud from his shoes for good shortly, for he is nearly through school. Evidently he isn't as lucky as Bob Grenon about K.P., for Bud spent a good part of the night of January 14, 1944 scrubbing a hangar floor in preparation for an inspection by a visiting general. Brownie is not looking forward to his graduation field test with any zeal, as it means ten days of sleeping in a pup tent under simulated combat conditions. He is expecting this test some time in February--right in the heart of the rainy season. How about it boys? Bud would like to carry on a little correspondence with Harry Bonkowski, Charles Kukucka, and Hi Schildge.
Another wedding in the near future will be that of Joe Remesch, Jr. We've been trying to find out the name of the bride-to-be, but so far have been unsuccessful.
George Bonkowski has been on a diet for some time, and he has lost a remarkable amount of weight, to the surprise of his friends and neighbors. George leaves for the army on February 18, and we're wishing him good luck.
Charles Johnson, son of Mrs. Katherine Johnson, will join the Marines about a week from now.
The Navy will soon have Richard West, who lives near the west end of town, doing his bit. Another Navy man joining up this month, is John Pringle of Columbia, Many of you will remember him as a star player on the Grange softball team.
The War Council met Tuesday evening, and decided, among other things, to appoint a committee to collect a file of these letters, newspaper clippings, pictures, and other souvenirs, to be deposited with the War Records Division of the State Library at the end of World War II. You are making a proud record for your town.
The Fire Department has rushed to the scene of several chimney fires during the past month. One of them was up at the Gaspers'. Their huge fireplace chimney put on a performance of mammoth proportions, but little damage was done. The Willis home over Percy Cook's store was threatened, also, by a chimney fire, which threatened to break through. The A.F.D., however, was on the job pronto, and kept the flames from spreading. A new chimney has since been erected there.
Mr. Alvin Willis had his thumb amputated in an accident at Cheney's recently. As soon as he was recovered, Mr. Willis went back to work on another job, and is still hard at it on the production line.
Conrad Schatz and Mrs. Frances Anderson went to Manchester one day last month, and returned Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Schatz. Congratulations and best wishes to the bride and groom!
Please remember to send any change of address to us immediately, so that the Newsletter will not be delayed any longer than necessary in reaching you. We shall try to keep you posted on changes of address or addresses that you ask for by personal letters.
Barring blizzards or high water, we'll be ticking off some more news early in March.
Vera Cross Taylor & John F. Phelps
P.S. We nearly forgot to give you some of the most exciting news we have! The Bullet, a train of about 75 cars was wrecked at Merritt's trestle at about 4:00 A.M. on February 4. To use the terms of John Yeomans, who knows about those things, a brake bar on a truck about half way down the train dropped down and derailed the truck. Nothing else was derailed, and the wrecking crew brought the train to the Andover station for repairs. The school children had a regular holiday, as they watched the workmen. John Yeomans was on hand to take movies.