Andover Newsletter, Volume 2, #1
sponsored by the Democratic Town Committee
July 2, 1944
To the Servicemen and Women of Andover, Greeting!
It's a year since we began this monthly letter to you, and our pleasure in the project has increased by the months. Editor Phelps is keeping a complete file of your letters, which have come from all over the world. Your letters reflect enthusiasm and high spirits, keen interest in the experiences and travels that the war has brought, a little homesickness, a few complaints (tempered with humor) and a universal desire to get the war over with.
Our greatest hope is that you can all turn homeward before the ANDOVER NEWSLETTER goes to press for a second anniversary number. In the meantime, we renew our pledge to keep you informed about events in Andover and about the progress and experiences of all our townspeople in the armed services.
We must adhere to our policy of giving you bad news first: The whole town is mourning the death of Teddy Lockwood, who was drowned in Andover Lake on June 13. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lockwood and a member of the Center School graduating class. His essays on his hopes for the post-war world was a splendid one. It was read by a classmate at the graduation exercises, and his diploma was received by his little sister, Gwendolyn.
More than twenty Andoverites escaped tragedy in the Hartford Circus fire this afternoon. Leland Bathrick received a head injury as his twin and his mother leaped to safety, while the Big Top went up in flames. Howard Sprenkle received some scratches while helping his family to get out. Otherwise, we have heard of no injuries, and none that we know of are listed with the hospitalized, missing, or dead.
The first Newsletter carried an account of the First Annual Barbecue at the Gasper Cabin. Well, they had a repeat performance, sponsored by the Andover Fire Department and the Sportsmen's Club. A double-header soft-ball game, in which "Anything goes" was the rule put half of our male citizens into a crippled condition ranging through barked shins, swollen joints, lumps on the noggin, sprains, and mere lameness. There were three half-barrels of beer and other liquid refreshments on hand. Harry Sheldon and a chef from Lebanon slaved over the hot fires to produce two barbecued lambs and over thirty barbecued chickens. They say the food was grand. After the feast, card games and conversation were the order of the evening. Nearly every man in town was there, and the wives and girl friends amused themselves as best they could, at home. Soldiers home on leave, who attended the July 1 event, were Pfc. Charlie Michalik and Pvt. George Bonkowski.
FLASH! FLASH! Here's a long-delayed wedding announcement! Gertrude Bausola became Mrs. Stewart G. Prentice at St. Mary's Church, Coventry, on February 5, 1944. They went to North Carolina for their honeymoon, and are now living in Manchester. Congratulations and all good wishes for the bride and groom.
FLASH! FLASH! Corp. John Bausola, Jr. will be married on July 22, 1944, to Miss Jessie Houston of St. Louis, Missouri. Mrs. John Bausola, Sr. and Miss Dorothy Bausola will leave Andover on July 20, to attend the wedding.
Corp. Bob Massey has married a girl from Van Buren, Texas, whose name we do not yet know. She has come to live with Mr. and Mrs. John Massey at Bolton.
S 2/c Oscar Martino joined the US Army on May 15, and he is home for a short leave now. He is stationed at Sampson, N.Y.
E.A. Angell, Jr. was home from Honolulu in June, in time to attend the Center School graduation. His brother, Clyde, was among the graduates. He expects to go back to Honolulu soon, and he will shortly enter the Army.
In the few days since this issue was started, more sad news has been brought to our attention. Ward B. Talbot of Long Hill Road died early this morning at the Manchester Memorial Hospital, after an illness of only a few days. Our sincere sympathy goes out to Mrs. Talbot, his son, Roscoe, and his daughter, Mrs. Elsie Williams.
A grand letter comes from Maurice Levesque (2nd Lt., Inf.) somewhere in the Southwest Pacific. He says: "I was rather interested in an article you wrote concerning John Kukucka. I am inclined to agree with him that things are tough in the States. But after spending over a year tramping through jungles, eating coconuts, bananas, and papayas until blue in the face, after sleeping on the ground with insects and rodents as constant bed fellows, I'd be willing to swap places with him, sight unseen!....."
"One of our main headaches, other than the weather, insects, and rodents (that includes Japs) is in the form of Australian currency. Instead of keeping the medium of exchange in good old American money, we find ourselves swamped with pounds, shillings, florins, and pences. We have no place to spend money, not even a P.X., so, after hours of figuring, we make out money orders so as to change the pounds into dollars. Don't be misled by this pound business, they don't weigh sixteen ounces!"
"Wish you could get a peek at the natives residing on this island. Contrary to all rumors, they do not wear grass skirts, play guitars, and do hula dances. They spend much of their time working in gardens, for their only sources of food are the earth and the sea. Women do most of the work, it is not unusual to see them carry bundles that weigh over a hundred pounds on their heads, plus a baby in their arms. They are a primitive, but happy people.
"Fishing has turned out to be quite a sport with us. However, the method that we use would be frowned upon by Andover game wardens. We simply drop a hand grenade, or a heavy charge of TNT, into the ocean, and dive for the fish. Of course, in so doing, we have to watch out for sharks. One hand grenade is sufficient to feed three or four hundred men".
FLASH! FLASH! Martha Bartlett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Bartlett, and William Thompson, son of Mrs. Lottie Thompson of Columbia, were married Saturday afternoon, July 8, 1944, at three o'clock. The double-ring ceremony was performed by Dr. William Tuthill, on the lawn at the Bartlett home, in the presence of about thirty-five relatives, and friends. Martha was attended by the groom's sister, Betty Thompson, and Bill was attended by his brother, Russell. Bill and Muffy will make their home in Columbia, and we wish them all the happiness in the world.
D-Day kept Andover ears glued to the radios, and gave us all a mixture of joy and solemnity. Everyone wondered how many of you and which ones of you were fighting on the Normandy peninsula, on the seas around it, and in the sky above it. Rev. Tuthill held a well-attended prayer service at the Church that evening, and most of us listened to President Roosevelt's prayer for you, for victory, and for peace that evening. Many Andover voices joined in the singing of "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", which followed the President's prayer.
For that matter, we watch the news from France, Italy, and the Pacific and Asiatic areas all the time, and we are glad whenever an item about Andover people finds its way home. We have learned that Corp. Mortimer Friedrich and Capt. Harry Fox are in France. Julian Krzewski, MoMm 3/c, made several trips between the invasion coast and England on June 6, and on the way he passed Eddie Merritt, who was on a transport vessel that successfully landed troops on the beachhead that day. Julian is in hopes that he and Ed can get together soon.
The Covells have heard from Sonny, after a long silence. He is somewhere in England, and he says he likes it there.
A/S Ted Watts writes from Sampson, N.Y. He seems to find life there quite satisfactory, although at that time he was anticipating a week of K.P. with his company.
Paul Bramhall (SF 1/c) writes from somewhere in England that he expects to be transferred soon, and that he hopes it will be "somewhere in France" next. He wrote on D-Day, and he had been thrilled by the sight of thousands of planes of all types going to and coming from France. he says: "I am one step nearer to admiral, having been promoted last March, but I'd still rather be civilian 1/c.
Pvt. Ken Chadwick sent us a card from the South Pacific, and he sounds a little wistful about the distance which separates him from Andover.
Frank Paro, also in the Pacific area, contends that the famous islands are not as nice as Andover.
John Yeomans has loaned us the letter he received from Major Nate Gatchell this month. It is a detailed exposition on a certain railroad in Australia, complete with map. I used to think that railroads were a means of transportation, but between Nate, John, and a couple of other RR enthusiasts in Andover, I'm beginning to see them as instruments of romance, adventure, and mechanical genius. Nate seldom sends a letter without mentioning Eddie Sheehan, and this time he says: "Here in the outfit the boys have taken to Ed and made a good friend of him. He knows his stuff and is well qualified not only for his present job, but for bigger ones in the future".
Several times during the past month we have been visited by electrical storms of unusual intensity, with torrential rains. One cloudburst was measured at about two inches in twenty minutes by the Connecticut Light & Power Co., while Hop River, minor brooks, and roadside gutters went on the rampage. There were roadside landslides, weakened culverts, cars stalled in mid-highway puddles, two small bridge washouts, gardens washed out, and children having a swell time in backyard puddles. The Phelps and Taylor ponds combined in an onslaught on the dam. We expected to see it all come roaring down, but the dam held, and only some of the sluiceway was washed away.
Arthur Savage had a terrible loss, when five prized heifers were killed by lightning, as they stood by a pasture fence. The Tedford home was struck by lightning, and only Walter T. was at home at the time. While Walter and the neighbors carried out furniture and other valuables, Chief Merritt raced to get the fire truck. Since the electricity was off, the only alarm sounded was that siren on the truck, and yet a large part of the AFD managed to save a large part of the house. The loss by fire and water is estimated at between $2500 and $3000. Another estimate occasioned by the storms is that the sale of electric light bulbs at Percy's must have gone up 300%.
Bulletin on vital statistics: Mr. and Mrs. Harry Rankin are the proud and happy parents of twins (Robert Leroy and Roberta Ruth) born on June 5, at the Windham Community Memorial Hospital. Mother and children doing well.
Jimy and RuthMcBride have purchased a home in Manchester, and they expect to move on August 1.
We hear that Captain Frank Norris is now at sea, and that Sydney, Australia is his base.
Congratulations are deserved by Joe Gasper, who has been promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He has left Australia for parts as yet unknown.
F 1/c Bill Merritt is engaged to Miss Cora Coswell of Willimantic. Congratulations! Bill is still stationed at Norfolk, Va.
Clifton E. Davenport, Jr. has been promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. It may now be reported that he is stationed in North Africa.
Alex Fox, C.O. of his own plane, visited friends in Andover, while he was home on a recent leave. Alex has been piloting transport planes between San Francisco and the Marshall Islands for the past two years.
The Fifth War Loan Drive is well over the top in Andover. The quota was $12,000.00 and with final figures as yet unavailable, the goal has been reached. Mrs. E.M. Yeomans and Mr. LewisW. Phelps were co-chairmen of the drive.
During the 1943-1944 school year, the children purchased a total of $5,093.95 in war bonds and stamps. They kept a continuous enthusiasm for any enterprise that seemed to them to help win the war, and their spontaneous cooperation would do your heart good. As a reward for their bond-buying record, Mrs. Yeomans arranged to have a corporal with a jeep visit Center School. That great event took place during the last week in school, and although it poured that day, everyone had a ride, including the teachers and Mr. Phelps. The children still talk about the jeep ride.
Emily Yeomans Barefield is conducting swimming lessons at Andover Lake for the school children each Thursday. So far, she has held two sessions, the first one being attended by about 40 youngsters. She is assisted by Mrs. Sneed, Jean Gasper, and other mothers who have the time to help, especially with keeping track of the bathers. Mrs. Goodale drives the school bus to get them all to the lake and back again.
Lt. Irene Willis is now in Italy, and, at last report, is residing in a tent. She has had opportunity to do a great deal of sight-seeing, and we understand that she has even seen the Pope.
We must remind you that, although it is still months before election time, you must make your requests for absentee ballots soon, because mail seems to have a way of being delayed, and you will want to get your votes in on time. If you have grown old enough to vote since you left home, you may request your commanding officer to make you a voter, wherever you are. The form for this as well as absentee ballots may be obtained from Town Clerk Ellsworth Covell.
Each year the graduation exercises at Center School push a new group along the way, making room for yet another class that once thought it could never make it. This year, there were thirteen in the class. They are, besides Teddy Lockwood,: Leslie Anderson, Lyle Bell, Janet Grenon, Bertha Jane Hutchinson, Earl West, Clyde Angell, Jimmy Gray, Naomi, Grant, Cuyler Hutchinson, Donald Palmer, Richard Yeomans and Lawrence Krozel.
Andover pupils who graduated from Windham High School this year are: Miriam Bramhall, Marion Cocking, Hilda Conrad, Carol Friedrich, Beverly Gobille, and Carolyn Smith. We hope that graduation is really "commencement" of bigger and better things in a much better world for all of them.
We are enclosing more post cards, just to encourage you to send us a new address, news of a promotion, any scrap of personal news, or just "Hello". We do enjoy hearing from you.
Quite a good number of people in Andover have now become so interested in the NEWSLETTER to subscribe to it regularly, and thus help to defray the cost of its publication. They, too, are anxious to hear about you and your doings. We know you are busy, but do drop us a line.
Vera Cross Taylor
John F. Phelps
P.S. Francis (Hi) Schildge, MM 1/c in the US Maritime Service is home on leave, and expects to see exciting service soon.
VCT & JFP