ANDOVER NEWSLETTER, Vol.2, #10
Sponsored by the Democratic Town Committee.
To the Service Men and Women of Andover, Greeting!
The cherry blossoms are out in Andover, and we’ve had summer weather in the midst of March. In the spring, a young woman’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gardens and canning, but a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of baseball. Accordingly, a baseball club has been organized with Monty White for manager, Arlene Thornton for score-keeper, and Bob Seyd for umpire and five men (?) of uncertain vigor and draft status for a team. The manager is wondering just how to get into a league with these five stalwarts in the Andover Line up. The Club plans to renovate the Paper Mill Lot, (cut the brush, level it with a bulldozer, build a set of bleachers—all subject to the limitations of wartime.) Lieutenant Maurice P. Levesque, who wrote us such a grand letter in February, was wounded on Luzon on February 25, and he died on March 1, 1945. He was twenty-five years old, the son of Alfred H. Levesque who has made his home in Andover for the past three and one half years. He was a member of the National Guard, and has been in the war since Pearl Harbor. Besides his father, he leaves a brother Lucien, who is with the American Third Army; and another brother, George, who is with the First Army. The Andover Branch, American Red Cross went well over the top in the War Fund Drive, which was carried on throughout March. Clara Savage Ursin was chairman of the drive, which brought in $577.00. The quota for the town was $432. The school children contributed $28.37. Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Richards of Andover Lake are the proud parents of their first baby, a son, Robert Clare Richards. He was born at the Hartford Hospital on March 26, 1945, and he weighed seven and one half pounds. Mother and son are doing well. Bob Seyd, chairman of the local salvage committee, has organized a waste paper drive for the first Monday in each month. Mrs. And Mrs. Conrad Schatz have been doing the collecting, and in March, over two tons of paper were rounded up. Mrs. Clarice Yeomans is in charge of the clothing drive for the UNRRA. The quota is 5 lbs. per capita, or about two tons for Andover. The housecleaning season is a good time for such a drive, and there is no doubt that it will go over the top. Chaplain Anna Lindholm of Andover Grange has announced a memorial service, which will be held on May 21, 1945. There will be a roll call of service men and women, and every one of you who wishes to answer the roll call with a message should write to Miss Lindholm at Andover, Conn. Miriam Bramhall, daughter of Mrs. Paul Bramhall, and Joseph Lariviere of Willimantic were married at St. Mary’s Church, Coventry, on March 17. They were attended by Miriam’s sister Madeline and John Dziadul of Lebanon. After a short honeymoon in New York, the couple returned to their home in Willimantic. The Andover Fire Department has begun its rush season, and the red trucks are a familiar sight, as they tear up the roads, raincoats streaming behind and sirens wide open. During March they put out a brush fire near John Bausola’s house at the lake and made their annual trip to the Gasper homestead to put out a chimney fire. They also put out a chimney fire at the Bunt’s cottage at the Lake. Using an ounce of prevention, the trucks were taken out to clean out certain chimneys which could be counted on to produce hard work in the night season if they were not attended to promptly. Eddie Whitcomb is heard from occasionally, from somewhere in Germany. No doubt he is too busy to write down many of the details of his travels at this time. Eddie Merritt is in San Diego, and Whit is still in Texas. Only one reply to Johnny Phelp’s highhanded notions on correspondence between the Army and the Navy has come in, and we wonder if any more of you have time to write us on the subject. Charlie Kukucka protests as follows: “Fire! Operator, I want to report a fire. Yes, I said fire—at A.P.O. #862, and I’m burning, and I don’t want a two-bit fire dept. to put me out. I want the one and only Andover Fire Dept. You see, they don’t put you out all the way. I like to smolder a little because Mr. Inductee John Phelps has to be put in his place and I’ll need some flame later on to start me up again. “Just when does a web-footed rookie from Andover get the idea that it will take a special order from the War Dept. to write to him if the person in the army doesn’t hold the rank of 2nd Lt. and higher? Yes, it will take a special letter from the W.D. to write him, but it won’t do any good, when the web-foot can not read. And we (mind you I said “we” land soldiers—yes SOLDIERS) have no time for drawing pictures for any dry sandbar sailors. This sailor part has nothing to with flat, web-footed rookie John Phelps. Signed by Chas. Kukucka & ten others with me. P.S. I thought all web-footed persons came from Rhode Island.” Well, Johnny, that ought to hold you for a while! Buster Hutchinson is with the 3rd Army, driving a jeep for a Captain. Donald Parks is in Hawaii, with the Field Artillery. His brother Walter has been moved again, and he is at La Gunta Airfield, Colorado. LOCAL CHIT-CHAT: Emily Yeomans Barefield has gone a-visiting in Vermont, and she will be there for a couple of months, with a friend whom she met in Florida. Mrs. Harold Smith is recuperating from a serious operation. “Skipper” Cunningham is visiting at the Yeomans Homestead. Her husband, Russ Murray, whom many of you remember as a former resident of Andover, is in the Pacific War Theatre. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Smith have recently returned from a two-months vacation in Florida. Mr. Louis Whitcomb spent some time in Manchester Memorial Hospital last month. There seems to be more than one man in town who can damage a tractor in good style. Steve Ursin was lending a hand at the Burnap Brook Farm when he failed to miss a tree stump. (Perhaps it was the morning after the AFD smoker?) The motor block was broken, and a new motor had to be installed. We haven’t heard yet what Art Savage had to say about the accident. Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Willis have moved to Rockville. Avis (Mrs. Nathan) Gatchell is going about again, after a very serious operation, which she had at the St. Francis Hospital, Hartford, last month. Johnny Sprout writes that he has crossed the Rhine, and “this looks like pay dirt”. In another letter he says, “The weather here is excellent, and has been for some time. Our air planes sure can give the Jerries hell if it only keeps up being nice. Millie sent me pictures of my daughters, and they look pretty swell, and I feel very proud of them….I am glad summer is coming, because winter is plenty rough on a guy in combat. Things are about the same, as you know there still is plenty of hard times ahead for us all.” Speaking of Charlie Michalik, in yet another letter, he writes “Too bad about Charlie, but maybe he will turn up okay somewhere, let’sh hope.” Well, Johnny, Charlie showed up o.k., as you may see on the next page.
Cpl. Charlie Michalik writes from Somewhere in Germany, “…The War Dept. was inaccurate in a way. I was only wounded once with a piece of shrapnel in the arm, which put me out of commission for a while. The rest of the time I spent in catching up with the boys…Last few days here…just like the good old summer time. It really seems a shame to have to spend them here. Still, a person can’t be too choosey nowadays. Maybe by the time it does get really hot here, we may be drinking Hitler’s schnapps to cool off. So I’ll try to be looking out for Sprout in order to celebrate when the time comes…”
Since this Newsletter was started, still another letter has come from John Bonkowski, who says he expects to shake hands with members of the Russian Army soon. The outfit that George Bonkowski is with has received a Battle Star, and he says they are right next door to the Feuhrer. Andover’s latest enlistee is Walter (Gramp) Tedford, who has signed up with the Merchant Marines. He is now awaiting the physical examination and assignment. Mrs. Gasper has a letter from Lt.-Gen. George C. Kenney, Commander of the Allied Air Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, which we quote, in part: “Recently your son, Lieutenant Joseph S. Gasper, was decorated with the Air Medal….in recognition of courageous service to his combat organization….while participating in aerial flights…from April 2, 1944 to June 7, 1944…” Congratulations, Joe! We unddrstand this citation does not include recognition of your prowess as a hunter of the kangaroo. We are hoping that a copy of that picture of you and the dead kangaroo will be part of the Andover war records. Cpl Duane Faulkner writes from Burma: “I am in a mule pack artillery Task Force….I have seen the Burma Road. In fact I had more to do with it than I can say, because of censorship. I have been awarded the Presidential citation and Combat Inf. Badge for service when I was in Merril’s Marauders. I enjoy the Newsletter very much. Do keep them coming. Although I get them a month and a half late, I read them over and over.” Duane enclosed a newspaper story written by a mule skinner, about some aspects of life as a mule skinner on the Burma Road. Congratulations on the awards, Duane! Let us hear from you again. John Yeomans shares with us a good letter from Major Nate Gatchell: “Have lived for the past few days in a large engine and car repair yard with the usual atmosphere of steam, bells, gloomy sheds and pits….Yesterday climaxed several days’ preparation for a big event. The biggest personage in these parts made his official entry into the greatest city by rail, riding on the left of the cab in our new diesel locomotive. It had fallen to my lot to decorate the train with flags, signs and bunting. Hence I was privileged to ride on the locomotive quite close to the great personage and his famous profile….In another week I shall have been over-seas 30 months. Almost time for some of this rotation to start, but I’m not too hopeful. Anyhow, life is getting better and I can stand a little more at this rate. Give my best to…the family circle at the Fire House. I found the little pamphlet interesting and worth-while. The snap-shot of the ball team made me feel old. Glenn Griswold looks like a grown man and THAT takes TIME!” Pfc. Albert Heinz writes that he is in the best of health, and he sends his regards to his friends. “There is nothing that I can give you in the way of news other than you probably know about through papers and radio…” Cpl. John Bausola sent us a good letter from somewhere in Germany: “I want you to know, and I hope everyone back home realizes that this is one hell of a war. I have seen action from Christmas Day in’44 and off and on up until now, and believe me, in that short time I have all I want of it. I’ve traveled through Belgium, France, Holland, and now the super race’s own soil. I guess you read in the paers about the battle of the Bulge in Belgium (St. Vith, to localize it). Well, we had an active part in that one. Also the Colmar pocket in southern France. Johnny B. continues, “I see quite a bit of Andy Kukucka, as he is in the same battalion as I. We came across the pond on the same ship, and have been together ever since…I hope that everyone is home soon and are all in good condition, and all the ones that are home get to stay there.” V-Mail brings us news of Sgt. John Kukucka, whose location is a secret. Congratulations on the new rating, John! He is anxious to hear from his friends, and so we give you his latest address: Sgt. John Kukucka, 6150148, 474 Ord. Evac. Co., A.P.O. 18241, c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y. Pfc. Walter Smith writes from London: “…my latest address: Pfc. W.S.Smith, 11113790, Army Communications Service, Hq. 64th Region, APO 413, c/o P.M., N.Y., N.Y. This is strictly a signal corps outfit, although their work is fixed station radio installation and maintenance, mostly for the air corps. Thought when I came here that I would be doing some of that work out in the field and I did for a short time, but they decided they would rather have me in the office, so, I am now working at headquarters….” Well, there’s one Andover boy we’ve found to be still in England, and we hope that answers part of Sonny Covell’s plea for the location of someone from home over there. Bill Dunnach sent us a postcard from Norfolk, Va.: “I just got back from spending ten days in Andover, and I sure would like to pack up and head back. I left Doris and Billy there this time.” Bud Bramhall has returned to California, after a furlough from March 31 to April 8, in Andover. Since we started the round-up of news, work has been started on the ball field. A crew went out and cut all the brush along the river on Sunday, and next Sunday, the bull-dozer belonging to Percy Cook will be used to smooth the ground. Three more men have been routed out of hiding to become part of the Team. The local smoke-eaters quelled a brush fire at Paul Jurovaty’s on Saturday afternoon. F 1/c Bill Merritt and Cora Cogswell of Willimantic were married in the Methodist Church in Willimantic on March 31. The bride’s sister was maid of honor, and Warren Jurovaty was best man. Bill and Cora had a short honeymoon in New York, and then Bill headed back to Norfolk, Va. Congratulations, and good wishes to you, Bill and Cora! Eddie Merritt is in Sandiego, California. Alex Fox, we have heard that you are married. Congratulations! How about writing us a letter soon, so that we can put the happy details in next month’s Newsletter? SC 2/C Alma Smith is now at the U.S. Naval Training Center Barracks B1, Sampson, N.Y. where they are just about to build a mess hall for the Waves. The Congregational Church recently held its annual meeting, beginning with a delicious dinner, at Town Hall. Winthrop White was reelected Deacon for four years, and Mrs. Benton was reelected Clerk. A committee was formed to receive money for a fund to be used in improving the Church property and to carry on the work of the parish. Another committee was appointed to make arrangements for carrying on the work of the Chruch School. We have a good letter from Nan Hyatt, who, although she does not wear the uniform, must feel that she’s in the Army now. She is working at the USO Club at Port Clinton, Ohio. Nan seems to find her job exciting, trying, dull, and fun, by turns. “…and there are moments when I think back on the social center of the Andover Tennis Court and would like to see all of you there…” Speaking of the Tennis Court, the PTA’s recreation committee (Margaret Yeomans, Chairman) and the old Tennis Club are getting together to have the court put in shape for use this summer. The Andover Mother’s Club sponsored a Well-Child Conference and Pre-School Roundup at Town Hall yesterday. Dr. Brown of the State Board of health made expert examination of 17 youngsters, and gave good advice enough to last for the next three months. Lt. Clifton E. Davenport, Jr. has been cruising around the Solomons Islands during the past two months and really enjoying himself. Among the spectacular sights are the orchid beds in full bloom. He dispels any visions of refreshing swimming in the warm southern sea by telling us that volcanic ash makes the ocean unfit for swimming. Sgt. Bob Grenon is somewhere in France and longing to come home. He has been wounded, but not by German weapons. He was bitten on the hand and on the lip by a large rat. AFC 3/C Willard Grenon has just graduated from a school in England where he studied a military secret and aero dynamics. Congratulations on the new rating! A letter from Buster Hutchinson has come to us by a long, long trail. He wrote to John Phelps, who sent the letter to Ruth, and she has loaned it to us for quoting purposes. Thanks “Hutch”, for the congratulations you sent the Taylors! He writes from “Somewhere in the Mud…..Spring has come to this part of the country in all its mud-covered glory….I’m getting webbed feet from wading around in the stuff. We can’t kick, though, ‘cause it’s real warm too…This part of the country is pretty well beat up. The place we’re holed up in right now used to be a hospital of about 300 beds. There are four or five habitable rooms in it now, as most of it is on the casualty list. In fact the whole town is in the same predicament. I mean it’s really messy! I’m very very glad that the fighting of this war is outside the continental limits of the good old U.S.A. because our buildings just couldn’t stand the gaff…..It won’t be long now…We’ve got Jerry’s back to the wall.” Clarence Goss, of Hartford Avenue, is at Uncas-on-Thames for treatment. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery. Stanley and Jean Smith Nichols are the parents of a baby boy, born at Manchester Memorial Hospital on April 3. Stanley and Jean live in Manchester, now. The mail from overseas and camps around the country was heavy this month, and we enjoyed every letter and card. We hope you’ll all continue writing so that we can quote you in future issues. Very Cross Taylor and John V. Gasper
Hislorical - Democratic Town Committee, WWII Newsletters