Thursday, March 12, 2015

14. Summer of 1944 in Gettysburg

During the summer between seventh grade and eight grade at Lincoln School in Gettysburg, Nancy and her parents were doing their part to support the war effort. She often  helped her father in their Victory Garden, then worked with her mother to prepare the produce for canning or freezing,

In the Forties, the freezing compartments in refrigerators were small, so people rented large freezers at a local locker and froze their fruits and vegetables for later use. In her diary for 1944, Nancy notes that she and her father picked a bushel of green beans, then she and her mother prepared the beans for the locker.

During the summer of 1944, I earned money thinning peaches for local growers in the early spring, picked sour cherries in June for the Ortanna or Musselman’s Canneries, then picked peaches for the growers in August.

On hot summer days, we  swam at six foot deep Jack’s Pool where the ad slogan was “A daily dip, that’s our tip.”  Picnics were  popular, and both Nancy’s family and mine loved to go to Caledonia, Marsh Creek and the Narrows on weekends for picnics and outings.  

Our activities in the summer of 1944 were trivial compared to what was happening in World War II.  The front pages of our local and city newspapers were filled with news of the success of U. S. and British forces in Italy, the Soviets in Eastern Germany and Army and Marines in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, the victories at the front were always won at a cost.

On August 9, the front page of the Gettysburg Times reported on these Adams County residents killed, wounded or missing in action (MIA): Sgt. John Felix killed in action in France; Archie Feeser killed in South Pacific; Charles Smith wounded in France; Cpl. Merrill Topper wounded in South Pacific; James Harness wounded in Italy; Donald Price MIA in Italy; Eugene Clapper, MIA in France and Private Maurice Small, the oldest of five brothers from Gettysburg in the service, MIA in France. 

When World War II ended, well over a million men and women from the United States were killed, wounded or missing in action. 

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