Gratiot County’s Finest Hour – July 1944: “Drought, Rationing, Farming, and Defending Gratiot County”


Above: Union Telephone Company Advertisement; Lt. Lorraine Loesel, from Alma, served as a nurse in New Guinea; Gratiot County worked to fulfill its quota for the Fifth Loan quota in July 1944.

     In July 1944, a walk down a town or village in Gratiot County on a Saturday night seemed quite peaceful. Unlike conditions in England, the soft lights from stores and street lamps made it easy to walk the streets. Cars honked as they went by. Drivers sometimes whistled or yelled at a young lady. People went into drug stores to get a Coke inside or to discuss which movie to see. Children lined up at water fountains to deal with the heat.

     People would gather at corners to talk. Inside a store,  a lady would hear, “Sorry Ma’am, I don’t have any more of that item. It is rationed, but I expect more soon.” She might also be told, “I’m sorry. I can’t give you that cut of meat, but I can give you another one. You don’t have enough points.” Men and women who finished their shopping carried their purchases to their cars in baskets or bags that they brought with them.

      In all of this, it was the July heat that held people’s attention. A prolonged drought had hit the county and farmers desperately needed rain.  Overseas, the invasion of France started its second month. In the Pacific, residents learned about the many islands that became battle sites. It was the third summer that Gratiot County was at war.


Rationing Continues

     Food rationing on behalf of the war effort continued in July, although in some cases point values went down a little. Vegetable juices and tomato sauces all dropped in points as canning season started.  Certain cheeses, canned asparagus, peas, and tomatoes all picked up point values even though there had been zero point values on them for a few weeks. Rationing also resumed on specific cuts of lamb so that more people had access to them.  The Gratiot County Rationing Office continued to post notices that meats, butter, and canned milk all had to use  Red Stamps A8 through Z8, all located in Ration Book Number 4. The stamps were worth 10 points each, and there was no restriction on their use.

      Late in the month, the Office of Price Administration increased rationing points on creamery butter. It turned out that people were using too many Red Stamps to buy more butter than the government allowed. Gratiot County residents were encouraged to practice canning for the winter. A canning center opened in Middleton on July 13 and it intended to remain open for the rest of the summer. Although there was no charge to use the canning center, people still needed to make appointments. Free tin cans and sealers were offered to those who did not have them.

     Prices and costs went up on other things as well. Clothing made from cotton textiles increased by over thirty percent. Cotton clothing, underwear, sheets, and work clothes also were affected. This increase was due to the Bankhead Amendment, which just became law.  In some parts of the United States,  women reacted angrily that rubber shortages affected corset sales. Many people just had to make do without things.

     A call continued for people to donate their junk for the war effort. At the end of the month, the Ithaca Boy Scouts held their first pickup of paper, rags and waste fats. Tin cans were also wanted, and donors needed only to cut off both ends of each can, turn the ends inside, and then flatten them. Residents were urged to combine trips into town and to drop off tin at designated collection centers. However, donations appeared to be in decline through the summer.  One of the exciting contributions of “war scrap” took place in St. Louis when Frank Housel, the city manager, received approval from the city council to tear down the city jail and donate the metal doors and sides. The jail had not been used for six years, and the city needed the space at the highway barn.

     An essential area of rationing dealt with automobiles in the county. Starting July 10, the Office of Price Administration set ceiling prices on 23 makes of automobiles. These cars ranged from types made between 1937 through 1942 and had two rates: “as is” and “warranty.” Whenever anyone purchased a vehicle, both the buyer and seller had to fill out a transfer certificate and then submit it to the county rationing board. A 1937 Chevrolet Town Sedan now had a ceiling base price with warranty for $365 and “as is” for $340. A more recent 1942 model would have costs of $940 and $995 respectively.  Those looking to buy used trucks did not face these regulations. Still, in the previous eighteen months prices on used cars rose between twenty to thirty percent.

     Tires and gasoline also remained desirable and essential items for people in Gratiot County. On July 6, the county ration board issued certificates for 348 tires. Almost two weeks later, another 314 certificates were given out; Grade 1 tires made up the most substantial requests.  Farmers saw less and less machinery ending up on rationing lists. The list was almost half the amount that had from the year before.  Among the items included combines, corn pickers, manure spreaders, and mowers.

     Two particular items frequently ended up being in the news as a result of crime: gasoline and tires. An Alma man, Charles Wright, had stolen gas, tires, tubes and wheels for over two months in the Ithaca and Emerson Township areas. He often took the tires and wheels directly off of the vehicles which had been jacked up and left on wooden 4×4’s. Wright was finally caught east of Alma when a dog woke up a farmer, causing the farmer to discover Wright’s abandoned car.  The farmer found that the thief also had drained gasoline from a tractor. After a trial in front of Judge Paul R. Cash, Wright received three to five years in prison.

“Any Bonds Today? Wanna Buy a Bond?”

     Raising money for the Fifth Loan Drive was on, and the county tried to meet its goal. Over in St. Louis, sales reports showed that the city had oversubscribed by $1, 136. At the end of July, St. Louis was over its goal by 20 percent. Few towns in Michigan could say that they had such enthusiastic support. However, Gratiot County, as a whole, was stuck at 45 percent of its goal, or $409,350 of its $906,000 quota. Michigan also had trouble raising money with only about 51 percent of its aim. Thursday, July 6 was proclaimed “Save Michigan’s Honor Day” to try and reach one hundred million dollars in war bonds. Things started to improve slightly in Alma. On July 13 the city announced that it had it exceeded its quota of $179,300 by almost $21,000!

      Out in the countryside, bond sellers went door to door in all townships of the county. By mid-month, another $18,100 in bonds had been sold in Emerson Township, led by the urging of township supervisor Ray Plank.  The bankers’ division also had success in meeting its goal of $754, 800. The Gratiot Board of Supervisors invested county funds with an F.S.U. defense bond for $10,000. Also making the news was the Concordia Society in St. Louis Zion Lutheran Church which bought a $200 bond.  Members donated fifty cents each in place of having a bake sale. In spite of the progress in bond sales, Gratiot County still was short over $160,000 in its total for July. Some people believed some rural areas still had not been visited and asked to subscribe to the drive.

Life, Work, and Crops on Gratiot County’s Farms

     Late on the evening of Tuesday, July 11, the rain started to fall in Gratiot County. The badly needed rain came as the county had been in a long drought for two and a half weeks, and some feared that a significant crop failure was occurring. Beans needed the moisture the most, and they got it. The rain brought with it helped crop values jump several hundred thousand dollars. Sweet corn had been fighting European corn borer, and fire blight attacked apple and pear trees.  Even with the rain, farmers were told to look out for grain weevils, which damaged wheat that would be kept in warm, humid conditions. Farmers fumigated their grain storage, keeping grain in clean and tight bins, especially watching when temperatures in the bins rose above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

      The Gratiot County AAA told farmers interested in wheat loans to contact the office as soon as possible. Number 2 wheat was worth $1.44 a bushel.   Any farmer who kept his wheat in storage and delivered it in April of 1945 got to keep the seven-cent per bushel storage fee. The loans were offered until December 1944. For any farmer who took out a loan, members of the AAA visited the farm and measured and inspected the bins. The reason that the AAA offered loans was to encourage farmers in the county to keep wheat at home and open more room at elevators for the fall’s bean harvest.  Still, Gratiot farmers continued to take their grain into area elevators as July progressed. Reluctantly, elevators took the wheat – which averaged 35 to 40 bushels per acre in Gratiot County.

    Other situations and problems faced farmers that July. The Farm Security Administration offered loans for farmers who wanted to purchase their first family farm. These farms could be newly constructed, or older ones that needed work done to them. These loans came out of a law passed in 1937, which was known as the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tennant Act. If a farmer wanted to apply for the loan, their application would be reviewed by three farmers who sat on a committee and passed their recommendations on to Secretary of Agriculture. The three committeemen in Gratiot County included Clarence Derby (Ithaca), James Skayrd (Ashley), and H. Bird Clark (Alma).

     Milk and cream subsidy payments went out to farmers in early July. Milk paid 35 cents per hundred and six cents a pound of cream. Anyone in Ashley who wanted their check had to show up at the village hall and bring all slips for the months of May and June.  It was also cherry picking time in Michigan, and although Gratiot County did not grow cherries, over 150 people signed up and volunteered to go to northern Michigan to help harvest cherries. By contacting the Gratiot  County Agricultural Agent at the courthouse, they came into contact with the Women’s Land Army, which offered information and assistance to these workers. Directions, gasoline, and rides were provided as long as people in each car pledged to pick a minimum of 80 hours and fill out reports to cover their gas. By the end of July, 211 people from Gratiot County went north to pick cherries.

     The need for farm labor always remained a problem. Some area farmers tried new inventions to help. Stacy came up with a portable crosscut saw that operated by using a washing machine engine. He put the device on skids and was able to move it wherever he needed to cut wood. Clyde Downs of Newark used a pipe on the back of a spring tooth drag to break up thick chunks of soil.  Sherman Edgar of Beebe equipped both sides of his tractor with an A-frame, which he attached to two cultivators. By doing this, he could cultivate six rows of beans or beets at a time, instead of only two. He also put two umbrellas on top for shelter from the hot sun.

     Farmers were also told that if they could find farm help from men over age thirty, they should hire help as soon as possible. Most 18-26-year-olds with farm deferments were expected to be drafted in the fall if Germany was still in the war. An estimated 15,000 men in this age group had deferments in Michigan. Over 14,000 farmers in Michigan had asked the state for farm help. In Gratiot County, 64 farmers requested assistance, and 52 of them received it.  A total of 44 men and 11 youths made up the requested farm help.

The Draft and the V-12 Program

      A group of 24 Gratiot County men made up the only group who left for the war. On Friday, July 7, a chartered bus left Alma. This announcement did not tell which men were going into the Army or the Navy as the Gratiot County Draft Board had yet to receive an official report.  Among the men who left included Lowell Quidort (St. Louis), Richard Stewart (Breckenridge), Olmer Sims, Jr. (Ithaca), and Kenneth Bishop (Bannister).

     Over at Alma College, a group of 213 men enrolled in the V-12 naval training unit program, making it the highest enrollment in the program thus far. The V-12 commander at the college, Lieutenant Julius E. Scott, said that 118 men in the group were new;  the rest returned for further training in the program. Of those who returned, 42 came from the United States fleet and had seen significant sea duty.  Some had even won decorations for their service.

Gratiot’s Servicemen and Servicewomen

     Letters, pictures, and announcements kept people informed about who served Gratiot County during the war, where they were, and what they were doing.

    Roland Leslie of Middleton attended gunnery school at Great Lakes, Illinois, after entering the service in May. Cadet-Midshipman Patrick Goostrey of Ithaca wrote an article for the United States Merchant Marine Cadet Corps’ magazine, Polaris. It told the history of shipping with the American South Africa Line. Goostrey was the magazine’s feature editor.  Private John First of Perrinton received his Wings and Boots after completing training at Fort Benning, Georgia. First would serve as a paratrooper during the war; however, he was allowed to come home for a ten-day furlough before shipping out.

     After serving sixteen months in the South Pacific aboard the USS Chandler, F 1/c Alfred Schaeffer made a surprise visit home to Ithaca to see his parents. He was one of five Schaeffer sons; his brother, David, was killed in France less than a week after D-Day. Alfred Schaeffer was soon headed to New York to attend Naval School.  Technician Fifth Grade Chester H. Saunders of Breckenridge served as a driver with a balloon anti-aircraft battery in Italy. His unit had downed five enemy aircraft during their first year of deployment. Saunders had been part of the Salerno, Italy invasion.

       Melvin J. Thrush of Ithaca was in Australia and had been promoted to supply clerk. Thrush married an Australian girl, and he had been in Australia for 25 months. Joe Hudson of Riverdale survived the D-Day invasion and sounded in a letter like he had made it back to England. Hudson had seen the White Cliffs of Dover and thought they had been a beautiful sight. Private Robert Kerr of Ashley was at Camp Wolters, Texas after entering the service in March. He wished that people would send him letters. Sadly, Kerr would die in Europe during the war. Sergeant Andrew Gager of Middleton had been awarded the Good Conduct Medal while in England. He served as an aircraft instrument specialist and worked on Mustang Fighters.

      Surprising news came from Russia where Staff Sergeant Harlan Stahl served with the United States Eastern Command of Strategic Air Forces in Europe. Stahl’s mission was to help the Russians build air bases in a limited amount of time. He also helped with work on heavy bombers.  Both the Americans and Russians seemed to be getting along. Corporal Delbert Gould told his parents in St. Louis that he was in Panama for the past two months doing clerical work and guard duty. He first joined the Army in March 1941 and had been home three times during this period. Gould served with the 150th Infantry.

      The family of Lieutenant Galon Mallory of Elwell received the Air Medal while with the 15th AAF in Italy. Mallory had been a bombardier aboard the Salty Dog, a B-24 Liberator that was involved in missions over Central Europe, northern Italy and southern France. Mallory joined the AAF in March 1943. Private Joseph Deming of Bannister received a transfer to the Infantry. He had served with the 595th AA Automatic Weapons Battalion. Deming had been in the service since January 1941. Since then, Deming had been sent to California, Alaska, and Fort Bliss. He had already been awarded the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon and American Defense Ribbon. Gordon Peters of Perrinton received his wings and graduated from air pilot’s school in Texas. He awaited assignment either as an instructor or to be sent to the war zone. Sergeant Joseph Jisa’s wife in Bannister received word that her husband had been promoted to Staff Sergeant and that he was stationed at Corsica. Jisa had been in North Africa, Sicily and Sardinia. Sergeant Burton Cronkite of Breckenridge was an airplane and hydraulic specialist with the Ninth Air Force Service Command. He had been inducted in March 1942.

     The Hospodar Brothers from North Shade Township, Michael and Frank, both came home for a short time. Corporal Michael Hospodar had been in the Aleutian Islands for 26 months and served in the Coast Guard Artillery since March 1941. His brother,  Private Frank Hospodar, had been a POW guard at Sidnau, Michigan after being in North Africa. Twin brothers Kieth and Kenneth McDonald, who had previously lived in Ashley, were pictured in the newspaper. Both entered the service in April 1943 and overseas since February 1944. According to the news, they had always been together and “have been granted special permission by the President to always stay together.” Tech Sergeant Roland Reeves of Ithaca was in Northern Ireland, serving with the United States Army Depot.

     Corporal Henry Klein from Ithaca came home on a five-day furlough to Alma. He had completed combat crew training school in Sioux City, Iowa. Klein trained as a gunner in a heavy bomber crew. An Alma High school graduate and former student at Alma College, Klein was just short of his degree when he entered the service in February 1943. Lieutenant A.E. Brenneman of Alma was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve in Pensacola, Florida.  He would be placed on active duty at a training center and then possibly sent to a combat zone. Brenneman would be one of Gratiot’s men to be killed during the Korean War.

     Gratiot County also received news telling about the role of women in the service. “Somewhere in New Guinea,” Lieutenant Lorraine Loesel of Alma was part of a unit of ward nurses who served there. Loesel’s unit arrived in New Guinea in September 1943 at the foothills of the Owen Stanley Mountains. Loesel was one of a group of doctors, nurses, dentists, and clerks who built a hospital on the grounds of an old native mission. An Alma High School graduate, Loessel became a public nurse for the City of Detroit Public Health before embarking for the Pacific in July 1943. Amelia Lapaugh of Elwell enrolled at Naval Training School at Iowa State. She was an Alma High School graduate and hoped to become a petty officer and serve in the United States. Private First Class Linda Thompson of Perrinton served as an Air WAC at Stockton Field, California. She was in charge of enlisted service records. Lieutenant Phil Goodrich from Ithaca became engaged to Margaret Wilkinson, a Yeoman 2nd Class in the SPARS. Both met while stationed in Seattle, Washington.

      The call for women to serve as WACs and WAVES continued through 1944. The need for women in the WACS was dire as a result of the invasion of Europe. Dr. T.J. Carney, chairman of the Gratiot County Defense Council, shared a letter from the United States Army expressing the need for women in the county to consider becoming a WAC. Interested women could contact Mrs. H.A. Christensen of Alma or go to the Office of Civil Defense, which was located in City Hall in Alma.

     Then there letters, letters and more letters – each telling something about the war. Corporal Earl Emery wrote from Italy that he had been to Rome. The city had been untouched from the fighting and Emery was impressed about how clean Rome was. He spent two days there, however, while at Vatican City he could only visit St. Peter’s Cathedral as it was the only thing open to American troops. Emery thought the Coliseum was in good shape for its age. He also saw the Holy Stairs and the catacombs. Emery wrote, “Sure wish I had studied my Ancient History better when (my teacher) as trying to teach me. But then I never thought I was ever going to see any of it.”

      Captain Ted Osborne wrote his grandparents, the Leo Schaeffers, about what he saw in Italy. Of particular interest was the state of the vineyards. Although the Italians raised wheat and it was harvest season, Osborne thought that they “do things backward here.” The vineyards were plowed by hand, and only a third of the land was cultivated. Volcanic rock made it so that only spots with up to twelve inches of soil could be used at all. “Plowing is done mostly with a jackass and the old pointed stick for a plow, that was used in biblical times.” Big landowners seemed to control almost all of the land and they distributed it to sharecroppers. When wheat was threshed it seemed that a lot of it fell to the ground and was wasted. “My God, these people are poor. (It) seems to be the normal state for them though,” Osborne wrote.

        Corporal Don Bigler also wrote to his parents in Alma that he had located his brother near the Italian front. The two spent two days in a foxhole together – it was the first time they had seen each other in two years. Bigler explained what the Anzio Express was and how they learned to tell which type of shell the Germans fired at them. The men in the other Bigler’s outfit could not understand why anyone would spend a three-day pass in a foxhole on the front.  Still, Don Bigler did it.

     Also in Europe, 2nd Lieutenant Stanley Bailey of Breckenridge wrote about his involvement with the invasion of France. As a pilot on the 9th Troop Carrier Command, Bailey said he had “a ring-side seat at the world’s greatest show.” On his first trip across the English Channel, Bailey thought he could have walked across on all of the boats. The next time he flew over it, he could have crossed on a bridge of airplanes. Flying a C-47 on D-Day was his first action in the war.

     Writing from the Pacific, Dale Phelps told his parents that things seemed to be going well for him in New Guinea. Phelps had been in combat but had not even been scratched. He was receiving much mail (sometimes ten letters a day), and he had picked up several Japanese souvenirs such as a rifle, flag and watch. However, he was having trouble sending the gun home. Phelps wrote his letter on captured Japanese stationery.  Private John Brzak wrote to his sister in Ashley and told her that he had received some wounds. “I’ll be okay as I’m going to pay (the Japanese) back for what they did and have done for my brother Tony’s sake.” Tony Brzak was a Japanese prisoner of war. John Brzak believed that the war would soon end and that he aimed to find his brother.

      Finally, Corporal Lee Wright, a United States Marine, wrote from Saipan to his mother in Alma.  Amid the terrible fighting there, Wright wrote that his prayers and faith had pulled him through. “I had a few very close shaves, but I am still kicking. If it hadn’t been for his being beside me, Mom, I don’t know what would have happened.” Before the fighting on Saipan, Wright had been in New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, the Marshall Islands, and then Saipan.

The Wounded, POWs, MIA, KIA

     News reached St. Louis that Private Robert Furtaw had been seriously wounded in France on D-Day. Furtaw’s mother received a telegram regarding his status. Then came the news in mid-July that Furtaw had been killed. A message reached the Frank Foster family in Newark that their son had suffered wounds after D-Day and was hospitalized. They had no further information. The same was true for Don Baker of Elwell who had been in France. Lieutenant R.J. Hanson was wounded on Saipan, but his wounds were not serious. Hanson’s father formerly worked for Republic Truck Company. Although he did not mention it in his letter to home, John Brzak of Ashley received the Purple Heart for being wounded in the Pacific. Brzak’s captain wrote a detailed and moving letter of John Brzak’s service after being wounded.  Harold Overmier, formerly of St. Louis, was in a hospital in California after being injured by shrapnel while on his boat somewhere in the Pacific.

     In early July, Sergeant Archie McFarlane of St. Louis was still missing in action. The day before the initial news came to the family in St. Louis about his disappearance, the family buried Archie’s father, who had just died.  Robert L. Parks of Alma remained missing. A radioman, Parks had been missing since February in the Pacific.

      Then came the news of those who paid the ultimate price for Gratiot County. Ralph Vandemark died of typhus in New Guinea. At his funeral, three Alma boys served as pallbearers.  General MacArthur sent the family his condolences. While in India, Private Delbert Stites from Vestaburg died as a result of drowning. Stites had been in the Army. In late July, the mother of Lt. Ronald Nesen learned that her son died when his plane crashed in the English Channel. Nesen, a waist gunner on a B-17, was with a crew returning from a raid over the Friedrichshafen, Germany when it was attacked just off the French coast. In late July, news came that Private Earl Whittum had been killed in action in France on June 25.

      To remember and honor those from Alma who had been killed in the war thus far, the first community-wide memorial service was planned for July 23 at the Tourist Park on East Superior Street. An afternoon vesper service was to take place there earlier that day.  A service also took place in Ithaca on Sunday, July 2 for D.C. Furgason who had been killed in Italy prior in the year.

      Hard news also had to be faced with the growing list of Prisoners of War. Sergeant Benny Zamarron of Ashley was now in a German POW camp. His status was confirmed in late June when the Zamarron’s received news from the International Red Cross. His picture also appeared on the front page of the Gratiot County Herald.  Articles started to appear in county newspapers regarding POW status, what people could and could not send to them, and how the Red Cross planned to help POW families. The Gratiot County POW Committee was made of up of Mrs. Wilbert Hansen, Mrs. M.J. Haley, and Reverend J. C. Thompson.

Life in Gratiot County During July 1944

      Gratiot County’s Congressman, Representative Fred L. Crawford, made a stop in Ithaca to talk to the Gratiot County Republican convention. Crawford stated that he thought the war would be over by the end of the year. Japan should fall by 1946…Loren Nelson of Ashley was one of several local young people who were part of a pen pal correspondence with English children. The connections between the two groups started when Loren Nelson’s older brother asked an English woman to do some stitching for him while stationed in England. When the elder Nelson tried to pay her, the English mother only asked for help in setting up pen pals. Corporal Nelson arranged for his brother  – and other youngsters in Ashley- to write to England. The partnership quickly took off in early 1942…Clare Redman became vice-commander of the Alma George Myers American Legion Post…The Gratiot County Herald wanted more servicemen pictures for the paper…Half year automobile plates started going on sale on July 15…The wife of Seaman Jerry Derry had been shot in a freak accident in Fort Pierce, Florida. Mrs. Derry was hit by a stray bullet while standing near the couple’s window. Seaman Derry was from Eureka.

     The Board of Directors of the St. Louis Co-Operative Creamery published a large advertisement in the St. Louis Leader in defense of Seventh Day Adventists. An article had appeared in the Lansing State Journal suggesting that Adventists were not patriotic because of their choices in limiting how much cream and cheese they ate. The St. Louis Creamery wanted people to know that Adventists were patriotic Americans and that many purchased and used milk and cream products just like other Americans…Maynard Strouse took over the Fleming Shoe Store in St. Louis and now operated it as the Strouse Shoe Store…William Bataan, Assistant County Agricultural Agent, announced that he was leaving his position that he had held for the past year. He was now the Agricultural Agent for Luce and Mackinaw counties…A meeting was planned at the Park Hotel in St. Louis regarding the steps to be taken to purchase land for a proposed new county airport…Five thousand pairs of black market nylon hoses that had been confiscated by authorities went on sale in Greensboro, North Carolina. The cost? $1.65 and the line was four blocks long…The St. Louis First Methodist Church prepared to hang a new service flag with 70 stars on it. Included were two recently killed St. Louis servicemen: Murvel Peacock and Gaylord Hanley…It was time to think about planning for Christmas packages for members of the armed forces. They needed to be mailed by October 15…Leonard Refineries started construction on a new administration building on the recently acquired Fred E. Burt farm…A Social Security representative would be in Alma on July 19 at the U.S. District Employment Office in Alma. Anyone needing help or having questions could see the representative.

A recent poll said that seventy percent of Americans favored a peacetime draft to support and maintain the armed forces. Most believed that a one year term of service was appropriate…Gratiot County had more sugar beet growers than any other county in the state…Teacher Adele Cavanaugh of St. Louis published a weekly column reminding the public of those young men and women who had left to defend the county during a time of war. Cavanaugh referred to them by their first names and what she remembered about each of them. Each week ended with a  wish that each would return home to Gratiot County safely…”Double Indemnity” starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edwin G. Robinson played at the Strand Theatre…The Red Cross rooms over the Ithaca Post Office were open every afternoon except on Saturdays. A new quota had been sent to Ithaca for July…The Sailors Quartet of the  V-12 Program from Mt. Pleasant played and led the services at the St. Louis Baptist Church when the pastor was absent.

And that was July 1944 during Gratiot’s Finest Hour of World War II.

Copyright 2019 James M Goodspeed

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