By Betty Allison
GORDON — The (soft) opening of the Gordon Library and Museum was a great success. We had 71 on the first day. Last Sunday at our monthly Speaker Forum, Robert “Skeeter” Pierce spoke to a packed crowd. We have a “Mini Book Review” scheduled for Sunday, March 28. This will feature four people giving short book reviews: one fiction, one biography, one mystery and one non-fiction. We hope to expose people to different authors and subjects. Hopefully, we will then broaden our areas of reading.
Recently I wrote excerpts from a monthly paper that was sent to men from Gordon who were in the service during World War II. The papers were compiled in a book called “Gordon Home Front.” Continuing from this book are some headlines:
The Red Cross Nutritional Class meets each first and third Tuesdays at 3:00 in the school gymnasium. Come early and bring your knitting. … The Gordon Red Cross Chapter sewing group has made thirty six bathrobes for the hospital at Mineral Wells. … Sugar for canning is available by registering for purchase certificates. … Palo Pinto County meets Bond Quota: $812,085. … School Goes ALL Out for Scrap Metal and Rubber. Students were divided into sections-canvassing the entire town. … The violin group consisting of Seven people met and dedicated their “Whispering Hope” to boys in the service. … The old post office building near Elmer Bell’s Café has been converted into a sanitary work room for the Red Cross. …Morris Vaden is seen in news real (Paramount News). … Auto owners resister for ‘A’ gas ration books. … The Henegar’s Drug Store window is full of pictures of Gordon Servicemen. … Since Sept. 1943, our students have bought $2,653.25 in war bonds and stamps. … Boys Receive Pigs: The Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce gave 145 fine pigs to as many worthy county boys. As payment for the pigs, the boys are to return pigs and they will be distributed to other boys in the county. Among those receiving pigs were: Herman and Calvin Stoner, Doc Ringo, Benard Kainer, Herman Teichmann and M.L. Mokey. In a later edition, it was noted that after showing the pigs-the top honor went to James Houx, Member of the Gordon FFA. He was awarded a $50 War Bond. … Registration for Point Rationing: 883 individuals were issued War Ration Book 2-used to purchase processed food and later meat. … To those who grumble about rationing, Walter Winchell says “Just think of all the things our men are doing overseas with the things we are doing without.” The women of the Gordon local branch of the Red Cross have made 60,415 surgical dressings and 52 ladies have volunteered 2,675 hours!. … Could the U.S. sergeant talking with Gen. MacArthur on page 32 of the Oct. 4, 1943 LIFE magazine be Gordon’s Lee Rexroat? Friends and relatives believe that it is. At least there is a striking resemblance. … Palo Pinto County now has 2,103 men and women in service, almost 12 percent of the county’s population. Palo Pinto County is asked to donate 450 pints of blood to the Red Cross Blood Bank. (In a later issue-the quote was reached.) … The Palo Pinto County poll tax payment reached an all-time high for 1944 with 5,075 qualified voters. … Gordon Boy Scouts salvage 4,000 pounds of scrap paper. … Frozen Food Locker Planned for Gordon: 250 lockers with the capacity of 350 pounds can now be rented for $15 a year. … D Day observed by Prayer. … The solemn tolling of the church bell at 5 AM Tuesday, (1944) alerted that the invasion of western Europe had begun.
And now for excerpts from letters received from the Gordon servicemen (and women):
Bill Merriam arrived in Africa. He states: “Like many, I am afraid that my impressions of Africa had been formed from reading the Tarzan comic strip and was very surprised not to find monkeys hanging from trees. Instead, I found a modern country with quite a lot of nice buildings and especially friendly people who do their best to make us feel at home. Some of the French, Spanish or Arabs are able to speak English, so that helps.”
(Along the same lines), Sgt. J.L. Mitchell in North Africa writes: “Wonder why I didn’t have French in school instead of six other subjects? Without French here it is impossible to talk to these people. We had our office in a family home for a day or two. They treated us to cake and wine. One member of her family speaks some English, so that helped. I gave the lady a bar of soap and she was as happy as a little kid at Christmas. She said that she hadn’t seen any in a long time!” He also stated that from now on, he‘d take dust storms in Texas, for he had seen one here that was a “dilly. … Pvt. David York says that he is looking forward to the day the “Golden Gate” comes into view. … Clyde E. Johnston is stationed at Seattle, Wash., guarding an airplane factory. Last night he said that he was in town and ran into Herman Glanton. They are about 25 miles apart and it was so good to see someone from my hometown! … Sgt. Hubert Rexroat wishes that he could drive his tank through Gordon so people could see something they have never seen before!. … Lt. Robert Biggs writes about a recent trip to London. While there he saw some grapes and hoped to purchase them for 40 or 50 cents. They lost their appeal when he learned that they cost $4! People in England are allowed only one egg per month, he reported. … Edgar C. Ringo is (also) in North Africa. He has worked on some of their locomotives, which aren’t as modern as those back home. … Pvt. Bob Farmer writes: “I used to think that I would never use algebra but the other day my sergeant was trying to work a problem and couldn’t get it right. I helped him solve the problem!” … Pvt. Thornton Rexroat had never been out of Texas and has enjoyed scenery in 15 states. … Elroy (Farmer) Jones came through his first battle in the Solomon Islands “without a scratch!” . … Pvt. AlvieWooley is stationed at Camp Mackall, N.C., in the Glider Infantry. It is a new camp made up of Gliders and Parachute Infantry. … MOVE OVER MEN, HERE COMES THE WAAC: Miss Nellie Rogers was inducted into the WAAC and will receive basic training at Montecello, Arkansas. Another recruit in the WAAC is Iva Finnell. She is a graduate of Gordon High School and North Texas State. … Another letter later from Nellie: “I am now at Madison Barracks, N.Y. The Post is beautiful. We can look out over the lake. Most of the girls here are from the East. They are o.k. but people from Texas and the West are just different.” … Pvt. Neal Pierce is stationed inside Lindberg Field, about 100 yards from No.1 runway. I have seen some crashed and a number of hair-raisers. One B-24 had faulty brakes and when nearing the end of the runway, the pilot realized that he could not stop, so he sped up the extreme left engine . … He circled one barracks, came back into the field; hit another barracks and nipped off one wing; went through an eight foot fence and stopped just as the nose hit the Marine Hospital!” … July claimed two of Gordon’s young businessmen-John Boyd Harlin and Webster Spear. Boyd Haney and Gaylon Brock also reported to duty. … Sgt. Robert Rogers had been in India for five months. He says it is a very beautiful place but very old and time never changes there. He could not disclose his present location. …Hubert Hitt says: There isn’t much that I can tell about this place except the weather is warm and it showers almost every day. We have frogs to sing us to sleep and mosquitoes to keep us awake.” … AC/C Elvin Johnson is with a group of 17 Americans that are training with the Royal Air Force in England. “We are known as the ‘good will ambassadors.’ We are the first Americans to ever train under the Royal Air Force System and supervision.” … Pvt. Thorton L. Rexroat is pleased with his assignment to the Signal Corps. Their job is to “get the message through,” which is by radio, telephone, telegraph, teletype, flags, rockets or runners. … Charlie Holloway is operating a short wave radio station at the Boston Harbor Patrol Base. Who should he run into but Red DeFord. They had a good visit. … James G. Swanner writes from Camp McCoy, Wisconsin: “There is about six inches of snow on the ground here now.” … At Ft. Ord, California, Lt. Herbert W. Chapman writes: “I am assigned as company commander to company ’L’ of the 2nd Filipino Infantry. This is no easy job because there are several that can’t speak or understand our language.” … Aubrey Terry writes: “I am still aboard the ship at this writing and really time is passing much quicker that I thought it could. We have band practice, singings, church, read, eat and sleep our time away.” … From Camp Maxey, Pvt. Bob Farmer stated: “I found out how important some of the Red Cross work is. I was in the hospital with the flu for ten days and would have gone crazy if it hadn’t been for the Red Cross. They furnished magazines, books and games to play.” … Sgt. Alfred Boggus Paints the Town Red, White and Blue in the Southwest Pacific. … Orville W. Tate writes that “from the first day in battle until the fall of Germany, we took 107 towns and since that time I have been in 105 other towns. I have seen enough of this country for now!” … Bill Merriman writes: “After seeing Scotland, England, Africa, Sicily, Italy, Sardinia, France, Germany and the Alps, I will still take Texas and Palo Pinto County! Just about a year ago, I took one unexpected swim out about 146 miles from land. That was a bath I could have done without!” … Major Robert W. DeFord of the U.S. Army 17th Major Port Unit, is a dock supervisor for the army‘s only port in Germany. … William Poteet sails with Merchant Marine as Chief Radio operator. … Hugh Merriman writes: “The customs here in England are different-they drive on the wrong side of the road and bicycle traffic is tremendous-big, little, old and young ride them.” … The following have been promoted to sergeant: Alfred Boggus, Hugh Merriman, J.L. Mitchell and Raymond Sullivan. … Aubrey Terry passed through town by train on Sunday morning. He wrote notes on coat hangers and pitched them off to Dr, Hart and Mr. Terry. … Lt. Kerby V. Rutherford writes: “Everyone knows that the task ahead of us is a big one and the spirit and thoughtfulness of you kind folks at home certainly will make is easier and more pleasant for those of us in the service. The combination of both should make a team worthy of the comparison to those great teams we have put in the field in our past history.”… Pvt. Abagi A. West is a heavy truck driver in the refueling unit in the Army Air Force. He likes his job but will be proud when he can be home breaking broncs and trading horses with Mr. A. P. Wilbar again. … Troy Blue writes from the Pacific: “For you who love the pretty tropical islands, well you have been sadly misinformed!” … H.E. Harrison MM 1/C writes from New Caledonia: “This is a beautiful place but I’ve never had the urge to be a world traveler and there is no place so beautiful to me as a nice hot day, a dusty road with a nice fishing and swimming hole at the end of it!” … Lt. Herbert W. Chapman says hello from Italy where there is more fog and snow than any place he has ever seen. … Cpl. Sanly L. Skatnicke writes: “I‘m on the Anzio Beachhead and believe me, there is excitement here! I know about how a gopher feels!”. … Three more Gordon men reported for induction into service. L.E. Stallings Jr. and Billy Mayo entered the Army and are now at Camp Wolters. Thurman Tucker signed up with the Navy and was sent to San Diego. … Second Lt. Robert N. Pierce, 21 year old airman from Gordon, having been assigned to the 8th Air Force’s 493rd Bomb Group is undergoing a pre-combat training period prior to taking part in heavy bombing attacks against German industrial and military installations. … From Dorsie Sechrist, “I am in the 6th Army in the Philippines. The people here are nice. We have all the pineapples and bananas that we want. The Japs took most of what the locals had. I think the war won’t last much longer for when we hit Japan, we will hit it hard. (and they did!) . … J.L. Sawyer received five battle stars having served in Africa, Sicily, England, France and Berlin. He says that Berlin is a heap of rubble and bomb craters.
Unfortunately there were some reports of men being wounded and some killed in action. This is the sad thing about wars! But we are grateful to all who have served in any wars to keep this country safe. The numbers of men who served in World War II is astonishing and it seemed that they were stationed ALL over the world. Unfortunately, most of those veterans are no longer with us – but for those who are – we say “Thank you for your sacrifices!”