By Linda Emley
The 1945 RHS ECHO looked normal until I found this picture that shows that the war was affecting everyone. The “Bandage Class” was a group that made bandages for our troops. They were Marie Jacobs, Beverly Thompson, Barbara Basham, Mrs. Bernard, LaVerne Endsley, Sue Long, Marjorie Hall, Mrs. Hughes, Beverly Jacobs and Nancy Taylor. These ladies look so serious in their white coats and veils with crosses. Nancy Taylor later become a nurse and I wonder if her work with the “Bandage Class” helped pave the way for her future.
There were a few other war stories in this yearbook. One was a play that seemed normal until you read the description. “The Favor was the one-act play presented throughout Ray County during the Sixth War Loan Drive. The character, Casey, was played the first week by Ben R. Keel. The second week Bob Snowden portrayed Casey.” Others in the play were Doris McGinnis as Dottie and Mary Hughes as Rita. The play was directed by Miss Campbell.
Another interesting item was found under one of the senior pictures, where they listed their accomplishments. There were the normal items like FFA, Chorus, Band, Football and Spartanettes, but Billy Weber’s bio was different. It simply said, “Navy”. Billy did go on to serve in the Navy after high school.
Once again this book was different on the “Snapshot” pages. There were the usual pictures of students hanging out, but scattered among the pictures were pictures of guys in their uniforms that made you realize that they were living with the thought of war everyday.
The 1945 Richmond Missourian was full of reminders of the war. Everyone was affected by the “Ration Calendar” that appeared on page 2. The April 30 calendar said,“A regular OPA ration stamp feature of the Richmond Missourian, revised on Monday. Meats, Cheese, Butter and Fats RED STAMPS- T5 through X5 good through April 28. Y5, Z5, A2, B2, C2, D2 good through June 2. One pound of household salvage fat worth 4 cents and 2 ration points at your butcher shop.”
I was curious why cooking fat was needed and I found that glycerin in fat was a key ingredient used to make explosives.
Sugar was another item that was rationed and there was an interesting note under the sugar column. “Furlough coupons good for one pound each. “
Shoes were rationed. “No 1, 2 and 3 airplane stamps in book 3 good for one pair indefinitely. Always present Book 3 when making purchases as stamps are invalid if removed from the book.”
Bartering took place with ration coupons. One day I was looking over a book with an elderly friend and I asked her why she had so many left-over coupons. She explained to me that farm families did not use all of their meat and dairy coupons. She said they made deals with some of the grocery stores in Richmond and traded farm goods for store goods.
The gasoline and tire section was interesting. “With any application for additional gasoline, including furlough allowances, speedometer reading is required. All cars eligible for supplementary gas must carry riders or drivers and must show reason. Be sure riders’ names as well as applicant’s name is on application. All tires must be recapped when need be regardless of eligibility rating of drivers.”
There were some good stories related to the war. On April 30, the newspaper reported that “Capt. John A. Cochran of the medical corps and Lt. Ed F. Dickey of the ordinance recently met in Germany. Although the men were strangers, their wives, Carolyn Collier Cochran and Kate Hamilton Dickey, were girlhood chums.” I would love to know how these two guys figured out their wives were childhood friends.
The best part of 1945 was the end of the war, but it did not happen overnight. This was in The Missourian on May 3: “Schedule Announced For Religious Service For V-E Celebration. A union service of praise, penitence and prayer will be held at the Baptist Church on the day when the war in Europe comes to a close. This service will follow only an official announcement of the close of hostilities. If such an announcement comes after 6 p.m. And before 9 a.m., the service will be held at 10 a.m. If the announcement comes after 9 a.m. and before 6 p.m., the service will be held at 8 p.m. It is hoped that all the public will attend this service and celebrate through thanks to God and prayer for the future and the close of the European war.”
On May 10, The Missourian reported “Richmond Quiet on V-E Day; Many were at Union Service. Victory in Europe Day was a quiet one in Richmond, with most stores or offices open as usual except during the hour of union services at the Baptist Church. There was no public demonstration. Monday when the news started coming over the radio that Germany had capitulated, there was an air of expectancy while waiting for the official announcement of Harry S. Truman, but the consensus of opinion seemed to be that the job was half finished. While the people were glad that the war in Europe was about to end, they were looking ahead to finishing the job with Japan.”
A V-J Day service was held later in the year when the war with Japan was finally over. The Missourian described it this way: “A parade of cars and trucks, loaded with cheering youth and adults, was quickly formed at the city hall. and led by one fire engine made a tour of the town, singing, cheering and honking horns and strewing strips of paper and straw. Soon after the parade started musical instruments were heard along the way, and the musicians were picked up and placed in the fire truck at the head of the parade. Bonfires were started in the streets and a snake dance was performed by the younger generation.”
The parade of cars went to Excelsior Springs and Lexington to share in the excitement during this victory celebration.
The next day, a Union service was held at 8 p.m at the Methodist Church. The floral arrangements were furnished. by W.F. Yates. Preceding the services, Mrs. Harry Jones Jr. played organ music as the congregation sat silently in meditation.
One of the highlights was when Mrs. Paul Risser sang “America the Beautiful.” The effects of the second World War were felt for many years as Raycountians started rebuilding their lives after the war.
Have a memory of the war years you’d like to share with Linda? You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or see her at Ray County Museum during regular business hours.