After going through 14 moving experiences, 8 school changes, 7 different cars and 10 great dogs, I was ready to settle down with some stability! I was hardly prepared for what was about to transpire.
Our new homestead was rough and tumble compared to what I was used to. I thought maybe we were here to just help Leona clean up things after the passing of her husband Elmer, the civil engineer. Then while still living at Windsor Village, Mother and Dad started to transform the quonset hut into living quarters and I realized we were taking on the biggest remodel job of all time!
Quonset huts were manufactured by a wide range of independent contractors in countries around the world but the first were manufactured in 1941, when the United States Navy needed an all-purpose, lightweight building that could be shipped anywhere and assembled without skilled labor. The original design was a 16 ft × 36 ft structure framed with steel members with an 8 ft radius. The sides were corrugated steel sheets. The two ends were covered with plywood, which had doors and windows. The interior was insulated and had pressed wood lining and a wood floor. The building could be placed on concrete, on pilings, or directly on the ground with a wood floor.
As the original design used low grade (non-strategic) steel, a more rust-resistant version was called for. The United States used an all-spruce ‘Pacific Hut’ in the Pacific Theater of Operations in World War II. After the war, in the United States, the military sold its surplus Quonset huts to the public and Elmer, our civil engineer friend, bought one of the all-spruce huts and set it up North of the chicken house.
The 16 by 36 foot HUT would be our home while working on the barn. Mother and Dad rebuilt the porch on the South end of the HUT where the hand water pump was located. The pump is just visible to the right in the photo. The out house, a one holer, was behind the chicken house, about thirty feet away.
Work began on the inside, setting up and venting the wood/coal stove that would serve as our cook stove and heater. We went to Grandpa Wolff`s with baskets, barrels and boxes to get coal from the old coal bin in the basement. The old coal burner had been converted to gas recently Grandpa was glad to get the coal bin cleaned out.
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett were frequent visitors and helpers. They really enjoyed the whole idea and came down to see the progress and pitch in.
Dad added celotex insulation to the curved interior walls and ceiling. This helped some I guess, but we still got our butts burned in the kitchen area while shivering in the living area!
No electricity yet so it was kerosene lanterns in the out house and kerosene lamps in the house. The telephone service was to walk the quarter mile to Leona`s house up by the highway.
As the HUT began to be livable, we started to concentrate our efforts on the barn and all the debris and salvaged materials from Elmer`s construction projects.
Oh, there was also the not so small issue of the years accumulation of manure in the barn.This obviously had to be removed and became the top priority. A building contractor had been selected and his starting date had to be determined!
Elmer not only rescued old building materials, but he also rescued all the stray dogs and cats that he came across. This photo shows the South side of the barn with the dog kennels and the cow barn to the left.
The photo of the chicken house shows the cat pins in front.
Leona provided the dog and cat food for the six dogs and eighteen cats that we took care of until she could find homes for them all.
Elmer also rescued a ram he named Fritzy, and we adopted him. We had to keep an eye on him because he enjoyed ramming us if we were`t watching!
With all of this going on, Leona decided to start a flower shop business in her home and wants Mother to help her get it up and running. Mother, always up for a challenge, made trips with Leona to the Chicago Mercantile Supply Company to help pick out floral and business materials.
We had work, weather and varmint obstacles to contend with, but we always kept an optimistic outlook and we had fun! As some examples, here are a few out-takes from an early letter that Mother wrote to Grandpa and Grandma Barrett following one of their visits.
“Thursday night, 11:30P.M. 9-4-52
We`re still hauling junk and will be for some time. Ha Ha! Boy oh boy our activities for the week sound like a radio horse opera, but here goes anything for a laugh!
P.S. What does one do for hornets in the out house,? or does one do without??? Early Sunday, we found some siding we could use for the quonset hut to keep wind out from under it. Marv was nailing away like mad and hit his sore thumb. Then he knocked a blood blister on another finger. I was handing him siding and nails. Out of a clear sky, big bumble bees swarmed down on us like jets over Korea! One stung me on the shoulder and Marv was chased clear to the out house. then he ran indoors to check on me.
Then he straightened up, stuck out his chest and bravely announces, “No little bumble bee is going to scare me out!” He took his trusty little hammer-AND a flit gun and had a nail in his hand with the hammer and flit gun, when he raced for the back door yelling,” Ma open up here I come.” One had sat on his head, but he could`t get his footing to strike. I knew that “high forehead” was good for something, eh?
So-o-oo that ended the siding job. We hauled wood to the back pasture and burned some up here on the hill. The wind was so calm we could have sent you a smoke signal, when, out of the clear blue sky, an easterly-North-easter blew up. We sent a smoke screen toward Leona`s that slowed all traffic on 67 for a while–the water I so zealously applied only increased the smoke, since we were burning dead grass on top of the wood. Some farmers aren`t we?
The three of us finally got to bed in one piece—more or less, and awoke to Monday morning all sunny and ideal for work. We again tackled the bumble bee blitz–and you can imagine who won out!
I retreated as gracefully as possible to the task of sanding the chest of drawers, preparatory to painting. Marv sat it in front of the chicken house so I could work in the sun. The sun being my idea. Now, don`t jump to conclusions, I got no sunburn. But from there on in the day went from bad to worse-if that is possible!
The furnace man came and we talked to him, finding out nothing except that we need about a 120,000 BTU unit. He said he could tell better when the downstairs is finished. The well man still hash`t come yet, but we expect him any day now! I painted in the garage for Leona today too!
Cliff, from Marv`s work, came up Thursday. Marv, Cliff, Skip and Bud were in the back pasture unloading wood when—-poof, a storm came up. Dora Mae and her mother-in-law and I raced for the quonset. The wind jerked the front door out of my hands twice before I got it shut.
We raced to the kitchen to look out for the men, when we saw the wind blow over the chest I`d been working on. A second later, a tree came crashing down on top of it, and another tree blew down! Dora Mae said she didn`t know who was shaking the most me or the quonset!!
In the meantime, the men were having their own storm trooping. The wind blew Marv off the truck (unhurt) and blew the dog pen gate open, letting Lassie in with the other four females. They say she`s a killer and boy she was out to prove it. pieces of dog were flying and not from the wind.
Oh boy, with an ideal banked storm shelter, I had to be in the paper shell quonset. Woe is me, poor me. I no felt so good. We people were all O.K. but that stupid Lassie and two others looked like stretcher cases. They are O.K. by now but still limping around—-the dogs I mean. I was lamenting the fact that the wind and tree had crushed the chest, and Cliff says, “Just thank God it wasn`t YOUR chest instead of THE chest,” and he was right. The weatherman said the winds reached the 60`s and 70`s. Were`t we fortunate?
Cliffs drove out as Groves drove in and it started raining again. The kids played in the barn while we sipped hot coffee in the kitchen. They left about 9band we got to bed without any calamity. P.P.S. Does Uncle Sam let this kind of fiction go through the mail??
It was too hot for Marv to sleep, so he got up and repaired our little front porch stoop, the wind had blown cockeyed. He mended the door and he and I caulked one of the living room windows and then he carried a kitchen cabinet down from the barn and I resorted my kitchen storage space. He put up the clothes racks, then we ate and he took off for work.
Today–ah-h-h today!! It has been just a good old mediocre day. Filled with good news too!! Mr. Nealis can start on the downstairs the 1st of next month. Marv worked until 4 this A.M. and his boss was a little put out because he refused to work longer.
Oh yes, one of these days just past, Sunday I THINK, we found time to paint the pump, pump porch and back porch and true up the screen doors so they don`t sag like our achin` backs!! We also managed to find time to eat and sleep a little.
It is now 2:20 Friday A.M. and Marv isn`t home yet. Working no doubt overtime. I can`t get a fire going in the stove no matter how I hold my mouth. In desperation (and to keep from freezing in our beds) I lit the kerosene heater. I am a coward and afraid to go to bed with it lit—we`ve undergone one storm and high water and I`m not ready for fire YET, so I`m sitting up with the stove and keeping it company. Marv got home at 5:00. I woke him at 10 when the contractor came for estimates.
Went to Anderson for some hooks, nails and clothes props for the hall. We got Skip some school clothes and got home in time Marv to dump us out and head for work.
Don`t you envy us? Never a DULL moment, though by now my BRAIN is, so I`ll close and hit the hay, figuratively speaking!!!
Save this volume I`ve written, I want to type it up—it sounds like the Arkansas Traveler on an Indiana farm!!
Love, Gerrie, Marv, Skip and bees.”
SCHOOL AND CONSTRUCTION START
Of all the schools I had attended, this was the first school bus I ever rode. Our neighborhood gang was small compared to past groups, just made up of three families and that was counting mine! Barbara Seybert, Jeff and Mike Hanna, me, Steve and Shirley Seybert made up the new gang.
Murry Alford drove that bus route all the way through my high school years. The bad part about this route was that we were among the first to be picked up for an hour long drive that went up highway 67 to Anderson. We picked up kids on West 53rd Street and turned South on Main Street and then cut back to Madison Avenue and Huntsville Road. The good part was, we were among the first off on the way home!!
I am third row, fourth from right, and my teacher was Mrs. Wolfe!
This building was the old Pendleton High School and when a new high school was built this became the Pendleton Grade School.
I made more friends at school, but with the distance factor, this didn`t help during play time at home. I made a good friend while living on Noble Street and luckily our families became good friends too. Mabel and Bob Groves and their son, Johnny Bill, would visit back and fourth quite often. Johnny and I would have sleep-overs and week long visits at times.
They lived out in the country too and we went in the neighbors woods and cut down sapling trees and built a log cabin fort to play and camp out in. I really hope those were not black walnut trees. Hey, we were just kids!! We used firecrackers inside tin cans as our fort cannons to ward off the evil doers!
Well I digress, again. The contractor started on the septic system first as we were finishing up prepping the inside. While digging for the septic tank, he hit gravel and water at 5ft but managed to finish it up alright. (The precursor to the IMI gravel pit!) This shows the double septic tanks installed and ready for backfill.
While Nealis worked on the plumbing, we sterilized and waterproofed the cement blocks in the downstairs area. The bags of cement for the floor are ready, just waiting on the gravel.
We finally have electricity to the quonset!! The contractor set up a temporary utility pole for construction purposes and we ran a line to the hut. No more homework by kerosene lamp.
Dad had a hard day helping Nealis dig and set the septic tanks and now it`s off to work the night shift at Circle Engraving in Indianapolis.
Nealis dug the drain tile and plumbing trenches in preparation for pouring the cement floor. The water supply lines and drain pipes were fastened to the cement blocks which would later be covered with knotty pine boards to finish the walls. We took out the left stall sliding door to put in the bathroom wall.
The first cement pour was in the future bathroom.
With all of this going on, Dad and I took time to dig a little natural spring pond. Dad figured that with the water constantly filling the pond, we could pump the water from there to use on the yard and future flower beds. (always thinking ahead)
With the small pond, we had to have some ducks too! Donald, Daisy and Lazy were soon adopted.
Started well drilling 10/24/1952. Hit limestone at 102ft. 10/27/52. Pumping water at 125ft. 10/28/52. Dad would come home in the mornings from work and find the rig still drilling and mumble, “Geesh $4.00 a foot!!!”. This view is from the North and the quonset would be to the left.
Nealis and his brother started pouring the cement floor on 10/28/52. Great progress! Then the water heater and plumbing to the well pump was finished.
Nealis and his brother eating lunch in the kitchen. The kerosene heater helped as the fall weather was taking a turn. We had to remember to keep a water jug on hand to prime the hand pump at the quonset hut, especially on these freezing nights. No water meant a trek to Hanna`s house for water also phone use if needed.
After the plumbing was complete, Nealis started adding furring strips to the cement blocks in preparation for nailing up the knotty pine boards. Dad was painting the utility room in between putting the knotty pine siding on the sliding stall door that we left in place for the utility room.
11/10/52 Dad did all of the house wiring except the 220 volt lines. He used 12 gage wire and soldered any wire splices in the junction boxes. This was well above the building code requirements as was the double septic tank set up, but that was Dad his whole life! I have to say, the lights never dimmed when the well pump or furnace kicked on!
In the background, the new window was installed for the future breakfast nook and the brick planter that Dad made as a partition. While laying the bricks and pointing the mortar with his fingers instead of using (or buying) the proper tool, his fingerprints got worn off!
This is a good time to point out that all of this work was being done with hand tools. I don`t mean hand power tools. I mean hand saws and brace and bit drilling and hammer and chisel!
Adding another brick planter outside the breakfast nook as a retaining wall, resulted in less fingerprints. They used some of Elmer`s old salvaged timbers for a walkway flowerbed retainer, and dug out for a patio.
He ran the wiring through the block wall for the porch lights and figured out how to make and install a Dutch door for the kitchen entrance.
They had the Floor Store install the asphalt tile squares in the bath and kitchen area leaving the utility room floor painted cement. This was after sanding and shellacking the wood walls.
Just three months after moving into the quonset hut, we moved into the downstairs of our Barn House on 11/27/52! Now there is just the upstairs and a hay loft to remodel!!
I have had, and have come across, many animals that have given me much pleasure and enjoyment during my life. Not all were captured on film or electronics. But the ones I did preserve, I would like to share with you and not in any chronological order. My favorite is the featured photo of Pudge our Shepherd-Chow mix and Annabelle, Greg`s Great Dane-Boxer mix, romping together in our back yard on Scatterfield Road.
My first dog was Mother`s Border Collie, Lyndo. He slept under my bassinet and kept watch over me.
1944, dogs from the pound.
On our visit to Oklahoma relatives, I met these for the first time.
1950, Chi Chi, a Mexican Chihuahua, loved to sleep with me.
1947, Grandpa and Grandma got a Pomeranian and named her Dixie.
1951 Christmas, we added Cookie, a Toy Fox Terrier and Sparky, a Black and White Bulldog.
We had a singing canary and two parakeets.
They traveled with us from the Tower Building to Chesterfield to Houston to Anderson to Indianapolis and to Pendleton.
At the future barn house, we inherited this collie and several other rescue dogs and a dozen wild cats.
Duke, the german shepherd that we kept, got along great with Cookie the toy fox terrier.
Cookie was a little thing!
Fritzy the ram was a rescue that we adopted.
The ducks Donald, Daisy & Lazy joined the Den.
Betsie and her two kids joined us in 1953, as did Prince the Dalmatian.
Rusty joined the menagerie in 1955.
Several of the “wild” cats still hung around.
In 1956 I got Tippy, a Scottish Border Collie, for my birthday.
Mother enjoyed playing with him as he grew.
In 1957 Mother bought King Beau, a Great Pyrenees puppy.
He grew fast! Six feet tall standing on his hind legs.
I was also raising rabbits and guinea pigs.
!960, PHS graduation, 1962, married Carole Laws and our first dog was a shepherd mix from the animal shelter. We were living on Lafayette Circle in Anderson.
In 1967, we moved to a larger rental, but dogs were not allowed. A friend at work, who lived on a farm, adopted him for us.
In 1968, we bought a house on Scatterfield Road in Anderson and soon had a Scottie dog we named Cappy.
Years later,1978, I bought a miniature poodle we named Brandy. He was hyperactive and chewed up the woodwork when left alone. Many hours were spent scouring the neighborhood for him when he would run away. Exit Brandy!
1979, Debs boyfriend had some kittens his family wanted to find homes for….we now had two kittens, a calico named Patches and a black mustachioed kitten who became Groucho.
1994, some time later, Deb and Carole wandered into a pet shop and spotted the new puppies for sale. They were half German Shepherd and Chow mix….a little handful of fur. They rushed home, got me and back to the pet shop we went.
Going thru the litter, we picked out the cutest, calmest and brightest eyed pup of the litter. Her obvious name would be Pudge.
As Pudge grew she developed a friendly rivalry with Groucho!
Pudge loved the water, whether a hose, sprinkler or her pool, which she jealously protected.
Our granddaughter Hanna, was born in 1996, and Pudge immediately took on the duties of Nanna Pudge!
Being half shepherd/chow, Pudge loved the snow, especially if the other two grandkids were out playing with her.
As Pudge grew older her best friend was Greg`s young dog Annabelle. They would romp and play for hours. Even with the age difference, Pudge would act like a young pup when they were together!
Pudge joined us in our move to Edgewood 1n 2006, and looked forward to the walks around the neighborhood meeting neighbors and their dogs.
Pudge was the best all-around dog I ever had and we decided we would have no more. I still enjoy visiting and dog sitting our kid`s and granddaughter`s Husky, Pit Bull, Tamaskan (wolf-malamute-husky breed), Beagle, and two German Shepherds!
Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a whirlwind tour of the next five years, because they whiz by fast and may get a little fuzzy! We are still on Cottage Avenue in Park Place, Anderson, Indiana, working on the fixer-upper. Mother is still secretary at the Anderson Chamber of Commerce and Dad is still working on his apprenticeship in photo engraving at Madison Engraving. September 1947, I am beginning kindergarten at Park Place School on Union Street, later renamed College Avenue. Mother helps me cross Eighth Street and walk the few short blocks to school before she heads to work. After school, I walk several blocks to Grandma and Grandpa Wolff`s house on High Street, where a snack is always waiting. Then, it`s outside to play until I get picked up to go Home.
The kindergarten class photo survived. Can you find “Waldo”?
Tallest kid in the class, back row, third from the left.
1948 didn`t start off too well. Mother and Dad were t-boned in the old 1941 Nash by a drunk, hit and run driver. They were on their way to pick me up from Grandma`s. Dad chased the guy down the street, while in shock, but could not catch him. Mother had some bumps and minor cuts, but the medics took Dad to the hospital for stitches to his knee. The doctor said, with the deep cuts to the kneecap, Dad should not have been able to run after that guy, let alone walk! We were just glad that every one was in one piece, even though Dad was using a cane for several weeks.
The old Nash was restored by the insurance company, not like today when it would be totaled out. The Nash and the 47`Studebaker were traded in on a 1948 Oldsmobile straight eight, two door sedan fastback with two tone blue finish.
Another Easter Sunday and dress up with cousin Bob.
I managed to pass sandpile and was promoted to first grade. During the summer I was able to spend more time on High Street with
Grandpa and Grandma Wolff, and this still included sneaking out during nap times. Our neighborhood gang had tricycle and peddle car races with the usual assortment of scrapes and bumps which kept Grandma on edge. I ran home one day with a mis-aimed dart stuck in my back and she nearly fainted! The abundance of homemade slingshots made for more bandaid badges.
Maplewood Cemetery was our playground, battlefield, old west setting and hide and seek sanctuary. The lady caretaker had a small office on the grounds and was exceptionally tolerant of our antics. She even had us convinced that she was able to teach the squirrels to read books! And sure enough, we would quietly wait in her office and watch out the window until the squirrels would get together and pick up their small books and sit there and read! Later on, we would learn of the deception. The books were small pieces of cardboard, folded in two. The inside of the books was covered with peanut butter which the squirrels would patiently sit and lick!
As fall approached, our attention shifted to the Anderson College campus, where we kept a close eye on the buckeye trees along College Drive. When the buckeye nuts would finally ripen, they would drop to the ground where we would gather them up and make buckeye necklaces and rings. Of course, being an impatient crew, we would try to hurry the process up by throwing rocks and sticks up into the trees with hopes of downing the nuts earlier. This, of course, resulted in more self inflicted injuries than it did nuts!
1948, SEPTEMBER TO 1949, SEPTEMBER
I must have been born impatient. The rainy days, waiting for it to quit so that I could get back outside, were the worst. Such a waste of time, almost as bad as taking a nap! I would stand up against the screen door with my nose pressed against the wire mesh screen, waiting for just a hint of clearing weather. At last, the rain would stop and I would go running to Grandma, begging for permission to go back outside. She would give me a look, pull her handkerchief out of her sleeve, give it a lick and give me a spit wash, cleaning the screen`s crosshatch off my nose and I was gone. Free at last!
The freedom wouldn`t last for long, as the classroom confinement was just around the corner. I started first grade at Park Place School this fall. My God the girls grew faster than the boys over the summer! I was there just long enough to get my class picture taken and then we moved to another fixer upper on West 10th Street in Anderson.
Now I would finish out the first grade at Seventh Street School. Grandpa and Grandma Barrett come down to visit and check out the new project.
Throughout his life, Dad would be fascinated with audio, video and photographic techniques. Along with the still photographs, he was already shooting moving pictures with a Bell and Howell, hand wind (no battery packs yet), black and white movie camera.
After the war television was something few had heard of. That changed quickly. In 1945, a poll asked Americans, “Do you know what television is?” Most didn’t. But four years later, most Americans had heard of television and wanted one, including Dad! The 1940s TVs didn’t look like today’s televisions. Most had picture screens between 10 and 15 inches wide diagonally, inside large, heavy cabinets. The early programing was sparse, usually from six PM till ten PM, when the National Anthem was played and then the test pattern would be displayed. According to one survey, before they got a TV, people listened to radio an average of nearly five hours a day. Within nine months after they bought a TV they listened to radio, but only for two hours a day. They watched TV for five hours a day.
Being secretary for the Anderson Chamber of Commerce, Mother had a few perks, like attending all of the Chamber luncheons to take notes of the “business meetings”. Then she would hurry home to help Dad paint, nail and refurbish the present fixer upper.
Whoa, wait a minute. I guess i won`t get to finish the first grade at Seventh Street School! We just bought another project on West Twenty Fifth Street, which was in a different school district. Now I was attending Shadeland School. This was the second Anderson elementary school named Shadeland. The original was a frame building built in 1897. This building, on West 14th Street, was just a short walk from our new home.
Summer arrives and that means more time with the Park Place gang! After watching the new asphalt paving of High Street and eagerly checking out the great smooth surface for our bike riding, we discovered a new building project on the Anderson College campus. Morrison Hall was the first dormitory on the
Anderson College campus. It was named in honor of college president John A. Morrison. We didn`t care about that because we were excited about a new discovery. The building would have a new type of fire escape, not the old metal stairs and ladders. This would have the inclosed tube slide fire exit and three stories high! The poor construction workers spent a lot of time chasing us kids out of there!
1949, SEPTEMBER TO 1950, SEPTEMBER
With students moving into Morrison Hall, we had to abandon our best fun ride ever. School was getting ready to start for us too. I would be starting second grade back at Seventh Street School because we were moving into the newly remodeled, twelve story, Tower Building on Jackson and Eleventh Street. We would be on the ninth floor accessed by the modern inclosed elevator. Most of the elevators in the downtown buildings were of the open cage type where we could see the cables, counter weights and floors go by. Some still had an elevator operator to operate the controls and sliding door.
Erected between 1929 and 1930, according to the National Register of Historic Places database, Tower Place was built in the art-deco, late-Gothic revival architectural style as a hotel, but never opened as one because of the Great Depression. Following the war, the twelve story high building was remodeled into rental apartments.
Our one bedroom apartment was on the ninth floor and we were the only tenants on that floor. This being the only place I had ever lived without a yard or playground, I used the elevator and ninth floor as my imaginary play area.
I always made friends quickly at my new neighborhoods and this neighborhood, though really different, was no exception. My school day routine would begin with meeting the gang and walking North up Jackson Street to seventh Street and the school. One particular morning, we were walking past the gas station on Eighth and Jackson and noticed a tanker truck filling the underground gas storage tanks. We could see the gasoline vapors rising up around the large filler hose and a discussion started as to who could take the deepest breath of the vapors. Reminiscent of a scene from the movie, A Christmas Story, the dare you started. It`s amazing how much stupidity one will demonstrate to gain a further bond with the gang! So there I go, one giant whiff, one instant flat on my back, stars swirling overhead and just like in the movie, everyone ran off to school! I made it to school but the teacher sent me to the nurse as I was still wobbly. My parents didn`t learn of that antic till years later thank goodness.
Meanwhile, Dad was still enamored with the developments in the audio and video fields. He bought a wire recorder that would record through a microphone onto a thin metal wire that was wound on a spool much like a fishing line would. The audio fidelity of a good wire recording was comparable to acetate discs and by comparison the wire was practically indestructible, but it was soon rendered obsolete by the more manageable and easily edited medium of magnetic tape. But for now, it was the best means to record family conversations (sometimes secretly) and sing-a-longs. I recorded many of my story books that I read aloud.
Mother and Dad had made friends with a couple who lived on ten acres near Pendleton. He was a civil engineer and traveled often for his business. They would have us house sit to take care of their many dogs and cats. On this summer Elmer had a huge bird house built to his specifications and we were there when it was erected.
Soon it was Christmas, and we all received a great Christmas treat, a new, big screen, television! Imagine, a whopping 15 inch screen!
TIME FOR A LITTLE TELEVISION PROGRAMMING HISTORY
Television was advancing. Broadcasts were expanding to 18, hours a day in the bigger markets. We were getting 8-12 hours a day some days. Some afternoon kids programs were extended to primetime evenings. Here are some of my favorites that I remember watching.
Kukla, Fran and Ollie
The first NBC network broadcast of the show took place on January 12, 1949. It aired from 6–6:30 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. Fran Allison played opposite the puppets as they solved silly problems of Ollie the dragon.
The Lone Ranger
An American western drama television series that aired on the ABC Television network from 1949 to 1957, with Clayton Moore in the starring role. Jay Silverheels, a member of the Mohawk tribe in Canada, played The Lone Ranger’s American Indian companion Tonto. His silver bullets and the theme song from the William Tell Overture became The Lone Ranger`s trademark.
Captain Video and His Video Rangers
Captain Video and His Video Rangers was an American science fiction television series, which was aired on the DuMont Television Network, and was the first series of its kind on American television. The series aired between June 27, 1949 and April 1, 1955,
Howdy Doody was an American children’s television program (with circus and Western frontier themes) that was created and produced by E. Roger Muir and telecast on the NBC network from December 27, 1947 until September 24, 1960. It was a pioneer in children’s television programming and set the pattern for many similar shows.
Sky King was an American radio and TV series. Its lead character was Arizona rancher and aircraft pilot Schuyler “Sky” King. Sky never killed the villains, as with most television cowboy heroes of the time, though one episode had him shooting a machine gun into his own stolen plane. Sky King was primarily a show for children, although it sometimes broadcast in prime time. The show also became an icon in the aviation community. Many pilots, including American astronauts, grew up watching Sky King and named him as an influence.
On June 24, 1949, Hopalong Cassidy became the first network Western television series. As portrayed on the screen, white-haired Bill “Hopalong” Cassidy was usually clad strikingly in black (including his hat, an exception to the western film stereotype that only villains wore black hats). He was reserved and well spoken, with a sense of fair play. He was often called upon to intercede when dishonest characters took advantage of honest citizens.
The series and character were so popular that Hopalong Cassidy was featured on the cover of national magazines such as Look, Life, and Time. William Boyd, as Hopalong , began the merchandise licensing and endorsement deals. In 1950, Hopalong Cassidy was featured on the first lunchbox to bear an image, causing sales for Aladdin Industries to jump from 50,000 to 600,000 in one year. In stores, more than 100 companies in 1950 manufactured $70 million of Hopalong Cassidy products, including children’s dinnerware, pillows, roller skates, soap, wristwatches, bicycles and jackknives.
Now, back to Christmas 1949.
The Paramount Theater, to the left, opened in August 1929. Today it is still in operation as a special events venue and home to the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. The streets in 1949, are decorated for Christmas, as the hanging garlands show. In the background, the WHBU radio broadcasting tower can be seen.
I had another surprise waiting for me on Christmas morning, a little Mexican Chihuahua pup. We named her Chi Chi in keeping with her heritage. Chi Chi loved to snuggle and would burrow under my covers and even my pajamas to sleep.
She loved to cuddle on Mother`s neck as she napped.
As the decade of the 50`s was beginning, Uncle Sam was still promoting ways to repay the war debt. United States Savings Bonds were promoted at movie theaters, post offices, television commercials and magazine ads. I came across this page out of a 1949 Nature magazine. Many celebrities were involved in the buy bonds effort.
1950 didn`t start off the best that it could. Mother broke her neck when she took a spill down a flight of marble stairs in the Tower Building! Luckily it did no nerve damage to the spinal area! She had to wear a steel and leather neck brace to keep it immobile for quite a few weeks though.
During this time, we took Grandpa Wolff on a trip to Alabama to visit with his brother. When we returned, Dad thought maybe the 1948 Olds may be getting a bit feeble? Really!? Dad bought a new 1951, blue Kaiser 4-door with a straight 6 engine. Kaiser suffered the ultimate fate of all independent American auto manufacturers in the postwar period. While sales were initially strong because of a car-starved public, the company didn`t have the resources to survive long-term competition with GM, Ford, and Chrysler. The original Kaiser-Frazer design got out of date quickly and lacked body styles aside from a sedan or other important features like V8 engines, none of which they ever had the money to invest in. The all-new 1951 Kaiser sold well for a time, but sales slowed as the public wearied of the styling and the continuation of the line’s other market limitations. After ceasing US production in 1955, Kaiser’s son Edgar summed up their failure. “Slap a Buick label on and it would sell like hotcakes.”
I managed to finish second grade at Seventh Street School, but we were soon on the move again. For the first time since I was a baby, we were moving out of Anderson. Mother and Dad found another fixer-upper in Chesterfield, just a few miles East of Anderson.
One of our new neighbors helped throw a birthday party for me while we were still getting settled. I was already part of the neighborhood gang!
1950, SEPTEMBER TO 1951 SEPTEMBER
Grandpa and Grandma drove down to pick me up for another visit to Oklahoma. I think it was also a rescue mission to get me out of the new house while Mother and Dad got started on the remodeling! Another jack rabbit hunt resulted in a good photo op. That`s, left to right, Grandpa, cousins Georgia and Freddy, Jack, Uncle Fred, Me and Great Uncle Sam.
We returned home in time for me to start the third grade, working on my fifth school change!
For Christmas we got Frosty, a Russian Samoyed puppy after having a disaster trying to keep two young Collies which we had to find homes for. They chewed anything and everything while we were gone to work and school! Frosty got along fine with Chi Chi and our canary and two parakeets. Did we really have time for all of these?!
Chesterfield grade school had a music class that actually used musical instruments to teach music! I began to learn how to play the clarinet in the band. The neighbor boy, in the picture with me, played steel guitar.
Mother and Dad finished the repairs on that house and located another one in need of some tender loving care. It was just a block away on Vasbinder Drive. I got to keep my school and my friends for a change!
In the summer,when school was out, Grandma Wolff would visit for awhile to help care for me. Then, Mother hired a lady to stay at the house until Dad and she got home. One day, Mother asked me if I would prefer some other sandwich meat besides the beef or ham that she bought for the sitter to fix for me. I didn`t understand Mother`s anger when I told her “I don`t know. She always fixes me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” The next day as Mother was reading the riot act to the sitter for eating my sandwich meat, I realized what was going on! Sitter fired, and Mother paid my playmate`s mother,who had thrown the birthday party for me, to keep an eye on me. Worked out great for me!
This years birthday was awesome! I was surprised with a Hopalong Cassidy 24 inch bicycle! It had a headlight, saddlebags, horn and two cap guns with holsters built into the bike tank. I still have one of the guns!
We took Grandpa Wolff with us on a visit to Grandpa and Grandma Barretts so that he could see their machine shop. He was always fascinated with anything mechanical. He even bound all of the early Popular Mechanics issues into book form for reference. This is one of the job order forms for the shop.
Dad finished his apprentiship and joined the International Photo Engravers Union. Wanting to look for a better paying job required going through the union secretary. He had all the listings of available union jobs in the country and the offers were passed out according to seniority. At this time, all the close by job openings were taken by the more senior photo engravers. But, there was one opening in Houston, Texas with the newspaper there! The pay would double what he was now making. A trip to Houston for an interview was set up and Dad was on his way.
The timing could`t have been worse. A huge rain storm had been hovering over the mid- west for days and as Dad was approaching Kansas City, Missouri, the area was flooded! This event was the worst in Kansas since June 1903. Small rivers and creeks were running at bankfull over eastern Kansas when rainfall up to 10 inches in 12 hours the last few days of June and the first few days of July caused rivers in Kansas to flood. The flood began running over the top of the levees protecting the Argentine and Armourdale areas, resulting in the evacuation of 15,000 people. The actual flood-levels are not accurately known for the Kansas River, as the water crested above all official flood gauges. The flood caused the Missouri River to change course at St. Joseph, Missouri cutting off the downtown area.
After some delay and detouring, (no GPS then) Dad got to Houston and his interview. He got the job and drove 24 hours straight to get back home!
As the house remodel was complete, it was put up for sale and we started packing and looking for a home for Frosty. Grandpa and Grandma Barrett drove their 1949 Nash down for a visit and to help pack.
We finished packing and the moving van was loading us up for the trip. We were packing the Kaiser with personal items and the birds and cages in the back seat with me. Off we went on our longest trip ever.
1951, SEPTEMBER TO 1952, SEPTEMBER
We moved into a two story apartment complex in Houston. I was enrolled in the fourth grade at a nearby school and Dad was off to work. Mother started some laundry at the laundry center in the complex and I set out to meet some kids.
Coming home for dinner, I met mother bringing in the laundry from the clothes line outdoors. She said that they were still wet even though they had been out in the heat all day! A neighbor lady explained that the high summer humidity would not allow the water to evaporate from the clothes. In the summer we needed to use the electric clothes dryer.
There was long gray moss hanging from the tree limbs and the heat was more noticeable than summers at home. We were not in Indiana any more! Mother said that after only two weeks of school I knew all of the downtown Houston streets that were named after Texas heroes! They taught history, but with a very strong emphasis on Texas history!
The heat and high humidity would create another problem for us. After only four months, Dad got ill at work and was taken to the E.R., he had a lung collapse! The doctors attributed it to the constant change from air conditioning at work and then the body trying to adjust to the heat and humidity at home each day. Air conditioning for homes and apartments was not common yet, even in Texas.
After recovery, the decision was made to move back to Anderson. Pack up and move again, no big deal.
This is the second of only two photos from the Houston adventure; Dad and me at the apartment entrance. A box with some movie film and photos was lost or misplaced during the move back to Anderson.
Back in Anderson before Christmas, we were settling in and getting ready for the holidays. Grandpa and Grandma bought a house on Noble Street in Anderson that we rented from them.
I transfered into Washington School, which was within walking distance, but I didn`t ever learn the name of a single downtown street! The original Washington Elementary School was built in 1896 and destroyed by fire in 1930. This 1932 building was located at Columbus Avenue and 23rd Street.
For Christmas this year we got two dogs! A Black and White Bulldog named Sparky and a Toy Fox Terrier named Cookie were added to the menagerie with the canary and two parakeets. The two dogs got along fine, chasing each other and sliding all over the hardwood floors trying to get their footing. We were back to the big Christmas tree again this year.
Dad`s union found him a photo engraving job in Indianapolis with the Circle Engraving Company. Mother decided to stay at home for the time being. She took on the Den Mother duties for a Cub Scout Troop. Our Den was named the Wolf Den!
Eventually a television upgrade was in order, maybe a 19 inch screen. I was proud of my Scout uniform and did many projects and deeds to earn merit patches. We held our pack meetings in our basement which Mother decorated in the wolf theme.
When spring came, it was back outside with the gang, riding bikes through the Anaconda Wire Works factory loading ramps and docks. We had a train siding track that was used to deliver materials to the lumber yard just a block away. When we noticed a train backing in for a delivery, we would ride over there and put pennies on the track for the train cars to roll over and flatten out to medallion size. Then the brakeman would chase us away.
One day, we all had our bikes and were getting bored trying to find something to do. As usual, someone came up with “a brilliant idea”. It would be great to ride our bikes on the train track rails! I still have the cinders imbedded in my knee to this day.
Early spring we were on the move again so Dad could be closer to his work in Indianapolis. We rented a house in the Windsor Village sub-division on the Northeast side of town. I was re-re-enroled in fourth grade at the Southland School, (my third this school year).
Back row second from left and even smiling. Lots of kids in the addition and many of their parents worked at the near by Naval Ordnance Plant.
The government commissioned the Naval Ordnance Plant in Indianapolis in May1942 to produce the top secret Norden Bombsight which was primarily for the Army Air Corps. These bombsights became available in 1943 and contained an analog computer that allowed for unheard of accuracy in high level bombing. The Norden bombsight was top secret and the general population of Indianapolis did not know what the facility was producing although the plant was awarded the Navy “E” flag for production from 1943–45. In September 1945 the plant was turned over to the Navy and became the Naval Ordnance Plant, Indianapolis. The facility tested and produced various forms of avionics technology for the Navy.
No more Cub Scouts, but with all these kids, something was always going on from dawn to dusk. Walking home from school one day, one of the gang had a great idea. Imagine that! Why didn`t I run away?! These dried out hollow fibrous reed stems would make great cigarettes. Someone always had matches. As we broke the stems into the proper lengths, the matches were lit and the “stooges” were fired up, literally! As we drew in the smoking reed, the rushing air reignited the reed and passed the fire to the tip of our tongues. Very few were able to eat dinner that night!
Mother helped us set up a Kool Aid stand that summer, but I think we drank up all the profits. I had a birthday party and Grandma Wolff was brought up for a visit. I bet she had fun!
That summer, the neighborhood was harassed by a peeping tom. This idiot would stand outside, up against the window and watch until someone noticed or yelled at him. As time went on, he became more brazen and would try to get into the house. Grandpa Barrett had the idea of stringing wire, shin high, across the yard in a few places. He and Dad did this one weekend because Dad was working second shift and was concerned for us. The “booby trap” worked great!
One night the guy was peeping in our window and a neighbor lady called to warn Mother. When she got off the phone, he was trying the front door. Mother grabbed the 38 special and told him to leave or she would shoot through the door. He ran around to the back door and so did Mother. Trying to open the screen door, he took off as Mother opened the door and ordered him to stop. He turned to run and hit one of the trip wires just as Mother was firing in the ground to scare him. Evidently, he and the bullet met on the ground as he fell. He got up cussing and ran away. The next day, the newspapers were all over the place.
Mother was shaken; Dad was shocked; I thought it was awsome! However, after calm and common sense prevailed, they realized the danger they may be in if the prowler wanted revenge. Not feeling safe there anymore, they started thinking of options.
Ever sense they were married, they wanted a place in the country and that is what they had been saving for. We took a trip to visit there friends in Pendleton, the civil engineer. He had just built a new ranch style home on their land close to the highway. He was getting ready to retire and said, “The house is close to the road so we won`t get snowbound anymore and with everything on one level we can chase each other around in our wheelchairs!”.
They talked about selling us the house we had taken care of, but Mother and Dad had another idea. How about selling us the acreage and the barn next to the house? Elmer had built the barn and it was obviously very well constructed, with solid red wood plank siding and hardwood planks in the upper floor where he had stored tractors and other equipment.
The deal was made and we bought five acres with all out buildings, the barn and a driveway easement through their side drive to the highway.
This will be a great place to play cowboys and indians. I had no idea what the plans were for the future!
This was an early morning shot with the dew glistening on the utility lines, creating a sine wave pattern.
This was taken 2015, September, of the old Wolff Homestead on High Street in Park Place, Anderson, Indiana. The front retaining wall that Dad built while in high school, is gone and the driveway going back to the garage has been removed. Also, the enclosed porch bannister has been taken off.
2015, September, a rare blood moon eclipse. The heavy cloud cover filtered the red spectrum out.
The cloud cover cleared for a second!
We took the covered bridge tour in Park County days after the Covered Bridge Festival and the crowds!
1873 MECCA BRIDGE
1913 STATE SANATORIUM BRIDGE
We planted a Chinese Wisteria vine at Scatterfield Road and trained it to be a tree. It only took seven years!
I spent a great deal of my life growing up on High Street, because Grandma Wolff volunteered to baby sit while Mother and Dad worked. Grandma worked at the G.T. when she got married, but turned full time housekeeper and mother when her boys were born. I think she preferred this life at home. My cousins and I were in and out of her life from time to time, but I was always around the most.
Some of my earliest recollections are of the coming and goings of the various delivery people and street vendors of the day. The shortest lived, I would guess, was the ice man. He would park his ice truck in the street, and while he made deliveries in the neighborhood, all of us kids would run up to the back and get a treat of ice chips on a hot summer day. The primary purpose of the delivery was to resupply the kitchen ice boxes with block ice. The ice man used tongs to grab the block and typically carried it over his shoulder, covered by a leather sheath. He would enter the house and place it directly in the ice box.
We were still using the ice box because, Grandpa Wolff, having the practical and conservative German upbringing, believed if it wasn`t broken, don`t fix it and if something still served the purpose an upgrade was not needed! Yes, and the theory of the ice box still worked, at least for another year maybe. My job was to empty the drip pan, located under the box, as I was reminded from time to time. And of course, wipe up the spills!
Here is an interesting story of how one ice company adapted to the changing technology. By the 1920s the growth of refrigerators created competition for the ice trade and ice companies began looking for alternative markets. Joe C. Thompson, an employee of Southland Ice Company supplemented ice sales in his ice distribution shops by selling milk, eggs and other items he kept cool with the ice he was distributing. His shops opened early at 7 am and stayed open till 11 pm so that working customers could pick up their blocks of ice. As the market shifted from ice to convenience items his shops were renamed Seven-Eleven in 1952.
Another summertime vendor was the popsicle boy. He would peddle his tricycle cooler with dry ice in the compartment around the neighborhoods and sell ice cream bars and two stick popsicles, so they could be broken and shared with a friend. All for a nickel!
Of course, there was the year-round milk man who would get our order via a note, left in the return bottles we set out the night before. We could get milk, cream, cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese delivered to our door twice a week.
We had an option for the type of milk to be delivered. Other than the regular homogenized milk, we could get cream milk. This came in a different bottle configuration so that the cream could rise to the top and be dipped out prior to using the milk. A special dipper was provided to accommodate the shape of the bottle neck.
One delivery was only made in the fall and winter, the coal man. The coal truck would pull onto the driveway, next to the coal chute which was built into the foundation of the basement. The coal was transferred down the chute to the coal bin in the basement. My job was to collect the scattered pieces of coal and return them to the bin. This was usually followed by a mandatory bath and change of clothes.
This brings us to laundry day, which was every Monday. And I mean EVERY Monday. Rainy day, clothes were hung in the basement and on sunny days, they were carried up the stairs and hung outside. We had a wringer washer, which Grandpa had recently upgraded to a motor driven wringer.
The wringer got its` name from the old method of actually twisting and wringing the excess water from the clothes. So, when the two rollers were invented to squeeze the water out, the process was still called wringing, much like the name ice box carried over to the refrigerator.
The washer was set up next to a rinse tub that often contain an additive called bluing. It was discovered that the mind`s eye perceives white in a different way from most colors. With just a slight hint of a blue tint, a white garment is perceived to actually be whiter. So, my chore was to, very carefully, add just the exact number of drops into the rinse water.
Grandma still had a delicate cycle she would use with the wringer and bluing rinse,.. her old wash board!
Another convenience that would chance drastically over the next decades…the telephone. Many rural areas were still using the old model crank handle phones, but in town, we had the new rotary dial desk phone. Most everyone had a party line where four to five families would share the same line, but have distinctive rings.
Dialing “0” would connect us to an operator who could direct connect us to a person or business whose number we did not know. When making a call out of our area we had to request a long distance operator. The operator would ask if the call was direct, which meant we would talk to whoever answered, or person to person, which required a certain person to answer. There was an extra charge for a long distance call and we then had the option to ask for the charges to be reversed, which the callee could refuse. This was a great system and we never dreamed of the advances yet to be made in the area of communications!
Speaking of communications, radio was king and the main form of news and entertainment. The old-time radio era, sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Radio, refers to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until the 1950s, when television superseded radio as the medium of choice for scripted programming and radio shifted to playing popular music. During this period, when radio was dominant and filled with a variety of formats and genres, people regularly tuned into their favorite radio programs.
The major networks were:
National Broadcasting Company (NBC), a development by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), 1926
Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1927
Mutual Broadcasting System, developed from four different stations. Unlike the other networks, it did not own stations, 1934
American Broadcasting Company (ABC), developed from an anti-monopoly sell-off of an NBC division, 1945
In 1947, Grandma Wolff`s favorites shows were the soaps. Early radio series such as Ma Perkins were broadcast in weekday daytime slots, usually five days a week, when most of the listeners would be housewives; thus, the shows were aimed at and consumed by a predominantly female audience. The name, “soap” refers to the soap and detergent commercials originally broadcast during the shows, which were aimed at women who were cleaning their houses at the time of listening or viewing, and “opera” refers to the melodramatic character of the shows.
Originally serials were broadcast as fifteen-minute installments each weekday in daytime slots. When the soaps started, usually after lunch, Grandma would shut off the sweeper, make a pot of green tea and take a break to listen to her favorites. If I was crafty and pesky, Grandma would bribe me with some sugar cubes to go outside and play!
In the late afternoon and early evening hours, it was time for the dramas, news and adventure series to be broadcast. Kids would gather around the radio and “watch” their favorite heroes. I liked The Roy Rogers Show, Sky King and The Shadow. The line-up of late afternoon adventure serials included Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders, The Cisco Kid, Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, Captain Midnight, and The Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters. Badges, rings, decoding devices and other radio premiums offered on these adventure shows were often allied with a sponsor’s product, requiring the young listeners to mail in a boxtop from a breakfast cereal or other proof of purchase. Remember the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring?
ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
Another maneuver to gain peace and quiet for her soaps was to say it was nap time. I never felt that naps did anything but burn daylight that I wanted to use playing. So, on many such occasions, I would sneak upstairs and climb out the dormer window over the kitchen sink and onto the roof. From there, I would make my way to the back of the house and climb down a large maple tree. I could go play for an hour or so and then sneak back in. I don`t recall ever getting caught, but i`m sure I did.
My playgrounds were the Anderson College campus, Maplewood Cemetery, the Amick Monument Company sand piles and a big vacant lot down the street. Once in a while, I could walk down to the grocery on 8th Street and get a soda pop for a nickel. We never had soda or candy in the house for snacks. But, we usually had ,made from scratch, three layer cake, fresh fruit pie and always molasses, peanut butter or oatmeal raison cookies!
In this view of Anderson’ s Meridian Street, taken from Twelfth and Meridian, three movie theaters–the Times, the Rivieria and the Paramount–are visible. Less than a block south is the State Theater.
Grandma also enjoyed the movies and would take me to watch double features at the theaters downtown. She would even go see westerns with me. Air conditioned theaters were just starting to get popular and I think the operators would try to outdo each other on how cold they could get their theaters. After a double feature and cartoon, I would go outside to the sun and heat and have an immediate brain freeze headache! Note the bicycle racks on the street. We never worried about locking our bikes.
When we went out to play, we didn`t need a watch, because we went out right after breakfast and the downtown noon whistle would blow for lunch. Then, back out till the street lights came on and then we were on the front porches, visiting with family. We didn`t need bottled water, because every house had a black rubber water hose coiled up on the side of the house for anybody to use. We didn`t need baby sitters, because everyone in the neighborhood was watching out for us. It was like growing up in Mayberry!
We celebrated Easter with Grandpa and Grandma Wolff on High Street this year. Later we went to Shadyside for Easter Services.
Every summer, the carnival would come to town and set up at Athletic Park in Park Place. It was called the Free Fair. They had side shows, motorcycle barrel riders, freak shows, games and many exciting rides.
For my fifth birthday, we went to Clifty Falls State Park in Madison, Indiana.
The Athletic Park swimming pool was another great summer attraction. It had locker baskets in the changing rooms which were built in around the base of the pool.
I was introduced to the library and books at an early age and enjoyed making the trip into town to visit the Anderson Public Library, which was located in the Carnegie Building at 10th and Jackson Street. The library established a special room which catered to children`s activities and was named The Peter Pan Room. The Peter Pan Room was designed for children to use. Note the national flags hanging from the pipes as a decoration and the reading benches by the fireplace. At this time, the Peter Pan Room was located in the east wing of the Carnegie building…
Another downtown location often visited was the Pennsylvania Rail Road Depot. This is where we would catch the train to Chicago for our many visits to Grandpa and Grandma Barrett`s house. The Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Anderson, located at 9th and Fletcher, handled freight and passengers into the 1960’s.
This is a Pennsylvania Railroad K 4 class Pacific steam locomotive on a passenger train. Most of the locomotives were still steam powered at this time and the train required that a caboose car be on the end of the train to accommodate the brakeman and crew.
Of course, a regular Sunday event was church service at the Park Place Church of God. Grandpa and Grandma Wolff were very instramental in establishing the early church through their work with the Gospel Trumpet and starting of the Anderson Bible Training School College.
As was noted before, we spent many afternoons at Shadyside Park which was Anderson’s largest city park. It was dedicated in 1923 and the grotto, a stone structure in the park’s valley, is home to one of Anderson’s most persistent legends. Many people claim that bears were kept caged in the grotto caves , but no photos support the legend.
The Japanese Gardens, which are visible from Broadway, are one of Shadyside`s most attractive features. The park is used for many community functions and we attended Easter Sunrise Services this year. The Japanese Gardens provide the backdrop.
Lastly, one of our main playgrounds in summer or winter, Anderson College. Church of God leaders felt drawn to an unused parcel of land in Park Place between Third and Fifth Streets, bordered by Union (later College Ave) when they visited Anderson in 1905. This three-story was the first building on that property. It became known as Old Main and housed the Gospel Trumpet staff. In 1931, the building was given to Anderson College. Old Main became the home of Anderson Bible Training School and was for many years its only chief, serving as dormitory, cafeteria, library and classrooms. It was torn down and replaced in 1970, with Decker Hall.
The Gospel Trumpet Company was the publishing organization of the Church of God. This buidling, located at 1200 E. Fifth Street in Park Place, opened in 1909. The Gospel Trumpet was later renamed Warner Press.
The outdoor service at Church of God campmeeting (later called International Convention) on Anderson College grounds, provided us with the challenge of collecting as many mementoes and souvenirs as we could. Combs, nail files, mirrors, hand fans, bookmarks, mottos, maps and tracts, were just a few of the many treats awaiting our adventure.
The originalTabernacle, later called Warner Auditorium. was used during inclement weather for Camp Meeting Service. The Tabernacle was torn down after heavy snow damaged the roof in March 1960. Following is a sequence of three pictures of the raising of the 3,000,000 lb. concrete dome of Warner Auditorium on the Anderson College campus, Oct. 17, 1961
In the winter, the campus was our sledding course. At the bottom of a hill was a small stone walk bridge. It provided access across a small drainage bed. Next to the bridge was planted a large thorny bush which spread out on top to touch the stone bridge. But on the bottom of the bush, there was just enough width for a well aimed sled to squeak through. This naturally presented an irresistible challenge to us and our Flexible Flyer sleds! Many a sledder had to roll off at the last second to avoid a head on with the bridge. Then, there were those of us that had to explain our ripped and tattered clothing, after having conquered the dredded thorn bush and successfully sped through the tiny passageway!
That goal must have developed as a rite of passage, a long time ago, because when I was recalling that deed to my Dad in later years, he said they tried the same stunt when he was a kid! So goes the circle of life and so goes the continued story of The Wolff`s Den!
We learned many things in the past three years, and none more important than the fact that a supportive family is a key ingredient in making your dreams come true. Hard work and a little optimism measure into the mix also. Mother and Dad were blessed with these basic ingredients and, would put them to good use in pursuing their dreams!
Dad would always find a good deal on a car that needed some repair work to make it a good sell. One of the first to be refurbished was a 1941 Plymouth in September 1945, while still living in the garage apartment. (Our fifth residence in three years but, who`s counting?)
December of that year would find us in our first, very own house. It was a fixer-upper, bought with a down payment borrowed from the realtor! The house located in Park Place at 803, Cottage Avenue, was just a short walk from The Madison County Engraving Company where Dad worked. Mother could drive or catch the bus to work.
They must have done a good job on the house, because it`s still there!
Christmas was way conservative this year due to the house investment. Dad really hated having to forgo the giant Christmas tree. But, we really enjoyed having our own place!
We got a shepherd mix breed from the dog pound and named him Sandy. (Fourth dog but, who`s counting?)
I stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Wolff while Mother and Dad were at work. But, many lunches were shared at Shadyside Park.
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett came down in May to celebrate Mothers Day with us.
THE WOLFF`S INGENUITY
While staying with Grandpa and Grandma Wolff I got many a free haircut with the hand clippers!
Grandpa would also repair our shoes with his cobbler`s stand and leather sewing awl. Also on hand was a leather punch for adding a hole to a hand-me-down belt or to put holes in a piece of leather for a sling shot.
Grandpa Wolff was a jack-of-all-trades. He invented a hot stamp press for the Gospel Trumpet that sped up the foil stamping of mottos and book labels. He built a water softener system for the High Street house. He developed the skills to do his own carpentry, plumbing, electrical and masonry work which, luckily, was passed along to future generations.
This spring, Dad bought another car to rebuild, a 1942 Studebaker. Howard, had just restored a1937 Cord with a supercharged engine, grey coffin hood body and side discharge exhaust which he then offered to sell to Dad as an investment. A good deal that could`t be passed up!
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett had just come down for my birthday and to pick Mother and me up for a trip to Iowa to visit relatives.
When we got back, I had a birthday party and Mother and Dad got me a sand beach with canvas awning. Then, I went for a ride.
In August, 1946, Grandpa and Grandma Barrett got a visit from Grandma`s mother and they come down for a visit.
Four generations! L-R Grandma Hildred Lillian Augenstein Barrett, age 49, Marvin Eugene Wolff, Jr. (Skip), age 4, Great Grandma Maude Mae Miller Augenstein, age 68, Mother Geraldine (Gerrie) Viola Barrett Wolff, age 24.
The Barretts sure did like to travel. They picked me up in November to head out west to Oklahoma for a visit with Grandpa Barrett`s sister Maud Jane Barrett Baker. She was born in 1885, and married Sam Baker, who was a marshall in Wagoner Oklahoma. Grandpa and Sam went jack rabbit hunting from sam`s Jeep. I held one of their kills up by its` ears and it came up to my shoulders! This was my first live encounter with any kind of livestock and I enjoyed it!
Grandpa took us to a cotton field that was ready for picking. As a boy growing up, he had picked quite a few fields and wanted me to see and feel, first hand, what it was all about. Those balls were like thistles wrapped around the cotton. Very difficult and painful to remove!
When I got back home, Dad had found a buyer for the Cord and reinvested the sale on a new 1947, Studebaker Starlight Coup, with a straight eight engine and white paint with blue interior! All was good with the world!!
Christmas 1946, was for my favorite cowboy, Gene Autry.
We were back living in the garage apartment on High Street this Christmas, after selling the fixer-upper house on Cottage Avenue. Mother and Dad splurged for a portrait this special Christmas.
January 1947, gave us a big snowfall and an opportunity to have some male bonding. We built the biggest snowman on the block complete with black coal eyes, Dad`s hat and pipe! We had to go in several times for hot chocolate that Mom made to get us warmed up.
The garage apartment side porch can be seen in the background.
I found this ad in a 1947, Nature magazine!
Ma Bell was improving and moving on up just like us!
Soon after the wedding, Mother began to have medical problems. After many consultations and tests the prognosis was, “Having children may be impossible.” The doctors advised, that if Mother and Dad wanted a child, they had better start trying immediately! After many months of “trying”, it was confirmed that Mother was miraculously pregnant!
The family doctors were located in the Chicago Heights area, which, necessitated long drives from Anderson in the 1941, blue, Nash 600, which they had bought from Dad`s brother, Leopold.
The1937, straight 8, maroon,Pontiac, 2-door which was Dad`s pride and joy when they began dating, had to be replaced with a more reliable car for these trips. Dad used to joke that it took 10 gallons of gas and 10 quarts of oil to make the trip. While dating, they had installed chrome supercharger side pipes, several different horns, a big spotlight and a constantly hand-waxed shine! Dad wired each horn to it`s own separate push button on the dash and when they went thru the old Brown Street tunnel in Anderson, Mother held down all the buttons at once! I bet the neighborhood loved that!
On one such trip to have her check-up, the doctor had them come into his office for a consultation. The news was not good. X-rays and tests revealed the fetus was resting on and putting too much pressure on the spine. The prognosis was a very likely possibility of paralysis if the baby were to be carried to full term! The doctors recomended terminating the pregnancy. But, If they decided to go forward, it would require bed rest and a lot of care with the chances of her never walking again!
After discussions with Grandma and Grandpa Barrett, Mother and Dad had a very long drive home to Anderson. They were both working at the GT and living in an upstairs apartment at Grandma and Grandpa Wolff`s on High Street.
After a few days of discussing their wants and options, it was decided that this was their only chance to have their very own child and they would both be willing to live with the consequences. This decision meant some drastic changes had to be made in their lives! First, Mother could not keep working. Second, the upstairs apartment would not be an option. Third, the doctors and her Mother`s care were up North.
So, after making the toughest decision in their lives, they had to come up with some tough solutions to the problems at hand. After offers of help from the families and much discussion, the choices were made. Mother would quit work and go be near her Mother when the time required it.
The United States entered the war on December 7th, 1941, and by now many of the factories were already transitioning into the manufacturing of war materials. Mother and Dad decided to check out the job market in the area near Grandpa and Grandma Barrett and the doctors.
The Continental Steel and Rolling Company plant, in that area, had already tooled up to produce steel plates and other large foundry castings, and were hiring everyone they could. So, on December 22,1941, Dad and Mother quit their jobs at the GT and Dad went to work for Continental Steel and was being trained to operate a huge vertical turning mill..
They had found an apartment in Hammond, Indiana that would be very convenient, since St. Margaret`s Hospital was there and everyone was close by.
As the months went by, Mother got weaker and it wasn`t long before total bed rest was required, due to a partial paralysis of her legs! In March, Grandma Wolff came up by train to help Mother and ended up staying for three weeks.
About this time, Harry James, a big band leader, recorder a song that became very popular. Mother and Dad adopted it as their private “theme song”. The title was “I Don`t Want to Walk Without You Baby”!
HERE I COME READY OR NOT!
Day 1036 of the war,July 2, 1942:
In Parliament, British Prime Minister Churchill faces a vote of no confidence following the series of defeats by Japan in the Far East and now by Rommel in Libya. The proposers of the vote, Conservative MPs Sir John Wardlaw-Milne & Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes plus National Liberal MP Leslie Hore-Belisha (previously Chamberlain’s Secretary of State for War), present a half-baked case for censure. Churchill, closing the debate, responds “if democracy and Parliamentary institutions are to triumph in this war, it is absolutely necessary that Governments resting upon them shall be able to act and dare, that the servants of the Crown shall not be harassed by nagging and snarling”. He wins the confidence of Parliament comfortably, 475 to 25.
80 miles East of Shanghai, China, US submarine USS Plunger sinks Japanese transport ship Unyo Maru No.3.
Overnight, 325 RAF bombers (175 Wellingtons, 53 Lancasters, 35 Halifaxes, 34 Stirlings, 28 Hampdens) return to Bremen, Germany, damaging 1000 houses and 4 small industrial firms (5 civilians killed, 4 injured). In the port, 3 cranes and 7 ships are damaged with 1,736-ton steamer Marieborg sunk. 8 Wellingtons, 2 Hampdens, 2 Stirlings & 1 Halifax are lost.
The Allies received word on the construction of a strategic Japanese airfield (Henderson Field) on the island of Guadalcanal! US Navy and Marine forces spring into action.
First Battle of El Alamein. Rommel tries the same tactics with the same result. 90th Light Division fails to make progress against the coastal “El Alamein box”, again stopped by British artillery and RAF bombing. 10 miles inland, 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions are stopped by “Robcol” (field artillery, light anti-aircraft guns and an infantry company under Brigadier Robert Waller) which occupies the dominating high ground at Ruweisat Ridge. In late afternoon, British 4th and 22nd Armoured Brigades attack both Panzer Divisions and drive back the German tanks, capturing 2,000 prisoners and 30 field guns
Mother had been bed ridden with paralysis of the legs for months, and on this day, it was decided that the time had come to perform a c-section. I was born at St. Margaret`s Hospital in Hammond, Indiana. At 8 lb.. 8 oz, and 22 in. long, I was pronounced a healthy baby, but, ….Mother was still paralyzed!
It would be another agonizing nine days of physical therapy before she would be released to go home, but, she could miraculously now walk!
CHANGING JOBS AND HOUSES STARTS TO BE NORMAL!
With Dad still working at the Continental plant, and Grandma nursing Mother back to health, things started to settle back down to normal chaos. Mother`s Border Collie, Lyndo, took to me and performed his normal nurturing instincts and became my personal Nanny Lyndo!
Grandma Wolff came up by train to visit and help out quite often. During one of these visits, she noticed Dad was loosing weight (something mothers are always prone to notice and make comment) and had bruising and burns on his arms and legs! Dad acknowledged he had been having problems with the conditions at work but, didn`t want to make a fuss. It turned out (no pun intended) that the hot turning shavings, coming off the machined castings, were very thick and had to be broken with a metal rod to keep the spiral shavings from tracking down the aisle and tangling into something or someone! Each time Dad had to “break” the hot shavings, they would whip back and hit his arms or legs with no protective gear. So, after seven months of this, they decided on July 23, 1942, that it was time to return home to Anderson. And, on July 30th Dad started to work with Delco- Remy.
They rented the back apartment from Grandpa Wolff while Mother was still recovering. Grandpa and Grandma`s house was large, with an upstairs and basement. Grandpa, being a very frugal and practical person, decided it was a waste of space, what with the boys grown up and married, not to utilize it for income. So, during the depression, he added a bath and kitchen to the upstairs and a bath to the back of the house. Little did he know that the boys would be his tenants for the next several years!
I regress, but,… this photo with the model T Ford in the drive reminds me of a story that my Uncle Bill, Dad`s brother, shared with me one day. It goes that on a rare day, when Grandpa Wolff drove the “T” to town with Uncle Bill, they were returning home. Driving up College Drive toward High Street, they encountered a funeral procession coming East on High Street toward the East Maple Wood Cemetery. Grandpa slowed and stopped on the College Drive incline. Setting the parking brake and removing his hat, they waited for the procession to pass. When all was clear, he disengaged the brake and let out the clutch while trying to go up the incline and immediately stalled the engine. Resetting the spark and the emergency brake, Grandpa waited while Bill cranked the engine back to life. Again, releasing the parking brake and easing out the clutch, the engine was again stalled. Grandpa set the parking brake, and without saying a word, got out of the “T”, latched the door shut and walked home. He never drove again!
OK, back to 1942. With Dad working at Delco and Mother getting her strength back, we had lots of time together. Grandpa and Grandma Barrett came down from Chicago Heights, Illinois every chance they got.
Mother gave me my first ride in my little red wagon!
Before we knew it, our first Christmas was here! Dad picked out a Christmas tree that touched the ceiling of the back apartment and this “big tree tradition” would be continued for as long as I lived at home! This one featured War Bonds in the branches.
WAR RATIONING BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE.
After a short stint in the factory, Dad decided that was not the life for him and secured a job as service station manager at a local gas station which was located at 13th Street and Central Avenue in Anderson. The building is still there, though it has gone through many business changes since then, the most recent was for an automotive upholstery shop. Since it was war time and gasoline was rationed, Dad worked out a deal with the local cab company to buy all of their gas and service work at his station. Even with this extra, Dad and Mother still had to literally count pennies to pay the bills.
Grandpa Wolff`s journal on May of 1942, showed some of the affects of war rationing. “Registered for sugar rationing . Had 73 pounds on hand so did not get a book. 3 of us in the family, each one allowed 1/2 lb. per week. So, our 73 lbs. is supposed to last about 49 weeks.”
With the onset of World War II, numerous challenges confronted the American people. The government found it necessary to ration food, gas, and even clothing during that time. Americans were asked to conserve on everything. With not a single person unaffected by the war, rationing meant sacrifices for all.
In the spring of 1942, the Food Rationing Program was set into motion. Rationing would deeply affect the American way of life for most. The federal government needed to control supply and demand. Rationing was introduced to avoid public anger with shortages and not to allow only the wealthy to purchase commodities.
Rationing could be complicated. A Gallup poll in 1943 found that 53% of men and 76% of women were confident in their understanding of rationing.
The inside of a ration book containing the stamps that had to be surrendered to buy goods. Notice the number and letter sequences on the stamps. This was very confusing!
Ration books were very valuable and had to be presented to the grocery clerk. Holders like these would help protect the book and its stamps. Grandpa Wolff made holders like this for all of the family and many friends.
The rationing spread to almost every product and produce. Nylon stockings exploded into the average American woman’s life in 1939, when Dupont began manufacturing the alluring synthetic. Eager shoppers snapped up the new nylons across the country, though they were not particularly cheap in the beginning, most retailing as high as silk stockings. Demand in the USA was extraordinary and by the onset of war, Dupont could not keep up. However the advent of war brought a sudden drop in the availability of nylon as Dupont shifted into a war footing and production turned to parachutes, bomber tires etc.
Mother said she would use an eyebrow pencil to draw the Imaginary nylon stocking seam up the back of her leg to appear as though she on had nylon hose! To draw a straight line free hand is a skill for anyone to master, but on an uneven surface, it required dedication. But this was no problem to a woman who was determined to achieve knockout legs for that important dance. Women became regular Picassos with their eyeliner pencil. There were devices sold that enabled one to affect a reasonable line, but one had to be a dab hand.
INDIANA MANUFACTURING JOINS THE WAR EFFORT.
As Mother got stronger, and was getting around just fine, she applied for a secretarial position with the Anderson Chamber of Commerce. She started work the next week as a correspondence clerk, (mail sorter). The “Chamber”, as it was referred to then, was the starting point for almost all inquires concerning business and war related industry. As such, Mother came across postage stamps from all over the world and I think this is when her philatelic interest began.
This paragraph is from the “INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY”. Click on the link below for more information on Indiana during WWII.
“First of all, the war offered some proof that the proud boast “INDIANA—The Center of Almost Everything” is not simply Chamber of Commerce propaganda but reasonably demonstrable fact. Whether because of her geographical location at the center of population, her unique combination of distance from the coasts but proximity to markets, her natural resources, her transportation network, her skilled labor, her diversified industry, her educational system, the skill of her politicians, or a judicious mixture of all these
factors, it is certainly apparent that Indiana was attractive both to military officers planning the location of key installations and to governmental officials searching for the placement of war contracts.”
Click on the link for more history of Guide Lamp in WWII.
During that time, Anderson had many factories that were producing military materials. Guide Lamp produced lamps which were installed on military vehicles along with brass anti-aircraft shell casings.
They also produced sheet metal stamped hand guns, called The Liberators, which were dropped behind enemy lines in Europe for the resistance fighters to use. Also produced, were the fully automatic machine gun, nicknamed “the grease gun”, because it looked like the cartridge that was filled with grease in the grease applicators (guns).
Guide Lamp World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics: (8,500,000) total of headlamps, tail lamps, dome lamps, blackout lamps and signal lamps; (3,400,000) Stimsonite reflector units; (22,000) Bell Aircraft P-39 Airacobra spinner noses; (1,000,000) water jacket sleeves for Allison aircraft engines; (36,750,000) cartridge cases for 37mm, 40mm, 90mm and 105mm constructed of both brass and steel; (1,600,000) .50 caliber Browning machine gun barrels; (682,163) complete M3 and M3A1 submachine guns.
The M3 Submachine Gun:
1943 – 85,130 M3
1944 – 343.372 M3
1945 – 178,192 M3
1945 – 15,469 M3A1
Total Production of M3 – 606,694
Total Production of M3A1 – 15,469
Guide Lamp and Delco Remy both received the cherished “E” Flag for their outstanding contribution to the war effort!
The following articles show some of Delco-Remy`s contribution to the war effort. Click on the link below for more information about Delco-Remy`s role in the war.
Delco had to convert many of its` plants to meet the requirements of the War Department.
Quality control was vital to the safety of the service men relying on the dependability of the parts produced for their equipment! Below is one such inspection line for the magneto used on many engines.
Receiving the coveted Army/Navy “E” flag drew quite a proud reception. Guide and Delco would continue their production quality and receive stars to add on the flag!
Delco-Remy World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics: Electrical Components for Military Trucks – Generators and generator regulators, starting motors, ignition distributors and coils, switches, and batteries; Electrical Components for Military Tanks and Armored Vehicles – Generators and generator regulators, starting motors, ignition distributors and coils, apparatus boxes, and batteries; Electrical Components for Military Aircraft – Generators and generator regulators, magnetos, and batteries; Automatic Aircraft Engine Controls; Solenoids for Sperry Autopilots; Automatic Trim Tab Controls; Electrical Components for Military Marine applications – Generators and generator regulators, starting motors, ignition distributors and coils; Marine propeller pitch controls for landing craft and submarine chasers; Marine diesel equipment – pistons, blowers, pre-heaters and pre-heater fuel pumps, governors; Tubing – for electrical, fuel, brake, air conditioning, oil and air lines; Allison V-1710 engine castings – Various; Aircraft engine machined parts – Various; (1,000,000) 20mm shell bodies; Various solenoids for starting motors, aircraft bomb release racks, guns and overdrive controls.
Delco-Remy was one of 17 General Motors Divisions that provided parts for the Boeing B-29 program during the war. Costing more than any other project during the War, including the Manhattan Project, the B-29 “Superfortress” was the most advanced and complex aircraft produced during that period.
May 1943, showed progress in the Atlantic theater of operations.
May 1st – May 31st
By the end of May, 43 U-boats are sunk to just 34 merchant vessels.
Allied aircraft are fitted with U-boat detecting radar systems.
RAF bombers make their most famous raid of the war to date – this through Operation Chastise – as 19 Lancasters attack the dams at Mohne, Eder, Sorpe and Schwelme supplying power to the Ruhr industrial sector. 9,000lb bouncing mines are used in the successful attack.
Some 33 U-boats assail an Allied convoy. However, the streamlined Allied response nets zero ship losses and fatalities. The U-boats come up empty.
Due to dwindling results, German Admiral Karl Donitz calls back his U-boats from operations in the Atlantic.
I HAD NO IDEA ALL OF THIS WAS GOING ON IN MY WORLD.
Hey, you kids with your smart phones think you started the selfie photo ,the texting acronyms and the music playlists? Well, LOL! Mother and Dad took this selfie in 1941 with a Kodak Box camera! Dad created playlists in 1941, when Mother would be up North with Grandma Barrett. Back then music was recorded on large 98rpm, lacquer records, with a round label affixed to the center of the disk, identifying the performer and song title. Dad would cut out round, white, blank, labels and glue them over the original. On these, he would write, “PLAY FIRST”, “PLAY SECOND”, etc. and mail the records to Mother. And as for acronyms, the military and private industry came up with quite a few, like: SNAFU, situation normal all fouled up and FUBAR, fouled up beyond all recognition. Of course, other four letter “F” words could be inserted, depending on the absence of or presence of the female gender!
The Allied invasion fleets sail out to Sicily.
US 82nd Airborne Division and British 1st Airborne Division paratroopers land at strategic locations across Sicily prior to the invasion force’s arrival.
Operation Husky begins. Target – German-held Sicily. Some 2,590 naval vessels take part in the invasion which encompasses two army groups of American and British forces invading at two different coasts of the island.
Soviet resistance to the German offensives is so intense that German General Hoth is forced to bring up his reserves and commit them to the fight. The advancing Germans are slowed evermore by the stinky Soviet defenders, also made up of deadly anti-tank teams.
June 1943, and we had now moved again. This time to the larger upstairs apartment on High Street. Many lunch times and week ends were spent at the Shady Side Memorial Park in Anderson.
These shots were taken May 24, 1943, while I was in quarantine for whooping cough! I don`t know the dates, but, twice between now and 1945, I was hospitalized with pneumonia at Saint John`s Hospital in Anderson.
My only recollection of the ordeal, was the Sisters giving me penicillin shots in the butt several times a day. About this same time, it was determined that I needed my tonsils removed. This was also performed at Saint Johns and my only memories are of Sisters with ice cream and nightmares from the odor of chloroform. I would go on to contract mumps, measles and chicken pox. I believe that this natural immunization could be what keeps me from getting colds, flue and headaches today, just a thought!
In August, we went to visit Grandpa and Grandma Barrett and Grandpa`s sister Flora was also there for a visit. She took one look at me and nicknamed me “possum jaws” because of my poochie cheeks! Speaking of nicknames, Mother and Dad called me Skippy because I was the skipper of their ship. Grandpa Wolff always called me by my middle name, Eugene. Mother tried getting me to say Skippy Gene, but I could only manage Pippy Dene, and another nickname was born! Later, when I was enrolled in school, my name was Gene Wolff….gee another name? More about the repercussions of all these names will surface in a later period.
Soon another Christmas was upon us and another tall tree with war toys! This was in the upstairs apartment.
I liked to have a ball of cotton between my fingers to rub my nose when I sucked my thumb.
The combined force of US Army and Marine Corps troops numbering 35,000 personnel heads towards Betio on the Tarawa Atoll.
US Navy warplanes and warships begin the bombardment of Japanese positions at Makin and Tarawa in preparation for the planned amphibious assaults.
At 9:10AM, the first US Marine soldiers make it ashore at Betio during the initial amphibious landings. Nearly half are cut down in low waters by the waiting Japanese defenders.
MOVING AND JOB CHANGES AGAIN
The spring of 1944, brought more adjustments to our lifestyle. The gas station was not providing much income, with the rationing and all, so, Dad decided to give the war plants another try. This time the Dodge Plant in Chicago, Illinois.
The Dodge Chicago Aircraft Engine Plant was a World War II defense plant that built the majority of the B-29 bomber aircraft engines used in World War II.
The plant design was initiated by automotive plant designer Albert Kahn and his company. The plant is seen as an influential design landmark of American industrial manufacturing facilities. The main building of the Dodge Chicago plant covered eighty-two acres and occupied over 30 city blocks and at the time it was the largest building in the world. Albert Khan had extensive underground tunnels dug as to facilitate foot and supply traffic. These tunnels span the width and breadth of the plant in a tic-tac-toe pattern. As characteristic for industrial plants of the day, wooden block floors were placed for ergonomic reasons.
The B-29 Superfortress Bomber was used in the strategic bombing campaign of Japan. It was the largest American aircraft to see service in World War II. Each B-29 Superfortress utilized four of the massive Wright R-3350 – Cyclone 18-cylinder 2,200 horsepower (1,600 kW) engines built at the Dodge Chicago Plant. There were nearly 4000 of these aircraft produced when the B-29 was retired from service in the 1960s. which made it a most labor-intensive operation.
Mother also got a job at the plant as a recording secretary which took notes and records of engine test results and wrote up the reports. We rented a duplex apartment in Munster, Indiana and got moved in in time for Easter and my second birthday.
The “Skipper of the ship”!
D-Day June 6, 1944
Some 6,000 naval vessels depart from the south of England towards France.
Allied naval warships open up with their guns on German defensive positions along the French coast.
The Canadian 3rd Infantry Division makes its way towards Juno beach. The German defenses, heavy seas and underwater obstacles cause a loss of 30 percent of the landing craft. The onshore result is equally grim as the Canadians are assaulted by the prepared Germans.
By 8:00AM, most of the German defenders at or near Gold and Sword beaches have been cleared or are on the run.
The British 50th Division pushed some 6 miles inland.
British and French special forces elements out of Sword beach connect with the British paratroopers holding the key bridges over the Orne River.
The combined British and Canadian forces at Gold face little opposition and claim their objectives with little incident.
At approximately 7:25AM, forces of the British and Canadian armies wade ashore at beaches codenamed Gold and Juno.
The US Army forces arriving at Omaha beach face a prepared, stout and veteran defense made possible by the German 352nd Division. After 2,400 casualties, the 1st US Infantry Division holds a beachhead.
The British 3rd Division arriving at Sword beach face a stouter German defense but are able to overwhelm the enemy and establish a foothold.
At approximately 10:00AM, British forces out of Gold beach take La Riviere.
US Army forces arriving at Utah beach find themselves some 2,000 yards away from where they should be. The result is the force finds little German opposition at Utah. Their original landing zone was to be centered around Les-Dunes-de-Varreville. Total casualties from the landing are 300 personnel.
Near the town of Pouppeville, the US 4th Infantry Division at Utah beach connects with the 101st Airborne Division paratroopers.
The British paratroopers take the bridges over the Caen Canal and the Orne River.
At 4:00PM, the mobilized German 21st Panzer Division launches a counter-attack.
The German counter-attack reaches the beachhead at Sword.
The German 21st Panzer Division is repelled by a combined Allied armor and air assault, saving further actions at Sword.
By 8:00PM, the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division out of Juno beach connects with the British 50th Division out of Gold beach. This union becomes the largest Allied-held pocket in the north of France to this point.
American forces at Utah beach hold pockets of land totaling just over 6 miles.
The first town in France – Ste Mere Eglise – is liberated by the Allies, this honor falling to the American forces from Utah beach and paratroopers from the previous day’s drops.
Omaha statistics are grim and the group holds the least amount of real estate at just 4.3 miles across and 1.2 miles inland. However, they do hold positions in Vierville sur Mer, Colleville and St-Laurent sur Mer.
The Allied elements at Sword beach hold onto a 6-by-6 mile piece of land though they are still cut off from the Allies at Juno.
The British and Canadian forces out of Gold and Juno beaches enjoy the largest footholds in France, encompassing land holdings some 9 miles wide and 6.2 miles inland.
The Canadians out of Juno beach take Bernieres at about 11:00AM.
By midnight, D-Day is more or less over. Not all objectives are captured but progress is made nonetheless.
Just about a month later, July 2, 1944, my second birthday was celebrated with some cousins in Munster, Indiana.
Grandma Wolff came up for a visit and I surprised her one day when I came home from the neighboring field with several baby garter snakes in my pocket! She had never seen anything like that before. It looks like she scolded me?
Grandpa Wolff was busy at home, adding a porch to the back apartment and, starting to convert the big two car garage into a garage apartment. Since he didn`t drive anymore, he figured it a waste just sitting there.
Soon, Christmas rolled around again and Grandpa and Grandma Barrett got a Pomeranian puppy and named her Dixie.
We had another tall tree for Christmas at our place in Munster.
Grandma Wolff came up by train for a holiday visit.
During this time in Europe, the war was winding down and many allied military leaders thought troops might be going home for Christmas. But, Hitler had other plans.
The Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II in Europe. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. United States forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties for any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s armored forces on the western front which Germany was largely unable to replace. German personnel and Luftwaffe aircraft also sustained heavy losses.
Two US Army and USMC divisions land along the southwest coast of Okinawa near Hagushi, meeting little resistance. The US 10th Army is commanded by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner. Some 550,000 personnel and 180,000 soldiers take part in the fray.
Allied forces find and locate the Japanese defenders along the southern portion of Okinawa. Heavy defenses are noted.
As American forces move further inland, the battle for Okinawa intensifies. Pockets of dug-in Japanese defenders become evermore concentrated the more inland the Allied forces go.
American forces are now amassed as two separate assault fronts. To the north are the 1st and 6th Marine divisions. To the mountainous south are the 7th and 96th Infantry divisions.
A five-day offensive is undertaken involving the American 77th Infantry Division and the island of Ie Shima. Ie Shima represents the tip of the Motobu Peninsula. Motobu is a defensive Japanese stronghold located to the west of Okinawa proper.
Japanese defenders are pushed back towards Naha by American forces. The Japanese defensive lines are reset as territory is lost. The Americans report 1,000 casualties in their assaults.
Adolf Hitler celebrates his final (56th) birthday, seemingly unaware of the fate to befall him and his Germany.
During the spring of 1945, with the demand for war materials dwindling, the plants were cutting their workforces. Luckily about this time, Dad`s brother, who owned an engraving shop in Anderson, offered him an apprenticeship in photo engraving. So, we packed up and moved into Grandpa`s garage apartment, as Dad`s brother was renting the upstairs apartment. We got a Beagle puppy for Easter!
Mother went back to work for the Chamber of Commerce. But, this time as a private secretary to the president, thanks to her experience working at the Dodge Plant!
Victory in Europe was achieved on May 8, 1945!
The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.
A little over a month later, June 27, Grandpa Wolff retired from the Gospel Trumpet Company. He noted in his journal, “June 27-Quit work at the Gospel Trumpet Co. Anderson, Ind. Retired on $44.00 per month from G.T.Co.(that was $1.00 per year of service) and 31.00 per month from Social Security-#305-10-xxxx.” Note that back then there was no concern about displaying your Social Security number. After 44 years working for the Gospel Trumpet, that was the final entry in his journal!
He started a new business in his basement workshop for bookbinding and repairing bibles. He would quickly gain a loyal following among the Church of God missionaries from around the world!
July 2,1945, we celebrated my birthday back on High Street in Park Place. Grandpa had added the porch to the rear-side of the house for the rear apartment and it made a nice party area! The photo below shows the garage apartment in the background. But, we were not going to live there for very long!
This is my Gene Autry outfit I got for my birthday. I loved cowboys and western wear!
On August 6 the U.S. dropped a uranium gun-type atomic bomb (Little Boy) on Hiroshima. American President Harry S. Truman called for Japan’s surrender 16 hours later, warning them to “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. dropped a plutonium implosion-type bomb (Fat Man) on the city of Nagasaki.
On August 15, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies. On September 2, it signed the instrument of surrender, effectively ending World War II. The bombings’ role in Japan’s surrender and their ethical justification are still debated.
I was lucky to have grown up with all four of my grandparents in my life! They were a diverse set. My maternal grandfather was, as they called them then, a half-breed. His mother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian (native american to be politically correct). This will probably be the last time that I am politically correct in my ramblings! (Oh, and don`t expect good punctuation or prose. Just enjoy the musings.) My great grandfather Barrett was Irish.
My maternal grandmother Augenstein was of German descent on her Father`s side and Scotch-French on her Mother`s side. So, Irish, Indian on one side and German/Scotch-French on the other made for some hard working, determined and adventurous stock.
On my paternal side, the mix made for some very conservative and reserved physiology! My grandfather Wolff was the son of German Immigrants growing up in Alabama. My grandmother Newsom was born in Canada where her ancestors immigrated from England. So, pure German and pure English, how could we not have a very reserved and structured patriarchal core to the family!
HOW DID THEY ALL HAPPEN TO ARRIVE IN ANDERSON, INDIANA?
My grandfather, Arthur John Barrett, Sr. , was born in Pittsburgh, Kansas, January 28, 1890. He grew up in the Indian Territories and the Oklahoma Territory where he helped with share cropping, chopping fire wood, splitting fence rails, picking cotton and any odd jobs they could find.
My grandmother, Hildred Lillian Augenstein, was born in Waldo, Ohio, October 20, 1897. Growing op on a farm in Ohio until she was eleven. Then, in 1908, her father had visited Oklahoma and decided that would be a great place to successfully raise his prize hogs and horses. He sold the farm and loaded the farm machinery, household goods, hogs and horses into freight cars and rode with them to Oklahoma. Grandma Augenstein and the seven children followed later by passenger train.
Five short years later, Arthur and Hildred met and were married one month shy of her sixteenth birthday, September 18, 1913, in Vinita, Oklahoma!
My grandfather, Felix Wolff, was born in Wolff, Alabama, July 6, 1878. His family were farmers and also had fruit orchards they tended. He loved to travel and visited and worked in many states growing up. Finally settling in Moundsville, West Virginia, on July 11, 1901. The next day he began his career with t he Gospel Trumpet Office working in the mail room wrapping Trumpets. A SIDE NOTE: The Gospel Trumpet was a publishing house for religious books, pamphlets, pictures and song books related to the Church of God. Felix rapidly moved his way to the bindery where he learned his book binding craft. The Gospel Trumpet Company decided to move their printing equipment and publishing work to Anderson, Indiana, September 1906. Felix helped load the rail cars with the heavy presses and other equipment and traveled to the new Office at 201 E. 9th street in Anderson. The Anderson businessmen thought the Gospel Trumpet was in the business of manufacturing musical trumpets!
My grandmother, Maggie May Newson, was born in Wellington, Ontario, Canada, December 13, 1884. May, as she preferred to be called, also grew up on a farm recalling the distasteful job of plucking the down from the geese for the mattresses. I don`t know the time line of the move, but at some point Grandma`s mother took a job with the Gospel Trumpet Office in Anderson, Indiana and May went with her. Eventually, May and Felix met up and as Grandpa wrote in his journal,
“August 21st, 1907, left Anderson on an excursion with Bro. Mayo for Niagara Falls and Canada.
22nd Arrived at Pupabun, Ontario.
28th Was married.
October 10th, 1907, left Pupabun, Ont. for Anderson, Ind. where we arrived on the 11th. Took supper at A. L. Byers.”
LETS GET THIS ALL TIED TOGETHER!
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett moved to Lindsay, California around 1920 with their four children. There, Grandpa found work in the refineries. This would give him the machinist`s background that would provide the confidence to set out on his own in Indiana.
After the end of WWI and The Great Depression, and now having five children, as Mother was born in 1922, they mustered the determination to find something better! As a boy of 12 and young man Grandpa lived with his uncles after his Dad passed. They worked mule teams pulling barges across the Wabash and Erie Canal in Indiana. Now, with a family of his own, he remembered the the mid-west that he enjoyed as a youth and decided it would be a great place to start a new life. They started Barrett`s Machine Shop in Chicago Heights, Illinois.
During the depression, Grandma Barrett and the kids helped out by taking in laundry. They also raised game chickens and rabbits. Sears Roebuck was paying 35/50 cents for rabbit hides at the time.
My Mother, Geraldine Viola Barrett, was born in Lindsay, California, February 9,1922. After the move to Illinois and graduating from high school, she wanted to go to secretarial school. Now see how this comes together!
Mother`s sister Margaret, married a (WAIT FOR IT;) Church of GodMinister living in Anderson, Indiana! Close to the Anderson College that the Gospel Trumpet started! And, they had secretarial courses! Mother moves to Anderson with her sister! Gets a job at the Gospel Trumpet Office!
My Dad, Marvin Eugene Wolff, Sr., was Born in Anderson, Indiana, June 20, 1921. After graduating from Anderson High School, he got a job at, where else, The Gospel Trumpet Office! Guess who he met there???
Mother had facial paralysis, but that didn`t stop her from helping dad take off the oil pan on his 1937 Pontiac and getting greasy!
After this whirlwind courtship, they were married at her sister`s by her husband, the Church of God minister, on September 18, 1941, (JUST THREE MONTHS BEFORE PEARL HARBOR)
BARRETTS ON THE LEFT – WOLFFS ON THE RIGHT
WE ENTER THE WAR!
On A Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Japan attacked our Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and entered the U. S. into the war! The following photos are a rare collection of prints recovered from a roll of film, found decades later, in an antique, collapsable bellows camera. They show the destruction and carnage the photographer witnessed that fateful day.