Remember When: County residents shifted to recovery mode after WWII

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2016

“Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me ‘til I come marching home!” This was a song made popular by the Glenn Miller Orchestra and by the Andrews Sisters during World War II.

sue_bass_wilson  I enjoyed reading over some 1946 newspapers recently – the year after the end of World War II, the year my parents came back home from the war, the year before I was born, and the year my father started a new Andalusia business – 70 years ago. It was informative and enlightening to say the least of how Andalusians and Covington Countians shifted into the “recovery” mode, I will call it, to overcome the anguish and gloom cast over the citizens during those war years.

In July, The Covington News reported on the front page the Army list of 88 Covington boys who died in the war. This did not include those who died in Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or other branches of service.

One can just imagine the hurting hearts and souls of people whose families would never be the same, but whose lives had to be restarted in order to move on with just their faith in God enabling them to call on an inner strength with hope for better things to come. The book of Romans in the Bible reads “I suppose that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.”

So on this Veterans’ Day weekend, this column is dedicated to those living today who will forever remember their loved ones lost in that conflict so long ago but in a time still so close as yesterday.

The Covington News front page article of July 4, 1946 reads, “Stage Set for Celebration by V.F.W. All arrangements have been made for the biggest fourth of July ever held in this county at Open Pond on the first fourth since the war. Plenty of meat for all that goes with a barbeque dinner has been obtained and good cooks who know their business are preparing a meal for all who attend.”

“The baseball game between Andalusia and the Opp semi-pro teams originally scheduled for Opp has been moved to the CCC diamond next to Open Pond and will be played there that day. This field is being put into good condition and the ball game will be one of the many entertainment features offered to the huge crowd expected to be there during the day.”

“There will be contests of all kinds for the children and the winner of these contests will be given valuable prizes. It costs nothing to enter. There will be sack races, potato races, swimming races, boat races, pie eating contests, boxing matches, fireworks, and a fiddlers’ breakdown. All single girls are eligible to enter the bathing beauty contest. It is not necessary that a girl be sponsored by any business establishment. Impartial judges will select the prettiest girl to be crowned ‘Queen of the Celebration.’

Jake Moates has donated his loud speaker for records to be played and in addition, there will be a band present to play for those who wish to dance. The entire program will go on all day on the fourth beginning at 10:00 a.m. The barbeque dinner will be served at 12:00 noon and advance tickets for this dinner are now on sale for $1.00 each and may be purchased through any member of the Andalusia or Opp V. F. W. The celebration has been planned, arranged, and sponsored by the Andalusia Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. They cordially invite every person in the county – young, old, or middle-aged to attend and have the time of their life.

Several advertisements and want ads caught my eye. “Johnson Brothers Jewelry Company has purchased the P. Lewis Jewelry Store. ‘We hope to become the diamond center of South Alabama.’ On the Square. R. Turner Johnson, Manager.”

“Just Arrived. Casting Road and Fishing Poles. Benson and Company. Pear Street.”

“Ice Cold Watermelons. For Sale. Consumers Ice and Cold Storage Company. Troy Street.”

     FOR RENT – Furnished apartment $10. per week. Call Mrs. R. T. Hall. 200 Baker Street.

FOR SALE – Farm 48 acres. 35 acres in cultivation. Plenty good water. 6-room house with electric lights. Out by airport.

The Martin Theatre placed ads for movies and people were back to going to the “picture show.” “Man From Music Mountain” starring Gene Autry was playing. The Fox Theatre movie was promoting a double feature, “Six-Gun Gospel” with Johnny Mack Brown and “Swinging On a Rainbow.” Admission was 10 cents and 25 cents (Tax Included)! COOL – AIR CONDITIONED.

The Avant Furniture Company at 210 South Cotton Street (Phone 278) advertised “Wake Up Your Home with DuPont Paints.”

The Anderson Peanut Company ad stated, “Attention Peanut Growers, We have a carload of sulphur dust on hand and our price is $45. per ton or $2.25 per pound. This increases yield of nuts and hay and pays big dividends.”

AMBULANCE – Foreman Funeral Home. Phone 595.

ANDALUSIA MANUFACTURING COMPANY – Building Materials – Their full page ad read, “As we pause today to observe and celebrate this our 170th year of freedom, the Declaration of Independence and the Statue of Liberty should bring to us a brighter and more profound meaning than ever before. Liberty and Freedom was won for us through great struggle and sacrifice.”

Under the SOCIAL EVENTS OF THE WEEK, “Miss Jenelle Wiggins, Mrs. Jane Yeuelle, Miss Flora Underwood and Charles Wiggins are spending this week at Laguna Beach, Florida.”

“The Covington Training Union Association highlighted its activities Sunday, June 30th, with a ‘dinner-on-the-ground’ get together with the Carolina church as host. The meeting commenced at 11:00 a. m. with the singing of praises for a period of twenty-five minutes led by H. D. Jacobs of Carolina. Ninety-four Baptist Training Union members representing twelve churches of the association were welcomed to Carolina by Mrs. Arthur Brewer, County Training Union Director. Henry Merrill, Director, Andalusia First, revealed the value of having in our unions Bible-minded members and the emphasis placed on this phase of Christian life by the B. T. U. Rev. C. L. Tucker, pastor, Fairmount, Red Level, brought a brief message on Stewardship. Rev. James Eady, pastor, Pleasant Home, whose topic was Temperance presented a vivid picture of the profound need of Christians’ influence in a society ruled and dominated by social evils.”

Under a column called “MORAL ECHOES,” we gain a good understanding of that important time of the nation and our community healing and learning from those events of a world war in the early and mid 1940s.

The columnist in review wrote, “The year 1945 will go down in history as one of the most outstanding years in history. In this year we have witnessed the downfall of Germany. We have been called upon to see the wreckage of a destroyed Japan. We have seen Russia emerge as one of the greatest world powers in all history. We have seen China shake off her past seclusion and face up to the world as one of the great powers. We have watched the gravity of the earth shift from the Atlantic to the mighty Pacific. The eyes of the human race are now looking toward the Pacific. Conservatism has been defeated and the Leftist movement has swung into power. We have witnessed the gathering of the nations to promote peace. Last but not least we have witnessed the discovery of Atomic power. 1945 will be referred to as the year when all the world popped with power.”

     In an important column, “THE VETERANS CORNER,” it was reported that “Education and Training are available through laws administered by the United State Veterans Administration. These include ‘On-the-job training’ under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, ‘Educational training’ in an institution under the same act, and ‘Vocational training’ for disabled servicemen. VETS ARE URGED TO CHOOSE TRAINING WISELY.”

It is no doubt that heaven helped all of the young men and women who came back from war to Andalusia and Covington County. Many brought their mustering out pay enabling them to have a down payment for a home or an automobile. It was quite a scene, the old timers complained, to see the “young whipper-snappers” whiz around Court Square on their way to their new jobs and businesses. They had finally returned to their homes and families, to the girl friends and boyfriends they left behind, to the young children born while they were away, to the new homes they eventually built with those VA loans in the newest subdivisions on new streets, and to the churches where they worshipped that had prayed for them and supported their families while they were away on the patriotic mission of defending the country’s freedom and assuring present and future generations of peace and prosperity.

Here let us conclude these memories of the past and pause to salute those WWII veterans, living and dead, along with veterans of later wars and conflicts as we REMEMBER WHEN. Plan to visit the War Room at the Three Notch Museum which will be open on November 11, Veterans Day after the parade and ceremony in the City of Andalusia’s Veterans Park.