Among the memorabilia we hope to display during “Operation Celebration” are stories from you people out there. We want you to share with the younger generations your experiences in the trenches, on the ship, or in boot camp. We also hope those of you who helped out at home by growing victory gardens, buying war bonds, keeping the farms and factories running, and rationing or doing without will tell us what central Kansas was like for you or your family.
We hope to have many stories to share with visitors to Peabody during Memorial Day weekend. You don’t have to live here to contribute. We want to hear from you if you grew up here, if one or both of your parents served on the front, or the home front. If you are a veteran or the parent, spouse, or child of one, we want to know what you remember. Was your Dad’s (or your son’s) service picture on the mantle for everyone to see? Did he write to you from the Pacific or Europe? Tell us of good times or sad times, of following the radio and newspaper reports, or the newsreels at the movie theater. Anything.
Somewhere in my many stacks of Peabody memorabilia is the scrapbook of a young local girl who pasted a beer label on a page with other memory-makers from the 1940s. Under the label are the words, “Label from the beer that (so-and-so) gave (name of friend) and me the day the war ended.” I expect she was about 14. Don’t you wonder what the rest of that story might have been? Was there merry-making in the streets? Did the church bells ring and people gather just to be together for the big news? Was school let out for the day? The girl died many years ago and I don’t know her story. But what an interesting story it might have been.
Don’t let your story go untold. We will donate all of them to Peabody Historical Society when “Operation Celebration” is over. Please share with us. Mail it to me at Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, PO Box 129, Peabody KS 66866, or fax it to (620) 983-2700, or e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember, too, that we are looking for items for our Vault of Treasures. We hope to display uniforms, photographs, flags, scrapbooks, division yearbooks, and other items. Anyone from Marion County is encouraged to bring memorabilia to Peabody for the weekend. We will get it back to you when the celebration is over — I promise. Your memories, your uniform, photos of your buddies, whatever you have is what we want.
While I’m at it, I have to give my son-in-law, ol’ What’s His Name, a pat on the back for the “Operation Celebration” web site. It looks great and has lots of information you can use. Be sure to check it out frequently for news and updates about the celebration. That address is www.peabodymainstreet.com. The site has had about 2,500 unique hits. What’s His Name says that doesn’t mean he is sitting at his home computer logging on to the site over and over again. That means 2,500 people have looked at it since it went online. Keep it coming.
And don’t forget to come help us celebrate Operation Celebration during Memorial Day weekend. We can’t wait to see you!
— Susan Marshall