Operation Celebration: The 1940s years ago

As most of you know, when discussing my oldest child and her spouse I refer to them as The Married Daughter and What's His Name. When I first dreamed up those titles I thought I was just too funny. Sometimes that happens and I get carried away with how clever I am. Ever heard the one about "pride goeth before a fall?" That means one ought not be too over proud of how clever one thinks one is.

The past week's front-page newspaper about Peabody Main Street is a recipe for eating crow.

Turns out ol' What's His Name made the cut and got himself hired as the interim director of Peabody Main Street. Showed me, didn't he? To be fair I withdrew from the voting, even though I am on the PMSA board of directors. I also called him by his given name in the newspaper story. I am a paragon of fairness.

But I am no longer sure about how clever I might be. He sort of took the wind out of my sails. Protocol requires me to address him as Shane, Shane Marler, or (Heaven's to Betsy) Mr. Marler. Sheesh.

I am actually quite fond of the lad. He is an extraordinarily talented guitar player, he always offers to help in the kitchen when he is in our home, and he solves all my computer problems. He has been good help with the many fund-raising projects we have done, not only for Peabody Main Street, but also for the Peabody Quilt Project, Florence Labor Day committee, and others. He's a good egg.

We became acquainted with his most ambitious project in November when he introduced us to Operation Celebration: the 1940s. He wants Peabody Main Street to host a weekend of World War II commemorative events not only to honor our WWII veterans, but to show the younger generations what life was like in Peabody during those years. I think that is a pretty bold attempt. Operation Celebration is on tap for Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Traditional events like the Avenue of Flags, the ceremony at the cemetery on Memorial Day, and the dinner at the high school still will take place. Operation Celebration will be an addition to what is currently on the schedule.

Still in the planning stages are a pre-war car show, a parade honoring Marion County veterans of all wars (but especially of WWII), a fly-over with vintage airplanes, Farmer's Market featuring produce typical of 1940s "victory gardens," news reels, propaganda films and posters, lots of music including a performance by the Boeing swing band, and much more. My favorite part right now includes photos and information of what was happening right here in Peabody — the homefront — during those years.

Since moving into the PMSA director's spot Shane has registered a domain name for the celebration and has begun building a web site for people to view for more information. Although still in need of details about the schedule of events and names of contact people, the site is up and running and you can look at it to get an idea of the scope of the project. The address is

Many volunteers will be needed and he would love to have you on board. (We all would!) There is a place to go on the web site to look over the events and get information to sign up to be a part of it. Visit the site often. It is my understanding that it will grow as Operation Celebration is fine-tuned.

To those of you planning to come back for the weekend, allow an extra day. Anyone with ties to Peabody will enjoy the holiday and all it has to offer. You will want to take it all in.

And I am hoping to get Mr. Marler into a T-shirt, jacket, or cap that says, "What's His Name." You might just want to be here for that.