We want to share your stories
Among the memorabilia we are hoping 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.
I talked to someone out-of-state on Monday who was mailing me his mother's written memories of living in Peabody during the war. She stayed here with her family and her young son while her husband was overseas. A big plus to her letter was a conversation with that son about some things he hadn't heard before. Her parents had some of the German POWs work for them and she shared stories with him about their relationship with the enemy prisoners. How nice that she was able to have that conversation with him! I bet there are others he would love to hear and she would love to tell.
I am anxious to get her letter and read it. We hope to have many such letters to share with visitors to Peabody on Memorial Day weekend. You don't have to live here to contribute. We want to hear from you if you grew up here and 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. I would love to transcribe it for all to see. 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 1-620-983-2700 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 have been promised a full Wave uniform, which will be donated to the Peabody Historical Society once the Memorial Day weekend event is over. We have promises of photographs, flags, scrapbooks, and other items for our display, but we are hoping for more.
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 a thousand 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 a thousand people have looked at it since it went online a couple of weeks ago. Keep it coming!
And don't forget to come visit us and celebrate the Greatest Generation on Memorial Day weekend. We can't wait to have you back.
— SUSAN MARSHALL