[January, possibly 1944]
This is your old Duxbury Clam calling again, with warm greetings to you all for the New Year, and may it bring what we all want!
The old town is still alright and we are all still carrying on with the work behind the line. Red Cross steaming ahead with its group of faithfuls: industrial work at high pitch: housewives well pleased with the rationing and everyone digging in for War Bonds.
Various things prevented the sending of Christmas boxes overseas, and so we hope it will be somewhat consoling to you over-seas boys when your Readers’ Digest begins to reach you. There are now 250 men and women on the Honor Roll, which, by the way, was dedicated to the 11th of November with about 125 people present. The Rev. Mr. King is now back from his several crossings of the Pacific and is taking a Chaplin’s Training course at Harvard, after wh [sic] he will go back to his job on Transport service on the West Coast.
Lieut. Ralph Blakeman, former athletic coach at the Duxbury High, has received his Navy Wings in New Orleans and will instruct primary flight students at the Dallas Texas N.A.S
Women are turning up everywhere these days! In Boston they deliver telegrams and, believe it or not, they run taxis and are street-car conductors, yelling out the stops as big as life, and they love it.
The news-reels are now showing more war-pictures and it’s a good thing for they give us an idea of what you boys are doing for us. What a job!
Frank Rogers (school-bus Frankie) who has been for many months at the munitions plant, is now in the Army in Georgia. “Timmy” Craigh has presented the following statistics about the Duxbury boys in the service, which will interest all of you. Out of 250 names on the Honor Roll from our town 69 are on active duty outside the continental United States. There are 45 in the Army, 4 in the Marines, 1 WAC 1 in the Army Nurse Corps and 18 on sea duty with the Navy. Duxbury boasts 22 commissioned officers, 57 non-coms and of the 58 on active duty in the Navy, 21 are commissioned officers. We are proud of every last man!
War Bonds and stamps flew around all over the place on Christmas, and very few of us gave silly presents. But we tried to make merry and the children had a good time, anyway.
Bicycle traffic has increased so much that it comes up in town meetin’ about whether to tax ‘em a little and put numbers on ‘em or not.
Don’t worry about your dogs. They get horse-meat (not rationed) and love it. The food rationing system is the answer to all our troubles and there is enough for all. The only thing is that you go to the market for what you want and come home with what you can get. Have you heard the latest nursery rhyme?
“To market, to market, to buy fat roast!
Home again, home again, (shrimps on toast)”
This letter such as it is goes out to you from all of us who wish you well, and that, as Jimmy Fiddler says “means YOU”. Our love to you all, from your faithful old Clam,-
P.S. Learn from your Clam and don’t stick your neck out!
Your Duxbury Clam Calling in the New Year,-
We’ve got some nice news for you this month! On the very day that Arthur Kemton Smith left to go overseas, Arthur Kempton Smith Jr. came into the world and we assume that the Red Cross has got the good news to the proud father by now……..Word has been received that Philip O. Swanson, promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant has recently received the Purple Heart Award, air medal and Oak leak for “exceptional achievement…courage, coolness and skill…. In five combat missions over enemy-occupied Continental Europe”. Congratulations! Phil. We are proud of you and proud of every one who has gone out from Duxbury.
Since December first, the following names have been added to the Duxbury Honor List. bringing the total of the Duxburyites in the Armed Forces up to 265! In the Army are;- William M. Martin, William D. Murphy, Harry A. Chetwynde, Ernest A. Jones, Richard Le Fleur, Roger P. Sollis: and in the Navy: – Richard Olsen, Roy F. Scholp, Walter P Starkweather and Lyman L. McGrath, with Dorothy Jean Horsfall in the Marines! …… To add to the food supply, so many pigs were raised in Duxbury that it has been difficult to get them cured, but gradually the packing houses are getting caught up and cellars are being filled with good old Duxbury-bred pork…unrationed! Boy!
Lots of good letters are coming in to Duxbury from all over the world. Percy Walker writes of enjoying tea, the game of darts and cricket! Johnny Parker has been on a hunting trip and brought home, he SAYS, 29 deer, only he got a bit absent minded and spelled it “dear”… “Monty” Shirley writes a vivid description of his Thanksgiving dinner and we hope you all got one just like it! ..Lots of us would like to join up but instead we find other work in Defense of home industry and march forward to our theme song “We’re either too young or too old” and we all can find plenty to do!
If any of you want to put messages into these letters to comrades do send them to “Tim Craig in Millbrook and she will see that they get into the next communique from your Clam…..The War Bond Drive is going to beat the band, not to mention to beat the Japs and the Germans. War work is all going at top speed, faster if anything, to back the attack… It has been a mild winter thus far, with very little snow to mention and with not any violent weather or temperature. The days are getting perceptibly longer. … The High School prints these letters for you and don’t you think that do a good job?
Between the news reels and some long documentary films, we have a very vivid idea of what you boys have to do…a superhuman job. Magnificently done! Everybody sends you love and we are rooting for you every minute. You don’t have to come home with medals to be heroes…you all seem heroes to us at home and you saying baloney and phooey is not going to change that… A few people who thought they didn’t need R.F.D. have got their boxes nailed up now, with much gratitude to Uncle Sam!… Us housewives are all excited now over the new ration tokens which are to be given as change in ration points and we think it will be easier to keep track of. Your loving and devoted, Duxbury Clam.
Duxbury, March 16th. 1944
Old Duxbury Clam Calling: –
Well, town meeting is all over and here, briefly are the results: – After a terrific campaign, which had the whole town by the ears, Kenneth Garside and Herbert Wirt were re-elected on the school committee and B.F. Goodrich and Mrs. Bunton went down, but with a very close vote.: the strip of village shore at the foot of Shipyard Lane which Eben Ellison offered to the town as a gift was accepted. The Protective Zoning Plan went over with a good vote and that seems to be all the headlines from this year’s town meeting. Jim Creig called up and told us that Carl Santheson, Madeline Baker and George Butler are on the Duxbury Welfare Board.
Good news from Phil Swanson. He has completed his missions and has “graduated”, whatever that may mean, and his wife seems to be top of the world about it. Housewives are all excited about the new little ration stamps and are a lot easier to keep track of than tickets. I think market men ought to have a special citation after the war for the patience with which they have handled the tiny little ration stamps and all the extra book-keeping that they entail.
We have not had such a mild winter for years. There have been high winds but so little snow that the family broom has easily disposed of it and we have had little ice. The going has been good and we have been spared a lot of winter head-ache of one sort and another. Since the town meeting is over there isn’t much news. YOU are all the news we are most interested in these days and about all we discuss. You’ll not be surprised I hope, to hear that there is no slacking down of the war effort at home and that the recent war bond drive was over-subscribed as usual. Nobody has to be teased to buy bonds or to give the Red Cross in blood or in money. We had a fire on Power Point the other day when the ell burnt off Camp Chappa Challa by causes undetermined. It was not a windy night so it was soon controlled.
We don’t like to put bad news in these letters but as this concerns you in a way, we want to tell you, Dr. J. Newton Shirley’s son, John, a staff Sergeant is missing since February 10th in action over Germany. He and his brother, Maurice, had planned a meeting in England but as Maurice had pneumonia, it was put off and now John is missing. His wife and six months’ old baby are living in Duxbury with his Father and Mother.
Donald Loring has been home on leave from the Sea Bees and so has Alfred Freeman of the U.S.N. The Sea Scouts, 30-strong and organized under Earl Chandler, are all set now for a regular troop as soon as a leader is found to train them. This is the Well-Baby Clinic with Dr. King examining them and the Red Cross Bench wagon rushing about collecting them from all over the place.
Thanks to Life Magazine, the news reels, and various war movies, we have a graphic idea of your activity and realize that war is no fun. Our thoughts are with you all the time. The old Duxbury earth is thawing out and the fields are getting muddy. (We don’t know what mud IS) Soon we shall be spading up the garden and a lot of us are not such greenhorns as we were a year ago…. There is not much news. We are with you all, to the last ditch. Much love from → Clam
Late April 1944
Old Duxbury Clam Calling!
Well, here are a few news items. John Shirley, who was reported missing over enemy territory in our last letter, has been located by the American Red Cross in a Prison Camp in Germany! Phoebe Shirley is engaged to Burton Peterson of the U.S. Army, an organization some of you may have heard tell of, what? And Peggy Nathan has married Ensign Philip H. Shanley who was home on leave, after action at Salerno and Sicily, and how now returned to his over-seas duty… The Old Colony Memorial has been publishing poems sent in from all over the world by servicemen. Why don’t more of you write to the Old Colony Memorial and thus make one letter so for all of us? It doesn’t HAVE to be poetry you know… Richard Cheney got his wings, at Camp Moultrie in Georgia.
Phil Swanson, Having completed his missions in now in this country on leave until his next assignment. His brother Paul is now in England and their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Swanson have recently celebrated their 40th. Anniversary… WHO do you think is our new Town Accountant since Mrs. Green retired? Alice Soule! John Dewolf is in England now and word comes from Gladys Simmons in England that she has a furlough in Scotland… Mr. George Green’s daughter, Betty, has married William Ellsworth Jones, Coast Guard, station at the Gurnet! There is, as you probably know, a war shrine in Duxbury at St. John’s church where prayers are said every week, Rev. John Philbrick presiding. The shrine is Non-sectarian.
Gardens are being spaded up all over the place and lots of people have their peas in already. This War Garden business is no joke. Last seasons’ gardens all over the nation were not only a howling success for the owners but they contributed definitely to offset shortage of green vegetables.
People went into not only whole-heartedly but in a very intelligent and practical way and this year with ever more gusto than ever… We have had one or two minor shortages now and then but nothing that has been of any if you have an impulse to “say it with orchids”, don’t do it! Send onions. We’ve had so few onions lately that we all keep a sort of pet family onion wrapped in wax paper, and we take a little nick out of it to flavor gold nugget… One of the big changes you boys will see around here is along 3A and I won’t go into further detail.. but BOY! DO they keep em moving!
It seems to me, although clams should not stick their heads out, that the smarter women get in learning new jobs and taking the men’s places in war industry, the sillier their hats get when they are off duty. What we lack in material in these days we make up for in sheer idiocy of design. It is lucky for you that we have more in common sense than meets the eye… Blimps say they like flying over Duxbury because they get waved at so much. Well, there’s something about a Blimp! They are cosy and benign looking but we know they have got what it takes… Summer houses are opening early on account of the gardens. The Civilian Defense machinery is still in good order and although the dim-out has been lifted, we are all on the alert to clamp down at the moment’s notice. Nobody takes naps these days. Bicycles are multiplying as more and more people of all sizes and shapes use them for marketing, etc. You even see old tandems, the original bicycle-built-for-two. We are all back of you harder than ever . Good luck to you all and God bless you! This brings you our love as always:- your devoted old,- (Clam)
The Old Duxbury Clam Calling:-
One of those high spring tides! Don’t forget, we use the same sun and moon that you do! Your many letters have been received with great appreciation and interest and we wear them ragged, passing them around!
Now, the Protective Zoning Law that some of you have asked to hear more about takes up 6 pages in the town warrant, but boiled down, it is a flexible and reasonable plan which will not forbid anything in reasonable plan which will not cramp anybody’s style or enterprise but will tend to concentrate the business districts, protect your property from being harmed by unsightly building but will not forbid anything in reason.. in fact it is a sort of live-and-let-live proposition which I am sure you would have voted for had you been here.
Asked Mr. Greene what will happen to the Clam communique after school closes and he said “Don’t you worry. It will get printed!” So, thanks to the D.H.S we’ll keep em rollin’ the whole year round. We are glad to hear from all corners of the globe that they are welcome to you. Any question you have to ask, send ‘em right along and they will be answered personally by the member of the Committee who thinks it is her question.
The summer folks are all back with the bird, and many of the High School boys are exceedingly spry and helpful when it comes to the grass, gardens and all the spring activities out of doors, to help out in the depleted man-power.
The excitement of the week ran high when meat ration points were suspended. Mr. Lafleur, beaming over the top of his meat counter looked just like Santa Claus although he didn’t have much meat. Supplies naturally fluctuate and we don’t mind, we just get what we can. At this point I could make a pun, but it would be a rusty one. ONIONS are back! Plenty of them for all.
People who can tinker with hammer and saw are lucky these days because of course carpenters are scares and hard to get. You have to run after them and put salt on their tails. But of course there is more repairing than building nowdays. The hedge at the corner of Cove Street near the flagpole, has been cut down- so that now there are fewer hair raising surprises at that corner. Rev. John Philbrick has gone into farming on quite a scale in the house on the left beyond Percy Walker’s and the Merry farm: he has goats: in fact we have seen more goats around Duxbury than ever before.
Good rich Old Colony blood is still going into the Red Cross and those of us who for one reason or another can’t donate, simply go off to the corner and sulk. We consider it one of our great privileges and we only wish we could give more. You bet we would send every one of you a bucket of clams if they would keep. Perhaps we picked tactless nom de plume, what? Your scribe keeps forgetting not to run over the line! ‘Scuse it please. Dozens of Duxbury ladies are going to be good and glad to hang up the old lunch pail and get into something more glamorous than overalls but don’t worry! They won’t. In Hanover and all over the war plants the work will go on full steam until you fix things and come home. We saw a cartoon in the New York Times of a G.I. Joe, carrying the world on his back just like Old Man Atlas, and that is just about what we feel you are doing. From your letters we feel that Duxbury is well represented all over the world. Boy! What a reunion it will be when the show is over and you all come back. You’ll be comparing notes for the rest of your lives.
If any of you want to write to each other, send the letter along and we will see that it gets forwarded to the right address. Mrs. Day has all but second-sight about addresses and she has a string on every one of you and will connect you with each other to the best of her ability. It would take time, but you can at least get messages to each other if you want to. In fact I believe that this whole committee and in fact most of Civilian Duxbury would gladly stand on our heads in a row if it would do you any good.
As far as I can see the reason there isn’t much news to send you from old Duxbury is that we are all pretty busy minding our own business. Oh, yes, Mrs. Snow set the Point on fire the other day burning a little rubbish in her back yard. But the doughty Fire Department soon put a stop to all that and no damage was done.
Somebody told about the first time she has donated at the Blood Bank. After it was over one of the nurses gave her a cup of coffee and a little sort of pellet in wax paper. She drank the coffee and was going to eat the pellet when someone told her it was her Donor’s Button and she thought better of it.
The other day there was one of those awful forest fires back of Plymouth in the Carver District and all the engines from outlying towns went tearing over and helped put it out.
No more sailing parties on moonlight nights or in fact any other time. They don’t let you hire boats any more even if you had time to do so. Everybody who sails their own boat had to be finger-printed and have their pictures taken and carry with them what looks like a regular passport. Of course no private party can run any motor boats even if they wanted to, which under the circumstances they don’t. If there are any gasoline scandals in our town I have never heard of any. It looks as if everyone were playing fair and that the disgrace of black market activities will never blot out escutcheon or whatever it is that gets blotted.
As always, we send you our love and our thoughts and our prayers and we are rooting for you day and night; so you may know that when you are reading this cock-eyed letter plenty of Duxbury wave-lengths are going out in all directions. Good-luck to you all… And God bless you.
P.S. The Circus in Boston and anybody who buys War Bonds gets a free pass! They are for sale in every store and hotel all over the place. Good old Ringling Brothers!
Old Duxbury Clam Calling: –
We write to you on June 6th. When every ear in Duxbury is pasted to the radio. There is one of those devastating south-west winds blowing and all the dandelion fluff-balls have gone, together with the buttercups. Daisies abound on the roadsides and there is the smell of warm bayberry in the air.
A lot of ship-workers in a town not far away, guess where, have been rounded up in a filthy time-pay racket and the thousands and thousands of honest workers are good and mad about them. The FBI closed in on them quite suddenly in as neat an arrest as you’d want to see, and they are going to get plenty.
The old bus still goes wobbling over the Plymouth every Thursday and when it stops at the five and ten it disgorges more people than you would think it could possibly hold, reminding one of the old Mack Sennett comedies.
One of the best men in this town died last week: J. Dexter Randall, builder, at the age of 84.
The Congregational and the Unitarian Churches have decided to unite on Sept. 1st for an indefinite period. Speaking of churches, Richard Tower is now Assistant to Rev. Gordon L. King in the Pacific area.
Qtm. John Parker and Sgt. Freemont Shirley have been home on leave from Guadalcanal. John will be sent shortly to Camp Devons and Freemont will go to Camp Edwards. “Cap” Whiting has enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was called up recently for his “boot-training”. Charles Estes, reported missing in action two years ago has not been heard from. His brother, Everett is in the Army. Lt. Tom Herrick is in the Alaska region.
The ticks are still with us and doing very well. The other day I was walking on the shore with an out of town friend and she read a sign that said “No Trespassing-Clam Grant” and she remarked “What a funny name…Clam Grant. Who is he?”
Gertrude and Henry Macnaught have no less than ten nephews and one niece in the service! Fancy that!
We are having the worst drought since 1826! Also middle of May we had two nights of frost in the low lands that cost some people very serious loss in strawberry beds, cranberry meadows and various early garden crops. There have been forest fires back of Plymouth and Kingston and some not so serious, in Duxbury.
Once in a while the fireworks company sends six men or so over to the outer beach to try out things and the other day we were lucky enough to be there and they did not send us off, so we sat on our bicycles and watched. I made a pencil holder out of one of the little objects they threw away.
On a strong east wind one day not long ago, I took an umbrella over with me and on the way back I opened it and sped home so fast that I kept going and did no pedaling until I got to the flag pole at the corner. Boy! was it fun!
Tim Craig, on top of her hill in Millbrook says that they can see the line of frost like a mark left by the tide, all long the valley below the house.
The decorations along all the streets on the first Tuesday of the month are piles of waste paper, mostly done up very neatly. But someone who visited her house on the Point over last week end, did up her papers and left them sitting there for a week. The string broke and now Powder Point is strewn from one end to the other with escapes. There’s a job for me, what?
Frank Rogers came home on leave. A fellow soldier gave him a lift back from partway to Camp in his car. The car broke down and they worked all night to get it started, got back to camp a split second before they were due and went spang off on a long bivouac. Some vacation!
Remember the High School Graduation? This year here is the set up: Ann Harvey will read an essay on American Economic Cooperation for Peace American Post War Aviation. These are the Honor Students and as you see they are right on your heels where they should be.
If I knew any scandals I would tell you. Everyone seems to be behaving pretty well except those ship-yard rats, referred to above. The busmen still sit in the middle seats of their buses at Prouty’s garage and take a snooze or a look at the paper between trips.
All three Protestant Churches held a union service on Memorial Day at the Unitarian Church on one of the most beautiful days in June. The legion, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies and all the flags and fixings…and a lot of people, all doing honor to the men in the service. Very small children wiggled all through the service, as they always have and were puled [sic] out of the aisle by scowling parents, or hauled down to sit facing the minister instead of standing up and staring at the people in the pew behind. All three ministers sat in a row behind the pulpit and all spoke.
Now I must stop and get the ticks out of the dog. We send you our love and all our thoughts as always.
Your old and devoted,
Duxbury Clam Calling!-
The news of the week, it seems to me, is about the young lady who was fishing off Duxbury bridge and brought up by the tail on the end of her line a twelve inch lobster! She had plenty of reliable witnesses who found it hard but inevitable to believe their own eyes.
Well, all the church fairs are over and they all did very well this year.
Edith Moulton told fortunes and she certainly knows her palm-stuff.
The beach is swarming with children of all sizes and shapes and the bridge is lined with fisher-folk all making good catches, mostly bass, by jingo! We have been having quiet a spell of that muggy humid weather where all the doors and windows stick, the sugar clogs in the sugar bowl and the salt won’t shake. All my stamped envelopes sealed themselves TIGHT. Little gnats stroll in no matter how well your home is screened. On Sunday we had another ring-tailed squealer of a thunderstorm. It came up out of the south west and you know what THAT means. It hung around all day, returning off and on to take another poke at us. You remember the last letter told you about the Johnson house chimney being struck? Well, believe it or not last Sunday the other chimney on the same house was struck. I think that is downright mean, and here we have always been led to believe that lightning never strikes twice in the same spot.
All the pretty girls still wear those dreadful shirts that hang down outside their slacks or shorts and there is no/glamour! If a young man appears on the horizon, he is mobbed by very young girls, for the girls over 18 are mostly too busy in war factories or hospitals to be bothered. No one looks down the nose at a young man not in uniform, for we all know he would probably rather be with you than not and there is a good reason when they don’t make the grade.
The other day I thought someone was being murdered on the street and I rushed out my driveway to be a witness. What do you think? Nothing but Herrick’s bus filled with Sunday School children off to the beach on a picnic. (Anti-Climax!)
Wilma Simmons who had been working in a war factory has joined the WAACS. So now Rosie, the riveter is Wilma, the WAAC.
The beach changes its character through the summer. At first it was covered with rocks so that if you wanted to sit in the soft sand, you had to start quite a project to clear a place. But now the rocks have disappeared to some extent. At low tide the beach is as flat and smooth as the top of the dining room table. Lots of sand-dollars. Remember hunting for them when you were a kid?
I have tried like everything to dig you up some real news, but the trouble is we are all behaving ourselves and good behavior doesn’t make NFWS.
We rowed up Bluefish river the other evening in one of those still calm sunsets when you could hear voices for half a mile and the sound of a tiny ripple of surf from the outer beach. It was so beautiful that I would not for the world spoil the picture for you by adding that we were eaten up by tiny GNATS.
The green heads are doing well this year, bigger and better than ever! I wish we could mail you the smell of bayberry that is in the air on these warm sunny days.
We had an awfully nice letter from Jo Bulu… John Shirley, in German prison camp writes that his memories of home and the RED CROSS service make life endurable for him. Monty, returned from New Caledonia writes that he has no trouble with German prisoners in his charge. Very likely they are too glad to be in a civilized country to make any more trouble.
OH! IMPORTANT! Don’t forget the November elections. If you have not already registered, the town clerk says you may ask any member of your family to do so for you, and she or he would have authority to have an absentee ballot mailed to you. The quickest way is to send one yourself. We all want you to have a voice in the election. There is no vote more important more important than yours so hop to it!
We ARE looking ahead to post-war problems and don’t let anyone fool you that we’re not!
Do you know, I keep a nice hunk of lava soap on purpose to clean myself up after one of those letters. The carbon paper we use is so potent that I think the wafts off of it by itself. I get all blacked up with it no matter how hard I try to keep clear.
Golden rod and Jo-pie-weed are out on the roadsides, Queen Anne’s lace and good old butter-n-eggs. At mail time the Post office fence is bristling with bikes. Pumps are the bit scarce so we all borrow each others or share the one we may be lucky enough to own. There was a huge pile of enormous fish in the market at Plymouth last week. They call it Gurnet Swordfish. It melted like dew before the sun when the Duxbury bus-load got wind of it. Marketing at Hall’s Corner is very sociable this year as no one would dream of sneaking up to market alone without tipping off the neighbors. The problem is where to put the baskets, what with a sedan full of people, all doing marketing, to last them a week! You know no market makes any deliveries these days. But the laundry man still calls. Never twice the same day of the week. Here’s what you do. You put out your laundry bag on Monday morning, take it in after dark, and you go right on through the week by that method until comes a day when the bag has disappeared and the new laundry in a limp box is found in its place. No one ever fusses if the laundry is not too well done. We just feel thankful to have it done at all. I hope after the war we stay as adaptable as we are now, at least for a while.
We send you our love and thoughts all the time. We are right here, behind you pulling with you to the best of our ability. God bless you all! Your devoted if garrulous old Clam.
Old Duxbury Clam Calling:-
The moon is full and the high fall tides are coming up to the foot of the bank so you can’t walk on the shore. We can’t reach the in-post of our overhaul. By the usual miracle those shooting blinds on the marshes never seem to get carried off, even with the water up over their chins.
School opens this week. One of the first jobs will be to get this letter printed. There is a new High School principal, Mr. Walter F. Scott. Mr. Green is now Superintendent of Schools and has his office in the Abbot House, “far from the madding crowd”. They tell us that the elaborate schedule for the school bus is almost beyond the limitations of human comprehension this year. Pre-primary children go to the Point School; 1st and 2d grades go to Tarkiln: 3d and 4th to the Village School… a geographical head-ache for somebody!
You remember the Miles Standish Club, organized as a recreation group of Duxbury children from about 10 to 18? Well, with the very able help of Harriet Crocker they put on a bang-up minstrel show to which the whole township turned out and were rewarded by a very snappy performance with catchy songs and choruses and lots of local jokes, most of which seemed to center on Eben Briggs and Mr. Murphy of Snug Harbor Fame. The hit of the evening was “The Snug Harbor Quartet”, four of the pretty summer waitresses who sang “Gonna make the San Fernando Valley Mah Home” and brought down the house. Mr. Murphy was interlocutor. The evening was a howling success (no offense implied please) and that little Club is standing firmly on its own feet by its own enter rise.
This is caterpillar season and I spend a lot of time trying not to get knocked down by our fourteen foot tree-pruner, as I snip off the nests from the wild cherry trees, and dodge them successfully now and then. We can’t burn them as of yore because of the drought, so we take them down and dump them into the beach-channel on an outgoing tide in the hope they will make a non-stop run out past Gurnet, or at least become thoroughly disorganized in the “house-market”. Sea-going caterpillars!
Brooks and ponds are very low. We need rain so badly that it has become the major topic next to the war.
Be sure to remember to notify Mrs. Charles Day in Millbrook about any change in your address as she likes to keep her card-index right up to date.
Labor Day has seen the usual exodus of summer people, and now it will be possible for the people who get on the bus at Hall’s Corner to get a seat. Perhaps. The R.R. Express man is practically nuts. What with gas rationing, he has to take all the junk people used to take in consecutive trips on the family car. At the best his job is no cinch but over the Labor Day week end it savors of nightmare as of course the man-shortage hits him hard.
Herrick has been running a Beach Bus to transport very small children to the beach once in a while with a director to picnic and swim, and they go by the house in a din of joy and high spirits.
The two churches, Congregational and Unitarian are getting on like a house-afire in their joint services and on Ancestors! Sunday there was a big crowd. Do you remember that first Ancestors’ Sunday when the Rev. Dudley Child made his famous announcement? In order to ascertain how many descendants had attended, he suggested that after the benediction the congregation remained seated, until the last descendant had passed out. Quite a wait? Mr. Child has never been able to live that down.
The Marshfield Fair went off with a zip this year, having uninterrupted days of sunshine and coolish weather, although many a farmer there would have welcomed a five day rain. There was a good attendance. Everyone had been saving gas for weeks in order to get there, and there was no end of car-pooling, as cars were loaded to the gunwhales. The 4-H Club was in full cry and what do you think? A calf was born right there at the Fair! A prize heifer, no less. Roy Peterson’s daughter won a thirty dollar prize in home canning. On Sunday there was a lot of military demonstration.
New members of the Armed Forces:- Irving Whitney, Navy: Earl Torry, Army: Anthony Lagrecca, Army: Charles Terravainen, Army: Henry Marshall Freeman has received the Purple Heart. Alton Whiting is Machinist’s Mate.
There have been raids by sea and by land on High Pines for the huge crop of beech-plums and home canning is on full swing although I think I am mean to mention it.
There is still a modicum of time to send for your absentee ballots and we hope you will all do if you haven’t sent in your ballot already, for we want your votes.
We are all glued to the radio twice every day. God bless you all. I wish I had some news for you but as I have told you before, your old town is too busy and behaving well doesn’t make news, what? This week’s headline news is the super-colossal scrap collection. And when the Red Cross sets up the next Blood Donor Centre it will do a rushing business for people are all steamed up to go. We send you our love as always and remember, nobody is going to slack until the war is won. The war-industry workers celebrated Labor Day by working full time as usual and nobody kicked either.
Your devoted old Clam
Duxbury Clam Calling!-
Second only to War news this month is the news of our recent Hurricane! The Weather Bureau issued bulletins all day and those of us who could, and had a grain of sense, remained indoors that evening. The first blow struck at about ten o’clock, preceded by a lot of rabid blue lighting in the south east, extremely vivid and not at all natural and simply livid with fury and queerness. Then the wind… At about twelve we got into what they call the core… where there was a most hateful and treacherous lull which in turn was followed by the real thing… a hurricane of tremendous force.. beyond description. The next day was muggy, sunny and serene but the cruel it displayed was almost beyond belief. Trees were down, there was a tangle of wires and debris: the parking area at the Yacht Club and Town wharf was simply terrific. It is said that three quarters of all the Duxbury boats were destroyed… and when I use the word destroyed I refer to piles of kindling wood. The breakwater went down like children’s blocks… Nobody could even identify their boats for a long while. Capt. Davis and six men were busy hauling marine motor out of the water and that is all that was left of his boat. There has been an old motor boat on a cradle in the Lumber Co. yard for several years and had a sign nailed on the side reads “ Keep away from this Boat” It stood that morning smugly on its old cradle, absolutely untouched in the midst of indescribable wreckage. Several big yachts were dumped on Long Point march like child’s toys in a bath tub. The whole village was a shambles of huge trees uprooted and in many cases lying through the roofs or mixed up with broken chimneys. All wires were down. I can’t say enough in praise of the Line Men who were on the job immediately and when I tell you that it was ten days before there was any electricity on Powder Point and in parts of the village remote from the main street you will have an of the extent of the devastation. Paul Peterson said he had never been able to decide until then upon a name for his house but when he saw it that morning he decided to call it “The House Under the Linden”… for obvious reasons. The sea wall along the south shore of Powder Point was battered and broken down and huge bites were torn in the bank. The Benedict’s brick wall, do you remember, all those arches? went down completely and the shore was covered with smashed boats. In Duck Hill River the Pratt’s cat-boat completely disappeared and has up to date never been found trace of. Hundreds of big trees on the Point went down but all the little resilient cedars snapped back into place the moment the wind let up. The glass porch on the Rueben Peterson house and all the porch furniture blew completely away and has not been found since… literally. The good old bridge came through it pretty well and is merely warped, with the north railing now leaning out over the water. The worst of the blow was near the water front, although it did plenty of damage in the back part of the town. Hen coops took off, and many people lost apple trees and barn roofs and so on. There was no tidal wave and no surf on the outer beach. We realize that compared to what is going on where you are, this is a child’s bedtime story but we thought it was pretty exciting and is of course the only thing anyone talked about for a week. The ice men were indispensible and they were good to us all, even to those who had never been costumers, and everyones Frigidaire had to be bailed out every two hours to catch the drip from the thirty pound slabs of good old fashioned ice that was put on one of the shelves. As in all calamities, neighbors were good to each other, sharing gas stoves and taking spoilable food into old fashioned ice boxes of which there are still fortunately a good many left. Well, the experience is now well behind us, and nearly everyone has huge piles of hurricane wood in the back yard for 1945.
By reason of the new Government ruling you must write a request for the renewal of your subscription to the Readers’ Digest if you wish it to be continued. Write your request to Mrs. Charles Day, Millbrook and she will see that your number is continued for the coming year.
This message is for the ARMY (NB FOR OVERSEAS ARMY) only. For some reason Navy Digest service o.k. The Political Campaign is on full tilt. I am simply dying to tell you whom I am voting for but of course that is tabu. Hurrah for America in any event.
We are having temporary shortage of butter as long as you don’t we can take it… or any other little inconvenience.
Schools have opened and the Powder Point bus has stopped running so they have to catch the bus at the flag pole nowdays. Do you remember the little First National store that stands opposite the cable office? They have removed its front and when you stand anywhere near it and talk, it sounds as if you were talking in a huge empty hall. It makes a fine waiting room for the bus passengers and all the hurricane did to it was to give it a list to starboard.
It looks like late November in Duxbury. There will be no autumn foliage this year as what few leaves stayed on the trees are all squizzled and brown. Quite a dramatic year thus far in the weather. First, killing frosts in May. Then the worst drought on record, broken the last of August then an earthquake shock which was felt by many along the coast, and now a c [sic] text-book hurricane.
We are all with you, humbly and devotedly trying to do our part here, and we send you our love, to each and every one of you… God bless you and God speed THE DAY.
Duxbury Clam Calling:-
Our last letter was full of hurricane new and here is a little sequel. The Pratt’s boat was found at last, way down on the inside of the outer beach near High Pines. Now the wind was from the south east. How the Pratt boat got itself out under the bridge and two miles IN TO the south east gets me. It is a problem for the Army and Navy to work out. Now somebody wrote up from the Pacific area and asked who the Clam is. He hit the answer right on the button when he suggested it might be a Civilian Secret. It is. It’s just an old Duxbury Clam with its lip zipped.
Here are a few news items that have come in. John Parker has engaged space in which to wish you all a Merry Christmas… A lad from Mirimar wrote to ask that we pray for him. We do, and for all of you in all parts of the troubled world… The mother of our district nurse, Susan Carter has received the posthumous award of the Silver Star for her son’s gallantry… We have a new Wave, Victor Nickerson’s sister, Martha. Bill Murphy of the Duxbury Police Force has returned to Duxbury after a siege in a Boston Hospital… Speaking of Police, Mr. George Green now has his new office in the east room over the Police Station so when you see people going to the Police Station nowdays you never know… John Dewolf has a son! … Eddie Soule is back in his home at Millbrook. By the time this letter reaches you, Election Day will be the thing of the past and we shall know how it came out. So with GREAT restraint I refrain from telling you who I hope is to be the winner
The hurricane did not blow ALL the leaves off and there has been some beautiful autumn foliage after all. Wonderful high tides. A rather feeble gunning season. Lots of fine surf on the outer beach. Lots of skunks doing their fall chores in their noisome way. Lots of sea-gulls resting in the fields at Bay Farm, all aimed the same way and clouds of starlings wheeling around in basic training for the flight south. Nearly all the women folks carry deep canvas bags to market. “Don’t wrap it up” we say, and open the voluminous bags for the market man to drop things into…. Our clothes come back from the cleaners in the course of time, but before we get them, they snitch out the pasteboard hangers to use over again…In resteraunts ( who ever said I could spell?) they give you a choice of a little cream-cheese ball or marmalade in place of butter. Who cares? We feel we are lucky to get a roll at all.
It’s a woman’s world. In spite of the various jobs the girls are now in you can’t tell ME they won’t be glad to get back to normal and let the boys take over after the war. But they are doing a swell job while they can. Pretty girls now deliver telegrams around Boston. Pretty girls in dungarees swing off express trucks and run in with bundles. Pretty girl conductors run the compressed-air doors on the subway trolley cars and call out “Park Street. ALL change!” Pretty girls drive taxis. In fact there are a lot of pretty girls doing work that lies at hand to tide over the civilian utilities. Lots of smart little boys of the Quiz Kid type are cashiers in restaurants (how DO you spell it?) There’s one in the station lunch counter in the Middleboro station and believe me, THAT’S a man-sized job!
On Boylston Street in Boston the other day I met a lady walking along with a striped tiger cat on a leash. Just like that. There is an old man who walks on the Esplanade by the Charles River who wears high shiny boots and a tan gallon hat, has a white moustache and goatee and very healthy rouged cheeks. He thinks he is Bill Cody, Buffalo Bill and it is said that he has thought that for a good many years. He seems to enjoy it. There is also a fleet of model sail boats that they sail in the lagoon built and operated by various grown-up men of Boston. Everyone watches the races and it is a lot of fun but it makes me mad that men can still play like little boys and not be thought balmy. If a woman took to sailing boats in the frog-pond people would shake their heads and say “Poor things”. Men really have the advantage in too many ways. For instance men can grow bald and still remain quite attractive, but nobody can say much for a balding woman? Unfair!
The Standish Club is going strong and it is one of the best enterprises Duxbury has ever fostered. The young people have fun and take an enormous pride in their Club.
The Library is decorated with several very spirited oil paintings by Mr. Fisher Ames, the Librarian. Mrs. Ames said she wished she has a painting of a red barn… so he painted one, got going and couldn’t stop and all of a sudden people find that their librarian is also no mean painter. Beaming Betty Bolton is still at the Library and sends you all her greetings.
This may reach you around Thanksgiving Day…You may be absolutely sure that everyone at home is thinking of you and thankful beyond words to express, for the courage and power that you are in you all, and for the justified hope that is in us all at this time.
May this letter bring you a whiff of the brisk north wind that is now blowing over the Duxbury marshes, in imaginary taste of the checkerberries in hidden places in the woods, and the love of all your townspeople.
P.S. Since writing the above. I have stood on a windy street in Boston watching the United War Fund Parade. One float was a huge inverted Puritan hat in which stood a Puritan Maiden, but the gale that was blowing gave her all she could do to keep her skirts from blowing clear over her head which they did more than once… so that there in her pretty laced panties looking more like a Siegfried Follies girl than anything else stood a Puritan Maiden struggling wildly with her long skirts in a merciless wind
Duxbury Clam Calling:-
Well, here is another Christmas in a wicked world!! It would be senseless to wish you all a Merry Christmas if it were not the old greeting which we use for the hope of better days to come. We send you this letter to assure you of the love and unspeakable admiration and respect for every single one of you in the Service today. As usual we are all behaving ourselves so blooming well that there is no headline news to report, no scandals, no nuthin’, unless it is weather. Our first snow storm came on Nov. 24th. The air was thick and it looked like the real thing until it hit the ground and disappeared. It reminded me of a person in a fine temper who didn’t mean a word he said. But the winds have been something! If the September hurricane has not raised our standards so high as to what a wind really is, we would have two more blows to tell you about in no mean terms. The tides were stupendous, with sea-weed, drift wood and escaped dories stranded on the front lawns…the spar-soak flooded way back almost to Nora Smith’s house and plenty of flotsam and, believe it or not, jetsam too, on the low stretches of the village street by what some of us older guys still refer to as Frigg’s stables, or Toni-the-barber’s…Anyway there by the cable office. Wesson Mansfield has written that he wants to send Christmas greetings to everyone but he plays favorites – “especially to the Class of ‘31”. Malcom Mosher has received his Ensign’s commission. ..John Shirley has moved. The Russians crowded a bit and his prison camp was moved out of range. Maj. John Abbot received the Legion of Merit from Brig. Gen. Robt. M. Webster in Mediterrannean [sic] Area. Abbot has been in the Service 25 months. Kenneth Howland has entered the Service and 4 cadet nurses are in training who, when ripe, will receive their appointments. Alice Soule has resigned from Town Office to enter American Airlines, and brother Eddie is home on leave. Mrs. Flannery of the Sailor’s Home reports tide way up past her flag-pole and waves of such dimensions that I dare not describe them lest it aid the enemy! Now that election day is over I don’t mind telling you who I voted for… which reminds me boys! I have found out who writes the Clam Comuniqué from absolutely the best authority. There have been several enquiries about his or her identity and it gives me great pleasure to tell you who it is. It’s ME. …I have the easy part…the people who work hardest for you in regard to this letter are the High School boys and girls who it up for multigraphing, and the lady who has recently signed herself in a letter to me, “Clam’s friend, Lobster”, Mrs. Charles Day addresses them. How would you like to address some 297 letters with those complicated numerical-ridden addresses of yours? However she says she loves to do it. And let me remind you again that she has all the addresses right up to date and would be very happy as to act as clearing house agent for any letters you want to write to each other and will forward them promptly…. On Christmas Day there will be prayers in every church and home all over the nation. What we all owe to you is beyond reckoning but you must know that in every city and town all over the country, everywhere, post war plans are being made and your return to normal life is uppermost in everything discussed. Your Christmas present to us is our lives and our homes and we know it, every minute! In the present cigarette shortage all kinds of queer unheard of brands are coming to the fore. They are in the nature of dregs, and are made apparently of what-have-you, sweepings, cornsilk and perhaps old string. They light so well that they resemble a torch! If you’ve got all you want we don’t care whether we have any or not. We can always dry some sweet fern! “The Lobster” just reported that the Senior High School play this year is going to be The Ghost Train with Richard Washburn as the station-master. There were 230 absentee ballots returned to Duxbury of which 134 were from Civilians and 96 from Servicemen. She also says that the curve at the junction of Congress and Union Street has been widened “a great improvement of a foggy night whether the fog is atmospheric or mental”. Mr. Philbrick is teaching two classes a day and Mrs. Philbrick has the Opportunity Class. Wayne Stearns has been home on furlough…the lucky guy!
Picture your little ole clam rushin about on its bicycle tryin to stir up some news. It sees the edges of the marshes crisply outlined in shining ice. The sea-gulls mooning inland… froth at the mill-dam blowing up and across the road…something to dodge when you are on a bike. The town looks bare and wintry earlier than usual this year on account of the hurricane and subsequent winds. No gangs any more at the Post Office…just the usual intermittent callers although for the evening mail there is always quite a village sociable…more than in normal years for the mail means a lot to a lot more of us.
Jim Hill, the carpenter is living in the cottage near the Ellisons on Powder Point where Mrs. Warner lived for so many years and he is in great demand as one of the few carpenters available if you can catch him. Carl Santheson is still on the milk route from Bay Farm and George Newitt is still the village postmaster. Mr. Murphy keeps Snug Harbor open all winter and it is a great boon to many a driver…Good old Eben Briggs eats there quite a lot. Running an eating place nowdays is no joke and really should be listed as a public service. Lots of them are closed, for instance the Howard Johnson places in North Plymouth and in Greenbush…and were closed all summer as well. Currier’s in Plymouth is still going strong…but everything is slowed up from shortage of help, as most everyone who can work at some essential war factory does so. You see the pretty girls all over the place waiting for bus or pool-drivering cars to take them to their work.. and lots of them dress in dungarees and visored caps and have big red buttons on their lapels. The little eating place in the cute little house at Hall’s corner is still open too I believe and of course you can get cookies and things to go with the hot drinks at Paul Peterson’s drug store. Paul has got his tree out of his top floor now and the roof is mended. He still cheerfully dispenses favors from his store as do all drug store men who are willing as he is to make things easy for folks…that is…you may use his telephone, ask directions, get things taken out of your eye, buy stamps, get a drink of water, and dozens of other things that do not add to his cash register. In my humble opinion the best men have a lot of success – story material that never goes through the cash register. As for example just imagine any price that would balance these years for you boys.
This letter written by your Clam goes out to you for everyone in Duxbury and must serve to take our love and all our thoughts.. to assure you that in our humble way we are trying to back you ..that we shall best celebrate Christmas by purchasing extra War Bonds. God bless you all and our warmest greetings…If you don’t think it is hard for a measly little clam to express its feelings in such a letter as this, just you try it for yourself! May we all be together in a peaceful world when Christmas rolls around again.
Your inadequate but devoted,-