Duxbury Clam, 1945 Issues

January 1945

Duxbury Clam Calling:-

Perhaps the best news to send you first as a fitting New Year’s greeting is to tell you that Duxbury exceeded her quota in the Sixth War Bond drive by quite a margin. Also the teachers and students of your old High School by sake of War Bonds and stamps collected enough to back a Jeep, and far from sitting back and calling it a day, they are starting right over again to back another. This, I believe will help to make you realize that the ole home town is on the job, pulling with you to the last ditch.

The High School play went off with a terrific bang this year. It was The Ghost Train and if you remember the play, there is a great challenge to the sound effects engineers. Under the direction of a guy named William Dunkle, they did a grand job and all but walked off with top honors. After the last curtain they got such a hand that they finally had to clear the stage, drag in all their stuff and do a solo. The audience went wild. Another feature is that at the eleventh hour poor Dorothy Randall got sick and Mrs. Warfield had to pinch hit for her which she did with great success.

Later in the week the Standish Club, that enterprising organization of Duxbury youngsters put on a film called I WANT WINGS.

Personal bits: lcCM Melville Sinnot has returned to his ship after a brief shore leave. Pvt. Ernest A Jones is at an Army Hospital recovering from wounds received in Germany. Henry Olhson is home convalescing from an operation at Marine Hospital. RDH Richard Ford USCG has also returned to his ship after a week ashore.

More winds! On New Year’s night we had a gale that at times reached 80mph mark along the coast. This sort of thinking has become routine with us now and we think from now on that instead of reporting winds of hurricane force we shall just let you argue we ha e [sic] had one and will take up space only when we can report that we have not had one.

Mr. Murphy of Snug Harbor has done a lot for the general morale of the town, especially for the young people both by opening the doors of Snug Harbor for parties, and being a sort of Johnnie-on-the-spot when things are afoot that need a helping hand or voice. He’s really quite a guy!

The R.F.D. man has a lot more boxes to stop for as more and still more stick em up for him, in order to save the daily jaunt to the Post Office in the interest of not using unnecessary gasolene. [sic]

The New Year was ushered in this year more soberly than usually…the churches were more popular than the night clubs. There was no noise or whoopla…just the village church bell striking the hour…and every single person in Duxbury and probably everywhere else…thinking of you out there.

We’ve had a little snow and some icy roads but nothing so far from the snow plows to get their teeth into…Women’s hats still don’t make sense although many of the women under them DO. The women Defense workers all mean business. They are more engrossed in keeping things moving than in fancy dress. They wear gay scarves over their head and old clothes on their backs: some of them go in for dungarees and engineers’ caps with visors. Sex-appeal is mostly on the shelf for the duration, but when THE DAY comes they will be only too glad to chuck the factory togs and resume smart clothes, silly hats etc. and take up their subtle ways again!

Met a Boston lady the other day who keeps a pelican in her guest room. Seems someone gave it to her and she kept it on Cape Cod on her place which has a pond on it and Barnacle Bill was very happy. She expected the Franklin Park Zoo or Benson’s Animal Farm would practically fight over getting it in the fall. But they didn’t want Bill as a gift. So this lady cleared out her guest room, bought an old fashioned portable bath tub in which to float Bill’s dinner of a great many fish…and established him for the winter. When she comes home she glances up to the third story window and there is old Bill with his cheeks pasted against the window watching for her and squwawking [sic] a welcome. This same lady stopped a truck going by her house full of old Merry Go Round horse and bought one…which is now leaning against the wall in her front hall. She has fun as she goes along! She has a ravishingly pretty daughter who drives a truck full of soldiers between Boston and Devons! A HORRIBLE feeling comes over me at this point that I’ve told you all this before.

You ought to see the cute kittens in the Cooper Drug stores in Plymouth. They lead a charmed life, playing around on the floor among peoples’ feet and now and then taking a tentative scoot up someones leg…which is sometimes received quite well. Depends on whether it is a stout pant leg or a frail stocking! However most of the ladies’ stockings nowdays are built to withstand a beating,…nylon is just a word to us.

The cigarette shortage is still “on” but if you get yours there’s no kick coming. I saw a lady with a pipe the other day. The bowl was about the size of a thimble…a two-puff-pipe…cute but senseless.

Food has gone back on rations again…after being “off” for some time. This makes some grumble but not the ones who use their brains. Of all the new rulings that have come out of war emergency, rationing makes the most sense because it affects most people. The old chestnut “Obediance [sic] to law is liberty” is the best formula there is unless somebody can think up a better one.

The state of war brings a lot of civilian changes. For instance railroads are concentrating on keeping the wheels and tracks and signals in good shape but the housekeeping on the cars is pretty awful. So we help it to be worse by throwing al our rubbish on the floor. The back yards along the tracks as you approach Boston give evidence of the shortage of manpower in the street departments…yards are a mess. Buildings look shabby…everything needs painting, fences need repairing, taxicabs are shabby and the kind of gas we have to use makes most of our engines knock somep’n awful. You hear taxis hurrying by going snip-snap-snippety-snap…no more lovely purring motors. As for brass…who has time nowday to polish brass? Imagine! no  “white sales” after Christmas. Does that click? It is the time that housewives replenish the linen closet and buy new sheets and pillow cases at bargain prices. This is all a casual statement but not a complaint. We still know what is important and what won’t matter until the DAY. I feel tongue tied when I try to express to you all the warm feeling that lies behind this letter from everyone in Duxbury…but in a great surge of sympathy and love and admiration we humble wish you a Happy New Year and you KNOW this is not just tossed out in the idle ways of other days..but is as much a prayer as a wish. God bless you all…and may 1945 be the year of Victory and the year of your return home..

Your devoted and humble old,-

February 1945

Old Duxbury Clam Calling –

Last time I was asked by my superior officers to watch my margins.  I guess you noticed why last time.  After all, if you are going to get a letter from Duxbury it would be practical to be able to read it, or at least find most of it on the paper?  Now I just hate to bring up the wind again, but on January 4th there was another blow that flattened the big shed of the Duxbury Coal and Lumber Company and if that’s not news, what is?  An old land mark gone with the wind.  You may imagine how that changes the immediate landscape.  (How’m I doun’ as to margins?)  Now I hope we are through with wind talk …. Your High School has paid for another jeep!  It is hard for me to refrain from adding “JEEPERS!  What kids!”  but I would not stoop to a pun so we’ll skip it…. The other day I got a great kick out of what I saw at the Boston Natural History Museum…right in the back of the entrance hall, a great big exhibit behind glass…several huge grey-back sea gull standing on real sand, sea-weed and beach grass, real ones and the background was painted and there was Clark’s Island, Saquish and Gurnet Headland as real as life on a beautiful east-wind day!  Once some years ago I saw there a glass case in which were pin-up mosquitoes on little cards with their addresses.  I saw one from Marshfield and one from Kingston but nothing from Duxbury.  At first I was so indignant to have Duxbury not represented that I was about to go to the desk and register a complaint when the brain began to work and I realized that  our mosquito control was the reason so I did an about-face and felt proud as Punch….. Here are a few news items which in a way I hesitate to send you as they all concern furloughs and marriages, and it seems kind of mean… Anyway here goes!  Lt. Comm. Norman White had a 30-day leave, a few minutes of which he put in being best man for Henry Hurd who was married on Dec. 30.  After 34 months at Panama Sgt. Frank Putnam had a 27 day leave which he spent on Bay Road with his ma. Dick Putnam is at Guam with the Marines:  Willard Putnam is at camp in Texas.  That takes care of the Putnams pretty well.  Reunion at Pearl Harbor!  Alfred Freeman, Wm. Swift, Vincent Schollp and LAWRENCE Whitney had Christmas dinner together there! … I mean all together…. Sally Joyce’s niece up and married Lt. Clifford H. Swearinger and Sarah Bennet married 2nd Lt. Jasper Ward…. Kenneth Garside gave the High School a piano!!  You can just imagine the classics and the whoopee!

There are some newly designed trolley cars that run from Boston to Watertown which are simply swell.  The wheels must run on ball-bearings they are so smooth and they must have very fancy springs as they roll like a ship when people are getting in and out or they are taking a fast curve in the subway.  They operate by foot-power only and the motor man just sits there and twiddles his thumbs.  She starts like a bullet from a gun and all the passengers roll right into the back so nobdoy has to call out as of old “stand well back in the car, please, Passageway” the passageway is automatic.  They stop just as quick and that sort of automatically shoots the passengers out the front.  Neat.  Morning and night they are packed to the teeth with Defense workers… Paul Peterson has customers at both ends of his store.  People in front and all the birds in Duxbury at the back.  He knows them ALL by their first names, important guy, Paul.  (I am trying to sound real tough in this letter.)

But we all send you our love and all our thoughts… Words are not very good carriers… God bless you all!…. Short month…short letter… More next time… from your devoted old, (drawing of a clam)

P.S.  See Pictorial section.

March 1945

Do you remember good old F. B. Rideout with is weather forecasts?  Well, in February a storm crept up on him.  More Headline weather!  This time wet snow fell and then froze.  The plows went out and broke their teeth on it.  The going was fierce for a few days and some of the power lines went down with the overburden of ice.  Eban Briggs delivers oil in several places by hand where the going made them inaccessible.  In one instance he ran his pipe line through the dining room window, through the living room, cut through the kitchen door to the intake in the back yard.  Soon after the freeze came a violent thaw.  But we just got out the bilge-pumps and of course most of the munition workers drive Fords and although our cars knock and are getting pretty rickety, they are still the good old amphibians they always were.

The Plymouth bus still limps over to Plymouth every Thursday loaded to the gunwales.  They ask us urgently to please stand back from the doors but we think we are darned lucky if we can squeeze inside the door to stand back from.  It is always a gay good-natured crowd and in Town Square it is one of the sights of the week to see it disgorge Duxburyites, always about three times as many as a bus can hold.  Some of us are there to put War Bonds in the safety deposit box; others have appointments with the hair dressers; some rush to the cobblers to get new soles on old shoes and of course we all wind up at the ten cent store, hurrying through the errands to get to the movies.

The junior scouts are having a great time.  There are now four packs of CUBS, boys between 9 and 12, run more or less by DEN MOTHERS who keep them from running absolutely wild.  There is a girls’ Club called the Sew and Sew Club.  You can’t guess what they do.  There was a dance recently at Mattakeesett Hall and Pioppi’s good old orchestra furnished some pretty snappy music.

More enquiries have come as to the identity of your old Clam.  Darlings, I TOLD you before… it’s me, none other!  I’ve lived in Duxbury for years and years and it is through no fault of mine I was not born there.  I was born in East Boston near the Air Port but there was no air port then.  It was in the balloon age.  Anyway I bet there is not one of you who knows Duxbury any better than I do.  I know all the marsh creeks and have rowed many times to Rainbow Bridge and even out through Cut River and home along the outer beach!  I know enough to take the right creek too and not waste my energies in Labor in Vain.  I bet you don’t know where Labor in Vain is????  I know all the channels in the Bay, the Horse Market, Captain’s Flats, the Cow Yard, Saquish and Gurnet by land and by Sea.  I know Eagle Tree Pond and the Dyke and every woods road you’ve got.  I know Duck Hill and the Old Cove.  I know all the little paths that trickle behind the village highways and the lanes that shoot down to the water.  I used to tread quahaugs and last summer I dug a bucket of clams with my bare hands when our red points gave out.  I know places to find mayflower in April that I promised I’d never tell, and in October I can find checker berries on West Street.  In short, I don’t mean to brag but just to demonstrate to you that I am indeed your old own Duxbury Clam.  And I’ve got a neat little blue bicycle with a gear for the hills and do I use that gear!  I don’t wobble when I ride.  And I DO write this letter and it tickles me to pieces when I hear from you that you like to get it.  But listen… I only write them.  Mrs. Day, whom you know, addresses them.

Here is a cute number trick.  Write down any number of three digits.  Then reverse the same number and subtract the smaller from the larger.  Then reverse that answer underneath and add it, and by jinks the answer is 1089, or if it is not it ought to be.  Now if you want this to sound even smarter… get a book, turn it to page 89 and copy the tenth line before you start this trick for your friend.  Then give him the formula above, and when he has his answer, reach carelessly for the book and ask him to turn to page 89 and you will read him without even looking, the tenth line.  Boy!  ARE YOU SMART!

Here’s another… particularly good if you want to know how old someone is.  Give ‘em a pencil.  Have them write down the number of the month in which they were born.  Multiply it by 2.  Add 5.  Multiply by 50.  Add their age.  Subtract 365.  Add 115. Now then:  the first figure tells you the month.  The next two tell the age. Why?  Don’t ask!

Corporal Edmund P Frazer is one of the fellows who helped to keep supplies moving in European Area.  He is a radio repair man.  There is very little personal news this time I am sorry to say.  I could report a few furloughs but that, at this point would not seem very tactful for you overseas boys and girls.

In my next letter I will report to you the main issues of Town Meeting. Things seem to be quite peaceful at this point… no great fights going on that I have heard of.  Your little Duxbury Nurse is still running around upon her good errands.  Come ice come thaw, that little orange colored car gets around.

Thanks to the movies, news reels and “regulars” we at home get some very graphic pictures of what is going on.  Nobody is going to think you are on a picnic!  On the radio, too, we get a few look-ins.  There is a new one out this week called Winged Victory…all about the training of the Air Force…a terrifically impressive picture done by real guys.  I think it will become a classic and you can all see it when you get home.

Cigarettes are getting VERY short for civilians but let me assure you that nobody really cares as long as you are getting yours and plenty of them.  It is a fact that lots of women have taken to little bits of pipes.  They wave the stubs of cigarettes and when they can’t get any which is frequently the case, they fill up the little pipes and have a somewhat dainty little smoke.  The pipes hold a little less than a thimbleful and are made of wood. Not bad.

We all send you our love and the assurance that we are back of you in War Bonds and general good behavior for the most part.  The Red Cross drive is going off to beat the band and we are all set for the next War Loan.  God bless you all and bring you back to us.  As always, Duxbury is whole heartedly behind this letter.

Your devoted old, (drawing of a clam)

April 1945

Duxbury Clam Calling!

I read an item in the Old Colony Memorial a few days ago announcing that at a meeting at the High School, Mr. Edmond Kent “would demonstrate the use of bombs in modern warfare.  The meeting came off and the High School is still standing!  Town Meeting came off this year without any fights to report to you.  The subject that created the most talk was the recreation centre for the community with special regard to having a good big place for returning servicemen to have fun in.  Some people who do not like change made quite a hullabaloo but considering that it is thanks to all of you that alterations of a very different sort have not been made all over the Atlantic Seaboard, knocking down a bit of the past to your advantage seems at this point to make a lot of sense.  The damage to wires etc. done by the various storms has caused the Elec. Light Co. to send out requests to the owners of summer houses to have all outside wires tested by an electrician before turning on the current and as a result Mr. Murray is simply turning cartwheels to fulfill the flood of orders.  We have had two really hot days with the glass around 84º and we all rushed up attic to get out cotton dresses.  Two days later we resumed winter garb, just like all New England Springs.  Robins have come and even though you don’t HAVE to believe me, I saw a female bluebird with a mouthful of twigs sitting on an apple tree.  Grass is greening up in the sheltered places.  The marshes are still drab but any day now they will begin to change.  The tree tops are just starting to feather out.  Crocuses and jonquils are out but the oaks as always are hanging onto their ashes-of-roses leaves and will be the last to succumb.  We are all praying that this is the last spring when “Spring Push” will mean anything more than the push of buds from the good earth.  And we pray that by some miracle we shall be able to help you to forget these frightful years you are enduring.  Even if we all break our necks in the effort we can never begin to make it up to you but the will is there!

Someone told me a Boston Symphony story I must pass on to you.  A lady seemed to be having a hard time to keep from coughing, and from the seat behind a hand stretched out and gave her a little pellet which the lady most gratefully put in her mouth.  A few seconds later the lady got up and squeezed by the people in her row, right in the middle of the music, and went hurrying out of the hall.  Later the kindly one who had handed the cough-drop looked in her bag and found to her horror that she had handed her a pellet of plant-food…. Concentrated manure!

On Easter Sunday I went up the line to a certain strip of rocky coast which you all know.  There is a huge listening device and sitting in the sun with earphones clamped on his head and a growling police dog at his side was a C.C. behind barbed wire.  The sea was blue and calm.  Thousands of seagulls planed screeching over a rock off shore, and in sheltered inlets I saw millions of little scoters.  I can’t spell and I am running off the track!

I never knew less news.  Remember the little bright red A. & P. store that used to be opposite the Cable office?  The hurricane (excuse me for mentioning it again) blew off its legs and it has now been torn down, opening up a delightful view.  People waiting for the bus on rainy mornings are going to miss its pleasant shelter.

Easter Sunday brought the first forest fire over back of Plymouth in the woods near South Pond.  SOMEBODY had a cigarette, but what a way to use it!  The papers and magazines are full of wise-cracks about the cigarette shortage.  Most of the jokes have run out and a lot of us have had to break the smoking habit.  You ought to see the lines that form in the Liggett Drug stores in Boston when a shipment comes in.  And in the South station.  Way out along the sidewalk!  One package per person.  The cigs give out before the line gets very far.  If as many as three people form a line anywhere, everybody joins it.  I started to join one but found after I had inched along for about fifteen minutes that I was in a line for some sort of Income Tax stuff.  So I inched out.

I have not decided yet whether or not to tell you that I have rented my house for July and August this summer and shall be writing to you from Chocorua, N.H.  I will let you know in the May letter.  If I tell you, please don’t be mad with me.  I shall keep in touch with Duxbury and beside that I shall take you all with me.

Summer folks have begun to creep down to look things over and to repair damages from the fierce winter.

We honestly think of you all the time, and there is not any slackening of effort to keep you supplied with what it takes.  God bless each one of you.  Words are flimsy things at this point.  We love and honor you and this comes from all of Duxbury via your loving and devoted old, (drawing of a clam)


June, 1945

Your Old Duxbury Clam calling

We received a letter from the Pacific promising your Clam the following reward at the close of the war; “If you are a woman, one lip-resounding kiss; if a man, even if you are the local clergyman, I’ll buy you a drink; and if you’re on the School Committee, two drinks!”  Now your clam qualifies for two out of three!

Mr. Rideout has resumed his long-range weather forecasts so now we can plan a week ahead and we know who is to blame if it rains, but sometimes, really, the guy is right!

New enlistments in the U.S. N.  Norman Shaffer, Billy Mosher and Bobby Chandler, and in the Infantry, John W. Westervelt.

The best news of the month is the liberation from German Prison camp of John Shirley and the turning up alive and well of Forest Edwards, reported missing after the Belgian Bulge.  Both boys are on the way home!

The meat-shortage is getting shorter and the cigarette-lines are getting longer – one pack to a customer as long as the supply lasts. Some of us have begun to roll our own and they vary in size and shape.  Their quality is nil.  The ones I roll light up in a fine high flame.  I have a very short nose so I can get in quite a few puffs before that member is actually scorched.  Shops in town display little pipes for the ladies. Have seen only one in use, 4 puffs and its empty.  One company has put out some cigarettes made of coffee with a help base.  They taste exactly like the cat’s whiskers.

The other night on a Quiz program I heard a young woman lose a jack-pot of some $250 in war-bonds because when she was asked “who it was whose first name was Clara and who founded the Red Cross?” she answered instantly, “Clare Luce Booth!”  Really I think she had it coming – the awful roar that went up from the audience.  So the prize adds up another bond for next week.

Captain Fred Bailey, Boston Harbor Pilot (retired) talked about his experiences before the Men’s Club.

Mr. Green, retired principal of Duxbury High School, is planning to start a lumber-business in Maine.  We all wish him well!

The Hanover-Duxbury baseball game was rudely interrupted by a forest-fire call and they all tore off to fight the flames.

The South-Duxbury R.R. Station burnt up quite mysteriously the other night and with it a lot of stock belonging to Walter Prince, who used it for a store-house.

S 2/c Wilma Nickerson was home recently on leave, Dorothy Boland is not bookkeeper at Herrick’s Garage.

Summer people are pouring in and if you ever can get a plumber, the new technique is to lock him in.  Neighbors in their desperation think nothing of trying to lure him over to their place.  It is a miracle that all the plumbers in Duxbury are not bald, with everyone in their hair.

The markets are a problem anyway you look at them, but let me assert here that I believe the average market-man ought to have a fine citation for his cooperation in the war effort in regard to food dispensation.  The worst that can be said of civilian “Suffering” in connection with food is “inconvenience.”  There is never any food-shortage, but Oh! Boy! A shortage of choice.

“To market, to market to buy a pot roast

Home again home again (shrimps on toast.)”

But the heartache for beloved sons and husbands in war-time has been womens’ part in War over all the ages.  You all remember Natalie Soule and you will be saddened to learn that her husband, Nathaniel Henry, Lieut. J. G. died of cancer at a Naval Hospital in this country.  Natalie has one of the cutest babies in the country.

Spring has been so cold that those of us lucky enough to have furnaces and fuel have ridden them hard.  Here it is June 4th and we are still literally in winter clothes!

We all send you our love and our constant thoughts.  God bless you all – this letter goes to you from a loyal and devoted Duxbury through the medium of your devoted (drawing of a clam)

P.S.  Mrs. Day reports 36 Duxbury boys mustered out on counts!

July 1945

Duxbury Clam Calling:

In case you read my last letter I must confess that I made two [sic] many claims on that post-war award. I am not “on the school-committee” and I am not a “local parson”, so all I can claim is the “one lip-resounding kiss.”  No drinks.  The drinks will be on me.

Here are bits of local news:  Corp. Lawrence Raymond is back at his home-base in the Pacific after taking part in the battle of Iwo Jima.  His brother, Corp. Morton Raymond, U.S. Army, is serving as M.P. in Germany.  Corp. Frank Rogers, erstwhile portrait painter and one-time school-bus driver, is also over there, having been in some of the last engagements under Gen. Patton.  MO.M1c Richard Prince U.S.N. has been transferred from Norfolk, VA., to Melville, R.I.  Richard Tower is now Sgt. and is in San Francisco between trips on Army Transports.  Brian Jones, son of Ernest, had quite a birthday party outdoors with quite a lot of his contemporaries.  He is two years old.  Staff Sgt. Luther Hanson, Jr., wounded on April 1, is on convalescent leave with his Mother on Tremont St.  Lt. Com. Norman White had a short leave with his family.  His son, Robert, enlisted in the Navy, reported for active duty recently.  They gave him a party and on the table was a miniature air-craft carrier filled with money.  The carrier was not quite as big as life, of course.  Pvt. Joseph Dries of Sunset Rd, is with the 9th Army in Germany.

Your old Clam is about to have shore leave and will write the next communique from the mountains at Chocorua.

Now, darlings, I’m going to BORE you!  On June 26 we had another gale!  Down came wires and a few more branches.  The poor old line-men were all over the place the next day.  The surf was terrific.  It was the “edge” of a tropical storm, and it was some edge!  This excitement was preceded by what we call hot weather, but I hesitate to harp on that when I know compared to the tropics it would merely seem refreshing to some of you.

The boys are pouring back from Europe and people are begged to stay home.  I’ve saved all my gas-coupons to make the 125 mile trip to Chocorua and shall save the next ones to come home.  So I won’t take up any room on a train.

We think President Trueman [sic] is O.K. and I’m sure you do.  The San Francisco conference has the teeth which were lacking in 1920 and there is hope now that this ghastly era of total war will not be repeated.

John Abbott Jr. has been reported missing in the Pacific.  Government films are being shown which give us an idea of the unspeakable hell of war.  The Iwo Jima film was received in horrified silence.  I believe it is right for Civilians to see what it is like.  The effect on most thinking people is to buy extra War Bonds, the only kind of flag-waving that makes sense.

Huge fields of daisies are now on the wane.  The buttercups have gone by and now there are fields of golden coryopsis.  The vegetable gardens are all coming along well and the business-men spend all their evenings working them.  The old Colony Memorial in an editorial asking patience about the meat shortage, suggests that we view our red-coupons as hunting licenses and be good sports when the hunting is not good.  There’s plenty of food.  If a giraffe can thrive on a vegetation diet, we can.  As I’ve said once before, barring heart-ache, the only thigs we have to bear is inconvenience.  I really don’t see many gripers.

All the summer people have come.  The P.O. fence simply bristles with bicycles.  One little boy spends all his time dragging a daschund around in a thin cart, obviously built to accommodate a dog of that model.  The long bridge is lined on both sides with wistful fishermen and women of all shapes in slacks – catching flounders.

All the stores keep their cigarettes hidden and dole them out discreetly and justly.  We average one or two packs a week per family.  Most people play fair.  You no longer ask for a certain brand.  You just ask weekly for cigarettes and if you ever get any you are thrilled and grateful.  One woman I know spears hers with a long pin and smokes it down to the point of disintegration.  Cigarettes are now nothing but a few ashes.  There ought to be fewer brush-fires this year.

We all think of you all the time and pray for the end of this cruel and barbaric war.  God bless you all.

Your loving and devoted: –

(drawing of a clam)

August 1945

Duxbury Clam Calling: –

First, lest you think being in New Hampshire, in Chocorua, means I have turned by back on Duxbury, I will hand out a few news items concerning some of you – this one, via Reuters –

“Guam:  The Japanese soldiers trying to row about 1000 miles across the Pacific in a 12 foot skiff were picked  up by the crew of a U.S.C.G. Transport skippered by Comdr. Gordon A. Littlefield of Jocelyn Ave., Duxbury.”

Mr. & Mrs. Eden Glover celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary proving that marriage in Duxbury lasts.  Mrs. Dick Crocker conducted a Social at the hospital at Camp Edwards, with a group of hostesses representing the Old Colony chapter of your Red Cross.

You can get your hair done at Leo’s barber shop, which is leased to one Louis Beckes of Wolleston.  Tech. Sgt. James O’Neil who was seriously burned a few weeks ago has returned to Gen. Hosp. at Devons after short leave with parents.  Miss Margaret Elliot’s nephew, IC Petty Officer Fred Elliot, attached to Saginaw Bay and recently returned from Okinawa, has been here on a visit.  Capt. Thomas W. Herrick Jr. after 20 months in Aleutians is now waiting reassignment.  Harry Tammett and Mrs. Isabelle Magee (“as was”) got married in Carver on June 17.  Our visiting nurse, Miss Carter, is assisting at the Ted Shawn school near Lee, Mass.  It sounds like a restful holiday – the name of the place is Jacob’s Pillow!!

Mrs. Horsfall, R.N. is carrying on in her absence.  A well-baby clinic turned out a lot of well babies.  New joiners in the armed forces, Stanley Nightingale, marines; “Larry” Lovell, A.S.T.R.P., training for 17-year olds – Army; Robert Byrne, Army; Lawrence Lovell, Army.

The Church fairs have all come off with pleasant weather and success.  Leaves, as follows:  Warren O.H. Stanley, V. Johnson, on a 15-day furlough; Lt. Frank Bennett, U.S.N. short leae; Forest Edwards, recently home from German prison camp, has a well earned 69-day recuperation at home; Sgt. Lawrence Vincent, after 4 years has received honorable discharge and is visiting Mr. & Mrs. Ray Hubbard, on Standish Shore; Ensign Malcom Mosher has been transferred to Los Almitos to await assignment on a carrier; Ph. MIC. Robert Foote, who has served 20 months at a Base Hospital in French Morocco, has been assigned as X-Ray technician on U.S.S. Raleigh.  Among 60 C. G. who left for west coast recently, was BM 1/c Clyde Chetwynde.

And that’s all I know to date.

As for your Clam, it is way beyond high-water mark at present writing.  They say you can see the Atlantic from the peak of Chocorua, but I can see it just as plain from under a nut-tree.  Quite appropriately the little two-room cottage I am occupying stands in a field under 4 nut-trees.  One of the first things I did was to paddle down the road 2 miles and a half, to the little village to buy a War Bond.  Our car is turned out to pasture until we drive the 125 miles back to Boston to pick up the cat and then to Duxbury, where I belong.  I don’t like fresh water!!!!  What decent home-loving clam would!

The hay is all in here, so I’ve nothing to do but follow little blazed trails through the thicket, darkest woods I’ve ever seen, full of deer tracks.  We’ve only seen one actual deer.  But on the slopes of Chocorua mountain there are bears.  It is not fear of bears that keeps me from climbing it!

There is fascination in brooks and I forded one little noisy stream on two narrow boards with no rail.  The fact that I regard this as something to broadcast the world-over, will give you quite a hint as to the prowess of your loving old Clam!  When I get home I shall wallow in the mud at low tide just for joy.  There’s nothing to equal salt water, kelp, drift-wood fires, burnt marshmallows on a stick, the clatter of boards on the long bridge, the steady couned flashes on Gurnet, and that blessed little beam from Bug Light.

The Provincetown boats are running again!

Well, I came up into the mountains because I wanted to, so I needn’t gripe!  This is the Country of Robert Frost and the quiet solid New Hampshire farmers.  It is peaceful and remote but when the wind is east I sniff in vain.  I’ll bust when I see my first sea-gull.  What will you dear things do when you first see Duxbury again?  I know you’d all rather live under a barn in Duxbury than wherever you are as you read this letter.

Through the rickety, but devoted medium of your inland-Clam, I have vested in me the right to send you the love of all Duxbury.  Our eyes turn west and we see the Sun go down on its way to you.  God bless you all and may this ghastly war end sooner than we think.

I’ve left the bet news for the last, and it will be old news when it reaches you.  But yesterday the Senate ratified the charter!!!  The British election leaves Churchill complete in clouds of glory – and the world of the Common man seems nearer.  This, I must hasten to add, is the private opinion of your Clam and “does not necessarily express the opinions of my sponsors.”

Signing off some 800 feet above sea-level (but what of it?)

Your loving and devoted    (drawing of a clam.)


Your old Duxbury Clam Calling!!!

There is deep rejoicing in your home village this day… but it is not hilarious and care free celebration for we know full well that the war is half over and that there are hard and terrible months ahead.  Honor and glory to you in the European area and you may be sure there are simply NO WORDS to express our feelings of thanksgiving.

Early in April there was a wind storm but that is now routine weather so I won’t even mention it.  This has been such an early spring that on April 19th, the apple blossoms were in full bloom and the lilacs all but out.  Dandelions are sparkling in the green grass.  Gardens are planted and coming along.  The edges of the marshes are bright green, even the slow old oaks are coming out… the red maples and other colorful young leaves make parts of the woods especially in swampy land look almost as bright as October foliage.

I dropped in the other day to see young Captain Herrick, on leave from the Aleutians and found him half way into the family washtub giving his black flying-retriever a bath.  In the Aleutians Tom was called to the telephone “It’s a girl calling” he was told.  “Nuts” said Tom, “I don’t know any girl around here.  You take it.”  But it turned out to be Jane Morgan of Duxbury, with the Red Cross in the Aleutians.   What meet-ups you boys get these days!

Mrs. Day has had a letter from Velma Glass in the South Pacific and also heard from Roy Schollp in the same area.

Mr. Green is retiring this spring after twenty years in the Duxbury High School.  Many improvements have come about under his administration.

That lovely spring sound is in the air, afternoons.. I refer to the sharp crack of a bat in the baseball field.  It always reminds me of proud days in my youth when at 16 I was temporary manager of a team of Duxbury boys.  We all biked over one day to play a team at Standish Shore.  I remember Kendall Blanchard was on our team.  I was set up for umpire and Standish Shore quite naturally objected to a girl-umpire.  So Kendall ordered me out into the field to bat up a few.  Then he ordered me to pitch a few fast ones over the plate.  Standish Shore said “Aw Heck!  Let her ump.”  So I umped.  Remember that was some time ago when girls wore skirts and I DO MEAN skirts.

The crews are rowing on the Charles river and on calm days if you happen to be on the esplanade you can hear very plainly the cross voice of the coach sounding orders to the crews.  I couldn’t do a thing if anyone yelled at me like that!  These young huskies won’t be rowing shells long.  But the training will harder their muscles for a very different kind of shell-work as soon as they turn their age!

I saw a helicopter fluttering about the basin.  They are able little creatures but they look to me as if they were coming apart.

In a way I am sorry Duxbury minds its own business and behaves so well, thus preventing me from brightening these pages with a bit of gossip or scandal.  It’s a busy little town and everyone is working through V-E Day just as usual.  It is the only way to show appreciation and honor the victors — to keep moving and not to slack up.

You’d laugh if you could see your old clam when she is through writing this letter.  [*arrow points to drawing of a person typing.]  I use a very potent carbon paper for the mimeograph and it gets all over me from head to foot no matter how careful I am.  I always emerge with a moustache and blue fingers.  All the good typists are in the service.  As witness the answer I got from an enquiry in a Boston Department store.  Question.  “I note your ad about slacks.  What colors do they come in?”  The answer came back with gratifying speed.  “We have a limited number and will be glad to fill your order.”  (Is a horse?)

There is a rumor in the papers about discontinuing the Old Colony Railroad from Braintree and pushing us off into buses.  I don’t see why they can’t just run one of these cute little one-car-things where the engine-room is partitioned off and you chug along on crude oil.  I rode in one from Northampton to Greenfield the other day and I thought it a very gay little outfit.  At the crossings it bellowed like a mad bull and as we lumbered into the station-stops a naïve little bell tinkled. Anyway one thing we know.  If they take up the tracks they won’t be sending them to Japan for scrap.  What will Lewis Taylor do if they take up the tracks?  He has been gate-tener at Kingston ever since 1620.  Just outside yard-limits in Plymouth there is a lady crossing tender.  Now there’s a job I’d like fine!

They tell me that one of the popular dishes at the Harvard Club in Boston is broiled horse meat steak.  It is unrationed and I know it looks smells and tastes very good but not for me!  I love horses and I would feel I was eating up a pet!  Just an idea with no sense behind it.  We get very little meat nowadays, but plenty of eggs and milk and if you don’t mind dressing it yourself, now and then, you can spike a chicken of sorts.  You can always go fishing.  No complaints from here.

To all of you, victors and fighters, our love and our deep everlasting regard.  God bless you all.  I waited to date this letter V-E Day, thinking I would be able to say something but the words don’t come… Just that I love you all and this feeble letter from home, humbly and gratefully. –

YOUR OLD  (drawing of a clam)

September 1945

 Duxbury Clam Calling –

What can we say to you who have brought this Peace to pass!  Anything I might write must sound sappy – but darling boys – you did it and you will soon be home — Our thanksgiving knows no bounds.  On V-J Day the old town went perfectly wild.  Doors flew open – everyone rushed out to hug their neighbors.  Old New England reserve blew sky high.  Horns tooted, church-bells rang and the old Air Raid Siren practically blew its old heart out.  Pandemonium broke loose!  Churches were packed with humble services of victory and the hope of a new and better world.

We fully realize that a lot of you will be kept away from home in far away places and your old Clam will stand by as long as there is one boy left on duty.  It may take a long time to reach you in the avalanche of change – So if you get this letter, do write your new address to Mrs. Charles Day in Millbrook, for she is turning cartwheels in an effort to locate you.  Her telephone is kept busy with inquiries about food conservation on which subject she is the expert.  Life magazine should have visited her preserve room.  You never saw anything so beautiful.  Her garden is all there in glass!  If anything is keepable, she’s got it down cold.  Many others have done it too, but none as perfectly as Mrs. Day.  This activity on the part of your home-front has been one of the real bulwarks of economy.

To go back to V.J. day – Eben Briggs tore all over town on the fire-truck, not only working off his own exuberance but patrolling the town for possible damage.  There was none but had there been, good old Eben would have conked it on the spot!  We’ve heard from Jane Morgan, (Red Cross) in the Aleutians and she expects to be transferred to Alaska.  To date 43 service-men have been mustered out.  One boy sent an S.O.S. to his family for 2 shoe-coupons saying “you can’t dance in these army brogues!”

The effect of last year’s hurricane is evidenced in a sort of shabby look in all the trees over town.  They will probably feel better next spring.  They look tired.  Caterpillars are having a big time.  The wild cherries are festooned with heavy nests and you spend a lot of energy picking little crawlies out of your neck.  Goldenrod and Joe-pieweed are all passed and the fall asters are in bloom on the roadsides.  The apple crop is not too hot this year, but the cranberries are coming along well.  Crows are making bedlam in the early morning.  Food-rationing is slowing down a bit and cheese is off points.  You can get real cream now from the milk-man!  Also you can buy ice-cream for Sunday dinner!  Imagine!

On the streets here, and in Boston, I’ve noticed a marked difference in people’s faces.  They seem more relaxed.  The strain has let up.  The public buildings again stand out in the night in flood-lights but thus far the old State House dome still has its dull gray war-paint.  Lumber priority has let up and carpenters are coming back to civilian work.  The big fabulous Hingham ship-yard is closing down and many factories have been reconverted to peace-time work.  Magazine ads have gone to town with delirious predictions of goods for civilians soon to be available.  The mysteries of Raider are being revealed.  The curtains are all going up.  Airline services are stepping up their schedules.  Readiest of all is the very sudden recall of gas-ration coupons.  You can fill her up with Ethyl and it’s not so much fun on a bicycle now because of traffic.  Nobody has borrowed my bicycle pump for weeks!  Cigarettes are back!  No more long wistful lines of hopefuls, waiting for one pack.  Meat is still scarce and eggs are too, but nothing will ever matter now!  The war is over!

I wish I had more news for you but in the blinding light of Peace, nothing seems to be happening – no doings to report – no news but that y our old town is in a dither of joy and too deeply grateful for words to express.

God bless you all!  We shall stand by – just so long as any of you are away from home in the service.

All of Duxbury sends you love and great honor.

Your devoted old – (drawing of a clam)

October 1945


Well, these must be homesick days for those of you still left in the service far from home, and we want you to know that we are with you to the last ditch and will keep on sending you letters until you are all back home for good.  I don’t have to remind you that Mrs. Charles Day of Millbrook is eager to have your changes of address as promptly as you can get them to her.  She simply chews up one pencil after another trying to keep up with you and if any effort can bring your Clam’s feeble communications to you, she has what it takes.

Every day or two somebody strolls in with an honorable discharge and we hope it will be your turn soon.  Among those already mustered out for good are the following lucky guys.  Sgt. Victor D. Nickerson, A.A.C. overseas 4 years.  Corp Frank Rogers from Germany, hunting about the attic for his old dungarees; Col. Harry Pratt is back in practice after 4 years overseas in the medical corps; T/S Carl Bitters who got back to Duxbury in four years by way of Africa, Salerno, Sicily, France, Holland and Germany and there was a grand family reunion at his home near Crooked Lane when his sisters came home from their various jobs to help celebrate.  Raymond Chandler is also “out”.  S 1C. U.S.N Martha Nickerson has had shore leave; and so it goes.  I know you’ve got it in you to rejoice over these homecomings even though it may not be your turn for a while.  We are still with you!

The foliage turned overnight in that spectacular way it has.  At present writing we are having a long spell of Indian summer with really high temperatures, but earlier in the moth we had some really snappy cold and the cranberry boggers suffered the usual headaches in fear of frosts.

Some food has gone off ration-points but there is still a healthy restriction on this and that.  We can get all the cigarettes we want now; no more long lines at the tobacco counters— no more rolling your own crooked undernourished badly packed fags.

I don’t think enough can be said in praise of the various civilian services understaffed and over-worked, who have carried on through the entire war period, such as laundries, dairymen, and the frenzied marketmen who not only have little tiny paper ration-points to keep track of but who have managed the food supplies with justice and patience in most trying conditions.  For the most part everyone has been fair-minded and co-operative but a few gripers may be found in all communities.  Perhaps one of the cutest sights in the market was the smiling innocent face of Mr. La Fleur twiddling his thumbs on a meatless day behind his clean and empty counter.  But nobody is more cheerful and happy than he is when there IS meat.

Duxbury went over the top in the War Fund drive which is just over and the Red Cross is still going along with the good work.  There has been already one Servicemen’s party at the Legion Hall and there will always be more.  The good old Salvage committee still bumbles around once a month and collects paper and what-have-you for the Government.

If any of you remember the shed that used to stand near the old Higgins house on Washington Street, which had an American flag painted on the other side, you may be interested to know that we met it the other day, taking off for a new location.  I haven’t discovered yet where it went, but it is a landmark which I can remember for more years than I have any intention of recording.

Had a card the other day from Phil Swanson’s wife, saying they were “coming back to Duxbury soon,” so I think perhaps he is out of the Army.  I’ll find out and tell you more next time.

I may as well confess that I am writing from Boston.  A lot of battleships are in the harbor and the town is simply rocking with U.S.N   Never saw so many sailors in my life.  Yesterday about 50 planes roared back and forth over the city in the most BEAUTIFUL formation, to celebrate the arrival of Gen. Kenney.

I think we all feel alike; that in celebrations which seem to center on individuals of high rank, it is the G.I. whom we all must honor and this is always evident in the speeches made by the big shots.  It is not just talk.  It is THE REAL THING.  A general couldn’t get far without the Army or an Admiral without a Navy.

We shall follow you wherever you go and we hope you will write your addresses pronto to Mrs. Day.  I’m going back to Duxbury today, so my next letter ought to be a better one.  Our love and devotion are still right with you all.  God bless you and bring you home soon.  Through the feeble piping of a certain clam among thousands of good clams, all of Duxbury sends you their love and cheer.

Ever your devoted admiring: –  (drawing of a clam)

November 1945

 Duxbury Clam Calling:

Well, believe it or not, James M. Curley was elected Mayor of Boston.  I refrain from comment, except for saying that here is a wonderful set-up for the “repentant sinner.”

Among recent servicemen who have received or are shortly to receive honorable discharge are the following lucky guys:  William G. Swift CM 1/c U.S. Seabees, CM 1/c Richard C. Crocker (also Seabees) Forest Edwards, Army, Sgt. Richard W. Tower, Army, Wm. E. Jones U.S. C.G.  and Chief Steward Henry A. Olhson, Merchant Marine.  There probably are more, but these are all I know about.

On Sunday Nov. 4 nature gave us our first snow-storm and it was quite a humorous one.  The air was thick with flakes that looked like a cartoon of a snow storm – they were as big as silver dollars reminding me of a child’s picture – like a blustering old man who doesn’t mean a word he says – the flakes disappeared instantly on the ground.  But it was a very pretty flurry and looked theatrical.

The book-markets seem to be bringing out no end of quick-language courses – and the other day I reviewed an “easy method” to learn Russian.  These books are useful and I suppose it is better to speak a language badly than not to speak it at all.  After all “the Laird” in good old “Trilby” of the gay nineties who asked for “oon pair de gong blong” got what he asked for!  I hope you boys in foreign lands can do as well!

We are sorry to have held out on you with the October issue but Mrs. Day was standing on her head about your addresses and that is not a position conducive to writing.  She has come down now and is at her desk doing her best to reach you all.  She ought to have a citation anyway, for addressing envelopes is only a fraction of the many services she has performed, and goes right on performing in behalf of her servicemen.

The popular song of the moment is the choo-choo song launched by Bing Crosby “The Atchison-Topeka and the Santa Fe,” very catchy, (like Chattanooga Choo Choo, made famous in Duxbury at one of the High school Shows by Phil Swanson.)  There is a terrific output of Tripe in the song factory but now and then one goes over the top and blooms like field-daisies for a month, only to suddenly disappear.

We send you special love and hope you are not too homesick.  We think of you all the time and honor you just as much in peace as in war.  Take care of yourselves and let us know where you are!

Your loving and devoted old (drawing of a clam.)

December, 1945

Duxbury Clam Calling —

Your friend General Eisenhower rode through Boston on Armistice Day and we all felt that his genial smile came right from the ranks.  We feel very strongly that he is not only a great man, but that he is consciously only the symbol of the G. I.’s whose heroism the crowds are cheering.

We well realize that this Christmas will be a particularly lonely one for you who are still on duty- for the changing of location, reassignments, etc. make you rather elusive.

Do send your address to Mrs. Charles Day – keep her posted.  We can’t even send you your good old Reader’s Digest without a written request for us to enclose with each subscription.  So hop to it!

And by the way, if any of you would like a letter straight from your old Clam itself, I will respond pronto!  Meantime this communique will go out each month until every last guy is home for good.

I was lucky enough to be in Boston to see the show put on by Boston Tech which, as you know is right on the Charles River.  They staged a rescue for thousands of spectators as part of a victory Bond Rally.  First a plane was seen in the river with clouds of “smoke” pouring out.  A few rockets shot up.  In no time at all a big navy plane appeared from an E. Boston air-base, and dropped a rubber boat.  The survivors paddled away from the plane, and then a rescue boat came like a rocket form down-river and picked rubber boat and survivors out of the water complete.  Then from the quadrangle at Tech. a cute little helicopter rose and went reeling over the water, hovered very low, let down a rope and hauled up the boys – later depositing them neatly in the Quadrangle.  That evening people all over Boston sidewalks, bumped into each other, with eyes bulging in wonder at the searchlights shooting up for miles into the sky.  Now and then they seemed to leave, detached from the visible beam, big round dreamy-looking discs which just stayed there, looking weird and unearthly all by themselves.  I’ve no idea what they were!  Maybe you know!  Tricks of Radar to astound the ignorant!?  I am always enchanted by the performances of helicopters.  They look so rickety and irresponsible and they behave like humming birds, standing stock-still in the air, as if pausing to smell of something.  The big shizzy-whirl on top gives it an air of not giving a whoop!  It’s such an independent little creature, making no demands on anybody.  It can land on a 50-cent piece and has a devil-may-care grit which makes it seem to be definitely the comedian of the air – potentially serious.

A few scraps of news – Lieut. Lloyd Blanchard is flying all over China, and according to recent communication, says he is sick of ration-food.  Not an original antipathy, I’m sure.  You must all be.  Sgt. Harry Chisholm once held a unique post “Captain of the General’s yacht” if you can figure that out.  It seems the General had a yacht.  He wanted to get from Luzon to Japan.  So the yacht was hoisted onto a freighter, and they lived on board the yacht on board the freighter until they were hoisted off again at Japan, just exactly like that.  John Shirley has settled down in Michigan.  Dick Crocker is home for good.  Pvt. Stanley Nightingale is back after leave.  Everett Estes is back for good and is now meat-manager at Hall’s Corner A & P.  I hear there is a doughty little six-man football team at the High School!  A new, young, attractive minister has come to the Congregational Church.  He is a bachelor and lives with his mother, but we can probably fix that!

The famous restaurant in Cohasset, Hugo’s, burnt to the ground early one morning form a fire which started in the kitchen.

Imagine an LCT tied up at the wharf at Plymouth with thousands of visitors during Navy week!  I can remember when the event of a summer’s day was watching the old Rose Standish come wheezing in from Boston with its cargo of tourists eager to see Plymouth Rock.

(Feminine Fashion Notes.)  They say hair is going to be shorter!  Present style is too varied and hats are getting away from their base!  They are worse than ever now, and run to vast heights which, combined with long slabs of hair down the back make us all look as if our heads were two feet long.  But they still wear little snarls of flowers which are called hats, and perch like nobody’s business over the eyebrow.  In winter the smart thing to wear on your feet is a pair of heavy clumsy boots with fleece-linings which make you look like a door-stop.  Middle-aged ladies are seen with lavender hair verging on light-blue, and this is the way we try to look young with what would otherwise be white hair!  Some girls favor snoods, and wear what looks like a school-bag on their heads.  From the front it looks like a simple beret, but if you sit behind one in the theatre, it looks like you can’t see the stage.  The fashion-designers are getting together, it is said, to pull a fast one.  They say there has to be a change because too many styles spoil the market.  So prepare yourselves for something radical, like shaved heads and merry widow hats  Shoes went off ration-points last week.  Maybe soon the hole in the toe and the bare-heel will be closed and we’ll get more leather and less draft.  For some strange reason, the belt-line stays stubbornly at the waist!  But I predict that it won’t be long now.  I’ll let you know promptly which way it goes when it goes.  I suppose men will soon get cuffs back on their trousers.  Personally I don’t see any sense in cuffs on trousers, but men will probably hail the day!  I’ve yet to see a man who does not glance in any mirror he passes.  They are exactly as vain as women!  (You’re telling me!)  The fad of sloppy dressing in the girl’s colleges persists and they still wear their shirts dangling outside.  But when they have dates they look as nifty as ever!  You see a lot of pretty girls in fur coats in town and no hats at all.  I think the reason for this is the hair-do, which sometimes challenges any hat.  This also annoys the modistes! And adds up to the need of a radical fashion re – so brace yourselves for a new world!

I won’t bore you by sentimentalizing over you, but still we want you to know that we feel that your present job is exactly as important as all that went before – and that long sustained service far from home, in camp or in foreign lands takes courage and fortitude and what has been termed “intestinal stamina” but which I prefer to call good old American guts.

Very much love from all your fellow-townsmen through the agency of your devoted old Clam.  Nor shall I quibble and mince words – but send you from the whole town, from the western boundaries to the outer beach, a warm and loving Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you are.  God bless you – and may you all be home safe and happy in the course of time.

Happy New Year – from your old doting, (drawing of a clam)