Letter to the Editor: One childhood memory of the WWII era
Published 6:35 am Saturday, July 13, 2019
Gene Gallelli’s recent column regarding air raid drills during the WWII era reminded me of a war-time incident in my old home town of Weirton WVa. . . a steel mill town about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, PA.
As I recall, it was in 1943 or thereabouts.
Weirton – and just about every American city and town – held regular air raid drills (just to be ready for whatever the Nazis might throw at us. I mean, Weirton was a STEEL town and its output went straight to the War Effort!)
My Dad was out of town, since he was editor of TWO steel company employee magazines – one in Weirton and the other HOURS away for Great Lakes Steel, near River Rouge MI – 10 or 15 miles south of Detroit. (His job was deemed important to the war effort and his gasoline rationing sticker allowed him to buy gasoline whenever he needed it! In later years, he reminded us kids that he TRIED to enlist but was told his job was too important to the war effort!)
Anyway, on a warm summer night, Pa was out of town at his “other” job near Detroit. My kid brother and I were in bed. Mom was taking an after-dinner nap on the living room couch. The living room windows were wide open for ventilation.
All homes and businesses were under orders NOT TO SHOW LIGHTS at night for fear of enemy bombers! (The general wartime feeling was, “Hey! You never know!!”) Oh oh! mom left the living room light on! The blackout curtains remained un-deployed. Mr. Ed Scully, our affable down-the-street neighbor AND our block’s Air Raid Warden, was on patrol . . . spotted the light . . . came up on the porch . . . crawled through the open living room window (home air conditioning was unheard of back in the 40s!) and in the process of turning off the light, inadvertently woke my Mom!
I was awakened by a couple of loud squawks from Mom . . . followed by an intense apology from Mr. Scully!
That was the end of it . . . but Mr. Scully, for some years later, would wink during occasional meetings, recalling the gaffe and the aftermath!
It’s funny how some things – like a newspaper column – resurrect OLD memories!
All the best!