‘Letters to Our Boys’

This is the second installment of The Express’ weekly “Letter to Our Boys,” written during World War II to let “our boys” know what was happening back in their home towns. We will bring the letters to you weekly, thanks to the efforts of Fred and Anna Snyder, who compiled the letters over several years of research and donated a full copy of them to the Clinton County Historical Society.

Saturday, November 7, 1942


Well the election is over and with all the political speeches gone, it looks as though there will be a greater threat of a shortage of gas.

Clarence Moore was elected to represent Clinton County in the State House of Representatives,defeating Bill Nunemacher, of Renovo. Clarence, who is a Republican, says that the secret of his success is that he learned to cage votes when he learned how to tie up sales of automobiles. He and Congressman Wilson (no relation to Woodrow) Gillette, representing the new 15th District in which Robert F. Rich did not seek reelection, are both former Ford dealers as is a relative, John G. Snowden, Williamsport, neighboring state senator, who was reelected. Moore’s election motto is “Sweep in a Jeep.”

The republicans swept the voting in Clinton County and the state, electing General Edward Martin for govenor and George B. Stevenson, Lock Haven, state senator. A McElhattan woman listed in the records as dead was very much alive and voted; Castanea Township, Democratic stronghold, went Republican for the first time in 15 years and the vote was light due to the lack of interest because of the war.

Memories of another era were recalled Wednesday when the court here sentenced a bootlegger to three months in the pokey.

With the boys away the hunters are not so numerous. There is a shortage of ammunition but many of the old-timers stocked during the summer. The prospects are that the kill will be heavy considering the number in the woods.

Pfc. Harold Englert, Camp Gordon, Ga., was home on furlough but could not keep away from guns. He went hunting and come home with the limit of rabbits.

Others home on leave were Lieut. (jg) Dave Pursley, Norfolk, Va., Navy Base; First Looey Louie Hurst, Camp Edwards, Mass.; Ensign Bob Deem, Navy Air Base, Norfolk, and Pvt. Johnny Rapiny, Army Air Force, Atlantic City. Serveral girls were in the rush to greet Rapiny. The brick works at Beech Creek took the lead in war support as its employees were the first in this county to sign up 100 per cent to have 10 per cent of every pay deducted for War Bonds.

Lydia Jane Furst, T.C. graduate, was married to Chief Petty Officer Frank Sente, Moffett Field Cal. Lots of girls go for “petty” officers.

Dr. C. H. Stein, St. John’s Lutheran pastor for more than 19 years, resigned, effective Nov. 15, to take a synodical position in home missions.

Early Knepley, Fallon Hotel manager, and the missus are proud parents of a son, born last Sunday.

On the sports front, Lock Haven High School was upset 19-0 by South Williamsport but came back to down Bellefonte 39-0 Wednesday. Lock Haven Teachers, one of the 27 undefeated and untied college teams in the U.S. was idle, but meets West Chester today. I will have the score in my next letter.

The county commisioners are talking of buying or renting (probably buying) a building for a new county home as the old one is n.g. according to the grand jury, the state and nearly everybody else.

Pennsylvania American Legion posts, including Lock Haven, are in the scrap. They will conduct a drive from Armistice Day to the end of the month to have many jalopies junked. It is a question whether jalopy junking will save more American pedestrians’ lives than it will kill Germans and Japs through providing more arms.

Pennsylvania farmers may have thought they were in Germany this week. The state Agriculture Department told them they did not need a butchering permit.

Rochester, N.Y., and its Martin Pfunter, father of nine who enlisted have nothing on Lock Haven and its Abiah H. Yufer, who left Thursday after being drafted into the army. Yufer did not serve in World War I as he was the father of a young son but he is now a grandfather and eligible for World War II. I am certain that this will be thought-provoking news to the local boys who are trying to dodge the draft but then just how can you shame a draft-dodger?

The Lock Haven High School Band just marched past, seeing a flock of draftees off. I will try to have the boys learn a new tune to add to their repertoire of three before you get back. A daughter, their 19th child, was born to Mr. and Mrs. J. Roy Hill, this city, who have a son, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hill, 24, in the army. The sarge is a glider pilot at Stuttgart Ark.

A letter to Frank D. O’Reilly from seaman Jack Bressler, Flemington, who used to play a lot of football for Lock Haven High School years ago but now is stationed at the Dutch Harvor, Alaska, Naval Air Station says: “There is one thing that I must say, a thing that I am very proud of, and that is the treatment I received while home on leave was great.” Jack explained that he could not write much since the letter was to be censored, but the censor knocked out the words anyway.

I never knew they had cavalry in the navy but Jack says he eats “like a horse.”

Jack, one of the Sea Bees, found that his transfer to Alaska made it possible that he may see his brother, Pfc. Kress Bressler, who is serving with the army engineers, having been in Alaska several months. The boys have not been together for several years as Jack had been employed in Alabama, and Kress worked in Indiana prior to entering the service.

Pvt. Tom Johnston, now with the medical detachment at a station hospital at the Homestead, Fla., Army Air Base, writes home that he enjoys the army and did not dislike the basic training although it was hard. Before being moved 25 miles from Homestead to Palm Beach, Tom happened to meet the caretaker of the estate of Brenda Frazier, the New York debutante who became Mrs. John (Shipwreck) Kelly. Says Tom: “When he noticed how excited I was about it, he showed me through the house. Of course Brenda wasn’t there.”

There isn’t much else to write about except that the government will ration coffee soon and the announcement of the impending regulation has given rise to the quip that the newest curb crack of the panhandler is: “Say buddy, let me have a nickel and I’ll tell you where you can get a cuppa cawfee.”

— Col. O’Corn