Wednesday, October 5, 2011


In moving some files around, trying to make room for more files, I came upon some of my school papers dating from 1943. Our school, Willard Elementary in Long Beach, California, periodically produced a mimeographed newspaper called "Junior Press." Articles were written in each classroom by individual kids, and some were chosen to appear in the newspaper. My mother saved many of these "newspapers" because quite often one of my little stories was in it. Mother had pasted the pages in her scrapbook -- and by the time I inherited her files these pages were really in poor condition. To keep them for "posterity" I made photocopies of the pages, from which the two pages below were scanned. (They will appear in larger format if you double-click on them.)

You can see that this first page has the newspaper banner on it: JUNIOR PRESS, Volume 4, No. 2 - Willard School, January 29, 1943. I was in second grade that year. I did have a story - 4 short sentences - in this volume about an airport our class created in the classroom. What I remember specifically about this course of study was that each student had to make an airplane out of a block of balsa wood. I remember the sanding, affixing the wings, and the silver painting. I had a little boyfriend named Jerry Lapposa and he helped me with my plane (a bomber, I think it was), while my little heart went "Pitty-pat!" I was in the 2B class.

A later issue of the newspaper dated April 6, 1943 and called "The Willard Press" had a page devoted to the school's war efforts. Again, mother saved it because of the story I wrote on the USO - but somewhat longer this time - 5 lines! But when I read this today I saw the first entry, the one at the top left, that indicated these articles went into a "Schools-at-War scrap book" which ultimately landed in Washington DC for an exhibit.

During those war years our school, like probably every other school in the county, had a victory garden, sold war bonds -- actually, sold the stamps to paste in a book until we accumulated $18.75 worth of stamps, which then was converted into a War Bond, collected scrap metal and learned about V-mail, the USO, and other things we needed to know for living in a country at war.

I've often thought of all the ways our education was impacted by WWII. Reading these old pages reminds me. But to be honest with you, reading that one little paragraph about the "Schools at War" scrapbook has certainly piqued my interesting. A cursory snoop with Google only turned up one reference to it. Since I have a hard time letting sleeping dogs lie (and sometimes think I am compelled to learn every single thing in the whole world before I die) I guess I've got another project to research! And I call that FUN!

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