A letter to a soldier in France during World War I is seen here. The letter was discovered among family archives. (Photo courtesy Ann Berg)

A letter to a soldier in France during World War I is seen here. The letter was discovered among family archives. (Photo courtesy Ann Berg)

Pioneer Potluck: Sharing memories in honor of Veterans Day

“Thank you to all the veterans, past and present, good Luck and Long Life.”

  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019 10:10pm
  • Life

I am writing this on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 in Nikiski. The patriotism that was instilled in us kids was from my dad at the dinner table on a farm in northern Colorado. He was one of the most patriotic men I know.

He had three brothers in the service. Uncle Evan and Uncle Guy were in the Army and Uncle Lester was in the Army Air Force during WWII. They all came home a little worse for wear.

Uncle Lester contracted malaria and spent a few months in a hospital in Denver before he was discharged. When he got out of the hospital knowing Dad had a farm north of Fort Collins, he hired a Denver taxi cab driver and arrived at the farm in a cab, which us kids had never seen! A taxi in our yard plus Uncle Lester — WOW!

I am not sure who paid for the 60-plus mile trip in a taxi or whether the taxi man even charged him. Uncle Lester stayed with us for a few days and went home to Kansas. When he reached our farm he did not know his mother, my grandmother, Hattie McClure, had died. It was a big blow to him.

Dad often proclaimed he wished he was in the service. He was classified as 4-F, as he was a farmer providing essential crops for the armed forces.

I thank Niece Maggie McClure for this information:

“On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, World War I ended in 1918.

“A year later, they made the 11th of November Armistice Day to honor those who had fallen and those who survived. Today we celebrate Veterans Day to honor the men and women of our country, who proudly serve or served our nation. Thank you to all veterans, past and present. Good luck and long life.”

Thank you Maggie!

Susan Jordan also shared information in honor of Veterans Day.

Susan writes, “I am reminded how horrific this war was when reading books like ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and the recent movie ‘Warhorse.’ GIVING THANKS AND RESPECT TO THESE BRAVE SOLDIERS, NO MATTER HOW LONG AGO THIS WAS, which was almost 100 years!”

Susan said that “while looking through black and white photos of my ancestors,” she came across a letter to a veteran written by David McClure (the father of my dad, John McClure. Dad would have been 4-years-old at the time of this letter).

Susan notes that Great Grandpa McClure lived in Beverly, Kansas, at the time. This letter is to a soldier in France during World War I. The aged envelope in cursive writing reads:

To Anthony Albins, Company 7 U.S. INF. American Expeditionary, France. August 15, 1918

Friend Tony, I’ve received your ever welcome letter a few days ago and am glad to hear that you are all right. Hope you’ll be able to come see us some day in the near future.

I’ve threshed yesterday and had 23 acres, wasn’t that a big crop? It is so hot and dry the corn was burnt awful bad.”

The letter continues:

I attended a big tractor show in Salina two days ago. It was quite a big thing. They had a flying machine there but I did not see any people fly. Dennis is working for Mr. Matthews. The horses ran away with the cultivator and broke Mr. Matthews’s leg and nose and cut his jaw. It happened on the 4th of July. It was quite a celebration for the old man, one he will never forget soon.

Well, Tony I hope you fellows will soon get that trouble settled up over there and get back home. I suppose you see lots of pretty French girls over there.

Well, I close wishing you good luck and long life. (Signed) Dave McClure

Just three months later the war would end on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 am. Tony did not make it. The front of the envelope is stamped DECEASED. Verified, Statistical Division.

Susan ends by saying, in the words of Dave McClure, “Thank you to all the veterans, past and present, good Luck and Long Life.”

Thank you Susan!

HEDY LAMARR, A WAR HERO:

This lady was one of my dad’s favorite movie actresses. He adored her and Jane Russell and the Irish lady Maureen O’Hara. He would load us kids up in the pea green four-door Dodge on Wednesday and take us to the movies, telling Mom we all needed to see it. Well, Dad WANTED TO SEE IT so we were his excuse. Mom never went with us so he was safe!

Hedy Lamarr was often proclaimed “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

The 26-year-old Lamarr was thriving in Hollywood when, in September 1940, Nazi U-boats hunted down and sank a cruise ship trying to evacuate 90 British schoolchildren to Canada.

Seventy-seven drowned in the bleak north Atlantic. Lamarr, a Jewish immigrant from Nazi-occupied Austria, who had made America her home since 1938, was outraged.

She fought back by applying her engineering skills to development of a sonar sub-locator used in the Atlantic for the benefit of the Allies.

The principles of her work are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology, and this work led to her to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. Dad would be very proud!

My Bob, Robert Ricks, during the Vietnam War, was pretty sure he would not be drafted as he was 26 years old. But he was and spent his time in Texas in 1966 getting his basics in the Army.

Then being deployed on a airplane with a stopover in Anchorage, he made up his mind he would come back to Alaska some day.

It took a while but he made it to Alaska in 1983 to stay. We met in 1985 and the rest is history for us, as we built our home and settled in. We have lived here 32 years.

Bob often talks about his time on a missile base in Okinawa. Because he was older than the rest of the crew he was referred to as “the old man!”

He received this Citation from the Captain of the Artillery Adjutant:

The 30th Artillery Brigade (Air Defense) Certificate of Achievement is awarded to Specialist Five (E-5) Robert O. Ricks, United States Army, for meritorious service as a Missile Launcher Mechanic with Battery B 8th Missile Battalion (HAWK), 1ST Artillery during the period 14 August 1966 to 31 January 1968.

Since his assignment to Battery B, Specialist Ricks has continually displayed outstanding ability and leadership. He performed all of his obligations in note worth manner, devoting many arduous hours to insure that the equipment in his section met the highest standards of the 30th Artillery Brigade. The quality of his work was reflected in his rapid promotion to his current rank. During Combat Readiness Evaluations, Command Inspections and Command Maintenance Management Inspections, his section continuously received superior ratings. Specialist Ricks has repeatedly demonstrated his staunch professional competence to keep abreast of the current challenges of defense. Specialist Ricks’ meritorious service and devotion to duty are in keeping with the best traditions of the military and reflects credit upon himself, this command and the United States

Army.

(Signed)

Wallace C. Arnold

Captain, Artillery Adjutant

John D. Sitterson Jr.

Colonel, Artillery Commanding

Bob is very proud of this citation and rightfully so. Thank you for your service Robert Ricks!

Our dearest friend Ginny Thomas Harpole needs to be honored for her dedication to Army life for 24 years. She has suffered many illnesses as a direct result of all the years and exposures in the Army. We love her to pieces and proudly call her a true patriot of the United State of America.

Thank you Ginny!

A tidbit about Alaska: The military and ex-military population of Alaska is 170,000!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

God Bless Our America and the men and women who fought and are fighting for us.

Keep us all safe from the tyranny of war! May the hatred that is so widespread become a bad dream. Let’s pray for our leaders.

OLD-FASHIONED CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP

In 1937, the first full-length color cartoon movie was released. It was one of my favorites, “Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs.”

This is not my mom’s recipe but close to it. I loved her tomato soup from her home-canned tomatoes.

1 quart of tomatoes

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup butter

1⁄3 cup flour

1 quart milk — Mom put some of Bessie’s cream in it.

Salt and pepper

Simmer tomatoes in a covered saucepan for about 15 minutes and press through a strainer.

In the saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook until thick. Slowly add milk, heat until thick. Remove and slowly add the hot tomatoes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and serve in a bowl with a dollop of butter and soda crackers. We grew up on this delectable soup until Campbell’s tomato soup came along!

RHUBARB PUDDING

In 1936, Mickey Mouse was 8-years-old and he was joined on the big screen by his pal Donald Duck.

2 cups finely chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup milk

¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

A grated lemon

Mix eggs and sugar in bowl

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir in the rhubarb.

Pour into butter cake pan and put dabs of butter on top. Bake 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

NOTE: You can add walnuts.

Serve warm or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. OH YUM!

MOLASSES COOKIES

Dad said MOOO laa..sis

1 cup sugar

1 cup shortening — recipe said lard.

1 cup molasses

2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in ½ cup hot coffee

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

3 to 4 cups flour

Cream shortening or lard. Add molasses and beat well.

Add soda/coffee, salt, and nutmeg and cloves.

Mix well.

Stir in enough flour to make dough suitable for rolling out. Cut into round shape with water glass.

Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes.

Watch very closely they burn easily. Cool and frost with powdered sugar with a little water mixed in. Icing should be slightly thick. Let icing dry.

Gather around the table with glasses of milk and have a dunk cookies party!! Dad made the loudest slurp noise.

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