Issue 11-9-14 Website - page 11

Born In 1944
I guess I can’t deny that I was
born in1944, sinceVirginiaKro-
10 times in the recent article in
The BataviaDaily
. I’m not sure
if turning 70 means anything. I
know at Rotary, it will cost me
$7 and I will have the pleasure
of hearing “Home, Home on the
Range,” (insteadofHappyBirth-
day) sung off key.
Gettingbeyondmybirthday is
likepulling theband-aideoff. I’m
not sure if “celebrating” is quite
the right word. Others turning
70 this year are George Lucas,
Gladys Knight, Diana Ross and
Sam Elliott. (I’d be willing to
Popular songs in 1944 includ-
ed “Don’t Fence Me In” and
“Straighten Up and Fly Right”
both ofwhich I adhere to. There
were many songs written in
1944, “New York, New York,”
“Have Yourself AMerry Little
Christmas,” “Act-cent-uate The
and “All of a Sudden, My Heart
Sings.” Aaron Copeland wrote
“AppalachianSpring” in 1944.
“The Adventures of Ozzie
and Harriet” debuted on ra-
dio. Tennessee Williams’ play,
“TheGlassMenagerie” debuted
in Chicago and “I Remember
Mama” premiered in NewYork
City. Movies included “Arsenic
“MeetMe inStLouis,”and“Na-
tionalVelvet.” (not that Iwasold
enough to see them).
WorldWar II was still raging
in Europe and the Pacific. Gen-
eralEisenhower commanded the
invasion of Europe onD-Day in
June. InSeptember, theBattleof
Arnhem took place (recorded in
themovie (“TheBridgeTooFar”)
IvisitedArnhema fewyearsago
duringamuseumconference. In
December, theBattleof theBulge
raged. I remember talking with
AngeBell about his experiences
during that battle. The Germans
began gassing people at Aus-
chwitz. In 1944, AnnFrank and
her familywerearrestedandsent
to a concentration camp. Paris
was liberated inAugust.
The first open heart surgery
was performed at John Hopkins
University in 1944
as well as the first
“blue baby” surgery.
Penicillin became
the medical wonder
of the year against
infections. The first
IBM presented its
first large-scalecom-
puter, known as the
Mark I to Harvard
University. It was
more than 50 feet
long, eight feet high
and weighed 5 tons.
Using electromechanical relays,
it couldadd,multiplyanddivide.
PresidentRoosevelt announced
his plans to run for a fourth term
and in November, he handily
beat NewYork State Republican
Governor, Thomas Dewey, who
had run on a platform to repeal
Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” New
York State experienced a major
5.8, earthquake in September
1944, centered inMessena, near
the Canadian border. According
to the
LeRoy Gazette
, folks in
LeRoyfelt theearthquake. InSep-
andkilling360people. Itbecame
knownas the“GreatAtlanticHur-
ricane.” The Green Bay Packers
won theNFL championship, and
the St. Louis Cardinals won the
WorldSeries. (Ihavealwaysbeen
aCardinal’s fan.)
Meanwhile inLeRoy theLeRoy
Village Board began discussion
aboutapoliceretirement fundand
a Teen Canteen. The basketball
team was undefeated. The Ol-
msted family offered to donate
their home andpropertyonEast
Main Street for a park, but the
offerwasdeclined. Parentswere
protesting thehard, cold cement
floor in thekindergarten roomat
school, saying itwasnothealthy
for the littlekids to sit orplayon
thefloor. TheBetteShopopened
at 28Main Street and theWiss
Hotel was leased to Margaret
Crops were threatened by a
hard dry summer and drought.
And in the history repeats itself
category: the Village was trying
to figure out what the State De-
partment of Transportation was
going to do with Routes 5 and
19. Apparently the State was
supposed toassume maintenance
and control of Routes 5 and 19,
but they would not say what
that involved. The topic for the
graduation address was “Juve-
nile Delinquency” which might
indicatewhatwasona lotofpeo-
ple’smind inLeRoy.TheSchool
Budget for 1944 was $138,932.
Studentswereasked topickmilk-
weedpods that couldbeused for
stuffing in life preservers.
The Village had undertaken a
sewage system survey and was
concerned that the winter side-
walk snowplowingoutlookwas
notgood - - InDecember,LeRoy
had a one-day 2-foor snow fall.
There were a number of fires in
1944, including the destruction
of theNorthEastLaundrybuild-
ingonWestMain. People living
on Lake Street protested the
noise from the new playground
near St. Joseph’s Church. The
noisewas so loud it kept people
up at night and disturbed the
serenity of their neighborhood.
It was suggested to move the
playground toMill Street.
Of course, having been born
in 1944, I don’t remember any
of this. I believe in theold adage
“The past is a guidepost, not a
hitching post.”
1ChurchSt., LeRoy, NY14482
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