Chain Around the World: Letters from Bowen Country Club (BCC) alumni while serving their country during World War ll.
Chain Around the World: Letters from Bowen Country Club (BCC) alumni while serving their country during World War ll.
A banner with the number 257 hung from the rafters of dining room at the Bowen Country Club. That was the number of known alumni of the BCC who were serving in the armed forces during WWll. Following is the 3rd and final newsletter containing the brief letters from those BCC alumni.
Bowen Country Club, the Hull House summer camp, opened its doors in 1912. The immigrant community that it served was labeled by Jane Addams as the Hull House neighborhood and soon became known as Little Italy. (This serves as an explanation why the overwhelming majority of the names mentioned below are of Italian ancestry.) The Hull House neighborhood became the laboratory upon which the Hull House sociologists, led by Jane Addams, tested their theories (symbolic interactionism, etc.) and based their protests to the establishment. The 72 acre camp was a necessary addition to the 13 building Hull House complex in the implementation of that theory.
The letters follow:
Dominick Malone breaks a long silence to write us a good letter from Okinawa Shima:
“For some time now I have been receiving your B.C.C. Chain Around the World news and I should have written and thanked you sooner, because it is one of the best little newspapers sent here to the South West Pacific. It keeps me up on the news of what is happening at B.C.C., and Hull House, the two places I love most and will never forget.
Mrs. Hicks, for 8 straight months I have been kept busy and at times it was almost impossible to write home. First it was the invasion of Leyte to begin the liberation of the Philippines; after that it was the first real test of American strength – the invasion of Okinawa Shima, and to bring the war home to the lowest creature alive, the Jap.
On May 8, 1945, my buddies and myself accepted V-E Day solemnly and thankfully, yet vowing to fight relentlessly to bring the Jap to his knees and we know that you at home feel the same way… …In closing, let me express the gratitude of my buddies and myself for the wonderful job you are doing in getting the B.C.C. news to us. Please say “hello” to Mr. Hicks and all my friends at the Hull House and may God Bless you all.
Dominic A. Malone
(P.S.) Enclosed is a little souvenir I know you would like to have. It is 50 sen, worth only 5 cents in American money.
From Munich, we heard from Jim Terracciano, June 28th:
“Just received my favorite newspaper, the “Chain”, and after reading it through twice, I sat myself right down to send my appreciation. What I want to say I can’t put in words, so I will just say “Thanks again”… Since my last letter I have gained another step up the ladder. Believe it or not, I am now an official cook of the US Army. Yes, I am as surprised as you are. I have been cooking for 2 weeks now and like it very much, especially when it comes to eating it. You know my tapeworm, Mrs. Hicks. Maybe that is one of the reasons I have been chosen. Tell Oscar he better be on the ball because he is going to get some stiff competition.”
John Volpe, H.A. 1/C writers from Treasure Island, California:
“First of all I want to tell you I think the “B.C.C. Chain” is a great idea. (Leave it up to Guido – he is always on the ball.) You are doing a fine job, and I want you to know I am also in the long line of grateful readers… So far, all the sailing I have done has been in the bay, but I guess it will not be long before a SEA-bag (WAVE) relieves me for re-assignment.”
Dominick (Duck) Partipilo was still in the States when he wrote in June:
“Just received your B.C.C. paper and I want to thank you very much for it. It was good to hear about the boys all over the world. Your letter got pushed around quite a bit, but I finally received it… At the present time I am in Georgia, training with the Air Corps, and it is very interesting work… I want to thank you again for the paper. Give regards to the boys for me.”
We hear of “Arks” often through Camille, who is here at B.C.C. with Tony and Valerie, this summer, but it was awfully nice to have a letter from Arks, who is now in Bavaria:
“The “Chain” has arrived with much sought – for news. All my administrative problems and Company training were immediately put away until I finished reading the news. It was a very fine edition and thoroughly enjoyed, especially since Camille mimeographed the thing – at least that is what she told me. Life here is rather dull at present. We take an occasional tour around the famous castles. Much as I hate to admit, the country in this vicinity, Arnstadt, is very beautiful. Not far from us is the famous Buchenwald concentration camp.
Also, as you probably do not know, our Regiment was first to uncover the Gardelegen massacre in which 1100 Poles and Russians were burned in a larger storehouse. That is the place I took Dr. Caliendo to, and he has some “fine” moving pictures of the incident.
…By now, Val and Tony must have gotten fairly well under your skin. But I am sure they are enjoying their stay, and it is most fortunate that they do have the opportunity to remain in the country all summer. Perhaps they may grow up to be fine C.D.A.’s or Jr. Counselors. But I know for certain that they will remember these days forever – such as myself and hundreds of others have. And you have my permission to use them any way most desirable to you – but do not have Oscar overwork Tony in the kitchen.”…
Al Mazzone, 21st Marines, Pacific, enjoyed the “Chain”. In June, he wrote:
“I did not know many of the boys and girls from the old B.C.C., but I did know one especially. That was Lucille Mascione. I graduated from grammar school with here, and that was the last I have ever seen her. Now I see she has gone ahead and joined the Marine Corps… (Ed. Note: That is not all, Al; we hear she is about to join up with one ex-Marine for life! Will try to give you more particulars another time.) I have been here with the 21st Marines now for almost 12 months. I was wounded twice on Iwo Jima, and in about a year from now I hope to be going home again.”
And from Guido – the originator of our B.C.C. Chain idea:
“I was very surprised to learn that so many of our boys were in the Philippine area. John Mik, Duffy, etc., – I should have enjoyed seeing them, chatting about the “good old days” over large glasses of tinba… Shortly before I received the second issue of the B.C.C. Chain, I got a letter from Danny De in Germany, his first to me since his entrance into the Infantry. Was quite pleased to hear from him, in view of the fact that I had sent him several letters without any replies from him. I feel that we got together through the B.C.C. Chain, and as a result we have vowed to write each other more often…
By the time this letter reaches you, the good B.C.C. will be in full swing – with summer, that is a thought that always comes to our minds. Because we are assured that children will be happy, well-fed, and enjoying fresh, clean air; we in turn feel happy. Occasionally we find ourselves thinking of our own individual experiences in camp, and we smile, contently, knowing that at this same moment some children (I do not say “Kids” anymore you notice) are having a wonderful time. It almost makes you want to fight a little harder – just to make certain that those boys and girls can go right on living as they do at camp. It sounds slightly sentimental, perhaps, but I am certain that we all get this same feeling at times…
The Okinawa campaign is practically wound up. Nothing but a few dazzled, frightened sons of heaven remain. We now have some time for relaxation (and a good chance to read the Chain as it should be read), writing letters, etc. We certainly can use a nice long rest. Oh well, perhaps this is all wishful thinking on our parts…To the B.C.C. camp season for 1945, we say “good luck” and the best of fun to all there throughout the summer!
P.S. My very best to Tito, Sam G, the Polack, Danny De and the whole gang!!
“A letter from Emil Garippo came on the morning of the 4th of July, just in time to be read as part of our Flag-raising program, when we paid tribute to Michael Garippo and others who are now represented by gold stars on our service flag:
Realizing it is quite some time since I last wrote you, let’s follow the map and trace the whereabouts of this lost soldier over the events of the last few months. Close to two months ago we moved into Germany to be close to the final kill, but alas! Old Jerry foresaw this move and decided it was time to quit. We remained in Germany about a month, until orders came through to return to France.
Everything was lax come V-E Day. I will bet every G.I. in the Army took off on that day in search of a good town to celebrate our victory in Europe. We had three consecutive free days, and my outfit was scattered from Paris to Brussels.
It so happened that we had an ambulance run close to the town of Maastricht in Holland, so I persuaded the Captain to permit me to make this run. After dropping off my patient, my buddy and I headed for Maastricht. Mike is buried just a few miles outside the town. It was about three in the afternoon when we arrived at the cemetery. Incidentally, this was my second visit to my brother’s grave. I was there also in April. I took several pictures of the grave and the surrounding area. Forwarded the pictures home a few weeks ago. I also managed to have flowers placed on the grave every Sunday. It was a great consolation to my folks to know we spend V-E Day together. Mike was such a great guy… With the coming of a new camp season, I think it is proper to make reservations a little ahead of time. Let’s leave the time element out for a while, but you can expect me just as soon as the Nip bows out. Give my regards to the gang.
Ben Rosow gets by the censor with the real low-down on Hawaii:
“All this place has to offer is the sunshine and the ocean. The famous Waikiki Beach is nothing more than an oversized Coney Island. Oak Street Beach has more to offer with its Drake Hotel and beach – and no coral to cut you up as you swim. After a short spell, even the taste of pineapple wears off… As for me, I will gladly trade this place for the Club any day in the week.”
(“You’d trade now, I am sure, Ben, because Stella and Davy are here, so for the next two weeks you will be getting first-hand information about the B.C.C.)
John De Marte; still at Governor’s Island, New York writes:
“Thanks you for thinking of me, by sending me the “Chain”… I failed to answer the first link, and made it definite to be on time for the second… And you know that B.C.C. was my second home. I found that there is no other place than B.C.C., no matter what the season (or the reason). … Thank you again our pleasant times.”
(Ed. Note: Dolly and Daniels paid us a visit not long ago, and we think Daniel is a pretty fine fellow – looks like his Dad, etc.)
Greg Villareal, training to be a paratrooper, is at Fort Benning, Ga.:
“I have been very busy, going from State to State. You see, when that rule, or should I say order, came thru, about the 18 year old boys, they started shifting me around. I went from Texas to Maryland, from Maryland to Oklahoma, and back to Texas, and now finally, after I joined the Paratroopers, I am at Ft. Beginning, Georgia. I received the “Chain Around the World” and I think it is a wonderful idea… This Paratroop is pretty rugged. In the morning we have four hours of Physical Training (I think they should call it “Physical Torture” instead). I hope that I can get a furlough before this summer is over, so I can see B.C.C. once again before I leave. This summer I am going to miss Oscar’s chow. It is altogether different than the Army chow, especially the spaghetti…”
(We are expecting you Greg!)
John Filipe wrote recently from Houston, Texas – No longer in the Navy:
“Just want to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am a 4-Fer. I thought I’d make another trip, but the doctors said “no”, so they gave me a trip here. I have got a medical discharge… They gave me a blue ribbon, purple heart, and a couple of buttons, and said I would stay in the hospital or go outside, and if I stay in warm climate I have nothing to worry about.”
Vito Di Cogno has been batting around from one corner of the U.S. to the other since last December, expecting every day to be shipped out. Now we hear from him from Walla Walla, Washington:
I have been up here for two weeks and haven’t done much of anything except go to school and fly… I sure wish I were out at camp this summer, even though it was for a few days. I am sure I could enjoy myself and also enjoy Oscar’s cooking…”
The same old Duffy writes: (Luzon)
“Received the “B.C.C. Chain” and enjoyed it very much. Fred Pasquale was paying me a visit when it arrived. We got to talking over old times after reading it, and laughed ourselves silly until our sides hurt, talking about the silly things we used to do to have fun. The natives out here are very friendly speak fair English, which makes it easier… We have beautiful moonlight nights. One fellow remarked that it is not like that back home. “Oh yeah, says I. Right at the moment back home the very same moon is shining, and, brother, I know a place right now where it cannot look any more beautiful.” Think the guy is nuts, or he just do not get around. May I request a number? The Tango. Make it on July 15th and I will be thinking about it. Thank you, Adios.
(Dear Duffy: Hope you enjoyed the Tango as requested, on July 15th. It was all yours, with your favorite girl – Yes, which one?)
John Stevens, Lt., gets around – Just listen to this:
Received the B.C.C. News, just before I left my trip… The B.C.C. News was a God-send. It brought back such pleasant memories, memories that will remain treasured by me, and every one who came in touch with it… Once again we are back roaming through the north woods, or playing ball back of Commons, and of course, the wonderful evenings in Goodfellow Hall… I see that B.C.C. is still doing more than it is share of keeping the boys happy, and in touch with each other…
I am on this “Crescent Caravan”; Go to Paris, and Casablanca, and the land that God forgot, India. Now we are bringing back the troops for re-deployment, when we are not carrying wounded. I get in Paris about every two weeks. We stop at Orly Fld. A.T.C. Hdqut. If any of the boys are stationed in the vicinity, they can leave a note for me in F.T.M. Operation Room there, and I’d get it next time I got there. I’d sure like to hear from any in that area. We might get together and shoot the breeze for a while.”… (And Bob and I have tangible evidence of those Paris trips! Thanks, John!)
P.S. John and Peggy came out to see us last Sunday, August 4th. He thinks there will be no more trips to Paris, so you fellows in the Pacific may be seeing him. Same old John – Lots of fun seeing him.
John Malone came through with a letter June 7th, and now we hear that he is on his way home: “Some time ago Nikki wrote and asked if I have received my Christmas gift, and at that time I have not, but I did not give up hopes, so on May 28th I had another Christmas. I received your gift, and it really was in fine shape. The salami was very good, and I have 5 of the boys who though so, too… I have seen a lot of the Pacific and too many of their beautiful palm trees, and moonlight nites, and nothing can match the beauty of a moonlight nite at the Club, in the whole Pacific Area. I am hoping that soon I will be able to spend a moonlight nite with my wife and child at dear ole Bowen Country Club… In the 18 months that I have been overseas, I have met one of the boys from the House. One day as I was getting ready to hit the chow line, I heard a voice yell, “What do you say, Hatchet-Head”, and was I surprised to hear that! I turned around and there stood Dan Parrilli, and maybe you do not think I was surprised!…”
(We are expecting to see John and his wife and baby, any day now.)
John Bishop, recovered from a serious typhoid illness, writes on June 30th:
“I am writing to thank you for sending me the “B.C.C. Chain Around the World”. It is swell to read about some of the fellows I know, and how they are making out in this mess. At the present time I am somewhere in the Philippines. It is the very best place I have been to yet…
How is everything at the B.C.C.? How I long to be able to lie under some of its shade trees, and sleep for a long, long time. This may not be, because my main interest is in the State of Louisiana. We may live there after the priest puts the finishing touches on us…”
“Fishbowl” Sgt. Paul De Salvo, writes a long awaited letter:
“Here is the letter I have been promising myself to write to you for quite some time. I am not very good at this kind of thing, as Mom and Fran can probably tell you… I received your Christmas package, the letter from Mrs. Bowen, and the “B.C.C. Chain” all in one week. Needless to say, it took my buddies and I about 5 minutes to polish the Christmas package off. We all wish to express our thanks, for bringing that little touch of home to us, in this foreign land… I have been doing quite a bit of traveling since I left home; New Guinea, Netherlands, East Indies, and now here, in the Philippines. It has all been very interesting, but nothing like the good old USA. What I would not give to see and feel some good old-fashioned snow, like the kind we used to have at B.C.C. during the winter… It was good to find out where they boys from back home are stationed. Several are on the same island as I. As yet, I have not been able to locate them… Is Oscar going to work at camp this summer? Please let me know, I sure do miss his cooking. I will bet he can even make this dehydrated food we get taste good…”
(We wish we could enclose some of Oscar’s chow for you and the others, but Oscar would like especially to send you some chocolate pudding – or even better – have you here to lick the pan.)
Capt. J.E. Caliendo, sends this brief note from Monte Carlo:
“Am on a short leave to the Riviera – living in Cannes. Visited Monte Carlo today. Still have the shirt on my back. My lucky day, Long-postponed letter follows. Greet all our mutual friends for me. Thanks a million.”
And Mike Parrilli – still in the Pacific – writes from the Philippines:
“Although news of this famous outfit is practically nil, I just had to write to tell you that I have received your very interesting letter, complete with excerpts from the other boys’ letters. I am eagerly looking forward to its next edition…
We have returned to garrison life, which includes all the formalities of training. It does sound a bit foolish after participating actively in an interesting campaign, but there are many things which need ‘polishing’, and also, who are we to break Army procedures?… Our stay at Nadyab with the 5th Air Force, offered most of us the thrill of riding in bombers on their ‘milk-run’ missions. I went up in a B-25 on a strafing mission in Wewak, a thrill which will never be surpassed, and was preparing myself to join my ancestors, when the pilot dove from two-thousand feet to four-hundred feet, with the guns chattering… We are now located approximately 300 yards from the China Sea, but swimming is impossible because of the huge tidal waves. I will take the pool with it’s fresh water and it’s lovely lifeguard (female, of course) at the Club, in exchange for the entire Luzon Island. All for now. Success to the club.”
(Lifeguards furnished at a moment’s notice, Dan – and one particular one of escort to the North woods or picking wild-flowers?)
The “B.C.C. Chain” moved Jesse Rocha to write us from Grafenberg, Germany, July 9th:
“The B.C.C. Chain was received with eagerness, and I thank you very much for sending it to me. It is a great morale builder reading it, and knowing what the boys in the service are doing, and where they are…You have inspired me in starting a B.C.C. of my own out here in Germany, and we certainly are enjoying ourselves B.C.C. style, whenever we have the time. The boys seem rather pleased with all this, which rather surprised me. With the help of the boys, we have built on our own time, a campfire circle, and we have named it the B.C.C. circle. You may seem rather surprised with all this, but it is true, we have even got a swimming pool – classy, eh what? We have made our own recreation seeing there is no other form of relaxation. All we need now is Oscar – what-dya say you send him over?…”
(We cannot spare Oscar right now, Jesse. He is doing a big here and doing it better than ever. I just saw 4 big pans of apple cobbler go into the oven. Remember the apple orchard and those delicious apple cobblers? Yummmm…)
This letter from Germany, from Dan De Falco, came after we sent him an Air-Mail letter following V-E Day, in which we said, “Wanted – One Hutchinson Counselor”:
“I have read your ‘Want Ad’ with great enthusiasm…but…I , too have done a little wishful thinking and have arrived at the conclusion that another summer must pass with me far away from a place I love very much…No, Mrs. Hicks, I cannot be there this summer.
First off I do not have the required 85 points to even think about getting a discharge. The best I can wish for is this: I hope that our division will be one of the lucky ones to go via the States to the Pacific. Then maybe a furlough might be thrown in the deal…Getting out is out of the question as far as I can see…”
(We are still hoping you get that furlough! Virginia Turney started off at Hutchinson, and then went to the Red Cross, so Phil Cesaroni is carrying on in real Hutchinson tradition.)
Alex Mikonowicz aboard the U.S.S. Lowry, wrote on May 26th:
“By this time you folks should be preparing for the on-rush of nature-starved, little children. New generations of future Americans, getting a taste of what they should strive for in the coming years. Matter-of-fact, guess I would not mind being with them myself. Think I would still waste a hot-dog over a bonfire, or fall into an icy lake!!! Received your new ‘share-the-letter’ pamphlet and think it is a darn good idea. Surprised a good deal to learn of all the people that entered the service and are overseas. I still had the impression most of them were civilians. Time sure do go by. Never realized I was such a comparatively old-timers at this war-game. Soon to be four years.
Even though I am more or less a stranger in the B.C.C. group, I enjoy hearing about the friends I knew personally, or thru John…Your children must be blossoming our into near-adults by now – Grads, but I feel ancient!…
(Barbara is a counselor now, and Bobby a Jr. C.D.A.)
Ottavio Sorrentino has traveled since our last letter and writes now from France:
“Was I glad to receive that wonderful chain letter. Sure glad that Guido Tardi thought of it. No kidding, it was like sitting around one of those wonderful B.C.C. campfires and talking to everyone. My heart became warm with the feeling of once more meeting old friends… I have been here a comparatively short time – about three months. So I did not see any action (but they were sure rushing me to the scene.) I feel I am very lucky, in spite of the fact that I am now in a General Hospital recovering from a wound through the ankle. Was shot with an MI accidentally, while in Germany. Some G.I. became a little careless…Bet a few weeks at old B.C.C. would be better than any care I get here (and it is very good do not misunderstand.) Can’t help looking back and thinking how really peaceful B.C.C.is… Say, maybe you did not know that I have been converted from the Air Corps to the Infantry. Yes, I became a full-fledged doughboy as of last February 28th. The Infantry has accomplished a feat that only B.C.C. has done – I put on weight, seven pounds, no kidding!… Before closing I would like to thank you for all the kindness shown us boys spread all over the world. Maybe I can still make up a week-end visit before the summer is up, I hope.”
(We hope so, too, Ott!)
Roy Balsamo received his Christmas package in Germany in May. He wrote on Memorial Day:
“Today is the day we used to look forward to, when we were back home; the day that meant a fun-filled week-end at B.C.C. But today it has an entirely different meaning – we are having a field Mass in memory of the boys that will not come home.
At the time I was with the Truck Battalion we were stationed at Etampes, France. We drove from there back to the beach and up forward to Belgium, Luxembourg, and to Thionville, Metz, Neafchateau and Epinal in France. I was transferred to the Seventh Army, and these boys are all veterans of the African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns. Now that we can tell our exact location, maybe some of the boys can get together – I hope so, for I would like to see a familiar face again.”
(Don’t forget to sing “Sorrento” now and then, Roy!)
Mike Pantone, Lt. U.S.N. is on his way to join you in the Pacific. In June, he wrote:
“To say anything would be just to repeat what everybody’s saying about your wonderful “B.C.C. Chain Around the World”. I would like to add that it is a good way for me to keep track of all the kids I know. (Lazy man and poor correspondent!) I will make a determined effort to keep you posted on my new addresses. You know, I sent Paul Antonini the last copy and he raved about it, too. Hold on – I have to be careful what I write, you might publish it! Was I embarrassed when you published that crack about Navy schools – sounded like I was complaining. Well, school’s out now and back to work. Just got ordered to the Mare Island Navy Yard at Frisco… It is my hope, of course, to come up to visit you. I hope that I am correct in presuming that permission for the week-end is granted.
(Correct you are – for all of you – your reservation is in at B.C.C.)
We received a letter today from Dan Stolfa. He writes:
“I cannot thank you enough for faithfully keeping me posted regarding activity at Bowen… Believe me, four summers away from B.C.C. is a mighty long time. May I extend belated congratulations on your 22nd anniversary and hope you see the same number out at Bowen, where you first were wed… In case you are interested – I will give you a little of the details about my work. I am in charge of a German ward and have every type of ailment and illness…We have some lovely abdominal obstructions and traction cases, and I wish Arks were here – he could really benefit… Officially, I am not supposed to have much say, but overseas, we corpsmen have a lot of responsibility. The property is my responsibility and if I am short, I have to find it… Inspections are another headache – and now I know how hard mothers work. I am continually picking up things and making sure everything is in order for the inspector… Rumor had us leaving for Soissona a town near Rheims in September – but this order has been rescinded and now I hear we may leave for the States in December. Naturally this is subject to change…I hear Cousin Angelo is in for thirty days. I do hope he enjoys his stay…
(Sure hope we will see you by Christmas, Dan.)
This letter from Ralph Triggiano came the last of May. I have kept it for the end of the Chain with the hope that you will chuckle as much as I did:
“I hope you are well, and many thanks for sending an issue of “B.C.C. Chain Around the World”. God, but that Guido Tardi had a terrific idea when he thought of this chain stuff. Why didn’t I think of that? Joke.
As I type this missile aboard our own wee aircraft carrier, naturally all the letters I read in you issue bring back some memories that will never be forgotten. I had to laugh at reading Romeo Salerno’s letter, which was so purifying and very much in contrast with the hell-raising Romeo that I used to pal around with. Then there is the older era of B.C.C. – goers when I was too young, which includes a bunch of knaves such as Arks Ippolito, the Stolfa brothers, Cantore set and many others who donned the uniform and write back such holy letter to dear old B.C.C. – but maybe some of you have forgotten the scalp rush and watermelon fights or the sneak moonlite swims. Then winter week-ends, skating, snowfights. Of course, the hills were too low to ski on but we cut a path down the back end of “French” to land on the bottom of the swamps.
Things are mighty different now. Your ship hits an unknown island, you hop in a small landing-barge, make a mad dash for the line where they pass out four cans of lukewarm beer; then you are ready for a hot game of baseball. All this liberty is done in four hours and back to the ship, happy to get that after more than two months on your beloved tub, without getting off.
Of course, it is a known fact that aircraft carrier duty is the best, or have I been kidding myself for the last 18 Asiatic months. The reason I claim it is the best is, because you are never in one place too long – or maybe I am wrong again. Where we are at now, we have been much too long!
That third paragraph of the Editor’s letter hit the spot. In fact, it was a little too good and just plain demoralizing. I would like to say ‘hello’ to all my old friends, and hope they remember a guy they called ‘Trig’. I enjoyed reading your letters very much, and I am waiting for the next issue of ‘B.C.C. – C.A.T.W.’
P.S. If your dream came true of Rosenwald Cottage being made our Rest Camp: Wouldn’t we look sweet all sitting in a sewing circle, knitting two and pearling on, or whatever you call it. At the same time arguing who won the war, or most battles, or the best outfit. Ahem, here is where the Navy comes in.”
The concluding statement to this, the third “Hands Around the World.” Newsletter, a compilation of letters from BCC alumni who were serving during WWll, is written by Mrs. Ada Hicks. Mrs. Hick provided the comments to each of the letters above.
And with this letter we close another link in our B.C.C. Chain Around the World. You cannot stop me from dreaming, Ralph, about Rosenwald being our B.C.C. Rest Cottage. Angelo Parrilli has just spent a week of his furlough here, and he will vouch for B.C.C. recuperative powers.
Tony Ippolito ends his prayer every nite: “Please send my Daddy home soon”. – I will take that and say, “God Keep You All, and send you home soon”.
Ada Y. Hicks
The following letter is from Mrs. Bowen, BCC benefactor of the Hull House summer camp: the Bowen Country Club (BCC).
Dear Boys: Since starting this Third “Chain”, we have received the joyous news of V-J Day. We observed it first with appropriate religious ceremonies, but even the New York celebration could not rival our “Victory Ball” in gaiety last nite.
As our “Chain” grows shorter, we will be looking for you at B.C.C.
Today, August 14th, will go down in history as one of the greatest days the world has ever now, because on this day the terrible war in which our nation and others have been engaged for nearly four years is ended, and by victories so great that all the world has been freed from slavery.
Some of your children have seen your fathers and brothers, and perhaps your sisters, and many of the people you loved, go overseas to fight against aggression and for freedom. Some of those who have gone will never come back, and many who have returned, have been broken in body as well as in spirit. Their bravery and unselfish heroism has shown forth the true American youth.
We all have, however, a feeling of great joyousness, – an absence of all our fears and anxiety. Peace has come to us. But does this mean that we can now sit back and reset, and gratefully accept the peace that has been handed to us by our fighting men? Indeed it does not! The fighting is not over. It will never be over until all men on the face of the earth want peace. We now have it, but we must now face the fight to keep it. This is not a fight with guns and bombs and ships, but it is just as important – for unless we actively strive to keep the peace we will again find the world a battle-field.
It is going to be up to your children to see which kind of fighting you will do. In a great nation, such as ours, there are many nationalities; in fact, we are made up of some people from every nation in the world. Here in America, those from one nation are learning to live in peace side by side with those from other nations. We learn to understand that we are not all alike, but that we can learn to love our neighbor, and respect him, and that he can learn to love and respect us. But first we must see that we can act that our neighbor can love us. That is our big responsibility. That is the greatest work we can do toward keeping a lasting peace. God made all people, and wants them all to be at peace.
You children have more cause to be happy today than others. The rest of us have seen two cruel world wars. I have seen four wars. If you will fight as hard to keep the peace as we have fought to get it for you, war will not come again in your life time, and we hope, if you teach your children how to live and think peaceably, it will not come in their life time, or their children’s. It is up to you to see that we have peace for years and years to come.
Wave your flags high, sing joyously our country’s songs, always remembering to thank God for our victories, and ask His blessing on this war-torn world.
Mrs. Joseph. T. Bowen
A solemn ceremony was held, August 14, 1945 at 8:00 pm. All the cottages took part in giving thanks to God for our long-awaited peace. The thoughts expressed were those that had been in our hearts long before V-J Day. These were the thoughts of peace. Now they can be expressed with confidence, hope and gratitude.
-Victoria Serritella, Rosalie De Florio, Lavinia Marzano