Chain Around the World Letter: by Mrs. Bowen Intro
Bless Them All
(TAKEN FROM AN AUG.1945 B.C.C.NEWSLETTER)“CHAIN AROUND THE WORLD” A concept created by Bowen Country Club (B.C.C.) Alumnus, Guido Tardi, and produced By Mrs. Bowen, Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, and all our B.C.C. servicemen and women during World War II.
This was the third and last in the series of wartime correspondence between our fighting men and women, and Bowen Country Club.
From the rafters of the big dining room in the Bowen Country Club hangs a banner with the figures 257 on it. This number representing, of course, the number of alumni from the Club (the Bowen Country Club summer camp)who have responded to the call to arms and who are fighting in Europe and the Pacific. There are more alumni than this number, but the Club hasn’t their addresses, and the figures on it’s service flag represent only those whom we know are in the service.
We all talk often of the boys who were once with us, of their skill at games, of their ready wit and their affection for the Club. This has been brought out during the last three years when we have received letters from these boys written at the Front, and though they have not been able to tell of their experiences, word has come back to us in other ways of their eagerness to get the job done, as they express it, and of their very magnificent courage and unselfishness.
The Club opened when school closed this summer, at it’s usual time, with every place filled and three more extras who were tucked in. The weather matched the fighting of war. It can only be called furious. Storm exceeded storm, and the Club was treated to three hail storms. One of these was very severe. The wind blew a gale. The hail stones were as large as walnuts. They broke the windows in what we called the greenhouse. They made one hundred holes in the roof of the Commons, so that it has to be re-rooted, although at present it is stuffed with some kind of tar to keep the rain from coming in on the tables. It tore the flowers to pieces and blew down twelve trees.
The whole place was a mess of leaves and branches and things blown from the roofs. However, since then the weather has been very nice and cool. The boys a few nights ago spent the night on the beach. It was such a cold night, but they seemed to have a beautiful time and did not mind it.
The vegetable garden had most of it’s seeds blown onto Bowen Field and has had to be replanted three or four times. It, however, has been as industrious as it could be and we are now beginning to get fresh vegetables. The flowers look rather peaked and cold, but after all they are not necessary.
The Trustees met here one night, had dinner here after their meeting, and watched the dancing, which is as good as ever and is much enjoyed by all the children.
We have a new high fence around the pool, which has improved the look of the place very much and gives more space inside the fence for the boys and girls to gather as they wait to go into the pool. The opposite ravine across from the pool has been cleared and gives a lovely new view as you look down into it.
We have a lieutenant back from the war, who has spent many months in a hospital, in charge of Camp French. He is a fine fellow, the boys all like him very much and he likes the place. His wife and baby are with him, and he has regained health and strength here. We have a Chinese boy as one of our assistants in the garden and we have one girl who is also a gardener and runs after the lawn mower in a way which deserves our admiration.
The first group bought a one-hundred dollar war bond for the Bowen Country Club Endowment. The second group is still here. We have a new dog on the premises, so that there are now three. They are all perfectly harmless and look sulky most of the time. The children coming up this year seem a great deal younger, perhaps because the older boys are in the armed forces and are not here.
The Rosenwald Cottage has all been redecorated, as has the Farmhouse. The bright colors on the walls, as each room is different, gives it an air of cheerfulness and beauty which is enjoyed by everyone. Mr. and Mrs. Hicks are working as hard as ever. We have one new rule, that is, we cannot have guests for our Sunday dinner as it is difficult to get so much food. These guests are asked to come and bring their own dinner and take it outside at one of the picnic tables, which everyone seems to enjoy.
We often talk of you boys who have been here and how useful and cheerful you always were. We look forward to the time when you will be back, and we hope you will want to come here and make a visit to renew some of the joyful times you all had in your youth, also to help now that you are men, to give us advice in the conduct of this place, which since it was founded, has taken care, during its thirty-five years, of something like 33,000 children and perhaps over 100,000 grown-ups who have come here for a meal or a day or longer.
We send you all our best wishes and our prayers for your safe return. You are fighting a good fight and your reward will be that when the “the battle flags of the world are furled” you will feel that you have done your best for the peace of every nation.
Wishing you all a speedy return,
Mrs. Joseph T. Bowen
(EDITOR’S NOTE): And with Mrs. Bowen’s letter to all of you, we start on our 3rd link in our B.C.C. Chain Around the World. Addresses are changing. Many of our B.C.C. alumni are on the move. We are thinking of you more than ever, and looking forward to our reunion when you all return.
Stories: our veterans, bcc. Resources: r-letters, HHmuseum-UIC.