One hundred years ago, the Goff boys were home from the war in France. Their sister, Leora, and Clabe Wilson, who had lived on the brothers’ popcorn farm while they served in the army, moved into the town of Stuart, Iowa, in 1919 with their three small children–Delbert, Donald, and baby Doris.
A year after the WWI Armistice, the Stuart News reported on the town’s Armistice Day celebration that year in their November 13 edition:
“Sunday rained all day. Mon. was a wild, delirious autumn day. Wed. snowed a powder of dry snow with a bitter wind. But, Tue. was a perfect day for Armistice Day Celebration. All roads led to Stuart. Streets filled with parked cars. Flags floated gaily.
“4th of July atmosphere. Parade led by the band, GAR Post, American Legion, Boy Scouts, pupils of public schools with their teachers. Band and students massed around flag pole at Nassau & Davidson Streets. Children sang “Marching Through Georgia” and “Iowa.” Legion drilled.
“Free dinner at Community Building–roast beef barbecue style, buns, pie, doughnuts, pickles & coffee. 2000 people. Stuart Band played, speaker’s train late–Judge McHenry of Des Moines.
“Then Stuart-Panora football game; Panora won 13-0. Committee bought movies at the Princess Theatre afternoon and evening. More singing by school children at the Community Building.
“Day closed with a dance.”
Evidently the popcorn farm of Merl and Jennings had been sold or rented when they got back from France. The two brothers bought the Oxford Cafe in Guthrie Center from F. E. Jordan, and were “serving the public in the most approved style.”
American Legion Day the next January, 1920, included oyster supper at the Goff Brothers Cafe. But the brothers lasted about six months before selling out to Frank Cronk.
When they got older, the Goff brothers’ nephews, Delbert and Donald Wilson, played war in the old Army uniforms of their uncles, now veterans of the Great War.
Sources: Goff and Wilson family correspondence, 88th Division in the World War (1914-1918), Guthrie News, Stuart News.
Thinking on that year out, 100 years ago, a mix of terrible sadness intertwined with new hope, pretty well everywhere.
And that December, Leora Wilson comes down with the “Spanish flu,” and has a miserable winter and spring because of it. She was such a strong woman, but she said it was so awful she would have been glad to die, but she had three small children. The baby was my mother!
Getting through that was a whole other strength.
She was very lucky to have survived it!
How sweet to see the Wilson boys so young!
Here’s a cute one of them, too, when my mother was the baby: https://joynealkidney.com/2018/08/30/doris-wilson-first-daughter-born-100-years-ago/
Poor little Donald looks very unhappy! (I think a lot of unhappy children in old family photos are the result of squinting against the sun.)
I too have many great photos and post cards from the “Great War.” It is a shame that the youth of today has practically no knowledge of these times and the sacrifices that Americans made to hold the wold together a century ago.
Hope you’ll get busy sharing them! That’s quite a postcard you’re sharing today. Wonder how goldenrod got to be America’s “flower.”
Joy – I wanted to get you a little gift. Here is a promotional code for my audio book “Our First Year.” I think it will still work although it is old: 9WZMRJLKPKLQC
1. Visit http://www.audible.com/at/redeem
2. Enter the download code into the “Redeem Your Promotional Code” field and click “Redeem”.
3. If you’re not an Audible customer you’ll need to create a new Audible.com account. Don’t worry, you can use your Amazon account to do this.
4. Follow the instructions. You’ll have 1 credit applied to your account.
5. Go to my book’s listing at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I56VZ64/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vamf_taft_p1_i2
6. Add it to your cart. When you check out you’ll see an option to apply the free credit.
Please let me know if this works – Allen
Thanks, Allen. Will check it out. Have a program to give this afternoon (out of town), uploading my book to KDP Thursday, then a retreat through Sunday.
Just ready to tackle this, but it says it’s expired. Bummer.
Sorry – I was afraid of that.
If it’s longer than 10 minutes, well, reading keeps my brain concentrating better!