Friday, November 15, 2013

December 8-14, 1941

Diary of Rev. Edmund Randolph Laine, Dec. 8, 1941
   Before I proceed with the journal of the Rev. Edmund Randolph Laine of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Stockbridge, Mass., from 1941-45, it's important to note that Dorothy Cooney once told me the often crammed and clipped and abbreviated language of the journal doesn't do justice to Rev. Laine's eloquence. So I'll interject one passage here that was not in the journal, but rather was inscribed in a book that Laine gave to Ed Forrest's friend Dave Braman after Ed was killed in World War II. (Laine raised Ed from the time he was 14. Ed, whom my father knew in combat, was killed at Heimboldshausen, Germany, on April 3, 1945.)
   The book is a small, hardcover edition of the story "England to America" by Margaret Prescott Montague. The story was first published in the Atlantic Monthly and was the winner of the very first Ohenry Prize for short story writing in 1919.

- - -
   To David E. Braman,

   Dear Dave,

          This classic little story of the First War of 1917-1918, was a great favorite with Eddie. I gave it to him in 1929, and he read it many times. You and I can appreciate the truth, the grace and the poignancy of this narrative, since like Chev Sherwood, Eddie passed over, fighting gallantly for his country. Little did he think as he read it, that the years to come would call him to the same manly sacrifice. You were his beloved friend, keep this cherished book of his, in proud remembrance.
           From, Edmund Randolph Laine, June 21 - 1946. Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

- - -

   As you may have noticed, the minister's handwriting, especially toward the end of crowded entries, is a little difficult to read. Even in less crowded areas, the top of a 'd,' for instance, will jut up into the line above it, causing all manner of confusion. I'm not familiar with the names of many of the people he references, and so you'll see a lot of question marks where I was unable to make out what he was writing. Nevertheless, much of the important material in the journal -- who and what he was listening to on the radio, what newspapers, books and magazines he was reading -- are fairly legible. I will do my best from here on out to annotate, hyperlink and explain what some of those references are.

December 8, 1941

Dec. 8: (Monday) (cross symbol) (war declared, circled) Cold, sunny. Up 11, shaved (Radio - News, "Pepper Young's Family") 12:30 - while eating heard Pres. Roosevelt address Congress - War message - calling for declaration of war on Japan - over 12:45. Then broadcast of speeches in House of Representatives. 1:00 - News that Senate had voted dec. of war. Roll call in House of Rep. began 1:04. 1:14 - majority vote reached in House of Rep. 1:16 - news. Read "Times." 3 - Winston Churchill speaking at Parliament in London - over 3:22. Around grounds & walked down Main St. Mrs. Dixson(?) spoke to me. Talk with C.M. [Carlton Markham?] & gave him book. Read "Eagle." Began to read (?) . 6 - News. 10 - Pres. signed Dec. of War. 9 - Quincy Howe. E. read in study. 10 - R.G. Swing. Read in (?). 11 - News.

December 9, 1941
Dec. 9: (Tuesday) Fairly cold, gray, snowing some. Up 11, shaved, shower bath. Noon - News (Planes Raid to be near N.Y.)[this may be air raid duty] Mrs. W. Pitt Palmer phoned (going to hospital for operation on eyes to-morrow). 2:15 - left in car with C.M. for Springfield. Snowing but not too cold - arr. Diocesan House 3:40. 4 - Meeting of Adult Education Com. - talk with Fr. Butler about Farrell case afterward. Started home 6 - bad going on ladder - arrived 7:40. 8 - dinner. Read "Eagle." Read "Christian Century" & "Times." 9 - Quincy Howe. 9:30 - "Fibber McGee." 10 - Pres. Roosevelt addressing the people on the War (E. listened to it) over 10:25. Had bran muffin & apricots. 11 - News. Read in "Goethe & Schiller."

December 10, 1941

Dec. 10: (Wednesday) Cold, sunny. Up 11:10. Shaved (Noon - News). Rec'd book "Relig. Leaders of Am." - looked over it. To Bank. 2 - to Lee (Bank), to Pittsfield (Bank & ?) - to House of Mercy, saw Mrs. Russell Wilson of S. Lee (?) back 3:45. Made up some acc'ts. To Library - back 5:20. Looked over "Relig. Leaders of Am." 6 - News. Eve. - ans. a letter. 7:15 - Arthur Hale. 9 - Quincy Howe. Miss F. home. E. to see sister in Lee. Read "Times." & in Hayes' "Generation of Materialism." 10 - R.G. Swing. Had milk, apple & bran muffin. 11 - News. Read in Ludwig's "The Germans." (Christmas Appeals issued)

December 11, 1941

Dec. 11: (Germany & Italy declare war on U.S.) (Christmas Appeals issued) (War declared on Germany & Italy) Cold, sunny. Up 11:20. Noon - (over WEAF) from Wash. from Capitol heard news of Hitler's speech declaring war on U.S. - also Italy joins in! Heard vote in Senate declaring a war. 12:34 - heard Pres. Roosevelt's War message read in House of Reps. for Dec. of War - was passed. C.M. & Miss F. worked folding Christmas Appeals. I addressed envelopes (63 issued). C.M. mailed them - 2:30. Made out application & bot [bought] defense bond from Bank - E. did the business(?) for me. Wrote Sun. press notices. Grown very cold. Read Frat. mag. Read "Eagle." 4:25 - E. in, brot my defense bond. Read "Times" & news(?). Very cold. Eve. - read in Ludwig's "German." 8:30 p.m. E. to go to Award meeting. 9 - Quincy Howe. 10 - R.G. Swing. 11 - News. 4:15 a.m. - fire[false?] alarm. R.(?) phoned me by mistake.

December 12, 1941

Dec. 12: (Friday) Very cold, sunny. Up 11:20 (Noon - News), shaved. Some Appeal responses left at door. Ans. responses. 2:15 - Rev. J.V. Butler phoned from Springfield. To Bank. Read "Times." Miss Adams in. Changed clothes. To Library - left flower cheque in Derrick's with Mrs. (?). Took short walk. Phoned Dr. Kimberly. Wound clocks. 6 - to see Dr. Kimberly - he was out hunting for lost Dealey boy - came in 6:15. Conference with him about Geo.(?) Fallon - back 6:50. Eve. - wrote 2 letters (Fr. (?) Butler(?) & Dr. (?). Miss F. home. Read in Ludwig's "The Germans." Wrote note to Mrs. Thomas in N.J. 9 - Quincy Howe. To post office. Read in "The Germans." Had lamb sandwiches. 11 - News.

December 13, 1941

Dec. 13: (Saturday) Cold, snowing. Up 12:05, shaved. Radio - News. Read "Times." Joanna Franz phoned about evening party. Phoned Mrs. Sedgwick. 3:15 - to Jr. Choir Party in Parish House - home - 4:50. Read "Eagle." Ans. some Appeal responses. Picked out hymns. E. to Pittsfield - p.m. 6 - News. E. to Air Raid duty & then to Occ. Club. Read in Ludwig's "The Germans." Raining hard. 8:25 - into Young People's party in Par. House - talked with Mrs. Franz. Read on "Esther." Worked on sermon. Ate apple. 11 - News. Shower bath.

December 14, 1941

   Dec. 14: (Advent 3) Fairly cold, rained till 10 a.m. bad under foot. Up 7:35, shaved. Breakfast 8:35. 9:15 - S. Lee - Holy Com. - back 10:05. T. Burt* opened Sun. School. Spoke to children. 11 - Stockbridge - "Esther." (19 min.) Spoke of war. Cleared - a little subn. Read in "Times." 3 p.m. - N.Y. Symph. Orch. 4:30 - E. came & read "Times" in study. 4:30: Albert Spalding. 5 - Met. Opera Auditions. 5:45 - Wm. L. Shirer. Eve. - Miss F. to the Pillings - ans. some Appeal responses. E. read in Ludwig's "The Germans" in the study. 9 - Ford Hour (Richard Crooks). Read some stories in out Vol. Dumas. 10 - News

*T. Burt almost certainly was Tommy Burt, I'm guessing 16 or 17 years old at the time. The week that Ed Forrest was killed, but still before the telegraph arrived, Reverend Laine learned that Tommy Burt was killed "on the Western front," and paid a call on his grieving parents. Tommy's brother Jimmy Burt would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle for Aachen, Germany, in October of 1944.

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