Items about Barnes County, N.D., during World War II as published in the Valley City Times-Record turned up in the notes kept by Mavis Strinden, the wife of Theron Strinden, Fargo.
After she died, at the age of 97, her son, Steve Strinden, found these items in her papers and sent them to “Neighbors.” Here are a few of them:
On Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 1941, Barnes County lost its first citizen when Winston Hammerrude was killed on the battleship U.S.S. Arizona.
With the announcement of the war, the efforts to guard the High Line Bridge near Valley City against sabotage began. Valley City organized the first Home Guard unit in North Dakota and had 74 men signed up by Dec. 13. They were told to be ready to shoot if necessary. The public was asked to respect the Guard’s command to halt, and curious individuals were asked to stay away from the bridge.
“During the first World War,” the Times-Record said on May 8, 1942, “it was not an uncommon occurrence for attacks to occur on the person and property of slackers and anti-Americans. This practice broke out in Valley City again last night when a local dry cleaning establishment was smeared with yellow paint and a swastika was painted on the shop window. It is claimed that the proprietor has refused to buy War Stamps or Bonds and further that he does not intend to.”
Here’s an item from the Apr. 13, 1942, issue: “One hundred and thirty people have been named on township and village Victory Garden committees in Barnes County. Each committee is comprised of three persons except Valley City, which has five.”
Apr. 24, 1942: “Some woman in the city is against girls over the age of 16 appearing on the streets bare-legged or in slacks. She says it’s all right for home and picnics but not the streets.”
Sept. 16, 1942: “Eighty bushel an acre wheat? Ninety bushel an acre oats? It sounds almost impossible, but they were the yields on two farms near here. Emil Schermer threshed out 1,600 bushels of Rival wheat on 20 acres on his farm four miles south of Valley City on the Kathryn road. A 10-acre field of oats on the Paul Sherman farm near Oriska, tenanted by John Schlegel, averaged 93 bushels to the acre.”
“April 6, 1943: “Mercy Hospital’s Nursing School became an official extension of the Cadet Nurses Training Program that offered any girl who was a high school graduate between the ages of 17½ and 35 years eligibility for application.”
Nov. 6, 1943: North Dakota movie theaters sold $1,224,500 worth of War Bonds through 1943. “Valley City’s two theaters were far in the lead with $60,000,” the news item said. “Fargo’s four theaters sold $33,000, Grand Forks’ three sold $15,000 and Jamestown’s two sold $12,000.”
From the May 26, 1943, Times-Record: “Barnes County school children were asked to buy enough bonds and stamps to purchase three Jeeps, the equivalent of approximately $2,700, and their patriotic efforts realized enough for 10 times that figure.”
”It was learned last week that Joseph Lee, Litchville, N.D., son of the Rev. and Mrs. J.E. Lee, was among the scientists and chemists who discovered, made and perfected the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, Tenn.”
Now, moving to the post-war years, “Neighbors” brings you Drew Simels, a man who lives in Bronx, N.Y., and who likes to visit Moorhead every so often because, even though he has no relatives or friends there, he says he likes the town and its residents.
Drew keeps up with news from the Fargo-Moorhead area through InForum, and occasionally he writes to “Neighbors.”
Recently he asked if F-M TV stations ever showed movies.
“The reason I’m asking,” he writes, “is that I remember when I was growing up in the 1950s, all of the New York City TV stations included movies as part of their programming. For some of those stations, movies were a major part of their programming.
“But nowadays, most of the New York City stations do not include movies in their schedules. And television, in general, throughout the U.S.A., has become specialized, and I don’t think that has improved society at all. I think the specialization has contributed to the way society seems to be falling apart.”
Drew doesn’t spell out what those specializations are.
However, he recommends a movie titled “Boulevard,” a comedy/drama made in the 1960s about a teenage boy and the problems he has while growing up in Paris.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.