Minnesota's Greatest Generation

Lucy Waldhauser Sanford: "Home Front News"

Many organizations in Minnesota began to produce newsletters during the war that were sent to men and women in the military. These newsletters, filled with articles about activities of friends and family at home as well as news of those in the service, provided yet another link to the home front during mail call.

The Luther League of St. Paulus Lutheran Church in South St. Paul began to produce its wartime newsletter, "Home Front News," in January 1944. In addition to articles about Luther League events, social news, church league sports results, and words from the Pastor, Editor Lucy Waldhauser (later Sanford) always reserved space each month for letters from servicemen and women, their current addresses, and news of those home on leave. The newsletter also chronicled the deaths of the seven young men of the congregation who were killed in action in the last years of the war. The following excerpts are from several issues of "Home Front News."

Newsletter Excerpts

"The main idea of this paper is to write up in an interesting manner the goings on in the St. Paulus Church for all you men and women, boys and girls, in the service to read."
LuCille Waldhauser, Editor, "The Home Front News"

February, 1944

Editorial, by LuCille Waldhauser

If a man has money - he's a lousy Capitalist.
If he has none - he's a lazy ne'er do well.
If he runs after it - he's money mad.
If he doesn't try to get it - he lacks ambition.
If he tries to save it - he's just a miser.
If he tried to use it - he's a spendthrift.
If he gets it without working - he's a doless parasite.
If he gets it by frugal living - he's plain stingy.
If he just can't get it - he's downright unlucky.
If he saves it for a rainy day - he's a fool who gets nothing at all out of life.
If he has got it - his wife takes it.
Why, then, not just forget all about money?
(from "The Lutheran Almanac")

And that's just what we want you boys to do when it comes to paying for your paper. As long as we have money in our treasury, and as long as we have money in the Church treasury, this paper will be sent to all of you, free of charge.

The editor encouraged servicemen to send in letters to let their friends at home and in the military know how they were doing. The following letter, written by PFC Max Sanford (who would later become Editor LuCille Waldhauser's husband), expresses the appreciation shared by those receiving the newsletter.

March 1944

I do hope that I am put on the permanent mailing list of "Home Front News". It's nice to read about the friends back home and what they are doing. -- I am sorry, but at the present I cannot think of anything that might be of interest to the people. Although you might say hello to all, and wish all my friends from there who are in the service the best of luck. I am fine and have picked up considrable weight since I've been in. From 155 to almost 180 lbs. -- Wish the basketball club lots of luck from me. They're doing a fine job.

The newsletters often included jokes and clever poems to help brighten up the readers' day. The following poem by an unknown author gave new meaning to the moniker "G.I."

Sitting on my G.I. bed
My G.I. hat upon my head.
My G.I. shirts, my G.I. shoes
Everything free, nothing to lose.
G.I. razor, G.I. comb.
G.I. wish that I were home.
They issue everything we need
Paper to write on, books to read.
They issue food to make you grow,
But G.I. want a furlough.
Your belt, your shoes, your G.I. tie
Everything free, nothing to buy.
You eat your food from G.I. plates.
Buy your needs at G.I rates.
It's G.I. this and G.I. that
G.I. haircut, G.I. hat
Everything here is G.I. issue
But G.I. wish that I could kiss you!

Tidbits of news from the theaters of operation were always welcome, such as the following piece sent from the South Pacific.

July 1944

At a Minnesota Paul Bunyan picnic held somewhere in the South Pacific, Max Sanford ran into 15 South St. Paul men including: Dick Fitzgerald, Bert leMeir, Bob Sanders, Ray Carlson, Floyd Martin, John Miller, Jim McGuiggan, Dick Bartle, Ted Sobaskie, Fred Cropsey, Ken Larence, Don Madland, and Ken Remer (One of our church members). Thanks a lot for the news, Max!

The most poignant news, however, and the most dreaded, was the announcement of a home-town boy killed, missing, or wounded in action. As in most close-knit communities, these losses were borne together. The St. Paulus Lutheran Ladies Aid Society purchased a service flag, which was hung in the sanctuary, that would eventually have 102 blue stars representing those members of the congregation in the service. From 1944 to 1946, seven blue stars would be changed to gold, as one young man after another died for his country. Private Frank Kiesow became the first casualty when he was killed on April 24, 1944 in the South Pacific. In the September issue, a second death was reported - that of Pfc. Alton V. Heuer.

September 1944

In Memory of Pvt. Alton Heuer, a Fellow Luther leaguer who was killed in action on August 8, 1944, in France

Pfc. Alton V. Heuer, sone of Mr. and Mrs. Gust Heuer, of 137 Fifth Avenue South, is the latest member of our church reported to have been killed in action with the American armed forces. Notice of his death in action in France on August 8 has been received by his parents from the adjutant general of the war department.

Pfc. Heuer's birthday was on D-day, June 6. He entered service on April 8, 1942, and had his training at Camp Roberts, California, and later in Alabama and Virginia camps. He went overseas about the middle of last April and served in an infantry unit. He had been in England about a month when sent to France.

Alton's death adds the second gold star to our service flag. God grant this to be the last.

As the war drew to a close, the newsletter reflected the joy and relief felt by all Americans. Reverend Theodore Kurtz wrote an editorial for the August 1945 issue that began:

When official announcement was made of the fact that the Japanese had sued for peace and had agreed to accept the surrender terms of the Allies, a great burden was lifted from every American heart. For nearly every American was either directly involved in the War or had a loved one who was involved in it. So great was the relief which the surrender news brought that it is easy to understand the wild jubilation which characterized the many victory celebrations throughout the world....

The V-J issue contains a promise from the staff that "Home Front News" would continue to be published "until all of our boys are home." The final issue of the newsletter was published in December 1946.

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Waldhauser, LuCille, Editor, "Home Front News," South St. Paul: St. Paulus Lutheran Church Luther League, 1944-1946.