GLENS FALLS — Marcia Winslow knew some of the history of World War II through letters to her mother and her father’s war diary, but she wanted to know more about it.
And she knew where to look.
“Every year, the (Glens Falls) school district would produce an annual report, and some of those reports from during World War II were just amazing,” she said. “I got so much information from them and from other things I read from that time period.”
All that reading and note-taking produced an oversized volume called “Patriotism Throughout World War II . . . A Hometown Perspective.”
Winslow recently retired after 36 years as an administrative assistant in the Glens Falls City School District. Now she has plenty of time to market her book and talk about what she learned.
“One of the things that surprised me was that during the war, if you were a block captain or a doctor and you went to the movies, there was a box there to leave your name in, just in case someone needed you.”
She also found it interesting that when she read one of the superintendent’s letters in the school system’s annual report, part of it said, “We hope our city will not endure war.”
She also had access to letters to her mother, her family and her father’s diary while he was serving as the engineer on a B-17 bomber based in England.
“On his 23rd mission, the plane was hit by flak and he had to bail out and broke his ankle. He wound up in a field hospital, couldn’t go back up in the plane and wound up on a bond tour and giving pep talks.”
The annual report letters fascinated her. “They were describing how the war was affecting students, teachers and curriculum as the war began and as the war proceeded.”
Winslow said the sense she got was that Glens Falls was an extremely patriotic city.
The book also contains a play written by the students of the Big Cross Elementary School during the war, which depicts patriotism of saving soap, buying defense stamps and the avoidance of the usual Halloween pranks, which they proclaimed were “out for the duration.”
The cover of the book is a story in itself.
“My father was shown a picture of downtown Glens Falls, and he realized he was driving the car in the photo,” Winslow said. “So Loren Blackburn, a local artist, painted the cover picture from that photo.”