Monday, October 01, 2007

Orderly Ringing Out

My grandmother has been cleaning out her attic and giving me bits and pieces to sell for her on Ebay. Being laid up here, the timing was good for all this, so I took on the challenge. One of things she gave me was a big shoebox full of stamps that she bought off some friend years and years ago and they originally belonged to that friend's brother. Anyway, she bought the box, stuck it in the attic where it's sat for who knows how long and now it's here. It's a mess, truly. I don't even know where to begin. Most all of the stamps attached to a little corner of the envelope they rode on and cancelled. They are from all over the world. They look pretty old. And that's as far as I've gotten with them. Whenever I think I'll go through them, the task overwhelms me and I quit before I begin.

But one slip of paper in the box was really neat. It was a quarter sheet of paper that The Man found mixed in with everything else. This brother, the collector of all these stamps, must have worked in a plant near the end of WWII and received this notice. I like to imagine the kind of person who wrote this a meticulous person who liked all the i's dotted and t's crossed. I've typed it out in it's entirely. We've been watching a lot of that new Ken Burns movie, so the timing on this pretty good. Enjoy.

It must be evident to all of us that sometime in the near future the word will come that European hostilities have ceased.

The news may come at any time, day or night and to save confusion it seems logical to advise what action we will take regarding plant operations.

When the news is received, whether by day or night, it will be signaled to our employees by the code for "V" - Victory. The whistle or other signaling device designation starting and stopping time will sound three blasts of one minute each with a fifteen-second interval between each blast, followed by a long blast of five minutes.

Operations will be suspended and employees , other than those needed for plant protection and shutting down furnaces or other activities involved in suspending operations, will be released until the beginning of the first shift on the second day (not including Sunday) following V-Day. For example-

If word should come at any time between 12:01 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on Tuesday, we would resume operations on Thursday a the beginning of the day shift.
If word were received at any time Friday, the plant would resume work Monday a the beginning of the day shift.

If the word were received on Saturday, the plant would resume work Tuesday a the beginning of the day shift.

We trust that, regardless of the excitement that will naturally be universal, orderly ringing out and departure will be maintained.

What a different war this was. Every aspect of everyone's lives was wrapped up in the war; how you shopped, where you went and how you worked. No one ever forgot for one moment during their day to day lives that there was a war going and our boys were dying over there. Our nation was at war and every member of our nation was an active part of the effort. How very, very different from our war today...


Nance said...

I've been watching the Ken Burns documentary series also, and my thoughts mirror yours. This war now affects me very, very little. I know a couple people there, but I don't sacrifice for "our" effort. My contribution is nil. I don't follow any progress--there's none to follow. I don't feel pride--there's none to feel. What a difference.

Weaver said...

What a fantastically wonderful piece of paper to find! It really does show a radically different time, huh? People would need to know ahead of time what to do not only because no one knew how crazy life would become but because they didn't have 9 thousand ways to contact the employees. I love that they were trying so hard to be so professional in a time that they knew everyone would want to just celebrate. What a fantastic glimpse into the past.

Brewer said...

I have to admit that I am a memeber of the tiny contingent that has not watched the Ken Burns-a-thon. I tried, I watched probably 40minutes of night one and it was far too depressing for me presently. I do get a glimpse of what WWII wartime was like periodically here at work when its time to replace ball bearings in something. The bearing manufactures have a "direct supply" contract with the gov't. That is to say the gov't get first dib's on bearings or the gov't will take over plant and make their own bearings. With that in mind and how everything that turns or has a engine in it has 30 gazillion ball bearings in it. The gov't needs all the bearing they can get to keep the Hummers, Strikers, airplane and ships running. Should you need bearings you will wait a very long time or be sold Chinese ball bearings because the gov't doesn't want Chinese parts in their tanks for some reason. What a different world today.