Saturday, April 3, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 3, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports briefly of a visit by General Eisenhower to the Tunisian front, providing praise to the way things were progressing. Little news, however, was transmitted of actual fighting on this date. French forces had advanced substantially beyond Sedjenane, said one French communique.

The command structure of the forces was released by Allied headquarters, showing General K. A. N. Anderson's British First Army under which fought the French corps commanded by General Marie-Louis Koeltz. General Patton commanded four American divisions, the First Armored division, and First, Ninth and 34th Infantry Divisions. And, of course, the British Eighth Army was under the immediate command of General Bernard Montgomery. The entire Allied Army, called the Eighteenth Army group, was under the general command of British General Harold Alexander.

A report indicated that Rommel was attempting to use damaged tanks as decoys to attempt to attract fire both to waste ammunition and to disclose Allied gun positions. The ploy, said an American infantry captain, was not working.

Congressman Harold Cooley of North Carolina was said to be therefore questioning the practice.

The Russians advanced to the eastern limits of Novorossisk and were within 30 miles of Orel, 200 miles south of Moscow, had closed to within 36 miles of Smolensk, and within twelve miles of Taganrog on the Sea of Azov, the latter a key to prevent retreat and regrouping of the Nazis to permit retaking of Rostov, as they had accomplished the previous winter.

As the winter offensive was declared officially over by the Soviets after four and a half months since it began November 18, official claims of Nazi losses were pegged at 850,000 killed, over 340,000 captured, over 186,000 square miles of territory regained, and over 5,000 planes and 9,000 tanks captured or destroyed.

William Hipple reported on the return to San Francisco of four PT-boat squadron skippers, three of whom had been awarded the Silver Star for their bravery in action in the Solomons, sinking six destroyers, one submarine, and one cruiser between October 12 and February 18. They were members of the first PT-boat squadron activated in the Solomons.

Senator Truman said during committee hearings that he saw no point in making Mayor Fiorello La Guardia a brigadier general in the Army, any more than he had seen reason in making movie producer Darryl F. Zanuck a colonel in the Army. As to Colonel Zanuck, who was seeking return to reserve status, Senator Truman believed the better use, once he had been made an officer, was to send him to the front where officers were sorely needed. "I don't believe in letting fellows back out in the middle of a war," said the Senator.

Senator Truman was not likely on the list of Hollywood party invitees or soon to be included in any major Hollywood movies.

Senator Reynolds of the Military Affairs Committee was also quoted with regard to the prospect of Mayor La Guardia becoming a general. Senator Reynolds understood why people might ask why it had become necessary to appoint generals from the ranks of politicians.

And, speaking of Senator Reynolds, a picture of his doppelganger, W. C. Fields, appears on the page, headed to court as a defendant in a breach of contract suit for $20,000 for failure to pay a fellow for some jokes he alleged that Mr. Fields had lifted gratis.

Accompanying his nose for humor was a jug which he said contained "snake medicine--in case of an adverse decision".

Just who was going to be, in case of the Antonian decision, the recipient of the serpentinely medicinal elixir, plaintiff, defendant, jury, or judge, Mr. Fields did not make haste to clarify.

On the editorial page, "Change of Face" points out the increased spending power of American workmen, with wages and hours bulging from war industries, so much so that in the recent parley during the week between President Roosevelt and AFL and CIO leaders, Labor agreed to forego for the duration hikes in wages in exchange for better ceilings on prices, especially on food. The editorial points out the hypocrisy of the ostensibly patriotic stance: the reason for needing ceilings in the first place was the demand by Labor for higher wages and the consequent spending power which had threatened inflation.

"No Change" looks again, as the column had a few weeks earlier, at the prospect of the South bolting from the Democrats and going Republican in the 1944 presidential election. As possible indicators of such a trend, it cites Time's list of the South's points of divergence from the President: New Deal "meddling" with race relations; New Deal labor legislation, against the Southern open-shop concept; farm policy and price controls, disfavored by Southern farmers; and the New Deal's Big Government, hostile by its nature to States' Rights, cherished in the South since the Founding, more so since the Civil War.

The editorial concludes, (after a paragraph lost to inadvertently dragged text), that, nevertheless, the thusly charted course for such a bolt was not likely in fact to produce one. For one, it counts the fact that the pocketbooks were doing well. In times of increased income, few would wish to change horses.

"New Game" informs of the RAF having dropped bogus German ration leaflets during one of its recent raids, thus producing confusion and a black market underground within Essen.

They could always eat the paper.

Sam Grafton finds those who had believed that the war was likely to produce no significant social revolution, alternatively either depressed or relieved over the ostensible condition, depending on whether Liberal or Tory, had, nevertheless, jumped the gun in the forecast.

Precisely what he marshaled as evidence to the contrary, we shall have to await another day to find out, after visiting the whirring machine again--which, for this date's page, we obviously whirred a bit too quickly before it finished, or began, its cycle of reproduction.

Or, perchance, Mr. Fields might happen by your abode and, being probably possessed of special spatially adapted abilities by which the print might be read straightwise, will oblige you with his services.

But, should he so become at your dispose, be careful that he does not place an undue slant on any of the stories.

Dick Young examines the various nicknames and their origins contained in the backlogs of Charlotte's black crime chronicles. You may peruse them for yourself. It is another of those things, as with many other quaint conventions of the South, which have long since Gone With the Wind, alongside mint juleps on the veranda, and swaying, singing mammies with bandanas swirled about their heads, adorned with broad aprons about their midriffs.

The third in the "Heritage of America" series is an excerpt from Cross Creek, published the year before, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, recounting her youthful years in Florida. Again, candidly, we find the prose a bit stilted and overly magnoliafied for our taste, but you may have at it as you please, (and all of it, per the link, provided, of course, you live in the Antipodes).

Ms. Rawlings, incidentally, was sued over the work by a friend depicted within it, claiming invasion of privacy. The claimed offensive passage was:

Zelma is an ageless spinster resembling an angry and efficient canary. She manages her orange grove and as much of the village and county as needs management or will submit to it. I cannot decide whether she should have been a man or a mother. She combines the more violent characteristics of both and those who ask for or accept her ministrations think nothing at being cursed loudly at the very instant of being tenderly fed, clothed, nursed, or guided through their troubles.


"It's a _____ blessing for us not many Yankees have seen country like this, or they'd move in on us worse than Sherman," Zelma said, and reined in her horse to dismount in front of the first cabin.

Zelma lost her lawsuit but it was reversed on appeal and she was awarded a dollar in damages. At trial, it had come out that she could cuss a country mile and regularly wore pants. But, in case Zelma is still around, we shall refrain from revealing her surname. We need to hang on to that dollar.

Whether, incidentally, the cottonmouth rattler hard by the River Styx, described in the paragraph following the second quote above from the book, was the same one from which Mr. Fields obtained his snake medicine in the eventuality of an untoward result in the outcome of the pleading of which he was the unfortunate servee, we don't know.

But, in any event, we suppose that Zelma, with the remaining change from her dollar, at the departure of life's last breath, had sufficient coinage to provide remuneration adequate to the boatman as she passed over the River Styx at some juncture in time indefinite, probably a boat named Sometime, manned by a stout gentleman, providing the nom de croisière, Mahatma Kane Jeeves, of scholarly mien, wearing a top hat, holding his cane, while endued with the most ill-fitting of vestments, suggesting the haberdasher as one either blind or not voluntarily parting with the too fast selection made from the rack by its wearer, greeting his prospective charge with a jug in hand, imparting melodiously: "Yes, madame--or sir--step right this way, and the personage before your lovely visage--or ruggedly handsome countenance, as the case may be--shall provide you with sufficient toxins, not to mention divers devoirs, that is to say, beneficently eleemosynary liquid admixtures in exchange for the emoluments provided in service of my proclivities, thus for the crossing of the bar entailed to your loveliness--or, if perchance my eyes jest and deceive their sockets, puggishly putrescent excellency--, to make the prolixity of your sojourn in this, my boat rickety, of a most pleasant and salubrious quality in its experiential sensitivities. For as Mr. Ogden Nash, the poet who crossed here not but an hour ago, leaving behind the finest poetic liqueurs man might ever imbibe with impunity, said to me personally, 'We shall be in Kansas by and by, my little chickadee.'"

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