Dec 18, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
My Aunt Mary Jane died last month at Oswego Hospital. After living in Galeville for five decades, she spent her final months at a Port City nursing home. She was 88 years old.
Born Mary Jane Korthas in 1924, she had married my mother’s brother, Ed Egloff, sometime after World War II.
When I was a kid, we used to watch the Syracuse Women’s Masters Bowling Tournament on television, and we’d keep an eye out for Aunt Mary Jane’s hands which could be seen keeping score. She had created the local ladies’ tourney and remained at its helm for a quarter-century.
I also knew that Aunt Mary Jane was one of the first women to work at Heid’s hot dog stand. When the boys went “over there” in 1942, Heid’s door swung open for the gals, and Mary Jane was one of those who filled the grill and served chocolate milk and birch beer.
But I’d forgotten about her military service.
While my Uncle Ed joined the Navy and saw more action than he cared for in the Pacific, Mary Jane also donned a Navy uniform. Ed served on three ships including the aircraft carrier Intrepid while Mary Jane sorted letters and packages at the Fleet Post Office in San Francisco. She was one of the WAVES — a Woman Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.
When he planned her funeral Mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary last month, my cousin Ed Jr., Aunt Mary Jane’s oldest son, proposed the performance of a particular hymn, one that had special meaning for Navy veterans of WW II. Unfortunately, it was edged off the funeral Mass program by the evergreen “Amazing Grace,” but its story remains relevant.
Naval historian Samuel Eliot Morrison, a rear admiral, told the story toward the end of his 15-volume “History of United States Naval Operations in World War II.” He quoted a letter from Vice Admiral Ted Wilkinson, the commander of the Third Amphibious Force, who had missed the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri because he was busy supervising a landing of troops at Yokahama.
“By shortly after noon all our assault troops were landed,” Wilkinson wrote. “So I went down the harbor to see Bill Halsey and the old Third Fleet crowd…He promptly took me over to a very impressive sunset ceremony Admiral Fraser was having on the [HMS battleship] Duke of York. Massed bands of all the British troops played splendid martial music and…the sunset hymn, John Ellerton’s ‘The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended.’
“The…music floated over the calm waters of the bay to American bluejackets, touched the mystic chords of memory and sentiment, reminding all hands that…if victory over Japan meant anything beyond a change in the balance of power, it meant that eternal values and immovable principles had been reaffirmed and re-established Often these principles are broken, often these values are last to sight when people are struggling for survival; but to them man must return…in order to enjoy his Creator’s greatest gifts —life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
So, Wilkinson noted, “nothing could have been more appropriate” than the massed bands’ performance of that sunset hymn. Remembering that music and the selfless service of thousands of veterans such my Uncle Ed, who died in 1998, and my Aunt Mary Jane was similarly appropriate. The day you gave, Lord, is ended.
Twelve years ago, Maka Rouge hadn’t even thought about becoming a professional musician. She was a Southern California skateboard punk.
After breaking her elbow in 2000 in a skateboarding accident, however, she was told she would be disabled, but the stubborn blonde refused to accept that dire diagnosis. Instead, she worked hard to rehabilitate her arm by playing guitar. Then the self-taught six-stringer began writing music.
Maka Rouge will perform tunes such as “Peace in the City” from her recent self-titled CD at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at Café at 407 at 407 at Ophelia’s Place, 407 Tulip St., in the village of Liverpool. Admission is free; 451-5544.
Sammy-winning soul singer Isreal Hagan returns to Café at 407 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, and Liverpool’s own Fab 5 Paul plays Beatles tunes there on Thursday, Dec. 27.
Speaking of regional rock’n’rollers, Liverpool’s oldest teenager – Jan Fetterly – plays one last local gig with the band Smokin,’ from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Carnegie Café, downstairs in The Maplewood Inn, at Seventh North Street near Buckley Road. Jan and his wife, Nancy, are moving to Arizona.
The new Liverpool gift shop, Kashani Home Décor and Gifts, is inviting men especially to do some holiday shopping there this week. Owner Sohyla Ziaie will serve free appetizers to shoppers on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 20. For more information about Kashani and its vast array of dazzling doodads, call the shop at 457-0494, or visit facebook.com/Kashanidecor.