Probably the oldest woman in Hancock County, Marguerite Harshberger, will turn 94 years young on October 30 2013, meaning she was born in 1919. She’s lived her whole life in Hancock County, mostly in McComb, except during the war when she lived in Findlay. She’s affectionately known as Hank, or Hankie, and if you live in McComb, you know who she is. Hankie was 22 years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. One of these days, not too far off in the future, there will not be anyone left alive who can remember and tell stories, personal stories to you, about what life was like in the 1940s when the entire world was at war. Hankie made gloves in Findlay for the soldiers. Her husband, like all able bodied men of the time, joined and served in Europe, came home on 30 days of leave, with plans to go to Japan, when the whole war ended in August of 1945. She tells me this story about working in the factory, it was piece work, and she received the largest check in the history of the plant for her piece work, $20 bonus. She spent $6 on rent. She had to get bread, that was a nickel. And she comes from a generation where a nickel really means something. I’ve read a lot of material on World War II, but hearing her stories, a personal feel you can’t get from a book, so I promised her one day I would immortalize her story about getting a $20 bonus at the glove factory in 1943. Hankie, this story, and this picture, will be on the world wide web forever. The words I write will be on the world wide web, as long as somebody updates the hosting, forever. Starting a website is a path to immortality. It doesn’t even matter if anyone reads this, it’s going to be here, available to read for a very long time. And I’m a firm believer, if I write these stories, people will read them.
Think about all the technological advancements that have happened in the past 75 years. She’s seen them all, with a mind as sharp today as it was when she was 18 years old. Cell Phones and The Internet and things she just cannot truly put her mind around because it is such a technological leap at such a late point in her life. When Mark Andressen opened the internet portal to the common man in 1993, Hankie was well into her 70s and had no need for a computer or later, a cell phone. So explaining to her how this all works is something I’m just going to put off. Remember, we live in a world where I am writing this, and who in the world would read anything I write?
So here’s a toast to the generation that fought and won World War II and survived the Great Depression. Learned people have the responsibility to ensure current generations keep their plight in perspective as to those of previous generations.
And, Hankie never heard this story about the town she’s called home almost a century. You see, if you spend time and click the blue links I have in this site, you’re going to be a more learned person. This takes you to the same place as the link near the top, I’ll get you to click one way or another. Because it’s interesting. And we live in interesting times. Historic times. Right here in 2013.