Revisiting Christmas 1941
I found a 1941 copy of the Cement News, a weekly newspaper serving Northampton, Coplay, Catasauqua, Cementon and the Cement Belt.
On Christmas 1941, we were a nation at war. The Cement News edition was a mixture of both Christmas news and alarm. We had traditional greetings from our local businessmen, Northampton Lumber, Roth Brothers, Northampton and Howertown dairies, Lentz Motors, Lahovski the tailor and many others. They are all gone — just local memories.
The Roxy Theater had a Christmas Eve midnight show at 12:01 a.m. All tickets were 30 cents plus tax. Shows on Christmas Day were at 1:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. The features were “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break” with W.C. Fields and Leon Errol and “Tanks a Million” with James Gleason and William Tracy.
In Coplay, the Ritz featured Ronald Reagan in “International Squadron” at a special price of 22 cents. The Northampton Senior High School Christmas play was “Chimes Ring.”
In 1941, holidays set a record at the local post office. The post office was open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday for the sale of postage stamps and defense bonds. More than 8,000 pieces of mail were handled during that time. On Saturday, 24,000 pieces of mail were processed.
The Georgian Restaurant on Main Street featured a full chicken dinner for 50 cents and a deviled crab platter for 35 cents.
Coplay Fire Company formed a committee to arrange parties for draftees before they left for camp. The Cement News stressed the emergency the country was facing. Editor Roger stated, “There are few if any of us who cannot do something for the defense of our country. Civil defense is being organized and registration for those who want to do what they can or are fitted to do.”
President Franklin Roosevelt gave his annual Christmas message to the Boy Scouts of America, stressing the virtues of loyalty, courage and truthfulness.
Zion Lutheran Church in Northampton was adopting a Chinese girl who was a war refugee. All this proves “freely given, freely ye shall receive.”
In 1941, families could only hope and pray the war would be won and their sons and daughters could safely return home. Let us always remember the veterans who served and preserved our security, so we can celebrate all our holidays as free men.
See you in two weeks!