Friday, July 1, 2016

Sacrifices of Freedom

 (My father home on leave in WWII,
after being injured in France.)

(My father and his company)

July 4th is upon us and it has me thinking
in patriotic tones.  My father served in WWII
and stormed the beaches of Normandy in the second wave.
He is the handsome one - bottom row - left.  I wanted to
do a patriotic post for July 4th.

If you have been following me you know
that I have spent the last year writing family
history books.  I have created seven of them,
ranging from 100 to over 200 pages, so a
large part of my spare time has been taken
up doing that.  

(In front of his barracks.)

My sisters, Joni and Jean have been helping me
on the last book, my Aunt Ionia's.  Ionia never married
and was like a grandmother to us.  

(Ionia through the years)

Joni had quite a few travel books and pictures
of Ionia.  Included in some of the history she had
was this wonderful radio program that my Ionia
and my grandparents were involved with.  An article
had come out in the local paper about how they were
getting along on the farm (over 300 acres) without 
my dad, their oldest son.  It was picked up and they
were asked to travel from Madison, Wisconsin, to
Chicago to do a live radio broadcast (like you see 
done in the musical Annie).  Joni had the entire
script.  It was a fascinating bit of history to me.  Maybe
you will enjoy it too.

The program began with a soldier that was supposed to be Frederick J. Culp writing a letter back home to his folks.  Then the program transitioned to a script about what the businessmen in Sycamore, Illinois were doing to help the short-handed farmers, because so many farmers were now enlisted soldiers.  The program then transitioned to a scene where Fred Culp (Ionia's father) was talking to Ionia, Mary, and Bob about helping on the farm while Frederick J. Culp was a soldier over in Iceland.  These were all actors, not the real Fred, Mary, Ionia, and Bob.  The show then continued with a scripted interview with the real Ionia, Bob, and Mary.  The show transitioned to a message from a pastor, and then concluded with an actor playing Frederick J. Culp, finishing up his letter to the folks back home.  They consistently spelled Ionia's name as Iona.

(My dad, far left)

Saturday, July 18, 1942

9:30 – 10:00 PM

Opening: (Fife and Drum) “The Girl I Left Behind Me” (Once then fade) Announcer: Mr. and Mrs. America at home! This is YOUR war! Prairie Farmer – WLS respectfully dedicates this program to, THE FOLKS AT HOME. Those of you who fight on...THE HOME FRONT!!


SOLDIER (AS HE WRITES) : Dear folks at home. It's time for lights out here at Camp. I can hear Johnny Bugler blowing taps over near the parade grounds but thought I'd drop you a line before I hit the hay. Thanks for that box of fudge was swell. I enjoyed your last letter. When I stop to think what you folks at home are doing to help us boys win this war, it makes me prouder than ever to be just where I am tonight. The kids are doing a great job at home aren't they. Iona Mary and Bob. I'd sure get a kick seeing Bob and Iona driving that big tractor!

Guess you folks are lucky to have the kids with you on the farm. I don't know what Dad would do without them, but then I guess the folks on the home front are ALL doing their part. In the city, the town and on the farms. It's a tough job but with you folks and us fellows fighting together, well...just give us time and we'll show this old world a thing or two. (FADE IN MUSIC). The thought of how the folks at home are pulling together with the boys in uniform, does us more good than a top sergeant's command to put pep in the ranks. (FADE) We're mighty proud of you and ….(OUT)


ANNOUNCER: The sound of marching feet! Our sons march in uniform! The khaki and the blue! And the folks who remain at home are also on the march. And those marching feet know the sound of the tractor and the sound of the farm...where food will win the war and write the peace! Marching feet on the home front respond to the shrill blast of the factory whistle and the roar of machinery where men, yes...and women too work hard night and day to supply Uncle Sam with essential materials for winning this war! The sound of marching feet is accompanied by the sound of our railroads on which men labor at all times to rush vital supplies and materials to that vital destination! Yes! This is America going to work! (FADE DRUM AND MARCHING FEED SOUND)

That is the song of the folks on the HOME FRONT! And in the heart of every loyal man, woman, boy and girl at home beats the song of VICTORY! The Home Front has heard the call and is on the alert!

WOMAN: Fred, you've been standing by that window ever since you finished your breakfast. What are you looking at?
FRED: Just watchin' those clouds Mother...sure as shootin' we're gonna have rain before nightfall and plenty of it.
WOMAN: Rain! Oh my goodness...what about that alfalfa out there!
FRED: That's just what I was thinkin''s all cut, and cured and ready for the haymow too.
WOMAN: Oh dear! It's just one thing after another can't get all that alfalfa in by nighttime.
FRED: Nope I can't...alone..but I know where I can get help.
WOMAN: Get help! Well I'd like to know where ...with Johnny in the army, and the fired men working in a defense're going to get help?
FRED: Yep..and I'll betcha next week's egg money I do, too.
WOMAN: Now look Fred, you can't call on the Whitmore's to come over and help cause they're short-handed on their place.
FRED: No mother I got another way. Guess I didn't tell ya...but when I was in town the other day I heard that the businessmen there are...well just a minute I'll get on the phone right quick and show ya.
WOMAN: Well I never!  Now look Fred, I'll let the house work and the chickens go and get out there and help you...we can get some of that crop in and maybe we can...
FRED: Just a minute mother. (RINGS PHONE BELL) ( LOUD)...hello...hello operator, get me the Chamber of Commerce at Sycamore, will ya please...yeah,,,that's right. (TO HER) Ya know mother, if those fellows know what they're talkin' about I might get out of this jam before that rain starts comin' down toward evening.
WOMAN: But WHAT fellows, Fred?
FRED: Hello! Chamber of Commerce?  Well this is Fred Prentis out on Route 6. I gotta crop of alfalfa all cut and cured and ready for the haymow. We're gonna have a hard rain by nightfall and I was wonderin' about that “businessman-on-the-farm” idea you were talkin' to me about when I was in see I can't handle this alone and I...what's that?...Well I'll need about six men most all day long (FADE)...Ya will? an hour?...say that's great! Thanks a heap! (RECEIVER)...Well mother, we're gonna get that alfalfa in before nightfall...Ya see it's this way... (OUT)


ANNOUNCER: Well neighbor...Fred Prentis got that valuable crop of alfalfa in the barn all right...yes he was in a jam, shorthanded like so many other farmers, but there was a way.  You see a certain tractor salesman at Sycamore, Illinois, John Judson Farmer, had an idea not so long ago...a typical “AMERICAN” plan to help the farmer in an emergency. J ud Farmer sat down and thought it all out...”Small town business men aren't usually busy when the farmer is why shouldn't these business men be the logical ones to help out during harvest emergencies...that makes sense...sure it does!”  Did they come through?  Well let's have Mr. Jud Farmer, the originator of this fine plan, tell the story himself. He's here with us tonight and Jud, it's a pleasure to introduce you to our PRAIRIE FARMER-WLS audience!”
JUD: Thank you Jack, it's nice to be know I've been a reader and a listener at PRAIRIE FARMER- WLS for a long time.
ANNOUNCER: That's nice to know Jud, you should feel right at home here then.
ANNOUNCER: Well Jud we've asked you to come here tonight to tell our listeners the story of how you originated this “BUSINESSMAN-ON-THE-FARM” idea of yours that has proved so helpful and is being copied all over the midwest.
JUD: It's a simple little story Jack.  As you know, I'm a tractor salesman and this last spring with conditions as they were, I found I had a lot of time on my hands. Farmers were beginning to feel the labor shortage situation.  I started helping several of my farmer friends down around Sycamore in my spare time.  There was plenty of help needed, and the first thing I knew, I realized that these farmers needed a lot more help than they were getting.  Theirs was a serious problem and one that should concern every able-bodied man who had some time to devote to helping not only the farmer in his community, but America as well.
ANNOUNCER:  We of Prairie Farmer have been keenly aware of the farmer's problem Jud...
JUD: Well, we were very close to that situation down home, so I began to think of a way we could help out in this emergency. I figured that there were a lot of other businessmen like myself who had some time to give to this.  And I thought, “By golly I'll bet these fellows would get in there and pitch with the farmer of this community if this serious problem was brought to their attention.”  The Chamber of Commerce went for the idea in a big way.  So I wrote a letter to the businessmen of Sycamore, asking them if they'd donate some of their time to helping the farmer out in the fields.
ANNOUNCER:  And we've learned that practically every man was proud to do his share, as evidenced by the downpour of applications.
JUD:  Yes Jack, it made me very happy, and needless to say it made those farmers MORE than happy.  The men have been a great help. The newspapers christened us “THE FARM COMMANDOS”, and it wasn't long before other communities were following the same plan.
ANNOUNCER:  Well Jud, don't some of the businessmen find this farm work a little tough for them?
JUD:  Oh it's good hard work all right.  Some of the men more advanced in years took jobs in town so that younger men could get out in the fields to help.
ANNOUNCER:  Say that's a fine spirit isn't it.  And it's plain to see that this plan has surely strengthened the bond between business man and farmer.  But Jud, how about the question of wages or pay for this work?
JUD:  That didn't present any question Jack.  As one man put it...”My compensation is the privilege of being a free man living in the United States!”  Some farmers insisted on paying something, so we told them it would by OK by us if they wrote out a check for the Red Cross.

ANNOUNCER:  Well Jud Farmer, with towns and villages all over this part of the country taking to your idea.  You and the boys who started it have reason to feel very proud and happy of your FARM COOMANDOS!
JUD:  We ARE, Jack...proud and happy to know that our humble efforts are helping Uncle Sam's greatest and most loyal friends...THE FARMER!
ANNOUNCER:  Thank you Jud, you've told us a great story tonight...another example of true American spirit on the HOME FRONT!


ANNOUNCER:  There are boys in the service of Uncle Sam and their country listening in tonight.  This program carried a message to them.  Yes boys, the Home Front is backing you up 100%...we're behind you at home, working, fighting and helping wherever we can.  A lot of you men took off the farm overalls to put on the uniform.  The steering wheel of the tractor was replaced by the wheel of an ambulance.  Hands calloused on the plow handle now grip the rifle and machine gun, and instead of the rooster's crow in the morning, it's now the bugle call of Reveille.  One of you is Fred Culp, who left his family and their farm near Oregon, Wisconsin, to join the colors. This is a story that could be told a hundred thousand times in camps, on the sea and over there.


DAD:  I called you kids into the parlor 'cause there's something we've got to talk about.
GIRL:  What's the matter Dad? You look worried.
DAD:  Well I am.  Now that Fred is in the army, I've got a big problem on my hands.
Look out that window kids – there's 300 good acres out there – sheep, cows, pigs, chickens – the place is loaded down with good hard work.  Fred's not here to help out now – he's doin' his bit for Uncle Sam.  And Uncle Sam's callin' on us farmers to do OUR bit here at home too.  I can't get help children – can't get it for love or money.  The Army and Navy and defense industries are full of farm boys and hired men.  They're not around to work on the farms this year.
BOB:  You can count on us Dad...we'll help ya!  How about it Sis!
IONA:  You betcha Bob – Dad knows that!
DAD:  That's why I called you in here.  We've all got to roll up our sleeves and go to work.  I hate to say this to ya honey, but Iona it means you might not be able to go back to school this next fall.
IONA:  Oh that's all right Dad-- there's a bigger job to do right here!
DAD:  Thank ya honey.  And Mary you have to give up some of those things you been plannin' on for this summer.
MARY:  I forgot about that the day Fred went into the army Dad.
DAD:  And Bob?

(Bob on the left, was 15.)

BOB:  Yes sir
DAD:  Think you can learn to handle a tractor?
BOB:  Why sure I can Dad – gee whiz way last summer I was driving it out there when Fred was here...he taught me all about it...but...but...well I guess I was kinda sacred to tell you then.  I was only 14 but NOW I'm fifteen.
DAD:  (CHUCKLE)  You kids!  You're just one jump ahead of me aren't you.
MARY:  We'll all pitch in Dad and go to work – we can do a lot and what we don't know we can learn.
BOB:  Why sure!  It'll be fun knowin' I'm helpin' to take Fred's place.  Boy, am I proud of that fellow!
DAD:  It'll be hard work kids – and you start tomorrow at five AM.
MARY:  All right Dad...we'll be up and at 'em!  Come on kids let's get to bed and get some sleep.  We're in this fight now.
DAD:  You know – I think everything's gonna work out all right...(FADE)  Yes sir-- everything's gonna be all right. (OUT)
(The following is the part that Ionia, Mary, and Bob participated in. They were given a script to read as follows. They were not part of the dramatization above.)
ANNOUNCER:  Yes! Heroes on the HOME FRONT! That's what they are! Iona...
IONA:  Thank you Mr. Holden.
MARY:  Hello everybody – gee it's nice to be here.
ANNOUNCER:  And Bob...
BOB:  Howdy Mr. Holden
ANNOUNCER:  Friends, I'd like to have you meet Iona, Mary and Bob Culp who come to us from a farm out of Oregon, Wisconsin.  We're mighty happy to have you young folks here tonight.
IONA:  We're so thrilled we just can't get over it!
MARY:  And the folks at home are listening too!
BOB:  I can hardly wait 'til we get down to the theater so we can see the last show of the National Barn Dance tonight.
ANNOUNCER:  (CHUCKLES)  All right Bob – we'll get you down there in just a little while but first – I'd like to have you three answer some questions.  Suppose you tell us in your own way something about your work on the farm.
IONA:  Well Mr. Holden, it's WORK all right, but it's fun because we know we're a great help to Dad and Mother.  We're taking Fred's place and we're serving our country at a time when our help on the farm is needed.
MARY:  We have a 300 acre farm and we've INCREASED production all the way down the line since the war began.
ANNOUNCER:  You've INCREASED production?  Say that's great Mary.  What do you have on the farm and what are you helping Dad to do?
BOB:  (Bob responds instead of Mary)  We're milking 28 cows and by heavier feeding we've made them produce 4,000 pounds of milk more each month than last year.
IONA:  And we're raising heifers in order to increase production still more, if the war keeps on.

ANNOUNCER:  Apparently you're not satisfied with just standing still and operating normally on your farm.
MARY:  No sir Mr. Holden we're “ALL OUT” for increased production 100%.  We've got about 200 head of hogs on hand now, and last year we had half that many.  We have fifty breeding ewes and 290 chickens.

ANNOUNCER:  And Bob do you three know how to handle that tractor?
BOB:  Yes sir – any one of us can whip a tractor around a field in no time at all.
ANNOUCNER:  Well now, tell us something about the older brother FRED.
IONA:  Fritz is in Iceland Mr. Holden.  We hear from him every now and then.
ANNOUNCER:  Does he know how you three have pitched in to take his place and help your dad?
IONA:  Yes, he does and writes back telling us he's mighty proud of his sisters and kid brother. But he can't be half as proud of us as we are of him!  This next part was crossed out on the script: “That's why we enjoy our work on the farm with Dad – we feel we're doing something BIG – something that counts and from early in the morning 'til late at night we think of our big brother in uniform and all the other big brothers – that's why we can sing all day while we work and keep happy.”

Then Ionia begins again:  We have a job Mr. Holden and a big one – but a GOOD ONE! We American farmers believe that food will win the war and write the peace – and that's OUR battle on the HOME FRONT.

ANNOUNCER:  Thank you for those fine words, and good luck to your Iona, Mary and Bob Culp.  Give our regards to your brother Fred in Iceland tonight!


ANNOUNCER:  And that friends, is the story of the home front!  The home front where you and I can work together to help the boys in uniform to carry on!  And now, all of us will be inspired I'm sure by a message from Dr. Preston Bradley, pastor of the People's Church of Chicago. Dr. Bradley.
BRADLEY TALK HERE: (Not scripted).


SOLDIER:  (AS HE WRITES).......and so you see dear folks, THAT'S why we're out here trying to do a job as soldiers.  And you'll never know how much we think of you back there on the HOME FRONT, and the work you're doing to back us up.  Together we'll whip this thing - but good! And now – I guess I'll hit the hay and call it a day. Good night dear ones. Affectionately, your son, Fred.

WLS ANNOUNCER:  This program, the HOME FRONT, will be heard again at this time next Saturday night.  This is WLS...etc. (TIME)

Later they went to the National Barn Dance. It was a radio program that began in 1924. It had a large following and many performers, such as Gene Autry, got their start on the National Barn Dance.  The cast included, dancers, singers, and an orchestra, a cast of around 50 people.  The National Barn Dance was recorded in front of a live audience and was broadcasted, in 1942 when they were there, to 76 NBC affiliates through out the nation.

Have a wonderful July 4th.  I am proud of my father
who fought for freedoms for those he didn't 
know, or even speak their language.

Share something patriotic with
your loved ones.


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. Wow, what a fun piece of history. So wonderful to preserve family historiess.

  2. Thanks for reminding me about all the brave men and woman who have gone before us and done great things.

  3. I loved this little bit of Americana! It it so charming! What an honor it must have been for them to represent all those who kept the home fires burning by working in the factories and on the farms. It speaks to a different time and age. This, and the other memories tell the story of a great woman, our Aunt, who put people, family and friends first! It was an honor to work on this book.


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