Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another Look Back at the 1940s

When asked about mischief making in her day (1941-45), Rose Mary Hanneken O’Brien’s reply was,
“I heard about some of them (other girls), but they really weren’t my friends. They snuck out one time to go up to a movie up on Madison Ave., but I didn’t do anything like that. I was a good girl, believe that, or not. But I don’t remember doing anything like that. I think we, our family, and I guess, some of my closer friends, we didn’t want to bring that down on our parents (anything) that would disgrace them. I think we honored our parents that way, by trying to do what we were supposed to do. They were paying our way there (NDA), and all. We tried to do our best.” This pretty much reveals the sentiments of the day in those years and in this area.

The photos reveal other aspects of life at NDA. Having graduated in 1946 Rose Mary Hanneken was there during the war years and joined the school’s war efforts. The girls joined the Junior Red Cross and the Victory Corps. A certain Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Daley addressed the girls to encourage them to join the corps whose purpose seemed to have been to gather books for leisure reading for the members of the military. Each girl received a membership card and the cap seen in the photo of war memorabilia. The Red Cross was pretty standard in high schools across the country at that time, so it’s not surprising to see that NDA was right in there.

Another quite different aspect of NDA life is evident in the second picture of Mother’s Day memorabilia. The formal invitation sent to mothers for an NDA Mother’s Day celebration emerges from its pink envelope while a paper figure of a student waits to be stood at the place at table reserved for the girl’s mother.

Despite the time and its scarcities, the Notre Dame girls walked away with many colorful and meaningful mementoes. Those reinforced the loving memories that so many NDA alums have of their school. While the times have changed significantly, we find that more recent alums have fond memories too, although of a different kind. We trust there will always be a store of such recollections to draw from for all future alums, memories that will enrich their lives and cause them to sing with gusto, “NDA, we honor thee with our voices, our hearts, our songs.”