Friday, March 15, 2013

Local Historian Presents “WWII On the Local Scene”

Local historian and author Bill Booker will lecture on “WWII On the Local Scene” on Tuesday March 19th at 2:00 p.m. in the Greenville Public Library’s Reference Room. As Bill relates “From December 1941 into September 1945 these United States, including of course Darke County and Greenville, bonded as one to fight the good fight in a two ocean global conflict known as the Second World War.”

Bill is very popular in the area with many people having enjoyed his Downtown Tours and Cemetery tours. His extensive knowledge and understanding of past events includes not just the usual facts but interesting insights and little-known background stories. He’s written five books so far - all available in the Library and the Garst Museum Gift Shop - and has two more in the works: Fun, Fairs, Festivals & Folks: the Lighter Side of Greenville‘s History and It Happened In Greenville.

He goes on to explain the topic of this talk. “The Treaty City sent hundreds of young men and women into uniform in all the military branches. We held sweeping scrap metal and paper drives, we built a board to honor those in service, and we knuckled down to listen on the radio to nightly newscasts. We were in it for the duration, rationing and shortage notwithstanding. And we were in it together.”

Younger people who were born later will learn what it was like during those difficult days. But for those who lived through it Bill says “ This lecture re-lights the candle of memory as the truth about just how we lived and managed our part in the war effort. It was indeed an amazing undertaking...amazing and quite successful.”

Bill says his interest in history started with his Dad, who was a grocer who owned four stores in the area. He was an only child and the family traveled by car to places of historical interest - he was thrilled to visit Gettysburg as a high school freshman. But it was also along the old highways that his Dad would stop at every roadside “at this spot, this happened” marker.

Bill earned a letter in journalism in high school and became sports editor for the GHS paper under teacher John Oliver. He attended Miami University, became sports editor for the Advocate and WDRK radio, and has remained active in sports reporting ever since. He’s been 28 years with girls and boys basketball, lines Harmon Field for football, and is the Director of Information for softball - publishing an in-house newsletter called Bink and designing this year’s tee.

And one of his greatest loves is theater! He and his late wife were active in the Art Guild Players and Old Time Melodramas (Bill’s written six plays) - and he is one of the original Annie Oakley Days founders. Certainly a very creative, interesting, and busy gentleman!

Bill is pictures with Librarian Deb Cameron who organizes Adult Programming. Be sure to come and enjoy hearing Bill on the 19th!

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