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Yesterday in La Crosse

The war was finally ending, 74 years ago

Brad Williams

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On August 14th of 1945, word spread quickly by radio that Japan was surrendering to the Allies, just days after atomic bombs were dropped on Japanese cities.  “VICTORY!” was the large headline on a special issue of the La Crosse Tribune.

Wives waiting in America for their husbands to come home from the war were being advised to get into shape.  Author Margo Kurtz suggested that if a woman’s waistline was a single inch larger than her husband remembered it, “he’s going to notice.”  Mrs. Kurtz was waiting for her own husband, Col. Frank Kurtz, the pilot of a bomber called “The Swoose.”  At the end of the war, they had a baby girl who was named after her daddy’s plane.  Swoosie Kurtz grew up to become a famous TV and movie actress.

August was still time to get ready for school.  Osco Drug stores had school supplies.  Fountain pens were as cheap as 83 cents.  A box of 16 Crayola crayons was just 13 cents, and a dime would buy a new jar of white paste.

The Wisconsin Theater in downtown La Crosse featured Al Pearce and Dale Evans in “Hitchhike to Happiness,” while the Rivoli showed Robert Young in “Those Endearing Young Charms,” along with a short feature, “Where’s the Meat?” in 1945, yesterday in La Crosse.

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