Wartime, as hectic and nerve-wracking as it could be on the home front, also had its more amusing times. In the latter months of 1942, Bloomville became a place of respite for soldiers, Delhi got unexpectedly buzzed by warplanes, and war material shortages changed the choices for buying Christmas toys that season.
From Bloomville, The Oneonta Star reported on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1942, “Another contingent of British sailors is expected in this area this week, not as farm help, but for a week’s rest from the rigors of war. Nineteen have been entertained this week and 70 or 75 are expected to arrive on the New York Central mid-day train Wednesday.”
Those volunteering to entertain or host one or a group of these sailors were given an incentive. Provisions had been made with the local rationing boards that the hosts could obtain additional sugar at the rate of one-half pound per person.
The British sailors had been on shipboard one or two years and hadn’t had shore leave in many months. Residents who’d hosted or entertained the sailors were reported to be pleased with their guests.
“One dish the British tars who come to Bloomville had never tasted was pancakes, and they thoroughly enjoyed this traditional American farmer’s breakfast,” the Star reported.
As the nation approached the one-year anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, Delhi was a bit on edge, as reported in the Star of Monday, Dec. 7.
“This village buzzed with excitement again Saturday afternoon with the return of the hedgehopping Army fighter plane which had caused such a furor the day before, accompanied by two others.”
“However, it was doubtful if anyone remained indoors. Main street doors burst open and clerks and customers alike dashed to the sidewalks and peered into the sky to see what was going on.”