Trip to France│Other
WWII Veterans I Know│The
WWII Events Page with Photos│Latest Happenings│6th Beach Battalion│Who am I?
The Sergeant John W. Gabersek Jr. Memorial Scholarship
The Home Front
A Collection of Clippings taken from my
Grandmother Frances Gabersek Povirk Isbir's
Victory Album assembled in 1943 to 1945.
A special bonus of my mothers recollections of the era.
Many thanks to my mother Arlene for granting the honor and privilege to own this album.
Pictured: My mom, grandmother Frances and grandfather Frank Povirk in 1940.
IN 1941, WHEN I WAS NEARLY SEVEN, WWII BEGAN. IT WAS A TRAUMATIC TIME FOR OUR FAMILY. ALL MY UNCLES WERE CALLED INTO MILITARY DUTY. WE GATHERED AT THE WEST NEWTON TRAIN STATION TO BID FAREWELL TO UNCLE JOHNNIE AND FRANKIE AMONGST THEIR LOCAL FRIENDS ON A COLD HALLOWEEN NIGHT. CRYING AUNTS, THEIR SISTERS, AND MY GRANDPARENTS BRAVELY SAYING GOODBYE AND WATCHING THE TRAINLOAD OF YOUNG MEN DEPART. I HAD SPENT ALL MY SUMMERS AT THEIR HOME SO IT WAS LIKE MY OWN BROTHERS WERE LEAVING.
MY MOTHER, FRANCES, FAITHFULLY COLLECTED ALL NEWS CLIPPINGS, PASTING THEM IN HER SCRAPBOOK. HOW PROUD WE FELT EACH TIME ONE APPEARED. I WAS PRIVILEGED TO FORWARD THIS BOOK TO MY SON ERIC TO TREASURE YEARS LATER FOR HIS HISTORY DOCUMENTATION. WE WROTE MANY LETTERS AND SENT CARE PACKAGES OFTEN TO "OUR BOYS" AND RECEIVED SOME IN RETURN CONTAINING HANDMADE ITEMS LIKE SEASHELL JEWELRY AND ALUMINUM BRACELETS MADE FROM DOWNED JAPANESE PLANES; MY NAME HAND SCRATCHED ON THE OUTSIDE AND PAINT SIGNS INSIDE. HOW PRECIOUS WERE THE FEW BRIEF FURLOUGH VISITS FROM OUR BOYS, SOMETIMES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. OUR HOME WAS THE FIRST STOP AT THE CHRISTY PARK STATION A FEW BLOCKS BELOW, WHICH WAS CLOSE TO THE ELEVENTH WARD HONOR ROLL MEMORIAL LATER BUILT ABOVE THE TRACKS ALONG OUR MAIN WALNUT STREET, MCKEESPORT, PA. POLISHED SHINY BOOTS WERE WORN BY UNCLE FRANKIE WHO SPENT HOURS INTO THE NIGHT DESCRIBING THE 'DIRTY-FIGHTING JAPS' WHO HID HIGH IN THE TREES LUZON/PHILIPPINE BATTLEGROUNDS. HE WAS A "TRAINED MEDIC' ADMINISTERING PENICILLIN AND PAIN SHOTS TO SICK AND WOUNDED.
ONE SUNNY AFTERNOON UNCLE JOHNNIE APPEARED WALKING TOWARDS ME AS I RAN INTO HIS ARMS SO HAPPY TO SEE OUR HANDSOME YOUNG SOLDIER. MY AUNT EMMA LIVED WITH MOTHER AND I IN THOSE YEARS WHILE HER HUSBAND, UNCLE REID "SKINNY" SMITH ALSO SERVED.
WE GREW VICTORY GARDENS, COLLECTED SCRAP METAL CANS, SHOPPED WITH A BOOK OF RATION STAMPS FOR MEATS AS I RECALL. WE HAD SACRIFICED FOODS, NYLONS, SOAPS, ETC. TO HELP SUPPLY OUR BOYS. WE BOUGHT WAR BOND STAMPS TO FILL LITTLE BOOKS IN SCHOOL. GRANDMA HAD A WOODEN STAR PLAQUE HANGING IN THEIR FRONT WINDOW WITH TWO BLUE STARS; LUCKILY, NEVER TURNING TO GOLD. I REMEMBER DANCING WITH HER ON THE FRONT LAWN WHEN THE WAR WAS FINALLY OVER. SHE SPOKE LITTLE ENGLISH, BUT KNEW HER BOYS WERE SAFE NOW! BELLS RANG OUT IN THE DISTANCE AND OTHER FOLKS MADE NOISE IN CELEBRATION!
MY FATHER, A 4F, AND MY OTHER GRANDPARENTS CELEBRATED AS WELL NEARBY, KNOWING HIS TWO BROTHERS, UNCLE DAN AND UNCLE ANTON TOO WERE SAFE AT LAST. UNCLES REID, TONY, AND STEVE, MY AUNT'S HUSBANDS, CAME MARCHING HOME TOO! INDEED WE WERE SO HAPPY! I WAS ABOUT 14 BY THEN AND HAD SOMEONE TAKE MY PHOTO IN FRONT OF THE HONOR ROLL THAT MY MOTHER AND HER SISTER-IN-LAW HAD SOLICITED THE CORRECT NAMES FROM ALL THE NEIGHBORHOOD FAMILIES WITH CLIPBOARDS IN HAND AS I RECALL. WHAT A PROJECT FOR THAT SMALL MILLTOWN OF ROW HOUSES. A 'TREASURED MEMORY'! AUNT OLGA ISBIR'S BROTHER AMIN HAD NOT BEEN SO LUCKY AS HE WAS TRAGICALLY KILLED ON D-DAY. MY MEMORY OF HER MOTHER, MARY, AND FAMILY MOURNED DEEPLY AS DID MANY OTHER FAMILIES. WE ALL FELT SAD AS WE GATHERED THEN AND FOR THE HOLIDAYS THEREAFTER. MY COUSIN (BY MARRIAGE) MARY JO AND I SORT OF GREW UP TOGETHER AND WITNESSED THEIR GRIEF AS WE VIEWED THE EVER PRESENT PHOTO OF 'UNCLE MEENIE (AMIN).
EVERY TIME WE WERE ABLE TO ATTEND A MOVIE THEATRE WE WERE SHOWN 'MOVIE-TONE' CLIPS OF OUR BOYS IN COMBAT BATTLES. EVEN OUR MUSICAL HIT SONGS WE SANG WERE RELATIVE TO THE TRAUMATIC TIMES. "PAPER DOLL" WAS A FAMILIAR ONE.
EVEN NOW AFTER ALL THESE 60 YEARS, WATCHING THE WWII EPIC “THE WAR” BRING BACK SUCH SOBERING MEMORIES, WITH GRATITUDE TO OUR BOYS AND THE SACRIFICES THAT WERE MADE. I REMAIN 'PROUD' OF OUR COUNTRY AND THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO DEDICATED THEIR LIVES TO THE CAUSE! MAY GOD GRANT HIS BLESSED REST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT RETURN, AND HIS HOLY BLESSING UPON THOSE WHO DID, AND TO THOSE WHO CARE ENOUGH TO PAY HOMAGE TO THEM WHO SERVED IN GLORY!
A WORLD WAR II SURVIVOR, ARLENE POVIRK MONTGOMERY BAKER
My mother Arlene seated with Santa in 1940.
MOST PHOTOS ARE LIVE, MEANING IF YOU CLICK ON THEM
THEY GET LARGER
My grandmother married J.B. Isbir, a McKeesport Alderman,
whose two brothers Espir (Izzy) and Amin would soon be fighting overseas.
Francis worked at Cox's in McKeesport with Sally Loveall.
Sally's brother, Sidney Loveall, a hero the Dieppe raid in 1943
returns home to McKeesport for a War Bond Drive.
While the boys fought overseas,
bond drives kept the factories running on all cylinders.
News articles kept everyone informed about the boys
Life went on...
and Aunt Jennie marries Airman Steve Simco.
... and people still had items for sale.
Yet the price of freedom is never free...
The casualty list from 1944 with one of our own on it.
Christmas cards from Paris and a silk hanky from
compliments of brother in law Steve.
Postcards and Patches from brothers Johnnie and Frankie.
Occupation money from Japan via brother in law Reid.
The inevitable triumph finally was reached in 1945.
Proud Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines march
through McKeesport in their own Victory parade.
My grandmother worked to gather the entire list of veterans
from the 11th Ward to be honored on a Memorial.
My mom, now 14, attended the dedication ceremony in 1948,
as a tribute to all those that served and to some who gave their lives.
Uncle Amin's portrait is fourth from the left.
All gave some, some gave all.
Click the tent to go back to front page.