I spent an enjoyable hour reading the Edina-Morningside Blue and Gold student newspapers yesterday. While some stories could have been published any year (homecoming court, Sadie Hawkins dance, honor roll students), other stories revealed the time period as easily as poodle skirts or Ugg boots.
My goal when I started reading was to find out how World War II affected Edina students. My answer came quickly: our collection does not have any issues during the war years. Either the school ceased publication because all resources went to the war effort, or the newspapers were recycled through the many paper drives during the war. I'll have to do more research to find that answer.
I kept reading, and found that rumblings of war in 1939. A student editorial proclaimed "War, that's about all we hear about now, isn't it? ... United States has no need to go into war. It is a European War and we should take no part in it."
The bombing at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, changed it to a US war. The war cast a shadow long after V-E Day on May 8, 1945.
Even through the 1950s, one of the most active groups on campus was the Junior Red Cross who assembled gift boxes to soldiers overseas, sent basic necessities to our allies struggling to survive in bombed out cities, and raised money to assist the Red Cross. "I received the first bar of soap I had seen in 7 years in a Red Cross box at Christmas in 1946," one recent German immigrant said at a Red Cross Assembly in 1950.
Patriotism ran high. Students often mentioned their gratitude for living in a democracy, with its many freedoms, and their comforts in the United States compared to conditions in Europe.
Our collection of student newspapers runs from the first issue in 1939 to 1952. The "Blue and Gold" covered junior high and some elementary grade activities at Wooddale School (now gone. Wooddale Park at 50th Street and Wooddale Avenue is the site of the former school.)
Even the paper's name reflects Edina history. The Edina-Morningside "Blue and Gold" tells of a time when Edina and Morningside were separate villages and Edina's school colors were not green and gold.
The paper was renamed the Buzzette after the city's first high school opened and the student body voted the hornet as its mascot.... and that is another story, for another day.
We welcome additions to our school newspaper collection. Please contact me if you have issues (newspaper issues, that is!)
NOTE: A little deeper digging in our collection revealed that the newspaper did publish during the war years. I'll include some of the articles in our exhibit on World War II, that will have a grand opening party on Thursday, May 20. Doors open at 5:30, with a program at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Edina-Morningside Junior High (Wooddale School) newspaper article, Oct. 28, 1947
How many American children grew up with their parents telling them to "eat all your vegetables. There are starving people in (insert your mom's choice of country here) who would love to have your broccoli."
If you didn't grow up during World War II, you may not know that the Clean Plate Club was part the homefront's effort to help win the war. You might wonder: how could eating all your food take down Hitler?
As this article from the Edina-Morningside Junior High newspaper "Blue and Gold" reported, America could send more supplies to our starving allies, if only students would eat their bread crusts.
The philosophy is an interesting contrast to the national response to the ongoing War on Terror: going shopping. Instead of urging citizens to cut back, officials tell us to spend money for a stronger economy and a stronger America. What's more, today you're not supposed to clean your plate, unless you want to eat your way to obesity.
And this, my friends, is why I love history. As times change, attitudes change. We are constantly challenged by the past to re-consider what we believe to be true for today.
I found this story in our archives when I was looking for stories for our upcoming exhibit "Edina's Greatest Generation." I also think it would be great as part of another exhibit we're working on about the history of Edina schools.For such a little article, it tells a lot about how Edina lived in the 1940s.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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