All during World War II, the Cubelet Press published the letters Crockett servicemen and women mailed from every corner of the Earth. The house organ of C&H Sugar refinery became the conduit that kept the Sugar Town folks connected no matter where the war put them.
The publication had been reporting the community news to the people of Crockett since the mid-1930s. Townspeople looked forward to finding it in their mailboxes twice a month.
Birth, deaths, scores of baseball or football games, and the doings of the chess club all were recorded. When Alvera Panuzzi, who worked in the "small pack" area of the refinery, got engaged, the details appeared in the Nov. 8, 1938, Cubelet Press along with the news that Jack Heaney of the refinery carpenter shop bought a new Chevrolet.
The first letters from servicemen and women showed up in the issue of Jan. 8, 1942. Most of these were thank-you notes for the Christmas box that C&H sent to its employees who had left the plant for the service.
By summer of 1942 the Cubelet was devoting two to three pages to its feature called "C and H Men in the Nation's Fighting Forces."
Harry McKechnie wrote from somewhere in Africa in March 1943:
"I have covered several thousand miles in Africa already and haven't seen a clean spot yet except in U.S. Army posts. We have to be very careful of what we eat and where we eat it."
In July 1943 Faustino Pagni wrote from New Guinea: "Yes we have C and H sugar out here, in great quantities. You see C and H sugar all over the world. Haven't seen many boys from Crockett but I did see Tony Dare, better known as Beanhole. We had quite a time talking over the old days. Wish I could tell you some of the things we are doing here but the censor says no."
In 1944 the letters started coming from England, Italy and France.
"I landed at Salerno on the initial day of the Italian invasion. It was our first time in combat," Ronald Gray told the editors of the Cubelet.
"Hello, everyone at C and H. Here's a few lines to let you know that I am now in France. This France is quite a place but there's not much left of it," wrote Keith Bixler in October 1944.
Near the end of the war, Almun Triglia would write from Iwo Jima: "The Cubelet Press is reaching regularly and keeps me well posted on the whereabouts and doings of men in service. ... For obvious reasons there is little that I can say about the job that is being done on this rock but, believe me, the Japanese don't like it."
On Dec. 20, 1945, the Cubelet Press printed the names of all the men and women from C&H who served in World War II and starred the names of those six who had been killed in action or died in a prison camp. No more letters from servicemen were printed.
Days Gone By appears on Sundays. Contact Nilda Rego at email@example.com.