The meetings of this newly organized American Legion would be on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. There was business enough to require two meetings a month. club rooms were secured in the Dickie building. Activities were numerous. Aid to the Salvation Army is noted. Open house for various groups are frequent. We even find a record of the group furnishing a program for the Women's Club.
Another old record looked interesting. It seems that on Wednesday evenings the Post held "Open House" for the men of the village. In October it is noted that the night was changed to Thursday as Wednesday was prayer meeting night. This change was designed to permit those whose names appear on an earlier page to attend the prayer meetings.
On November 17, 1919 the organization met and elected officers for the coming year. The officers elected were: Robert Carpenter ...... Commander
Thomas Kidwell ........ Vice-Commander
Paul Bentley .......... Secretary
Dr. W.S.Bebb .......... Treasurer
Guy S.Simonson ........ Sgt-at-Arms
Walter J.Staats ....... Ast. Sgt-at-Arms
In the ordinary course of events the men that made up the Post would have finished school and been absorbed into the working population of the town and there would have been little notice of their activities. However because every young man who finished school in 1917 and 1918 and many who would have finished later went into the service the years 1920 to 1923 brought together a large group whose absorption took more time and attracted greater notice. Furthermore they had accumulated new experiences, strange to the rest of the population, that set them apart. On top of this they had organized and with the customary inexperience of youth were trying to put over a new experiment in society. To arrive at a just valuation of the problem suppose the high school and college graduates of this year and last should organize and then start in to tell the older people where to get off. Then add to this the additional fact that they had gone thru experiences and accumulated ideas of which we older people had no idea of, what would be our attitude? Naturally there would be considerable friction and misunderstanding while these young people would make mistakes that we would be impatient with. And thru the impetuosity of youth they would be more impatient of opposition and tempers would become short and friction bound to arise.
Another difficulty was the attitude of the older people in looking at a group. Instead of taking an interest in the churches, the social clubs and so on, these men were all for their own group and the natural addition of new and vigorous members to the old established organizations was interrupted and for several years there was a gap in additions to them. Also the members of these old groups could not make their divided attitudes agree. On the one hand they regarded the returned veteran with something of hero-worship and on the other hand they remembered that these same young fellows had only a couple of years ago been caught robbing a cherry tree or busting windows. It was hard for an older man to regard a young fellow that he he had turned across his knee a few years before as a hero today.
Inexperience was another factor. Take several hundred men that had been under army discipline from the time they left school. Turn them loose and have them organize into the strongest group in the village. They had to find officers to direct, and their own experience in that would be limited. The wonder is not that quarrels developed but that the quarrels were as few as they were.
During the first year of life of the Post, athletics were the strong point. Teams of all sorts were organized and went over big. The training of the men had made good players. But with the succeeding years the men gradually withdrew or their interests changed. Living as civilians they also lost something of their ability. They did not understand that every added year of age takes away some of their ability. The result was accusations of laying down on the part of the individuals on the various teams. This brought counter- accusations and at the end of a couple of years athletics were done. Younger men had come thru school and were ready to take their places and the veterans were slow to recognize the fact that they must pass on and make way for others.
The year that Carpenter served as commander(1920) was successful in the light of recent experience and the following one under Allison (1921) started the period of change. The personnel of the Post changed. This one and that one moved away as jobs and positions changed. Outsiders moved in. Many of the members married and began to devote more and more time to their homes. No longer was there a surplus of candidates for the basketball, baseball and other teams. Those who had to stay at home when an important meeting was on accused those that attended of being a "Clique". The so called clique accused the others of laying down. Both were partly right and wrong. It was the change in the life of the members that was responsible.
Throughout these two years the records were carelessly kept. Even the local paper was careless in keeping up it's files. The Downers Grove Library has no permanent file. For these few years there are no authentic sources of information. Possibly this is a good thing. At any rate we could see the change in the Post.
During 1922 the Post had Dan Diener as commander. He had to liquidate the mistakes and the assets of the first few years. His job was a thankless one but he carried it thru. The club rooms were no longer frequented by the majority of the members. It became a rendezvous for many who had no claim on their use. The result was ugly stories and criticism. Commander Diener closed out the rooms and accepted the invitation of the Masons to meet in their quarters.
A plan for an athletic field had been started and difficulties rose. Diener closed that deal and that episode was ended. Nowhere did he receive the aid he needed to carry thru the various projects that had been started. Times and men had changed. He went ahead and closed up these projects and at the end of the year the Post had little or nothing in the way of assets, but they had no serious obligations like many others throughout the state and nation. A good job had been done and the Post was nearly ready to start off on a new lline without regrets and without old debts to be taken care of.