The first meeting of the new year started auspiciously. William Hooper took over the Commander's chair and made his appointments about equally from those of the executive committee of the previous year and from the new members that had joined in the past two years. In two years time the membership had come up from 18 to 144 and the hope was to double it again this year.
Commander Hooper planned to get a Post History completed this year. The idea was good and the amount of effort expanded by the Commander and the Historian should have been productive of results. But the idea was wrong from the start. The historian had the idea in mind that there should be ab individual record of each man and a picture of each man be secured if possible. This plan had been carried out in other Posts but it has been found that such plans were carried out by a secretary hired and paid for the work.
Two hundred blanks were printed to take care of the records from each individual. The men all took the blanks and promised to take care of the matter right away. At the end of the year some twenty records were completed, most of the blanks had been lost and the individuals complained that the historian had never called for the material. Successive attempts all proved failures and nothing was ever accomplished.
Commander Hooper re-appointed Past Commander Swift to take charge of the Elgin service work and it moved ahead with Swift keeping his eye not only on Elgin and the men there, but also on the other Posts in the county as well as the 11th District. As long as Henry held his position there was nothing to complain of regarding the treatment of the men at Elgin.
A new departure this year in membership was a contest between Hinsdale and Downers Grove. The losing Post was to entertain the winner. The contest was hot and both towns were diligently canvassing for new members. By the end of the year the membership of our Post almost doubled again and on the day the delegates left for the State Convention we reached 234 members. Downers Grove won the contest and the entire membership was entertained at Hinsdale. A certain group of men throughout the county tried to involve the Post in politics. There were some hot political contests on and the idea had not percolated into certain dense craniums that no one could deliver the ex-service men's vote. Each veteran had a vote of his own and placed it exactly where he thought it would do the most good. However there were and still are quite a number who have a mental picture of platoons and detachments marching to the polls and voting as the officers direct. Due to the skillful handling of matters by Commander Hooper the would be politicians found themselves out on the end of a limb with no votes and no offices.
In previous years the members had been so busy arranging and learning how to conduct the various activities of the Post that there was very little spent for entertainment for the members. Of the several thousand dollars that passed thru the Post finance officer's hands during the preceding year only $67.00 had been spent for entertainment or refreshments for the members of the Post. Now that the membership had reached the high mark the work was divided and there was more time for each of the active individuals. Commander Hooper arranged several social meetings at which excellent speakers were introduced. C.Wayland Brooks, Judge Cummerford, Past Commander Savage were three of the number.
At one meeting where the Masonic Fraternity were present as guests several of the Masons inquired how we managed to have such excellent speakers. They intimated that it was the first time in history of the town that speakers of outstanding ability had been brought out for an evening's entertainment.
It was at one of these entertainments for the Masonic organization that Leon Worley came thru with a novel idea in the line of refreshments. He was chairman of the committee and he announced a regular army chow. When time to serve he ordered everybody in line in his best army voice. They passed down the line handed regular dishes as mess kits were unprocurable. They then got a slab of corned beef,bread and gold-fish if they wanted it. Worley superintended the lineup and questions as to where the cream was for the coffee were answered with the brusque comment that this was the same as the army served and what was good enough for a soldier was good enough for them. There was some puzzled looks among some of the older men present but they soon entered into the spirit of the occasion even though they didn't particularly relish black coffee.
It was during this year that it became more and more difficult to get men enough out for the firing squad. The moths were getting in their work on certain uniforms and prosperity was swelling other waist lines. Furthermore there were more calls for squads and funerals. At the gathering on Veteran's night at the Temple only four of the G.A.R. were able to be present. We managed to answer every call and the Sgt-At-Arms kept a list of available men. It was during these years when the Diener brothers were of invaluable assistance. They assured the Sgt-At-Arms that he could always depend on two of them as one would stay to take care of their shop while two of them could be present. Harvey Littleford, Theron Potter, Grant Nash and Melvin Binder were always to be depended on. Unless one has been in a position to know the task of getting eighteen men out on a hurry call to take care of a funeral he would not understand the aid the men mentioned and rendered on those occasions.
The Fourth of July affair was better planned and all arrangements were under the direction of Henry Swift. Two years experience had served to plug leaks in the overhead and this year promised to be the most successful. However the weather turned wet and the result was not so great financially. The Post membership had been looking ahead to increase the profits in the same ratio as they had the year past. Had the affair been as successful as two years before they would have been jubilant. Because there was a drop in profits due to wet weather there was some criticism. The difficulty was that everybody was living for today only and did not compare the results of several years instead of with just the most successful previous one.
Due to the fact that much of the receipts for the past two years had been invested in our rooms and in buying a couple of bonds the finances of the Post were at a low ebb in the spring. A committee composed of T.O.Potter, A.J.Walters and M.E. Stevenson was appointed to run a movie benefit. They selected "The Birth of a Nation". Instead of running it on a percentage basis with the proprietor they leased the theater and bought the film and went ahead. Previous to that time the best any movie benefit had shown was a trifle short of $200.00 profit. This time tickets were put in the hands of every man who belonged to the Post. Hundreds of tickets were put out and the town was well placarded to advise the populace of the coming event.In spite of the fact that there had been considerable doubt expressed as to how well this picture would draw, the house was completely filled on both nights and the treasury benefited to the extent of $220.00.
Another innovation this year was the formation of a drum and bugle corps. A high pressure salesman showed up and addressed the Post on the matter. It was agreed to consider the matter but in between times the drums and bugles were delivered. The corps started off with anyone who wanted to try for it being present to practice. It soon developed that the man had also sold the same to a half dozen other Posts in Du Page County.He was then hired as instructor by each Post and was getting $5.00 each evening for his services. He was a very entertaining talker but never said much unless there was at least a dollar in it for him. His proposal was a County Bugle Corps that would be a knockout for size. He also designed a uniform that would consist of white shirt, white trousers, black shoes, black bow tie, Legion cap and a blue and gold sash. The man's wife kindly consented to make the sashes at a cost of 75 cents each. We have since found that we could make better ones ourselves at a cost of 20cents each. However the corps went ahead with great enthusiasm. As the time for the State Convention approached the combined corps of the county Posts met at the various towns on Sunday mornings to practice. When some two hundred and fifty men gathered with drums and bugles on the outskirts of the town just at church time on Sunday morning there was some confusion. But as we met for five successive Sundays in five different towns there was no come-back and we got away very successfully.
The call went out to all men to rally around at Springfield on the day of the Convention Parade. About 200 were present and the largest drum and bugle corps in the world paraded and played their one tune. When the prizes were awarded they received second place and the rules were changed so that as the state officials said,"that Du Page County will not come again." The director was dismissed from the Post after he was trying to sell more material so he could gain more commissions and we found that we had a good instructor in our own Post. William Reed took over the instruction of the Corps and was hired by Naperville as well. The result was that for a year or two we had a good corps while Naperville shortly forged to have one of the best. The two towns cooperated to perfection. When we needed a Drum and Bugle Corps as many Naperville men as was possible came over and filled our ranks while we did the same for them.
One of the finest examples of cooperation between villages in the county was when the Post started the Sea Scout Organization. The Post at Glen Ellyn already had a uniformed Sea Scout Org. They brought their troop in uniform for an evening parade. Naperville came with their uniformed drum corps and Hinsdale sent theirs.
Our Post entertained and invited a large group of boys who might be interested. The whole gang was furnished with refreshments and a Sea Scout Troop got away to a flying start with this wonderful send off furnished by over two hundred men from four different villages.
The Commanders of the various Posts thru out this year had a wider vision than those of previous years. Where as we had confined our work on outside activities to the care of the disabled in institutions. The Commanders of this year encourages mutual cooperation between Posts of the villages of the county.
Whenever a Post was putting on a function of any sort it would ask for assistance from the other Posts and that assistance was always forthcoming. The County unit became more closely knit and it due to the efforts of the various Post Commanders that this was fostered and encouraged. On one particular day the various groups arranged a parade in Naperville in the morning to advertise a community picnic, another in Downers Grove the same afternoon to promote a show and at West Chicago at dusk to encourage attendance at a carnival.
The year closed with the now established custom of a free entertainment and dance at The Masonic Temple for the public. Nominations for new officers by a nominating committee and a much larger attendance at the annual banquet where the new officers were installed.
At the last meeting of the year the fact was forcibly brought out that Howard P. Savage had been elected National Commander and it was up to the Posts in the county where he had lived for years to turn in as large a membership as possible for him. A larger number of cards were issued before the end of the year than had ever been issued before. The paid up membership for the coming year was greater before the end of Hooper's year than the Post had had for the any entire year except the one just preceding.
The new officers were installed at the banquet held in The Masonic Temple. It was the largest affair of that kind that the Post had ever had. Harold Clark had been elected Commander with no opposition. Clark had been one of the charter members of the Post and was one of the very few who had stood by the Post thru the decline following the changes after 1922. The last three Commanders had been men who had lately moved to the village.