Diary brings home recollections from WWII
For the Appeal
There are numerous films and documentation about World War II, but there is something very personal about hearing about it first hand.
Although Emma Nevada Barton Loftus documented daily occurrences in her diaries, she was also meticulous about recording details about the war as they unfolded. There were many Dayton men who enlisted or were called to the service of their country and Emma made note of the men who served.
She also had much sympathy for President Roosevelt and the job he had serving as president during wartime.
When he died on April 12, 1945, she wrote: “We have lost a man that can never be replaced. I hope he is at rest; he certainly deserves it. What this means to this terrible war we are having and its adjustment remains to be seen.”
Emma was sympathetic to the boys in the service. She didn’t mind rationing because there always seemed to be enough of everything right here in Dayton. She spoke of asking the cold sailors standing outside her gate to come into her house for coffee, offering the chance for them to warm up. These sailors were stationed in Fallon.
She wrote to all of the young fellows from Dayton throughout the war years. She bought war bonds regularly and the servicemen visited her when they came home on leave.
She was elated on D-Day, July 14, 1944, and saddened at the same time. One of the young men she knew and loved, Deane Quilici, was the only Dayton soldier who was lost in the war. The whole town grieved.
Emma also noted when we dropped an atomic bomb on Japan on Aug. 6, 1945, destroying a city of six miles square. Little did she know the ramifications of that event – that the world would never be the same.
After the second bomb dropped on Aug. 9, Emma noted: “The Japanese asked for peace.”
She said our generals wanted it to be unconditional, adding, that at 4:15 our time on Aug. 14, Japan surrendered.
The next day Emma wrote that gas rationing ended, saying: “Once more they can say ‘Fill her up.'” She also said it was hard to sleep that night for all the celebrations and cars going through town. She was glad to have it over so the young men could come home to their loved ones.
The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. It’s open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1- 4 p.m. Sundays.
Check the Web site: daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441. The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets the third Wednesdays at noon at the Dayton Valley Community Center.
• Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since October 1987, she serves as a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.