The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 6, 2014

Area church bells rang, Valley woman charged with ‘pleasure driving’

SUNBURY — Even the allied invasion into Europe on D-Day couldn’t keep Gladys Heiter off The Daily Item’s front page June 6, 1944.

The federal court in Williamsport acquitted the Lewisburg woman of seven counts of violating regulations under the Office of Price Administration — including illegal possession of sugar, gasoline and shoe coupons.

The charges at a time when everyone was required to ration must have been big news, given a review of The Daily Item’s edition that day.

Heiter’s was the only local story on Page 1.

The other 10 stories were about the invasion, including Gov. Edward Martin’s proclaiming a “day of work and prayer” in Pennsylvania, “that victory may be granted soon.”

Martin also called for all houses of worship to stay open throughout the day and to ring their bells together at 6 p.m. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would lead the nation in prayer later that evening.

War news filled The Daily Item in the days leading to and after the invasion, but life did go on in the Valley. For those who wanted to escape, The Strand in Sunbury was playing “Passage to Marseille,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Add relatedClaude Rains, famously paired in “Casablanca” in 1942. Northumberland’s Savoy had Henry Fonda in “The Oxbow Incident,” while The Stanley in Selinsgrove featured Laurel and Hardy in “Dance Masters.”

It was late spring, and local stores tried to entice Valley fashionistas to be ready: dresses were on sale at Montgomery Wards for $5.95, shorts just a buck and T-shirts for 98 cents. J.C. Penney had bathing suits for $1.19. Those wanting a new look at home could get a three-piece, upholstered living room set for $169.95 at Wards.

St. Louis dominated professional baseball, with the Browns leading the American League and the Cardinals leading the National league. Child baseball fans could get a catcher’s mitt in top-grain cowhide on sale for $1.49 at Firestone Store in Sunbury.

Valley businesses gave a nod to this major international event.

“Invasion Week!!! Now more than ever, buy war bonds and stamps” led the ad for Fetter’s Shop of Sunbury, which also reminded people Father’s Day was June 18.

“Invasion of Europe Begins!” shouted the ad from the Bell Telephone Co. of Pennsylvania, which implored folks, “Don’t make needless long-distance calls, especially to busy war centers” and to “keep all calls brief.”

A pledge drive for “a new, modern Community Hospital” in Sunbury had raised $325,000 so far, and Lewisburg Borough Council voted to install traffic lights at Market and Second, Third and Fourth streets.

Danville High School’s 63rd graduation was taking place at 7 p.m.

Roosevelt wrote the prayer he would recite that night. From it, he said the Allies “will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.”

Heiter wasn’t out of the woods, either.

She pleaded no contest to two more charges, pleasure driving and giving away ration stamps.


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