Monday, October 29, 2007

Would women today believe that the B'Nai B'Rith Women were condidered an auxillary of the men's lodge?

When the Walla Walla Men's lodge voted to turn in their charter the women recieved a letter that their charter was also voided.

To the men the"BB"was a social thing. They had poker games as fund raisers.

The women, mainly stay at home mom's, were another story. They networked and worked on a volunteer basis for the Red Cross and the Veteran's Hospital.

As world War II progressed, Walla Walla was the final training spot for B-17 bomber and later B-24 bomber crews. The men or mostly boys were single or married with their wife with them shared one thing they were away from home they were facing a long overseas posting in a combat situation.

The synagogue was full every Friday night. Several marriages took place there.

Service men were invited into homes and life long friendships were formed.

The U.S.O was an off post gathering place for off duty service men and the BB women served as surrogate moms to many many lonely fellows.

During the years of the BB women there were frequent get togethers with each woman bringing a portable electric oven usually full of sweet and sour cabage rolls or brisket. An ample meal was followed by cards or other socializing.

The big event that brought all of the members out was the "Rummage Sale."

The planning for a major invasion paled before networking that took place before a BB rummage sale. It was rumored that some members bought items at department store sales just so they could have a suitable donation. Of course there was a shakedown of local merchants for their overstock items.

There was always a lineup of "doorbusters" looking for underpriced treasures. The word on the street was that the BB sale was the one to attend for the best in upscale recycled clothing and household good.

The sale went two or three days yielding three to five hundred dollars or more after paying rental of a vacant storefront.

Most church rummage sales at that time yielded far less. I asked a ladies at other sales what they made and they were happy get $25.00 to $100.00.

Nothing was marked and it was strictly a barter situation of prices and counter offers.

The Jewish community in Walla Walla has had ebbs and flows. Today there is a resurgence.

I don't know if there will be another era like the one I remember.


Blogger Danny Barer said...

This is another terrific slice of history.

In his post-WWII science fiction novel, STARSHIP TROOPERS, Robert Heinlein depicted Walla Walla as the final training post for the titular troopers, before they shipped out off-planet to battle alien insects. He didn't mention whether they went to any futuristic B'nai B'rith rummage sales.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Mike Barer said...

It sounds like the women did all the heavy lifting while the men went along for the ride.

9:46 PM  

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