The Caddo Herald
January 29, 1942
Downing Café Starts War Picture Gallery:
Proves to be Popular
In the Downing Café in Caddo, Mrs. Downing has started a rather interesting and popular feature.
It is a picture gallery of the boys from Caddo and vicinity who are in the armed services of the United States.
The idea goes a way back. Mrs. Downing is a kind of mother-friend of all the boys and young people in town and the surrounding country. Her place is a gathering for the youth of the land. Football boys, basketball girls and boys, soldier boys and young people generally make this popular café their downtown club as it were.
Mrs. Downing is a friend to them all. To them she is the confidant of their secrets, their love affairs, their trials and troubles. When the soldier boys come home on leave they frequent her place, leave their belongings there, their money or jewels, or what not. Sometimes if they are broke when their leave is over, while not in the banking business, Mrs. Downing provides them with expense money back to camp. Be it said to the credit of the boys, none have yet failed to repay her.
Every day she gets letters from the boys, “her boys”, she calls them; and in them are poured out their yearnings, the hopes and joys of the boys in khaki. Mrs. Downing answers every one. Many times in the dull hours of the day she devotes to writing the boys of the innocent, homey gossip of the town, of their girls at the home town; who gets married; and who is soon to leave for the service. Quite frequently some of the young people are around and add a line or two to the letters, maybe a “hello”, or “how’s the boy”.
Several of the boys sent in their pictures to Mrs. Downing. With Mr. Downing’s help she has designed a large blackboard and on it are fastened these pictures. Parents of the boys in service seeing this display had added to it; and the number grows each day. Up to Thursday the pictures of the boys on the panel are:
James Goddard, Camp Barkley, Abilene, Texas
Prince Flowers, Mineral Wells, Texas
James Maytubby, Phoenix, Arizona
J. E. Brentlinger, Portland, Oregon
William Peters, Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Pleas Whisenhunt, Camp Barkley, Texas
R. A. Whisenhunt, stationed in Iceland
Clarence Edward Smith, in Pearl Harbor, T. H.
A.E. Boydstun, Jr., care of postmaster, San Francisco
Robert Freeny, Pearl Harbor, T. H.
Alf Walla, Camp Barkley, Texas
A.C. Strickler, Portland, Oregon
Mrs. Downing has quite a collection of letters from her boys of the Army, Navy and Marines. The letters ask many questions of people back home. They desire to hear of familiar people. They want to hear the pleasant things of home life; and all of the letters breathe a spirit of patriotism and desire to get through with an unpleasant job and come back to family and friends. Their letters contain very few gripes.
Mrs. Downing is doing a real part in keeping up the spirits of the boys in camp and on the seas, at home, and in the trenches. She has two boys, neither old enough for the service and she feels for the lonely boys in the service.
She gets a real kick out of doing this for the morale of the boys. Close friend or stranger, when the boys on leave come to her place, they are made to feel welcome, made to know that in her place they have a sympathetic friend to whom they can talk and in whom they can confide.
No beer is sold at the Downing Café; nor is any loud or boisterous conduct permitted. There is a juke box, but no dancing. The young people find other amusements and receive a ready welcome with wholesome contacts.
After ball games this place is the center where the teams gather for refreshments and to replay the game. Fine fellowships are formed and general good will prevails.