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Alison

Alison

By David Daniel

At six p.m. the bar in the hotel lobby in Montego Bay is already busy, revelers tuning up to ring in the New Year. Passing, carrying my suitcase and a large gym bag, I hear someone call my name. Carl and Babs, a couple I got to know when Leah was still with me and we all met the first night on the island, are motioning me to join them. I say I have to get to the airport.

“When’s your flight?” Carl asks. He a pudgy former Wall Street guy, his graying hair in a man-bun. Babs is a laughing earth mother about forty, with sun-bleached dreads and a made-for-bikini body. I tell them 7:30.

“Go with the flow, brother,” says Carl. “It’s a five-minute cab ride. Sit.” Babs is already signaling the waitress. What the hell. One drink.

Leah and I came down eight days ago, a Jamaican escape from New England winter. My intention was to make a dent in a long reading list ahead of the Graduate Record Exam in English I’m going to take in April, but the only reading I’ve done is the labels on Red Stripe bottles and two Ross Macdonald paperbacks I picked up at Logan when we left. Now there was a writer; though the chance of Macdonald turning up on the GRE is zero. Not that he shouldn’t. In his understanding of the human heart he’s a peer of Faulkner and Joyce. But he’s a mystery writer.

When I told Leah this she seized it to further her case against my going for a graduate degree in English. “You don’t even like the books you’re supposed to like.”

I had no comeback.

“You’re almost thirty years old, Kent. It’s time you got practical.”

“You mean go to law school?” She’s second year at BC Law.

“Doesn’t have to be that. Get an MBA. Or an accounting degree. Something with a payback. God, what are you going to do? Teach high school English?”

It devolved from there and two days into the vacation (capped by her “I hate to say it, Kent, but in some ways you’re a screw-up”) Leah abruptly left to fly home. Stung, stubborn, I stayed.

The first day after her departure I was at loose ends. I considered leaving, too. But I didn’t. Leah and I have been together two years. True, we haven’t made anything final yet. We have our own apartments, mine a ratty little walkup in East Boston, where I can reach up and practically scratch the bellies of departing jumbo jets. Maybe a little time apart would be healthy for us. As for the start of a new year that ended in a zero . . . well that could go be bode good or ill.

My mood improved after a night at the hotel bar. From then on I had a routine. Mornings by the pool reading. Afternoons I combed the rocky beach on the far side of the resort. I stayed away from the ganja; it made me paranoid. Evenings it was Red Stripes and rum punch in the karaoke bar. That’s where I got better acquainted with Carl and Babs. Not kids—Carl’s got to be fifty—but they live younger. He made a bundle in bond sales and she inherited one, and they dropped out for the beachcomber life. They’re laidback, and generous, too. I’ve had to threaten to step on their bare toes if they didn’t let me pick up at least a few of the bar bills. If they wonder where Leah is they keep mum.

It wasn’t long before I shed the winter coat of stress I was wearing for the past months and started to relax and get suntanned. Then, three days ago, walking on the stony beach, I met Alison.

She was lying among the rocks and I saw the glisten of sun on her skin. As I got near I saw her eyes were shut and my first thought was she was dead. Blood oozed from a gash in her side, above which spun a spiral of tiny insects. But when I bent close I realized she was alive, though just barely.

Carl is signaling for another round, but I’ve gotta get a wiggle on. He rejects my offer to pay and throws me an amiable shaka. “Hang loose, brother.” Babs hugs me, her breasts joggling warmly against me. I leave them to their frozen margaritas, castaways still looking for the lost shaker of salt.

Apparently New Year’s Eve is not a big travel night. Sangster airport isn’t the chaotic scene I expect. The airline rep tells me I’ll have a row to myself. After stowing my suitcase, I make sure the gym bag is not in the aisle. While the plane slowly fills, a stewardess comes through with complimentary champagne. Happy soon-to-be 1980!

Last night, facing the end of vacation, I had a moment of wonder about Alison. She’d spent the past three days in my room, recuperating. Could I just leave her? Then, surprising myself, I wondered: Or take her back with me?

“Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the ‘No Smoking’ signs as we prepare for takeoff. Put all table trays in an upright position and …”

I unzip the gym bag a couple inches and nudge it under the seat ahead of me. In four hours I’ll be home. Time enough to get a decent buzz on, which I’ll need to face the Boston cold—face Leah, too.

When the plane is aloft people light up and the attendants begin to make their way along the aisle with the drinks cart. In no time the cabin is full of high-spirited chatter. Several rows ahead of me is a group of optometrists and their spouses. In Jamaica for a professional conference, they were staying my same hotel, though judging by the amount of time they spent at the pool bar—eye docs getting cock-eyed!—it seemed a pretty loose affair. I order a rum and coke and let my mind drift.

The name Alison—not her real name—came to me one night in the karaoke bar when Babs got singing the Elvis Costello song. When I first found her the gash in her side suggested she was in a fight or maybe got sliced by the propeller of a passing boat. The bleeding had stopped, and the sun seemed to be sealing the wound, but she was barely responsive. On the spur of the moment, taken by some crazy idea of nursing her back to health, I carried her to my room.

And she seemed to improve. I brought food and she managed to eat a bit. She liked lying in the bathtub, and I would sit on the tub’s edge and talk softly to her. I have the strange idea that she understands. Not my words, but the rhythms, I think.

Soon, the drone of the jet’s engines and the drinks are working to calm me, to let me see possibility in the impossibility of everything.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the captain interrupts. “we’re passing over the Outer Banks. If you look from the port side of the aircraft you’ll see the lights of Cape Hatteras.” I’m on the starboard; gazing out all I see is darkness. I go back to musing.

Alison was still sluggish today, so getting her on board wasn’t difficult. There’ll be some adjustments when I get home. Leah’s going to freak out, but I’m forming a plan. The high whine of jet engines and the clitter of ice in my plastic drink glass as I sip fade to white noise.

Sometime later, something causes me to sit up. Was I dozing? I glance down at the gym bag and discover it’s halfway unzipped. I bend and open it all the way and . . . aw, no.

For a moment of freakout I sit frozen, then unlatch my seatbelt. Clumsily, pretending I dropped something, I kneel in the narrow row and peer into the dimness below the seats ahead. And there, several rows on, moving slowly forward among a forest of passenger’s legs and feet, is Alison.

For a moment, like a man at prayer, I remain, aware of the thrum of the engines through my knees. Evidently, in the warmth of the cabin, the 25-inch-long iguana has revived. She’s harmless, of course, gentle; but no one will be expecting her. Seen through the lens of their utter shock as they glance down she might as well be a salivating eight-foot-long Komodo Dragon hungry to rip into human flesh.

All at once I’m struggling with questions. Is Leah right? Am I a screw-up? Is studying for an exam that values writers no one ever reads outside of grad school versus a craftsman as skilled as Ross Macdonald stupid? Is being a lawyer or a CPA or even a salesman a more sensible life choice? But that’s just mind noise now. I’m in a clammy freefall over what to do about the iguana stalking its way among the legs of the drunken optometrists. I’ll be lucky if I’m only taken off the plane in handcuffs and not carried out on a stretcher.

But mostly I’m feeling my betrayal of Alison. None of this is her fault. There are airline rules against bringing certain fruits and vegetables on board, but nothing about lizards. And actually, I’m happy she’s come fully back to life. And what are the airline people going to do, throw her off the flight? Maybe it’ll all work out. One thing’s sure—this’ll  be a New Year’s Eve none of these people will never forget. Like Carl says, go with the flow. So I buckle my seatbelt and wait for the first scream.

~*~

David Daniel is a regular contributor to richardhowe.com. He remembers the days when you could bring almost anything onto an airplane.

Lowell Politics Newsletter: April 14, 2024

In last week’s newsletter I wrote of the coming confrontation between the Lowell City Council and Sal Lupoli over his failure to commence work on one of the two buildings he had agreed to construct in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District (HCID). The Council’s Economic Development subcommittee heard from Mr. Lupoli on Thursday, April 4, 2024, and reported to the full Council this past Tuesday. After a brief debate, the Council voted to hold further discussions about this in executive session at some future date.

The Economic Development Subcommittee meeting was held in the Mayor’s Reception Room, a large rectangular space at the front corner of the second floor of Lowell City Hall. One long side of the room is lined with windows that overlook the Ladd & Whitney Monument and Merrimack Street; the other side is lined with portraits of 19th century mayors with a double doorway in the middle that opens onto the main hallway of that floor. The three members of the subcommittee – Chair Wayne Jenness and members John Leahy and Vesna Nuon, sat at a table with their backs to the windows. Opposite them was a row of easels and a large wooden podium. At the podium for most of the meeting was Mr. Lupoli and on the easels were renderings of the buildings he now proposes to build.

Mr. Lupoli addressed the construction delay head on. It was not his fault. It was caused by – Eileen Donoghue. Well, he never said her name, but he repeatedly blamed the “prior administration” for the current delay which he said was caused by a title defect in one of the parcels conveyed to him by the city. He also uttered a few things about Covid, rising construction costs, and higher interest rates. But the title defect was the thing.

After he discovered the defect, he devoted many months and much of his own money to rectifying it. That caused the delay. But the defect has been cured and now that he’s able to work with “Tommy Golden, who I’ve known for 20 years” and whose administration is a “delight for a developer to work with” all is on track. By the end of the meeting, some members of the subcommittee were almost apologizing to Mr. Lupoli for all the trouble the city has caused him.

In the days since the meeting, I’ve seen a photo taken that night from behind the Councilors that showed Mr. Lupoli and the renderings. In the background, staring into the room through the open door was Eileen Donoghue. Actually, it was her mayoral portrait. By some coincidence, hers is hung on the wall opposite the Mayor’s Reception Room entrance, so she appears to be standing there looking in. It also appeared that she had a smirk on her face. Perhaps that’s because as a lawyer, she knew that something about the “title defect” story didn’t quite add up.

When you buy a house, how do you know that the seller owns the property and has the right to sell it to you? In Massachusetts since 1640, you go to the registry of deeds and search the records for the property. If those records show that the seller owns the property and has the right to sell it, you can be comfortable handing over your money and accepting a deed in return.

But what if your examination of the records – a “title exam” – finds something problematic? You have options: You can go through with the sale as is; you extend the date of the sale to give the seller time to clear the problem; or you can walk away from the deal. You are not forced to buy property with a title defect and if your lawyers don’t discover the title defect until after you’ve finalized the sale, then you have a malpractice claim against your lawyers.

In this case, the title defect, which was on Lot 1, the parcel upon which Lupoli was to build a parking garage, was discovered before the sale occurred. In fact, Lupoli and the city entered into an amendment to the Land Disposition Agreement in which both parties acknowledged the existence of the title defect.

That amendment to the agreement, which was signed by Mr. Lupoli on June 7, 2021, and by Eileen Donoghue as city manager the next day, even placed $100,000 in an escrow account to deal with the title issue.

The same day City Manager Donoghue signed that amendment, she also signed deeds conveying lots 5 and the parcel formed by lots 2, 3A, and 4, to Mr. Lupoli. He had agreed to build a 50,000 square foot building on one and a 12-14 story high rise on the other. It should be noted that there has never been a claim of a title defect on either of those parcels. The defect was on Lot 1, the parking garage lot. The deed for that lot was ultimately signed by Donoghue on October 14, 2021. Presumably the title defect had been cured by then. In the world of real estate law, curing a title defect that involves Land Court, as this one did, in just over four months is extraordinarily fast.

But what alternative did Lupoli have to going through with the deal at that point? Paragraph 4 of the original Land Disposition Agreement, signed by Lupoli on December 18, 2020, and by Donoghue on January 7, 2021, addressed that, saying:

Termination. Prior to the Closing Date, Developer may terminate this Agreement if the Developer determines that a matter affecting title to the Property will adversely affect Developer’s plan to develop the Property. In such event, the Developer shall give the City written notice of its election to terminate prior to the Closing Date, in which event (i) the Deposit shall be returned promptly to Developer, and (ii) except as expressly set forth herein, neither party shall have any further liability or obligation to the other hereunder. In the absence of such written notice, this Agreement shall continue in full force and effect.

So the agreement gave Lupoli the right to void the deal if a title defect was discovered before the closing date. A title defect was discovered before the closing date. He had the right to walk away and get his money back. He chose not to. Instead, he made a business decision to proceed with full knowledge of the title defect.

For him to now imply that his delay was all the city’s fault sidesteps the business decision he made to proceed.

Unfortunately for the city, when at the subcommittee meeting another Councilor, John Descoteaux, asked what legal recourse the city might have, the assistant city solicitor in attendance, rather than point all this out, or rather than explain the reversionary clause in the deed that says if Lupoli did not comply with the construction timeline then the city may take back the property, instead repeated all the Lupoli talking points, essentially laying full responsibility for the delay at the feet of the city.

As we all know from following the ongoing renovations to Lowell High School, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a spike in the cost of construction and materials. Add to that the profound increase in interest rates that has occurred since then and there is no disputing that a construction project that made financial sense pre-Covid might not be feasible now. That seems to be the bind in which Lupoli now finds himself.

Ironically, that situation is perhaps made worse by Lupoli having already completed the parking garage. During his presentation, he made two points about the garage which, if true, shed more light on his predicament. First, he said notwithstanding the buzz in the community that the garage is now filling his pockets with cash, the parking volume generated just by the adjacent Justice Center will never be enough to cover the cost of constructing and operating the facility. It is only with additional parking from the two buildings he committed to build on the other two lots that his parking garage works financially. Second, he said he built the parking garage first, even with the title defect issue, because lenders for the other two buildings would provide more attractive financing terms for buildings on those lots with the adjacent garage already constructed rather than merely proposed.

Because he must pay for the parking garage, Mr. Lupoli likely can’t afford to walk away from the entire project, but to construct the buildings promised could be financially ruinous for him. So now, Mr. Lupoli proposes a scaled down project, replacing the promised 12-14 story high rise with a 5-story wood frame apartment building, and the promised 50,000 square foot building on the other lot with a second apartment building. That second building would have no retail. The building on the larger lot would have a restaurant on the ground floor.

While there was some talk of the need to amend the current zoning of these parcels to allow these changes to occur, the bigger decision for the Council is whether to amend the agreement regarding the size and type of buildings to be constructed.

From the birth of the Hamilton Canal District back in the late 1990s, the bigger of these two lots was always identified as the prime parcel in the entire development. Although divided on paper into three smaller parcels, it is a huge piece of vacant land in a prime location with the Hamilton Canal on one side, the Pawtucket Canal on the other, the train station a 10-minute walk in one direction and the core of downtown equidistant in the other direction. It was always designated as the future home of a “signature” high rise building that would be a fitting gateway into the central city.

Councilors must now decide if a wood frame apartment building, even one nicely constructed, is the appropriate use for that parcel. True, there’s a housing shortage, but there are many places on which you can build apartments; there is no other parcel like this one.

I get a sense that some Councilors have already locked themselves into a “something is better than nothing” position which I think is short-sighted. Notwithstanding the white flag waved by the law department at the subcommittee meeting, the city has options. It can negotiate an unwinding of the deal and allow the parties to walk away, leaving Mr. Lupoli with his parking garage. Or if a more aggressive stance is needed, the city can declare a default in the agreement and retake ownership of the two vacant parcels in six months. Undoubtedly that would lead to litigation, but so be it.

That might cause Mr. Lupoli to lose money, but as he explained at length during his presentation, he’s one of the foremost real estate developers in Massachusetts and even advises Governor Healey on real estate matters. Someone of his accomplishments would have known of the potential risks of the agreement he made. Notwithstanding America’s propensity for allowing the private sector to keep all the profits while the public sector covers the losses, the Council must do what’s best for the entire city in the long term which might not be what is currently proposed.

****

Here’s a link to last week’s newsletter which covers more details about the various agreements and deeds already signed.

Here’s a link to the April 4, 2024, YouTube recording of the Council’s Economic Development Subcommittee which I’ve written about above.

****

It’s time for the Spring tours of Lowell Cemetery. They take place next Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st, both at 10am, both beginning at the Lawrence Street entrance to the Cemetery; and both covering the same material. The tours involve walking around the cemetery for 90 minutes while I tell stories about some of the people buried there. Parking is available inside the cemetery. The tour is held even in light or moderate rain.

Actually I almost died four times that summer

Actually, I almost died four times that summer

By Charlie Gargiulo

After me and mom finally got kicked out of one of the last apartment buildings left in Little Canada, we got placed in an apartment next door to where our old building still stood, waiting for the wrecking ball to come and erase forever the physical proof that my Aunt Rose had a home here before it was stolen from her.

We’re only here temporarily until a unit opens up for us in the housing projects on the other side of Market Street.  After losing so many people I loved when they destroyed Little Canada, I feel shaky and nervous about losing the people I got left. Thank God my mom has stayed away from the booze and we have each other. Probably, the most important person I have left besides my mom is her youngest brother Uncle Arthur, who is also my Godfather.

Remember when I told you about how I almost died three times in the summer of 1964 when I was twelve? Well, I forgot to tell you that I actually almost died four times. I didn’t tell you about the other time because my Uncle Arthur came closer to getting killed than me. So instead of thinking about it as the fourth time I almost died that summer, I think about it far more as the time I almost lost Uncle Arthur.

Shortly after my Uncle Leo was moved into the nursing home, my Uncle Arthur asked me if I could spend a weekend with him in Dracut to help him start packing things because he was going to be forced out by my evil Aunt who now had control of Uncle Leo’s house. I always loved visiting the old house that me and Mom and Dad lived in on Lakeview Avenue with my Uncles Arthur and Leo, but I was very sad knowing that it was going to be one of the last times I would be able to go inside. I have so many fond memories of the place, but now it was going to feel a little haunted, except in this case I would be the ghost haunting a place because I was unable to let go of the once happy home where we used to live together not so long ago.

My Uncle Arthur picked me up on Friday night in his cool Cushman cart, which was like a golf cart that was allowed to drive on roads because it had a powerful motorcycle engine, and I was peeking through my new comic books with a flashlight lying in the pick-up truck back area.  All of a sudden, I felt it veer crazily and before I realized what was happening, the vehicle jerked violently to the right, tipped over and I was shot through the air like I was fired from a catapult. Before I could even react to what was happening, I was skidding and tumbling across the pavement. I got up in shock, wondering briefly if I was dead and then checking in panic to see what parts of me might be broken. At about the precise moment I realized that I was miraculously unhurt, except for being pretty scraped up, I heard my Uncle Arthur yelling my name over and over again.

He was pinned under the heavy engine part of the vehicle. I ran over to him and saw the engine was still running while it was lying directly on top of my Uncle Arthur’s legs. He was barely conscious and he told me to shut off the engine and begged me to help. I shut it off and could smell his flesh burning while he was screaming in pain. I tried lifting the vehicle off him but it was way too heavy. I looked for help and realized we were on a near deserted back road in Dracut with no houses or cars within immediate sight. His screams and the smell of his burning legs must have given me a burst of super strength because when I pushed with all my might, I got it to raise up just enough that he was able to crawl out. As soon as he did, I collapsed and the Cushman cart crashed to the ground.  I crawled over to him and he was moaning and I saw his pant legs were ripped apart and his calves were dark and, what really scared me, steaming. I started holding him and screaming for help. Fortunately, I saw a car’s headlights coming and I got up and waved them down and they went to the closest house and called an ambulance.

The ambulance rushed him to St. Joe’s and I came along and had to stay in the waiting area of the emergency room. I told the cops to tell my mom and she came with our next door neighbor Raymond.  We waited for hours before a doctor came out and talked with my mom. He said that Uncle Arthur had third degree burns on both of his calves and they had to keep him in the hospital to do some special stuff to his skin. After a couple of days he was released and my mom got our neighbor Ernie to get his friend with a car to pick him up from the hospital and they carried him upstairs to me and mom’s apartment, where we could look after him and help him recover. Unfortunately, that night he developed a high fever and his legs became extremely painful. The next morning when my mom unwrapped his bandages to clean him up, she got real scared because his right leg had swollen to twice the size of the other one and it was very hot to the touch. She called the hospital and they said they were afraid he was getting blood poisoning so they sent an ambulance to pick him up.

I was panicked and scared out of my mind.  It didn’t help that a bunch of nosy neighbors were lined up in the skinny alleyway making it hard for the ambulance people to roll my Uncle Arthur on a stretcher to get to Austin Street where the ambulance was parked.  After the ambulance took off, I chased after it, as it went up the wrong way on the one way Austin Street, rushing him to St. Joseph’s Hospital. I kept screaming, “I’m coming Uncle Arthur!” as loud as I could over and over again for the quarter mile it took to get him to the emergency room. I ran so fast I got there just in time to see them wheeling him in.  Mom was walking hurriedly with them when she heard me screaming and crying as I came into view so she waited for me and we quickly went in together.

They had already wheeled Uncle Arthur into one of the side rooms where they do emergency stuff and they wouldn’t let us in there at first. My mom got angry and said she was his sister and after some nurse gave her a hard time, a doctor signaled that it was okay for her to go in but that I had to stay in the waiting room. As I watched Mom go to the room with Uncle Arthur, tears were pouring down my cheeks and snots were running out my nose when I realized the waiting room was full of people staring at me. For a split second I felt a wave of humiliation start to come over me, but then it was blasted apart as such a small and trivial thought by the sheer power of the terror I felt wondering if my Uncle Arthur was going to die.

Some woman sitting in the waiting room gave me a small box of tissues and when I looked at everyone it hit me that none of them cared one damn bit about me crying my eyes out because they all sat looking lost in their own world of fear for whoever they were waiting to hear about inside the emergency room. So after going to the bathroom and washing my face and hands I went out to the waiting room and waited. I hated waiting for anything, but as you can imagine, this wait was the worst kind of waiting ever invented. But as bad as the wait was, I almost wanted to be able to keep waiting, even if it was forever, rather than have somebody come and tell me bad news. I closed my eyes and tried to fight off the panic and scary thoughts by praying, and as I prayed my mind kept flashing scenes about Uncle Arthur as if he was the hero of my favorite movie.

Thinking about my Uncle Arthur while waiting in the Emergency Room was like going back and forth between two worlds, one world was filled with warm daydreamy thoughts about all the cool reasons why I love him, only to be invaded by another nightmare world that shook me back to the fact I was waiting in a hospital afraid that my Uncle Arthur might die. It took all of my strength not to crack up and I fought to chase that fear away by praying and begging God to help Uncle Arthur pull through.

I was so scared, afraid like Hell that Mom was going to come back out to the waiting room with horrible news but when she finally did I was so happy to see that she wasn’t crying and looked relieved. I ran over to her and she smiled and said that Uncle Arthur was going to be okay. Uncle Arthur was going to be okay.

****

This story supplements Charlie Gargiulo’s memoir, Legends of Little Canada, which is available from Loom Press.

My review of Legends is available here.

Liberty Bonds

Liberty Bonds – (PIP #27)

By Louise Peloquin

Last week’s peek into the past – “The Franco-Americans of Lowell in the War effort” – mentions World War II government bonds. (1) Twenty-seven years earlier, during World War I, L’Etoile was also encouraging its readership to purchase them.

L’Etoile – October 24, 1917

Only 4 days left!
And today, by President Wilson’s proclamation, is the
DAY OF LIBERTY!

If you have not yet purchased
Liberty Bonds
Buy some today

If you have bought some, then buy more in order to participate in this glorious opportunity to be part of the overabundant wealth of our country in favor of THE WAR EFFORT..

Purchase in any bank, in cash or by installment.

The New England Loan Committee.

 

It is The Day of Liberty
Everyone Subscribe to the Loan (2)

Excerpts from the front page, third column story:

The Liberty Loan in Lowell

Subscription thus far in Lowell, $3,960,300. – The Elks purchase $20,000 in bonds. – Mayor O’Donnell speaks about the Loan at the Strand.

     In Lowell, the Liberty Loan subscriptions are about to reach 4 million dollars. Less than $40,000 are missing to reach that sum. The local Elks subscribed $20,000.

     Church bells rang today to remind the population of Lowell that it is the “Day of Liberty,” and that the time for the subscriptions to close is approaching. The President declared that today is a non-official holiday.

     Here are the subscriptions thus far:

Union National, ….. $1,072,950

Appleton National, ….. $802,100

Old Lowell National, ….. $224,650

Lowell Trust Co., ….. $183,850

Wamesit National, ….. $132,650

Middlesex Trust Co., ….. $102,550

Savings banks not registered in the national bank reports, …..$663,250

Other sources, ….. $770,300

 

October 24, 1917 “Day of Liberty” editorial:

By proclamation, Governor McCall set today, October 24th, as the Day of Liberty date. It is a day entirely dedicated to the sales of National Loan bonds.

     This is the last week to subscribe.

     Our readers understand the necessity of purchasing these government bonds in order to help it continue fighting in the great war undertaken for the liberty of peoples. If the funds requested are not raised, Congress will be obliged to vote in favor of new taxes. There is no other way. It is the only alternative we have.

     But the American people know their duty and will readily perform it. Furthermore, buying government bonds is an excellent investment and the money is reimbursed with interest. But once the authorities collect taxes, the funds never come back to our taxpayer pockets.

     Here are the comments on the Loan found in “L’Indépendant” of Fall River:

     The sinking of the American ship “Antilles” is the first serious strike against the United States by German submarines.

     However, this will neither be the last nor the most terrible strike if the government in Washington finds it impossible to offer the vessels transporting our troops to Europe all of the protection necessary to render them inaccessible to enemy vessels.

     And, to allow the protection of our soldiers, it is necessary for the American people to supply them with the funds they need.

    That is the reason for launching the second Liberty Loan.

     With the billions subscribed, the War and Marine Secretaries will surround our land and sea troops with their rightful protection, thus greatly contributing to decreasing the number of young lives lost.

     The Liberty Loan will close next Saturday. Until then, it is absolutely necessary that a minimum of $3,000,000,000 be gathered….

     One must remember that subscribing to the Liberty Loan is not giving alms to Uncle Sam.

     It is a loan which is taken out with the best possible conditions.

     First of all, the money subscribed gives a 4% interest rate. Secondly, not a single bank in the country or in the world offers surer guarantees.

     There is no valid reason to prevent us from subscribing to a Liberty Loan and it is for us an imperative duty to respond to the call of the government.

     We owe it to the country which combats for the existence of liberty in the world, to our soldiers who will support the Allies, to ourselves who suffer in all kinds of ways by our indifference….

     Let us not hesitate to subscribe to the Liberty Loan if we want to hasten the end of the hostilities and save thousands of American soldiers! (3) 

     The United States had more than 320,000 casualties in World War I, including over 53,000 killed in action, over 63,000 non-combat related deaths, mainly due to the influenza pandemic of 1918, and 204,000 wounded.

Here is a photo of the Oise Aisne American Cemetery 1.5 miles east of Fère-en-Tardenois, in Aisne France, 14 miles northeast of Château-Thierry. This 36.5-acre cemetery contains 6,012 graves, most of whom died in the area in 1918. (4)

 

****

  1. PIP #26, posted on April 2, 2024. Consult the link: https://richardhowe.com/2024/04/02/the-franco-americans-of-lowell-in-the-war-effort/ 
  2. Liberty Loans were part of the U.S. government’s effort to sell war bonds (also known as Liberty Bonds) during World War 1 to defray the expense of war. These bonds were issued by the U.S. Treasury. The First Liberty Bond Act was passed by Congress on April 24, 1917, and the bonds began issuance shortly thereafter.
  3. Translation by Louise Peloquin.
  4. Photo posted on June 4, 2017 on the lagadelle Instagram account.
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Opening Day

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