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“With the Colors” in January 1919

Signals, Feburary 2019

The end of World War I in November 1918 did not mean that all of the troops were home. The following appeared in the Sewickley Herald on March 1, 1919. The letter—reproduced here with all of its grammar and punctuation errors—was written by George W. Ohlman to his father, George E. Ohlman, who had an interior and exterior decorating shop at 504 Beaver Street, Sewickley, in 1918-19. Ohlman was in the 112 Ambulance Company, 103 Sanitary Train, American Expeditionary Force,“with the colors” in Allamps, a village in Lorraine in the north east of France, near Nancy.

Allamps, France

January 28, 1919

Dear Dad: Just finished standing retreat and don’t have nothing to do til 5:15, then we have our beans, so I thought I would put in the extra hour by trying to write you a few lines. I guess you will be glad to know that I am enjoying pretty good health. Speaking about the weather, well the guy that named this Sunny France is all wrong, for the sun never shines. It has been pretty cold for the last few days. We had one snowfall but it didn’t last because the wind blew it away. We had another about two nights ago and it was a dandy covered everything with about two inches of snow. This cold weather hits us pretty bad on account of wood being so scarce, but we manage to keep the home fires burning.

This town we are in is not much to speak about, in peace times it boasts of about 400 population, but all that’s here now is the old women, few old men, a lot of kids and a few grown up girls, everybody owns a couple of cows, a few chickens, a goat or two, some sheep, with a few pigs, dogs and cats thrown in. It’s a great sight to watch the sheep herder blow his horn in the morning and sheep come runnng from everywhere, when all there, he heads them out on the hillside to pasture. I guess he is taking a rest now on account of the snow.

The town boasts of two stores where you can buy anything you want, providing you don’t want anything, but the cafes, they do a rushing business, selling beer and sour wine. The beer is not as good as you buy it in the states, but it’s the best selling product France ever put out. It’s the only thing a soldier can buy most everywhere he goes.

I guess business is kind of slack in the store at present, but I bet your looking forward to a fine spring. I would not mind to get in on your spring drive. We have rumors of going home, but that’s all. But we should worry, we don’t have much to do, anyway, it’s pretty cold back there now.

Well so long. Yours in Allamps,



“Wendell Freeland: A Quiet Soldier” Celebrate Black History Month with a new documentary film directed by Billy Jackson

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

7:30 p.m., at the Old Sewickley Post Office

Wendell FreelandTuskegee Airman, civil rights attorney, powerful advocate for the poor and disenfranchised—devoted seventy years to fighting injustice wherever he found it, from the age of Jim Crow to that of Barack Obama. He blazed a trail for racial equality by working largely behind the scenes in America’s courtrooms, boardrooms, and political backrooms. The half hour documentary “Wendell Freeland: A Quiet Soldier” will tell the story of a complex and courageous man, whose long career helped shape an era of historic change.

Billy Jackson is a national award-winning documentarian and principal owner of NOMMO Productions, which has produced more than 50 documentary, dramatic and promotional films. He earned his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and M.Ed. from Harvard University. A devoted educator, Jackson was an associate professor at Emerson College, taught film courses at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and worked as a consultant/designer on educational curricula. He has also served as consultant, cinematographer and/or producer for government, private industry, independent production houses and television stations.

Jackson has made a lifelong study of youth education in media arts. He remains committed to documenting and teaching the history and culture of Africans in America, to increasing resources for media arts and multicultural programming and to providing greater opportunities for developing artists.

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