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Many folks in Bremen were worried during the summer of '41. Sure, they could buy a pound of coffee for 17 cents at Kenny's Kash & Karry, or a warm blanket for less than a dollar at Dietrich's, but bargains like these paled beside newspaper reports of Germany invading Russia. Would we be drawn into the war? Would Bremen boys have to fight overseas?
Maybe that's why hardly anybody noticed when Mr. and Mrs. William Walter and a handful of others began holding Christian Science services in a home at Jackson and Bike streets. The group worshipped together each Sunday through the fearful years of war, and when they disbanded in 1953, they supported a legacy that Bremen residents still cherish today -- the town library.
As reported in this newspaper, the first library opened in the Town Hall in 1924, but much more space was needed. In 1953, Mrs. Walter donated $15,000 toward a new building. She also helped the Library Planning Committee acquire a lot at the corner of Jackson and Bike streets. It was the site of her husband's boyhood home, where local Christian Scientists had worshipped each week for 12 years.
After an official library fund drive was launched, Bremen School Superintendent John Morland supported the cause by writing an eloquent narrative called "The Library Speaks," which appeared in this newspaper. Mrs. Walter was so moved by it that she sent a copy to the editor of The Christian Science Monitor, a prize-winning international
daily newspaper still published in Boston, Massachusetts. When Monitor editors agreed to reprint it, Morland's words were read from coast to coast.
These are some of the reasons why, on opening day, everyone agreed the new building should be called the W.E. Walter Memorial Library.
Dave Hornâ€™s column appears monthly in The Bremen Enquirer. Itâ€™s called Sundial, because, as Dave puts it, â€śI record only the sunny hours.â€ť He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org