Amazed and delighted, Aggie Arliss of Savannah opened a cedar chest at her home recently and found an heirloom.
Preserved in readable condition, were the two scrapbooks which her mother, Anne Buettner, had religiously kept during World War II. Clippings from newspapers about Generals, battles and local soldiers — anything to do with the war and war efforts were lovingly clipped and pasted on the pages.
“I know she did all that work because her heart was with her sons,” said Aggie on her mom. Two of the Buettner sons, Joseph and August (Auggie) served early in the war (1943-44). The inside cover of the first scrapbook holds a copy of the actual telegram send to Mrs. Buettner telling her “WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU YOUR SON PRIVATE JOSEPH A. BUETTNER WAS SLIGHTLY INJURED IN ACTION TWENTY THREE DECEMBER IN LUXEMBOURG…” Both Joseph and Auggie made it home from the war and Joe is still alive and living in Las Vegas.
Aggie admitted that she teared up when she read through these treasured scrapbooks, which had became so much a part of the Buettner’s childhood. “We were so very poor, I don’t even know how my mother managed to come up with the 59¢ it cost to buy the ornate books in the first place,” Aggie surmised. “We did not get the daily paper, but our neighbors would share theirs when they were done reading it; that’s where the clippings came from.”
Aggie remembers that her mother was always so busy with canning, cleaning and caring for the large family, that it was unclear how she ever found time to work on her books. Each page is covered edge to edge with clippings. The caption Mrs. Buettner wrote in the first book indicated that it was a collection of “War Heroes and queer anecdotes of World Ware (2) II” Some of her mom’s clippings were newsletters about the war, some were about local boys in the war, war casulaties, some clipping were even, randomly, about the Grand Old Opry stars with some autographs. “Mom loved the Country singers,” Aggie laughed.
With no money to buy toys for the 10 children which Anne and Joe Buettner raised, Aggie told of so many days when she and her siblings would play with the books, read through them and memorize names of generals and other people mentioned in the stories and photos. They could look at a picture and identify them all after a while. “It was like our game, we played with them all the time, as I remember,” Aggie joked.
The Buettner family of Savannah (and South Butler) have been in the area since the 1940s. There were five boys (August, Joseph, Ivan “John”, Cecil “Barney”, and Bernard; and five girls (Mary, Margaret, Anne Agnes “Aggie”, and Patricia). Besides the older boys who served in World War II, brother Barney served with the Occupational Forces during the Korean Conflict, and brother Bernard, the youngest, served in Vietnam.
One of the special clippings in the scrapbook collection about another local family is entitled: “5-Star Service Flag Flies in Window of Clyde Home”. It begins… “CLYDE: July 1. – Proudly displaying a five-star service flag in the window of their hoe at 19 Cayuga Street, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Liseno are left alone with five of their 12 children serving in the armed forces, the others married and living in nearby villages and cities.” The five Liseno boys: Robert, Joseph, Fred, Harry and Anthony were soon joined by another of the 8 sons to enter the service during the war. Anthony Liseno was the father of Bruce Liseno of North Rose. It is a very touching story with a great deal of local interest. There were 13 children.
The two scrapbooks are beginning to deteriorate a bit, the cover on one is falling off, and the pages, although in very good shape for clippings that are almost 70 years old, are in danger of fading. None of the clippings are coming off the page, which is a real shock and a salute to Mrs. Buettner for her tender care of each page.
Aggie has been in touch with Galen Supervisor Steve Groat about preservation of the pages. Groat is a photographer and she had hopes he could lead her in the right direction for keeping the pages as long as possible. She also plans to find the right custodian for the scrapbooks, such as a local historical society, so that others can enjoy and learn from the history of them all.