We Remember V-J Day

Aug 14, 2020 | Articles & Exhibits, Featured

This article originally appeared in the Aurora Historical Society’s Summer 2015 newsletter. Become a member and receive our newsletters right in your mailbox.

On August 14, 1945, Aurorans and people all over the nation celebrated V-J Day (Victory over Japan), signaling the end of World War II.

In 1995, fifty years after the event, we printed the picture below in our newsletter and brought it brought back the memories for many. At the time, AHS board member and volunteer Eloise Rice (1914-2001), who worked as a bookkeeper at Robinson’s Auto Supply, recalled that day:

I remember when the war was over on August 14, 1945, and everyone took to the streets with celebration. The picture shows part of the excitement that had happened that night of victory near the Paramount Theater. It was an event that will never leave my mind. I remember an unknown soldier boy over on the corner of Broadway & Fox Street who twirled me around and planted an exuberant kiss on my lips. Everyone was rejoicing and celebrating practically all night long and on the next day when a huge parade was held. Our store’s truck was decorated and we rode in the rear of it and yelled & sang our hearts out.

Eloise Rice (1914-2001)
Main Street (East Galena) near the Paramount Theatre shows the aftermath of celebrations on V-J Day. Aurora Historical Society collections. 1991.090.05

The picture also got a response at the time from Marlene DeLire Darimont of Sugar Grove (1937-2003), who identified herself as the girl in the white dress in the foreground of the photo. At the time of the picture, she was just shy of her 8th birthday.

We were living with my grandparents at the time. Often, they’d send me downtown and I’d spend the day with my mom, who worked at the time at a beauty shop down by the Paramount. There was the Paramount, then Anderson & Duy men’s store, then the beauty shop. [Operated by Mrs. Verue Redd]

Mom would often send me across the street to the Fairbanks Cafeteria to eat. I came out of the restaurant that day with the street full of papers, and I started picking up the papers to help clean up. Then my mom came out and called, ‘Marlene, get over here!’ I still had paper in my hand, so I went by the truck where the boys were loading the paper. I jumped up and tossed the paper, but it missed the truck.

I had completely forgotten about the incident until I saw the photo — then it all came back to me. I even remember wearing those shoes — they were a kind of sandal with a strap and they kept slipping off my feet, and that really bothered me.

Marlene DeLire Darimont of Sugar Grove (1937-2003)

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