The Heyday of The Post
When the hall was completed, it was possible to conduct an activity on any given day. Priority was given to events that raised money to pay off the loans that it now had. Bingo which was popular as an American Legion activity was conducted twice a week. lt was conducted on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Post and auxiliary members worked hard to draw and keep people coming to the bingos. Profits from the games were augmented by strong concession sales.
Every Saturday night, post 350 was a popular place where dance clubs met. Dance clubs with the names of Nu Kappa Rho, Latinaires, Togum, and the Dragons alternated weekends. Post 350 members ran the bars to keep dancers in a jovial spirit. Eddie Lassabe and his wife Delma took charge of this activity.
Hall rentals were equally important. The hall was rented out for birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, dance recital practices, meetings, and all other sorts cf activlties. Joe Kennedy was just about always involved with these rentals. Thanks to the hard work of the members during bingos, dances, and haii rentais, the post raised enough money to survive, thrive and to eventually pay off the building debt.
The new hall allowed post members a great place to meet and a fine kitchen to prepare food. The post would not have to scramble each month to find a place to hold its monthly meetings. Each November, there was a annual stockholders party with food, drinks, fun, and a band to dance the night away.
Each December, there was a Christmas party for members and their families. Gifts were given to the children and then grandchildren for years. Eddie and Myra Davis masqueraded as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Miriam (Mi-Mi) Bensen and auxiliary member Bessie Seeger organized this party for years.
American Legion Post 350 participated in many American Legion events, programs, and patriotic observances. Post 350 sponsored many American Legion baseball teams, sent boys to boys state, presented school awards, gave recongnition to law enforcement officers, firefighters, and teachers. Post 350 also sent high school students to oratorical competition and worked with Boy Scout 269.
Post 350 members along with ladies auxiliary members participated in the observance of memorial and veterans day. For years, this event was held at the Garden of Memories Cemetery on Airline Drive. Post 350 had an honor guard with salute rifles. The rifles are on loan from the U.S. government and they are M1903A3 (Springfields). Post 350’s post of honor was at the intersection of Bonnabel and Veterans Blvd.
On November 2, 197O, Squadron 350 Sons of the American Legion was chartered and was made up of the sons of post members and lasted to around 1977 . Eventhough, the squadron was short-lived, the young men and boys learned about patriotism and service to the American Legion.
At members’ funerals, post 350 officers stood ready to conduct the American Legion Funeral Ceremony upon request. Bibles were presented to the families. When a member was in good standing, Post 350 Veterans Club presented the surviving spouse or family member with a $200.00 check to help defray the funeral costs.
By 1995, the post had been around for 45 years. Members were getting old and some were beginning to die. Vietnam veterans had not embraced membership in the American Legion. New and younger members were harder to come by.
As the post members aged it became harder to conduct activities. Sunday bingo was cancelled because too few members were able to work it. ln the eleven year period between 1995-2005, there were only three post commanders willing to accept the position.
However, the post was still vital and there was money in the bank. Nobody was prepared for what happened next.