Posted by: notsofancynancy | March 8, 2012

World War II Chapter 2 The Beginning Through 1937

World War II

Chapter 2

The Beginning

In order to tell this story I have to go back to the beginning.

My father’s family came to the United States from Scotland and Denmark in the mid 1800’s and settled in Pennsylvania. Meeting there, my father’s great-grandparents then went west following the lure of free land with the Homestead Act of 1862. They ended up settling in Cozad, Nebraska. My dad’s parents married and lived in Cozad until my dad’s mom passed away in 1936. It was a month before my father’s 17th birthday. My grandfather then moved the family to town, in Lexington. There were eight kids in the family, but most of them were older. Dad was just a farm boy from Nebraska, born in 1919.

My mother’s family came over in the late 1800’s from Bohemia, which was part of Czechoslovakia. They settled in Chicago and they also took advantage of the offer of free land and homesteaded 250 miles away from where my father was born in Brookville, Kansas. Mother was an only child, born in 1924.

My parents met at a barn dance. Dad was friends with one of mom’s extended family. In 1937 my mother and father started a pen-pal relationship that blossomed from a friendship and eventually into love. It would span from that first letter through my father’s time overseas in World War II and did not end until he was safely on back on US soil in 1945. It was these letters my daughter found in the attic of my family home. It is thanks to her that I have a story to tell.

The first letter is written 5 September 1937, my mother was only 14 years old. Dad, who would turn 18 in October, says “George (my mother’s young uncle) let me read his card you wrote him. I am sorry I did not get to say good bye to you the other night.” He then makes small talk about the weather and going back to school and to forgive him as he is not much of the “letter writer.” Wow would that change, there are at least a thousand letters.

Since I like history I found the post script is also very interesting.

P.S. Farr lost the fight but I think he got a dirty deal even if I was for Louis he shouldn’t have won the fight. In case you want to write my address is, Lexington, Nebraska.”

No really that was his address! You did not need street numbers back then. He did not need one for my mom in Kansas either. Weird. It was just Brookville, Kansas. No numbers were needed.

I searched for information about the Louis-Farr fight in 1937. This is what I found out.

On a humid day in August of 1937 after postponing the event three days because of rain, British Empire Champion Tommy Farr and the World Heavyweight Champion Joe “Brown Bomb” Louis came up against each other in a long-anticipated fight at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Louis had knocked out the eight of his previous nine contenders and went on to knock out the next seven rivals. Tommy Farr gained respect by the crowd of 30,000 when he courageously attacked and hurt Louis in a fifteen-round fight. The referee, Arthur Donovan Sr., was so impressed and surprised that Louis was unable to knock Farr down he went into Farr’s corner right after the last bell to congratulate him and shake his hand. At that moment Farr thought the referee was raising his hand in victory. Mr. Donovan turned sensing his mistake and almost ran away from him. The crowd saw this mistake and also thought the ref was raising Farr’s hand in victory. All the while the ref was yelling “No, No, No, No!” Of course, no one could hear this. Because of all of the of all the noise the excited, then confused crowd projected. Then after collecting himself and counting the votes Donovan announced the winner. It was Louis, by an incredibly small margin. Apparently the crowd could be heard booing the decision all the way to Nebraska.

This is a glimpse into my father’s character. What is fair is fair! What he heard about the fight was not fair and even though he was for the guy who won, it was not a victory in my dad’s mind. These are the values he instilled in us kids.

This makes me wonder if the one time my parents met, did they actually talk about this fight or was he just making small talk?

Dad writes one letter each month in October, and November of 1937 and they have exchanged pictures. In the October letter he writes,

We are all ok here. There are 6 or 7 cases of polio here and talk of closing the schools again. I hope they don’t school is just getting interesting.

In December he sends her a card that says, “Dive right in, To the New Year.” It was signed. “Love and Kisses, Lefty” (one of Dad’s many nicknames.)

© 2012 notsofancynancy



  1. Nancy this is very interesting and I know it must be very rewarding to see history of your family in action.

    My fathers address was: General delivery Blanco, TX.


    • Thanks Carolyn! Yes it is interesting! And to have the pictures on op of it is awesome! It is also wonderful to be able to share it with all the family members I have been able to find. I am actually up to 14 family members of the men my father served with. It is for these families that I try and preserve the history of his army days, well that is when we get to them! lol

    • thank you Nancy for sharing your story!!!interesting/great clarity!

      • Thanks for stopping by Liz and thanks for the support!

  2. Thank you so very much for sharing that story. I’d like your permission to save it to my archives in the family tree??? Let me know and thanks again. These things are so dear to my heart. x
    My GGGrandmother was Miriam Marilla Woodside, wife of Henry Absley Bathurst, mother of Rebecca Jane Bathurst – who married Charles Douglas Hoselton – who’s son was Richard Alvera Hoselton – who’s son was Charles Richard Hoselton, my father – who gave birth to me; Rebecca Jane Hoselton.

    • Yes you can save it. But our journey has just began as there are a thousand letters left to read. I hope you will follow me as we unveil what happened during the war and while my dad was overseas.

  3. Awwwe! What beautiful photos!! Your postings are so beautiful and could definitely make a great book!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, dear friend!!

    • Thank you so much for your support Linda! I really appreciate your taking time out to read my fathers story. I will post the next part on Thursday!

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