Posted by: notsofancynancy | July 12, 2012

World War II, chapter 20, A Lovers Quarrel

World War II

A Lover’s Quarrel

Chapter 20

The Stationary Mom sent Dad

Dad has been at Camp Rucker in Alabama since June of 1943. Training and more training seems to be on the agenda for the Army right now. Mom and Dad have been engaged since July, and according to Dad’s letters he is one happy guy, in love and looking to a future with my mom being his wife.

13 September 1943

My Dearest Darling, Gosh Honey there is sure a beautiful moon out tonight. Just what one needs for what ails me. But I guess my romances can waite[sic] until I get back to Calif. anyway they have so far and I guess they can again. We just had coffee and cookies and the rest are down setting around the dying embers of the campfire talking. I had to take time off to write you. I still think honey this is the best 2 weeks we have ever spent in the field.. I believe it has brought the men closer together. Because we have sure swaped [sic] some years. About our hunting days and home and everything. We have men from all over so each has a different tale to tell. Of course this is just the third platoon and not the whole company. Say Sweet the termites are eating the poles out of the end of my hammock. I am just wondering how long they will last until one breaks and I get dumped. Each morning there is a little pile of chewed wood below my bed. Well only a few more nights anyway. Tomorrow night we have an attack. The recon troops are coming out with so (unreadable) cars and we have one suppose to defend our area. We were out setting up defensive positions today and are they ever a mess. Boy I’ll bet they take the whole comp. before we even get out.  After the attack comes we have to have carriers get machine guns and rifle amo from about a half a mile and bring it back. Think I’ll just hit my (unreadable) shelter and sleep. Oh yes we have fire crackers to shoot too. Just like the Fourth of July. I hear someone playing the mouth harp down in the (unreadable) now. Does that ever sound sweet. Makes me think of some of the dances we had back home. They used to be quite the thing. Here I’m telling you.  Well Darling I didn’t do so well on my knife throwing today. Only made a nickel. Would have done better but broke one knife and have to use a much lighter one. Just waite [sic] though. We’ll be in the money someday. This might sound crazy to you honey but it’s a way to spend the time for us. And we have a lot to spend. I guess I love you a lot cause I’m always thinking about you. Bob and I are always saying we wished we were back in Calif. so Madeline could come out and the four of us could be together. Boy darling that would be swell. Well maybe in 4 or 5 years we’ll get back out. Who knows [sic]. I love you I love you so now I am going to bed. Love always with kisses, Lefty.

Oh dear this next letter is a bad one. There are no letters from the 13th to the 22nd. That is eight whole days.  That is a pretty long time considering he has been writing two page letters almost every day.

22 September

Dear Vi, Well it was nice knowing you. I’m afraid to write tonight because I am afraid this is what you have been waiting for and what I have been trying to avoid.  So the new finally wore off. It isn’t so nice to be where you have to think of two. Remember I’m on the other end of your letters. And even though you think your [sic] living your own little part I find your slipping.  Maybe it is me your [sic] trying to do away with another [sic] invitation to come down-who knows?  Well if you want to send the ring back. It was a big mistake me giving it to you in the first place. I caught you on the rebound and it didn’t work out. The hounds came back and therefore I’m out. Oh! Yes a thought once in awhile but almost a hateful one then “No Vi.” For five years or more I have tried to not be a burden to you. And here one little slip up and there I go. That’s not for me. Anyway you say you love me like you read it in a story book. I didn’t give you that ring for fun. I love you Vi and it was for keeps. But not any more.

The letter goes on but starts not making sense. He goes on to say he is leaving in the morning for Georgia and when and if he gets back he hopes to “have a small package waiting,” (the ring.)  Then this,

So tell the folks I fell in love with some southern bell and asked the whole thing be called off.  One thing though I wasn’t going with you for what I could get. If I had been I would have quit 4 years ago. It’s no use writing anymore I’m not in a letter writing mood. As ever, Lefty.

I guess he told her. I wonder what her letter said. I wonder will there be a “small package” waiting for him when he gets back from Georgia? The next letter is four pages long and dated 4 October 1943. A whole 12 days later.

My Sargent and I are Buddies

Darling, Gosh I have lived a thousand lives since I wrote that letter. I guess I never should have done it.  Anyway I’m really sorry darling, in case that makes any difference. We left for Georgia the following morning and then I told Bob what I had done. He cussed me all the way down. He asked me what I was thinking about and even offered to kick me around a bit. I knew before he said anything I had done the wrong thing but more than ever after he had finished. I was going to settle by going out and raising heck that night we sure did. We went to the U.S.O. and listened to the juke box and danced a few dances with a hostess. I couldn’t even feel right there. Well the next day we had two trucks to work on and he really laid it on again. And believe it or not I didn’t even offer to take anyone home. I just couldn’t do it. From then on we just stayed in camp although that is just about like Los Angeles. We saw some of the town and all of Ft. McPherson since we have returned I have been sick most of the time. Am feeling much better now. But we had to take another shot in the arm and now. It is all read and has a fever in it. I guess I’ll live though. Darling, I guess I was wrong in about everything in the letter. I have prayed a million times you wouldn’t send the ring back. The last few days I have even been afraid to get my mail for fear it would be there. I guess I have done the wrong thing several times lately. I built all my hopes around your letters when I was getting them everyday [sic] and then none of the others seemed important. So I didn’t take time to answer them. Then when yours quit coming I just didn’t know what to do. It seemed the bottom had fallen out. And before I had gotten use [sic] to it I blew up. I don’t know maybe things will be ok now. You say you aren’t good enough for me. I think so darling, In fact your[sic] too good for me. A good man wouldn’t have treated his dog as I have you. I hope you forgive me Darling as I do love you very much and believe me I have opened your letters and read and reread them. I must stop now. I have to write mom (Mom’s mother) as I have a couple letters from her I haven’t written so again may I say good nite [sic] my darling, Love always, Lefty.

I always thought I got my temper from my mom, maybe not.

Lots of Love

4 October

Dearest Darling, How’s the little lady tonight. I hope she is ok. Anyway I sure love her. Gosh Darling I sure hate I wrote that damn letter. I almost made a wreck of me. Besides that I am ashamed of myself for doing it. I believe it [sic] you would have sent the ring back I would have been a wreck. I want to thank you more than a million times for being more level headed than I am.  Here I have been training to keep my head for three years and then the first chance I lose it. I guess I need a wife to help me. We went on a nine mile hike today. Made it in 2 hrs walking time. Not bad for a bunch of CF’s (unreadable) like us. We have a 25 mile one Thursday nite [sic] though so we shouldn’t be bragging about this one. You asked if I could wear a ring on the finger I got hurt. Yes nothing was injured except the end. I often wore my class ring there when I work. Otherwise I bend it. I am always using my right hand for a ring and there it goes. That is how it got bent in the first place. Gosh honey sweet I guess I must love you now more than ever now. I didn’t realize it until I almost lost you and then it was so nice to have you back. If we could only be together again. Maybe we can after awhile. It’s about bedtime and I’m awfully tired so maybe I should go to bed so until later. Love always, Lefty.

In today’s technical world it is hard to believe that he was so dependent on the letters that she was writing to him and that if she missed a few days he would think she no longer want to be engaged to him.

US Army Stationary 1943

I did a search to learn more about when payphones came into play. Here is what I found on Wikipedia.

Payphones were preceded by pay stations, manned by telephone company attendants who would collect payment for calls placed. In 1889, the first public coin telephone was invented by William Gray and installed at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut. The invention quickly caught on, and by 1902, there were 81,000 payphones in the United States. By 1905, the first outdoor payphones with booths were installed. By the end of 1925, 25,000 of these booths existed in New York City alone.

(Click here to read the whole article on Wikipedia)

So they were available in 1943. I have not heard Dad say anything about calling Mom or talking to her on the phone. I do know the way Dad talks about money, he has little to none. So I am assuming that all of their correspondence is through the US Mail Service. With Dad being in the field I wonder if they were getting their mail regular. How long was it taking to get a letter from California? This is a really good example of how much all of the soldiers in World War II relied on letters from home.

© 2012 notsofancynancy

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Responses

  1. I remember you commenting on my blog, once, Nancy about the importance of letters – INDEED! Oh, my goodness, it is so difficult to maintain a relationship face-to-face. Your folks did it letter-by-letter. How precarious even when you think that the mail service could have been interrupted so easily too. What a miracle they were able to continue to love each other – to fight with each other – to make up with one another – throughout the war. Wow a notable series of letters you have revealed. TTFN

    • I know, right? I also know once he get’s overseas the mail service gets a lot worse. I am not sure how it effects their relationship then. It will be interesting to see it played out.

      TTFN

  2. A near miss! Dangerous to rely on any mail service, let alone one in the war years 😉

  3. Amazing. Cultivating and maintaining a relationship without being face-to-face is a difficult prospect. It’s so sad to “hear” his thoughts and how worried he was at losing her.
    Writing is sometimes superior to phone conversations, I think. One can easily misconstrue something someone says, without seeing their face or demeanor.
    Very sweet letters. Sad, too.

    • Yes they are kind of sad, I get that too. I can’t imagine being engaged to someone who you have only met a few times and trying to keep it alive through letters. But they did. I have a suitcase full of letters to prove it. lol

  4. Besides being wonderful heirlooms, the letters hark of a time and art long gone – handwritten letters. If anything, the Post Office’s failure to be reliable lends to the demise of letters. On top of that, we now associate things in the mailbox being “not so cheerful”, like bills and even letters from darn attorneys. Indeed, I find myself being unable to write with pen anymore.

  5. We have the letters my grandmother sent my grandfather, and it includes one where my grandmother initiated a reconciliation after a long separation. It is amazing how the tone of her letter is much like the one you posted that he wrote when he felt there was a rift between them.

    Hers was a combination of wanting to be loved but fearing the worst. It was very intimate and revealing. After my grandmother’s fearful letter, the rest of her letters were full of news, and loving. As always, I wish I had the other half of the correspondence to see just how they got back together.

    Thankfully they did, or we wouldn’t be here. How very consequential a letter could be, and how permanent. Thank you so much for this window into you family. It is a precious legacy.

    • And thank you for taking the time to read and comment on it. I cannot tell you how much it means to me. It helps me to keep on writing, thank you.

  6. Oh my gosh, Nancy, can you imagine your mom receiving that letter and how long it took for your Dad to get her response once his remorse set in (which thanks to his friend, Bob, didn’t take long). I can’t believe how long he’s been in training without being shipped out. Still a great story. I miss working on Al’s story but had no where else to go. Taking my history hankering down another road these days. Keep going – this is great.

    • Thank you so much. Yes he has been training since January 1940 and here in Sept of 1943 they are still training. I wonder when he will go overseas. I mean I have an idea of when he went but I am really not sure.

      • Not to interfere, but it is possible to secure official Army records. You can request it online. However, I do with to warn you that the St. Louis Repository where Army records were kept burned for days back in the ’70s. All they may have is a microfiche copy of his Separation Record…but it is something official.

      • Silly me! I have his original discharge papers! I do know just forgot that I knew. It is hell getting old! hahahaha

        But for the sake of the story I will not share it with you until it is time! lol

  7. Letters are amazing. I could feel your father’s frustration through his words. He really was relying on those letters to get him through his days.

    Your comments between the letters are gems!

    • Wow thank you so much! I cannot tell you how much your words mean! It is good to know others like what I am doing.

      God bless

  8. I could not stop reading! Can’t wait for the next installment – I feel like I am a kid watching the Serials before the movie began, remember having to wait patiently for the next installment!! 😉 Blessings ~ Patty

    • Thank you! I have one more chapter written. So I guess I will need get back to the letter. lol

      Thanks again I love that you are enjoying them. Dad would be proud.

  9. These are so wonderful. Thank you for sharing. Your dad sure was smitten. I remember life before computers and communication did take longer AND when you’re in love and I’m guessing about to go to war, everything is viewed in an extreme light. And he had to be really young.

    Awww, they are so sweet and I love his temper, as I have one of my own.

    have a good weekend!

  10. I always think of the British television show “As Time Goes By” with Judy Dench. The two older folk find one another after the war has been over for years…their letters to each other had crossed and although they wanted to continue their relationship they lost out because of the mail service! When you consider all the things that might have gone wrong and kept your parents apart, they really were a miracle! These letters are incredible! Debra

  11. Those a marvelous, can you even count the times your dad calls your mom (then fiance), honey, darling or sweet? Your dad was soooo in love. I sometimes wish there was no technology today so everyone would have to write it down, to be preserved, for the future joy of family. Thanks for sharing!

    • I know, right! I had no idea he was that in love with her. It just hit me with your comment there will be very few letters from soldiers like this now days. I mean this is like a lost art and it makes these letters more historic. Awesome. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Having had a solder fiance stationed in Germany in the past, I so feel their pain of separation!! =)) Though we were blessed with having access to the telephone at the time, albeit very expensive!!! I remember frantic phone calls to the base, to find out if he was safe after hearing something in the news! It was no fun!! lol I love reading their story and thank you for sharing!!

    • I cannot imagine what we will read when he does go overseas. I know it is coming up soon, it kind of scares me.

  13. This post is amazing! I have enjoyed this comment stream as well. I wanted to share that this has gotten me thinking about how misconstrued things can get when we only rely on written (or typed) words instead of conversations on the phone or better yet in person. It has brought to mind a family estrangement with failed attempts at communication and reconnection through emails and letters, when a face-to-face is likely the only thing that can save the relationship, if there’s any hope. Thank you for sharing your parent’s incredible story. And I do love snail-mail!! Cheers, Gina

    • Thank you so much and thank you for following me! There are more letters to go through, many, many more. I am not sure how Mom and Dad stayed married all those years when their relationship relied mostly on letters.

      Have a blessed day

      • Thank you for a lovely reply, and I am thankful you liked my recent post about keeping our pets safe in the heat on my second blog. It helped me find you and your wonderful blog. Hopefully you’ll return for more visits 🙂 Blessings


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