Posted by: notsofancynancy | February 28, 2013

World War II, Chapter 53, Pennies From Heaven

World War II

Pennies from Heaven

Chapter 53

Dad Wrote "Don't know where this one was taken but it looks like a convoy" Mr. Cain Wrote "Nancy France"

Dad Wrote “Don’t know where this one was taken but it looks like a convoy” Mr. Cain Wrote “Nancy France”

Dad has been in France since July of 1944. His Division, the 35th Quartermaster has been under the command of General Patton and was assigned to The Third Army. It was in September that the Battle of Nancy commenced. According to Wikipedia:

The Battle of Nancy in September 1944 was a 10-day battle on the Western Front of World War II in which the U.S. 3rd Army defeated German forces defending the approaches to Nancy and crossings over the Moselle River to the north and south of the city. The battle resulted in U.S. forces fighting their way across the Moselle and liberating Nancy. When the 3rd Army began its attempt to capture Nancy, it had only recently recovered from a severe fuel shortage which had caused it to halt on the Meuse River for five days. During this time, German defenders in the area had reinforced their positions. While the XX Corps in the north was tasked with the capture of Metz, Nancy, the other major city in the region, was assigned to the XII Corps. When the XII Corps first started on this assignment it was not at full operational strength as the U.S. 35th Infantry Division was guarding the southern flank of the Allied forces until the southern 7th Army could close the gap. This left only the U.S. 4th Armored Division and the U.S. 80th Infantry Division available.

There is little to no signs in Dad’s letters what is going on around him but if you” listen” to his words, once in a while you will find little hints. 27 September 1944 QM moved to St. Max, France which is NE section of Nancy 27 September 1944 near Nancy, France

My Darling Wife, Gosh honey it has been a long time since I have heard from you and has been about three days since I wrote. But today I got one letter written the 12th. It was certainly good. Gosh I was sure getting low. It sure seems if I don’t hear from you often I just can’t get along. Even a couple of words go a long way. I guess the mail should be coming again. You know one of those unexplained things. Wish I had draw strings on my nighties so my feet wouldn’t get cold. You know I have the sorest toe. Guess my shoes wore a blister on it. And what walking I have been doing sure hasn’t helped any. If I had some good hot water would sure soak it. I put a patch on and now it feels better. In a couple days I’ll never know it so—— Mommie over here I really don’t know how much you have written. I haven’t even been able to save your letters lately so all I can do is pray that the letters you write get here. Even they are far between. Then there is two things we ask for here a ticket home and mail. Mail is better to us than a banana split. Gosh I ran out of paper and had to borrow this for tonight didn’t think I was so near out. Supply trucks here I come.  Mommie I love you. Gosh if I didn’t I sure could go for some of those French women. But I sure haven’t found any that look half as nice as you. Of course I don’t intend to look to see but I know there isn’t. I love you so much my Darling. I wish I were there. Maybe this won’t last forever, I love you, Lefty

Pontoon Bridge, Nancy, France

Pontoon Bridge, Nancy, France

28 September, Near Nancy, France

My Dearest Darling, Gosh, here another day has passed and still the mail hasn’t really come through. I haven’t as yet received the packages you sent.  Although I did get a roll of film that Bob and Norma sent. It wasn’t big enough to take up room so it came through. About this time next month yours will get here. (I hope) Gosh I guess I wrote everything last night. Only I could repeat how much I love you. Boy it is days like this that makes one wish he had mail. And yet it doesn’t come. But there is always tomorrow and we have hopes for then.  Well I could tell you a few of the towns I have been in but you probably know by now and I would only have that much more to cause heartbreak to the censor. So Camp Phillips is to be closed. You know they were going to close it when we were there. I’ll bet the town will be dead now. Just like taking the bull out of the pasture. They just read in a home paper about giving service men one gallon of gas per day. Gosh how can they be so generous. Remember when we were there. How far would we have gotten. Bob says he wouldn’t even get to town. Let alone clean to Madeline’s. You know I must have mislaid your letter of yesterday because I sure can’t find it. I guess I’ll have to go through my belongings and find it.  I got the picture Rosa sent me of Dad. It was good. He was all dressed up and didn’t have a tie on. So you know where I get the no ties. It was good of him though. The best I have seen. Mommie I guess I better stop and write Dad. Haven’t caught up on my correspondence as yet. As a matter of fact haven’t written anyone but you and Mom for a long time. I love you my Darling. I love the best wife in the world. I only wish I were there to help with Jr. at least to do my bit. I don’t imagine it would be much but I would like to be there anyway. For you and Jr. Gosh my Darling I love you. I think about you a lot darling. All the time in fact. I love you sweetheart. All my love, Lefty

30 September, near Nancy, France

My Darling Wife, Well Honey I guess this is about the end of Sept and this darn war isn’t over yet. As a matter of fact I guess I don’t even know how the damn thing is going. Just to [sic] lazy to go listen to the news. I got a letter from you today. That makes about two in 10 days. The mail just hasn’t been coming through so good. I sure wish they would get on the ball with it. Gosh Mommie if it takes Dean bringing that camera back to get you to send some pictures I sure hope he gets it there damn soon. I sure would like to have some. Jane sent Walt one of the colored pictures we took. It was sure good. I hope ours were the same. I did get quite a bit of praise on that stew. But I don’t think I could do it again. It would sure take something besides a brain to figure out the ingredients that were in it. One has to read things like that. Besides it wouldn’t taste just right if it wasn’t cooked in on old dirty can and open air. I’ll bet Mary sure is spoiled and all that. And if Jr. isn’t when I get there it won’t be long after. He certainly can’t break the record. All the rest of the Woodside Grandchildren have been. And being he is the first Vance Wikoff Grandchild he sure won’t have a chance.  I’ll bet you have expanded in places. Here it is almost Oct and that means about 2 ½ months left. It sure doesn’t seem that time has gone that fast. Well Mommie instead of sending bubble bath one should send red flannels. Man has it been cold. I was only kidding about red flannels of course but one sure needs them. You sure couldn’t go near a waterfall nowadays. Darling I must stop and go to bed. I’m not really sleepy but the sun has gone down and one [unreadable] much now. I love you my Darling. I love you so much, I love you, Lefty

Nancy, France

Nancy, France

1 October, near Nancy, France

I guess the damn mail just isn’t coming. I got a V-Mail from Elmer and Rose today and none from you. All they said was it was raining there and cold at night. I guess Ruth quit her job because she has been up at Frank’s for a month now. She was coming back the following Fri because Janet had to go to the Dr. She also said Dad had gotten a letter from you and that you were fine. That was good because the letter was written since the last one I have received of yours. You know I think the Woodside family thinks you’re pretty swell. Bob got a letter from Madeline and she had seen a news reel of the French girls kissing the GI’s. Man was she mad. She said they didn’t need to show their gratitude quite that much. I guess she is afraid some one [sic] awarding it when kissing Bob I guess not. The only thing we have found that would kiss is a couple of lookies. Some good opportunities though. I guess Mommie you and I are going to have to have an unwritten rule that we get up about 6:30 every morning. You say you sleep a lot and I know I would rather sleep than get up so either we’ll have to do that or let Jr do the work and I don’t think that will work. You never did say what Pop thought about the baby. And not much of what Mom thought. I would kinda like to know. Maybe they are mad at me and I don’t even know it. I wish you would say. Have you enough money. I’m not sending any this month. At least I don’t think. I am sending a box within the next few days though. So you can be looking for it in about 2 months. I haven’t told you I love you. I do my Darling so much are you getting tired of me writing that. I love you, all my love Lefty.

3 October, near Nancy, France

My Dearest Wife, Gosh the time has sure gone fast the last month. Doesn’t seem like it could possibly be Oct already. But as long as this can’t be over with let the time go. Boy has it gotten cold here at nights. The days really aren’t so bad though. If the mail doesn’t come through soon I don’t know what I’m to write. This two letters a month sure doesn’t get it. And is this crowd getting hard to get along with. Bob and I were out for a little airing yesterday and some folks we had been talking to invited us in for some coffee and what they called war cake. Well one man could speak a little English and between all of us we had quite a talk. I believe I enjoyed the afternoon more than any since I left you. Seems the old lady was quite a flash in the last war and kind of enjoyed telling us about it. Of course it came the long way around. The coffee was French style and of course that wasn’t up to us but something new. The war cake had apples and was made more like a pie. Of course it didn’t have sugar or anything. It was as good as could be expected. In all the brandy was best. Although we didn’t drink only a little jigger of it Another French style habit I guess. A little nip after lunch. We stayed about 2 hrs. and were invited back. Gosh here I haven’t said I love you or asked about Jr. I hope everything is ok Mommie. Gosh how am I to know with no mail getting here. Boy if it doesn’t get here soon you’ll have a bald headed husband and that isn’t good.  Gosh I wish it would start coming again. Bob and I went to a show tonight. Knickerbocker Holiday. I don’t know where they got the movie and it wasn’t so good. But passed the time anyway. I haven’t much else to say my Darling. I love you so much Honey. How I wish I were coming home or that this was over so we might have a chance. I love you honey. I love you sweetheart. All my love, Lefty

“Knickerbocker Holiday” was a musical and maybe that is why these two young soldiers didn’t like it all that much. Here is a clip I found on You Tube:

4 October, Near Nancy, France

My Dearest Wife, Gosh honey Old Uncle Sam came through with a little mail. Two letters from you and one from Mom. 21st & 22nd. And were they welcomed. Because I sure haven’t been getting any mail. Gosh we still have mail coming we haven’t gotten. Hope it comes. You know honey you don’t have to be there to learn things about a baby. You told me something today I didn’t know. About the heartbeat. I didn’t know you could hear a babies [sic] heartbeat before birth.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks if you don’t let him get too old. Bob’s Dad wrote me a note on the bottom of a letter and said to be careful and not eat too many eggs because a married man’s indicator goes up. Also he wished us luck and all that. Told me to take care of Bob. I’ve been in a fox hole for a lot of things, but never to listen to a radio. I’ve been keeping a pretty good reading on where I’ve been too. It usually pays to know where you are. That is if you love your wife and I sure do honey. I don’t know about Dick and Gerald. Maybe he wrote something like I did. Gosh my Darling I hope we never get mad at each other. Boy Mommie if I couldn’t look forward to your letters and to coming home to you I think I would just give up and forget where I was sometimes. I sure love you a lot Mommie. More than anything else in the world. I haven’t gotten the package you sent. I imagine about next month it will get here. And I also haven’t sent you the box I have to send. I guess you think I’m awful lazy. But I have been waiting to see if I couldn’t find something worth sending. No Mommie I don’t need my sweater. Nor scarf. They have issued us both. Or are going to. And it will be summer before it gets here anyway. Mind if I just say how much I love you Mommie and quit for tonight. I haven’t written Mom for some time and I must do so. I love darling. Gosh I don’t think I can say it enough. I love you honey, lots and lots. All my love, Lefty

5 October, Near Nancy, France

My Darling Wife, Another day another dollar. Gosh honey I love you, wish those dollars would pile up high enough to get this war over with. I’m sure getting tired of this. And I imagine some are a lot worse than I.  Say honey I guess Betty will get to see more country than you. You know I wouldn’t care if you never saw the South. I’ll bet Betty didn’t enjoy the country down there. Of course with Paul there I imagine the country didn’t matter much. Do you mean the whole family is to [sic] busy to take Grandma to the Dr. or is it Grandma who doesn’t want to go. I’ll bet that’s it. I hope she gets well soon anyway.  I guess home isn’t in France because my heart is sure in California. That will be something to hang up just over your hat. I sure hope Dean gets that camera back soon.  I am sure looking for some pictures. I would send some film if I could get it there in time. But it would be next summer before I would get it there and by that time you’ll have plenty. Guess they are easy to get up in town. I know the pictures can’t tell me you love me but next to you they are best. And you could always write you loved me a couple more times. I got another letter from you today Darling. The 20th. That’s good. 21st, 22nd yesterday. Gee it was just as good though as if I had gotten them as they should have come. A letter from you is just like pennies from heaven anyway. Boy honey I like to get them. If they ever stop coming I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll bet your dresses are getting snug for you. Once someone told Rose she could cut a piece out of one side to patch the hole on the other. Maybe you could cut a hunk out of the back to put in the front. Honey I love you so much. Have to go to a meeting so I’ll close for now. I love you darling. I love you, all my love, Lefty.

Another View, Nancy, France

Another View, Nancy, France

Mom is now about six and a half months pregnant. The baby is due around the 10th of January. Dad is sure trying to hurry this war along so he can be home for the birth. I am not sure he will make it though.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Robert “Bob” Winter, Walter D. Huntsucker

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Responses

  1. I’m going to start a WWII blog based on my Dad’s letters home. I’m not sure whether it will be on my existing blog or on a new one.

    • Please let me know! I will be interested to read them and compare to my dad’s adventure.

  2. Of course the brandy tasted the best, it’s what the French do. Great photos with the letters home, but oh, so homesick.

    • Thank you! It breaks my heart how homesick he is.

  3. I am an amatuer WW2 historian of over 30 years, and in one of your posts you said that you were wondering why your dad never mentioned what was going on in the war in the letter’s to your mom…..its simple, your mom worried enough, and your dad loved your mom tremendously and didn’t want her to worry anymore than she had to. I am married to a woman from the Philippines and we are going thru the US immigration process, I haven’t held my wife in over 8 months, so I understand the separation they felt…but we are at about 85% completed with the process, so we’re getting closer together…nice trove of letters, nice reading…

    • Thank you so much! I know one of the other reasons is that all letters are being censored. But I know you are right about not wanting Mom to worry about him. It is just amazing how much was really going on now that I can look back on history I realize how much war he really saw. This was something I did not know and he did not talk about even after the war was over and he was home safe.

      • I have a WW2 History page I have on Facebook, I am going 3 years with it. It has the 2nd most members on Facebook of pages of that type. If you would like to learn about WW2 come on by have a look….very interesting stuff…

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/world-war-2/359212319381

      • Thanks! I am headed over!

  4. Fascinating.

  5. …and I agree, it is heartbreaking.

  6. Oh, I see your dad was in the 35th Division. He was in France and Belgioum at the same time my uncle was, although he was killed on September 20th, 1944, about a week before these letters were sent.


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