Posted by: notsofancynancy | May 30, 2013

World War II, chapter 66, Snowy Cold Days

World War II

Snowy Cold Days

Chapter 66

Picture of Lefty Dad wrote "See there was snow here."

Picture of Lefty Dad wrote “See there was snow here.”

Dad and his fellow soldiers have traveled across France and are now In Belgium. From looking at the pictures of this time I know that this was the coldest time for him. The pictures from Belgium show lots of snow.

28 December, near Arlon, Belgium

My Darling Wife, Hello Sweet. Guess what I got a letter from you today. Boy was it nice and is my ego up now. I read it and sat there and dozed off and dreamed I was home. Gosh what a time I was having. Sure hated to wake up but I had to write you sometime tonight and it just as well be early as late. I love you my darling. I also got a card from Ira Vance and a short letter with it. I guess everyone there was ok. She said she had seen a good account of the outfit over here and was sending you some clippings from the paper, I hope you get them. She didn’t say a thing about George getting married but did say where he was. I’m surprised I even got the letter. She used to write quite often, but his is the first I’ve heard in over a year. Oh! So you have been working. Well now isn’t that nice. Didn’t I hear you say once you hated washing dishes. Oh La La! I’ll bet that doesn’t change the way anyone does it. How many was at that dinner anyway. It sounds like a H___ of a lot of dishes. Jimmy (Henry and Agnes boy) kinda likes the place. From what I saw he can have it. The people are very friendly. To [sic] damn friendly. We didn’t have any trouble with them. As a matter of fact some of the fellows had just what they wanted and plenty of it.  You say Henry was worried about you. Man so am I. By the time I get word here I’m not going to have to worry about the part in my hair. I’m going to be bald headed and the three hairs on my chest will be gray. I’m nervous in the service.  Jr is going to have to beat Mary Sure. The [sic] can’t have anyone like that lying in the shade. If he doesn’t well teach him to fight and have them beat that way hows [sic] that. Have I told you I’m letting my mustache grow. Pretty nice too. Almost long enough to brade [sic] No I was only kidding. I was referring to the Gay Ninetys[ [sic] parade. The one you were talking about in this letter. Guess I’m going next summer. I’ll start from scratch again. Its [sic] hard telling just what I’ll turn up with next. I kinda like this though so you probably know. Ben doesn’t play so much on he [sic] harp. Once in awhile he warms up. But as yet he hasn’t learned any French numbers. We haven’t really had a chance. Perhaps before long we will though. Who Knows? Do you know of the hit parade you wrote about I have only heard two numbers. I guess I’ve just quit living here. Just as well you aren’t with me. Mommie I never get bored with your letters. I think you could send a dozen books and I would enjoy the last one just as much as the first. I like long letters from you. Gosh Honey I like everything about you. In your letter you said 6 weeks until Jr would be kicking for himself. Well its [sic] about two now Mommie. Gee honey. That isn’t very long huh! Gosh I’m so happy two ways. For you and the baby. Only I wish I were there to be with you. I would give anything to be there even for the day. Well I can’t be there in person but my heart sure has sure been there a good long time. I guess I left part of it with you and have sent the rest. Cause all I can think of is you and the Baby. You can’t miss my Darling. Honey this much come to an end sometime and I have to get to bed so how about now. I love you so much my Darling. I’m so damn happy about the whole affair I just don’t know what to do. I love you I love you I love you honey. All my love, Lefty

Marvin Cain Wrote "Chateau we lived in at Gurish Belgium, Howard

Marvin Cain Wrote “Chateau we lived in at Gurish Belgium, (Truman “Ben”) Howard

29 December, Arlon, Belgium

My Darling Wife, Well I finally got some stamps so I’m going to use some of this stationary, We haven’t been able to buy any up until a awhile ago. Have been buying envelopes. I wanted to save this so I could use the envelopes you sent with it. Nice Huh. We didn’t get much mail again today. But the letters I got yesterday helped a lot and maybe I can last until another comes. But hope it comes within the next 30 seconds. Now where was I. We have just been discussing money. And it isn’t a bad thing either.  You know what one makes and send home. And saved. You know you have saved more money since we have been married than I have ever had. And once I worked for my money. You know I never did expect you to save that much but am so proud that you did. Boy can I brag about how my wife saves money. Have you been noticing the moon lately. Boy it is nice.  Sure wish we could spend some time together under it. I have a lot of ideas we could try and that moon would sure help. Do you remember me telling or writing you about a kid from home crashing a plane and breaking a couple legs or something. It was either before we were married or shortly after. Well he is home on furlough. He has been over here and completed his missions and also has been promoted to a captain. I was supperised [sic] he could even fly again after that crash. Now the subject has changed to women and Indians. What next. I’m having an awful hard time getting this written. Now I guess the subject is lies. Because I’m thinking everyone is trying to tell the biggest one.

What great insight into what was going on in the barracks as these soldiers got ready for bed. I can also see the men talking about well, about things men talk about when they are away from their women.  I bet he was really distracted. It is the first time I have seen him misspell “surprise.”

Gosh I don’t know what to write about now. I have read your letter about 20 times and can’t think of anything I haven’t written yet. Boy good material is scarce. Well not so scarce but one can’t write about it. I love you my Darling. I love you so much. Gee Honey I love you so much. I hope Jr is ok sure is getting about that time isn’t it. Boy Oh Boy I love you I love you I love you. All my love Darling, Lefty.

1944 Dec 29 stationary1

29 Dec 1944 Letter

31 December, Arlon Belgium

My Darling Wife, What do you think of my stationary now? It’s from Grandma Schultz [this was my mother’s great grandmother]. Got a Christmas package from her today. Guess she thought I was going to town sent me a necktie. It is a nice one but kind of like white towels haven’t any use for one. Haven’t worn one in our 6 months. As a matter fact I think I have lost my issued one. Also she sent me a money belt some socks candy soap and shaving cream. It is sure nice. Now I have another letter to write. I don’t believe I will ever catch up. Have a hard time keeping up with you lately. Isn’t it hard to write when one doesn’t have anything to write about or a letter to answer. We had ice cream today. That’s the first I have had in a long time. In fact the second since I left you. Boy was it good. But it was too cold to eat to [sic] much of it. I had all I wanted anyway. Also had a steak. That wasn’t bad either but man was it tough and [sic] my teeth couldn’t eat it. That was one time I wish we had a grinder. Man was that old cow tough. Must have been one we killed in Normandy. Today is the last of this year. Last year I was in Tennessee the year before in Ventura and the year before that in Ft. Ord and the one before that we spent together, And now this one here. Boy that’s getting around. Well I can’t say I enjoyed three of them. Damn near froze on them. Ft. Ord we slept in the trees and also Tennessee. Well it Is almost as bad as that now. Besides I am on guard. I really enjoyed the other two though. Well honey I just got up walked around the stove three times thought awhile and still haven’t had a good thought of something to write. I love you so much my Darling. Gee Honey. I hope you and Junior are ok and keep on being such. I love you honey I love you I love you I love you. All my love. Darling, Lefty

1944 31 Dec stationary

31 Dec 1944 Letter

It seems the New Year has come and gone without much fanfare. Well at least not anything Dad talked about. There is no letter from 1 January, 1945. As I mentioned they are knee deep in snow.

2 January 1945, Arlon, Belgium

My Darling Wife. Well honey I should be bursting with news tonight. Boy did the mail man come through tonight I got two from you one from Aunt Dick, Mike and Lucille, Mrs. Johnson and a Christmas card from Aunt Clara and Uncle George. Boy did I have myself a time. I took a shower this afternoon. I think it was about 10 below and we had to waite[sic] awhile . Then undress in a tent with the stove in one end and me in the other. Then the water was to [sic] hot. All in all it was good but I sure got a chill out of it. Feel good tonight. Say if this doesn’t turn out so good I just got mad I bought $2 worth of stamps and only got $1.86 worth for my money. If you start getting Airmail collect don’t think anything of it. Its [sic] not the money but I hate to think of getting gyped [sic] and ain’t about to. Aunt Dick told me about Gerald. Gosh sounds like he is about well but its [sic] to bad. I kinda figured something like that had happened when no one had heard from him in so long. I guess she has had a cold. Said she hadn’t been working for a few days. She probably told you all about everything. She said she wrote a 12 page letter out that day. Lucille didn’t have much to say. The kids have had the flu and are ok now. Said something about be being a father. And a few little items I would have like [sic] to hear what she had to say in the first two conversations after she found out [about] Junior. Oh! La La. Would my ears have been hurting. Mrs. Johnson has it on the ball. She said she was sending me a clipping about herself.  I didn’t get the clipping but she told me about it. I guess she went to a show and got her shoes mixed up. Had one brown one and one black one on. I guess no one would have known but as she explained. She let one blood curdling yell and kicked and kicked both shoes across the room and of course Dorothy and Barbara saw what happened and from then on, well anything could happen. I guess that was what the clipping was about. In the Ventura paper they have an item Star Gazzer [sic] Sun in which they put such things. Well besides that Barbara and her sailor have broken up. Dorothy is back in the running again. She has been going to dances again so everything there is ok. Now to the important thing. You I love you my darling. These damn fellows have a singing spell and I can’t write for thinking or listening which ever you want. Whats [sic] the matter with Mom. I haven’t heard from her for over a month. I love you so much my darling. I have been thinking lot and lots of you and Junior. And hoping you will be ok. Gosh my darling I wish I could be with you. I love you darling. I love you so much honey. I love you I love you

Interesting, that is the first letter he didn’t sign. Was it due to all the singing going on around him or did something else happen?

William Levensky

William Levensky

3 January, near Arlon, Belgium

My Darling Wife, Hello honey hows [sic] everything. Gee I love you I don’t know what happened to me.  I was reading a story and got so homesick I don’t know what to do. It sure doesn’t take much to get me that way. Boy how I wish I were home. But a lot of good that is doing me. Bobby Breen and three others were here and he sang. He has a might [sic] fine voice but awful damn cookey [sic] He had one guitar player that was good though. The trumpet and sax players were good but I liked the other. All in all it wasn’t bad.

Bobby Breen who was born in 1927 had just turned 18 when he performed for these soldiers. He was originally from Canada and made his debut at age 4. In 1935 he went to Hollywood and became one of the first child stars at RKO Studios. He appeared in nine movies from 1935 to the last in 1942. He was best known for the movies but he was also famous because he had a magical voice, unusual because he was a soprano. (Wikipedia)

Sounds like Jr has hit the Jack Pot huh. I can agree with you. He should have enough now to change every 20 minutes. And I don’t believe he will ever get them worn out then. Sounds like Lawrence has hit the Jack Pot. Well honey I don’t know. Maybe it takes a pull or someone like that to note those things. Know what you’ll be making after Junior’s pay comes through. $110 a month. That sounds good now, but waite [sic] until we have to start paying that back. I mean in taxes. Oh La La. Back to Lawrence I’ll be making more than he. Altogether I make about $173. Not bad for me huh! You say you have to go to the Dr once a week. Well I imagine by now your [sic] used to that. By now its [sic] only a matter of days and not many of them. Boy honey I’m waiting for the news. I love you so much my darling. I wish I were with you. Gee honey I love you. I love you sweetheart. I love you. All my love Darling, Lefty

Junior will be here any day now. I wonder what that was like for my dad worrying about Mom and the baby and being nowhere near them. For all he knows she may have already had it.  How long will it take for him to get word that the baby has been born? Is it a boy or girl? I can’t hardly stand the stress and I already know the outcome.

© 2013 notsofancynancy

Truman “Ben” Howard, Robert “Bob” Winter, William Levensky, Herbert “Mississippi” Tribble, Herman Poppe or Herbert Morgan, Judson Haviland,

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Responses

  1. Feel chilled to the bone looking at those photos and the description of the bath!

    • I know this was the hardest time for him and he would never forget how cold he had been. It is one of the only things I remember him talking about, how cold they were.

  2. My father was also in France and Belgium, including Battle of the Bulge. He was from Nebraska.

    • That is interesting. My father was from Cozad and Lexington. Other’s in his division were from Holdrege. He joined the National Guard (as did the other’s) in 1940 and was mustered into the Army 23 Dec 1940. Now if you tell me you know about the “Yoo Hoo” incident I will fall out of my chair.

      Link to the Yoo Hoo incident (http://wp.me/p2eEip-4a)

      Link to 1945 VE Day roster (http://wp.me/p2eEip-Ml)

  3. It is so cool that you are doing this. It’s a great story.

    • I am glad I am too. I never knew it was such a good story until I got halfway through it! lol

  4. Middle of a war, middle of Christmastime and middle of a blizzard? Your dad has a great disposition for not so great circumstances!

    • I know, right? It is hard to comprehend such is going on around him by just reading the letters.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing these letters! It gives us a glimpse into a soldier’s life. These young men went through so much under terrible conditions…it’s important to keep those memories alive and that we never forget them.

    • Thank you so much for the nice comment, those keep me going. I have felt like Dad and his fellow soldier have lead me on this journey because without “Divine” intervention I would have never gotten as far as I have. BTW Interesting blog!

  6. I am positive you have looked into this on your own, notsofancynancy, but these pictures were taken shortly after the worst winter in decades up there in Belgium. Just two weeks earlier, the Battle of the Bulge was at its peak. Patton’s Third Army, which was ordered to breakthrough to the 101st at Bastogne, uttered these famous words in a prayer, “God…Grant us fair weather for battle?”

    Your father did not have the luxury of our synthetic jackets or gloves. They were likely cotton as only a few actually had severe weather jackets supplied to them. Imagine being out there in cotton outerware and being prohibited from lighting a fire. It was miserable (that is an understatement). Absolutely miserable.

    • You always add so much to these posts with your wonderful knowledge of WWII. I really believe Lefty brought you to me to add things I do not know to the story. I did know it was a bad winter as I remember Dad talking about how cold he was. But although he may mention it in the letters he never really complains. Seeing the pictures sure brings reality to the picture!

      Thanks Koji!

      • Well, Nancy, I am soooo far behind on reading the stories on WordPress… I know there’s about six or more on yours alone… Gotta manage my time better. But if these little side notes are distracting, just give me a shout cuz I’m hard of hearing. 🙂

      • Oh noooo Mustang Koji! I love reading your thoughts and I love learning…. its a win win situation for me. Please don’t stop! lol

      • Lol


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