Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old Love Letters - Chap. 4

July 14, 1945

Dearest Marge,

So I've had my first letter from you and sure enjoyed it.  Of course, you would have to go back to work, we all do, but vacations are nice, till they end.  And being in Chicago was a vacation for me and meeting you was the nicest thing that could have happened to me.
But I'm back in the old groove again and sure feel good for I'm flying again and is sure feels good to be in the air again.  You spoke of me gaining weight and I have, for my exam last week I weighed 162 lbs and was sure supervised, for when I left here for Chicago I only weighed 154 lbs, so that's doing pretty good.  And I know that you have brought me good luck for I would never have made the grade, except for you.  Of course, I enjoy doing my work and as we have all the new stuff to work with, it is really a pleasure.  I would volunteer for overseas service again if I thought I could get to go, but I know they wouldn't let me, for they say I'm doing more important work here.  I hope you don't mind me telling you about the things I do, but I do believe that I help a little in my small capacity and am rather proud that I can still do something.
Two months ago I thought I was all washed up and would be driving a truck for the duration, but then I met you and I've sure had good luck ever since.
I'm sorry to hear that your brother has to go overseas again.  I wish that I could take his place.  And my brother Donnie is doing fine in Denver and Mother is staying with him.  She says he is very cheerful, although was a lot worse than they let her know.  He must have been pretty bad, for they flew him back from the Netherland Dutch East Indies and really rushed him home.  Mother says he will be home in six weeks or two months and I'm sure glad.  Although he will never take an active part in the ranch again, it will sure be good to have him at home.
Darling, I hope you don't mind me telling you all about my folks, and if you do, just let me know and I will find something else to say.  Just as long as you will let me write you.
I sit around in the evenings and study and when I get tired of that I like to write letters, and even if they don't make good sense, sometimes it helps pass the time away.  I'm studying quite a bit and trying to improve my use of the king's english, but think it is sort of hopeless because I've lived on a ranch all of my life and missed most of my schooling.  So if I make a mistake now and then, I hope you will overlook them and know that I mean well.
Do you remember me telling you about Wanda, the girl I was almost engaged to?  I had a letter, or rather a note from her today, and she has married a marine from California.  I thought she would when I was at home the last time, but didn't say anything for I never like to borrow trouble.  So that is really a load off my mind.  At least I feel better now for I sometimes wondered if she was the right person, and now I know she wasn't, but I know who the right one is, if I can only find some way of telling her.  Of course, she doesn't know me very well, but I'm hoping to see her again soon, and maybe she can help me a little.  I hope so.  
But now it is getting late and I want to get up early in the morning and go to church, and I think it will be the Catholic services, for we have a wonderful chaplain there and I seem to get more from his messages than I do from the Protestant services here.
So my Dear, I hope I haven't bored you with my long letter and I do hope you write soon.  And please don't say good bye in your next letter, just....

Adios My Dear,

July 19, 1945

Dearest Marge,

I've just got back from a nice trip and although I'm sort of tired, I'm feeling fine and happy.  I've been to Denver, Colorado and got to spend all day with Mother and brother Donnie.  The way it happened, I was talking to Col. Jordan, our pilot on the ship I'm assigned to, and told him about Donnie and he asked why I didn't go see him.  Well I told him why, and then forgot about it, but then he called me to the line (?) on Monday morning at 3a.m. and told me to check the ship for a cross country trip and have it ready by 5a.m.  I never gave it a thought and was ready on time and took off at 5:30a.m.  Everything went well and we landed in Denver at 4:40p.m. that evening and he said, "If you're going to see that brother of yours, you had better go and I don't want to see you till Wednesday morning at eight, so scat".  Boy, it didn't take me long to scat either.   I called Mother at the hotel and grabbed a cab and went to the hotel and then to the hospital.  Was I ever glad to see them.  We sure had a good visit, even if I didn't have any clothes with me.  Just my coveralls and not even a razor to shave with.
But enough about me.  What about you?  What are you doing now?  I've not had another letter from you and I'm just a little disappointed.  And how is Chicago?  I sure would like to be there and see you.  Maybe we could walk in the park again.  Quein Sabe?
Have you heard from your brother again?  I do hope he is O.K. and doesn't have to stay over there very long.
I've been hoping I would hear from you and that you would enclose a snapshot or small picture of you so that I might carry it in my billfold, and have something more to remind me of you than just the memories of walking through the park and talking to you.  Or maybe you think that I am asking too much.  Am I?  If I am, I'm sorry, but I think of you so much and wonder why I couldn't have met you long ago and have known you a lot better than just those few hours we spent together.  
I had a good talk with Mother about you and she thinks it would be fine if you could visit us this fall.  And she also told me about some other things that happened at home while I was away, so now I'm completely free and have no ties, except for the family and the ranch.
This is what I'm trying to say, and I know that it is not the way to say it, but in the few hours we were together, I learned to love you.  I wanted to tell you when I called you that last day, but was afraid, for I know it was much too soon, as it is now, and I'm using very poor taste to tell you in this way.  But my Darling, I can't wait any longer to tell you and I hope you don't mind too much, the crude way I've said I love you.  It seems that it has always been you that I've looked for and dreamed of, and as soon as I saw you, and while sitting on the steps that afternoon, I wanted to tell you.  I don't know what you will say, but I'm just going to hope for the right thing to happen.  If there is any way that I can see you in the near future, I'm going to get up there and see you, if you will let me.  And Darling, as little as I have to offer, I love you and hope you will let me see or hear from you soon.  With my hopes in the sky and you, I love you.


P.S.  Write as soon as you can   

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Old Love Letters - Chap. 3

July 11, 1945

Dearest Marge,

I hope you don't mind me writing to you so much, but since I've met you I can't seem to think of anything else, so I'm hoping I don't bore you. 
Yesterday I went up for a physical exam to see if I was fit to fly again and passed with a good margin, so today I'm starting to take a refresher course in Gunnery and will be going to school for a couple of weeks.  So I'm writing this in the classroom, for the stuff we're getting today is all about how to care for our guns.  Being used to caring for them, I'm not studying very hard, so I have plenty of time.
We went up for awhile this morning and it was my first flight in a B-29, so I really looked the ship over and learned a lot.  Tomorrow we're to make an altitude test flight to see how far up we can stand to go without oxygen, then test our reflex actions against a simulated attack.  So it's just like training all over again, only what I learn here I will pass on and teach to the kids that are really going.  It's lots of fun to be going through it all again and when I feel the kick of the 50's it makes me think of the days when we played for keeps.  Although we know this is just practice, it sure looks like the real thing.
I wish you could be here and see some of the wonderful ships (aircraft) we have.  The one I am assigned to is a new one just from the factory with all of the latest features and it flies like a dream.  They have a new system of training now that is really good.  They have P-47's to use to "attack" us and we fire on them with frangible ammunition that flies apart on contact and is harmless against armour plate.  Each hit is registered in the cockpit of the 47 so that we may know just how many hits are made with so many rounds spent.  It's so much like actual combat that sometimes it looks as though it were.  But I don't suppose you're very interested in all of this, and if I do bore you, just tell me to quit writing and  I will.  But I like to think that you are interested and will let me keep writing even though my letters are dull.
I would like to hear from you as often as you can write and will promise to answer every one.  I will never forget those two glorious days we had together and have hopes of seeing you again some day.
Mother wrote to say that Brother Donnie was improving and that Brother Louie had gone back to the ranch and that everything was fine at home and that she was expecting me home for Thanksgiving.  I only hope that I can make it.
So Darling, I will close now and will hope to hear from you soon.  I hope your sunburn is all right now.  Please write soon, for I really want to hear from you.

With love,

July 12, 1945

Hi Darling,

It's been a pretty rugged day so far, as we went up this morning at 5a.m. and flew till 11a.m. and sure got up high, but this afternoon we're sitting here in the classroom sweltering in the heat and trying to soak up a little knowledge.  But that's kind of hard for I'm sleepy after getting up at 3a.m. this morning.  I guess that I'm going to make the grade though, for tomorrow I'm to take my exams, so keep your fingers crossed for me.  I'm still a little dizzy from going up so high this morning, so if you can read this, you're doing good.
It's started to rain so it's a little cooler now, but has sure been hot.  How's your sunburn?  I hope it's better now. 
Oh yes honey, I sent your wings and I do hope you like them.  They are smaller than mine but are exactly like them every other way.  You know you promised to wear them, so I hope you do, and when I see you again, I would like to give you something more than just a pair of wings.  Would you mind?  Do you know that I keep thinking of you all of the time and I can't keep my mind on my studies, for your face comes between me and my books, and I find myself daydreaming, and although it's very nice, I do have to study some.  Honey, you probably think that I'm "ticked in the haid" (I'm not sure if I could make out his handwriting on this or have the words right but it appears he's trying to say something like he's crazy.  He continues....), but I can't get you off my mind, and I'm not sure that I want to at all.  I just keep remembering that day in the park when we sat there on the grass and talked, and you were so nice and let me ramble on and on.  But maybe it was just a nice dream after all.  Was it?  I'll just keep on dreaming anyway if you don't mind, for you're the first really nice thing that has happened to me for a long time.
Of course, you can tell me to quit writing to you, but you can't take back the nice things you did to me and I will always remember them and you.  So I hope you don't mind too much, for I really want to hear from you.  You will write, won't you?
I will say good night now and will keep looking for a letter from you and hope it has a picture of you in it.

(Then he signs off in Spanish.  I will try to copy and type it, but I'm still getting used to his penmanship.)

Hasta Linguia La Monana
Querido Mio  (?)


(So he's sent letters to my Mom on July 7,8,9,11 & the 12th so far and it appears she hasn't written him back yet....but there's more to come!  Stay tuned!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Old Love Letters - Chap. 2

Every now and then I'll interject some of my own commentary on these love letters, that will be in parentheses, and also I'll occasionally provide some links and/or information about what he's referring to.  In the previous letter, Tom mentioned heading for Buckingham.  I wasn't familiar with that name so I googled it and found a listing saying Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida, Ft. Myers area, which I clicked on and found this link that gives some historical information about it

His next letter, dated....

July 8th, 1945

Dearest Margie,

We arrived here at 11:00p.m. last night so tired and dirty that we hardly cared what happened next.  But after a good bath and shave and a night's sleep, we feel pretty good.  It was sure a tiresome trip and I'm sure glad it is over with.  We made wonderful time but had to ride on a bus for the last 150 miles.  I haven't even moved today except to get up and go to chow and check in at Headquarters, and am going to loaf around and rest up for awhile, then see what will happen for the next few days.  It's so hot here today that it is miserable and after the nice cool weather in Chicago, it seems warmer than it really is.  I wish that I were up there today so that we might go swimming or for a walk in the park again.  But of course, you are glad that I'm not there, for I know that I talked too much and bored you, although I enjoyed every minute I was with you.  I would like to spend a lot of time with you and I know I would love every minute of it.  I only hope you won't forget me and that you will write soon and as often as you can.  And Dear, I know it is asking a lot of you but I wish you would send me a picture of yourself so that I might have one to remember you by and always think of you as the sweetest and nicest girl I have ever met.  Although I only knew you for a few hours, I feel that I have known you for years, and if I stay in the Army forever I will always know I will never meet another girl as fine, sweet and good as you.
Dear, I will send you my wings just as soon as I can find a small box to put them in and I hope you will wear them and think of me sometimes.
So sweetheart, I will be waiting to hear from you and hope you write soon. 

Yours with love,

(I'm imagining that she had been out for a walk in the park and he was maybe there in Chicago for a furlough or lay over.  He might have been wearing his uniform and the two of them must have struck up a conversation in the park, making small talk at first.  My Mom would have been the type that if she had been approached by a serviceman during that time where the whole country was focused on winning the war, and he had spoken to her, she would have been kind and considerate enough of him, to give him some of her time, out of respect for his service.  She may have viewed him as being kind of lost or lonely and just in need of someone to talk to.  She obviously gave him that gift of her time and it seems to have had a great impact on him.)

July 9th, 1945

Darling Marge,

Another day has gone and all I've done is rest and think of you and do a little sleeping, but it's too hot to sleep good.  How is your sunburn now?  I hope it isn't as painful as it was while I was there.  The next time you go to the beach you will have to be more careful.  I wish you were here to go to the beach with me this evening, for I know you would like it here.  Of course it is too hot to go in the daytime, so we go in the evening while it is cool and have lots of fun watching the waves come in to shore.  Did you ever swim in the ocean?  I like the salt water better than I do fresh water because I can swim in it so much easier.
Well I found out this morning that I am to be an instructor of Gunnery tactics and will go to work tomorrow and will have to be on duty for four hours a day, and the rest of the time I have to myself.  That's not so bad and its not a bit hard, so if I can stand the noise, everything will be fine.  Some of the boys here are being discharged and maybe I can be sent to a better field that this, where it isn't so hot all of the time.
I'm going into town this P.M. and try to send your wings and if I can, will have that picture taken and send you one if you would like me to. 
I had a letter from Mother and Brother Louie today telling me that Brother Donnie is in Denver, Colorado in the hospital there, and is not expected to live.  But if he does go on, it is good that he could be near home and see Mother and his family before he goes.  I don't know why I tell you these things, only I feel that I have known you for so long and want to say so much, but have no right to say them.  I hope you understand what I am trying to say, and what I wanted to say that last evening we were together, and I hope I don't make you angry with me, for I want you to write as often as you can.  When I first saw you in the park that day I wanted to speak to you and was afraid you would be mad if I did, but I just felt that I had to know you, no matter how I did it, and now I'm glad for I wouldn't have missed knowing you for anything and I hope some day to see you again and renew our friendship.
I've already written to Mother about you, and I hope she invites you to go to the ranch for a visit when I get a furlough next fall. 
I have hopes of being home in time for Thanksgiving and the fall roundup, and if you were only there I know it would be perfect.  Would you come if Mother writes you?  I would love to have you there for a month or so (!) if you could get away.
Well Darling, I will close now and hope to hear from you very soon.

With love,

(He mentions in a later letter that his family's ranch is in Utah.  I thought it was a little much for him to ask her to consider staying at his ranch for a month, after they barely knew each other.  Is he sounding a little desperate?  I also believe their time spent together was mostly talking.  My Mom was the type that she would have never cheapened herself to become a one night stand for this soldier.  Not that it didn't ever happen back then, but I believe it was no way as prevalent and accepted, unfortunately, as  it is nowadays.  Keep in mind that she was also exchanging letters with my Dad at this time, who was in the Army also and stationed in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. I've also changed this Tom's brothers names and the one that he said was in the hospital in Denver was hospitalized from a war injury, I believe.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Old Love Letters - Intro and Chap. 1

 Today I decided to clean and organize one of the drawers in my bedroom dresser that normally holds my stockings.  I hadn't worn any of them in years because, like most women, if we don't have to, we will avoid the struggle of having to put on pantyhose.  But because I had chosen to dress up for Christmas Eve Mass, the drawer had become a jumbled mess while I had frantically searched for the appropriate hosiery, because the outfit I had planned to wear required it (I was wearing a skirt instead of pants). 

In my rush to get ready, I had the drawer's contents strewn about, while searching for that "right" pair to wear.  So today I decided to sort and organize my pantyhose drawer, which also included many pairs of knee highs, and yes, even thigh highs.  It was then that I found a stack of old letters, tied neatly together with a blue ribbon, stuck way in the back of the drawer, underneath the jumbled mess of hosiery.  I had forgotten all about having them.  They had belonged to my deceased Mother. 

I had had them since 1998 or so, when we had merged our two households and started a related living set up with my parents, after my Mom became too much for my Dad to handle after she developed Alzheimer's.  We had lived together for about 5 years until her death in 2003.  Actually both of my parents died in 2003, within six weeks of each other.  My Dad died first, after surgery from a broken hip.  We had never told her he died, because at that point in her disease, she was very frail and confused and I felt she wouldn't have understood or been able to handle the demands of a long visitation/wake and funeral.  Yet, in her confusion, I believe she still must have known he was gone.  At that point, she had lost her ability to speak, but she would point to his empty recliner and then look at me, as if to say "Where is he?"  

Despite my Dad's drinking problem over the years, I believe she always loved him.  When looking at old photos of them in their youth, they were a good looking couple, in my humble opinion.  He was tall, dark and handsome, with beautiful blue eyes.  She was very cute and had a sweet smile that reflected her disposition.  She was a petite 5'2".  But little did I know that when my parents had gotten married on Dec. 1st, 1945, after he was discharged from the Army at the end of World War II, she actually had another solider who was very smitten and serious about her at that same time, too.  These letters were not from my Dad.....I realized they were letters from a different soldier who was very much in love with her!  Well, it appeared that she had to make a decision between the two of them.  I know she loved my Dad, but she had kept these old love letters from the other guy anyway.  

Like I said, I knew I had these stack of letters that were hers from when we moved in together, and if I remember correctly, I originally thought they were from my Dad.  But when I found them today, I realized they had a different name on the return address.  I had always planned on eventually reading them, but at that time I was totally busy and absorbed in taking care of her.  We also had 3 sons who got engaged and married, so I was busy planning showers and shopping for mother of the groom dresses.  Then my husband got an early retirement and we decided to fulfill his dream of having a house on a lake.  So then we were busy with that move and getting settled in.  Grandchildren started to be born into our, once again, growing family. 

So during the last decade we had happy times with marriages and births, and sad times with the passing of my parents.  So those old letters in the back of the drawer were forgotten for awhile.  But now, I would actually have some quiet time to sit down and read them.  I was hooked with the first letter.  It was dated July 7th, 1945 and it was from a fellow named Tom Griffin.  I've changed his name because I don't know if he's still alive, but I rather doubt it because he states in one of his letters that he's 35, so that meant he must have been born in 1910.  So that would make him 100 years old now.  Some people do live to be 100 or more, though.  So to be on the safe side, I will make the name change, because I am taking the liberty of publishing his private letters to my Mother. 

I do so because I found them fascinating.  Many of us have lost the art of letter writing.  Also, women tend to be better at it than men.  But for soldiers who are away from home and missing their loved ones, they can rely on writing down their thoughts, maybe not realizing that it can be good therapy for them.  These letters aren't all mushy, but I thought he did have a good way of expressing his feelings....for a guy, that is.  Many women would LOVE to hear the things he said to my Mom.  Some cynics would say guys will say anything to get in good with a girl, but to me, this guy came off as sounding very sincere.  He also had other interesting things to say about his service too.  I will bet once you start reading them, you won't be able to stop.  

Before I begin, I want to mention that for the last several years, my husband and I have been lucky enough to get away for a couple of months in the winter.  Mostly we've headed down to Florida, but one year we went out west to Arizona and California.  Last winter we were in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.  Lo and behold, this is where these love letters were postmarked from.  He had been stationed down there in 1945.  Just a little coincidence, I thought I'd mention.  During our own winter travels, I would try to keep in touch with family by sending out e-mails which came to be known as my travelogues.  I tried to make them funny and interesting.  This winter, it looks like we will not be traveling to a warmer climate.  So instead, I am going to treat you to these wonderful letters from a solider who was once in love with my Mom.  I have a feeling you'll like reading them as much as I did.  Everyone who reads these, and knew my Mom, will know what a sweetheart she was, as he did.  

I'll probably post one, two, maybe three letters a day.  They're not as long as my intro here, ha ha!  There's a total of 27 letters and 1 postcard. that he sent during a 5 month span, right up until about two weeks before my Mom's wedding.  Knowing this, I figured at some point she was going to have to tell him about my Dad.  I couldn't wait until the last letter to see how she (and he) handled the fact that she would end up marrying a different guy.  It's amazing to learn about a time in my Mom's life that I was never aware of.  Also, these letters show how most of those from that "greatest" generation treated their women.  Here's the first letter, which will give you a hint of what I'm talking about!   

July 7th, 1945

Dearest Margie,

So far we have had a very tiresome trip although have made good time for a troop train.  We left Chicago at three Thursday and arrived here at 2 a.m. this morning and will lay over here till about 10 a.m.  We will be in Buckingham (airfield) some time tomorrow and I will sure be glad to get off the train.  I really hated to leave Chicago after meeting you and having those few wonderful hours with you.  But all good things must come to an end so, although I felt as though I have known you for a long time, I really hated to say good bye.  I do hope that you will write as often as you can and will let me write.  But if you can read this you will be doing more than most.  I forgot to give you my address before I left and I hope this reaches you soon so I may get your answer.  If I were to get to Chicago again, I would like to have the honor and privilege of seeing you again.
Maybe we could get better acquainted and have some nice times.  But just to walk in the park and have you near me would be like heaven.  I know that we have lots more in common than that.  Even though I am just a cowboy and soldier, and the city is strange to me, I never met anyone I could talk to and have them understand more than you have.
Now, Dear, the train is moving and I will have to close for it will be too rough to write more.  I hope you will consent to write soon and often as you can.

With love,

P.S.  Please excuse the scribbling and I will do better next time. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

I cannot vouch that the following e-mail I received is true. I might have been able to notice if this was correct, had I watched the White House Christmas tour that was on one of the cable channels recently, but I did not bother to watch it.  Sadly, the thought of it completely turned me off.
I've added a few comments of my own to this forwarded e-mail that are in parentheses.
And for any skeptics....don't roll your eyes! Take a moment to see and hear what's going on. Stand up for your beliefs (if you are a believer, that is), or they'll slowing keep chipping away and eroding those beliefs and freedoms!  While you've been busy and preoccupied with making preparations for Christmas, they've been making some changes in our nation's capital that will affect all of us. 

----forwarded message----


White House will not do "Christmas" trees!

Thought you might be interested in this information from the White House. This isn't a rumor; this is a fact.

A very talented artist for several years has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The WH sends out an invitation to send an ornament, and informs the artists of the theme for the year.
She got her letter from the WH recently. It said that they would not be calling them Christmas trees this year. They will be called Holiday trees. And, to make matters worse, they also asked that they please do NOT
send any ornaments with a religious theme painted on them. She was very upset at this development and sent back a reply telling them that she painted the ornaments for "Christmas" trees, and would NOT be sending any for a display that left Christ out of Christmas.

(They know this is originally a Christian holiday. It was declared a national holiday years ago. Not acknowledging Christ at Christmastime is like NOT acknowledging our independence on the 4th of July and ruling out fireworks, if you ask me!
Just thought you should know what the current residents in the WH plan for the future of America. If you missed our president's past statement that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian Nation", it just might explain this development.
This should confirm the progressive mindset that he endorses, which plans to move us away from our religious foundation as quickly as possible. Watch what he DOES, not what he SAYS. Actions speak louder than words!
In their minds, all of this religious stuff interferes with their distorted belief of what social justice means. According to them, there should be no mention of religion or Jesus, UNLESS it fits their agenda, such as with healthcare and taxes.
They'd rather incite class warfare and hatred of the rich....the rich who've actually achieved some sort of success in this country, and who are actually the ones funding most, if not all, of their big government
programs. They should not "bite the hands" that feed them. Nor should they put a guilt trip on the ones who are, for the most part, the most charitable among us! A study showed that conservatives give way more to charity.
Liberals, on the other hand, are commonly known for loving to take (tax) and spend everyone else's money
but their own, as a sign of their so-called "compassion". I call it the modern day Robin Hood Syndrome. It's really all about power and control, and making as many people as possible dependent on them - the government, that is. You know I'm right!

We should shout to the highest hills that the White House is ours - not the Obama's, and 85% of Americans believe in keeping Christ in Christmas, even in Hawaii where he's golfing now! Well, he needs a break from all the bills they've rammed through during this lame duck session! Whew!

And another word of advice.... Mr. President, you shouldn't give up the podium to former Pres. Clinton so that he can handle the difficult questions for you at that recent press conference, because you don't want to keep Michelle waiting. Can't be late for another CHRISTmas party!!

Some may say this is not very Christian of me to be talking about the President like this, but I'll use a quote from Jesus Himself, while He was hanging on the cross, when He was referring to His persecutors, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  He taught us to be merciful, and that we should "turn the other cheek".  But, there's one exception to that rule, however, and that's when it comes to us defending Him.  In that case, I believe He wants us to "step up to the plate".  He doesn't want us to deny Him, or His exsistence, especially during this special and holy season.... Christmas!!)