What fascinated me most about this entry was that Mom and Dad paid $35 a month for their rent and shared a house phone. Mom became a kind of adviser to one of the wild teenage girls staying with an aunt at the house. The girl’s mother kept calling the house to get reports on the girl from my mother, who made an effort to reform the girl, though I don’t know how things turned out eventually, as Mom and Dad were getting ready to move again anyway. I also like the domestic details Mom put into her letters to her in-laws, with whom she was very close emotionally.
Almost every afternoon I sit with the boxes of letters, selecting some for posting on the WWII blog. I enjoy that time, because it takes me back to an era before I was born, when my parents were just kids, really, struggling with finances, and a war that was bigger than anything else and consumed the time and thoughts of just about everybody. As I read and transcribe the letters, I usually listen to music that my parents enjoyed at that time, The Dorsey brothers, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Stand Kenton, Duke Ellington, and others. If you haven’t seen the previous entries with allusions to popular music of the early 1940’s, please scroll down to the YouTube sites I have included, and enjoy some of those wonderful orchestras.
I think that any of us can learn about the details and sensory pleasures of the times in which our parents were once young. The internet can take us to the music fashion, cars, politics, of the culture that was certainly a part of making the world what it is today. I often think of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy, and how those men changed everything forever. That liberation was pivotal to all the years that followed, and our parents were a part of all that, whether they were doing war work in the USA or in France, Germany, or in the Pacific. God bless them all!
|Pratt, Kansas Army Base During World War II|
My dear Mom & Dad,
Please forgive me for not writing to you before, but I haven’t been feeling up to par. However, I’m feeling better now, and you shall hear from me more often.
Gee, I’m sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well, Mom. What seems to be the trouble? I hope it isn’t anything serious.
We haven’t heard from Eddie since the one letter I told you about. You know I told Elwood the other day I thought Eddie was in Iwo Jima. Then we received your letter telling us you thought so too.
You’ll never know how glad we were to receive that money. You see, Elwood was “red-lined” the last of the month and he didn’t get aid. Because we have to pay $35 a month for rent, it really came in handy. Thanks again.
My, there is a terrible amount of wind and hail. I’m just a little worried. There were rumors of a cyclone yesterday heading this way. Kansas is known for her tornadoes.
By all means write to me at my room. My address is 615 W. 3rd. There is also a house phone, and you already have the number. We all in the house share it.
Did you have a nice time at Easter? I know you were lonesome. Saturday night I cooked my roast and then colored Easter eggs for the sergeant. It seemed like we were home. Last Friday night, Elwood was on C.Q., and he had to stay at camp all night, so I washed my hair, ironed my clothes, and started to paint the kitchen. Of course, I splashed paint all over the floor and had to clean it up with turpentine. By this time it was one o’clock in the morning. I heard the telephone ring and a woman wanted to know if her daughter Darlene was here, and the lady of the house said, “No.” The lady persisted, despite my repeated response of, “No.” Then she asked if her daughter Nadine was here, and I answered “No” again. The poor woman was worried about her daughters, who were only fifteen and sixteen. Two o’clock, three o’clock, and still no girls. By this time I was getting tired, so I went to sleep. At 7:55, the girls finally came in. The only explanation Nadine gave was that three girls and three boys fell asleep on the highway. I am quite disgusted with her. She will not listen to her mother, her relatives or friends. So, her mother wanted me to talk to her daughter Nadine, because she said I was the only one her daughter would listen to. I asked her daughter if she believed in God, and she said, “Yes.” Then I asked if she went to church on Sundays, and her answer was once again a “Yes.” So, I said, “Well, why do you go to church, Nadine? You don’t really believe in God, or you’d mind his commandment to obey your father and mother. Aren’t you being a bit of a hypocrite?” I told her that though God may not punish her directly, there was her brother to consider too, a boy fighting in France at the time. I only hope I can help her. She thinks everything she does is so clever. If she could only realize what she is doing to herself and her poor mother.
Enough of my tales of woe! Please write soon. I hope you feel better. God bless you both.