World War II Letters: Happy Expectations!

  Dad relates in this letter his excitement over the coming of his first child (me).  Can you imagine my deep feeling as I held this letter and others to read about my approaching entrance into this world?  Dad was far from Mom at this point and was worried about her, which is why he depended upon his parents to watch over Bonnie until he was able to get home.

The other issue for Dad at that time was that my grandfather, who held the highest office in his Masonic Lodge, wanted both his twin boys, Elwood and Eddie to become Masons as well.  From all I can gather, neither Dad nor Eddie was especially enthralled with the idea, except to please their father, but Grandpa B was very authoritarian and was one of those dads who felt entitled to decide everything from careers to whom his sons would marry.  I believe that both Eddie and my dad became experts at appeasing their father, sometimes through delays and distraction before going their own ways.  As far as I know, neither brother ever became a Mason.  How Grandpa B felt about this, I don’t know.  He always appeared to me as a very imperious man, and that demeanor was captured well in the Masonic picture in which he was wearing his tall silk hat.                                                                         

17 July, 1945
Pratt, Kansas
Grandpa Bolinger front center Masonic High Officer

2:20 P.M.

     Dear Mom and Dad,

     Please forgive me for not writing.  I wanted to wait until I could tell you about Bonnie and I being able to see our “little world of happiness” ahead.  I called her last night, and she said she had told you she is going to have a baby!  I knew she wanted to tell you first, so I waited.  Isn’t it wonderful? I’m the happiest, luckiest guy in the world.  I only wish I could be there with her.  This war is keeping us all from so much happiness.

     Dad, as much as it hurts, I guess I’ll have to wait to try to get into the Masonic Order until after I get back.  I know Bonnie will need all the money she will get from me.  It may be better that way, because when I come back and try for membership, if I get in, you can give me my degrees.  I know how you’ll feel when you read this, but honest, I don’t know what to do.  As far as I can see, I’ll have to wait. 

     I was so very happy when I called Bonnie, and she gave me the news.  Dad, if I can’t be there when the baby is born, will you and Mom go with Bonnie?  She thinks the world of you and Mom, and if I’m not able to be there, I know it will help if you can be there instead.  The way things look now, I won’t be there.  I won’t be able to be there with her to buy the baby clothes and won’t be able to be with her when she needs me most, just because of this damned army.  God, how I wish this war would end!  Well, I guess I’ve said enough about my own troubles.

     How are you feeling, Dad?  Bonnie said you were having your lower teeth extracted.  I hope you’ll feel better then.  I want to write to Bonnie again, and I’ll write you more often now.  Bye for now.  Be careful Dad.  I’m sorry I’ll have to wait to get into the Masons.  Write soon.

                                                                      Your loving son, 
                                                                            Elwood

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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