Yesterday I posted a letter written by my uncle, who was fourteen at the time, to his brother, my father who was in the army.
My uncle was a pack rat and when he passed away his basement was crammed with all kinds of treasures, that my cousins had to sort through. Amongst his belongings were three letters.
The other two letters I have are from my father to his mother, my grandma.
I have no idea where overseas he was when these were written. The letters are on official Canadian Army stationary and are fully intact with the original envelopes. The first letter was written April 16, 1943 and the second May 2, 1943. Reading the lingo of the day they make me think of a scene from a black and white movie. They also give me a perspective I wouldn’t otherwise have of this boy who would become my father. They touch my heart as a mother, as a grandmother and as a woman. I don’t see this boy as my father. He is a young man who enlisted too young and went to a war that left permanent marks.
He loyally signed up with my someday to be my Uncle Harry who when he returned from the war would marry my Aunt Elaine. My aunt is the last aged member of that generation and she tells me to this day how awful the war was for these teenagers. She says they were different people when they came back and I can see she mourns the loss of who they once were. When I lived in the USA I dated a man who had been in the Vietnam war and while he was a wonderful accomplished man he still carried memories that invaded his dreams.
I have felt for a long time now that the only casualties were not those who died. Living victims. I think it is wonderful that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is recognized but I do not know if that recognition makes it any easier to deal on a day to day basis.
Whoa! That was a surprise melancholy trip. Now back to the letters that are not at all downers. The second letter does show just how homesick this boy was.
Anyway: April 16/43
Hi Mom how are you doing? Fine I hope. Now here I am to make a request. I need some more toilet soap and would be very greatful if you could get me some and send it to me. The limey soap gives me a rash of something.
I found out where Bobby is so as soon as I can get a leave I am going to see him. O’ yes I haven’t had my leave as yet but am sure hoping. I expect I will need it if I don’t go crazy waiting. O’ yes haven’t received any cigs yet but am hoping for that too. Well must go to bed now.
Tons of Love
PS a X (hug) from me to you.
Hi Sweet Heart and how are you doing? Fine I hope. Say do you know something. In 49 days Mrs. Gingerich’s dark haired warrior will be 19 and I have heard from some ot the fellows he is going to get drunk, really pie eyed for about 2 days. Well mom I guess I didn’t need to remind you of that awful day. But I guess you can remember it.
Well enough of that. Well today is Sunday and like the good boy I am, I never wen t to church, and you know I was worried but I don’t know what happened I just didn’t get to church. Well here I am beside a nice fire and having a swell time. I was thinking what a swell time a fellow could have if he were home for awhile. it would be swell. I’d like to meet all the new friends we have now. It would be swell.
Well Mom, I guess I will close for now.
Tons of Love Sweetheart
- A Personal Post (bridgesburning.wordpress.com)