Introductions by Debra
This is a true, first-hand account of the innermost thoughts of Art to his beloved Lois, written while serving our country as a United States Marine during World War II. My name is Debra and I am sharing the gifts of Art’s Love Letters. Art was my grandfather and Lois was my grandmother. They were 21 years of age when these letters transpired.
The Year was 1944. Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in his fourth term as U.S. President in this year. The Bombings of Bucharest had begun and the United States Marines would occupy the Marshall Islands the following day after this letter was written.
The Letter Transcript
April 4, 1944
Remember me? Hope you haven’t forgotten that date Friday the 17th.
I’m practically positive my “C.O.” will okay the pass but perchance something slipped up, would it be possible for us to go out Saturday night?
Let me know if you will Lois, whether that job of hostess at the church compels you to be there or not.
You know, you were really sweet to me up there and thanks a million. That southern hospitality must be the real McCoy. We would have had more sense to go into a church canteen the way we were except for the fact we had that old hungry feeling. When things began to normalize again, it gave me a guilty feeling but your wonderful personality certainly saved the day. The milk was just what the doctor ordered although it caused a little disturbance.
Luckily we made arrangements for the following weekend as yours truly is stuck on the base. My kid brother in the army wired home for $30 dollars and I wired for $50. Naturally, he received the $50 and I the $30. After getting squared away with my buddies, it just wasn’t enough. Oh well, it won’t kill me to stay on the base, and besides it gives me something to look forward to the following weekend.
Hope you have a swell time home. Wish now I knew your home telephone number as I could have called up from here. Frankie Seaman gives his regards and asked whether your cousin’s address is available.
Well, my “Little Rebel”, it is time for taps so will close with a wish that I hear from you very soon. Bye.
P.S. Still holding out on that promise!
Conclusions and Questions of Debra
I find reading this letter fills me with all sorts of questions. I am able to draw conclusions for some through reflection and research. Other things remain a mystery and I’m optimistic they will be answered by reading future letters, or perhaps even through comments of Readers/Listeners who have knowledge of this time-frame. Call it a collective, collaborative history lesson for us all. I appreciate any and all input and feedback submitted dearly.
To start, I was able to connect the date he asks if she remembers with Friday, March 17th so this must have been the very first time they met where she fed him and they exchanged addresses. I am also able to infer that my grandfather was a romantic at heart since he remembered the date and inquired sweetly if she did as well. I guess my grandmother was as well since she saved this very first letter he ever wrote to her along with many others.
Secondly, I was able to conclude the following weekend they were to meet for their very first date but there is question about whether it may need to be Saturday night instead of Friday as scheduled. We will have to stay tuned for that one!
I also discovered my grandmother served her church feeding people and that just tickles my heart. She was always trying to serve and help people. She truly was a servant of God. I am proud to say I am a lot like her in that way. I also see she was a “Little Rebel”. She was definitely little at 4 feet 8 inches tall but that never stopped her from anything. “Rebel” was not a title I would have given for her but “Rebel” she must have been. She was a feminist paving the way for women’s rights that were commonplace by the time I grew up.
Questions and Commentary:
I am also very much like my grandfather. He was born just after the “Silent” generation and was anything but silent when he had something on his mind. He was a straight shooter and did not hold back even if his Truth was going to hurt. So here are the questions and commentary I have from reflecting on my questions.
Question Line #1: A nice light one…. What is Southern Hospitality? I am from the Northeast. Does this “hospitality” still exist today? If so, where can I have a first-hand “real McCoy” experience of this? I would like to come visit and blog about it.
Question Line #2: What were the conditions that brought my grandfather a feeling of “guilt” for having entered the church that way? Why were they desperate enough to do it anyway because they had hungry feelings inside? Did we not feed our soldiers? Furthermore, did we not pay them? Why did these boys have to wire home for money? Clearly, it took money to leave base and my grandfather didn’t have it after squaring up with his buddies in addition to not getting what he requested he needed.
Question Line #3: Why did my grandfather “naturally” get jilted on the amount he asked for and why was the larger amount given to his brother Bobby? Was it an honest mistake? Why would a parent send their children different amounts anyway? Why not give them both $40 to be fair?
Question Line #4: Who is Frankie Seaman? The name Frankie is near and dear to my heart since it is my son’s and I grew up with boys who were friends of my brother whose last name was Seaman. Wouldn’t it be a small world if there was a relation? I would like to know more about this man who was my grandfather’s buddy.
Question Line #5: What was the promise my grandmother made?
To Listen to the video reading of the letter, please visit my YouTube video >>> Letter #1