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. It was 1944 and they were 21 years old when the letters began.
The Letter Transcript
Tuesday, June 20, 1944
Feel much better today after that night’s sleep I had. That is physically not mentally. This morning while teaching class your beautiful face was constantly in front of me. The words I spoke were from practice. The class probably wondered whom I was speaking to.
Yesterday when I came in the barracks the fellows all thought I was married. A big grin on my face and eyes just a shining. Of course, I told them all about the entire weekend except for what is going to remain between the two of us. Usually when a fellow tells about his girl being so sweet and clean there is quite a number of comments to the contrary. But, Darling, when I showed them your picture they agreed I was a pretty lucky guy. Also told them about our drinking promise and took a kidding as they don’t think I’ll last at it, but we’ll see. Will tell you each day and so far I’m a “good boy”.
I sent the bracelet back this morning first thing so I’ll get it back so very soon. Darling, that was the best present I’ve ever received. I showed the boys it too and they all thought it was really neat. Yes sir, my little girl sure can’t be beat. Honey, as to the way the serial number and U.S.M.C. I’ll leave it up to you. The way we agreed on would be okay but I was wondering how it would look if it was like this.
Now, Darling, it is entirely up to you as it is your present and besides your taste is taps. And remember your name goes on the back. That is the most important part anyway, as far as I’m concerned. Honey, I hope you don’t think I’m being selfish, making you do all that, but Lois, it is a lifetime present and it is something I’ll always have from you.
Lois, no trouble came out of it at all. In fact, very few people even knew I was gone. Not many know me anyway, which sometimes is a pretty good thing. That telephone call you sent down here came to this barracks as the fellows told me somebody in Washington was calling me. It still thrills me to think of the way things turned out. That last Monday’s letter you sent was something on the order I sent you and then walking in on your place was sort of a climax. My heart was pounding so hard when I knocked on the door I could hardly think. I knew I’d be speechless when we saw each other again. You’ll never know my true feeling when I saw you again. It was something like flying in the clouds. “You’ll never know how much I love you.” (sing it pretty Lois)
There isn’t any news as to when we’ll be leaving Lois, not for a little while at any rate. Hope I never leave but even if we do go to Cherry Point we’ll still see each other. Already found out my train connections to Washington from there. Get a train at Rocky Mount and it takes 8 hours to get to Washington. Not bad huh? Not only that but Cherry Point we can get lots of plane rides. Starting next month we get flight orders and that means we have to fly at least four hours in a month. Pay goes up to 150 which should help matters considerably.
My clothes from Norfolk haven’t come as yet but W.R. says they’ll be in today. Better be or yours truly is going to get riled up. Washed some clothes this afternoon and how I dislike it. Has to be done, though, so grin and bear it for a while.
Hope those pictures we took came out okay as I’m dying to see them. And, Darling, make sure the whole set comes down here. Should fix up my wallet really swell.
Honey, going to tell you something now, and please don’t think I’m being conceited as that is far from the truth. Thought maybe you would like to know as I already told you something about that “Bam”. After finishing your letter last night the “bam” that wanted to marry me called up and wanted to see me. So I put a stop to it in one big hurry. Told her I was married in Washington on the weekend. Bang went the receiver so that is that.
How did the office go the next day? Were you very tired Darling at work? I suppose everybody saw the ring and the comments flew around the office. Has Alice said anything else to you about the two of us? Not that it matters, Honey, simply a matter of interest. Give the girls my regards. Sorry I forgot to say goodbye to them. My little girl had my mind in a whirl. (that rhymes doesn’t it)
Well, my Love, must write home now. Curious as to what they say. Will send you their letter as soon as I get it that is how sure I am it will be good. Let’s see, have I told you in this letter that I love you as yet, well I do, Darling, love you and love you and love you. Bye Honey, should hear from you tomorrow.
Your love sick Honey,
Questions, Conclusions and Commentary
Comment 1: I am moved by how deeply Art feels things. I am also quite impressed that he was teaching a class while his mind romanced her face. Then he goes on to describe how his heart was pounding in his chest when he knocked on her door. I can totally imagine that kind of heart-pounding sensation. He also attempts to describe the feeling when he finally saw her again being like something in the clouds. Heavenly!
I also can picture Lois singing that song that Art references. She absolutely loved music. I can still recall her voice now singing songs while she played her accordion or her piano or electric keyboard. I researched the song “You’ll Never Know How Much I Love You” and found it came from the 1940s movie the Shape of Water, which became a 1940s anthem due to all the couples separated during the war.
Comment 2: I am wondering if Art will remain in Edenton, NC or if he will move along to Cherry Point, NC. I may need to add both of these places to my bucket list. I can visualize Art on an 8 hour train ride to Washington dreaming about seeing Lois. If these train rides do show up in future letters, I may also have to add a train ride to my list of voyages to take when I go revisit all of the places that show up in these letters.
Comment 3: I was a wee bit disappointed to see dishonesty show up in my grandfather when he told the “Bam” he had been married on the weekend when, in fact, he only had become engaged. However, I am going to cut him some slack for that as I highly respect the fact that he wanted to close that door right away. In his mind, perhaps his act of dishonesty was warranted to insure that the door would be closed. If he only said he had become engaged this “Bam” person might have been the aggressive type to still see an open door, a door he wanted to be sure did not exist in her mind. I also respect that he was honest with Lois about it.
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