Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #24

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

Monday, June 26, 1944

My Dearest Lois,

Two letters from you today and one of them contained what I’ve been waiting for. The pictures were really perfect. My little Honey, came out wonderful and I’m really tickled to death. Going to send some of them home tonight to show the Folks. They’ll be in love with you I know. They keep asking about those pictures we took. Naturally I’ll get them back as I don’t care to part with anyone of them. Thanks, Honey, you sure are a wonderful girl. Lucky guy that I am being engaged to you!

Darling, am enclosing my sister’s letter, what do you think of it? You know it would be awfully nice if you dropped the Folks a letter. My folks would be happy over it I know.

So you went to a fortune teller. Quite interesting even though it is so much baloney. We are going to get married next spring, huh? That is something we are going to talk over this weekend, I hope. Okay, honey? Hope that little package does come as it contains fifteen dollars (equivalent to $233.15 today, September 2021). The pin isn’t much but I’d like to see you get that money back!

Too bad about Alice leaving but will still live with you girls when she comes back, right?

Hmmm, sounds like my “Little One” is getting mighty P.O.’d at the office. Doesn’t sound like my Lois, but then everybody runs into some kind of trouble now and then. We have a lot of that too in the service Honey, but deal with it different.

Think I’ll wait to ask you some more questions Lois. Will find out tomorrow if I come or not for sure. No need to worry about censors, Darling, as there is no such thing in the States. That is only overseas.

I know I haven’t answered many questions Dear, but will answer them tomorrow. Have quite a bit of ironing to do tonight and must be presentable to my little women.

Oh yes, will call this Thursday and let you know for sure. No more surprises, huh?

Bye for now, Honey. I love you more and more every day. Be seeing you in my dreams.

With All My Love,
Art

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

Enclosed in this letter was a comic strip clipping from a newspaper. Art took the time to put the names of his family members next to different characters in the comic strip, including the dog. I know his sister is Irmy and his brother is Bob. I’m not sure who Frank and Nancy are but I am sure my mother must know.

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Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #23

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

Sunday, June 25, 1944

Darling,

Am not going to write much tonight as it is hard without one of yours to go by.

Did the same as I did yesterday, was at the beach all day. We did take pictures though, and will send you some that is if you like.

Oh yes, Dear, I did have two beers last night. Was with the fellows and besides I sure was thirsty. Been plenty warm around here the past couple of days. You don’t mind do you? You said it was ok, met over two beers and they were the first this week.

Should be a couple of letters from you tomorrow. Can hardly wait for the morning to come. Hope the pictures are included!

Not much of a letter is it, Lois. Oh well, I’ll make up for it tomorrow, okay? Please don’t get angry, if you do get mad take it out on the post office. Bye Honey.

With All My Love,
Art

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

I’ll be honest. I was disappointed with this letter. I had expected to hear in today’s letter a story of how Art had earned himself an angel halo. He stated in the prior letter that he would tell Lois about it in the next letter. There was no such story in today’s letter. Instead there was the confession that he drank beers. However, it appears Lois must have had a change of heart on that since he states she said it would be okay. Perhaps she came to reason that perhaps she was expecting too much for Art to never drink at all and decided that all things in moderation may be okay. Regardless, I felt disappointment on behalf of Lois. Art knows how Lois feels about his drinking and he had promised her he wouldn’t drink. I tried to understand why Art would have broken that promise. I think that Art may be suffering from what is known as “Survivor’s Guilt”. After all, he was only one of 2 marines to survive a deadly battle and now D-Day has just happened and his brother was sent over seas into the thick of it. He clearly was wrestling with how unfair that seemed in the last letter.

Today was my grandmother’s birthday. I decided it was time to pick up this story again for her. This was only ONE letter and there are many more to read. Perhaps the story of Art’s angel wings will come in time.

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Mindfulness, Nature

Walking to Where I AM

July 11, 2021

Mindful walking…
Conscious… deliberate… slow… steps.
Even just from here to there…
Equals peace and serenity…
Rocket fuel to the present moment…
Yet not a rocket flying feeling at all…
More like a feather…
Dropping slowly… gently… softly…
A returning home to One-Self.

Here are some of the things I Witness When Mindful Walking.

Charity

Bringing Love and Lettuce

July 7, 2021

Yesterday, a dear friend suggested I bring “Love and Joy” to my creative writing process. Today, I found myself bringing “Love and Lettuce” to the Food Pantry at the Germantown Neighborhood Center. Joy, however, was a missing element in my trip. Instead, I walked away sobbing.

  • I sobbed for the mouths I could not feed.
  • I sobbed for the communication barrier between myself and the Asian community.
  • I sobbed for the woman who looked broken hearted when I told her she was taking too much.
  • I sobbed for the old man in the wheelchair who said he’d been there in line since 10 last night.

What prompted me to bring the Love and Lettuce was an experience I had in June. I was walking my dog at Snug Harbor School. There was a very old Asian couple picking leaves off a tree. I had recently downloaded Plant Identification ++ app and was intrigued why they chose this tree. After much communication difficulty, I learned the leaves were edible and used in soups. My heart felt full of awe and admiration for their knowledge and resourcefulness to feed themselves. At the same time, my stomach felt sickened by the reality they did this to meet their BASIC human needs. Eating. I vowed then I would try to provide food from my garden come harvest time.

The lettuce in my garden is now growing beyond what I can consume. I’ve given it to neighbors and friends. I’ve attempted several times to talk to the old Asian people I run into on my walks at the school. I try to ask them if they want lettuce. I try to invite them to come with me to my house and give it to them fresh. They don’t understand me. They end up shooing me away in frustration. I walk away feeling so sad because I know they would be happy to follow me if they could only understand what I was saying. So I decided I would attempt to reach them through the Food Pantry, which is only open on certain days. Today was that day.

I wasn’t sure the Center would just let me bring my hand-picked lettuce. Rather than pick it and have it go to waste, I decided to walk up and find out first. I got there around 8:30 a.m. and found people standing in line. I asked what time they opened and a nice man in a wheel chair told me 9:30. I was flabbergasted they were already in line. He told me he had been there since 10 pm last evening. With a pained look across my face, the only thing I could utter was… “WHY?” His answer was “It’s better to be there all night and be one of the first in line than to show up in the morning and wait in line for hours.” Given that today was a scorcher and there was no shade for the people, I understood him fully. I was extremely uncomfortable after a 5 minute walk in the hot soupy air. Not to mention, I am sure the pickings get slimmer the longer you wait in line.

I asked him if he thought I could donate fresh lettuce from my garden if I picked it. He assured me even if the Center wouldn’t take it that the people in line would. I thanked him for all of his information, gave him a Loving touch on the shoulder, and said “I will be right back”. I walked home crying for this nice guy who waits out all night long for FOOD.

I got the biggest tray I could find and picked as much lettuce as I could possibly fit on it. I then hand-washed and carefully placed each leaf with Love on the platter. Presentation is Everything they say! I say it is about the intention put forth behind the presentation… The Love.

I grabbed a box of Ziploc baggies so people could have something to put their lettuce leaves in and headed back to the school, all the while balancing my big tray of lettuce on top of a baby carriage. It was a feat but I was determined to bring Love and Lettuce to the people.

The line had gotten much, much longer when I returned. I realized there was no way I had enough baggies for everyone and there was no way the lettuce was enough to go around. That pained me.

I was trying to handle both the tray of lettuce and the baby but was struggling to do so. An old Asian woman attempted to help me with the tray. I decided right there and then she needed to be someone who should get first dibs on the lettuce. Rather than bring the tray into the Center, I had her place the tray down on a concrete landing step. I handed her a baggy and motioned for her to take some lettuce. I looked around at the other Asian women nearby and motioned for them to take some as well.

The woman grabbed a section that was a significant portion of the tray. I looked at her and said “too much” and motioned for her to look around at all of the other people. She did not understand me and withdrew completely thinking I was telling her she couldn’t have any at all. She looked so sad. I then reassured her I wanted her to have it and took the baggie and showed how much was appropriate to put into it and handed it to her.

The other Asian women watching us uttered sounds of understanding and their eyes lit up. They reached for baggies and took one appropriate bunch of lettuce I looked out at the others in line and motioned them to come get a baggie. I saw eyes squinting in the uncomfortable heat looking back at me with realization it would be gone by the time they reached me. They were right. It was all gone within seconds. I felt devastated. I did what I could. I should feel good inside for what I could do but somehow it was overshadowed by the pain I felt inside at what I witnessed.

I brought Love and Lettuce. Joy was lacking, but I did find Gratitude. I am grateful I finally bridged a communication gap and was able to feed people who I could tell were very appreciative for it as I KNEW they would be. I couldn’t feed them all, but maybe the lettuce got to those who needed it most. Tonight, I am Content with that thought.

I am going to KEEP bringing Love. Perhaps Joy will follow.

Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #22

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

Saturday, June 24, 1944

My Dearest One,

The darn mail is again fouled up as there was no letter from you today. Worst luck! No mail call on Sunday so will just have to read the old letters for consoling purposes.

Didn’t do much today. Spent the morning and afternoon on the beach, soaking up the sun and day-dreaming about you. Went to sleep this morning with you in my arms. What a disappointment waking up to find my buddy sleeping next to me!

In the afternoon two of the boys and myself took out a row boat. Needed the exercise as shown by the blisters on our hands now. Took the boat way out in the sound and played around, diving and swimming from the stern. The wind was fairly strong which made things much more interesting. Feel it tonight as I’m plenty tired. Some life, huh?

Thinking today about how easy I’m having it as of late and really enjoying life while those poor guys over there are being knocked off. Somehow it all doesn’t seem fair. God how I wish this damn war was over so we can all go back to normal lives again. If the war were over tonight, I’d be on my way to Washington to marry my little Darling. Wishful thinking, huh?

Nothing else much to say, Honey, with no letter so will make this one a short letter. Excused this time, Lois?

Am going to take some pictures tomorrow and will send them to you if they are okay. Your set should be here Monday. Can hardly wait to see them!

Night, Honey, going to turn in now. Be a “good girl” as I’m being a “good boy”. Even a halo is around my head, almost. Explain in tomorrow’s letter.

With Love Ever Yours,
Art

P.S. I love you Darling.

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

Comment 1: I need to research what beach and sound is near Edenton as I want to definitely take in this view when I go visit NC.

Comment 2: I see Art is suffering from a bit of survivor’s guilt. Survivor’s guilt is something that happens to people who survive horrific events. You would think we would feel a sense of gratitude but instead we feel this awful guilt as if something is just not right in our consciousness knowing we survived and an equal soul in humanity did not have the same fortunate.

Comment 3: I am so curious what Art means about having a halo over his head. Somehow or other he was being like an angel and I can’t wait to hear about it in the next letter! Stay tuned!

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Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #21

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

Friday, June 23, 1944

My Dearest Lois,

All smiles today, two letters from you and my worries are all dissolved. Should have known but then that’s me. Received them at noon time, just going into the chow hall when my buddy called to me and held up those long envelopes. Made my heart leap to see them I guess you know.

Your Monday letter was something, like the one I sent yesterday. No need to worry now Darling, as my going over the hill is all water over the dam. Have to stay on the base this weekend but should be able to stand it one week. Right now am fairly confident of seeing you the following weekend. How does that sound?

Lois, every once in a while it might be a good idea if you did enclose a stamp because sometimes we get short handed on them. My folks have been sending me stamps but with all the letter writing I do now well you know how they disappear. I hate to send them free as they do take so long.

Yours truly is plenty caught up on his sleep. Take a little snooze in the afternoon and hit the sack real early. Tonight I think it would be a good idea to take in a show. Still have lots of ironing to do but that can wait until Sunday.

The play of yours must be big time staff if your even broadcasting it. Guess I’ll really be missing something by not seeing it. Nice anyway just seeing you on the stage. The sailor uniform must look awfully cute on you.

Glad you like the letters, Dear, as I like yours terribly much. Hope the letters start coming one a day as it is much better that way.

Okay, Honey, will hold off till I see you again. Not nice, I suppose by letter, besides someone might see them and start seeing wrong things, Right?

Yes sir, that’s all I want, Lois, for the letters is the kisses. Plenty of payment but it would be lots better if I were coming in on the beam for them. Have to do it this way!

Darling, I didn’t find out any faults this past weekend. All I found out was I loved you more and more. Maybe your folks did say a few things in fun but then they didn’t say anything bad.

Darn it, had to lend a fellow thirty dollars. Had sixty in my pocket and was going to send forty home but now I’ll have to wait. This is the only debt out now thank heavens. This boy missed the bridge last night in his car and went into the drink. It was a brand new car so I had to help him out. Every time I send money home to the bank will send you the stub so you can see how much money I saved, ok?

So, the old flame sent you his picture, well, I don’t mind, Darling, just so long as I remain number one. Keep writing to him if you wish to, Honey, as I have all the faith in the world in you. Wouldn’t be love if I didn’t have it.

Darn, wish the bracelet was coming sooner, Honey, but it takes a little while to get it done. It sure is a nifty one and I’ll always treasure it.

I did write home and explained everything but am still waiting an answer. Been getting lots of mail from buddies in the service, also received one from brother in Texas. He sounds a bit blue after the furlough and what with getting prepared to be going overseas but that’s to be expected. Will write him next and straighten him out a bit (Daddy talking now!)

Tell me how the play comes out Lois. How you do in it etc.? Will write again tomorrow, sweetheart. Bye for now.

All My Love,
Art

P.S. The poem was pretty good. I know what you’re talking about!

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

Comment 1: Well now we now all of the fears Art had in yesterday’s letter were unfounded about Lois being sick. Perhaps one of the letters got stuck in the mail yesterday and that is why he got none since today he received two letters from Lois. It sounds like Lois also sent him a letter where she was having a bad day.

I cannot imagine having such barriers in communication since today we have the ability to send messages instantaneously around the world. If we are worried about what our partner is thinking, we text or call them and all of our worst fears are instantly dissolved. These two young lovers have to grapple with their monkey minds with no reassurance until a next letter comes to them and that can be days later since Art is reading Lois’s Monday letter today on Friday. We are so fortunate not to have these challenges. Instead, they’ve been replaced with new fears of why is the other person taking so long to respond to us when so many of us lived attached to our phones 24/7.

Comment 2: I find it interesting that soldiers could send out letters for free if they could not get stamps but they letters would simply take longer to get to their destination. It would seem fitting to me that since these boys (and girls now) are separated from their loved ones that they should have the benefit of sending letters whenever they wish for free and they should be sent timely. Seems the least we could do for our soldiers during their time of sacrifice away from loved ones in exchange for their dedicated service to our country.

Comment 3: I wish I knew the name of the play that Lois performed in. If it was broadcast, perhaps I may be able to dig into getting a copy of it. I have so many of her old films in the attic. I wonder if perhaps one of those little reels has the play on it. I am now much more motivated to fix my attic stairs so I can get up there and get to all the old films of Lois and Art.

Comment 4: I love how mature and confident that Art is in Lois. Many men would get very jealous and feel extreme emotions inside of them at hearing that an old flame was sending pictures and wanting to write letters to their new fiancé. This is the second time Art has revealed how free he wants Lois to feel in this relationship. Last time it was accepting engagements to go out. This is a very healthy aspect of their relationship and I admire him very much for it.

Comment 5: I wish I could see what the bracelet looks like that Lois gave to Art. Perhaps there are pictures of him wearing it that my mother has. It is engraved with Lois’s name on the back and has his U.S.M.C. number on the front based on what Art and Lois discussed in a previous letter. I wonder where that bracelet is today and if still exists.

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Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #20

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

Thursday, June 22, 1944

My Darling Lois,

This was a bad day for me for one reason. I didn’t receive any letters from my Honey. This morning didn’t get any mail from you but figured sure that it would be there this afternoon but no soap. Cannot help worrying now whether something is wrong with you. I know Darling, you would write every day if it is at all possible so that is why I’m really guessing.

The mail might be fouled up again but not likely as the other letters came from you yesterday. Maybe practice on the play is keeping you from writing but then there is the office. That leaves nothing else but you are sick. I hope to God that isn’t true Lois. I’m more than likely become worried over nothing but missing your letter is of some importance to me. Well, we’ll see tomorrow.

Lois, how is everything going in the home? Has Alice said anything? I’d like to know really out of curiosity. Say hello to them for me.

The play must be tiring on you there as I know you didn’t care too much for it all. Grin and bear it, huh?

Skipped school this morning in order to finish my laundry. I sure was in fine voice while scrubbing, so good that the fellows all said I should save my voice for a more appreciative audience. Finally am finished now, all I have left to do is starch and iron the khakis. Wish you were here, Darling, you could really have practice on my clothes. You iron from the bottoms to the knees and I’ll take it from there. Not that you couldn’t crease pants Honey, really you do a good job of that, simply too many of them.

Sorry, Darling, my mind isn’t on the letter writing this evening. Been happy as a lark till this afternoon. No letter sort of took edge of things.

Oh yes, I’ll fill out that form you sent. Looks like a lot of red tape to me, Honey. Hope they never open that package!

Every night before I go to sleep Lois, I think over the past weekend. Still seems like a wonderful dream. Makes me yearn to be with you always. Regardless of whatever happens, Little One, I’ll always love you.

Darling am going to close now as nothing seems to come out right. Tomorrow will be another day. See you in my dreams. Bye Honey.

With All My Love,
Art XXXXXX

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

Commentary: Well it sounds as if Art is not feeling very good on this particular day and it is getting the best of his thinking. This is the 4th day in a row that he has written to Lois since leaving her after their engagement on the weekend. Not receiving a letter from Lois has really affected him but something tells me Art was not feeling particularly on point even before that since he confesses in today’s letter that he has skipped school. I have discovered for myself through personal experience that when I choose to skip out on a commitment, I don’t feel good about it. It causes tension within me and I expect some sort of consequence to happen to me. Art’s mind has painted the picture that his beloved Lois must be sick even after he acknowledges two very logical reasons why she may not have written including working and her commitment to take part in a play that she does not enjoy.

Despite his mind getting the best of him, he is somewhat self-aware in that he recognizes he may be worried over nothing and ends the letter stating nothing seems to be coming out right. Art has called out his mind’s worst thinking and a burden shared is a burden cut in half. As he says… tomorrow is another day.

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Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #19

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

Wednesday, June 21, 1944

My Darling Lois,

Just finished writing to your Mother, hope it is satisfactory as I did try to make it that way. Thanked her and Father for the wonderful weekend they showed me.

Wonder of wonders received two letters from you today. Sure didn’t expect any so soon but were darn welcome.

Well I’ll answer your questions first. Today I talked with my “Gunner” about a weekend pass. Then I really got it. Some how or other he knew I was gone but didn’t say anything. He is a real guy and I have no kicks about him. But he told me after all the time off I had, it would be a good idea if yours truly would start buckling down to a little work. And he thought it would be nice if he seen me on the base this weekend. So that sort of puts a change on things for this one. He did say though I’d probably get to see you the following weekend. You see he knows about you too as I told him awhile back. He sort of smiles when ever I ask to go to Washington. Honey, I’ll miss you terribly this weekend but after those four days of paradise it will hold me over for a little while. The Gunner also told me we might be here for a little while longer. Good news huh?

My Mother’s name is Louise Bornemann. Am writing to my sister today and having the engagement put in the papers so as soon as I get one will send it your way, Darling. You do the same, huh?

Sorry I didn’t call Darling, the first day. Simply wrote you a letter and tumbled in the sack.

Yes, Honey, I did pick up my things at the Service club but remembered after I hit the station. My buddy asked me where the other bag was. Good thing the club isn’t far from the station. I need a woman to take care of me. It looks that way doesn’t it.

Excuse the way the writing is travelling up the page, Lois, as I’m writing this while lying down. Worked this morning teaching classes and am still washing clothes. Have a bucket full now soaking. Have so many now that I hate to think of it. Haven’t told you I don’t think, but my luggage came in from Norfolk this morning. Sure am tickled happy with the world now.

Really, Lois, I’ve never been so happy in my life. At home people asked me if I ever smiled but since knowing you life has become wonderful. Seems like everything is going my way. Love sure is grand!

I wish you would write to my sister, Lois, but hold off till I hear from home. Should be hearing tomorrow or the next day. I’ll send the address up tomorrow, okay?

Had a nice surprise today. My buddies all paid me back what they owed me. The Gunner gave a talk awhile back saying none of us should borrow from each other. Instead we are going to have a fund, pitching in a little each month and then when ever one of us gets short we can borrow from the fund.

So everybody liked the ring? Glad to hear it Darling for you deserve nothing but the best. I’d still like to know what you’d like for your birthday. Give me a little time to get it then as its impossible to buy a darn thing down here.

Lois, there is still something I’d like to know, pertaining to our talks. May I ask it is or is it forbidden?

Now that I have my camera will take some pictures this weekend and I’ll bring them up with me. Hope our pictures come real soon. Promised all the fellows I’ll show them the prettiest girl in the world.

Time to close, Darling, must continue with my washing. Wonderful wife I’d make for some girl. Expect a letter tomorrow. It gives me something to look forward to. Bye Darling.

With Love Ever Yours,
Art

P.S. I love your kisses.

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

Commentary: I have just two thoughts after reading today’s letter. The first is about the laundry. I am guessing Art couldn’t just pop into the laundry room on base set up with commercial laundry equipment based on the fact he states his laundry is sitting in a bucket. I know my grandfather is not one to shy away from hard work but no wonder he hates the task of laundry so much if he has to use an old fashioned wash bucket.

My second reflection is Art stating that he barely smiled when he was at home. I believe that. Art didn’t have an easy life at all. I have no doubt that Lois was a fresh breathe of heavenly air that Art seems to convey she is.

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Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #18

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

Dearest One,

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.

U.S.M.C.
348754

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,
Art XXXXX

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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Love Letters to Lois By Art

Love Letters to Lois by Art: Letter #17

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.

Letter Foreword

Well folks! It’s official!!! Lois and Art have become engaged from the last letter that I read. The engagement took place on Saturday, June 17th.

Today’s letter takes place after Art leaves Lois to return back to his duties as a U.S. Marine. His next assignment is to report to Edenton, North Carolina in the Marine Operational Training Group 81, where he will follow up his training completed in Englewood, California with additional training and instructing on B-25s bombers.

The Letter Transcript

Monday, June 19, 1944

My Darling,

Finally arrived here in Edenton at 2 o’clock this afternoon. Had a bit of trouble getting rides but finally made it. Am writing to you right away so I can retire early as I’m dead tired.

Three letters from you, Dear, and also the package. Gosh, Lois, the present was really letter perfect. Much better than the other one I have. You have a perfect taste for things I can see. Hate to part with it for awhile but want you to have it finished for me and then send it back right away.

No trouble as yet and I don’t expect any. Haven’t seen anybody as yet, tomorrow morning will be the test anyway. Keep your fingers crossed with me Darling and I’m sure it will all be okay.

Lois, Dear, it hurt me terribly to leave you last night. What a wonderful world it would be if the two of us could always be together. After this past weekend, the two of us understand each other so perfectly that I’m sure we would always be happy. Now all I’m praying is that I’ll be stationed at one base so that we can get married. I love you so much, Darling, that nothing matters anymore except you. You know that without me telling you but I want to tell you it over and over again, I love you, I love you, I love you.

Your mother and Dad were simply wonderful. Couldn’t imagine things would turn out so easy. It would suit me just fine to be able to call them Mother and Dad and I hope that day isn’t too far away. In fact, everybody was so swell from Margaret to all the relatives. Maybe we’ll be able to see them all soon again together.

From Left to Right: Lois’s Dad, Mother, Lois, Art, Lois’s Sister Margaret

There were countless things that happened during those four days and each one of them will be remembered. From the time I knocked on your door till you kissed me goodbye. The biggest thing was buying the ring and that was a big moment. I’m happy, Darling, that you’re satisfied with it. That’s all that matters.

Then our first down to earth talk and wasn’t it ever a blast? We really took in just about everything except for the real thing and that is reserved for marriage, right? I’m going to have to learn a bit more self control after that last evening but then you can control things better than a man can. That I will leave up to you as I don’t want it to happen again not in those circumstances anyway. By the way, it does stain the trousers but it will wash out. Noticed it when I took the pants out of the bag.

There is still a question I’d like to ask you but you didn’t answer it up in Washington. Maybe one of these days I will find it out.

Darling, tomorrow’s letter will be much better as right now I’m dead weight and hanging on my eyes. You know how tired you were last night and then I’ve been traveling since then. My buddy and I didn’t get a ride from Washington till late last night.

Will write my folks tomorrow and also your Mother. Have quite a bit of writing to do at present but my little Darling comes first.

So, Sweetheart, will close for now till the morrow. Think of you constantly, simply can’t get you out of my mind as if I wanted to do that. You have me, Darling, heart and soul. Night.

With all my Love,
Art

P.S. I love you – XXXXX

Questions, Conclusions and Commentary

Commentary: I was simply overjoyed that my mother had pictures of the special engagement event and even had the ring that Lois picked out. It was more intricate than I would have imagined. I had envisioned a very simple one stone setting given the difficulty of the times and was surprised to find a multiple stone ensemble.

I also received an answer to a question from a former letter about who is this mystery Alice person that Art often inquires about who has been away sick. My mother found a picture of Lois with a group of other girls who perhaps served with her in Washington and one of those girls is named Alice McCullin. Here is a picture of the group of girls.

Lois Ritchie, Dorothy Ritchie, Mary Palmasani, Alice McCullin, Florence Thompson

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