Back in Time with Grandma

On one of my trips up North, I returned with a box of photo albums belonging to Grandma. One of the albums was titled, “Friends and correspondents of WW II,” and almost every picture is labeled with the name, and occasionally, the date of her friend. After my success in locating Grandma’s long-lost cousin (Ordering the Platinum Card), I decided to attempt to see how many photos I could return to their owner or the owner’s family.

So far, I have returned those old photos of Grandma’s pen pals to seven people: one is still living, one I sent to the wife of her buddy, and the remaining pictures were sent to the children. All were happy to unexpectedly receive a picture from so long ago, and I enjoyed being able to reunite these pieces of the past to their rightful owners.

After reaching out to the daughter of one serviceman in the album, she informed me that she had a few of the letters Grandma had written to her dad and asked if I would like her to send them to me. Naturally, I was thrilled to be able to have a window into what my mother was like at the age of fifteen. I thought I would share pieces of her letters with you.

She was a sophomore in high school at the time, and it was clear from the tone of the letters that she did not like school. Grandma was studying for her exams and looking ahead to her senior year, when she said that either she would enlist or have to go job hunting.

“I’m taking secretarial training, so I guess I will be spending my time with ‘Dear Sir and Yours Truly’ for the rest of my natural life. (I should have said freakish life.) But you’re hardly interested in my future so let’s drop it.”

That sounds like Grandma. Later she said that her comment about enlisting was a misstatement, because everyone had discouraged her from enlisting. I am assuming that it was never a serious consideration.

She then mentioned going to a rabbit show, where there were over four hundred rabbits.

“About all I thought about was what a very beautiful coat I could have if I decided to skin a few of the four hundred. (Personally, I wouldn’t have the heart to skin pedigreed rabbits such as those.) They were really beautiful.”

“Yesterday I went to Cedar Grove to a Rabbit Show, consisting of over 400 rabbits. It was very beautiful, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many rabbits in all my life. About all I thought about was what a very beautiful coat I could have if I decided to skin a few of the four hundred. (Personally, I wouldn’t have the heart to skin pedigreed rabbits such as those.) They were really gorgeous. I could rant and rant for hours.”

Note to me or any of you: This is an interesting topic to discuss with Grandma the next time you get her on the telephone. I wonder if she will recall going to a rabbit show in 1944. I will cut her a break it she does not remember. Seventy-three years ago is a long time ago.

The letter concluded with her mentioning that her oldest brother, Larry, was currently in southern England, “and kept rather busy with amphibious training.” I will have to ask my cousins if they were aware of what their dad did while in the service.

I am curious what her friend, who was off fighting a war, would have written to his fifteen-year old friend back in Boonton, New Jersey.

More on Grandma at age fifteen another time.

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