It is difficult for you to measure the amount of thrill the arrival of a letter from you carries with it. Perhaps this feeling is more highly colored by the fact that of all my soldier boys, you are nearer the danger point than any of the rest and nerves are stretched a bit taught here by the passing of time without a message from you, than in the case of the others who are not quite so close to the firing line. It also affords me considerable satisfaction to know that you have at least received one of the packages even though it took so many months to reach you. Our hearts are so anxious to do so much for our absent sons that the limited packages we finally get together with the feeling of its inadequacy, and sometimes with difficulty due to the shortage of goods here, we feel ought to arrive pronto to bear evidence of our goodwill, and then to have months go by in adding insult to injury. However, your letter is dated October 25th and bears a postmark of the 29th, so it has been almost a month en route, which may mean that by this time you may have received some of the other packages. As to my uncanny knack, my natural modesty compels me to admit (as you did in the case of the metal you were awarded) that the things you received were just those items you yourself expressed a desire to have, only it was so long ago you have probably forgotten it. Anyway, the bouquet must be returned to you for having foreseen so long ago just how welcome these items would be to you on that distant day when you first set foot on French soil. There is just one note missing from your letters and that is an answer to some question or at least some comment on the items in my letters to you so that I may know whether or not you are getting the home news which is regularly dispatched to you each and every week, with occasionally a V-mail letter in between. I hope you are far enough back so that Jerry’s artillery, air bombs or robots, are not too threatening. And the entire absence of any personal reference to your health, etc., leaves the door wide open for bothersome imaginings. With Lad probably overseas and Dave sooner or later to take the same trip, they too ought to take note of an anxious family’s natural desire to know how you all are faring. Dick, thank heavens is far removed from shell craters and Ced has only Jack Frost to contend with, but just the same, a reassuring note now and again will not be unwelcome, as concerns your physical well-being.
Two letters from Dave were welcome but could not compensate for his physical absence. He says: “The colonel doesn’t want to give me my furlough until he’s a little more sure what kind of position the team is in. I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t guess I have to tell you how sorry I am to have not gotten the furlough – – or even have told you about it and gotten you thinking I was coming home. Oh, well, that’s the Army for you.” A later letter: Bang! All in one and a half hours my bags are packed, my equipment is turned in, I climb into a G.I. truck, I travel halfway across camp, I get out of the truck, I draw new company equipment and unpack my bags. Now I’m in a new home with the new address. What a life! In nine months I’ve been in nine different Companies – B-28, A-36, D-26, D-36, D-31, B-33, E-847, F-847, and K-840. Our whole team moved over here but there’s nothing definite as yet as to why we’re here. I was going to keep the money you sent me but I had to go a mile to pick it up and I couldn’t get off in time. They hold the money only three days. You should have gotten it back by the time you get this. Well, I’ve got a slight cold so I’m going to bed. It’s only 8:15 but I’m on KP tomorrow”.
Cheerio, old sock, there is a better day coming. It’s always darkest before the dawn, etc. I guess both you and I were disappointed that the old furlough didn’t come through in time for you to get home by Thanksgiving, but it would be even better if it came through so you could get home for Christmas. Let’s hope anyhow. It will be fun looking forward to it even if it doesn’t materialize. And am I surprised at you. Why even the man in the ad is said to be willing to walk a mile for a camel, but my plutocrat of a son hasn’t time to walk a mile for 50 bucks. No, I haven’t gotten it back yet, perhaps the whole Western Union system is paralyzed by the idea of $50 being on tap and not being called for. It is very likely that this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to them and they have no precedent to follow. That $50 may just be wandering around loose looking for a taker. Besides, it costs a $1.56 every time this is sent so you had better be careful how you throw your father’s money around. And another thing, one which should cause you great mental agitation, we left to the back door unlocked all night just before Thanksgiving in the hope you might sneak in on a deferred furlough. Now, just suppose someone had gotten in and stolen Smoky. How would you feel. I’ll just leave you to stew over that one awhile.
Tomorrow I’ll finish this long letter from Grandpa to his distant sons with comments to Ced and some more local news.
On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures with a special treat on Sunday.
On Monday, a week od letters written in 1940 when only three sons are away from home and Dick and Dave are keeping Grandpa company in the old Trumbull House.