It’s 1941 and Lad has returned from Venezuela. He is working in Bridgeport at Producto, probably maintaining equipment or possibly assembly line work, but with the draft and his 2B Classification he has some hope. Dan, Ced and Dick are all in Alaska, working at various jobs they enjoy, but they also have the draft as a constant concern. Grandpa, of course, is worrying about all four boys. He certainly is hoping that the war will be over before Dave turns 18.
This Notification of Draft Status, mailed to Lad on September 23, 1941, shows him as a 2B Classification. 2B means semi-permanent occupational deferment because of his work at Producto, whose production was 100% War related.
Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 21, 1941
Dear Faith, Hope and Charity:
(You will have to decide among yourselves which is which). I only know the world would be a sorrier place without you. Of course that sentiment might be discounted as a father’s prejudice, made all the more acute by the receipt this week of the very generous check. Probably a blanket term for all three of you rolled into one would be, and hereby is – – to start my letter all over again – –
What a grand and glorious feeling it is that creeps up your spine and kind of glows all over inside to know that one can now acquire several items he has wanted for years but never felt able to afford, thrown in for good measure with the greater and intangible gift, the givers goodwill. Maybe in a flash of inspiration you will understand what I am trying to say so lamely in words, what Lowell tried to get across in his Vision of Sir Launfall, “who gives himself with his gifts feeds three, himself, his hungering neighbor and me.” Oh well, maybe I should just say thank you and leave it at that, knowing that the full measure of one’s gratitude and pleasure and blissful pride is just as impossible to transmit that way as in any other.
With the money orders of course came also two very welcome letters from Dan and Dick. Your instructions, Dick, as to the alimony will be gratefully followed and will pay up your quota for six months, thank you. What I would like to do to help you as a bulwark to your willpower, would be to buy now while they are low and almost sure to advance in price, some investment stock which will not only bring you in a steady dividend income, but should you, in a year or six months,want to realize some cash, the chances are (This is not certain of course) that the stock would be worth considerably more than you are paying for it. Only I would have to sort of guarantee that payment would be made at the rate of $100 or $150 a month or whatever sum you feel confident of being able to save and send me regularly, month after month. Let me know as soon as you can on this (by return mail) as now seems to be a particularly advantageous time to buy. (By the way, next time you send the money order, have it drawn on Bridgeport, as poor Eleanor, scrape as she might in cash drawers and socks, etc., has a hell of a time trying to raise $50, and I have to come back over a period of two or three days before a sufficient sum is accumulated.) Oh, another thing, out of all those things you propose ordering from sneers, sawbuck, save out a few items you can do without until December and add them to the list of Christmas presents you would like to have some doting father give you.
And now, Dan, for you and your allegory. In the first place the word itself made me sneeze, being so closely akin to allergy. And then the subtleness of your suggestion that only a Machiavellian wit would think of, that instead of making use of this generous fund to supply the foibles of sinful flesh, you make it very apparent the proceeds of the money order are to be spent on the offspring. But there, gad zooks, you have overshot the mark. I shall NOT spend one red cent on geegaws and jimcracks for you, no matter how soul stirring your plea. This time it is to be used in toto in a spending spree the likes of which this poor soul has not seen in lo these many years. But not all at once, it is too much fun to string it out.
I’ll post the rest of this letter tomorrow.
Wednesday and Thursday will be another two-part letter.
On Friday, a slightly longer post but it is one entire letter from Grandpa.