Today’s letter is filled with the weekly minutiae of daily life on the Home Front. Just Grandpa keeping his boys informed of the weekly happenings in and around Trumbull and the Old Homestead.
October 24th, 1943
Dear Members of the General Staff:
While you war lords plan we’re next to axe the Axis, we of the WPA at home go about our job of raking leaves, sawing wood, etc., looking to the day when you come home, medals glittering on your manly breasts, and demand the various freedoms which you have fought so valiantly to achieve. Meanwhile, as the seasons roll around, I miss you each in a practical sense. Right now for instance, the wood sawing and chopping sure goes very much more slowly than it did when you axe wielders were around. Today, some of the eight and 10 foot lengths of Locust that were split and piled up on the west side of the barn, yielded grudgingly to my comparative puny efforts. I have let the leaf raking slide entirely, as being of less import than other more essential jobs, but soon must tackle the storm windows. Sunday is the only full day I have to do anything around the house, and that is spoiled by having to spend most of the morning getting dinner. For a while, when Grandma was here, I did get things accomplished on Sundays, as the long morning was mine to work steadily at a given job, but as Aunt Betty practically get supper every night, she certainly ought not to do more than she now does in helping with the Sunday dinner. And of course every afternoon I have a date with the typewriter, so Sunday is pretty well shot. Dave, with his numerous religious and social activities, doesn’t have time to even wash the dishes, and I haven’t the heart to say anything about it as there is no telling how soon he will be taking the trip up to the Shelton railway station in the early hours of the morning following in the foot-steps of his older brothers.
Up to the last moment, I thought the week past would go down in the records as one during which no word from any of my ”furriners” was received, but at the 11th hour, so to speak, I came home from Bridgeport yesterday (Saturday), after tying two folks in the knot of matrimony, to find a special delivery letter from Dan (of late he has been sending V-mail letters which arrived in record time). I don’t mean special delivery. I should have said airmail. Anyway, said letter contained the most generous money order and best birthday wishes. So, here I sit smoking one of the cigars Lad gave me for a gift, holding down papers with the ivory paperweight Ced dispatched from Alaska, and between pauses to try to think of something interesting to write, entertaining visions of all the good things I will supply myself with out of Dan’s largess. In moments of leisure I often wonder, out of all the fathers there are, how many are blessed with the number and quality of sons that have fallen to my lucky lot — each of you so different in personality and yet each with many qualities that make a secret feeling of pride and thankfulness steal softly into my inner consciousness, and when things tend to go wrong, stand as a bulwark to put new courage and purpose into life. And with that thought comes invariably another regarding how proud Mother would also be of her boys. While I promised her I would carry on as best I could with the job of holding the family together and bringing them up as she would like them to be, I realize in all humility that it is not so much me as it is your own innate characteristics, some of which of course you inherited jointly from both of us, but most of which you alone are responsible for. But, shucks, let Papa nurse his little prides — it won’t do him any harm.
And as for you, Dan, old thing, you are not the only one that sends birthday greetings tardily. It was only yesterday that a homely brown box left on its way to merry England, via APO New York. How soon it will reach you is one of the mysteries of life, but let’s hope it will reach you before Christmas. If it speaks to you, if anything could, of the love and respect and esteem and high hopes the sender enclosed with it, it will have accomplished it’s purpose.
Lad, to you and Marian both, these letters to you henceforth will be intended. In fact, if you have been in circumstances where any
of my former letters have been preserved, might I suggest Marian, (if she cares to), read them with the thought in this manner of becoming somewhat acquainted with your newly to be acquired Dad. I do not share the feeling I know some folks do, that letters are highly personal and are not to be shared with other than the party receiving them. I have no quarrel with those that do feel this way, but, except where really personal and confidential thoughts are put on paper, I like to share the news, if any, with those interested. So, Marian, your interesting letter received this week has been enjoyed not only by me but by Aunt Betty and Dave and Jean. It will be interesting to see if all my boys wives get along together as well as my boys do among themselves. Perhaps this is too much to expect, this is not to be taken as a disparaging remark about my daughters-in-law, so much as it is the realization that few brothers, to my knowledge and observation, got along so cordially as my five boys with their entirely differing personalities.
Ced and Lad: I don’t recall whether in my last letter I mentioned that I had come across a very interesting book on the theory of airplane mechanics put out by General Motors which I thought you would like to look over. Anyway, I have asked that a copy be sent you so, if and when it comes, you will know why. It did not seem the sort of thing that would interest Dick, in spite of the fact that this is the branch of service in which he serves, but if I am wrong, just let me know, Dick, old boy. Maybe this will serve as an excuse for writing me one of those rare epistles you occasionally favor us with.
Ced, the other day a tall chap with a mustache came into the office with the job for us to do. He is with a Bridgeport undertaker and asked if I were your father. He said he had been to high school with you and asked me to remember him to you when I wrote. His name is Ed Bachman. Does one ask if business is good under the circumstances?
I haven’t yet had time to hear from any of you since I sent along the news of Lad’s latest attack on the Citadel of a maiden’s heart. No matter where he goes he seems to attract the ladies. Soon after reaching Venezuela, he was chased by a reckless cow and now in California Cupid pierces him with a dart. I declare, he ain’t safe nowhere. With this bit of philosophy I had better bring this weekly Chronicle to a close. Happy Halloween to you all.
Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures.
On Monday I’ll start a week of letters written in 1945. Dan is still in france but out of the Army. He and Paulette try to see each other as often as his work will allow.