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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Is Getting Tired of Good Old England

April 21, 1944
Fri. Eve. 9:20

My Darling Mark,
Hello Sweetheart!!
Since I haven’t anything else to do tonite for a change – I’ll attempt to scratch out a few lines to you honey.
         I was answering some letters to my Aunts & cousins that have stacked up on me.
         I went to the show here at Camp tonite & seen “White Cargo” with Hedy Lamarr. Mercy! She’s enough to make anybody go nuts! In a place like that – I mean.
         Everything is about the same here honey. I go on missing you & loving as each day passes. I just wonder how much longer we’ll have to sweat this place out. I’m sure getting tired of “good old England”!
         Well – honey I’ll guess I’ll close for tonite & shave & hit the hay.
         I wanted you to know I’m thinking of you always.
         Goodnite now Darling & write soon. I miss you & love you honey.
         All My Love        Johnny

Hedy Lamarr

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Writes About News From Home, the V-Mails and Boxes He Received

April 19, 1944
Wed. Eve.

My Darling Mark,
Hello Sweetheart!!
I got your letter of the 31st today. I got your V-mail of the 3rd yesterday. Ah I can’t understand it!
This is a good nite to be in – its raining pretty hard.
I got two V-mails from Mary today – she said Dode was going to the Navy or Marines soon. Joyce has the measles.
I got a box from Sis today – mailed a month ago. I guess I’m lucky to get it tho.
Yes honey, I remember the “Ice Capades” – wish I was with you to see them this year.
Honey – how long do you think you will keep on working nites?
Honey I can’t think of anything to write about tonite. I’ve got to write Sis & Mary yet too. I’ve got to get up early in the morning & go on K.P.! That’s going to be nice! I miss you honey & love you more every day.
Goodnite now Darling
All My Love Always             Johnny

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day: History and Tradition

Memorial Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Memorial Day
Memorial Day
The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are decorated by U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend.
DateLast Monday in May

2012 dateMay 28
2013 dateMay 27
ObservancesRemembrance of American war dead
Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. (Southern ladies organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May.) By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend

Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountains. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with kinfolk and others. There often is a religious service and a "dinner on the ground," the traditional term for a potluck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the "memorial day" idea.

Take some time this weekend and, if you can, visit and decorate a grave of a loved one.  Or at the very least, pause and remember those who have gone before us.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Sends Home a British Pre-War Threepence - Quite Rare!

April 17, 1944
Mon. Eve.

My Darling Mark
Hello Sweetheart!!
                 I got your V-mail today of the 3rd – was going to write anyway tonite. I was on guard Sat & Sun. so didn’t have a chance to write.
I probably won’t be able to write for a couple of days after this, so if you don’t hear, you’ll know why – although I can’t tell you why not. I’ll write again as soon as I can.
         It’s been a pretty nice day here – hows the weather in K.C.?
         Have you seen Lu. or Cec. lately – I haven’t hear from Cec. for quite some time now.
         Honey I’m sending this British threepence in this letter. It’s a pre-war threepence & quite rare now. Its worth 5c in our money. Let me know if you get it.
         Well honey I guess I’ll close for tonite. I’ve got to write home too. I got a letter from an Aunt that I have to answer too.
         Goodnite now Darling – I miss you like all hell & love you more every day. Write soon hone. I miss you.
         All My Love Always     Johnny

1939 British Threepence
 Author's Note: The actual coin was not with the letters.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Can't Write About What He's Doing

April 13, 1944
Thurs. Eve. 9:00 P.M.
Barracks “33”
Somewhere in England!
Hell of a place to be!

My Darling Mark
Hello Sweetheart!!
I got your letter of the 3rd today. It was post-marked the 5th. Pretty fast!
I just came back from the show here at camp. Seen “Destroyer” – I’d never seen it in the states. We’re restricted now – so there wasn’t’ anything else to do. There never is around here anyway.
The towns are here just make a guy more disgusted if he never went.
I got a letter from Mom today too – at the time she wrote it she had just heard from me since a 3 week lapse. Honey when you don’t hear from me – don’t think I don’t want to write – I can’t even tell you why I didn’t have time to write or what I was doing that I couldn’t write. It makes it kinda hard for me to explain don’t it? I hope you’ll understand Darling – cause I really like to write to you – at times it’s just like talking to you when I write – only I don’t get any answers. And too – I know you’ll answer them & the more I write, the more I’ll get from you – which makes this place a little more bearable. Honey mail is the chief thing any soldier looks forward to everyday. A letter from you honey – just makes me happy no end and I don’t care if school keeps or not.
I got an Easter card from Lu. & Cec. a couple of days ago. I guess I’ll write them tonite too.
No honey – Cec. never told me Lu. was going to have a baby – but I haven’t heard from him for quite some time now. I sure wouldn’t want to keep it a secret.
When this guy is man enough to be a daddy – I’ll let the world know! I’ll be the proudest papa at the maternity ward – Boy or girl!!
Of course – honey – I’ll be proud of my wife too – naturally! They help out a little!  Hold your fire- honey!
I’ve got your letter here now honey – so I’ll just start down it & answer all questions.
I hope you can have a darling baby of your own honey – on one condition – that I’m the father. Fair enough?
In this letter from Mom – she said Dode went to Leavenworth for his physical Sat. April 1.
He has to leave again the 22nd. I sure hate to see him leave those kids. Frank is a Sargeant now & Ralph is a gunner on a B-17. Too bad about Joe – but in a way he’s lucky!
Did you get tight at that party honey? I hope the hell you can take care of yourself when you do honey. From experience I think you can, but don’t let me worry!
I guess Cec. will tell me Lu. is going to have a baby in his next letter.
I just hope the day comes soon when I’ll be able to have a chance to be a father.
These English Babes aren’t half so good as an American gal. You don’t think I’d pass up a piece huh? Honey I have and will. The gals that can be made go out with the negro soldiers – mostly because they don’t know any better & they’re something new in England. The negros have told them that they were Am. Indians.
I’m not saying that I wouldn’t – if I thought it was pretty darn safe. It’s not worth the chance - & when I think of what I’ve got waiting for me – I think I can wait!
Honey – I love you so much I hope some day I can prove it to you. I miss you & long to be with you so damn much honey. I just wonder how much longer I have to sweat this war out to get back to you.
I almost forgot honey – I got your sweet picture in your letter too. Honey it was wonderful! I hope you send that big one soon. You can send small ones & snapshots every once in a while in your letters too – honey! The more the better. If we ever get out of camp again – I’ll try & have some taken if possible.
Well honey believe it or not its 10:30, I just have to write home tonite yet. Mom was really worried when she didn’t hear from me. Have you had a chance to go out there yet?
I’ll close for now Darling. I love you – I adore you & miss you – just everything about you.
Goodnite Darling – [Note 10 pages]
Write real soon.
All My Love always             Johnny

Friday, May 4, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Asks: "What Are You Going To Do With All Those Letters?"

April 9, 1944
Easter Sunday

My Darling Mark
Hello Sweetheart!!
I got your letter of the 27th today & was very happy to hear from you honey. I got a letter from Mom today too. She told me that she called you up. I guess she was a little worried there for awhile.
I slept till 10:30 this morning & then went to 11:30 Mass & to communion. Then went to dinner – fried chicken!
I’m spending this afternoon catching up on my letter writing – from a prone position on my bunk.
Its raining & blowing today – yesterday it was really nice – we had a base ball game yesterday & I’m pretty sore & stiff today.
What are you going to do with all those letters you’re saving honey? Make a fire someday?
Take it easy on that dentist honey & don’t get too rough with him – maybe he’ll do the teeth kicking!
I went to a show here at camp last nite & seen “Melody Parade”, pretty good.
I wish I was back in the U.S.A. & K.C. honey with you. I don’t hear from Cec. very often – I guess I should write more often to him too. I’ll write him this afternoon for sure.
Have you seen Lu. or Cec. lately?
I don’t think I can have a picture taken around here honey – but if I can – I’ll send it to you.
Honey – you can send me some air mail stationery – its pretty hard to get here.
Honey – I’m sending a little “jet” cross in this letter. I got it while I was at Whitby. I hope it doesn’t get lost enroute.
Well – honey I’ll close for now. I’ll write again tomorrow. I love you & miss you honey. Bye for now. All My love to the sweetest girl in the world.      Love  Johnny

Author's Note:
What did she do with all those letters? 

She continued to save them.  All the way through the war, until he came home. 

We found them in her hope chest, a year after they both died. She kept them all those years without us even knowing about them.  The letters became this book.