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Archive for the ‘1944-11 November’ Category

Officer’s Club
10:30 AM Thursday
30, November, 1944

My precious wife,

Thought it is only about two-thirty in the morning in Parker, it is Thanksgiving Day there.  I can see you now sleeping so peacefully.  Oh, how I wish I could be with you.  I’d hug you so tightly you could never sleep.  You’d probably get very mad at me, but, darling, I love you so terribly much.

I didn’t write to you last night.  I hope you are all right.  I know you must be.  God has been so very good to, He’d never let me down when I need Him so much.  Do you know who loves you with all his heart?  I do, of course, silly.

The reason I didn’t write last night is multi: First, I went to visit another very historical city yesterday afternoon.  I’ll have many tales to tell when I get home.  Perhaps not as many and as interesting as some you will hear, but they’ll be tales just the same.  When I returned from this City it was quite late and there was a show at one of the local theatres I wanted to see.  By the time I finally returned from the show there were an amazing number of officers and their girls here at the club, including Mu[???-cut off] and a new one of his and not wanting to be obknoxious – is that how you spell it by writing letters in their midstd presence.  I’ll be doggoned if I can spell anything.  Anyhow I didn’t write so I’m doing it this morning to make up.  I’ll write again tonight.

The show I saw was a double feature and of course it would have been hard it at all possible for you to remain seated.  It lasted three hours and a half.  The shows were “Johnny Apollo”, with Tyrone Power and Hedy Lamar,  and “Knickerbocker Holiday” with Nelson Eddy and some gal.  I missed having you by my side so much.  Darling if you only knew how much I miss you.

I’m listening now to a recording of Glen Miller’s band playing American Patrol.  And if you think that keeps me from being homesick for you, guess again.  In a way, I hope I get over being homesick when ever I see a show or listen to good music on the radio, but I doubt if I ever will.  Because all of the joy and beautiful things of my life are centered in you, my perfectly lovely wife.  No matter how much loneliness or hardship I do through in the future, it’ll all be blotted out by superb happiness of being with you again.

There’s a recording of Bob Crosby on now.  Remember when we went to the dance at Wandermere when he was there.  How I wish I had taken you more places.  You always enjoyed going out so much and I was always an old stay-at-home.  I hope I didn’t make you to unhappy.  You deserve such a far better husband than you got, only please don’t go looking for one on account maybe I can change and make up for it.

How’s the new addition to the family?  Surely by the time you receive this there will be one.  Perhaps you’ll be to busy to write though.  Darling, promise me that you’ll never work until you are tired.  Always quite before you get tired.  The most important thing in my mind and heart every minute is your safety, comfort, and happiness.  Know always that I love and adore you, worship you night and day.

Tell everyone hello, and that I miss them and wish they could enjoy with me the scenery of this beautiful island.  It must indeed be a garden spot in the summer because it’s so pretty in the winter.  I feel guilty taking advantage of this while so many are a few hundred miles away taking a beating in the mud.  Perhaps I’ll join them before too long.

I’m expecting my truck to be here in a few minutes to pick me up so I had better start stopping.  Please don’t forget that I am yours every cell of my body and every atom of my heart and soul.

The truck came before I was able to finish so here I am some time later on duty.  It’s seven-thirty there now.  Perhaps you are up or perhaps you are comfortably squirming and catching a few more winks.  How does it feel not to have to wake up when your old man wakes up with the roosters, and kisses you goodbye and goes off to work.  I shall never forget the last morning I kissed you goodbye.  It was outwardly very little, if any, different from the rest of the mornings.  Yet it meant so much to me to see you take it so well.  It probably was no credit to me but I figured I’d kinda trained you for that moment.  I wanted so much to cray myself, yet I knew you wouldn’t so I couldn’t.  I’ve always been so very proud of you because your emotions are so much more stable than those of any other girl I have ever known.  You’re wonderful in every respect, my sweet, the perfect wife for me.

I was happily welcomed  home today by three lovely letters from you.  Numbers twenty-five and twenty-seven and Vmail number thirty-three.  They were all really swell and I’ll answer them all tonight.

Seems that when I get started I find it so hard to stop writing to you.  I hope you don’t mind.  I talk so much and say so little.

Happy Thanksgiving for today, and I hope and pray with all my heart that when you receive this the baby will have been born and both of you progressing rapidly.  I hardly know what to say but I’d probably be even more flustered if I were there.  Don’t forget for a second how very much your safety, well-being and happiness mean to me.  God Bless and protect you both, each minute day and night.  I love you, sweetheart, so deeply and sincerely.

Your wandering husband, Dewain

I know it’s been over a week, but here we are.  I love this letter because of the memory of a dance and a concert they attended together.  I know Grandpa also played in big bands in his time . . .but I don’t know many details.  I know how much he would have appreciated hearing the familiar music and the memories that would have come from them.

I also laugh a bit at hearing Grandpa’s love and concern for Grandma, but having experienced the last month of pregnancy myself, I think Grandma’s sleeping reality at this time is a bit different from Grandpa’s peaceful imaginations.

I don’t know if many people are reading these letters, but I love having the privilege of posting them.  If I only knew who had the originals . . . I would love to see how many of the referenced letters have survived.

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25 November 1944
Saturday 7:00 PM

Darling,

I love you.  Do you know it?  I received two very nice letters tonight from my honey.  I seem to be getting them backwards thought.  Yesterday number thirty and tonight numbers twenty-eight and twenty-nine.  It confuses me but it’s swell to get them no matter what.  I’ve been sorting out your letters tonight.  I have one for almost everyday from September twenty-eighth to November third.   I guess there are about a half-dozen vacancies.

I’ve read them all several times of course, but some day when I have time on my hands, if ever, I’ll take them all out and read them again.

I suppose I have told you many times of how when I first came into the army, every day until I went to Officer’s Candidate School, before I’d write to you, I’d take take all the letters I had received from you and read them all over.  It thrilled me so much.  I’d do it now if I had time.

Things have certainly been in an uproar today.  Tommy and I have had to think right hard to keep ahead of them.  I think we’ve got ’em whipped now now.; we’ll know tomorrow if we can stay together and away from the others or not.

So you don’t have any lap? How come? What-cha-got there?  Darling, I’m so thrilled.  Just think, in perhaps a little over two weeks.  Please be careful darling.  This letter may even get there after it has happened.  Always know that I’ll be praying for you constantly and so much harder around that time.  You, my sweetheart, and that precious baby, are all I’m living for.  I’m so sorry this war has separated us so.  I’m sure that in peace time I could make and keep you so happy.  I’ll have a chance before long though, and honey, I’ve just got to be able to make you happy.

Speaking of cold, I’ve been trying to acclimate myself so that if and when I do hit the cold and wet of winter battle I can take it.  I’m doing pretty good but the wind gets kinda nippy at times and it rains quite a lot, almost pushing me into heavier or more clothes.

I too hope you have good diaper weather.  Usually it isn’t too bad around that time though.  If I remember Idaho after three winters away.

Yes, I remember Humphrey’s new house.  I was glad to hear that he was elected and very surprised to hear of his appointment as patriarch.  Congratulate him for both for me and give him my best wishes.

Sleep and chow have both been plentiful and good since I have been here.  To be sure the worst is yet to come, and except for the fact that I have too cockeyed much stuff to carry around, I’m ready for it.  (At least as ready as I’ll ever be.)  As you know, I adjust quite easily, though at times in a noisy manner, to things as they come.  The only exception to that is being away from you and I can never adjust to that.  I need you every second, darling.

I had just been wondering what was wrong tonight and then I realized it was the absence of your picture in front of me.  I  had packed it away this afternoon and hadn’t returned it to it’s proper place.  It’s there now so I can go on to tell you how darn beautiful you are.  Do know that in all of America and England that I have never yet seen a girl as beautiful as you are.  Honey, don’t think I’m kidding, I’m not.  I mean it with all my heart.  How I was ever lucky enough to get you for my wife I shall never know.  The snapshot I have of us taken in front of the drug store looks more like you than any picture I have and you’re so pretty and I love you, Zola, more than life itself or anything else in life.  You’re perfect.  I look around me and see these gjuys and the things they are doing now that they are over here and I realize how much more I have to live for than any of them.  Not one can say that his wife is as good in any way as you are.  So fine, so beautiful, so glorious in every respect.  I’m so proud of you, my darling.  That’s why it isn’t  hard for me to live as I should, as you would want me to, because I realizewhat an angel I have for a wife.

I’m glad you called Zelda when you got my letter.  I was so busy the first while I had a hard time finding time to write.

Thanks so much for the stamps.  It save me so much worry about being able to get them.  They make my letters a little faster I am sure.  Try to give me an idea of the comparative speed of the different means of postage.  The letter you wrote on the twelfth I receveid on the twenty-third which is pretty good time.

Honey, I must quit.  It seems so hard to stop when I get started writing to you.  Give my love to the baby.  Incidentally, I meant to tell you that in order for cables or wires to come through fast you must send them to my code cable address.  I will wire it to you as soon as I find it myself.

Good night precious.  Your loving husband, Dewain.

So it’s taken me a week to get another letter up.  I was hoping to finish November in November, but that’s okay.  We do what we can.  I know my dad has said that his dad was fighting in the Battle of the Bulge when he was born (12/22) so it’s interesting to realize in the tone of the letters what’s up and coming.  I have one more November letter, 11/30 – when it’s Thanksgiving day.

I think I’ve seen a copy of a cable with an address in it in the binder, but I can’t find it this morning.  When I do find it, I’ll take advantage of my scanner, and post it up.  I wish I had Grandma’s letters answering these . . . but I’ll take what I can get – and hope, someday, to see and share the rest of the existing letters, even if nobody but myself cares.  Hope you enjoyed your trip back in time.  Now, off to deal with the present!

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England, 11:00 P.M., Friday, 24, Nov. 1944

My Darling,

If you knew how much I love and miss you and want you, you’d hop a plane and come and see me.  Would you do that? I wish you could.  How do you feel?  Is my chubby wife happy?

Guess what? When I got back tonight from town there were two wonderful letters waiting for me; number ten, written on October twenty-third and number thirty, written on November twelfth.  I don’t know why it always skips so far.  I have yet to receive numbers twenty-two through twenty-nine.  Evidently someone put them in the wrong bag again.

I do miss you very much though, sweetheart.  You mean everything to me.  I’m so thankful to know that you are waiting for me and that you belong all to me.  It’s such a glorious feeling.  You’re such a beautiful and sweet wife.  I’m kinda glad I married you twice.  In fact I’m awful glad and if I though it would make it more certain that I would have you forever and ever, I’d marry you four or five more times.

This last letter of yours made good time, but I’ve gone and talked myself into feeling slighted and sorry for myself because you didn’t make love to me in it.  I’m a big baby, I guess, and very selfish too.  But I need your loving so much.  I’m going to keep my requests down to a rock bottom minimum.  You’ll be busy enough with that offspring of ours without worrying about getting things for me.  But there is only one thing I really need all the time now and that’s lots of love in your letters.  I realize that is probably the hardest thing to ask for because you more than likely get tired of writing it, but I never get tired of reading it and it does help so doggone much.  Can you forgive me for being so selfish? I know that you do love me even when you don’t say it but I want to hear it often.  I hope I’m not being unreasonable.

I went on a sightseeing tour today and saw many historical and interesting things and got some more items for our scrapbook.  Of course I’ll have to save them until after the war or at least for some time yet before you can see them but they’ll be good for more reminiscing.  I hope and pray that someday I can bring my precious family and show them all these things.  Not too soon, of course, you’re going to have an old stay-at-home for a husband again, only more so for a while.

Darling, I hope you don’t feel too badly about us not being any further ahead that we are.  I suppose if I had been ambitious we would have more of the material things.  I do hope with all my heart that you have been happy though, because as for myself, I honestly can’t imagine whatever would have happened to me if you hadn’t been so doggone swell and weakened to marry me.  It’ll take all my life trying to make it up to you for that happiness you have given me and then all of time and eternity to make up for what is going to be a lifetime of happiness.  Looks that that’s one debt I’ll never get out of and I’m glad, ’cause I love you, Zola, with all my heart and soul.

You asked about my teaching certificate; it is for five years beginning September, nineteen forty-one.  That means I have almost another two years.  You might ask Gene if you think of it, what and when I should do about it.  As far as teaching goes, I’ve had a full year at least of good hard teaching.

Those gals are really making good money all right, but it’ll take most school districts at least fifteen years after the war to get over this shocking raise.  That is another reason for me getting back into school and trying for something bigger.  Though it’ll be so darn hard on you in the beginning and perhaps for five or six years, we’ll surely be benefited in the long run.  At times, I feel like a heel for causing you to have to put up with this and what will be then too.  I hope I can make you happy enough to overshadow, slightly at least, the discomfort of being my wife.

I must quit now, precious.  It’s after midnight and I am gabbing on and on again.  Thanks, so much, for the letters.  They mean everything to me.

I pray to God that He blesses you with all the countless blessings you deserve; of health and happiness; of wisdom and guidance, that when our baby is born it may be beautiful and perfect and that you may be inspired to care for and train it well.  Accept my love, my darling.

Your adoring husband, Dewain

It’s interesting reading these letters from the past, reading when they talk about the future, which also now the past.  I wonder if life met its expectations.  I’m pretty certain Grandpa didn’t take his family back to England to show them around . . . but he did move on beyond teaching, with television (KID TV) and the travel agency (Magic Carpet Travel).

It’s early Thanksgiving morning in California as I sit here today.  I’m so grateful for my family . . . for those who lived the lives they lived when that was what they had to do.  I’m grateful for the love my grandparents shared, and the seven boys they reared and raised, and the examples they are for me.  My grandparents served in the temple (Grandpa was a sealer for many years) and Grandma worked avidly on family history.  They had a beautiful home in Idaho Falls (Ammon) and Grandma grew a big garden.  I remember picking raspberries and helping make jam.  I hope someday to have a garden as prolific and sustaining for my family.  We may not have as much land, or a place to park an old bus (which probably wasn’t as old once upon a time); there won’t be a large inner-tube to wash at the beginning of each summer and jump on.  I probably won’t ever have the coolest basement in the world (with traffic sign wallpaper in the bathroom).  But I hope to take the legacy of love and life that my grandparents left and leave my children and grandchildren with something of it.

I’m grateful for my Grandpa’s distant, loving and powerful prayers for the protection of his family.  I’m grateful for his testimony of the power of the temple, and his concern for obedience, even in a far and distant time and place.  I am a small part of the future he couldn’t see when he was alone in England over 60 years ago.  Thank you for all you did Grandma and Grandpa.  We couldn’t have made it without you.

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England, 11:00 P.M. Sunday, 19 Nov. 1944

My precious darling,

I can’t understand how it always is so late when I get started writing to you.  Tonight there is a reason though, because today has been one of my busiest days for a long time.  To begin with, Tommy was gone, then it was Post Exchange day and I had to handle about a hundred dollars worth of merchandise as well as the money; in addition we had a sanitation inspection of our area; Chaplain Kissinger came out to give Protestant Church services; and to top everything off, the extremely heavy mail.  Have I complained enough?  I guess so.

How is my sweetheart tonight? Are you taking exceptionally good care of yourself and our offspring?  Please do, always.  I love you both so doggone much.  As a matter of fact, I love you more than anything else in the world.  You’re such a wonderfully perfect wife.  I’m so lucky to be your husband.

Tommy came back tonight all full of vim and vinegar and desirous of going to London tomorrow.  Though I hated to do it, I had to let him go with my blessings.  Heaven only knows when he’ll be back.  I presume when he runs out of money.  It’s a good thing we aren’t with the Colonel.

I’d better get back to answering your letters or I shall never catch up.  I received none today and I missed them so much.  These last few days have spoiled me.  You mentioned wondering if I tire of your sweet talk.  Wonder no longer darling.  It’s like a transfusion of life-giving blood.  I love it so much.  I could whip my weight in wild cats after reading each one of those glorious epistles.  Never stop making love to me, please.

You mustn’t tell people that I drank milk in the Astor bar.  They’ll think I just did it show off and I didn’t.  I was thirsty for milk as only you can understand.  I’m not strong.  It only takes strength to overcome desire, and I certainly have no desire for partaking of anything less wholesome than milk.  I thank God that I don’t have that desire.  He gave me you and at that moment took away [the] greatest part of desire to do wrong.  For a while at first it was hard but as I learned to love you more deeply, my greatest desire became to live worthy of the angel that you are.  I love you, Zola, with all my heart.

I’d like to see the kids’ pony.  I’ll bet they have a time with it.  Tell them hello from their most loving uncle.  Will you?

You asked about Tush [spelling?] so I shall send his letter to you tonight.  It’s quite a souvenir in itself.  I don’t know where he gets his stationary.

So you want our boy just like his daddy?  Well, now, I wouldn’t say that.  After all, give the poor kid a break.  I guess you’ll just have to flip a coin if it’s a girl on Christine or Marilyn.  I can’t decide.  I like them both.

I thought Kathleen looked matronly the last time I saw her.  Didn’t I mention it then?  As catty as I am, I must have.  She could never hold a candle to you to start with though, so you’ll never look like that.  I’m going to insist on that hundred-eighteen or twenty pounds if it’s possible to do so without impairing or endangering your health.  You’re always so beautiful anyway so it doesn’t really matter.  Honey, please be careful and don’t ever do anything that will harm you in any way.  When you mentioned raking the lawn with Gordon a pang of fear went through me.  I don’t know what I’d do if you hurt yourself.  I’m so helpless now.

Let’s name the Panda Geechie after my Hungarian machine gunner.  We already have George the Cadilac, on pictures at least, and Butch the donkey paperweight, or do you still have that?  How is Jullie doing?  I don’t suppose she’s very much interested in anything at the present time.

I’m surprised that people are surprised that I’m still wearing my garments.  I respect them and believe in their power.  And though at times I think how much easier and more comfortable it would be to wear shorts, I fear God and the harm that might befall me if it were not for those garments.  I shall always wear them until extreme necessity forces me to take them off.  It isn’t strength or fineness; it’s more like vanity and selfishness.  I do wish I could become the kind of man I want to be for you.

It’s after midnight now.  I’ll bet you get tired of reading these long drawn out letters. Don’t get too discouraged though.  It probably won’t be long until I’ll be lucky to get a V. mail off to you.

Were the trinkets I bought you all right? I’m sorry I didn’t get more.  It’s because I’m too selfishly extravagant.  Forgive me, please.

Darling, what’s a husband for if he can’t give his wife a few firsts such as orchids or roses?  Besides, you’ve given me so much happiness that nothing I could ever do would half repay you for it.  You can never know what a heavenly difference you have made in my life.

It’s getting so late, honey, and six-o-clock is my rising hour.  I’ll write more tomorrow.  I have to answer mom’s and Edith’s letters too very soon.

Oh, God, watch over and protect my priceless wife and infant child.  Grant blessings of health and happiness on them abundantly.  Keep them fine and beautiful for my return.

Goodnight for now, my precious.  Remember that I am always

Your adoring husband, Dewain

Again, it’s the details that really grab me – drinking milk in the bar, naming the Panda and the Donkey, flipping a coin between the names Christine and Marilyn.  There are phrases in the letter that I remember I hearing my grandfather day (“whip my weight in wildcats”).  It’s fun to see how over the years, some essentials never changed.

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England
Thursday, 745 PM
16 Nov. 1944

My Precious Wife,

I love you.  Are you well and happy tonight?  I hope and pray that you are.  Notice that I’m starting much earlier tonight?  Reason?  Guess.  Right, I got a whole bunch of heavenly letters from my sweetheart this afternoon and if I’m going to answer part of them and describe my London trip, it’s going to take quite some time.  The letters were numbers eleven, eighteen, nineteen, twenty and twenty-one, and the newsletter, which had me fooled because it was your handwriting but it wasn’t numbered and didn’t have the right box number on the top.  I also got two letters from mom, the first I’ve heard from that quarter.

Darling, I was so trilled and excited when I received all those letters from you after three or four days with none that I could hardly contain myself.  I was charging six-pence for people to touch my arm.  I ate my supper so fast that I got a slight but uncomfortable case of indigestion.  Any how, honey, it was glorious.

I had better begin putting on paper my impressions of Europe’s largest city before they slip away and are forgotten.  Please save this letter because it will be the only written record of what I have seen.

I was impressed greatly by the scene I saw as I approached the outskirts of the city.  I had heard of the damage done by these robot bombs but had hardly known what to expect.  Hundreds of buildings in these residential districts had been gutten and torn to shambles.  It started me thinking, of course, about the futile waste of life and property.  Enough for now on that.

I entered London through Waterloo Station, a huge, well-arranged station but of course nothing to compare with New York’s Pennsylvania or Grand Central stations.  From Waterloo, I proceeded, via underground, to Piccadilly Circus near which was Jermyn Street and the Jules Red Cross Club where I stayed.

At Jules, I was cordially welcomed and shown to my room.  Early in the afternoon, I had a ticket reserved for the The Duke of York Theatre, the play, Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary.  It was delightful and provided my first real enjoyment in the United Kingdom.

The next day I went first to the officers’ quartermaster sales store where I purchased a battle jacket or short blouse, and another pair of pinks.

After depositing my purchases in my room I made my way to the old church headquarters at one forty-nine Nightingale Lane.  The building itself was under repair and of course is no longer used as headquarters.  Church is held there each Sunday still and there is a keeper there at all times to greet visitors, answer questions and give addresses of branches in the United Kingdom.  Fortunately there is a branch near here  that I should be able to attend from now on.

By using London’s buses and again the subway, I made my way back to Piccadilly hwere I had luncheon at the Criterion.  A good meal, served well but not large.

I had made arrangements to meet Lt. Gober, Lt. Watson, Let. Carlson and Lt. Alexander after lunch to make a tour of the city.  When the time came, our guide showed us to a huge Packard and we started off.  First, around Piccadilly Circus, then to Charles Dickens Old Curiosity Shop.  It stands still as pictured in the book though showing it’s age perhaps a little more.

From there a short distance to St. Paul’s Cathedral, our first stop.  St. Paul’s is second only in size to St. Peter’s, the world’s largest cathedral.  It’s very impressive and looks much more immense from the inside than from the outside.  In there is a spot about four feet in the diameter which is the exact centre of the City of London.  Directly under this spot is the grave of Lord Nelson, Britain’s famous sea Lord.

London itself is made up of about fifty-cities of which the City of London is one.  The City of London is one mile square and is presided over by about two hundred-forty aldermen or councilors with four or five other officers and Lord Mayor.  It has been established as precedent that the King of England must be granted permission by the Lord Mayor before he can enter the City of London.

The Lord Mayor is chosen each year by popular vote of the business men of the City.  He is paid a salary of twelve thousand pounds a year but in order to be elected,  he must show that he has at least thirty thousand pounds of his own to survive and entertain on for the year because as a rule, the salary of twelve thousand and that much more is spent the first week he is in office for entertainments.  It is said that the present Lord Mayor has spent over two-hundred thousand pounds this year for entertaining.

To get back to St. Paul’s, we saw where a two-thousand pound bomb had dropped but had not exploded and so removed.  Also where a five-hundred pound bomb had landed and exploded causing a great deal of damage to the Cathedral on one side.

In the basement or crypt, along with the monuments and burials of many famous men, was the funeral car of the Duke of Wellington made of guns captured in the wars he fought.  It weighs eighteen tons, was built in eighteen days and only used once.  On the front of it is the shield of the Knight of the Garter, the highest honor bestowed in the United Kingdom.  Inscribed on the shield in Latin is the phrase “Evil is He Who Evil Thinks.”  The history of that phrase is that at one time while the Duke and his partner, a princess, were at a ball, they were dancing and her garter fell off.  The Duke picked it up and made that statmeent.  Only twenty-seven people have held the honor of the Knight of the Garter.

The Cathedral itself took thirty-five years to construct, sixteen sevent-five to seventeen ten.  To from the ground to the top of the tower takes nearly a half hour of walking upstairs.

From St. Paul’s, we drove down King William St., which is similar to New York’s Wall Street, across London Bridge, viewed Lloyd’s of London, down the East Side warehouse district, across Tower Bridge, which is the draw bridge that runs parallel with Lond bridge across the Tahmes, to the Tower of London.  The Tower is a massive affair with a huge deep mote [sic] around it, was built in ten fifty-eight.  We was a cross section of one of the walls where it had been bombed and the walls are from four to eight feet thick.

Near there we saw the meagre remains of the oldest church in London, built in six hundred seventy-five, which had been destroyed in the blitz.

In our drive along the river we saw the ship The Discovery which was Captain Scotts arctic expedition ship; crossed Waterloo bridge, a new one, built since the start of the war; saw Cleopatra’s Needle, a monument brought over from Egypt.

From the river we entered a section called the Temple in which is located most of London’s better known law offices; then to White Hall, the government section; Number Ten Downing St., the prime minister’s residence, Scotland Yard; the wandering House of Parliament; and to Westminster Abbey.

While St. Paul’s is the burial place of mainly military and naval heroes, Westminster shelters the Royalty and the people of the fine arts.  In it near the front is England’s grave of the unknown soldier; farther on down the center is the epitaph of David Livingstone.  In the rear on one side is the Poet’s Corner and on the other, the Statesman’s Aisle [spelling?].  I have never seen more beautiful and silky fine sculpture than the one ofr Shakespeare in the Poet’s Corner.

The Abbey is sevon hundred years old and indeed shows it’s age.

We came out just in time to turn and listen to Big Ben strike four o’clock.  It was a sensation I shall never forget.  A smokey fog had just begun to move in and through the mist came this weird, breathtaking gong of the largest clock in the world.

Our drive then took us by St. James Park, Wellington Barracks in which the Palace Guard is quartered, Queen Victoria’s Memorial, and Buckingham Palace, the home of the Royal Family.  In this I was disappo8inted.  It isn’t nearly as impressive as it’s publicized.

St. James Palace was our next point.  It used to be the King’s palage before Buckingham was built.  From there through Pel Mel, the club district and abruptly to our hotel.

Forgive me darling, for the crude way I put this all down.  I had to write it while I still remembered.  I wrote down of the names of eahc of hte places as we hit there and had to trust my memory for the rest.  There may be some parts that do not conform with facts but I’ll have to either blame it on the guide or my faulty memory.  I hope it doesn’t prove too uninteresting to you.  Some day I shall try to rewrite it in better form.

I have been writing now two hours and forty-five minutes and haven’t yet begun to answer those prescious letters or make love to my darling.  I think I had better close this one and start another short one for tha tpurpose.  I love you sweetheart.

Dewain.

I really enjoyed typing up this letter.  I was having great fun finding links to the different reference points, and was surprised to the restaurant still there.  It would be an excellent adventure to recreate Grandpa’s tour of London.  I researched the play mentioned at the beginning, and it is by Vivian Tidmarsh, and was turned into a movie in the 50s, but there wasn’t much information beyond that.  I didn’t look for and include links for all of the sites mentioned, but they are out there.  Grandpa mentioned that he wrote his letter in about 2 hours, 45 minutes – I think I spent just under two hours typing and researching what he wrote about.

I will note that the link on the “pinks” is an eBay auction that will expire 11-23-2008, so I imagine that will disappear quickly.  I really wanted some idea of what he was talking about.  Here’s a picture from that auction:

WWII Pinks from eBay Auction

WWII Pinks from eBay Auction

I think I’ve enjoyed this letter most of all, because of the details and the places.  There are still wards meeting in that same meetinghouse in London on Nightingale.  I have been to a few of the places mentioned when we went to London in 1984 (or 1983).  If we had a working scanner, I might consider adding those photos (after I figure out what box they’re hiding in).  Still working on the scanner.  The new one has been uninstalled and will be dealt with when I have more time and patience.

Just so you have some idea, this one was a 16 page letter.  The last two have been 6 and 7 pages.  Enjoy your history.

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Hello beautiful,

How are you tonight?  It’s about a half hour passed noon where you are, but by the heading of your last letter, I see that you are a night owl so I don’t suppose you care about the time.  Midnight!  Honey, what are you doing?  I can tell you need me there to see that you go to bed at nine-o-clock.   I wish I were there.  I love you so very much.

Incidentally, speaking of your last letter, I got it today and it made me feel so good.  It was number fourteen.  What happens to the ones in between, I want to k now.  I hope they will eventually catch me.

So, you’re making the rounds sewing?  What do the gals have to say?  It’s been quite a long time since you got together with them.  What’s your main topic of conversation?  Babies?

Darling, every time I look at this little snapshot, my heart flutters and I get weak all over.  I wish I had my big pictures.  My footlocker and bedroll haven’t caught up as yet, so I have to content myself with a snapshot.  Zola, you’re so beautiful.  I still find it hard to believe that I have for my wife such a beautiful girl who’s so fine and glorious and adorable besides.  It all seems like a wonderful dream, with a to-be-continued sign when I left you.  I’m sure that the second chapter and third and the fourth and on up through the millions will be even more heavenly than the first.  Darling, do you know how much I love you?  Do you know how much I miss you?  You’d better because I could never find words to tell you.  Don’t you know that you mean more to me than anything else in all the world; that without you life for me would be useless; that my  heart is yours forever and always; that my one aim is to make you happy?  Sweetheart, I hope you know these things, know them as surely as we live and breath [sic].  I’m going to be a good father for our children because their mother is the finest and most perfect in all the world.  I love you, Zola, so deeply I can not express it.  I love you.

I guess I’d better get back to your letter subject.  So Ivan is in Paris?  What is his address?  Maybe I can look him up.  I’m going to try to get into London the first of the week and see if I can’t find someone I know at Mutual.  I’d like to be in over the week and to get to church on Sunday but I doubt if that is possible.

Speaking of moons, there has been a beautiful one over here for about a week also and you know I thought about you.  Moon or no moon, I think of you every minute.  I love you so much.

In letter number nine, you mentioned Bob Ricks.  In Tush’s [spelling?] last letter, he said he ran into him over there.  Did Bob mention anything about it?

Darling, I must quit for tonight, much as I’d like to keep writing all night.  There’s work to be done and I’m tired and sleepy already.  Don’t forget for a minute how much I love you.  Your Christmas present will probably be way late.  I never have a chance to look for anything if I can buy it.  Know anyway that I’m thinking of you and loving you more each minute.

Yours, Dewain

I’m always amazed at the depth of love that flows through these letters.  I know the separation was one of the hardest things thousands and thousands of families had to go through, but with love that blossomed like this, I’m sure that helped many survive.  My favorite part of the letters, though, are the little details . . . wondering what the “gals” are talking about, knowing that the bedroll and footlocker haven’t caught up to Dewain.  I will always wish I knew more about who the friends and acquaintances are that are mentioned.  This letter was a 6 page letter.  The last one was 7 pages.   The next letter to be typed will be 11/16/44 . . . a week later.  I plan to type it up tomorrow.  I missed yesterday – short school days, dentist appointments and a couple of quick sewing projects took precedence.  I’m trying to keep it all balanced . . . not always an easy task.  Luckily, my sweet boy is willing to go down almost an hour early for his naps, so when I wake him up at 12:15 (instead of 2:15), he’ll have had a couple of hours (but it’s not usually enough – he’s a 3-hour napper).

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